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Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus Hearing Aid Review

Reviews, Prices, and Sound Samples

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$649.95 / pair New Purchase
2.5 stars stars
2.5 stars from 2 reviews
Hands-Free Calling Yes
iPhone Streaming Yes
Android Streaming Yes
Rechargeable Yes
IP Rating IPx4

Conversation Clear Plus is available to purchase online and in stores today—without a prescription—and offers speech amplification, beamforming directional microphones, and a slick app for optimizing speech clarity. But Sennheiser is not calling their product a hearing aid. And technically they couldn’t even if they wanted to, because the product has not been registered with or approved for sale by the FDA. So, at this moment, it is what we call a hearable which are essentially smart earbuds.

Is Conversation Clear Plus a viable alternative to a hearing aid, and if so for who? Would the product work for someone like you?

Sennheiser's new Conversation Clear Plus true wireless stereo earbuds.

Sennheiser's new Conversation Clear Plus true wireless stereo earbuds.

Product Highlights

Effective speech enhancement in noise (we tested it)
Customizable sound settings
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
Active Occlusion Cancellation (AOC)
Bluetooth audio streaming

Drawbacks

Larger size and more visible than some other earbuds
Not a hearing aid and won’t work for those with significant hearing loss
No ability to upload or import audiogram data

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, they are smart wireless earbuds with advanced features geared towards improving speech clarity. Data from HearAdvisor™ suggested that Conversation Clear Plus performed very well in noise, even compared to OTC and prescription hearing devices.

No, these devices do not perform an on-ear hearing assessment and they do not offer the ability to input hearing data. What they do offer is a two-part listening test where you select overall preferences for both volume and clarity. Conversation Clear Plus then adjusts based on your selections.

The iOS and Android™ compatible Conversation Clear app provides adjustments for external sounds, speech volume, and streamed signal.  

Who is Conversation Clear Plus for?

  • Those interested in advanced wireless earbuds: Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus are true wireless stereo earbuds with advanced features for streaming, noise reduction, and improving speech clarity.
  • The tech savvy individual: These devices are best suited for those who are mildly tech savvy as the app-based adjustments help you get the most out of Conversation Clear Plus.
  • Those looking for an introduction to hearing enhancement: Conversation Clear Plus are not hearing aids. While they may offer some communication benefits to specific individuals, they work more like smart earbuds. They have some hearing features but sound customization is limited.

Are Conversation Clear Plus hearing aids?

Conversation Clear Plus were released January 20th, 2023. Like hearing aids, Conversation Clear Plus are designed to make it easier to understand speech in noisy environments. However, Conversation Clear Plus offer limited volume when compared to prescription or OTC hearing aids, and this means they won't be a suitable alternative to a hearing aid unless you're at the earliest stages of losing your hearing.

Priced at $849.99 a pair, Conversation Clear Plus offer many advanced features such as automatic adjustments, speech enhancement, active noise cancellation (ANC), beamforming microphones, wireless app control, and Bluetooth™ streaming from most devices. If you are shopping for quality earbuds that also offer some hearing enhancement, and your hearing is normal or just down a little, these earbuds are worth considering. But if comprehensive hearing assistance is a higher priority for you than streaming music and phone calls, newly available OTC hearing aids are available in the same price range may be worth a look as well.

Hear what HearingTracker Audiologist Matthew Allsop has to say about Conversation Clear Plus in this video.

Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions clicking on the gear icon.

Sonova hearing aid tech inside?

The release of Conversation Clear Plus comes less than a year after Sonova’s acquisition of Sennheiser’s Consumer Business. Sennheiser has a long history in the audio world offering a wide range of high-fidelity products such as microphones, conferencing solutions, and headphones. Sonova on the other hand has made their name in the hearing healthcare market with brands such as Phonak, Unitron, and Advanced Bionics. Conversation Clear Plus is without doubt the offspring synthesizing the specialties of both companies.

