Update September 2021: the Neosonic SF is no longer available. It has been replaced by the (far better) Neosonic MX Smart.
These are exciting times for hearing amplifiers. Technological developments in the devices itself make the gap between prescription hearing aids and hearing amplifiers smaller and smaller. And now even the difference in service between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers doesn’t have to be as big anymore. With the Neosonic SF, you can adjust the settings of your amplifier to fit your specific hearing needs. With a smartphone app and a Bluetooth connection, your hearing amplifier becomes truly yours.
The question is whether this makes the Neosonic SF a hearing amplifier with a fancy trick or really a hearing amplifier that has something unique to offer. In this review, we’ll put the Neosonic SF to the test. First, I’ll discuss the model’s key features, then some general information before moving on to possible downsides and a buying recommendation with some alternatives.
I’ve summarized my findings in one image. You can find this 30-second review at the bottom of this post, or click here to go straight there.
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Key features of the Neosonic SF
In a lot of ways, the Neosonic SF is a typical BTE hearing amplifier. It’s small, fits snugly behind your ear and guides sound into your ear through a tube. What sets the Neosonic SF apart from other models is the app on your smartphone. This app not only allows you to regulate the volume for the amplifier, but also has a built-in hearing test that calibrates the device specifically to your listening needs.
It’s not a replacement for the hearing test an audiologist gives you, but it’s a lot closer than you’d get a year ago. Hearing amplifiers were always the reading glasses of the hearing aid world – a general solution for most people’s hearing problems that show up with age. Now, the solution has become a little less general and more tailored to your needs.
Another key feature is the hybrid dome. This dome is an open fit and closed dome at the same time. It gives you the comfort benefits of an open dome, while the performance stays the same as you get with a closed dome. These hybrid domes also come with the Neosonic EZ, and add another layer of quality to your amplifier.
Who is this hearing amplifier for?
With a peak gain of 40 dB, the Neosonic SF helps people with mild to moderate hearing loss. This type of hearing loss makes it difficult to understand (parts of) conversations, especially in a group setting or with even mild background noise.
How well does the Neosonic SF work?
First, I want to talk a little more about the app. While the fact that there is an app is a key feature, some of the features of the app are noteworthy, too. After taking the listening test, the Neosonic SF can automatically select the best calibration for you, or you can manually change things to suit you better. This gives the Neosonic a leg up compared to other Bluetooth models, such as the Soundtastic Aria.
Aside from the Bluetooth app and fancy ear domes, the Neosonic also has some other features to offer. There are four different listening programs and five volume settings. The sound quality is excellent and comparable to other Neosonic models, such as the EZ and the Neosonic MX. As an extra, the Neosonic SF is ambidextrous and therefore can be worn in either ear.
A last note about the Neosonic SF is that the company itself is reputable as well. Many hearing amplifiers on Amazon are one-off models. Neosonic has a website, a good customer service track record, and a fine warranty in place.
The size 13 batteries last about seven days.
What’s not to like about the Neosonic SF?
There’s nothing really wrong with the Neosonic SF, but a review wouldn’t be complete without some side notes. For one, you can only control the volume from within the app. There are no volume controls on the Neosonic SF itself. This is of course not an insurmountable problem, but it means you need a charged phone to control your hearing amplifier. Luckily, you can still switch the listening programs without going to the app.
Hearing amplifiers that are good alternatives
The Neosonic SF reminds me of the Otofonix Sona and the Otofonix Groove. These hearing aids also come with a smartphone app that lets you take a listening test and adjust your hearing amplifiers accordingly.
Another alternative would be the ZVOX VB20. These amplifiers also come with a Bluetooth app and are slightly cheaper than the Neosonic SF. The app doesn’t come with a listening test, but the two models are a good comparison.
If a Bluetooth app isn’t that important, you could consider the Neosonic B10 or any of the other hearing amplifiers we have reviewed. Our 30-second review page gives you the chance to discover multiple hearing amplifiers in a quick glance.
Should you buy the Neosonic SF?
Unfortunately, the Neosonic SF is no longer available. For full transparency, you can see the original conclusion below. For an alternative, however, I’d recommend looking at the Otofonix Sona or the Neosonic B10.
Yes. It may be a bit pricier than other hearing amplifiers, but it has more to offer, too. The listening test closes the gap between prescription hearing aids and over-the-counter hearing amplifiers. With the Neosonic SF, you get a hearing amplifier that is tailored to your hearing needs. On top of that, the app makes this amplifier easy to control. Neosonic’s reputation of good customer service and offering devices with good sound quality helps underline this buying recommendation.
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