What Are Hearing Assist ReCharge Hearing Aids?
Hearing Assist’s ReCharge hearing aids are available in behind the ear (BTE) and in-the-ear (ITE) models, as well as multiple color options, and use a magnetic station to recharge. This means you’ll never have to worry about changing a battery again.
And despite their competitive price, each of these FDA cleared models also features four convenient programs to accommodate your needs across a variety of situations:
- Quiet (for the office and at home)
- Noisy (for public areas, like restaurants)
- TV mode
Compared to traditional hearing aids prescribed by a doctor, Hearing Assist’s models represent a fraction of the cost. But will they deliver a similar level of value? What’s more, will they change your life, as advertised in the commercial?
Let’s start with a few basics before diving into the company’s different devices.
A Quick Note About Recent Innovations in the Hearing Aid Industry
For years, the only way to purchase a high-quality hearing aid was by first obtaining a prescription from your doctor (and paying the associated costs), and then potentially paying many thousands of dollars for the devices themselves.
In 2016, though, the US Food and Drug Administration eliminated the “physician waiver” system, which HearingReview.com explains “required consumers first to seek a physician for a medical evaluation or sign a waiver prior to obtaining a hearing aid.
Then, in August 2017, President Trump signed into law the OTC Hearing Aid Act, which was “designed to enable adults with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss to access OTC hearing aids without being seen by a hearing care professional.”
HearingReview continues explaining that this law “will require the FDA to create and regulate a category of OTC hearing aids to ensure they meet the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling, and manufacturing protection that all other medical devices must meet.”
And while this regulatory category doesn’t have to be created for three years after passage of this legislation, the FDA still regulates all medical devices sold in the US. Of these, Class I devices like Hearing Assist are considered the lowest risk, a category which nearly 50 percent of devices fall under.
Using these core details as our foundation, let’s zoom in a find out more about the specific technology offered by Hearing Assist.
Taking a Closer Look at Hearing Assist ReCharge Models
Currently, Hearing Assist manufactures two ReCharge hearing aid models:
ReCharge BTE (Behind the Ear)
This model features 43dB of crystal clear digital amplification, advanced layered background noise reduction, and feedback suppression. Each one is about 3.5 x 1.4 x 0.8 cm in size, weighs three grams, and features a volume dial and an On/Off/Program button on the exterior.
The latter allows you to switch easily between four programs to suit your environment:
- Quiet – A high-fidelity setting with low noise reduction, ideal for at home or the office
- Noisy – Uses higher background noise reduction to help you hear in louder environments like restaurants
- TV Mode – Helps you watch TV by reducing low and high-frequency sounds
- Outdoors – Mainly focuses on reducing wind interference and noise
Hearing Assist’s website indicates their BTE model will last up to 20 hours per charge. When the time comes, the magnetic SnapCharge technology used by the charging dock helps ensure a fast, easy, reliable connection every time, with no small plugs to mess with. All you have to do is set the hearing aid on the base, and it will automatically secure in place.
Hearing Assist’s ReCharge BTE hearing aids, shown here in their magnetic charging dock. Credit: Hearing Assist II, LLC
Once connected, the LED will glow blue and turn green once the Lithium-Polymer battery fully recharges (after about 3.5 hours from full depletion). According to the user manual, the recharging process will automatically shut off when the battery is finished charging, so you won’t have to worry about damaging it.
When handling, make sure you avoid dropping your BTE model on a hard surface (e.g., countertop, table, floor, etc.). When cleaning, Hearing Assist emphasizes that you should on wipe with a cloth and avoid using water, harsh chemicals, strong cleaners, or other fluids.
ReCharge ITE (In the Ear)
While smaller in size, Hearing Assist’s ReCharge ITE model features slightly less digital amplification at 35dB. However, it comes with the same layered background noise reduction, feedback suppression, a magnetic charging dock with SnapCharge technology, four sound settings, and up to 20 hours of operation per charge.
Because of its meaningfully smaller size than the BTE, it only takes about three hours to fully recharge the ITE hearing aids. They also don’t feature an on/off button (they automatically turn on as soon as they’re removed from the charging case), although it does come with a Program button on the exterior to cycle between sound settings, as well as a small built-in microphone.
Although the ITE ReCharge model from Hearing Assist comes with less amplification and a more streamlined design than their BTE model, it delivers all of the same technological features.
How Much Does Hearing Assist Cost?
If you’re interested in making a purchase, the ReCharge BTE model is priced at one payment of $599.98, or six monthly payments of $99.99. The ITE model is priced at a single payment of $699.99, or one payment of $199.75, followed by five additional monthly payments of $99.99.
The complete kit includes two rechargeable hearing aids, multiple ear cap sizes, replacement tubes (if applicable), one recharger, one power cord, one AC adapter, and illustrated user instructions. It also comes with a one-year warranty against defects from the manufacture.
How Does Hearing Assist’s All-Inclusive Plan Work?
