Nuheara Buds IQ Max

Nuheara, an Australian startup, does not produce hearing aids. Instead, it develops sound augmentation technology to assist those with a mild hearing loss that does not require full-blown hearing aids. As a result, the IQ Buds Max 2 won't replace a hearing aid, but it's not trying to do so. Instead, Nuheara wants to provide hearing enhancement and an excellent Bluetooth audio experience in one package for people who don't need to invest in a hearing aid.

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We're going to take a look at the Nuheara IQ Buds Max 2.

Nuheara, an Australian startup, does not produce hearing aids. Instead, it develops sound augmentation technology to assist those with a mild hearing loss that does not require full-blown hearing aids. As a result, the IQ Buds Max 2 won't replace a hearing aid, but it's not trying to do so. Instead, Nuheara wants to provide hearing enhancement and an excellent Bluetooth audio experience in one package for people who don't need to invest in a hearing aid.

Nuheara devices are purchased online and delivered to your home. There's an app that walks you through the process. They also offer a fast online consultation in which an expert will assist you in resolving any issues you may be having with the setup.

Design features of the Nuheara IQ Buds Max 2

Fit: The Nuheara product is very well-designed with a great fit. It conforms to the shape of my ear perfectly. It comes with various rubber tips, which insert into the ear canal to create a secure seal.

Larger size than most: There's no getting past the fact that the IQbuds2 Max is substantial in size. As a result, when you wear them, you'll notice a palpable sense of ear fullness. This may be painful for some people, particularly those with smaller ears. It helps to have a variety of ear tips, and Nuheara has supplied three sizes of Comply memory foam tips in addition to the regular silicone tips.

Touch controls: The IQbuds2 Max offers responsive touch-sensitive controls, but you have to touch the middle of the earphones to activate them; taps on the edges will not work. The IQBuds app for iOS and Android allows you to configure the single-, double-, and long-touch commands on each earbud.

Technology features of the Nuheara IQ Buds Max 2

Advanced Digital Signal Processing: The triple-core DSP technology in the IQbuds2 MAX provides excellent hearing fidelity while reducing occlusion. Each earbud in the IQbuds2 MAX has a 450MIPS signal processing engine, which helps them deliver a more lifelike sound.

Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation: IQbuds2 MAX combines three microphones to monitor and process noises both inside and outside the ear using Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation, the most advanced kind of ANC. Users can silence external noises with a simple tap of their finger. It works great, especially indoors, and is available in all of Nuheara's World sound profiles. It did an excellent job of filtering out the outside world for us.

Bluetooth audio streaming: I went for a run with these and was impressed with the quality of the Bluetooth streaming sound. The fuller fit of these devices means they're able to produce a fuller sound while you're in motion.

Rechargeable battery:  The devices' rechargeable batteries will only last roughly five hours when fully charged. Fortunately, the IQ Buds Max 2 also comes with a portable case with an integrated rechargeable battery. There are three charges in the case itself. It takes around 90 minutes to charge the buds when they're in the case entirely.

The Nuheara IQ Buds Max 2 App

The app is fantastic. The Apple Store has a 4.7-star rating based on 39 reviews. And my personal experience is consistent with the Apple Store reviews. When you initially open the app, it asks whether you'd like to take a hearing test called EarID. This allows you to get the most out of the app's various features, such as:

World ON / World OFF: This upgrade allows you to filter out specific frequencies. Lower frequencies are filtered out when utilizing the plane setting to help with the low drone of jet engines so that you can focus on the sounds around you. Also, the office location disables World EQ so that all frequencies are heard equally.

SINC: The SINC feature allows you to prioritize ambient or speech sounds or a combination of the two. For example, the 'workout' setting emphasizes ambient sounds to assist you in retaining better situational awareness, whether working out in the gym or running outside.

Focus on/off: Focus is a simple on/off option ideal for one-on-one conversations in noisy surroundings. When it's turned off, sounds from all directions are enhanced evenly. Only the sounds right in front of you gain priority when it's turned on.

