Enhance Conversations with Bose Hearphones

The unit sits around the neck. The control is on the right. The buds go in the ears.

I’ve always had a problem hearing people in restaurants. When I was much younger, I did look into getting hearing aids. The doctor said I had lost some frequencies, but not badly enough to wear hearing aids. Bose Hearphones are specially-designed to enhance conversation clarity. I wanted to see if they are truly hearing aids.

Are Bose Hearphones actually hearing aids? Hearphones are hearing aids that both amplify voices and suppress other noises. Hearing aids amplify frequencies in the hearing range. This is helpful when listening to someone speak in an otherwise quiet room. However, hearing aids can fail when using them in a noisy environment. They pick up and amplify all frequencies in the given range. The Bose Hearphones do not amplify all sounds. They use both noise suppression and selective frequency amplification to clarify conversations.

How Do Bose Hearphones Compare to Traditional Hearing Aids?

Users report that the neck piece sometimes twists, but that the hearing aid is comfortable.
Users report that the neck piece sometimes twists, but that the hearing aid is comfortable.

Bose Hearphones are hearing aids that work on two principles. Traditional hearing aids amplify all sounds. Hearphones suppress noise and amplify the spoken word. Wearing them makes it easier to understand what people are saying. They amplify certain frequencies and shut out others to allow the wearer to focus on hearing people talk.

Audiologists customize traditional hearing aids. Both In the Ear (ITE) and Behind the Ear (BTE) hearing aids are custom fitted to the wearer’s ear. Bose Hearphones come in three standard sizes. They are not custom fit to the wearer’s ears.

Bose are similar to Behind the Ear traditional hearing aids. They sit around the neck. You insert the bud into the external portion of the ear. The buds do not slip inside the ear canal.

Traditional hearing aids cost between $2,000 and $8,000 per pair, on average. The Bose Hearphones MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) is $499.

Hearphones Require a Smart Phone or Tablet

Control the Hearphones from a smart phone or a tablet.
Control the Hearphones from a smart phone or a tablet.

The Hearphones are also Bluetooth earphones. So you can listen to music and make phone calls from the same device that helps you to hear better. Hearphones work with Apple and Android smart phones and the Apple smart watch. The user has to be comfortable using a phone or tablet app to adjust Hearphones settings.

The Bose Hearphones look like wired ear buds you would use for music and telephone conversations. They plug into either an Apple or an Android phone. You can use the Hearphones to talk on the phone or to amplify in-person conversations.

Bose Hearphones reduce noise and focus conversations.

The Bose Hearphones hearing aid.
The Bose Hearphones hearing aid.
The StayTip+ ear bud.
The StayTip+ ear bud.
Switch out the buds until you find the right size for your ear.
Switch out the buds until you find the right size for your ear.

Hearphones Amplify and Cancel Sounds

Bose is famous for its “noise cancellation” headphones. So it is particularly fitting that Bose would create a hearing aid device that cancels out the noises that blocks out conversations. The idea is to block the unwanted sounds and then amplify the wanted ones. The wanted noises are the ones made by the human voice. Cancelling the unwanted noise makes the conversation easier to hear.

Hearphones Have Multiple, Focusable Microphones

The Hearphones have multiple microphones.
The Hearphones have multiple microphones.

The Hearphones contain microphones. The app allows you to point the microphones all around you or in a forward direction. Forward microphones help focus the hearing on the conversation.

If the wearer’s ears have different abilities, you can apply the volume and microphone changes to one ear at a time. You can turn off either ear’s input, as well.

Hearing loss can be scattered across frequencies. The Bose Hearphones allow you to increase perception and both lower and higher frequencies.

The “Modes” function lets you save a set of commands so you can switch between your conversation and other sets of settings.

Bose Hearphones FDA Approval

The FDA allows Bose to market the Hearphones as “the first self-fitting hearing aid controlled by the user.” They based their approval on a clinical trial of 125 hearing-impaired adults. The trial found that the hearing-impaired patients gained as much hearing improvement with Hearphones as with traditional medical hearing aids.

“In authorizing marketing of the Bose device, the FDA reviewed data from clinical studies of 125 patients, which demonstrated that outcomes with self-fitting of the Bose Hearing Aid are comparable on average to those with professional fitting of the same device with respect to the amount of amplification selected, speech in noise testing and overall benefit. In addition, when participants self-fit the Bose Hearing Aid, they generally preferred those hearing aid settings over the professionally-selected settings. The Bose Hearing Aid has been labeled to inform the consumer when to consult a hearing health care professional.”

