Audicus Spirit Hearing Aid
Product Info, Reviews, and Prices
4.0 stars from 2 reviews
Available at$1,199.00 New Purchase
Audicus recently launched Spirit, the latest and highest-level technology hearing aid offering from the direct-to-consumer hearing aid retailer. Audicus, a company owned by Sonova who also manufacturers Phonak and Unitron hearing aids, offers several off-the-shelf models of hearing aids primarily via an online sales model. However, they also have 3 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. within Albertson’s grocery stores. According to the company, the goal is to offer direct access of hearing care at a lower cost-point while still providing a quality product.
How the Ordering Process Works
- Obtain a hearing test either online via Audicus’ website or via an available smartphone app, within one of the Audicus store sites or upload to the Audicus.com website your hearing test from a local hearing care provider.
- Choose your model of hearing aid and any additional features such as tinnitus masker or telephone coil at an additional cost. The website will help guide you to appropriate technology based upon a short questionnaire and your hearing test.
- Choose any additional accessories such as a TV streamer or remote control at an additional cost.
- Decide whether or not you wish to purchase Spirit hearing aid for $1199 per aid ($2,398 binaural fit) or, if you prefer, opt in to a membership with a monthly fee of $129 per pair with an additional one-time “set-up” fee of $399. Audicus also offers financing through the credit firms CareCredit and Affirm which can be used to purchase the hearing aid.
- The hearing aids will be programmed to your hearing loss utilizing one of two well-researched fitting formulas. Receive the pre-programmed hearing aids within approximately 3-5 business days.
What Ships with the Hearing Aids?
- Charging case
- Desiccant drying capsule
- Cleaning brush and wipes
- Dome variety pack
- Wax guards
- 14 bands/channels
- 4 distinct pre-programmed listening environments
- Push button
- Directional microphones (automatic and adaptive)
- 3 receiver strengths to accommodate a wide range of hearing losses
- 4 color options
- Noise reduction
- Apple® and Android™ compatible with hands-free calling
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- 1 year warranty
- 45-day trial
- Product support for life of hearing aid
Physical Characteristics & Processing Features
The Audicus Spirit hearing aid physically looks nearly identical to its sister company Unitron’s Moxi Blu hearing aid and, as you might expect, contains similar features. The Spirit has 14 bands/channels for frequency shaping and sound treatment. The hearing aid will come pre-programmed to default to an automatic program when power on. Within this program the hearing aid will align noise reduction and directional microphones according to your listening environment. However, there are also 4 distinct pre-programmed listening environments such as restaurant and conversation in quiet which are available via the push button. If you choose to download the “Hearing Remote” app you can choose from 10 different preset programs including “outdoors”, “live music”, “Bluetooth® streaming”, and several others.
The push button or “multi-function” control on the hearing aid will control both volume and program changes and any change to one hearing aid will automatically align the opposite hearing aid. The push button can also be utilized to accept/reject a phone call as well as end a phone call. Keep in mind that you can also use your phone for all of those same controls or you can use the optional app.
The casing also includes an LED which will provide you information on the overall status of the hearing aids. That is, it will temporarily glow green when the instrument is turned on or briefly show red when powering off. This can be a useful visual reminder of the status of the hearing aids. In addition, when the hearing aids are placed in the charger, the LEDs give you information on the charging status. For example, if flashing orange, the hearing aid batteries are only partially charged but a solid green light indicates a full charge.
The hearing aids come standard with automatic and adaptive directional microphones which, within the automatic program, will automatically transition between omnidirectional mode and various directional modes. Within your chosen preset listening environments such as “quiet” and using the smart phone app, you can also utilize a sliding scale called “Focus Mic” to adjust the directionality of the hearing aids.
Noise reduction algorithms are also included meaning there is a gain reduction for wind noise and impact sounds as well as steady state noise reduction. In general, noise reduction will reduce the gain (amplification) in the channels where the noise such as fan noise, engine noise, etc. are present. This can improve overall listening comfort.
Three different receiver strengths are available to accommodate a wide range of hearing losses including a standard, medium and a power receiver. The standard receiver provides 39 dB High Frequency Average (HFA) gain, and the medium and power provide 45- and 55-dB HFA. Audicus notes that Spirit is appropriate for moderate to severe hearing losses. This is interesting since the 55 dB power receiver should be able to accommodate more significant hearing losses; however, since a custom earmold is not available, it is likely that the peak gain could never be achieved due to feedback. The hearing aid will ship with a company-chosen receiver based upon your hearing test.
