Bose Hearing Aid Reviews: Pros/Cons, Prices, Features, And More

Updated: Nov 07, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Bose SoundControl hearing aids were first unveiled in 2021 after the US Food and Drug Administration cleared them for direct-to-consumer sales.
  • Since Bose hearing aids are considered over-the-counter medical devices, the price is far lower than leading brands in the industry that sell through hearing care providers.
  • Aside from their attractive $849 price tag, Bose SoundControl hearing aids are unique for their self-tuning capabilities. Wearers can tune hearing aids and adjust sound quality through the Bose Hear mobile app, eliminating the need to visit an audiologist or hearing care professional.
  • Bose hearing aids are designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The product is not suitable for severe to profound hearing loss, tinnitus, or other impairments.
  • Bose SoundControl lacks some of the more popular features of hearing aids, such as rechargeable batteries and the ability to stream audio or make phone calls.

Pros

  • Price: At $849, the cost of Bose SoundControl hearing aids competes with the industry’s top brands, some of which charge well over $1,000.

  • Convenience: Consumers can purchase Bose hearing aids directly from the company without going through an audiologist or hearing professional. Eliminating the middle man means no prescriptions, no clinic visits or consultations, and no additional costs for hearing services.

  • Free trial: Bose offers a free 90-day trial. If you decide that you don’t like the hearing aids within the first three months, you can request a refund to get your money back in full, plus shipping costs.

Cons

  • Limited options: Bose’s SoundControl hearing aids are designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, which limits the product’s target market. If you have severe to profound hearing loss or another hearing impairment, you’ll want to go with a different brand that offers more variety.

  • No streaming feature: Bose hearing aids cannot stream music or make phone calls, both of which are highly in-demand features in the market today.

  • Replaceable, not rechargeable, batteries: Bose SoundControl hearing aids contain zinc-air batteries that need replacing semi-regularly. Many other hearing aids have lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which are more convenient for fast-charging and on-the-go use.

FEATURES
Cost
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDS$849
Type Of Hearing Aid
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSBehind-the-ear (BTE)
Type Of Hearing Loss
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSMild to moderate
Rechargeable Battery?
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSNo (replaceable size 312 zinc-air batteries)
Companion Smartphone Apps?
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDS
Bluetooth Streaming?
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDS
Free Trial
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDS90 days
Prescription Needed?
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSNo
Colors
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSGray
Fitting
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSSelf-fit
Designs
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDSOpen tips and closed tips
Sizes
BOSE SOUNDCONTROL HEARING AIDS1, 2, and 3

How Do Bose Hearing Aids Work?

In 2021, Massachusetts-headquartered audio sound system giant Bose Corporation debuted its SoundControl hearing aid model at a price more affordable than that of leading brands in the industry. In May 2021, Bose secured clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin selling its hearing aid products directly to consumers under the FDA’s “self-fitting air conduction hearing aids” category.

Even though it’s new to the hearing aid scene, Bose’s SoundControl offering competes with the best hearing aids on the market. The key selling points for Bose’s hearing aids are the affordable price tag of $849, the 90-day free trial, and the self-tuning system that’s controllable through a companion mobile app. However, while Bose meets the basic requirements of a good behind-the-ear hearing aid, it’s missing in-demand features like the ability to stream music or audio and make phone calls.

The key selling points for Bose’s hearing aids are the affordable price tag of $849, the 90-day free trial, and the self-tuning system that’s controllable through a companion mobile app.

Also, Bose designed its SoundControl hearing aids for people with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. If you have severe or profound hearing loss, tinnitus, or a different impairment, you’ll want to look at other brands that offer more variety in hearing aid designs.

Bose Hear App and Its Functionality

The Bose Hear app is available for iOS and Android devices via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The mobile application allows users to customize their hearing aids according to world volume and treble and bass. The hearing aids respond to app prompts wirelessly via Bluetooth low-energy technology.

In addition to adjusting for left and right balance, wearers can also control the direction of the sound they’re hearing through two focus modes: “Front,” which is best for hearing conversations in a noisy restaurant or watching TV, and “Everywhere,” which is best for outdoor environments.

Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids Design

Bose SoundControl hearing aids are a behind-the-ear (BTE) design that’s discreet, with the speaker and ear tips hidden from view. Customers can use open or closed ear tips—which go inside the ear and attach to the speaker—in small, medium, and large sizes. The buttons on the side of the hearing aid control volume and are adjustable without the Bose Hear app.

Bose’s flagship CustomTune technology allows wearers to adjust their hearing aid tuning using the Bose Hear mobile app. Commands are transmitted from the smartphone to the hearing aids wirelessly through Bluetooth.

Bose Hearing Aids Prices

The $849 price tag on Bose SoundControl hearing aids is a crucial selling point that sets this brand above other leading brands. Average hearing aid prices are about $2,300 each or $4,600 for a pair, according to the FDA. Bose is one of few companies to receive FDA clearance to sell hearing aids over-the-counter, bringing the cost down significantly. The FDA regulates traditional hearing aids from an audiologist or health professional as Class I and Class II medical devices and generally are not sold directly to consumers.

