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As a professional caregiver, I find it distressing that millions of U.S. adults cannot access the hearing support they need due to rising costs. Given that the average hearing aid is marked up about 2.5 times its wholesale price, it’s no surprise Americans are in this predicament.
Therefore, I was excited to hear about Audicus, a hearing aid company that offers a line of high-quality, affordable hearing aids that claim to be 70 percent less than other hearing aids. What’s more, Audicus recently released two new hearing aid models: The Aura and The Spirit, both of which have discreet and comfortable wearing capabilities.
In this review, I’ll evaluate Audicus hearing aids and provide an overview of their free online hearing test, hearing aid models, and payment options. I’ll also share my own experience purchasing and testing out Audicus hearing aids. Keep reading to find out more.
Pro Tip: To learn more about our favorite hearing aids, check out our rundown of this year’s best hearing aids.
Audicus Hearing Aid Pros and Cons
For those short on time, here are my main takeaways from using Audicus hearing aids.
Reliable Technology, Lower Cost: By partnering with a leading manufacturer, buying in bulk, and reducing overhead and brick-and-mortar costs, Audicus provides customers with award-winning hearing aids, comparable to high-priced sellers at a fraction of the cost.
Rental Memberships and Financing: Understandably, many of us can’t afford to purchase hearing aids up front, even at largely discounted rates. Fortunately, Audicus offers two affordable solutions: Rental memberships for as low as $39 per ear, per month, and financing options with 12 to 24-month plans
Bluetooth and Rechargeable Technology: Two of the five hearing aid models—The Spirit and The Wave—support Bluetooth technology and rechargeable batteries. Bluetooth technology allows users to stream sounds directly from smartphones, computers, and other smart devices.
Unlimited Access to Experts: Audicus provides exceptional customer service ranging from a free online hearing test to free consultations and more.
Discreet hearing aids: The Aura is Audicus’ newest hearing aid model. It’s one of the smallest and most discreet hearing aids featuring a micro design that makes it so that no one knows you’re wearing a hearing aid.
No Local Maintenance: When your hearing aid needs adjustments or repairs, local providers can get it done quickly. While reprogramming and repairs are free for all Audicus customers, you may have to go without your hearing aids for longer than you would if you purchased from a brick-and-mortar retailer.
Risk of Missing A Serious Medical Condition: Not all hearing loss is due to aging or loud noise exposure, and although the Audicus hearing test is impressive, it can’t replace a visit with a medical professional. Individuals who choose to simply treat their hearing loss without speaking with a physician or another expert risk failing to identify an underlying medical condition for which hearing loss is solely a symptom.
Does Not Accept Insurance: Although Medicare Advantage and some other insurances now offer to pay at least a percentage of the cost for hearing aids, Audicus does not accept insurance. I’d recommend looking into Eargo hearing aids, a company that covers hearing aids for federal employees and accepts most common insurance.
Accessories not covered: Unfortunately, accessories are not covered under Audicus warranty.
Health Tip: Early intervention is critical for hearing loss. Even mild hearing loss, if left untreated, can lead to faster cognitive decline, balance issues, social isolation, and an inability to process speech.
Purchasing Audicus Hearing Aids
Before I purchased my hearing aids online, Audicus wanted to ensure that I actually needed its product. To do this, there were two options: their online hearing test or by submitting my own audiogram results. As a professional caregiver, I wanted to avoid unnecessary human contact during COVID-19, so I selected the online test.
Audicus’s Online Hearing Test
It turns out the Audicus team, led by a neuroscience engineer, spent two years researching, designing, and verifying the science behind the company’s online hearing test. After all their research, the team used the assessment they developed to test hundreds of individuals during multiple trials. Today, this scientifically verified test checks both ears against a multitude of sound frequencies at varying decibel volumes and has been used by over 70,000 individuals. Upon its official launch in 2017, the test was the first online assessment accurate enough to program custom hearing aids.
After opening the Audicus Online Hearing Test in any web browser, I was asked to create a profile so my results could be personalized. Since the test required headphones, preferably earbuds, I made sure mine were charged, and then I completed Audicus’s 5-10 minutes test. Once I finished, my results were immediately emailed to me, and I was offered a free consultation with Audicus’s experts.
