Sony CRE-C10 Hearing Aid User Review

I have a mild hearing loss in my left ear and a mild to moderate hearing loss in my right ear and, I have worn hearing aids for at least 30 years. As an audiologist, I enjoy trying and reviewing new hearing aid models and technology. I was excited to test out Sony’s new Over the Counter (OTC) model CRE-C10. You don’t need a hearing test or prescription to buy this little in the ear hearing aid either online or in big box stores. 
If you don’t want a doctor prescribed hearing aid, you have several options. One is a simple OTC amplifier and the other is a more sophisticated self-fit hearing aid. Both require you to do all the work and set up without a proper hearing exam and without the help of a licensed professional. Selffit aids usually provide some kind of frequency specific hearing test to help you customize the sound of the aid. OTC aids are usually one size and sound fits all.
In my opinion the Sony CRE-C10 is more like a simple OTC aid than a more sophisticated self-fit device. This aid is totally dependent on the phone app for all adjustments which are limited. The sound quality of these small in the ear aids is good in my mildly impaired left ear but noisy and sometimes squeaky sounding in my moderately impaired right ear. As expected, the sound was way off from my needed prescription but definitely better than no hearing aid at all. Below are my perceived pros and cons of the Sony CRE-C10.
  1. Good sound quality for mild hearing losses.
  2. Very small alternative to hearing aids tucked behind the ear.
  3. Changeable battery is preferred over rechargeable option that is expensive to repair when it will likely fail.
  4. Battery is a common 10A size that is easily found in retail stores.
  5. These aids do not wirelessly transmit phone calls which I think is not needed for people with mild hearing losses. This simplifies the Bluetooth connection.
  1. These aids will squeal or try to squeal when you hold a phone or your hand up to your ear, especially if you increase volume. 
  2. Depending on the size of your ear, these completely in the ear canal aids may block your residual hearing and cause an echo in your own voice.
  3. My biggest disappointment was that I could not independently adjust left and right ear volume and pitch without fiddling with multiple app windows.
  4. These aids cost $1000. Other OTC and self-fit hearing aids costing half as much have superior apps, better hearing testing, and more sophisticated Bluetooth adjustments.
Overall, I think that Sony developed an in the ear OTC hearing aid that fits the United States FDA criteria. I wish they had set the retail price to about $600 instead of $1000. Sony, if you’re listening, I think you dumbed down your app too much for the type of consumers looking for OTC and self-fit devices. Based on years of experience I think the most important element of OTC success is spontaneous volume control and tone control of each aid independently without having to fiddle with multiple windows and settings. 
Contact Audiologist Dan Gardner at 

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