Audicus Aura

In this article I’m looking at the Aura from the hearing aid manufacturer Audicus.

Audicus is part of the new wave of hearing aid manufacturers - largely online, affordable and appealing to a younger audience of hearing aid users.

The company offers you the choice of purchasing your hearing aids in one lump sum or as part of a monthly subscription. Our hearing aids and accessories are all included in a single monthly membership cost. Audicus even automatically upgrades your hearing aids to the latest model every 18 months. Audicus offers low-cost hearing aids by shipping directly to the consumer and keeping overheads low.

Audicus launched the Aura in late 2020, and it is the smallest hearing aid that they produce. Now I’m going to take a closer look at what you get for your money.

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Design features of the Audicus Aura

The first thing I noticed about this hearing aid was how small it was. This is a compact little device that is a completely-in-the-ear (CIC) type. The Aura hearing device is designed for people who want a compact hearing aid that fits deep in their ear canal and is barely visible. If you're interested in a tiny hearing aid that goes in the ear, this might be what you're looking for.

Audicus Aura Unboxing
Audicus Aura Unboxing

The drawback to such a small device is that a hearing aid this compact is only suitable for specific types of hearing loss. I would not recommend such a small hearing aid if you have a severe level of hearing loss. It won't help you, and you're better off getting a bigger hearing aid that goes behind your ear.

Something to note: there are no buttons on the hearing aid itself. However, if you double-tap the hearing aids in your hand, you can control the volume. It may seem odd, but that is how you adjust the volume on these hearing aids. I find this a little clunky, and it's not my favorite feature of this hearing aid.

The selection of rubber tips that Audicus offer are incredibly comfortable in my ear, offering a comfortable, secure fit. After wearing them, they didn't slip out of my ear, which is a huge plus.

Finally, when wearing CIC hearing aids like these, you'll see a little string sticking out. This helps you remove the hearing aid from your ear more easily.

Technology features of the Audicus Aura

Audicus pre-programs their hearing aids by having patients upload their audiogram results. That means the only way for me to know if these hearing needs fit my hearing loss prescription was to submit a hearing test to Audicus. They then have them programmed and sent to me to test with my technical equipment.

One of the most significant disadvantages of purchasing hearing aids online is that there is no in-person audiologist to ensure that the sound settings entering my hearing system match the prescription. A dedicated audiologist can use a system called Real-ear Measures to ensure that the hearing aid is perfectly matching the best possible hearing. Overall, I was disappointed with the fitting of these hearing aids, and it made it tricky for me to objectively assess the sound quality of the hearing aids.

Aura Real Ear Measurement
Real Ear Measurement of Audicus Aura

Bluetooth connectivity is also not available with these hearing aids. As a result, they cannot stream phone calls and you can't control them using your phone. This isn't required to hear better, but I see it's becoming a more common feature in current hearing aids. So, if you're looking for hearing aids for yourself or a family member, I'd recommend anything that can connect to Bluetooth, at the very least.

The smallest hearing aid battery, size 10, is used in these hearing aids. This is a hearing aid battery that is relatively easy to buy at a pharmacy or online, but it is recognized for having the shortest battery life. It may just be four or five days before you need to replace this small battery. It's also a big hassle to open a tiny door and put a tiny battery in every few days.

Is the Audicus Aura right for you?

The best thing about the Audicus Aura is the price. For $1,400, You get a pair of FDA-approved hearing aids, which is simply unbeatable. However, this price does not include personalized hearing care from a trained professional, so you may get what you pay for in this case.

The fitting of these hearing aids was a little odd for me. These hearing aids would likely sound distorted and not come through as clearly in noisy settings, such as a busy restaurant.

Also the tap controls were unintuitive. You generally want to change the levels manually while you're walking around in a complex listening environment, such as going from a party to outside where there's music. When you're wearing these hearing aids, it might be tough to find the proper gain and achieve the perfect settings for you.

Overall, I'd do your research before committing to these or any other hearing aid. While Audicus should be commended for offering a CIC at such a low price, it might be worth comparing it to the Eargo to see which one would work for you.

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Video Transcript

Let me show you one of the smallest hearing aids out there. This is called an in-the-canal style hearing aid. If you're looking for small affordable hearing aids that you can buy online, join me for the review of this Audicus Aura, in-the-canal hearing aid and help you decide if it's something you wanna consider buying. My name is Dr. Ben Thompson. Welcome to HearWeb. I'm one of the audiologists with the HearWeb team. I make review videos about the newest online hearing aids.

Make sure to watch this video til the end because I'm going to cover the pros of the hearing aids. What makes them a good choice? And I'm going to cover the cons, the parts of these hearing aids that make me question, maybe this isn't the right fit for you. This is the Audicus Aura, the completely-in-the-ear canal hearing aid, the small hearing aids here. Opening up this case that they come in, you'll see two hearing aids. The blue signifies the left ear, the red signifies the right year. There's also two small size 10 batteries that come with the hearing aids. So taking this up, bringing it close to the camera. Device controls are very limited with this small hearing aid. There are no buttons on the hearing aid you can press. There that circular piece, you can see that's the microphone input. That's where the sound comes in to get processed. This piece is what you grab on to to pull it out of your ear. This rubber tip goes in your ear canal to create some nice suction. And then here is the battery door. So pulling that open, you can see this small size 10 battery. When I open the door, the hearing aid is in the off position. When I close the door, the hearing aid is in the on position.

