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Sony hearing aids, reviewed by audiologists

If you struggle with mild hearing loss, put stock in Sony hearing aids, an over-the-counter option from a trusted brand.

A pair of Sony CRE-10 in-ear hearing aids floating on a white background.

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3 key takeaways

  1. As a giant in the electronics industry, Sony makes a comfortable over-the-counter hearing aid — In terms of comfort and fit, many customers appreciate the self-fitting Sony CRE-C10 and CRE-E10 hearing aids.
  2. While the CRE-E10 is rechargeable, the C10 is not — You will need a stash of size 10 batteries on hand to keep your CRE-C10 devices going.
  3. Like most OTC hearing aids, these are not recommended for severe or profound losses — Sony’s over-the-counter hearing aids work best for those with mild to moderate losses, while those with more serious hearing loss will need to get fitted for prescription hearing aids.

In the United States, 15% of adults aged 18 and older report trouble with their hearing ability. That’s around 37.5 million people, a number that is likely to increase as the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X grow older. Now, more than ever before, it’s crucial that people around the country have access to affordable hearing aids.

In September 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ruling permitting the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, allowing people with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase more affordable hearing aids without a prescription or a doctor’s visit.

Many audio and electronic industry giants have taken up the challenge, creating over-the-counter hearing aids to satisfy the growing need. Sony’s CRE-C10 and CRE-E10 self-fitting hearing aids are some of the most popular on the market. Valued for their comfort and their reasonable pricing, the Sony OTC devices definitely stand out from the competition.

Some quick facts about Sony hearing aids

For 76 years, Sony has been a titan in the electronics industry. Over the last few decades, they have diversified their portfolio, creating companies centered around film, entertainment, music, and more. It comes as no surprise that after the FDA ruling, Sony jumped at the chance to create over-the-counter hearing aids for the current market.

  1. Sony developed their over-the-counter hearing aids in partnership with WS Audiology. This is the parent company for many popular prescription brands such as Signia, Widex, and Rexton, among others.
  2. They are self-fitting. These hearing aids might not be the best choice for people with limited dexterity, as they are in-the-ear hearing aids that may be difficult to manuever with trembling hands.
  3. Like most over-the-counter hearing aids, they are not meant for severe to profound hearing loss. Those who suffer from more serious hearing loss will need to visit an audiologist and get fitted for a prescription hearing aid.
  4. For the price, customers say the comfort cannot be beat. One of the most common refrains from reviewers is that the Sony OTC hearing aids fit fairly well and are comfortable enough to wear throughout the day.

 

Are Sony hearing aids for me?

As far as affordable over-the-counter hearing aid options go, Sony is definitely one to check out. With a device priced below $1,500 that’s capable of audio streaming, there’s a lot to like here. But it’s important to be aware of the drawbacks as much as the benefits.

The pros of Sony hearing aids

  • Comfort, comfort, comfort. Most customers rave about the all day comfort that these hearing aids offer.
  • The CRE-E10 are an affordable option that comes with Bluetooth streaming. While other OTC hearing aids with Bluetooth streaming run upwards of $1,900, Sony’s CRE-E10 are affordable and accessible.
  • They’re practically invisible. The discreet in-the-ear design make these hearing aids largely unnoticeable by people other than the user.

The cons of Sony hearing aids

  • Replacing the CRE-C10 batteries can get expensive. The batteries only last between 3 and 5 days, so replacing them can add up quickly.
  • There are not a lot of customization options available. Audiologists cannot pair the Sony hearing aids with a hearing test, and there are no custom fit options available. What’s more, you have to own and be able to use a smartphone in order to self-fit these devices.
  • They are not great for people with dexterity issues. Because of the ITE design, people with dexterity issues may find these difficult to handle.

Customer service

When it comes to customer service, Sony has all the hallmarks of a major corporation. If you’re struggling with your Sony CRE-C10 or CRE-E10 devices, you have plenty of options to contact a Sony agent trained to help with your particular device. They offer an online chat, a text service, and a 1-800 number.

However, if it’s hearing health support you’re looking for, Sony comes up short. Other over-the-counter hearing aids, such as Lexie or Lucid Hearing, offer both virtual and brick-and-mortar access to hearing aid experts capable of adjusting your device or talking with you about your hearing health.

If you’re looking for virtual check-ins or a robust online platform to support you with ongoing hearing problems, you may want to consider other over-the-counter options.

Models available

As of right now, Sony only offers two over-the-counter hearing aids, the Sony CRE-C10 and the Sony CRE-E10. Both are discreet, in-the-canal hearing aids designed for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss.

All in all, the only difference between the CRE-C10 and the CRE-E10, aside from the price, is the battery options. While the CRE-E10 comes with rechargeable batteries, the CRE-C10 comes with replaceable batteries. The CRE-C10 is a little more affordable—until you factor in the fact that you will need to buy replaceable batteries throughout the device’s lifetime.

