Sometimes competition creates strange partnerships. Nuheara, an Australian company known for its hearing-enhancing wireless headphones, has announced its first set of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. But instead of marketing these devices under its own name, it opted to license the HP brand from Hewlett Packard. The new hearing aids will be known as the HP Hearing Pro, and they’ll sell for $699 when they become available at Amazon and other major retailers later this year.
The announcement adds another player to the OTC hearing aid space, following similar debuts from Sony, Jabra and Bose.
The HP Hearing Pro will combine some of the most popular features of wireless headphones, like active noise cancellation (ANC) and IPX4 water resistance, with the benefits of a real hearing aid. Nuheara claims that the earpieces have been “clinically proven to be substantially equivalent to a professional hearing aid”, and provide 30% improvement in speech in noisy environments, better ability to follow conversations and “validated natural sound quality clinically”.
Those familiar with previous Nuheara products will notice the similarity between the HP Hearing Pro and the $399 IQbuds2 Max – both earphones have a similar shape and the charging cases are essentially identical. Fortunately, Nuheara added wireless charging, a feature that the IQBuds2 Max lacked.
All functions of Hearing Pro will be controlled by an HP-branded companion app for iOS and Android. Application will also be key to bud customization – a process known as self-adjustment. Nuheara’s Ear ID software is used to test the user’s individual hearing thresholds from low frequency to high frequency in each ear, then automatically programs the HP Hearing PRO hearing aids for each ear.
The process allows for a quick and easy acclimatization experience, according to Nuheara, with the full acclimatization experience taking around 10-15 minutes from unboxing to customization.
Full details on Hearing Pro can be found at www.hphearingpro.com, but at the time of this article’s publication, the site was still displaying a “Something new is coming…” message, with no further information. We still don’t know how long the batteries will last or if the Hearing Pro will work with hi-res audio sources.