Eargo Link Review: Basic Hearing Aids That Are Too Pricey

Eargo is widely known for its ultra-luxe over-the-counter hearing aids; the company makes some of the most expensive OTC aids on the market. But to make its lineup a bit more accessible, there’s the Eargo Link, a low(er)-priced, no-frills alternative to its more sophisticated options.

At first glance, the Link hearing aids don’t appear any different than standard Bluetooth earbuds. You get a glossy black plastic and a bulbous design that rests inside the ear’s concha, albeit bulging out a little. At 4.74 grams (fitted out with a small ear tip), it’s considerably heavier in the hand than a lot of modern hearing aids, but it doesn’t feel particularly weighty in the ear, due to the particulars of its design—even after sustained use. They can, however, be tough to wrangle into the right place as they need to be carefully rotated into the ear to fit snugly.

Photograph: Eargo

In addition to its design, the Link is distinguished from its forebears by its lack of an app. While it pairs to your phone like a set of standard Bluetooth headphones, it doesn’t work with Eargo’s standard hearing aid control app. It doesn’t have any physical controls either. Rather, the earbuds are touch-sensitive and rely on (well-placed) taps to operate them. More on that in a bit.

These control limitations mean there’s not a lot to using the Link hearing aids; there’s not even a traditional way to control the volume. Instead, you’ll spend most of your time double-tapping your way through four Listening Programs, each one offering a higher amplification level (reportedly tuned to speech) than the last. A final mute setting turns all amplification off before cycling back to Program 1. The four programs don’t seem to vary in any other way aside from overall loudness, and there’s no way to tune the aids for certain environments such as TV watching or outdoor use. By and large, you’ll just have to experiment to find out what works.

The good news is that the Link does a solid job at boosting audio, though I found it a bit blunt, amplifying everything across the board from voices to footsteps to wind noise. Moving up the programs, each is, well, one louder. Other than increasing levels of loudness, I didn’t hear any difference among them.

Eargo includes six sets of ear tips—three sizes in both open and closed designs. The default medium ear tips are gargantuan for me, and even the small size is a snug fit. Using open ear tips, I experienced a fair bit of echo and the usual “booming own voice” effect, but neither is overly onerous. Screeching feedback was common when inserting the aids, but otherwise, I never encountered any. Neither did I experience any problems with hiss except when using the highest volume program.

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