Update: The Audicus Alto is known as the Audicus Oro as of January 3rd, 2017. The name "Alto" has not been changed in the text below, but description still applies as the product is the same.
The Audicus Alto is the newest hearing aid on offer from internet-only hearing aid company Audicus. The company is best known for offering Audicus-branded Hansaton hearing aids for a fraction of the typical price. The Alto is priced at $699 per device with a Bluetooth remote offered for $299 or regular remote control for $99. The hearing aids are offered with a 45-day money-back trial period, and one-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects. The whole package (two hearing aids and a Bluetooth Remote) comes in at around $1,697. For comparison, Costco's Kirkland Signature™ 6.0 hearing aids cost about $100 more and come with built-in Bluetooth connectivity (no remote necessary), a six-month money-back trial period, a 2-year loss and damage warranty, and unlimited face-to-face professional support.
The Alto comes in three different power levels, with a maximum output of 127dB SPL. Audicus claims that the Alto is suitable for consumers with up-to severe hearing loss. However, Alto is only available with open or closed speaker domes (custom earmolds are not offered). While it's possible that the Alto is capable of working for some consumers with severe hearing loss, it may be a stretch for others. Custom earmolds are often needed for hearing aid users with severe to profound hearing loss to help facilitate louder volumes and reduce the likelihood of audible feedback.
The Alto comes with directional microphones and an environmental classification system which helps the hearing aid to automatically adjust to "changing acoustic environments." The documentation also lists a feedback suppression system, a noise reduction system, and a speech detection algorithm. Detailed feature descriptions were not available in the one-page spec sheet. Audicus' website also lists a "tinnitus-masking element" that may be of some value to chronic tinnitus sufferers.
Before attempting to purchase the Alto's, you'll need to obtain a copy of your most recent hearing test (cannot be older than one year). Audicus will use the hearing test to pre-program your hearing aids to your "hearing profile." Once your hearing aids are delivered, you're free to utilize Audicus' phone, email, and chat support to resolve any issues. Unfortunately, Audicus has no way of adjusting the programming on your hearing aids remotely, so you'll need to ship them back and forth if further adjustments are needed. If you decide to purchase a remote after receiving your hearing aids, you'll need to send the hearing aids back to Audicus, so the aids may be paired with your new remote.
Note: Hansaton was acquired by Sonova in April 2015.
Audicus produced this video to introduce consumers to their brand, hearing aids, and process. The video shows some of their products and a glimpse into their customer service center. Audicus, if you see this message, please upload a closed-caption transcript to correct the poor auto-captioning on this video.