Whisper Hearing System

Whisper Hearing System Hearing Aid

Product Info, Reviews, and Prices

Ratings

4 stars stars

4.0 stars from 3 reviews

Available at

$139.00 / month New See local offers

Founded in 2017 by a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and engineers, Whisper launched the Whisper Hearing System in October 2020. Whisper’s claim to fame is its unique approach to removing background noise through “denoising”, a process that relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Neural Networks (DNNs).

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Andrew Song, Whisper's President

The Whisper Hearing System was inspired by a conversation that Whisper Co-Founder and President Andrew Song had with his grandfather. Song’s grandfather had spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids he wasn’t wearing. Song’s grandfather complained that his hearing aids didn’t work in the noisy situations where he most needed help hearing.

Song looked into the situation, and realized that his grandfather wasn’t alone. Limited benefit and continued difficulties in noisy situations are the top two reasons why hearing aids end up “in the drawer”. And so, the Whisper team set out to produce a hearing aid that would outperform all other hearing aids in difficult listening situations—using a proprietary “Sound Separation Engine”.

Whisper Hearing System

The Whisper Hearing System is composed of 3 different components, including the Whisper Earpieces, Whisper Brain, and Whisper App. All components are available to purchase on a subscription for $139/month:

Earpieces

Whisper Earpieces

Whisper's "Earpieces" are receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids that fit behind the ear. A small speaker sits inside the ear canal.

Brain

Whisper Brain

The Brain is a small computational accessory that powers Whisper's Sound Separation Engine and allows for system upgrades.

Whisper App

Whisper App

The Whisper app provides remote control functionality, and provides real-time battery readings for the Brain and Earpieces.

Whisper Earpieces (the hearing aids)

Whisper uses the term Earpieces to refer to its hearing aids. The Earpieces come in a silver / grey color and feature directional microphones, multi-channel compression, an environmental classification system, noise and feedback reduction, and Bluetooth® compatibility (with both Android™ and Apple® products).

Powering the Whisper Earpieces

The Whisper Earpieces are powered by large size-675 hearing aid batteries, which are required to support continuous wireless connectivity between the Earpieces and Brain. As a result, the Earpieces are thicker than traditional RIC hearing aids, which typically run on smaller size 10 or 312 batteries. Size 675 batteries usually deliver around 9-10 days of power, but due to higher than average battery drain (5.5 mA), Whisper’s hearing aids only deliver around 5-6 days of power. Whisper does not currently offer a rechargeable hearing aid option.

Phone Calls

To hear phone calls through your Whisper hearing aids, the Brain and the phone need to be no more than 5 feet away from one another. If you leave the Brain at home, you can still talk on the phone, but you’ll have to use the phone like you normally would (hold phone to ear). You will need to speak into the microphone of your phone regardless of whether or not you are using the Brain.

Whisper Brain

The Whisper Brain is a separate component that, according to Whisper, “uses artificial intelligence algorithms to process sound in real-time to optimize for your surroundings.” The “optimized” sound is then sent wirelessly back to the hearing aids. The Brain, which offers 1000x the computational power of Starkey’s Livio AI hearing aids (according to Whisper co-founder Dwight Crow), is where speech is isolated from noise using Whisper’s proprietary Sound Separation Engine.

The Brain, which incorporates AI, will learn over time and tailor the hearing aid settings to your listening environments. The size of the Brain is approximately 3 inches long by 2 inches wide making it small enough to carry in your pocket or in a handbag. The Brain does not have any microphones (those are located on the hearing aids), but does offer volume control buttons.

Why do you need the Brain?

Modern hearing aids simply cannot replicate the processing power of a standalone AI sound processor with a large battery. If you want to experience the best that Whisper has to offer, you’ll need to carry the brain with you when you go into difficult listening environments, like bars and restaurants. If you leave the Brain at home, your Whisper hearing aids will still function as hearing aids, but without the added benefit of the Sound Separation Engine. You will also won’t be able to have hands-free calls, and you’ll lose access to the volume control.

Updating the Brain

To receive updates, you’ll need to visit your hearing care provider (HCP), where the Brain and hearing aids will need to be connected to your HCPs computer.  In the near future, the company plans to allow for system updates online via your home computer and the Brain, or via the smart phone app.

