The Jabra Enhance is a new product from an existing company. Jabra has been around for a while, creating high quality earbuds. Those little headphones you pop into your ear to listen to music. As you may have noticed, more and more hearing aids are starting to look like these earbuds, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the company came out with the Jabra Enhance hearing aids.
These OTC hearing aids look like the earbuds Jabra normally produces. We’ve seen this before with the Olive SmartEar Plus, the Autiphon ITE, and the Go Hearing Ultra. Aside from the Autiphon, these models share another common characteristic: they stream audio straight from your phone. And apparently, the Enhance does, too.
That means I’ve got every reason to give the Jabra Enhance a critical review. Below, I’ll take you through the key features, its general performance, and possible downsides. We’ll have a look at possible downsides and alternatives before I give you a final buying recommendation.
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Aside from the model type, the Jabra has a few other key features. First, which I mentioned in the introduction, there’s the audio streaming. This means you can use the Enhance as earbuds and stream music and calls straight from your phone to your ears – with an important caveat, which we’ll discuss below.
On top of that, the Jabra Enhance keeps impressing. It’s the first model I’ve seen with four microphones, which adds depth and direction to your sound. This means it better mimics the way your ears and brain usually interact to process sounds. The hearing aids come in the familiar travel case.
Lastly, the Jabra Enhance is self-fitting. This means you go through an automated process where the device is adjusted to your needs. It’s not a replacement for a real fitting, but it’s a good extra.
Who is this hearing amplifier for?
I always have the feeling that the earbuds-style hearing aids are for people who are afraid of the hearing aid stigma. But then, I also feel that having earbuds in makes you explain how no, you’re not being rude, those are your hearing aids… Either way, Jabra targets tech-savvy people who need a hearing aid, but also want to listen to music with the highest possible quality.
How well does the Jabra Enhance work?
Aside from the pretty impressive list of key features, the Enhance offers the regular features, too. There are three different listening modes: focus, adaptive, and surround. All the usual sound improvement features are present, such as the noise reduction and feedback suppression.
It takes three hours to charge the battery, and the company promises 12 hours of use for the earbuds and nearly three charges from the case. Exactly how long the Enhance lasts when listening to music isn’t clear, which concerns me. Usually, streaming drastically reduces battery life in hearing aids.
There’s a 1-year warranty (average), but you have to register your device in the app, which feels unnecessary. For durability, they seem well-built, and they have IP52 rating, which means they’re protected from moisture and dust (normal use levels of both).
What’s not to like about the Jabra Enhance?
It doesn’t work on Android phones, which means about half the population can’t use these. I don’t know why, but I do know other companies don’t have this problem. It’s a big drawback for the Enhance.
And while I always go through reviews to see if I can spot any patterns, I don’t always take note. Reviews for hearing aids are notoriously positive (first, you can’t hear, then you can: five stars). But nobody is raving about the Enhance. The customer service is slow to respond, there are little technical issues, or the fit isn’t just right… Whatever it is, nobody is thrilled with these.
When it comes to negative patterns, though, the Jabra customer service is noticeably lacking. Not a good sign.
Alternatives for this hearing aid
I believe a true alternative should be the same model type for around the same price. That means your only real alternative is the Olive SmartEar Plus. It’s a similar model for a similar price (a little cheaper at the time of writing). It also works on an Android phone, so that makes it better almost immediately. The Sony CRE-C10 promises to be a slightly more advanced (and expensive) alternative.
For other alternatives but the same model-type, there’s a number of options. The BT-Omni 2 is a cheaper model, but also lacks the superior streaming audio quality that the Enhance has. For more alternatives and different models, don’t forget to check out the best hearing aids for 2023.
Should you buy the Jabra Enhance?
Probably not. If you’re a huge music fan, you’ve got an iPhone, and already have back-up hearing aids, this is a great little gadget. If you’re looking for a first set of hearing aids, I can’t wholeheartedly recommend these. They’re lacking too much, even if they’re great on paper. For the same price, you can get better hearing aids (although they’ll look different). If you want to stick with the same model, the Olive SmartEar looks to be a little cheaper for the same list of benefits (except the four microphones).
At the time of writing (June 2023), the Enhance costs $799 on Amazon.
No, not really. There’s a standard extended warranty, and you can buy the Jabra in two colors: black and beige.
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