Sonova Headquarters

Sonova Global Hearing Institute

Using Conversation Clear Plus

Conversation Clear Plus looks and feels like a typical wireless earbud or hearable. The devices appear to be made of a durable but lightweight plastic which lends to an overall quality feel consistent with the Sennheiser name. The ear pieces are comfortable, and have good retention, even though they are on the larger end as far as wireless earbuds go. This may be in part due to the rubber ear fins which provide extra ear contact. Even with longer wear times, Conversation Clear Plus did not cause pressure points or irritation in my ears.

I found the look of Conversation Clear Plus slightly unique due to an antenna-like finger protruding off the front of the devices. This houses one of the onboard microphones as well as the touch control button. While this adds slightly to the size, it may help improve the device's noise reduction capabilities due to the increased distance between the forward and rear microphones. The visual aesthetic of Conversation Clear Plus are otherwise consistent with the expectations for a smart earbud.

Unboxing of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus.

Unboxing of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus

In the box you will find the two earbuds, 3 sizes of eartips and ear fins (small through large), a charging case, USB-C cable, and documentation. Conversation Clear Plus arrives with the medium eartips and ear fins preinstalled. It is worth trying the different sizes to find the best fit as this can improve comfort, stability in-ear, and sound quality. Once this is sorted, it does not take long to pair with the Conversation Clear app and head out into the world. 

Battery Life & Rechargeability 

Conversation Clear Plus earbuds claim to have a battery life of nine-hours. This duration will decrease with greater amounts of streaming, higher volume settings, and in noisier environments. This may be one of the biggest drawbacks of Conversation Clear Plus for those interested in using them as more traditional hearing assistive devices. They will not provide enough battery life to make it through a day without needing to be recharged. With that said, these devices are earbuds—not hearing aids—and are likely intended for more situational use than long-term wear. For comparison, Apple Airpods Pro Gen2 have a reported battery life of up to 6 hours. 

The included carrying case is a nice offering and doubles as a charger providing an additional 27 hours of use. Conversation Clear Plus can be charged via conduction by placing them into the respective magnetically locking left or right case bay. They will take roughly 5 hours to fully charge from a depleted battery; however, Sennheiser has included a “Quick Charge” function whereby 15 minutes in the case will provide approximately 1 hour of playback time. The earbuds also offer a nice battery saving feature where they disconnect from your phone after a few minutes of idle app activity. 

Wireless Connectivity and the Conversation Clear App 

The Conversation Clear app provides sound customization and wireless control over the earbuds. The devices can be put in a pairing mode by pressing the touch control button located on the outer face for four seconds. The app will then establish a connection and prompt you through various screens familiarizing you with the devices and proper placement in your ears. The final step of onboarding guides you through two personalization listening tasks where you set your preferences for both volume and clarity. 

Sennheiser’s Conversation Clear App

The three different modes within Sennheiser’s Conversation Clear App: Relax, Communication, and Stream (left to right).

After onboarding is completed you gain full access to the app and the three user modes for relaxation, communication, and audio streaming. The first mode, Relax, is designed for comfort and provides user controls over external sounds from 0 (max reduction) to 100% (normal ambience). Conversation Clear Plus uses one of the two onboard microphones for ambient awareness which provides a more 360 degree picture of your surroundings. Communication is the second setting where you can experience the full benefits of Conversation Clear Plus’s multi-mic beamforming  speech enhancement capabilities. The app defaults to a specific volume based on your initial onboarding preferences and the volume can be further customized from there. A Clarity Boost switch is also available when further speech enhancement is needed. The final Streaming mode provides a slider for you to control the balance between streamed and ambient signals. Various tabs for support and your personal settings are also available.

Overall the bluetooth connection was reliable and stable throughout my time using the devices. Personalizing my settings with the app was also straightforward and easy. While the app is a nice feature, adjustments can seem limited by comparison and there was no obvious way to turn the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) feature on or off.

How Do They Sound?

Conversation Clear Plus provide a respectable sound quality in everyday quiet or one-on-one situations. The audio feed is full, or broadband, and relatively true to how the surrounding world sounds in normal listening conditions without earbuds. There is also no perceptible delay, or latency, which aids the realism of their ambient awareness system. My experiences while streaming music were also similar.

