The MDHearingAid CORE used to be this company’s flagship model, until the arrival of the VOLT MAX. Although it looks like its little brothers, the AIR and VOLT+, the CORE has a defining feature. The MDHearingAid CORE is a smart hearing aid. These hearing aids connect to your smartphone, where you can adjust the devices on the go. This ensures that the MDHearingAid CORE is set up exactly to your needs, and gives you a more finetuned listening experience. As MDHearingAid puts it, it gives you an audiologist in your pocket.
But how good of an audiologist does the MDHearingAid CORE give you? Sure, the CORE isn’t an alternative for a prescription hearing aid (and it’s not). So let’s find out what to expect. Below, I’ll give you a rundown of the most important features of the CORE. After that, we’ll see how the device works in general and give you a glimpse of what maybe doesn’t work so well.
As always, I’ve included a 30-second visual review at the bottom of this review. If you’d like to see an overview of more of those, visit my page with all 30-second reviews, where each hearing aid is ranked.
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Key features of the MDHearingAid CORE
The most important feature of the MDHearingAid CORE is the smartphone app that connects to your hearing aids. With the app, you set up your hearing aids to adapt the programs to your needs. After setup, the app allows you to adjust the volume and listening programs, or later finetune the device to your changed needs. Each ear is adjusted individually.
After setup, you still use the smartphone app to adjust volume and other sound settings. You don’t have to use the app, because the CORE has a volume and sound setting selector, too.
Another key feature is less positive: the CORE is the only smart hearing aid I’ve encountered that’s not rechargeable. This may not be a dealbreaker for you, but I personally prefer rechargeable hearing aids over the hassle of forgetting batteries.
Who is this hearing aid for?
People who love batteries :). Other than that, the MDHearingAid Core offers the same benefits as other smart hearing aids. This mean the CORE is a discrete model that’s easy to adjust to your personal hearing. I imagine this makes the CORE a good choice for a first hearing aid. With a 40 dB peak gain, you get plenty of power to last you through the first stages of hearing loss. Also, the smart device comes with a lot of options for tinkering and trying out different settings. For someone who likes to patiently mess around, the MDHearingAid CORE might be a funner option than simpler models.
How well does the MDHearingAid Core work?
This MDHearingAid works fine. Installing the app isn’t difficult an the app is clear enough. However, if you’re not familiar with a smartphone and Bluetooth gadgets, pairing the devices might be a bit daunting. To help you identify what ear you’re working on, the background on your phone turns blue (for left ears) or red (for the right ear). This matches the colors for the thin tubing. The automatic setup in the app takes about ten minutes and works with different tones to identify your hearing needs. After setup, the app shows battery life for each device at all times.
There are four different default programs with the CORE – without the program memory that’s common in most hearing aids. You won’t miss the program memory as much, as the default (first) hearing program automatically adjusts to your environment.
The CORE comes with different tips (the part that goes into your ear). It also features high volume tips for an extra boost in power. Behind the screens, the CORE offers the usual features for its price range: noise reduction technology (adjustable), dual microphones (also adjustable), and feedback cancellation technology.
A fun little extra is the ‘Find my device’ function in the app, which helps you find your hearing aids if you happen to lose them (works best when they are connected).
What’s not to like about the MDHearingAid CORE?
I’ve already brought up the batteries, but I think it’s important to do it again. It makes the CORE feel outdated. Then there’s the recurring theme with all MDHearingAid devices: none of them are your best bet. In this case, the CORE is more expensive and not rechargeable, compared to the competition.
Performance-wise, there’s little not to like. It’s just that you’re better off with other smart hearing aids.
Although you can’t fault MDHearingAid for this one, it’s important to know you can’t listen to music (or other devices or your phone) using the Bluetooth function on the CORE.
Hearing aids that are good alternatives
You may wonder what those other smart hearing aids are. The usual suspects are the Neosonic MX-Smart and the Otofonix Sona. Both models offer the same benefits, but for a lot less (they’re about $300 and $400 cheaper, respectively). Also, both models are rechargeable and offer better return policies and warranties.
If you’re looking to upgrade even more, the Eargo Neo offers much of the same, and an unmatched customer service experience. The Neo also costs nearly twice as much. For a downgrade and a more affordable model, the Neosonic B10 is a good option.
Should you buy the CORE?
No. Not because there’s anything wrong with it, but because it doesn’t have as much hearing per dollar as its competitors. If you can buy the CORE for around $1,000 or a slightly better version for around $600, I can’t recommend you buy this model. I only suggest buying the CORE if you dislike rechargeable batteries or if the price drops by half.
As if this writing, the CORE costs just under $1,000 for a pair, but prices can change. For accurate prices, consult the MDHearingAid website.
The MDHearingAid CORE uses size 3̀12 batteries – a pack of batteries is included.
MDHearingAid offers a 90-day warranty and a protection plan (sold separately).