Sontro hearing aids, reviewed by audiologists

While Sontro only offers one model, the price and Bluetooth features make this over-the-counter hearing aid a prime option for users looking for a simple, easy-to-use device.

Sontro hearing aids

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3 key takeaways

  1. Soundwave Hearing manufactures Sontro hearing aids — It was founded in 2017 by professionals in the audiology, engineering, and medical sales fields.
  2. The otoTune app allows users to adjust their devices to fit their needs — Combining artificial intelligence with Bluetooth technology and patented software, otoTune lets users self-adjust and customize their hearing aids to their listening environment.
  3. Only one model is available — Soundwave Hearing also sells accessories to help you care for your hearing aids.

The hunt for the right hearing aid can be overwhelming. Finding one that is both affordable and capable of meeting your needs only adds to the stress. Perhaps that’s what gives Sontro hearing aids a leg up on the competition.

In 2022, after the Food and Drug Administration improved access to affordable, over-the-counter hearing aids, Soundwave Hearing produced its Sontro OTC device. Paired with the otoTune app, Sontro aids use AI, Bluetooth technology, and patented software to help you adjust and customize your hearing aids’ settings to match your listening environment.

The advantage of having a single model is that there’s no decision-making involved: simply review Sontro’s features, advantages, and disadvantages to see if the device might work for you. According to our review board of audiologists, patients with mild hearing loss needing an extra boost in quieter environments might find what they need in the Sontro device.

Some quick facts about Sontro hearing aids

Even though Soundwave Hearing is a young company based in Oak Brook, Illinois, it was nominated in 2022 for the Chicago Innovation Awards, given to the most innovative startups and nonprofits around the greater Chicago area. Here are a few more fun facts about Sontro hearing aids: 

  1. They sit behind the ear. Other OTC companies may offer in-the-ear devices, but Sontro’s model is BTE only, though it’s available in different sizes.
  2. They use disposable batteries that need changing every 5 to 7 days. There is no rechargeable option available through Soundwave Hearing.
  3. The otoTune app can perform a hearing test. The app, which syncs with most Android and iPhone devices, will perform a hearing test and then customize your settings to match the results.
  4. You can’t stream from mobile devices or take calls. This feature is only available with certain OTC brands, such as Jabra Enhance or Lexie Hearing.

Are Sontro hearing aids for me?

Like most OTC hearing aids, Sontro devices aren’t well-suited for patients with severe or profound hearing loss. Our audiologists don’t even recommend Sontro hearing aids for patients with moderate hearing loss. However, patients with mild hearing loss who might not be ready for a medical-grade device and are looking for a simple solution might find what they desire with this brand.

The pros of Sontro hearing aids

  • For BTE devices, they’re discreet. Behind-the-ear devices aren’t necessarily the most discreet kind of hearing aid, but because of their size, Sontro hearing aids are not as noticeable as other BTE models.
  • The otoTune app makes it easy to match your device to your surroundings. You can easily adjust your hearing aids to fit your listening environment, though excessive background noise may cause an issue.
  • They’re more affordable than prescription hearing aids. At $749 per pair, Sontro OTC hearing aids are far more affordable than prescription hearing aids, which usually range from $1,000 to $3,500 per device ($2,000-$7,000 a pair).

The cons of Sontro hearing aids

  • There is only one model. Other brands, such as Jabra Enhance, Lexie, and Lucid Hearing have multiple models and types of devices. You will also need an Android OS 6.0+ or an iPhone iOS 11.0+ to even conduct the hearing test and benefit from the adjustments.
  • They’re no match for significant hearing deficits. According to our audiologists, Sontro hearing aids will work best for those looking for a little boost in quieter situations. They aren’t best for those with severe or profound hearing loss and may be ineffective in situations with heavy background noise.
  • They come in limited colors. Sontro hearing aids are only available in gray or beige. Rival OTC hearing aids come in several colors to better match diverse skin tones and hair colors.

Customer service

Soundwave Hearing has a traditional customer service profile with a customer service line open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST and a customer support email address (no chat). What sets it apart from some competitors is its extensive social media presence.

With profiles on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vimeo, and YouTube, you can easily access information about all things Sontro. Its website also offers hearing resources to help educate hearing loss patients on treatment options and next steps.