Paying for Audicus Hearing Aids
At checkout, I was given the choice of paying for my hearing aids in full, financing them through Affirm, or renting through Audicus Memberships starting at $39 per month with the option to cancel at any time. Since I was purchasing all three models to test them out, I decided to check out with Affirm. After entering some basic information, I was prompted to select a regular monthly plan for either six, 12, or 18 months. Upon choosing six months, I entered my debit card information to pay my monthly bill. Customers can also use online checks or bank transfers. Once my transaction was complete, I was told to expect my hearing aids in the mail within five to seven days, which I thought was fairly quick for free shipping.
Identify Theft Tip: Whether you’re purchasing Audicus or any other product online, make sure you’re on a private and encrypted network before entering any financial information.
The Dia II, Audicus’s most popular, and most affordable option, at $499 per ear and $998 per set, is designed to aid mild to moderate hearing loss. This FDA-approved behind-the-ear hearing aid auto-adapts to your environment to help your ear focus on speech rather than background noise. It reaches a volume of 56 decibels and has up to 140 hours of battery life. With devices in beige, grey, and silver, the Dia II includes eight processing channels and has an IP rating of 68, the highest rating possible for hearing aids.
Sleek and discreet, the Clara’s receiver-in-canal hearing aid is essentially invisible from outside the ear. With two directional microphones, in addition to noise and feedback reduction, the Clara delivers between 47 to 57 decibels of amplification for crystal clear hearing in every setting. Designed for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss, the Clara is priced at $699 per ear or $1,400 for a pair. With a few extra accessories, these hearing aids are Bluetooth-enabled as well. Add a $200 upgrade per ear, and you get rechargeable batteries, too.
The Wave is Audicus’s latest and most high-tech model. It’s also one of the industry’s most affordable Bluetooth hearing aids. Costing $899 per ear or $1,800 for the pair, The Wave features 12 processing channels and a volume as high as 111 decibels. Also meant for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss, this receiver-in-ear hearing aid is ultra-discreet and almost impossible to spot on a passerby. The Wave comes in your choice of black, grey, silver, and beige, and with a $300 upgrade, you’ll have access to rechargeable batteries for these hearing aids, too.
Audicus Memberships (Rentals)
An Audicus membership can be an affordable option for those who want access to ongoing benefits such as insurance, unlimited care support, and a brand new pair of hearing aids every 18 months. What’s more, there’s no commitment and you can cancel your membership at any time.
Each Audicus membership includes the following:
A pair of customized hearing aids:
Free programming, reprogramming, and unlimited expert support
Audicus Protect: Loss and damage insurance
Audicus Care: New batteries, domes, and other supplies when needed
Audicus Refresh: A new pair of hearing aids for free every 18 months
No commitment, cancel any time.
This all totals up to a $6,000 value, yet it requires no contracts or commitment and customers can cancel anytime. While I disliked fees as much as the next person, the $100 set-up fee charged at the initiation of each membership doesn’t actually sound too bad to me, at least not after considering what you get each month. After all, the cost for a monthly pair is less than I used to pay for my cable bill.
Additionally, every hearing aid includes the following:
1-year manufacturer’s warranty
Quick Start Kit
Unlimited expert support
FYI: A $20 per ear per month upgrade adds rechargeable batteries on the Clara or the Wave models.
Audicus Trade-in Program
If you have hearing aids that are damaged and unable to be repaired, you may be able to qualify for the Audicus Trade-in Program. When you trade in your old hearing aids, you may be able to use that value towards your next purchase. The maximum trade-in value for each customer is $200 a year. For more information about the Trade-in Program, contact Audicus.
Using My Audicus Hearing Aids
I tested all five Audicus models and kept a journal with each. Here are my observations.
Since I tried out so many sets, I had numerous questions about setting up, fitting, and navigating each hearing aid system. Nevertheless, almost every time, my inquiries were answered promptly by Audicus experts and without complicated or technical language. I found that all three Audicus hearing aids made a difference with my hearing, but of course, they all worked and felt a bit differently.
Other than its price, my favorite thing about The Dia II was its durability. I appreciated that I could go for a jog or attend an outdoor sporting event without worry, as they put up with sweat just fine. Overall, The Dia II’s sound quality was solid, and I could keep up with conversations without a strain, experiencing very little feedback. I should note, however, that the Dia II’s behind-the-ear fit made me a bit more self-conscious about my hearing aids than the other two models.
In contrast to The Dia II’s visibility, The Clara and The Wave models were virtually invisible. Even the colors of these receiver-in-ear hearing aids helped them blend into my look. Of course, it did take some getting used to before I stopped feeling like my ears were always plugged. Upgraded with Enhanced Clarity, the clarity of sound was similar in both The Clara and The Wave, even in a variety of settings, including looped environments. I did find that my Clara required a bit more adjustment, though, and the maximum volume on my Wave hearing aids was certainly louder.