There are also seven program options for different scenarios or surroundings. The IQbuds will automatically adjust the hearing amplification settings based on those settings so that you can still hear what's going on around you and preserve the best possible speech understanding.

Is it right for you?

The IQ Buds Max 2 has a lot to recommend it.

First and foremost, There's the incredible customization that comes with the app. You can fully customize the world around you. You can turn on noise reduction, noise cancellation, directional hearing. You can change the treble, the bass. The device also comes with excellent sound quality, streaming sound quality and offers a secure fit. 

A few things could be improved, however, namely the battery life. When you're streaming music, Nuheara only lasts five hours between charges, or eight hours if you're only using them for hearing augmentation. This is nothing compared to most contemporary rechargeable hearing aids, which generally provide an all-day hearing on a single charge.

Finally, some people find the ear-occlusion uncomfortable. When you put them in your ears, the IQ Buds Max 2 can give you a feeling of fullness and affect the tone of your voice as you hear it. As a result of depending solely on the processed amplified input, some natural sound quality may suffer. It's advisable to get a pair of open-fitting hearing aids if you want a more natural sound experience when using them as a hearing enhancer.

The IQbuds2 MAX provides users with a unique collection of capabilities not found in regular wired or wireless headphones, as well as the high fidelity sound expected from a premium wireless headset. 

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Video Transcript

It's about time that we reviewed the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. These devices are some of the best Hearables on the market. They offer high quality Bluetooth streaming and hearing aid features for mild to moderate levels of hearing loss or situational hearing loss. where you're looking for a benefit, an optimization, a change that you can understand the voices better coming from in front of you. In this video, you'll have a detailed review on the different features of the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. The five pros, excellent features to consider, and the two cons. Things that you need to watch out for and make sure you're aware of before you consider buying them.

This is HearWeb, welcome. Hi, my name is Dr. Ben Thompson. I'm an audiologist with HearWeb. Our mission is to provide independent quality reviews to evaluate the different hearing technology on the market.

We're talking about the range of devices from the premium high level devices that cost thousands of dollars down to the more entry-level devices that you can find online direct to consumer. It's important to have a professional guide you through that process. And that's what we strive to do at HearWeb. If you would like to learn more from us, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. Now let's get into the review of the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. The Nuheara product has a nice design. It fits well into the contours of my ear. It comes with different sizes of rubber tips and those tips go into the ear canal, to provide a nice seal. A nice comfortable fit. For my ear, I found that the medium-sized tip fit very well. If it's snug and comfortable in my ear canal I can move my mouth, I can talk, I can shake my head up and down, side to side. Even go on a run and they stay in my ear. So that's a great sign. On each ear, the device has three microphone inputs, three microphone ports. And that allows it to give you focused specialized hearing based on certain situations that they let you adjust through the app. The Nuheara IQbuds, are designed for mild to moderate levels of hearing loss. I tested this in an audiology test box, which is a way to verify the output of devices to make sure they're matching certain hearing losses appropriately. And the maximum output of these devices would not meet the needs of someone with more than a moderate hearing loss. That was verified. So, if you have a mild or moderate level of hearing loss diagnosed on a hearing test then you may benefit from the features in these devices. The devices are quite occluding. And what that means is that, when you put them in your ears it has a sensation of fullness or changes to your own voice. And this is similar to wearing occluding earplugs or just sticking your fingers in your ear. When you start to talk, you notice things sound differently. So, if you have only a high pitch hearing loss then you typically wouldn't need to occlude your ear. But if you have a more flat hearing loss than occluding your ear, wouldn't matter as much. As a consideration when you're thinking about these devices for your hearing loss, is that some of the natural sound quality may reduce when you completely close your ear and you rely only on the processed amplified signal. Let's talk about the app. I really love the IQbuds app.

