With so much chatter about the new Jabra Enhance Plus and how cheap it is compared to regular hearing aids, we thought we’d talk about all the pros and cons of it here to give you a clearer picture of what buying one would give you.
And yes, there are certain advantages to buying them if you are in the right hearing bracket.
Reasons To Buy The Jabra Enhance Plus
As mentioned, the Jabra Enhance Plus is best suited for those with a mild hearing loss – when hearing help is only needed in a few situations such as listening to the TV, hearing the speaker during meetings or lectures, hearing conversations in a loud room (like a restaurant), or streaming music through devices.
The wireless earbuds are helpful for streamed listening.
It’s also a great option for someone who wants to try a hearing device but is afraid to invest in a professionally-fit hearing aid.
Drawbacks To Purchasing The Jabra Enhance Plus
There are quite a few drawbacks to owning the Jabra Enhance Plus, mainly because the advertising makes it seem as if it’s a hearing aid. It’s not. It’s classified as an amplifier.
Fitting – Because it is not fit by an audiologist, the Jabra Enhance Plus is not as comfortable as a hearing aid for wearing all day. Users will have to do all the setup on their own.
Settings – It’s not guaranteed to be set to the optimal settings for your hearing loss, and it might not work at all if your hearing loss is more advanced. It might turn up the volume, but that won’t help with clarity, and it could even damage a person’s hearing further.
Programming – It is not programmable, and it has very rudimentary functions. The programmability of a hearing aid to match the results of a hearing test is a critical difference between the two.
Support – There is no complementary care and support for the device, although limited help is available if a problem arises. Additionally, there’s not much an audiologist can do to help adjust the Jabra EP because its features are so limited.
Cosmetics – The Jabra ear buds are not color matched to the skin meaning they are much more obvious. It can also be quite awkward wearing what looks like “earbuds” in a professional setting/business meeting.
If you’ve experienced the downsides of owning the Jabra Enhance Plus, please don’t let this put you off conventional hearing aids altogether because the Jabra EP is not a hearing aid.
Is A Hearing Assessment Necessary Before Wearing The Jabra Enhance Plus?
The Jabra EP is marketed as a self-fitting device, so most consumers will likely not think a hearing assessment is necessary. But a hearing evaluation is always necessary if you plan to use a hearing device – to make sure any medical reasons for the hearing loss are ruled out.
Something as serious as a growth or as simple as a buildup of earwax might be behind the hearing loss, making the purchase or wearing of the Jabra EP pointless.
A hearing assessment will also determine the type of hearing loss, which could find that the hearing loss is substantial and the Jabra EP won’t help it while a hearing aid will.
Is The Jabra Enhance Plus A Good Thing For Hearing Health?
Regarding the overall hearing health of a patient with a hearing loss, no; but regarding convenience and cost savings, yes. The cost is low, and the at-home setup means you don’t have to come in for an appointment or two.
The Jabra EP has better quality sound and more adjustability features than current over-the-counter (OTC) options and personal amplification devices (PSAP). We find it a good option for people with a mild hearing loss.
We would rather oversee the fitting and programming of the Jabra EP at our clinic though – to ensure our patient’s hearing isn’t damaged further by the user setting it badly, such as having the volume too high.
Will This Device Encourage People To Seek Help Sooner?
We’re of two minds about this.
We hope the experience of wearing a product such as the Jabra EP will draw people to hearing healthcare earlier, thus helping their auditory system sooner, but we’re concerned that manufacturers are slowly diminishing the value of audiological care so they can make a quick buck.
That said, all the marketing spent on these new devices means more awareness of treatment options of hearing loss, more education, more help for a mild hearing loss, and greater exposure for the need of professional hearing care. The sooner anyone cares about their hearing health, the better the long-term outcome.
Lifestyle Hearing Device vs. Traditional Hearing Aid
There are really only two big differences: the fact that the Jabra EP only helps those with a mild hearing loss and its cost.
A traditional hearing aid is designed for mild to moderate hearing loss and all-day use. It’s fit for 24/7 physical comfort, and it’s programmed with automatic volume changes.
A lifestyle device such as the Jabra EP is only meant to be worn when extra hearing help is needed, so it’s not designed for comfort or programmed for quality of life.
The Jabra EP is considerably cheaper but only fits a certain hearing niche.
The Ideal Candidates For The Jabra Enhance Plus
The Jabra EP can help a person with a mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in the higher frequencies, who only needs amplification in a certain situation(s). They are not significantly impaired by their hearing loss but could do with a boost to help their performance at home or socially.
Tech-savvy people of any age will find it easy to navigate.
When Should People See An Audiologist?
Patients are most likely to self-prescribe first in order to avoid doctor visits, but some of the causes of a hearing loss can be very serious, and they won’t be caught if you’re not seen by a professional. In other words, we don’t think anyone should self-prescribe without first being seen.
Any additional symptoms, such as pain, pressure, dizziness, hearing loss in only one ear, sudden severe hearing loss, or ear drainage, should all be addressed by a doctor, audiologist, or ENT doctor to ensure you get the best hearing and medical care possible.
If there is a family history of hearing loss, if your quality of life is affected, or if you notice a change in your hearing sensitivity, please come see us for a hearing assessment and physical exam. It won’t take long, and we can address any of your concerns and answer all your questions.
Book your hearing test or contact us with any questions. We’re happy to help you with all your hearing decisions. We have been helping the people of East Tennessee since 1976, and we’re here for you too.