This rubber tip on the end here, Audicus does give you a bag of multiple sizes. So you can pick the right size that fits your ear. They're all occluded tips. So this will create an occlusion effect in your ear. These hearing aids come with two packs of size 10 batteries, as well as a cleaning brush. This in-the-canal hearing aid model is built for those who are looking for a small hearing aid that can fit deeply in their ear canal and be slightly visible or almost invisible. The caveat here is that such a small hearing aid is only appropriate for certain types of hearing loss. It's important to get a real hearing test in a clinic in a sound treated room. If you have a severe level of hearing loss, then I would not recommend such a small hearing aid. It will not do you any good and you're better served to get a hearing aid that is larger and probably one that goes behind the ear.

Let me show you how this hearing aid fits in my ear. So I'm going to put this hearing aid. It's blue because it's for the left ear. I'm going to put that in my ear like that. Hopefully you can see that nicely and that's how it looks. You can see here there's just this small string sticking out. And reason that's there is so that I can pull it out of my ear like that.

These hearing aids are sold at $1,400 a pair. They come with a one year repair warranty and you can also pay $50 a month to get them as well if you're looking for more of a monthly subscription based fee. On the hearing aid itself, there's no buttons as I mentioned earlier in the video. But with your hand, if you double cup the hearing aids like that, that changes the volume. It might take one or two tries. I know this seems a little silly because if you're around other people and you need to go like this, they're going to ask you what are you doing? And then you'd probably have to explain. Oh, I have a hearing aid and I'm changing the volume. Otherwise it looks pretty silly but that's how you change the volume on the hearing aids. Unfortunately, you have to do that for each ear independently.

The hearing aids do not communicate wirelessly. So you'll have to change the volume by going like that for each year. Other than that there's really no way to adjust the hearing aids other than sending them back to the company for them to reprogram them. Because these hearing needs do not connect with Bluetooth to a smartphone, you can't make any adjustments from your phone to the hearing aids. And because they're so small, there's no buttons for you to change other than doing this double tap method to change the volume. These hearing aids use the smallest hearing aid battery which is size 10. This is a hearing aid battery that you can find at a pharmacy or online very easily, but it is known for being the battery that has the lowest battery life. Sometimes it can be only four or five days until you have to change this little battery. And over time, the cost of the little batteries adds up but I would advise you more importantly it's a bother to have to open a very small door and insert a very small battery and change them every few days. So a lot of people who have these small hearing aids get a little annoyed with the smallest battery size.

But if you're looking for something that is not behind your ear and it's completely in your ear like the one that I'm wearing now, then it might make sense. It might be worth it for you to use such a small battery for these hearing aids. If you're enjoying this video so far make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel at HearWeb so you stay up to date with our newest videos. I'm a hearing doctor but I don't have a hearing loss myself. So the only way for me to validate if these hearing needs are matching my hearing loss prescription was for me to submit a hearing test to Audicus, have them program the hearing aids and send the hearing aids to me for me to run through my technical equipment, to see how well the hearing aids that were sent to me actually met the prescription of my hearing loss. This is one of the biggest downsides of getting online hearing aids is that there's no in-person audiologist who can verify that the sound settings entering my hearing system are matching the prescription. Using a system called Real-ear Measures an audiologist can verify that the hearing aid is matching 100% to the best hearing possible. When they sent these hearing aids, I put it in my ear and I ran it through this Real-ear Measure system. Overall, their responses were way too loud for the thresholds that I submitted. So that means that I would go around with these hearing aids and they would be very noisy. I would probably say things like hearing aids are so loud. I can't believe that hearing aids are so loud. And then if you had the hearing aid sent to you and they were this loud, you probably wouldn't like wearing them in your home, because you hear all of these soft sounds when in reality they don't need to be set that loud.

So just from the experience of me sending one hearing test and the company Audicus, sending the hearing needs programmed to that hearing test, overall the thresholds were five to 10 decibels louder than they were supposed to be between 500 and 2,000 Hertz. Between 3000 and 8,000 Hertz, the hearing aids were under fit. Meaning that they were not providing enough sound. So for the bass tones, these hearing aids were sent to me. The bass was turned up too loud and the treble was too soft. So they might sound loud and you're definitely gonna notice your hearing better, but it's not optimized as best as it could be in an audiologist's clinic. Now that said, you might be able to get by by just using the volume control and using the hearing aids to get some benefit.

