The MDHearing NEO is the first new device from this company after the MDHearing VOLT MAX – one of my favorite OTC hearing aids. While the earlier models from MDHearing failed to impress me, the VOLT MAX was exciting to say the least. That means my expectations for the NEO are higher, too.
I’m personally not a huge fan of the completely-in-canal hearing aids configuration that the MDHearing NEO falls under. These small devices might be more inconspicuous, but generally compromise on a lot of features for the sake of size. However, I won’t dismiss the NEO before giving it an honest try, so below, I’ll take you through a full review for the MDHearing NEO.
That means we’re looking at the most important features for the NEO, seeing what’s not to like about this MDHearing model and discussing some alternative models before I reach my buying recommendation. As always, I’ve summarized my findings in a visual 30-second review that you find at the bottom of this review.
The MDHearing NEO was picked as the best budget hearing aid in 2023.
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I may not be a fan, but the distinguishing feature for the MDHearing Neo is, of course, its size. Even for CIC hearing aids, the MDHearing NEO is quite small. Compared to other popular models, the NEO seems to have lost about 30% of the standard size. That’s a plus if you’re looking for small hearing aids.
Beyond the small size, a few other things stand out. The NEO is rechargeable and comes in a rechargeable travel case. This means you charge the case once, and it in turn charges the hearing aids themselves.
Who is this hearing amplifier for?
The MDHearing NEO is designed for a growing group of customers. As you may know from reading reviews here, I’m not a huge fan of the CIC hearing aids. Neither are most manufacturers. These small hearing aids don’t offer the features and options that ‘real’ hearing aids have. Nevertheless, CIC hearing aids are in high demand. MDHearing must have looked at the demand, and realized they should give the people what they want.
How well does the MDHearing NEO work?
CIC hearing aids are notorious for their lack of features. What the MDHearing NEO does have, is nevertheless pretty impressive. For example, most CIC hearing aids don’t really have a volume control, but the NEO has a button you can press to switch between volume settings. It’s not as easy as a rocker switch or a volume wheel, but it’s better than nothing.
Then there’s the usual checklist I like to go by. Feedback cancellation technology? Check. Noise reduction options? Yes. Under the hood, the NEO meets all the normal expectations for an over-the-counter hearing aid at this price point – its more expensive brothers such as the VOLT MAX will have better audio quality, for example, but cost about three times as much.
On top of that, all MDHearing devices come with excellent support. The NEO has a one-year warranty included and a 45-day trial, which means you can send your hearing aids back in that time period for a full refund.
What’s not to like about the MDHearing NEO?
First, a not-so-important downside. I understand that sometimes you have to pretend there’s a discount to sell stuff online – I’m used to the perpetual discounts most companies use. That’s fine. But MDHearing offers the NEO in three different ways: you can buy a hearing aid for our left ear at $499, one for your right ear that’s $449 or you can buy a pair for $299. That’s a no-brainer, but it also makes me feel MDHearing assumes I don’t have a brain.
Alas, cheap marketing tactics say little about what’s actually wrong with the MDHearing NEO. And in truth, there’s nothing actually wrong with this hearing aid. Now, it doesn’t have some features you’ll find in many other devices, the sound control is difficult to handle if your fine motor skills aren’t what they used to be, and you won’t find any smart options on the NEO.
If you need something a bit more user-friendly or if you’re looking for advanced features, the MDHearing NEO isn’t for you.
Alternatives for the MDHearing NEO
With the popularity of CIC hearing aids, you’d think there are plenty of alternatives for the MDHearing NEO. At the same time, most of the CIC hearing aids you’ll find around are crêpe (excuse my French). When it comes to quality hearing aids, it’s slim pickings. Go Hearing came out with a very similar model: the Go Hearing Prime.
Lucid Hearing brought a positive change to that usual quality problem with the Lucid Hearing fio. Then you’ve got the entire Eargo lineup, like the top of the line Eargo 6, which is 10x as expensive. Therefore, an Eargo is not a real alternative, but it’s really the only thing out there. With the popularity of the NEO, I’m sure other models will soon follow.
Should you buy the MDHearing NEO?
Yes, if you’re interested in a quality hearing aid that disappears in your ear canal and is as small as possible (which is a large group of interested buyers), you should by the NEO. I can only not recommend the NEO if you’d like more options, such as smartphone control. Quality-wise, the NEO is up there with the top three hearing aid models on the website. The only thing you’re missing out on is extra features.
Right now, the NEO is $299 for a pair on the company website.
The NEO is designed to combat mild to moderate hearing loss. As a rule of thumb, this type of hearing loss means you’re starting to have trouble hearing conversations and have started to turn up the TV.
These hearing aids don’t take batteries, but are rechargeable. They come in a case that charges the devices, and you charge the case in turn. A single charge gives you 17 hours of hearing.
MDHearing actually offers an online hearing test right on its website that will help you determine if the NEO is the best option for you.
MD Neo was a tragic mistake for my purchase. With large hands and large fingers, I repeatedly fumbled to locate the single, tiny volume button. The tiny, useless pull string is a bad joke. The TV sound was just an echoing of words. After attempting to push the teeny sound button for greater, clearer hearing, there erupted an ear-shattering screeching, after which I fumbled to reach the teeny rip cord to dismiss the altercation between it and me.
After returning Neo to MD Hearing, I ordered the 2-Volt Max model with hopes for better hearing and multiple personal sound choices.
Compare Hearing Aids says
I’m sorry to hear that, Ed. And I always think the small sizes are a double-edged sword. People like for their hearing aids to be as small as possible, but that requires some fine motor skills that can pose its own problems. I hope the VOLT MAX works out better for you.