The $849 price tag on Bose SoundControl hearing aids is a crucial selling point that sets this brand above other leading brands.

In terms of pricing, Bose’s closest competitor is MDHearingAid, which also sells behind-the-ear hearing aids to people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss. MDHearingAid´s prices range from $399.99 to $799.99 per earpiece.

Here’s how Bose’s prices compare to the best hearing aids on the market:

BRAND
Bose
PRICE$849
Signia
PRICE$2,898-$4,598 per pair
MDHearingAid
PRICE$799-$1,599 per pair (often on sale for $400 to $1,000)
Jabra Enhance (formerly Lively)
PRICE$1,195-$1,595 per pair
Oticon
PRICEStarts at around $1,599
Eargo
PRICE$1,500 to $2,950 per pair

Key Features of Bose Hearing Aids

Bose SoundControl hearing aids come with several notable features:

  • FDA-cleared hearing aids: According to the FDA’s medical devices database, Bose Corporation is the only specification developer to receive clearance to sell products directly to consumers under the “self-fitting air-conduction hearing aids” classification.
  • Behind-the-ear design: Bose SoundControl hearing aids sit comfortably behind the wearers’ ear and are discreet, with the ear tip and speakers hidden from view.
  • Self-fitting: In addition to providing self-tuning capabilities, the customer can fit the Bose SoundControl hearing aids after receiving the product. The package includes three pairs of open and closed ear tips, available in three sizes (1, 2, and 3). The cable sizing tool determines the position and angle of the hearing aid behind the ear.
  • Water-resistant: Bose’s hearing aids are water-resistant but should not be submerged in any way since prolonged water exposure can lead to damage.
  • Replaceable batteries: Unlike rechargeable hearing aids that use lithium-ion batteries, Bose SoundControl hearing aids contain size 312 zinc-air batteries for manually replacing.
  • Simple setup process: After buying the hearing aids, customers can use the Bose Hear app to control listening settings and tuning. To change the ear tip and cable size from the default options, follow the instructions detailed in the user manual.
  • Mobile app: The Bose Hear mobile app allows wearers to self-tune the direction, mode, volume, and clarity of the sounds through the hearing aids.
  • Focus feature: Through the Bose Hear app, the microphone settings control the hearing direction from two options: “Focus” and “Everywhere.”
  • Online preliminary screening tool: Bose has an online hearing assessment to gauge prospective customers’ hearing difficulties, ranging from none to mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss.

Process of Purchasing Bose Hearing Aids

online shopping

New customers can take Bose’s online hearing test and order their hearing aids online with two-day shipping through its website. 

The package automatically comes with a carrying case, a hearing aid brush, a cable sizing tool, and eight 312 batteries. It also includes six pairs of open ear tips and closed ear tips (three each), available in three sizes (1, 2, and 3). 

Online Hearing Test

Bose offers an online hearing assessment to gauge hearing capabilities before purchasing hearing aids. However, online hearing tests are no substitute for a professional opinion. 

Dr. Hadassah Kupfer, a certified audiologist and hearing aid specialist based in Brooklyn, New York, said online hearing tests are generally a starting point—especially for someone beginning to think about the state of their hearing and whether they should schedule a consultation with an audiologist. 

“In the best-case scenario, online hearing tests should be regarded as a screening with a general pass/fail, rather than an accurate diagnostic test, which would tell us specifically what kind of hearing loss and how much hearing loss one has,” Dr. Kupfer said. 

Kupfer also points out that the level and quality of the patient’s computer or phone speaker and the source of the test can influence the outcome of online test results. A major critique of online hearing tests is that they cannot rule out the presence of earwax, which might lead someone to believe they need hearing aids rather than an ear cleaning. 

“In my opinion, significant confusion and alarm can be avoided by visiting an audiologist properly for a hearing exam, which is covered by most insurances, including Medicare,” Kupfer added. “Also, without professional review, a well-meaning consumer may overlook red flags on their hearing test which would otherwise be early signs of certain neurological conditions and tumors in the brain, which need in-person medical attention.”

Customer Service

Bose provides virtual setup sessions for anyone who needs help getting started with their hearing aids. Customers can also refer to the in-app instructions and user guides. 

Aside from that, Bose’s support agents are available via phone on weekdays from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Eastern and on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Customers can also call 800-761-2673 for assistance. 

Bose’s website also has a live chat offering immediate support for technical and sales questions. It took agents under a minute to connect when we tried using the chat, and we found their responses helpful.

Alternatives to Bose Hearing Aids

Bose SoundControl hearing aids are far from the only choice on the market today. Here are some alternative options:

BRAND
Bose
COST$849
TYPES OF HEARING AIDSBTE
HEARING LOSSMild to moderate
Eargo
COST$1,500-$2,950 per pair
TYPES OF HEARING AIDSCIC
HEARING LOSSMild to moderate hearing loss in the high-frequency range
Widex
COSTStarts at $2,798
TYPES OF HEARING AIDSBTE, ITE, RIC, RITE, CIC
HEARING LOSSMild, moderate, severe, profound
Jabra Enhance (formerly Lively)
COST$1,195-$1,595
TYPES OF HEARING AIDSBTE
HEARING LOSSMild to moderately severe
MDHearingAid
COST$399.99-$799.99 per ear
TYPES OF HEARING AIDSBTE
HEARING LOSSMild to moderately severe

Bose Hearing Aid Warranty, Return Policy, and Trial Period

Bose SoundControl hearing aids have a one-year warranty. This means if any issues cannot be resolved through troubleshooting, Bose will replace the hearing aids free of charge within the first year.

Also, Bose offers a free 90-day trial, allowing customers to return the hearing aids for a refund within the first three months. Bose will cover the return in full, along with the cost of shipping.

Things to Consider When Buying Bose Hearing Aids

Price

Bose’s $849 price tag is far more affordable than the competition, even undercutting the best cheap hearing aids on the market today. 

Bose’s one-year hearing aid warranty covers the replacement of hearing aids in situations that cannot be resolved through troubleshooting.

Warranty

Bose’s one-year hearing aid warranty covers the replacement of hearing aids in situations that cannot be resolved through troubleshooting. 

Battery Life

Bose’s SoundControl hearing aids come with replaceable size 312 zinc-air batteries, offering up to 56 hours of runtime. Continuous use extends up to four days if you spend every waking hour wearing the hearing aids. 

Replacement batteries can be purchased online through the Bose website or in pharmacies and elsewhere. When purchased through Bose, a replacement battery pack costs $8.

Accessories

Besides the standard size 312 batteries, Bose’s accessories are exclusive to its SoundControl hearing aid model. 

The package comes with a carrying case, a hearing aid brush, a cable sizing tool, eight size 312 batteries, and three pairs of open-ear tips and three pairs of closed-ear tips (in three sizes each). 

Bose also offers the following replacement accessories: 

  • Replacement Receiver Cable: $50
  • Hearing Aid Battery Pack: $8 (includes eight replaceable size 312 batteries)
  • Carrying Case: $20
  • Hearing Aid Eartip Kit: $10 (includes three pairs of replacement ear tips)
  • Wax Guard Replacement Kit: $10 (includes eight wax guards)

Over-The-Counter Vs. Traditional Buying Experience

Since Bose’s FDA-cleared direct-to-consumer model allows anyone to buy over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids without a professional hearing assessment, buyers miss out on an official diagnosis from a licensed audiologist. While self-fitting and self-tuning features provide the benefit of convenience, some consumers may be better served by a full-service hearing aid company. 

Lindsay S. Creed, associate director of audiology practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), says that while the purchase of FDA-cleared, over-the-counter hearing devices does not require professional involvement, she recommends that anyone considering purchasing a hearing aid should see an audiologist for a comprehensive hearing evaluation to diagnose their hearing levels. 

“It is challenging to accurately self-diagnose your level of hearing loss,” Creed said. “Research has shown that younger individuals tend to overestimate their degree of hearing loss and older adults the opposite, so many individuals that believe they have a mild to moderate hearing loss may not.”

Still, comprehensive audiological evaluations remain an important step in obtaining hearing aids. “While we anticipate OTC hearing aids to be more affordable than most prescription hearing aids, they may still be several hundred to $1,000, and it would be helpful knowing before you purchase one if you have a hearing loss that fits within the range of candidacy for the device,” Creed added. 

Independent Hearing Aid Reviews

Here is the collective customer consensus on Bose and its hearing aid products based on actual reviews and ratings from the following sites: 

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

4,000+ Hours of research
11 Experts consulted
17 brands considered
18 Models considered
10 Models selected

Our experts research and recommend products that can help give you a better quality of life. Using our high standards and rigorous testing methodology, we’ve spent more than 4,000 hours, collectively, researching the best hearing aids to help you find the device that’s best for you. Throughout our research process, we did the following:

  • Consulted with audiologists and geriatric care experts
  • Mystery-shopped the brands
  • Surveyed hundreds of hearing aid users
  • Tested various models of hearing aids
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read thousands of verified customer reviews

Bottom Line

Overall, Bose SoundControl hearing aids are an affordable and quality option for people with mild to moderate hearing loss who strain to follow conversations and hear clearly when watching TV or in noisy environments.

The key selling points of Bose SoundControl hearing aids are affordability, the convenience of self-tuning, and the essential features needed in any good hearing aid. Also, since consumers can purchase the product online, Bose already has an edge over more established hearing device brands that only sell their products through a network of hearing care professionals.

However, Bose hearing aids are explicitly designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. If you have a more advanced form of hearing loss or another hearing impairment, you might be better off going with another brand that offers more variety, such as Oticon, Widex, or Signia. Aside from that, the closest competitor to Bose in price is MDHearingAid, which also provides affordable behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bose SoundControl hearing aids are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss and do not treat tinnitus. People with tinnitus might want to consider alternatives such as the ReSound One hearing aid.

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WRITTEN BY

Shannon Cuthrell is a North Carolina-based freelance journalist with a background covering business, technology and economic development. She has bylines in a variety of print and online news outlets, including Business North Carolina magazine, WRAL TechWire, NewsBreak and EE Power, among other publications. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in communication journalism and two minors in English and psychology.

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