The BLJ Hearing Amplifier may lack a specific name, but is noticeable enough. These bright blue and red colored hearing amplifiers draw your attention right away – even if they’re remarkably small. As a CIC hearing amplifier, you place the entire device in your ear canal, making it look more like a spy gadget than a fancy hearing aid.
With a price point of less than $100 (at the time of writing), the BLJ seems quite attractive. It has all the features you expect in a hearing amplifier, and is tucked away inside your ear. People with glasses or those looking for a very subtle hearing amplifier benefit most from such a model. But does size affect performance? How well does the BLJ Hearing Amplifier work? In this review, I’ll take you through the key features, the pros and cons of this device and give you a buying recommendation and some alternative options.
I’ve put a visual summary of my findings at the bottom of this post. This 30-second review tells you all you need to know in one glance. If you’d like to skip the reading and go straight to the cliff notes, click here.
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Key features of the BLJ
The first key feature is the fact that the BLJ Hearing Amplifier is a CIC model. The company also has a BTE model, but in this review we focus on their most popular device. CIC models are essentially tiny buttons that are placed in the ear canal. Here, they receive the sound and amplify it into your ear. Depending on the shape of your ears and the type of dome that fits you best, these devices might be near invisible to others. For many people, this is a big plus.
Although there isn’t much room on the device, BLJ have found a way to add listening programs and volume settings. You control everything about the hearing amplifier with one button. Depending on how long you hold the button, you select a different volume setting or listening program.
Finally, we can’t wrap up the key features without mentioning the bright blue and red color of the BLJ. These two colors indicate the amplifiers for the right and left ear, respectively. According to BLJ, some people can use the device ambidextrously, but most people should err on the side of caution and buy a pair or focus on the ear that needs the most help.
Who is this hearing amplifier for?
With a 40 dB peak gain, the BLJ is best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. These are people who are mostly aware of their hearing problem and looking for their first solution. The CIC model might look attractive, but also means that it’s not for everyone. The device is so small that it requires some fine motor skills, which excludes a significant part of the population with hearing loss.
How well does the BLJ Hearing Amplifier work?
Once you’ve figured out how to use the BLJ to your advantage, it works like a charm. Sounds are amplified, and the sound quality is similar to that of prescription hearing aids. As a hearing amplifier, it doesn’t have the advanced calibration you’ll get at the audiologist, but that doesn’t mean you also give up on the sound quality.
Part of that sound quality comes from the noise reduction and feedback cancellation features. Neither of these are groundbreaking, but it’s important to ensure they’re included. There are eight different volume settings and three listening programs.
The size 10 batteries will hold up for about 48 hours of battery life.
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Lastly, the BLJ hearing amplifiers come with great customer service. Defects are acknowledged and taken care off.
What’s not to like about the BLJ Hearing Amplifier?
The BLJ hearing amplifier is small. This can be a blessing or a curse. Part of that curse is the difficulty of controlling the hearing amplifier. Because only one button fits on the device, switching listening programs or volume settings takes some engineering and a steady hand. This doesn’t make the BLJ a bad hearing amplifier, but it’s important to consider.
Something more troublesome is the amount of fiddling it takes to minimize feedback. Most users report a two-week period of figuring out their hearing amplifier before the feedback issues are solved. Even though most hearing amplifiers take a bit of time to get used to, this constant adjusting feels like a lot of trouble.
Hearing amplifiers that are good alternatives
To make things easier, the Neosonic EZ or ZVOX VB20 are good alternatives to the BLJ. As the name implies, the Neosonic EZ is easy to handle. As it’s a BTE amplifier, it takes less configuration than the BLJ, and the volume and listening programs are easier to handle, too. The ZVOX hearing aids can be controlled from a smartphone, so you never have to feel for tiny buttons at all.
If you’d like to stick with the CIC configuration, the TKING with tinnitus masker or the Eargo NEO are good options. The TKING is more similar to the BLJ, but adds a tinnitus masker feature. The Eargo NEO is a completely different type of hearing amplifier, and comes with every bell and whistle you can imagine.
Should you buy the BLJ Hearing Amplifier?
If you’re looking for a good hearing amplifier for a sharp price, the BLJ hearing amplifier is an excellent choice. Just make sure you’ve got the right expectations: it takes a while to get the BLJ figured out, and even when it’s calibrated to minimize feedback, you need delicate fingers to adjust the volume or listening program. That being said, the BLJ has a lot to offer despite its small size.
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