With that said, there were several situations, and specific sound sources, that caused an unnatural sound quality. These earbuds process sound to improve the listener experience and speech clarity. One drawback of this automatic switching is that you will occasionally hear an abrupt change as the earbuds shift from one setting to another. Furthermore, sudden sounds such as clinking a spoon against my coffee cup or jingling car keys elicited an unnatural “popping.” This held true for most impact, and or transient, sounds. I have experienced this with other smart earbuds and it can be annoying. Many hearing devices, such as prescription hearing aids, offer specific noise reduction algorithms to help reduce this annoyance. It is similarly conceivable that the “popping” is a result of the earbuds attempting to improve the listener's experience by minimizing sudden volume changes. Regardless of the reason, I would hope this unnatural sound experience would be improved upon in the future.

Conversation Clear Plus in the HearAdvisor™ lab on KEMAR manikin.

Conversation Clear Plus in the HearAdvisor™ lab on KEMAR manikin.

Distortion was also audible in certain listening situations. I experienced this in louder multi-talker environments as well as while listening to music over speakers (not streamed). The distortion was not subtle and frequent if the overall sound levels were consistent. This is both shocking and disappointing as this audio degradation happened in situations the average user will likely face. However, Conversation Clear Plus did improve speech clarity even though they introduced some other artifacts. This did not occur while streaming audio so it appears linked with their audio input path. 

Another prevalent issue I faced was distortion from wind or swift head movements. This was not necessarily surprising as the microphones sit on the outer face of the earbuds making them more susceptible to turbulence. Wind noise is a prevalent issue across both earbuds and hearing aids and is a common complaint for those who use devices regularly. 

Conversation Clear Plus is also a larger earbud which plugs your ear entirely when worn properly. This means there is potential for the occlusion effect, which refers to the increased perception of your own voice when your ears are plugged. This is often undesirable and described as a “hollow” or “echo” sound quality. Fortunately, the “pass-through” ambient awareness system helps minimize this effect. Conversation Clear Plus also offers active occlusion cancellation (AOC) which further improves the naturalness of your own voice. This element of Conversation Clear Plus was impressive and improved general comfort during long-term wear.

Rear microphone of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus

The rear microphone of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus can be seen.

How Does Streamed Audio Sound?

For general music or podcast listening Conversation Clear Plus provided a broad and clear audio streaming quality. I was happy to find that the distortions mentioned above during general use were not present. The earbuds also provided considerable overall isolation which made for a more immersive listening experience. However, the ability to choose between isolation or ambient balance within the app was useful depending on the environment.

The audio quality did suffer when using these earbuds for video conferencing. Platforms such as Zoom generally do not have a high reputation when it comes to audio fidelity however, I find that a wired set of headphones or earbuds provide a relatively clear signal. The audio quality through Conversation Clear Plus had an intermittent crackling distortion that seemed to bounce between my left and right earbuds. This occurred wherever someone spoke and would subside when switching back to a wired headset. While the sound quality was tolerable it is something to consider for those interested in this specific use case. 

What is the Biggest Drawback of Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus? 

Conversation Clear Plus is advertised as a hearing solution even though it is not a traditional hearing aid or over-the-counter device. As such, the sound quality issues that occurred during our testing are surprising. I noticed the greatest artifacts in dynamic environments with multiple talkers—which is exactly where most people may desire speech enhancement. 

With that noted, these earbuds were still able to improve speech clarity in noisy environments. I experienced this subjectively while using the devices in my day-to-day life. Objective testing from HearAdvisor™, which is predictive of real-world speech intelligibility improvements, also showed this. As of February 2023, Conversation Clear Plus is the leading device for Speech in Noise improvement having a score 100% higher than the average of all initial-fit devices that HearAdvisor rated for this category. When looking at their tuned performance, their score was 61% higher than the average. So the audio artifacts may be worth overlooking in light of the benefits to speech in noise clarity. 

The Verdict

Sennheisers’s Conversation Clear Plus are wireless earbuds offering numerous automatic speech enhancing features such as beamforming microphones and noise reduction. They are also comfortable in the ear and easily customizable with the iOS and Android compatible Conversation Clear app. They can be purchased through various online retailers for $849.95 which puts them within the typical price point of OTC hearing aids or other lower end prescription devices.