Models available

Sontro devices offer many of the same features as competitors, such as adaptive directionality to more easily manage noise coming from different directions. They process sound using a technology called Wide Dynamic Range Compression, which helps make soft sounds louder and reduces excessive noise.

They also suit an active lifestyle, since they use receiver-in-the-canal technology to improve sound quality. They are durable and sweat resistant, so you can feel confident wearing your devices when you work out.

 

Sontro Self-Fitting OTC Hearing Aids

Ideal for mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss, the Sontro Hearing Aids are simple and easy-to-use devices.

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Criteria Sontro OTC hearing aids
Cost $749
Warranty 1-year limited warranty
Rechargeable batteries? No, Sontro hearing aids are only available with replaceable batteries, along with a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Bluetooth capabilities? Yes, Sontro OTC hearing aids are compatible with both Android and iPhone devices.
Customization options While you can adjust your hearing aids using the otoTune app, there are no customization options when it comes to size or fit.

Who are Sontro OTC hearing aids ideal for?

We asked our audiologists who they thought Sontro hearing aids would benefit the most. According to Dr. Hinson, “This device would be most beneficial for young patients who have good dexterity for battery changes, have the latest smartphone technology, and the ability to use that technology to complete the hearing test and make changes to the hearing aid fitting.”

Dr. Ruth Reisman says patients with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss could benefit from what Sontro hearing aids offer, especially if they are not ready to invest in a medical-grade hearing aid. This device is not ideal for those suffering from severe or profound hearing loss. These patients should request an appointment with an audiologist to get fitted for a prescription hearing aid, like ReSound or Widex.

 

What our audiologists say about Sontro hearing aids

For a young user eager to jump into amplification, this product could serve as a short-term solution while determining what technology works for them. With few personalization adjustments, few colors for inconspicuous use, and no rechargeable capability, I wouldn’t place Sontro devices in the premium hearing aid space. While I’m not generally impressed with the technology, I do appreciate that the brand has partnered with an aural rehabilitation program to offer one month of free therapy to its users.

If you are looking for a simple easy selection process, Sontro could be a good choice. If it works for you, great. If not, you have the option to return and try alternate devices.

What customers say about Sontro hearing aids

Customers say their favorite features are…

Many customers report that Sontro hearing aids are easy to use and comfortable. They also say that the fit is quality, even though these are out-of-the-box, over-the-counter hearing aids that can’t be customized to the shape of the user’s ear. And of course, people love how easy it is to get Sontro hearing aids without having to make an audiologist appointment or schedule a hearing test.

Customers say their least favorite features are…

Many customers with dexterity issues say that the batteries are difficult to attach. Users who wear glasses complain that they occasionally brush up against the exterior amplifier, which can cause some hearing issues. Other than that, most Sontro customers report satisfaction with their products.

Frequently asked questions

Who makes Sontro hearing aids?

Soundwave Hearing, a startup outside Chicago, manufactures Sontro hearing aids. Founded in 2017, Soundwave was one of the few companies to produce an over-the-counter hearing aid in 2022 after the FDA improved access to OTC devices.

Do Sontro hearing aids come as an in-the-ear model? 

No. So far, there is only one Sontro hearing aid model, a behind-the-ear device that uses receiver-in-the-canal technology. However, the devices are discreet because of their small size, separating them from older behind-the-ear devices, which are not as easy to hide.

Are Sontro hearing aids amplifiers? 

No. Sontro OTC hearing aids have been approved by the FDA as over-the-counter hearing aids. Amplifiers simply amplify volume and can further damage residual hearing.

How often should I wear my hearing aids? 

You should wear your hearing aids every day while awake. This will help strengthen your auditory reflexes and reduce cognitive overload, which can lead to a happier, healthier life. You will also be able to better understand conversations. People who use their hearing aids regularly tend to see a decrease in anxiety, depression, and isolation.

I have mild hearing loss. Will Sontro hearing aids work for me? 

With a 45-day, risk-free trial period, it’s worth trying Sontro hearing aids. They’re intended for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you suffer from severe or profound hearing loss, visit our Audiologist Explorer and schedule an appointment with a specialist to get fitted for a prescription hearing aid.