Should you require it, a telecoil (t-coil) can be ordered as an option with the Spirit hearing aid. This is handy if you are utilizing a hearing aid compatible landline or if you would like to use looped systems which are often available in houses of worship or theatres. It is likely that this option comes at an additional cost.
A tinnitus masking feature is also available if needed. You may want to call the company and discuss this option if you believe the masker would be helpful. Keep in mind that simply providing amplification for a hearing loss helps many with their tinnitus symptoms. However, if you believe that your tinnitus is severe and this feature may be helpful, it is an available option. This is also likely an additional cost to the hearing aid.
There are only 4 color choices available for Spirit and include beige, black, grey and silver. Other companies usually offer at least 6 color choices in order to better match skin and hair color.
The Audicus Spirit provides Bluetooth compatibility for both Apple and Android devices. Android operating system 7.0 or newer is required and works with the new ASHA (Android Streaming for Hearing Aids). For Apple devices, iOS version 12.0 or newer is needed. Like Phonak and Unitron devices, the Audicus Spirit offers the unique and practical feature of hands-free calling. That is, unlike most other hearing aid manufacturer’s products, when having a conversation with your Bluetooth compatible phone, your voice will be picked up by the microphones on the hearing aids. Therefore, it’s not necessary to hold the phone to your mouth in order for the person on the other end to hear you. This is particularly useful when driving where hands-free operation is preferred.
You can also connect to other Bluetooth compatible devices such as laptops and tablets assuming they have the compatible Bluetooth versions.
The hearing aids also provide connectivity between hearing aids so that alignment of program type, volume and binaural streaming of calls are all easily achieved.
The Audicus Spirit is only available in a rechargeable Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) design and utilizes lithium-ion batteries, which upon a full charge, should give you a full day’s worth of listening. Audicus notes up to 18 hours of use on a single charge and this number includes approximately 4 hours of streaming. Keep in mind that utilizing the streaming feature of any hearing aid will run down the battery faster than simply listening through the hearing aids themselves. The overall life of the rechargeable battery should be the life of the hearing aid, that is, approximately 5 years.
The hearing aid(s) will come standard with a charger which also incorporates a desiccant to help remove moisture from the hearing aids. The lifespan of the charger should be 3+ years or, approximately the life of the hearing aid.
Warranty & Product Support
All Audicus hearing aids come with a 45-day trial period with day one starting on the day you receive the hearing aids. If you choose to purchase the hearing aids, a one-year repair warranty is standard; please note that this does not include loss/damage. A loss and damage guarantee is often provided by hearing aid manufactures but is only available from Audicus via a subscription with an additional fee of $12 per month per ear with a 2-year commitment. Another way to get loss protection is to choose the Audicus Membership option.
The Membership option is essentially a hearing aid subscription program which provides you with your initial hearing aid(s), a new hearing aid after 18 months, regular delivery of supplies such as wax guards and domes and the loss/damage protection. As mentioned above, the Spirit hearing aid membership cost is $89 per ear ($178 binaural fit) monthly with an additional one-time “set-up” fee of $100. You can cancel the membership at any time by returning the hearing aids. This option may be particularly appealing to those who lack an insurance benefit for hearing aids and who cannot or prefer not to spend thousands of dollars up front to treat their hearing loss.
Regardless of how you purchase the hearing aids, either up-front or via the membership option, Audicus offers lifetime support for the hearing aids. That is, for as long as you own the hearing aids, you can call the company for troubleshooting support. If your hearing aids require reprogramming you would need to either return the hearing aids for this service or, with the Spirit hearing aid, obtain service via the smart phone app. Note that Spirit is the only Audicus hearing aid that offers remote support via the app.
Several accessory options are available including:
- Optional remote—used for volume and programming changes ($199)
- Optional Spirit Partner microphone—beneficial to those who have difficulty hearing in noisy environments such as restaurants. Can also be used in meetings where the speaker wears the microphone and the speaker’s voice will be transmitted directly to the hearing aids. ($199)
- Optional TV Connector—used to stream TV audio directly to your hearing aids or use it to connect to any non-Bluetooth device with an audio out port. ($199)
- Optional Power Pack—provides power on the go for your rechargeable hearing aids. Useful when a power outlet is not available and is intended to provide up to 7 days of charging ability. ($49)
- Optional Hearing Remote app—Can be used as a remote control to change programs and volume but also has additional functionality such as a 3-band equalizer and the ability to fine tune the directional mics. You also have available a noise reduction slider and a “Enhance Speech” slider to help customize your hearing aid settings. Up to 10 different program types are also available via the app. (No charge)
Pros of the Audicus Spirit
- Direct-to-consumer option for hearing healthcare which allows you to upload a clinical hearing test or utilize the Audicus online hearing test. This may help to improve access to hearing healthcare while minimizing some of the costs associated with professional care.