Alternately, you can choose to sign up for Hearing Assist’s All-Inclusive Plan during checkout, which their website explains is like a cable service—you receive the hardware, and the company supports their service with troubleshooting guidance, as well as replacement hardware if it’s deemed defective. Then, when you cancel the service, you send the hardware back to the company.
It’s much the same in this instance, but instead of a cable box, Hearing Assist will ship you a pair of brand new rechargeable hearing aids, which are backed by free replacements if they stop working as a result of defect, damage, or normal wear and tear. They’ll even send you a free shipping label.
This plan also allows you to receive replacement ear caps and tubes whenever they’re needed, as well as to upgrade your unit every 18 months at the same price.
Cost? Going through this plan, the BTE model is priced at an initial payment of $99.99, and then $39.99 per month thereafter. For the ITE model, the initial payment increases to $199.99, followed by the same $39.99 monthly payment.
Whichever payment option you choose, all orders come with free shipping and 60-day risk-free trials. If you decide your ReCharge model isn’t for you and request a refund, Hearing Assist will send you a free return shipping label.
To cancel your subscription, request a refund, or speak with a customer service representative, you’ll need to call 800-640-9785 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Do We Know About the Company Behind Hearing Assist Hearing Aids?
Avento Inc. (dba Hearing Assist II, LLC) is based out of Virginia Beach, VA and has been in business since 2008. Their original product was the Lee Majors Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aid (aka Bionic Ear), which went on to become a big hit among consumers.
According to their bio on the Hearing Assist website, they created ReCharge hearing aids in order to take advantage of the huge leap in technology that’s taken place over the past decade, as well as to bring more affordable, high-quality hearing solutions to consumers.
But are there any other hearing aids competing for the same customers?
ReCharge by Hearing Assist vs. the Competition
Before diving in, let’s quickly make an important distinction:
The Difference Between a Hearing Aid & a PSAP
Even before the passage of the OTC Hearing Aid Act, technology had advanced to a point where devices that looked—and performed—very similar to traditional hearing aids were entering the market, but at much lower price points. To distinguish themselves, though, they were labeled personal sound amplification devices, or PSAPs.
In fact, interviewed for an FDA article, Eric Mann, M.D., PhD, and deputy director of FDA's Division of Ophthalmic, Neurological, And Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices, said "Hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAPS) can both improve our ability to hear sound, they are both wearable, and some of their technology and function is similar."
The key difference, he explains, is that “only hearing aids are intended to make up for impaired hearing,” whereas PSAPs are only built to amplify environmental sound—a small, but important, difference. He even emphasizes that “Choosing a PSAP as a substitute for a hearing aid can lead to more damage to your hearing.”
As a result, if you’re experiencing signs of hearing loss, speak with your doctor first about whether a PSAP or formal hearing aid is the right choice based on your specific diagnosis.
How to Choose Between Hearing Assist ReCharge & Other Hearing Aids
Because Hearing Assist advertises that ReCharge can help address impaired hearing, it’s categorized as a hearing aid, which is why the company emphasizes it’s an FDA Cleared Class I medical device.
Specifically, both ReCharge models are known as air conduction (also called acoustic) hearing aids, since they pick up exterior sounds, digitally amplify them, and transmit them into the wearer’s ears via waves that travel through the air. This is in contrast to other technologies, such as bone conduction, which send sound waves through bones in the head.
The problem is that if you type “air conduction hearing aid” into any search engine, you’re met with hundreds of different viable options in thousands of different configurations. How in the world can you start off on the right foot?
As you might imagine, the Mayo Clinic recommends you start by getting a checkup, where you can have your hearing tested and formally diagnosed by your doctor, as well as a reputable audiologist.
When selecting a model, you’ll want to make sure it comes with a trial period, so you’re not making a ‘blind’ purchase, as well as a warranty that includes coverage for parts and labor.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure the hearing aids you select don’t just accommodate your current needs, but your future ones as well. Features you might consider based on this assessment include:
- Noise reduction
- Directional microphones
- Rechargeable batteries
- Variable programming
- Environmental noise control
We’ve certainly covered a lot of territory here. Bringing everything together, how does it line up for Hearing Assist?
Our Final Thoughts About Hearing Assist’s ReCharge Hearing Aids
While we didn’t test any devices ourselves to provide firsthand feedback, it seems there’s a lot to like about Hearing Assist’s ReCharge Hearing Aids, including ultra-competitive pricing and essential features (rechargeable batteries, adjustable modes, external microphones, discreet design).
The FDA also classifies them as hearing aids, so—with the help of your doctor, of course—they could potentially make up for some of your hearing loss. This is compared to PSAPs, which are only designed to amplify sound.
Just make sure to keep your expectations realistic, as no hearing aid, at any price point, is designed to restore your normal hearing; only to help you hear meaningfully better.
Finally, although they seemed to have a limited online customer reputation, Hearing Assist has been in business for a decade, manufactured a highly successful hearing product in the past, and provides a 60-day trial and one-year warranty on all ReCharge purchases. They’ll even send you a free shipping label if you’re dissatisfied.