Whisper says that since the launch of their product they have averaged 3-4 updates per year.  These updates can help improve the overall performance of the hearing aids and ensure you have the most up-to-date product. For example, in October of 2021 Whisper released an update which improved the noise reduction algorithms within the system and previous updates allowed for better Bluetooth telephone functionality.

The Whisper App

The included Whisper app, which acts as a remote control, is available for Apple smart phones (an Android app in works). Within the app you can check the status of the Brain’s battery, toggle between a dynamic hearing aid program and a customized program, adjust volume, and control the environment used in the custom setting (noise or music).

Whisper App Screens

The Whisper App

It’s important to note that the Whisper app will not work unless the Brain is turned on and near your smart phone.  This means that if you leave the Brain at home, the hearing aids will work but you will not be able to control them either via the app or directly on the hearing aids since the hearing aids have no on-board controls.

Controlling your Whisper hearing aids

There are no manual controls on the Whisper hearing aids—to change program or volume you’ll need to make the changes via the Brain or Whisper App (with the Brain nearby).  This may not be practical for those who prefer to constantly adjust the volume of their hearing aids.

Who can use Whisper?

The Whisper Hearing System is intended for people with mild to severe hearing losses. Whisper is available in the full range of open domes, closed domes, and custom earmolds.  Typically Whisper is fitted with open domes, but if you have significant hearing loss in the low pitches, you’ll need closed domes or a custom earmold to capture the full bandwidth of amplified sound.

Where to purchase Whisper hearing aids

You can’t buy Whisper hearing aids online—they are only available through an exclusive network of Whisper-trained hearing care providers. While having hearing aids professionally fitted is advantageous and an admirable approach by the company, it should be noted that Whisper is currently limited by a small number of professional sites around the country. They are currently “expanding” and anticipate being more widely available in the coming months. See if Whisper is available near you.

At the time of this writing, there is not a Whisper provider in Jacksonville, Florida, in Tallahassee, Pensacola or Savannah, Georgia but there are several in south Florida. So, in this example, if you live in Jacksonville, Florida Whisper likely is not a practical choice for your hearing aid purchase.

A unique leasing model

Another aspect of Whisper that is somewhat unique in the industry, is that you do not pay the HCP directly for the hearing aids.  Instead, you enter a leasing agreement with a 3rd party, Allegro Credit®.  That is, you lease the hearing aids for a period of 3 years and at the end of the 3-year period, you either renew the lease (and get a new system) or return the hearing aids. Whisper’s website indicates that for a “limited time” the price of the lease is $139 a month ($179 regular pricing). This includes professional fitting and follow-up as well as repair and a loss/damage warranty.  Notably, it also includes software updates.

The biggest advantage to the leasing arrangement is that you do not have to pay thousands of dollars in up-front costs for the hearing aids.  A low monthly payment means that many who cannot (or don’t not want to) pay the significant up-front costs of hearing aids have access to professional care and high-end hearing aids. Some will also like that they can get a new hearing aid every 3 years. The obvious disadvantage is that once the term of the lease is over, you do not own the hearing aids and will need to return them, or renew the lease.

Consider that over the 3-year period at $139 month, you will have paid $5004 for a set of hearing aids that you do not own.  That price is higher than what you would pay for a conventional high-end hearing aid that is also professionally-fit and may have advantages over the Whisper Hearing System. In addition, many clinics provide financing options (including through Allegro) should paying the large upfront cost be prohibitive to buying the hearing aids. Any changes or issues with the leasing agreement would need to be addressed directly with Allegro Credit.

Take a deep dive

In a recent episode of The HearingTracker Podcast, host Steve Taddei spoke with Dr. Don Schum, the Head of Audiology at Whisper. In the interview, Dr. Schum provides some history on Whisper's creation and mission, and explains—in layman's terms—how Whisper uses cutting-edge technologies to help Whisper owners hear better in background noise.

What You Should Consider

The Whisper Hearing System takes an un-conventional approach to sound processing by utilizing a separate computational component and integrating AI. By taking much of the processing power outside of the hearing aids to sound-treat the listening environment prior to amplification, the Whisper Hearing System allows for exceptional computational control. Whisper claims that this results in remarkable separation of speech from environmental noise while allowing for AI to learn and improve for as long as you wear the hearing aids. It’s a fascinating method for treating hearing loss but the question is whether or not the data and research supports the novel approach.

