Bose is an American company primarily involved in making audio equipment claiming quality sound. It’s hard to investigate its offerings technically, because ‘it is known for its refusal to provide specifications for its products’ according to Wikipedia.
Thus, the general public has to rely on its subjective experience to rate their home audio systems and speakers, noise-cancelling headphones, professional audio products and automobile sound systems.
Latest news doing the rounds is Bose hearing aids are under development and they will be top-end headphone ones. We investigated to find out what Bose is really up to and if they are serious about creating a hearing aid.
Bose Hearing Aids Will Have Corporate Muscle
Founder Amar Bose donated his company to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. However, they continue to pay him cash dividends through his non-voting shares.
Wikipedia says auto industry professionals describe Bose as a ‘litigious company’ willing to take on parties if it considers its interests are under threat. Perhaps that was why we found little information on Google when we typed “bose hearing aids”.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017
The trail begins with the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017. The U.S. Government was concerned about ‘Barriers to addressing hearing loss in the United States. These included stigma, financial costs, and navigating a confusing array of healthcare providers and products, to diagnose and treat hearing impairment’, it said.
It therefore decided to create a new class of hearing aids ‘available directly to consumers without involvement from a licensed professional (like an audiologist, otolaryngologist, or audiometrist)’.
The regulations will still be in the pipeline until at least end 2020. However, we can glean more from the provisions in the law:
1… The new class includes hearing aids using ‘air conduction and / or wireless air conduction’
2… They will assist adults with ‘perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment’
3… However ‘devices that modify or amplify sound for people with normal hearing’ are excluded
4… This apparently cuts out headphone hearing aids and other personal hearing amplifiers
How Much Do We Know About Bose Making Hearing Aids?
Reuters news agency announced a Bose hearing aid was approved in terms of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act on October 8, 2018. They confirmed it was a ‘user-fitted hearing aid that can be adjusted through a smartphone app, enabling patients to fit the hearing aid settings themselves’.
We know Bose has been making conversation-advancing ‘Hearphones’ for a while. However, these merely allow a listener to ‘tune in’ to a speaker by adjusting factors like treble, bass and volume.
Bernstein analyst commented at the time ‘It will be interesting to see if this is the first of a number of new entrants. For instance, we know Samsung has looked at hearing aids in the past’.
What Bose Said in Its Application to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
MD Hearing Aid obtained access to the Bose filing documents which apparently contain the following abridged description:
“The Bose Hearing Aid is intended to amplify sound for individuals 18 years of age or older with perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment. It is adjusted by the user to meet the user’s hearing needs. No pre-programming or hearing test is necessary. The device is intended for direct-to-consumer sale and use without the assistance of a hearing care professional.”
The FDA accessed clinical data of 125 patients when it investigated the application and apparently concluded:
Bose hearing aid users are able to hear just as well with the device when they adjust the settings themselves as they are when medical professionals adjust the settings for them. However, this does not preclude users of the Bose hearing aid from seeking professional medical advice when appropriate.
Is Bose Make Hearing Aids Already?
This seems likely, because the 125 patients could not have shared equipment in terms of personal hygiene. Moreover, MD Hearing Aid reports the design appears similar to Bose Hearphones that cost between $169.00 and $349.90 on Amazon when we looked.
We expect the Bose hearing aids will cost quite a bit more, given more advanced technology and the phone app. We don’t suppose everybody will appreciate wearing a flexible neck band with wires reaching up to the earbuds. Imagine that lot tangling up in a face mask?
Will the Bose Device Affect Blue Angels Sales?
Tens of thousands of satisfied clients have praised our behind-the-ear hearing aids for over a decade. They are lighter and less obtrusive to wear, and will come in considerably cheaper than Bose hearing aids.
Why pay Bose more for a less user-friendly product that does essentially the same thing as our hearing aids costing under $200 a pair? Our hearing aids are also for perceived mild to moderate hearing impairment. Our already exceptional track record makes the difference.
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