I could have upgraded The Clara to connect with my Bluetooth media using an Audicus Bluetooth remote, but what I enjoyed most was The Wave’s built-in Bluetooth compatibility. Streaming sound from my laptop, TV, or smartphone directly to my hearing aids took very little effort, which made Zoom calls with my work team or evening FaceTimes simple. D.
I also selected the $200-$300 rechargeable battery upgrades on The Clara and The Wave hearing aids. While it was convenient not to have to change my batteries as often, I recommend waiting on this technology upgrade until they become a bit cheaper, as they were quite pricey and required a lot more charging than I expected.
Audicus Hearing Clinics
Audicus partners with Albertsons to offer the convenience of several local hearing clinics located in Denver, Chicago, and New York. Simply book a free in-person appointment to receive audiology services.
FYI: Enter your email address when you receive a pop-up notification on the Audicus Location page. Receive up to an additional $120 when visiting an Audicus clinic. (Only applies to Clara, Wave, and Spirit hearing aids).
Audicus offers a variety of accessories ranging from Care subscriptions to earwax guards and batteries. I’ve listed a few below.
UV Dry Box
Audicus’s UV dry box safely sanitizes and extracts moisture from your hearing aids, which helps to keep them clean and safe to use while also enabling them to function better and last longer. The UV dry box costs only $79, but unfortunately, it’s not compatible with Audicus’ rechargeable hearing aids. Price: $79
Compatible with both the Clara and Dia II hearing aids, the $199 pocket-sized Classic Remote lets you easily adjust volume and settings on your hearing aid. The addition of a Classic Remote also gives you the opportunity to partner with Audicus’ audiology team to select custom programs for your unique needs. I choose tinnitus masking since it’s something I deal with on occasion and, believe it or not, this condition affects up to 20 percent of people. Price: $199
Domes – The Aura
Compatible with The Aura, these durable, high-quality rubber domes help eliminate excess sounds while providing comfort for the ears. This six-count pack is available in three different sizes: small, medium, or large. Price: $16
Audicus Warranty and Return Policy
In terms of returns and warranties, Audicus has some solid offerings. All Audicus hearing aids can be returned within 45 days of purchase for a full refund. After this period, refunds will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and likely won’t cover the full cost of your devices.
All hearing aids and remotes sold by Audicus include a 12-month manufacturer defect warranty. Unfortunately, accessories are not covered by these protections. I particularly like that the company offers extended warranties, including a one -time loss-replacement service. We all lose items from time to time, me especially, and since tools like hearing aids go with us most places, they’re also more likely to be lost or stolen.
From my own experience, I definitely recommend adding Audicus Protection, which covers unlimited repairs for your hearing aids, unlimited Clean and Care services, and a one-time loss replacement. Audicus Protection costs $12 per month per ear or $249 every two years. Insuring a set costs $24 per month per pair or $499 every two years.
Over 70% of U.S. adults over 70 who could benefit from hearing aids have never even used them, likely due to high costs and little insurance aid. Fortunately, Audicus’ business model has made it so individuals who need them can now afford to make a hearing aid purchase. Even if $1,000 a pair is too expensive, customers can pay on a monthly basis. I’ll admit, I doubted Audicus’ claim that they offer high-quality hearing aids at a fraction of the typical cost. However, after having spent time testing out each of their models and doing my research on the company, I say, if money has been the only thing holding you back from treating your hearing loss, Audicus is worth a look.
To learn more about our favorite hearing aids, take a look at our helpful guides and reviews:
Use your old hearing aids to help someone in need and donate them to the Hearing Charities of America through the organization’s partnership with Audicus. Send an old set of hearing aids to Audicus Hearing Donations. If your old hearing aids are reusable, they will be refurbished and given to low-income individuals.
For non-rechargeable batteries, you must remove a sticker to activate your battery. When this is done, oxygen mixes with the zinc oxide that is inside the battery. As it turns out, if you wait five minutes from the time you remove the sticker before putting the battery in the device, the battery can last up to three days longer!
Great question. Pets can cause serious risk to your hearing aids and vice versa. Most importantly, when you aren’t wearing them, find somewhere safe and off the ground to leave your hearing aids so they can’t be easily swept away or accidentally hidden by a tail. Also, make sure the location is dry and free of moisture. When you remove the batteries at night, place them in a drawer, case, or jewelry box to avoid any accidental consumption by your pet.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here
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