Benefits of Whisper

  • Unique approach to amplification that shows promise
  • Low-up front and monthly costs
  • Lease program allows for new products every 3 years
  • Hands-free calling with compatible Apple and Android phones
  • Fit by trained Hearing Care Providers with cost included in monthly fee
  • Professional support during terms of lease
  • Routine software upgrades at no additional cost
  • AI learning which can be unique to your listening experience
  • Risk-free trial period

Drawbacks to consider

  • Monthly cost adds up to expensive hearing aids that you don’t own at the end of the lease period
  • Only available as a set of hearing aids so not appropriate for those with a unilateral loss
  • Brain must be with you to have full access to sound processing abilities, to use the app and, at least currently, to receive product updates
  • No on-board hearing aid controls
  • Limited availability of HCP for buying/fitting of hearing aid (HCP network is expanding)
  • Payments managed by a 3rd party which may incur late fees, etc.
  • No Android app (at this time)
  • High battery current drain and limited battery life
  • Large 675 battery so may not be the most cosmetically appealing hearing aids
  • No rechargeable battery options
  • Not appropriate for more severe hearing losses
  • Not appropriate for children

Whisper Physical Specifications

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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Whisper 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.

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Whisper Accessories

Whisper App

Whisper App

Functions

  • Smartphone App
  • Remote Control

Compatible Aids

  • Hearing System

Whisper Brain

Whisper Brain

Functions

Compatible Aids

  • Hearing System

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Whisper 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 05 October 2021
4 stars stars

I am trying out the Whisper aids and, like others have mentioned, I have my concerns. They absolutely do NOT work with my phone!  It is crackly and staticky.  There does not seem to be a way to adjust any settings; only ‘dynamic’ and ‘custom’ but there is nothing that tells what these settings do.

I do find the sound quality to be an improvement over my current  Starkey Halos.  They tend to have whistles and noise if my jacket or a hat touch them.

I am not sure I would purchase them although the concept sounds interesting.

Anonymous
Anonymous 27 September 2021
4 stars stars

Whisper is very good, in keeping with other high-end hearing aids I've tried. The brain does appear to help but in my opinion not significantly in the environments I was able to try it in. Because of the pandemic, I was not able to try it in restaurants, parties, etc, which is the real test. 

The main issues are (1) the leasing arrangement, which is unfair — you should be able to keep the thing when you've paid it off; and (2) the brain. It has no status lights except for on/off as I recall, it is not that light, it is easily forgotten (and there is no warning if you walk away from it), and it doesn't, as mentioned, provide a wow factor. 

That said, the tech is impressive — as I understand the tech, it broadcasts from the the hearing aid to the brain for processing then broadcasts back to the hearing aid's receivers, all within a few ms. Essentially unnoticeable. 

If they change the leasing and improve the brain's form factor (eg by building it into a phone case or possibly even into a phone or better yet, miniaturize the functionality so it all fits into the hearing aid), it would be a contender. 

Anonymous
Anonymous 31 May 2021
4 stars stars

They work well enough, but I'm finding connectivity with the brain to be intermittent through my phone, and that's the main reason I purchased these hearing aids. When the brain does work, it seems to help, so I'm holding out for the fix, and then will decide whether to keep them.

Anthony B

Do you notice a significant benefit in noise or other situations over other hearing aids?

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Discussion

Use the form below to leave a quick comment about the Whisper Hearing System. Alternatively, consider providing more thorough feedback using our hearing aid review system. If you review your hearing aids using our review system, we'll send you a $5 promotional credit for use in our hearing aid battery shop as a special thank you. Review your hearing aids now.

Member

Best hearing aids I’ve ever tried. They amplify the sound but unlike others I’ve tried every noise sounds natural. No high pitched birds or wind rustling in the trees. As I’ve already told the company, their app doesn’t work well. It suppose to connect to their “brain” but that doesn’t happen most of the time. Therefore you can’t make program adjustments or check battery level when connection to brain not made. Company says they are working on a fix. Hopefully that will happen soon.

Member

Wish they let you stream music

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