- The hearing instruments are being programmed by the manufacturer with well-established and researched fitting formulas and will take into account whether or not you have worn hearing aids in the past.
- Membership option is a low-cost entry for hearing aids which can be quite expensive.
- Trade-in program for hearing aids damaged beyond repair (up to $100 credit per device towards purchase of new device).
- 45-day trial period.
- Spirit allows for remote adjustment via the app without the need to send hearing aids back to the manufacturer.
- Service for the life of the hearing aids.
- Hands-free calling seen in more expensive hearing aids.
- Rechargeable hearing aid with good battery life for added convenience.
- Telecoil option as well as tinnitus masker option available.
- Quality is likely high as this hearing aid is manufactured by Sonova which is currently the leading hearing aid manufacturer in the world.
Potential drawbacks of the Audicus Spirit
- Not suitable for more severe to profound hearing loss.
- Not suitable for pediatrics
- If a diagnostic hearing test is not obtained (as with online hearing test) underlying medical issues may be missed and important audiological testing is not completed such as uncomfortable loudness level and speech in noise testing both of which are important for programming the hearing aid.
- No real-ear measurements can be made so you really don’t know how the hearing aids are functioning in your ear. One online review for an Audicus product indicated that there is significant roll-off of the frequency response above 3000 Hz. Amplification in the 3000-6000 Hz range provides audition for high frequency speech sounds such as /th/ and /sh/. In addition, many people experience hearing loss in the high frequencies so this is where the amplification is needed in order to achieve clarity of speech.
- No loss/damage protection unless you enroll in membership or pay additional fees.
- Only 4 color options.
- Over the counter domes in 3 sizes will fit most ears but some may experience difficulty with feedback (whistling) or the sound of their own voice or wearing discomfort. Custom earmold not available.
- Need to mail back hearing aids for repairs. There are only 3 Audicus retailers in the U.S. at this time.
- Need to mail back for reprogramming if not utilizing remote care via the app.
- High cost for direct-to-consumer hearing aid.
The Audicus Spirit hearing aid should be considered a low to mid-level technology digital hearing aid that offers several advantages including a direct-to-consumer delivery model, low-cost entry to a quality hearing aid, hands-free calling and rechargeability. As the hearing aids are manufactured by Sonova, a leading hearing aid manufacturer, it is likely that the overall quality of the hearing aids will by high. However, as with any direct-to-consumer healthcare device, individual concerns can only be accommodated to a point. That is, you will not receive the same level of care and access to clinical knowledge that you would get from a hearing care provider.
In addition, the cost of Spirit is quite high. For comparison, you could buy the Kirkland Signature Premium hearing aid at Costco for $1399 a pair—Audicus Spirit is $1399 per ear. The Kirkland Signature Premium hearing aid comes standard with rechargeability, the charger, and a 3-year warranty. It can also be serviced or reprogrammed at your local Costco. As an aside, the Kirkland brand is also manufactured by Sonova—so you will likely get a hearing aid of equal or greater technology from the same manufacturer at a lower cost point which includes personal care from a hearing care provider. Costco requires their providers to utilize real-ear measurements to ensure a good fitting—you can’t get that with a hearing aid ordered online.
However, if transportation to appointments is an issue or you simply want to avoid the hassle, Audicus Spirit may be a hearing aid you may want to consider as it does incorporate features that should provide good hearing improvement and convenience. As always, please consider discussing your hearing with a hearing care provider to fully understand your treatment options.
Audicus Spirit Physical Specifications
|IP Rating (Liquid)||8|
|IP Rating (Solid)||6|
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 email@example.com.
Audicus Spirit Technology Details
|Universal auto-adaptive program|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audicus Spirit Accessories
Hearing Remote App
- Remote Control
- Smartphone App
- Remote Microphone
- Remote Control
- TV Streamer
Audicus Spirit 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 readingWrite a Review
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Note: Original answers provided in star rating format.
Only had them 3 months and the Left one no longer works
Audicus has worked for me. It's a long drive to the nearest town with a hearing clinic, so having the hearing aids delivered to my home saved me a lot of time in the car. And the customer service has been good. This is my second pair of hearing aids from them, but the first time I've had rechargeable ones. I love not changing batteries anymore. The bluetooth is also helpful for my phone.
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