Sony CRE-C10

Smaller than the Sony CRE-E10, the CRE-C10 is the more discreet of the two options, as long as the user doesn’t mind changing the batteries every 3 to 5 days. The CRE-C10 can be adjusted for patient comfort and ear size, but since the device sits largely in the ear, it’s possible the user will suffer an occlusion effect, making your voice sound louder than it actually is and causing discomfort.

This a possibility with the CRE-E10 devices, too.

Patients should note that neither the CRE-C10 nor the CRE-E10 have a formal tinnitus management system. Additionally, the output levels for both devices are high enough to cause further hearing loss and worsen tinnitus if not set correctly with the app, so it’s important to adjust accordingly.

 

Sony CRE-C10

Smaller than the Sony CRE-E10, the CRE-C10 is the more discreet of the two options, as long as the user doesn’t mind changing the batteries every 3 to 5 days.

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Criteria The Sony CRE-C10
Cost $999
Warranty 1 year, plus a 45 day, risk-free trial period
Rechargeable batteries? No, you will need size 10 replaceable batteries, and you will need to replace the batteries every 3-5 days depending on use.
Bluetooth capabilities? No, Bluetooth and WiFi are not compatible with this device.
Customization options These are self-fitting and the volume and settings can be adjusted through Sony Hearing Control, but audiologists cannot custom fit these for users.

Who are Sony CRE-C10 hearing aids ideal for?

Those looking for discreet, affordable hearing aids will find a lot to love about the CRE-C10s. They’re best fit for people who struggle with mild hearing loss or individuals who struggle hearing in quiet listening situations. So long as you don’t need a lot of support or a highly individualized solution to your hearing problem, you should be just fine with the CRE-C10.

Sony CRE-E10

The E10 model has the added benefit of directional microphones to further enhance conversations  and reduce background noise.

Sony CRE-E10

If you’re technologically savvy, the rechargeable and affordable CRE-E10 can be a great option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

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Criteria The Sony CRE-E10
Cost $1,299
Warranty 1 year, plus a 45 day, risk-free trial period
Rechargeable batteries? Yes, the CRE-E10 hearing aids are rechargeable.
Bluetooth capabilities? iPhone users can stream music using the CRE-E10.
Customization options These are self-fitting and the volume and settings can be adjusted through Sony Hearing Control, but audiologists cannot custom fit these for users.

Who are Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids ideal for?

If you’re technologically savvy, the rechargeable and affordable CRE-E10 can be a great option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. However, they are not a great fit for people with dexterity issues. Both the CRE-E10 and the CRE-C10 come equipped with automatic noise management features to reduce background noise and feedback. The CRE-E10 has the added benefit of directional microphones, along with noise management, rechargeable batteries, and Bluetooth compatibility with iPhones.

What our audiologists say about Sony hearing aids

Dr. Ruth Reisman
“Sony is a trusted brand that partnered with WS Audiology—Signia specifically—to provide over-the-counter devices that offer great discreet, reliable solutions to patients who are eligible for the devices based on their hearing thresholds. This can work well for individuals that don’t need a lot of support or a highly individualized solution.”

Dr. Jessica Hinson
“Sony OTC hearing aids are a simple option for those with mild hearing loss or difficulty in quiet listening situations. To use these devices, you must have and be comfortable with a smartphone. I would not recommend these devices for those with poor dexterity, or those with small ear canals, as they will likely have problems with keeping the aids in the ears.”

What customers say about Sony hearing aids

Customers say their favorite feature is…

Most customers say they are satisfied with the discreet appearance of the hearing aids. They also say that the hardware itself is quite durable, which makes sense, given that Sony is a leader in the electronics industry.

Customers say their least favorite feature is…

A few of the customers complained that the app was difficult to set up and that there was some distortion and feedback that was often distracting. Many customers with moderate hearing loss said that these were not powerful enough to do much for them. However, people with mild hearing loss said they worked really well for their specific needs.

Frequently asked questions

Are both Sony hearing aid models rechargeable?

No. The Sony CRE E10 comes with rechargeable batteries, while the CRE C10 comes with replaceable batteries. However, many customers say that they like the C10 and that the hearing aids are quick to start up again when you change from one set of batteries to the other.

Where can I purchase CRE C10 batteries?

You can purchase batteries for your Sony CRE C10 hearing aids at most major electronic retailers, hearing aid specialty stores, and online. You will need size 10 batteries.

Can I stream music or calls on my Sony hearing aids?

The Sony CRE E10 hearing aids allow for Bluetooth streaming, but only with an Apple device. The Sony CRE C10 hearing aids are not Bluetooth compatible, so you cannot stream media or phone calls from an Apple or an Android device.

Are Sony hearing aids over-the-counter or prescription?

Sony offers over-the-counter hearing aids, meaning you do not need a prescription or a hearing test to purchase them. However, they are not recommended for anyone who suffers from severe or profound hearing loss, and most people who struggle with moderate hearing loss do not recommend these products.

How often should I wear my hearing aids?

You should wear your hearing aids every day while you’re 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.