It has a 4.7 star rating in the Apple store out of 39 reviews. And my personal experience match that of the reviews on the Apple store. The app is for iPhone and Android. When you first start the app, it prompts you to consider taking a hearing test what they call EarID. The test measures your ability to hear sound at different pitches, from 500 to 6,000 Hertz in each ear. Based on those test results they can customize the output of sound. So, the devices work similar to a hearing aid in that regard. One of the first programs in features is called World ON or World OFF. And this is similar to Apple transparency mode for anyone who's familiar with AirPods. When you select World OFF, you are turning on noise cancellation. So all the sound around you gets quiet. When you press World ON, then there's that transparency. You can hear the sound around you. So, if you have hearing loss and you want to hear people around you of course you would want transparency or the World turned on. Another thing I loved about the app where most of the controls come from, is a program called SINC. SINC stands for Speech In Noise Control. And when you adjust the levels, you can activate noise reduction of the external sound around you while trying to maintain the clarity of speech coming from in front of you. So if you're in a place like a party or a restaurant that would be the time to keep the World ON and adjust the SINK level so that you can reduce the amount of background noise and hopefully hear the person in front of you with more ease. The next part of the app is an Equalizer. Where you can give yourself more boost in the base, more boost in the treble and adjust the quality of sound on your own. Next program is called Focus on or Focus off. This allows you to have directional hearing. If your Focus is on, the devices through the directional microphones inside of them, they try turn down or reduce the sound coming from behind you so that you can focus on the direction in front of you. Modern hearing aids have a similar function. So that's great to see. There're seven program options for different situations or environments, and the IQbuds would automatically change the hearing amplification settings based on those different environments so that you can still hear the world around you and hopefully maintain the best speech understanding as possible. In terms of the adjustments on the device, I love the way they had these set up. Y

ou can touch it and there's a sensor so that it recognizes your finger on the device. And you can customize the settings. I like how you can set up multiple configurations between the ears. So that allows you to customize your experience with music, with streaming audio or phone calls, and sorting through the different hearing programs that you would have set up for yourself through the app. Let's talk about the rechargeable battery of the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. If you are interested in the hearing aid features of the Nuheara IQbuds, then, you need to know about the battery life. If you plan to rely on these devices to help your hearing then, you must consider, what happens when they run out of battery. How often would that happen? Would it impact your ability to communicate regularly with family or at work? And how long does it take to recharge? Well, the devices come with a portable case that has an internal rechargeable battery within the case. The case itself provides three charges. And when the buds are in the case it takes about 90 minutes to reach a full charge. When the devices are at a full charge, they will last for about five hours. If you're relying on these devices to help with your hearing loss, then you need to plan your day around how much battery you have in the devices. Because what you don't want to happen is right when you need them to help with your hearing loss, they are out of battery and they need to be charged. I ran the Nuheara IQbuds, through a professional verification tool. And this is available at audiology clinics. What I found was that, there is a range of volume for these devices and it does not get loud enough to treat more than a moderate level of hearing loss. And that's consistent with what the company puts out in their marketing and messaging. When I set up the device in the test box, I was able to check whether the directional hearing mode which would reduce background sounds from behind the listener, actually worked. And fortunately, I was happy to find that the noise reduction features with directional hearing, they did work for the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max and that's verified through this independent scientific test.

Now, in terms of professional help with the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. They're typically a DIY, Do It Yourself kind of setup. You buy them online, they're shipped to your home, There's an app. the app guides you through the setup. But what if you have questions? What if you need support? They have a text-based/email based customer support service. And in my experience, I checked you can request to speak to a professional and they have a quick online consultation where professional will help walk you through whatever challenges you might be having with the setup. It's time to talk about the pros and the cons. Thank you for watching this video so far. Again my name is Dr. Ben. This is HearWeb, welcome. Let's talk about the five pros of the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. Pro number one is that, they are some of the best Hearables on the market. They combined Bluetooth audio streaming and situational hearing loss amplification in a way that very companies right now at the time of making this video, are doing. So that's a big thumbs up to the group at Nuheara. Pro number two is the convenient rechargeable case. Relatively straight forward. The device is charged with ease and you can carry this case in your pocket or in your purse. Pro number three is that, the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max have great music audio streaming. They have a great sound quality. And I wanted to test this out because I'm an athlete. I run, I exercise. I move around a lot. So when outside with them in my ears and I was running, I was shaking my head side to side, I was dancing, and the sound quality was excellent. You can tell that the device is relatively larger than some other products that go in the ear. And because of that, they're able to have a very full sound. So, the sound quality was excellent. And I love listening to music and phone calls with the Nuheara IQbuds. Pro number four is, inside of the app, the IQbuds app, there is the EarID hearing test. So, this means that you can test your hearing and have some automatic adjustments made to the settings to give you a boost to the pitches or the regions that you need help with to listen Pro number five is the incredible customization that comes with the app. And I don't use the word incredible too often in these review videos with HearWeb. So, I really mean it that when you're using the app, you can fully customize the world around you. You can turn on noise reduction, noise cancellation, directional hearing. You can change the treble, the bass. If you're someone who likes to adjust a lot of their sound experience, then you'll love playing around with these. Okay now there's a few cons I want to bring up. First is that, these devices are occluding in your ears. So, if you have a hearing loss only in the high pitches, the high frequencies, which is the most common type then fully occluding your ear, typically is not recommended in a hearing aid. So, be cautious with that. Is that the sound quality of your own voice? The sound quality of voices around you, It may be different than you're used to and you can climatize, you can adjust or habituate to that. However, it's just a different kind of sound quality.