How to Connect the Hearphones to the Phone App

Download the Hearphone app at Apple  or Google Play. The app name is “Bose Hear.”

The Hearphones communicate with smart devices through Bluetooth and NFC technologies. There are five buttons on the Hearphones to control incoming calls and music. You can answer and hang up the phone. You can play, pause and skip music.

How to Charge the Hearphones Battery

The USB port is behind a small rubber flap.
The USB port is behind a small rubber flap.
The amber light indicates that the battery is charging.
The amber light indicates that the battery is charging.
The green light indicates that the battery is charged.
The green light indicates that the battery is charged.

To charge the Hearphones, plug the included cable into the USB port. Plug the other end of the cable into a computer USB port or a USB wall charger. If you do not have either one, the easiest solution is to get a USB wall charger.

How to Fit Hearphones to Your Ear

The Hearphones come with small, medium and large StayHear+ tips. Replace the tips until you have a comfortable fit. If the fit is correct, it will feel comfortable; you will hear muffled sounds even with the power off.

Switch out the buds until you find the right size for your ear.
Switch out the buds until you find the right size for your ear.
The StayTip+ ear bud.
The StayTip+ ear bud.
Hearphone buds come in small, medium and large.
Hearphone buds come in small, medium and large.

What You Get with the Hearphones

Bose Hearphones come with a carrying case; small, medium and large StayHear+ tips; and a USB charging cable. You need a computer or a charging port to power the recharge.

How to Get Bose Hearphones Support

Hearphones Helpful Videos

  • Bose Hearphones – Using the App and Product Controls
  • Bose Hearphones – Fitting and Changing Ear Tips
  • Bose Hearphones – Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Getting the most from your Bose Hearphones: Conversations
  • Getting the most from your Bose Hearphones: TV watching
  • Getting the most from your Bose Hearphones: Music and calls

Hearphones Manual and Extras

Hearphone Pros

  • Hearphones come in three sizes, making them an easier fit than “one size fits all.”
  • Conversations are easier to understand.
  • Hearphones cut out ambient noise, so they create a peaceful quiet.
  • Hearphones are cheaper than medical hearing aids.
  • They do not amplify noise as medical hearing aids often do.
  • They connect to Apple and Android smart phones and tablets.
  • They function as headphones for phone calls and streaming media.
  • There is a 30-day trial period. The Hearphones are returnable for a refund.
  • Many people report that they are superior to medical hearing aids.
  • Users report no interference from wind.
  • You can aim the microphones. Choices are Focused, Forward, and Everywhere. Use Focused for conversations. Use Forward for group conversations, TV and plays.
  • The buds come with multiple ear tips to help you find a good fit.
  • At least one user reported that their tinnitus symptoms greatly diminished wearing the Hearphones.
  • They look like phone ear buds rather than a medical device.
  • Hearphones can make loud noises tolerably softer.
  • They are not sturdy enough, BUT, Bose will replace Hearphones that break down.
  • Bose support is very responsive
  • Has 10 hours of life after charging.
  • Hearphones come with a 3-year warranty.
  • I could not find any complaints about “wear fatigue.” People wear them for hours.

Hearphone Cons

  • Even the smallest Hearphone is too large from some ears.
  • The cord is too short for some necks.
  • The on/off button can be difficult to press.
  • The unit can be annoying in the collar area of the neck.
  • The Hearphones can conduct mouth noises when crunching hard food.
  • You cannot use Hearphones while they are charging.
  • The voice prompt volume might be too low for some people.
  • The battery has 500 recharge cycles and is not replaceable.
  • You must use Bluetooth or NFC. There is no cable connection.
  • The unit takes 3 hours to charge.
  • Hearphones are not water resistant.

My 87-year-old mother in law lives with us. Her hearing has been failing for years. She refuses to spend $5000 on hearing aids. In an effort to give her a better quality of life, I Purchased these Bose. What a gift! After tweaking the earbuds on myself, I put them in her ears. Wonderful! She was able to hear normal conversation between my wife and me. The following day I took her out for a walk and she was able to hear birds and vehicles! My wife and I took mom to the movies and she was able to enjoy the sound! — DiamondJim, verified review, Best Buy