This can make it challenging to categorize Conversation Clear Plus and where their offering stands. As earbuds, they're expensive and compared to hearing aids, they offer limited amplification and personalization. On the other hand, they performed very well in noisy situations, and this should offer real help to those with normal hearing or mild hearing loss who struggle in background noise. Those interested in this product will need to decide whether the advanced earbud features are worth the cost and outweigh the otherwise restricted functionality as a quasi-hearing aid.

Table of Contents

HearAdvisor Sound Performance Lab Results

SoundScore 4.1
Speech in quiet 2.1
Speech in noise 3.6
My own voice 0.6
No feedback issues 5.0
Streaming quality 5.0

Maximum score for each category is 5 points. Green triangles (if present) denote above-average performance; hover your cursor over them to see the specific data.

Off
Initial
Tuned
Busy Café
Quiet Office
Audio Stream

Adjust volume to make "Open Ear" as loud as it would be in the real world, without hearing aids. Remove hearing aids while auditioning. High-quality headphones will improve results!

Recordings are made in a sound-treated acoustic test lab an 8-speaker ring presenting ambisonic recordings and an acoustic manikin. For more important listening notes, be sure to check out our hearing aid comparison engine.

HearAdvisor partners with HearingTracker to provide objective laboratory performance data. All hearing aids are fitted and performance-tested for mild sloping to moderate hearing loss. All audio samples cutoff above 10kHz. *Specific model tested: Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus.

Clear Plus Physical Specifications

Clear Plus
Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus
Rating
50%

2 reviews

Bluetooth® Audio Protocol
  • Bluetooth® (A2DP)
Hands-Free Calling Protocol
  • Bluetooth® (HFP)
IP Rating (Liquid) 4
Push Button
Rechargeable Batteries Battery Type
Lithium-ion
Tap Controls Tap Options
  • Volume Control
  • Play/Pause
  • Audio passthrough on/off
  • Voice assistant
  • Change program
  • Accept/end calls
Voice Assistant Voice Assistant
  • Siri
  • Alexa
  • Google

Model details listed above may be incomplete or inaccurate. For full specifications please refer to product specifications published by the original equipment manufacturer. To suggest a correction to the details listed, please email info@hearingtracker.com.

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Clear Plus Technology Details

Technology specifications listed above may be incomplete or inaccurate. For full specifications please refer to product specifications published by the original equipment manufacturer. To suggest a correction to the details listed, please email info@hearingtracker.com.

Back to Table of Contents

Clear Plus Reviews

Hearing aid reviews are fundamentally different from reviews for most other consumer electronic products. The reason is because individual factors, like degree of hearing loss, have a profound effect one's success and overall satisfaction with the product. When purchasing a hearing aid, you'll need to consider more than just your hearing outcome ... Continue reading

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Overall Ratings

Hearing Tracker uses a ten-question survey to assess consumer feedback on hearing aids. The percentage bars below reflect the average ratings provided per question.
Note: Original answers provided in star rating format.

Benefit in Quiet
No data available
0%
Benefit in Noise
No data available
0%
Benefit on the Phone
No data available
0%
Clear and Natural
No data available
0%
Music Improvement
No data available
0%
Physical Comfort
No data available
0%
Reliability
No data available
0%
Feedback
No data available
0%
Hearing Improvement
No data available
0%
Value
No data available
0%
Anonymous
Anonymous 03 March 2024
1 star stars

Had these for six months, use them infrequently, only when needed. Often times they are not charged properly, making me re-check charging often. And now one bud doesn't connect. Way to expensive to only last six months. No customer support. Hope this helps others. 

Anonymous
Anonymous 14 March 2023
4 stars stars

They work as advertised. I had their TV buds and they worked well so I decided to try these too. I'm happy. They work surprisingly well. BUT... I do feel like taking them out of my ears sometimes because my ears simply get to feeling blocked up. I may try some of the open ear hearing aids next.

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