When hearing aids became available without a prescription last fall for the first time in the US, one of the benefits that bubbled up is the fact that more companies can now compete in the hearing health space, with new devices improving older ones at a rate that (maybe) could rival traditional consumer tech.
Audicus seems to be doing just that. The company announced earlier this month a new hearing aid line, the Series 2 for its Spirit and Omni devices. The Omni upgrade is particularly notable: CNET dubbed the company's first Omni hearing aid the best overall over-the-counter hearing aid this year.
According to Audicus, the Series 2 is a little bit smaller, has a new chip with better memory, technology that allows you to switch between multiple Bluetooth devices and improved sound in background noise. (This is true for both Omni and Spirit, a cheaper hearing aid than the Omni with slightly different capabilities.)
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Audicus also announced a new program that essentially allows you to lease your Series 2 hearing aids, with automatic upgrades every 18 months at no additional cost, instead of buying a pair upfront.
For example, a pair of Spirit Series 2 hearing aids costs $1,800, and an Omni Series 2 pair costs $2,800 up front, but through Audicus' Premier Membership program you can get either set for a one-time fee of $249, then a monthly payment of either $99 (Spirit) or $149 (Omni).
You can cancel your membership at any time and return the hearing the aids. Importantly, people who sign up through the membership program and get their hearing aids that way can still take advantage of the 45-day trial period where you can return the product to get your money back. The company says you'll also be sent an accessory care package every six months, which includes things like cleaning wipes and earwax guards.
You can also buy out your hearing aids if you decide to cancel the membership. But Audicus says you'll need to pay the full retail price minus 2x or 3x your startup fee, depending on if you bought the Spirit or Omni. This means that if you cancel a lease-to-upgrade on an Omni Series 2, you'll need to pay $2,053 according to the current price, to keep your pair. So if you have your eyes set on a singular pair and you're not interested in upgrading, you may be better off buying upfront. If you want to break up the payments a little, you can use the financing option by paying in installments with companies like CareCredit or Affirm. (For a limited time, Audicus is running a sale for $200 off a Series 2 pair.)
While monthly payments around $100 is by no means chump change, the membership program may be a good option for people who want to stay up-to-date on the latest technology from one of the better brands in the over-the-counter market by getting that upgraded device at 18 months.
Although it won a spot as one of the best in the OTC market, Audicus is far from the cheapest hearing aid available. Before you make a decision on a hearing aid, learn more about whether you're a good candidate for an OTC device, how to find the right pair of hearing aids for you and what the top signs of hearing loss are.
You can't use Audicus' monthly subscription service to get the first Omni device, only the Omni Series 2. However, the original Omni is $400 cheaper for a pair than the newer Omni 2.