But if you're paying around $1,500 for hearing aids that you can buy online, it might make more sense to consider other options, other hearing aids that are matching your hearing loss better. Also on this graph here, you see this blue line and that's the maximum power output of these hearing aids. So that means when I put it in a loud sound, does it come through clear into my ears? And with these hearing needs, they're small. So that means they can't have a big speaker in my ear. And this blue line shows that the maximum power output of the hearing aids wasn't as loud as it could be. And that cuts into some of the speech understanding if you're in a place like a restaurant where you're trying to hear people and it's noisy, these hearing aids would probably sound distorted and they wouldn't come through that clear as if you had a hearing aid that could provide more power and more amplification gain in the high frequencies. Let's talk about the pros of the Audicus Aura in-the-canal hearing aids. Number one is that they are small. That's definitely what you're looking for if you're interested in this hearing aid is a small hearing aid that goes in the ear.

The hearing aids are affordable. For $1,400 a pair, that's a good price. It's hard to find that at a local hearing aid clinic. But then we have to wonder why is it hard to find cheap hearing aids at a local hearing aid clinic? That's because those professional services that are done in person, you can't get them online. So the online route, it's more of a do it yourself route. And as we saw with the hearing aids that were sent to me, there's more variability in their response. The next pro here is that the rubber tips they provide, they fit into my ear really well. So it has a nice, good secure fit in the ear. And it's unlikely to fall out. You can see here, I'm moving my ear. The hearing needs not falling out, it's not even really moving at all. Only if I really open my jaw and move my ear vigorously would it start to actually change position. It's unlikely to fall out of your ear. So that's a pro is the actual fit for these hearing aids in my ear canal.

Now, let's talk about the cons of these hearing aids where I think you need to be cautious if you're considering buying these. Number one, probably the most important is the sound quality. The hearing aids that they sent me based on my hearing test did not match what I needed for good sound quality and speech understanding when I measured it in my ear. So they were under fit, meaning that they were not providing enough amplification for the higher pitch tones, the treble tones, but they provided way too much gain in the bass. So overall those levels are way off. I would probably think these hearing aids are too loud and they're not providing that much clarity for me to hear well in complex listening situations. So that's a big con of course, the reason you're getting hearing aids is to hear well. So why would you pay over $1000 if you're not gonna get the maximum benefit that you can? The next con I mentioned earlier is that the battery life is so short. These little small batteries only last a few days. They typically don't last over a week. So when there's rechargeable hearing aids that are available, check our other videos on this channel to learn about rechargeable hearing aids. When there's rechargeable hearing aids available, why would you go with such a small battery size? Probably only if you're looking for the most discreet hearing aid possible, where there's nothing behind your ear and there's only the piece in your ear, it might be worth it to you. But for me, that's a big con is the short battery life.

Another con is that these hearing aids do not have Bluetooth connectivity. So they can not take phone calls. You can not adjust them on your phone. That's not necessary to hear better but it's becoming a better and better feature for modern hearing aids. So if you're considering hearing aids for you or a family member, I would recommend something that can at least connect to Bluetooth. Finally, the last con here is that there's very little controls to change the settings and the volume. As I mentioned earlier, the only controls here is to double tap and change the volume like so. Me practicing it on my ear, there's a learning curve. It's not very intuitive and it's a little strange in order to change the volume that way. That means that when you're walking around in a complex listening environment, like going from a party to outside where there's music, you're probably gonna want to adjust the levels yourself. And with these hearing aids, it might be frustrating to find the right gain, the right levels for you when you're wearing them. So for that reason, it's a con.

Now, let's compare hearing aids to one of the other most popular, most common online in-the-canal hearing aids and see how they shake out. These Audicus Aura hearing aids are $1,400 for a pair. Now, let's look at another common popular hearing aid brand called Eargo. They have a similar design where they have a hearing aid that fits completely in the ear canal. It's a bit of a different design in terms of the tip that goes in the ear. This Audicus Aura tip is occluded and closed. Whereas the Eargo tip allows for some natural low pitch bass sound to come in. The Eargo hearing aids cost almost twice as much as these Audicus Aura hearing aids. Does the Eargo justify the higher cost? It's about $1,300 more expensive. Now, is the sound quality better with the Eargo? That's hard to tell. We're gonna make a dedicated review video. You can check out the other videos on this YouTube channel to learn about the Eargo hearing aids. Overall, just be aware that there's only a few online companies that are making completely-in-the-canal hearing aids. Be really careful when you're seeing hearing aids online that are sold for under $1,000 or even under $500 that look similar to this. Those likely are not going to provide much benefit.

Thank you guys for watching so far. I really enjoyed hosting you. My name is Dr. Ben Thompson. I'm one of the audiologists on our team with HearWeb. Make sure you subscribe to this YouTube channel. Give this video a thumbs up. If you enjoyed this review you can leave a comment and I'll respond to you personally. Make sure to check out this next video on my side as well as subscribe to our YouTube channel. This next video we'll cover another relevant hearing aid to consider buying as you're making the right decision about what's the next step to treat your hearing loss.

Buy Audicus Aura

Click the button below to purchase Audicus Aura

Buy Audicus Aura