Otofonix is a straightforward company. Their old catalogue existed of three different models hearing amplifier in three price categories: the Apex, the Elite, and the Encore. Each subsequent model comes with more bells and whistles, so that the Otofonix Encore is their most extensive model of this lineup.
With a new generation of Otofonix models, the Encore has lost its status as the company’s flagship model. To see those newer models in comparison to others, take a look at all our Otofonix reviews.
In this review of the Otofonix Encore, I examine those expectations and see how they hold up in practice. We’ll look at the key features of the Encore, see how the hearing amplifier works in real life, and assess if it’s worth your money. My suggested alternatives help you further in your search for the perfect hearing amplifier.
To skip the reading and see a summary of my findings, go to the visual 30-second review at the bottom of this post.
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The first key feature that separates the Otofonix Encore from the two simpler models (and many other hearing amplifiers at that) is the use of dual direction microphones. Instead of amplifying sound through one microphone, the Encore uses two. This better mimics the natural function of the ear and allows for better background noise control. Sounds aren’t necessarily clearer with two microphones, but they make it easier to focus on what you want to hear.
Another key feature is the power of the device. With a maximum 53 dB peak gain, the Otofonix Encore battles moderate to severe hearing loss. Most hearing amplifiers are made for moderate hearing loss at best, forcing people with more serious hearing problems to buy prescription hearing aids for thousands of dollars.
The Otofonix Encore is featured in our post of most powerful hearing amplifiers.
Finally, the Encore is equipped with a telecoil function. This setting is hardly ever found in hearing amplifiers. For people frequently visiting places with a telecoil system (a church, for example), this can be of great help.
Who is this for?
Although newer OTC hearing aid models offer extra functions, the Encore still offers a solid performance for a good price. Compared to similar standard models, the Otofonix Encore gives you a decent hearing aid for a good price, although it’s not quite a budget option.
Also read: Otofonix Company Profile
Does the Otofonix Encore work?
The sound quality of the Otofonix Encore is simply excellent. Sounds are sharp and have depth. The dual microphone system also allows for a good sense of positioning. Although it’s hard to tell whether the two microphones make a big difference with the noise cancelling feature, background noise isn’t a problem at all.
The advanced inner workings of the Encore allow you to focus on the frequencies of the human voice. Where some simpler hearing amplifiers boost all sounds equally, the Otofonix helps you focus on what you really want to hear.
The Otofonix Encore has three different listening programs: normal, noisy, and very noisy. The telecoil is listed as a fourth setting, but is really its own function. By combining these listening programs with the ten different volume levels, you can easily adjust the hearing amplifier to a specific situation.
What’s not to like?
Although the sound from the Otofonix Encore is simply great, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. While the device is capable of the powerful 53 dB peak gain, the default setting is 42 dB. To reach the hearing amplifier’s full capacity, you need to use the ear hook. This makes the Encore a bit more cumbersome in daily use.
Another small downside is that the device isn’t as small as more advanced models. While these more advanced models will also push you into a higher price category, the relative size of the Otofonix can be a hurdle for some people.
Finally, while the Otofonix Encore has ten volume settings, the highest three settings work significantly better with a closed dome. Changing domes unexpectedly adds a level of inconvenience and most people might end up using only the seven lowest volume settings as a result.
Alternatives for the Otofonix Encore
Otofonix has updated its catalogue and added the Otofonix Helix, a pair of hearing amplifiers that has striking similarities to the Otofonix Encore. You could even argue that the two are essentially the same, but the Helix is slightly cheaper and has a rechargeable battery.
A completely different model is the Lucid Hearing Engage. Although the rechargeable version is significantly more expensive than the encore, the configuration with conventional batteries is the same price. As an extra, it offers a streaming feature, where sound is streamed from your phone straight into your ear.
If you like the power that this model gives you, but don’t want to use the ear hook, the Neosonic MX gives you more dB than most other models with the regular configuration.
For more alternatives, please see the page with 30-second reviews where I have listed review summaries for each model discussed on the website.
Should you buy the Otofonix Encore?
The Otofonix Encore promises to be a complete replacement of prescription hearing aids that cost about five times as much. With its telecoil function, dual microphones, different volume and listening settings, and excellent sound quality, the Encore is a true competitor for these personalized devices.
At the same time, while the ifs and buts aren’t deal breakers, they keep the Encore from truly shining. I personally don’t think the size is an issue, but needing different ‘attachments’ to get everything out of your hearing amplifier can be inconvenient. And since the Encore was first manufactured, new and better options have come along, even for the same price.
If you foresee using the telecoil function (offered in many places of worship, conference centers, theaters and also available in your own home), don’t negotiate yourself out of this device to save a few dollars.
It’s the people who won’t use the telecoil I’m worried about. They’re better off going for the alternative than spending money on a setting they won’t use. Think of the places you visit regularly and call your church or theater to see how much you’ll be using the telecoil before you make your buying decision.
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A pair of Encore hearing aids normally costs around $500. There are regularly extras and bonuses, and there’s a 25% discount when you subscribe to my email newsletter. If you qualify, Otofonix offers payment plans, too.
There’s the ear hook, which will boost your dB gain by 10 dB. Other than that, there’s only the regular cleaning supplies and various domes.
No, this Otofonix model uses size 312 batteries.
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