So be aware that whenever you fully occlude your ear that it's going to sound a little different than it would. If you had a traditional hearing aid that had what is called an open fitting that allows a little more natural sound quality. The next con is the battery life. And this is not necessarily a major downfall of the Nuheara IQbuds, but Bluetooth devices in general. Hearing aids that are rechargeable, are designed to last all day. So you can hear people clearly all day. Bluetooth earpieces, and different kinds of consumer electronics on the other hand, typically are doing more processing and they have more robust streaming and sound output features that drain the battery a lot faster. So, the Nuheara IQbuds will typically last around five hours of use. And, if you have to work an eight hour job and rely on hearing people in your job then it wouldn't make much sense to have to take these off during your day, recharge them, use them as needed. Of course, if you have situational hearing loss where you only need them some hours of the day, then you really could use these as needed for hearing improvement. The last con is that, the Nuheara IQbuds are slightly larger than other kinds of Bluetooth ear pieces. If you're looking at me straight ahead right now, you can see the device in my right ear. And if I turn to the side, you'll see how it looks on the side of my head. Is that a deal breaker to have this size of a device? No. Are there other Bluetooth pieces that have some hearing benefits, hearing aid features in them that are smaller? Yes. But the music and the sound quality the reason why that's so good partly is because of the size of the device. So give and take is something to consider.

Thank you again for being here with HearWeb and to watch our videos. My name is Dr. Ben. So far we've covered the features, the pro and the cons of the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. But the cool thing about what we do at HearWeb is we get to compare this product with other similar products on the market. And sometimes those are the premium hearing aids that cost thousands of dollars. Other times they're more entry-level consumer electronic products that you can buy directly online. In this case, Nuheara IQbuds are very affordable compared to traditional hearing aid. So that makes them appealing to try out. And we reviewed a similar product which is called the Signia Active Pro hearing aids. Those hearing aids are expensive. You can only get them through an audiology clinic. They're using a similar design, which sits in the ear and it looks like a Bluetooth ear piece but it's working primarily as a hearing aid. The major difference between these two devices which you can find a detailed review of the Signia product also on this YouTube channel. The major difference number one is price. The Signia Active Pro is substantially more expensive than the Nuheara IQbuds2 Max. The other difference is sound quality of music and audio streaming. The Nuheara IQbuds2 Max has much better sound quality for music and audio streaming than the Signia Active Pro. The Signia Active Pro however is smaller and it is designed to optimize hearing loss. Specifically it can be verified by an in-person audiologist. So that gives the upper hand for actual sound quality of speech, which are the primary function of hearing aids. As you can see here, there's a lot of nuances and it's a benefit to have a doctor of audiology like myself and our team at HearWeb are professionals who make these independent reviews to guide you on your journey of better hearing. If this video was a value for you, then please subscribe to this YouTube channel. And on the next video on my side, you will see the option to click on and watch the full detailed review of the Signia Active Pro devices. Thank you again and good luck on your journey. Bye-bye.

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