HearTech CIC Review: Does It Really Work or Is It Just Hype?
HearTech CIC sound amplifiers are an online-only product that claims to work 85% to 90% as well as hearing aids that cost thousands of dollars.
The company who sells the devices, HearTech Labs, claims that what makes their sound amplifiers unique is that they have a discreet design and “no-hassle” volume control that allows you to adjust the volume without taking the amplifiers out.
In our review of these sound amplifiers, we’ll provide an analysis of how they work, what HearTech CIC's cost, their return policy is, as well as look at how sound amplifiers are different from hearing aids.
We’ll also feature a section in which we provide buying advice and tips from two hearing experts: Wisconsin-based audiologist Deirdre Worrell and Jason Power, owner of Ontario-based The Hearing Clinic.
How HearTech CIC Works
When you receive your sound amplifiers, you’ll get two devices along with a variety of earbud sizes to fit your ear. Each sound amplifier contains premium zinc batteries, according to HearTech.
The “CIC” in HearTech CIC refers to the fact that these sound amplifiers fit “completely in canal.” You can place them into your ear canal and keep them hidden, unlike many amplifiers that hook around the back of your ear.
“CICs are perfect for those who would like to improve their hearing aid without ‘feeling’ like they are wearing a large, bulky hearing aid,” their website says.
Perhaps the most important feature is the ability to change the volume levels. We were not able to reach a customer service rep to ask how volume control works. However, we researched similar amplifiers and found that, most likely, there’s a dial on the device you can rotate with your fingertip.
Underlying all of these features is a key distinction: the HearTech CIC is a sound amplifier, which is an important thing to consider as you’re making your purchase.
Sound Amplifiers Versus Hearing Aids
While HearTech compares their CIC amplifiers to hearing aids and even refers to their product as hearing aid, you need to keep in mind that this product is a sound amplifier.
This, Worrell told us, is a key distinction because it affects the quality of your hearing experience.
“The difference is that hearing aids are set up for your specific hearing loss while amplifiers lift all sound at an equal amount,” she told us. “This can sound funny to someone who has good low frequencies and are getting amplification in those frequencies.”
To put it another way, sound amplifiers raise the volume of everything you hear whereas hearing aids are bespoke products that an audiologist tunes specifically to your hearing loss.
Because hearing aids are a tailored product, they tend to cost far more than sound amplifiers. That being said, it's common to use “sound amplifiers” and “hearing aids” interchangeably.
Power said another drawback of amplifiers is that they don’t do a good job of separating sounds in a loud room. If you’re trying to hear a conversation at a loud party, all the sounds may get jumbled together.
“On a one on one conversation in a quiet room, there might not be that big of a difference, but once outside or when noise starts to fill the room, a cheaper sound amplifier might not make a difference," he told us.
Based on these insights, you should expect HearTech’s CIC amplifiers to raise all sounds and not focus on specific frequencies. This isn’t all that bad, though, if you’re looking for an amplifier and not a bespoke hearing solution, Worrell said.
“There is some research to suggest that people are just as happy with lower-end technology of hearing aids vs higher-end hearing aids,” she said. “The research suggests that consumers are willing to trade off small benefits gained through improved technology for substantial reductions in price.”
» Recommended Reading: Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs): A Comprehensive Buying Guide
HearTech CIC Pricing and Return Policy
At the time of publishing, you could buy a pair of HearTech CIC sound amplifiers for $249. You had the option of adding a $49 protection plan, too (more on that in a minute). The amplifiers ship for free.
Your purchase comes with a 45-day, money-back guarantee through which you can return your amplifiers if you aren’t satisfied with them.
If you want to make a return, HearTech says you’ll need to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to resolve the issue. They will offer an exchange or refund. However, the company says that less than 1% of their customers experience issues.
The HearTech CIC Warranty
You have the option of paying $49 for a five-year “elite unlimited warranty protection plan.”
This plan covers lost, damaged, defective or stolen amplifiers. It also covers “all other reasons,” the website says.
“This includes no-B.S. coverage,” the site says. “If you got a unique problem, we’ll fix it and get you a new pair of hearing aids right away.”
We bring up this warranty partly because it’s important for you to understand what you’re getting for $49 but also because online-only companies like this present an issue when it comes to quality control, Worrell said.
Ideally, you’d be able to buy a device from a company that has audiologists you can consult and work with to adjust and fine-tune your devices.
“Consumers should look for a source that will be in business to help them with their hearing aid repairs,” she said. “They will need someone to help them with the yearly check-ups and maintenance of hearing aids as manufacturers only let account holders send hearing aids in for repairs, not consumers.”
It’s important to understand that you won’t get this type of support with HearTech not only because they’re online-only, but because you’re buying an amplifier and not a tailored hearing aid adjusted to the levels specific to your ears.
The Bottom Line: Are HearTech CIC Sound Amplifiers Worth the $249 Price Tag?
Our research indicates that there are certain pros and cons to buying these types of hearing amplifiers.
First, you don’t get the benefit of getting audiologist support to fix or fine-tune your amplifiers. Second, the devices are amplifiers instead of hearing aids, which means they will raise the volume of all sounds and not single out specific sounds like human voices.
Third, the price tag on these hearing aids is high for what they offer. A simple search on Amazon reveals dozens of amplifiers that are cheaper than HearTech CIC’s. For example, we found CIC hearing amplifiers that look nearly identical to HearTech’s for about $50 less per pair on Amazon.
In one case, we found CIC hearing amplifiers with noise-cancelling technology for around $120 per pair.
Several of the hearing amplifiers that looked similar to HearTech’ had excellent reviews, too, with a couple of products exceeding average ratings of 4 stars.
In summary, we believe that even though amplifiers don’t provide a tailored solution to hearing loss, they can be helpful to those who are looking for a low-cost alternative to expensive hearing aids.
With that in mind, remember that HearTech CIC’s aren’t the only CIC amplifiers on the market and that it may benefit you to shop around on Amazon to find a highly-rated product at a lower price.
The HearTech CIC website doesn’t mention any features or advancements that indicate their product is any better or worse than you can find on Amazon. Therefore, we think it would benefit you to shop around a bit and read customer reviews before finalizing your purchase.
4 out 4 people found this review helpful
Not able to use
Units were very large for my ear canal, had constant feedback no matter which earbud used and the volume turned way down. Try to return items after ten days of receipt, but was denied. Do not believe that you may return items.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
5 out 5 people found this review helpful
HearTech Labs and Inspire Brands Group Pty Ltd Hearing Aids
Sold by HearTech Labs and Inspire Brands Group Pty Ltd. The hearing aids are advertised as rechargeable, but they are not...they run on batteries.
They want me to ship back to them in China by international tracking freight, which costs $80. Why should I have to pay for a return for an item clearly NOT AS ADVERTISED!
Don't purchase from them. They don't stand behind their advertising claims! You'll be sorry!
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend