The ZVOX VoiceBud VB20 has to be the most futuristic-sounding hearing amplifier I’ve come across. It certainly isn’t the only name that takes a guess to pronounce (I’m looking at you, Banglijian), but when it comes to technology, I guess futuristic isn’t bad. In the end, however, a name doesn’t get you anywhere. For people looking into buying the ZVOX VoiceBud hearing aids, what matters is how it performs.
In this review, we’ll look at just that. We’ll pick apart the different features, see what distinguishes the ZVOX hearing aids from other hearing amplifiers in this price category, and if it’s worth your money in the end. As always, I have put together a visual 30-second review that summarizes everything in key points. To fast-forward to the 30-second review right here
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Key features of the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20
The ZVOX VB20 has two key features. First, it has two microphones that catch sound. It’s not unique in this, but it’s a rare feature to find in this price range. The dual microphone setup helps the hearing amplifier mimic the literal depth in sound that our ears normally pick up on. By using this dual microphone setup, sounds coming from the front will be amplified more than sounds coming from behind the listener. Again, this mimics the natural way your ears pick up sound.
The other key feature for the ZVOX hearing aids is that they come with an app that controls the device. To some people, this may make a big difference. Because most people prefer subtle hearing amplifiers, manufacturers work to make their devices as small as possible. The drawback of this small device is that it’s hard to operate unless you have steady, slender hands. The app makes adjusting the hearing amplifiers a lot easier, giving the device a huge boost in user-friendliness.
The ZVOX VB20 is the best budget buy in our comparison of best hearing aids under $300.
Who is the ZVOX for?
The ZVOX hearing aid helps people hear better in environments that over the years have proven increasingly difficult. The way we lose hearing with age makes it harder to understand conversations when the situation isn’t optimal, even if having a conversation in a good setting isn’t a big problem. In these settings where the environment isn’t optimal for having a conversation, it can be hard to focus on whoever is speaking, or background noise can become a hindrance to having a conversation at all. This is defined as mild hearing loss, and exactly the problem that the ZVOX VB20 addresses.
How well do the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20 hearing aids work?
The sound quality in the ZVOX VB20 is quite impressive. It rivals the official hearing aids that can cost up to 10 times as much. The sound quality is delivered through 12-band frequency, giving a ‘layered’ feel to the audio.
Aside from the sound quality, the ZVOX also has all the features we expect in this price range: feedback cancellation, four different hearing settings, multi—layered noise reduction and the option to switch between an open-fit hearing amplifier or a closed dome design. Although these features are not surprising in the least, it’s good to know you won’t be without them if you decide to buy the ZVOX VoiceBud.
The VoiceBud VB20 comes in three different colors: champagne, grey (a dark shade of grey), and silver/grey. It features size 312 batteries.
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As a nice extra, the app doesn’t just let you switch hearing settings, you’ll also have a clear picture of the battery life of your VoiceBud. If you decide to get a pair of hearing amplifiers instead of just one, the app allows you to regulate each amplifier individually and get direct feedback on the battery life.
What’s not to like about the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20?
Speaking of battery life, we have found the one area where the ZVOX VoiceBud does not excel. In fact, it falls short. Even if it’s due to the great performance and the dual microphone system, the battery life of 3 to 4 days (according to ZVOX) is subpar. Manufacturing electronic devices like this is always a matter of making compromises, and ZVOX have chosen great sound quality over batter life. While they can’t be blamed for their priorities, it’s important to know what compromises have been made when you’re looking to buy a hearing amplifier.
Hearing amplifiers that are good alternatives
In the price category for the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20, sound quality isn’t a decisive factor. Although the dual microphone system in the ZVOX might add a layer of depth to the sound, other devices in this price range ($200 – $300 for a single hearing amplifier) won’t feel like a significant decrease in sound quality.
If you’re looking to trade the dual microphone system for a longer battery life, click here to read more about the Otofonix Elite. Another option is the Neosonic SF, which gives you an upgraded version of everything the ZVOX offers – and is rechargable.
2021 Update: ZVOX has come out with the ZVOX VB25, which features a lot of the same great options the VB20 had, and fixes the problem with the battery life.
Should you buy the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20?
There are plenty of reasons to buy the ZVOX VoiceBud. It’s an all-American company that has been in the amplifying business for decades. They have a real website, real customer service representatives, and a 60-day money back guarantee. While the company only offers one model hearing amplifier, it’s a great deal. You won’t get better sound for less than $300 (update: you now pay less than $300 for a pair). If you suffer from mild to moderate hearing loss, the ZVOX VoiceBud VB20 is a great opportunity to get a lot of your hearing back.
This hearing amplifier from ZVOX is a clear example of what over-the-counter hearing aids have to offer. In 2020 and forward, you can expect more and more of these devices. The difference between hearing amplifiers and hearing aids is slowly fading, and these ZVOX hearing aids make one of the most budget-friendly buys.