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The Whisper AI hearing system, a comprehensive review

Whisper AI is a first-of-its-kind hearing system with tech that’s always up to date.

A smartphone with the Whisper AI app opened, the Whisper Brain module, and a pair of BTE hearing aids.

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On June 8, 2023, Whisper AI announced a voluntary withdrawal of support for their product, the Whisper Hearing System. While no safety concerns were reported regarding the Whisper Hearing System, the company is no longer servicing or producing the product.

3 key takeaways

  1. Whisper AI is not a prescription hearing aid — It’s a smart hearing system offered to users in the form of two hearing aids, a wireless processor known as the Whisper Brain, and an accompanying smartphone app.
  2. Whisper AI is constantly learning and improving — The system uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to regularly adapt to the user’s preferences and surroundings, while regular software upgrades ensure the technology is always up to date.
  3. It works like a subscription service — After completing a 60-day free trial of the Whisper AI hearing system, users have the option of paying one upfront fee or paying the system off over 36 monthly installments (3 years).

If you’ve ever purchased a hearing aid only to find that it’s outdated after just a few months, then you’re aware of the frustrations that come with the fast pace of technological advancements. That same frustration inspired Dwight Crow, Andrew Song, and Shlomo Zippel to design a better solution for people affected by hearing loss. The result of their efforts is Whisper AI, an innovative hearing system that’s unlike anything else in the hearing aid industry today.

Key features of the Whisper AI hearing system

While traditional hearing aids come with fixed audio processors that can only be upgraded by buying a newer model, Whisper hearing aids are constantly improving themselves with the help of a wireless accessory called the Whisper Brain, which processes sound in real time to produce the optimal hearing experience no matter where you are. You can also download cutting-edge software updates for your Whisper AI hearing aids through the Whisper smartphone app so you always have access to new features.

Ear pieces

The Whisper AI hearing system comes with two receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) style hearing aids that work by transmitting amplified sound through the receiver into the user’s ears. In this sense, they work exactly like traditional hearing aids — the difference lies in how they work with the rest of the Whisper system.

The sound separation engine

The “secret sauce” of the Whisper AI hearing system, the sound separation engine built into the Whisper Brain uses advanced AI algorithms to analyze the sounds in a user’s environment and actively enhance the ones that are most important to hear, such as speech and music.

The sound separation engine also reduces the volume of background noise while amplifying important sounds, making it easier for the user to focus in a wide variety of listening environments.

The Whisper Brain

This palm-sized device essentially acts as the brain of the Whisper AI hearing system, powering the sound separation engine and wirelessly transmitting the optimized sound to the ear pieces. It’s important to note that the Brain must be in close proximity to the hearing aids in order for users to utilize the sound separation engine, enjoy hands-free calling, and retain access to the devices’ volume control.

Customization through the Whisper app

If you ever need to tweak the automatic adjustments made by the sound separation engine, you can do so through the Whisper app on your smartphone. The default “dynamic” mode instructs the system to make automatic adjustments for you, while “custom” mode enables you to manually adjust the volume and settings to accommodate unique listening situations, like when you’re outside or attending a noisy sporting event.

The Whisper app also provides real-time battery readings for both the hearing aids and the Whisper Brain, and allows users to share feedback with the company to influence future software updates.

Getting started with Whisper AI

To see if Whisper AI is right for you, the company has you take an online quiz to get a better idea of your lifestyle and hearing loss needs. If they think you’re a suitable candidate, they’ll offer you a 60-day risk-free trial of the system, during which time you’ll be able to test it out and decide if you like it.

If you decide the Whisper hearing system isn’t for you at the end of the trial period, you can send it back for a full refund. Otherwise, you’ll keep the system and receive regular software updates through the Whisper Brain as they become available.

You don’t need to see a hearing specialist in person to receive your Whisper hearing system, but you will be asked to complete a virtual hearing test with one of the company’s audiologists after the system is delivered to you. The doctor will use the results of this test to customize the settings of the system to best meet your needs.

The pros and cons of the Whisper AI hearing system

As with all hearing aids, the Whisper AI system comes with its own share of perks and drawbacks. Users often cite the following features as the system’s biggest pros and cons.

Pros of the Whisper AI hearing system

  • Crystal clear sound quality. Users describe the optimized sound delivered by the Whisper Brain’s sound separation to be crisp and clear in several different listening situations, with lots of depth and richness across the audible frequency range.
  • Whisper devices are delivered straight to your door. If the company determines Whisper might be a good choice for you, a hearing specialist will custom-fit your device from a remote location, no in-person visit necessary.
  • Whisper users get long-term care coverage. Every device equipped with the Whisper Hearing System comes with three years of care from a licensed hearing professional, as well as a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty covering both loss and damage. Customers nearing the end of their 3-year term can contact the company for information regarding ongoing care.

Cons of the Whisper AI hearing system

  • You always need to have the Whisper Brain nearby. While the Whisper earpieces technically work without the Brain nearby, they can’t utilize the automatic adjustments provided by the sound separation engine without it. Hands-free phone calls and volume control are also disabled when the Brain is out of reach.
  • Bulky disposable battery. The ear pieces included in the Whisper AI hearing system are significantly larger than traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids to accommodate large 675 batteries, which you’ll need to replace every 4 to 5 days. These types of batteries are necessary to allow the earpieces to wirelessly communicate with the Whisper Brain.
  • Learning curve. Because the Whisper hearing system contains more components than traditional hearing aids, it may take less tech-savvy users a bit more time to understand how the system works and make the most of its abilities.

The benefits of the Whisper AI hearing system

Wearing any type of hearing aid can be extremely beneficial to a person’s overall health and quality of life, with many users reporting improved focus, mood, and conversation in addition to their hearing ability. However, the adaptive nature of the Whisper system offers additional high-tech benefits, including:

Machine learning and continuous improvement

The AI algorithms in the Whisper Brain allow the device’s proprietary sound separation engine to continuously improve the user’s listening experience by learning from their needs and environment. The company also releases regular software updates for the system to improve and expand upon its current abilities.

Noise reduction in loud environments

While users of traditional hearing aids often have trouble distinguishing sounds in noisy environments, the Whisper system’s speech separation engine separates speech from background noise in real time. This gives users the ability to focus on the sounds that are important to them, no matter how loud of an environment they find themselves in.

Adaptive feedback cancellation

The newest software update to the Whisper system introduces a feedback cancellation system that improves the overall sound quality and expands the fitting range for the hearing aid to adults with up to 90 decibels (dB) of hearing loss. This means that users can experience a wider range of sounds than ever before, without any unwanted noise or feedback..

The cost of the system, explained

Users have two payment options when purchasing the Whisper Hearing System. You can either pay a one-time fee of $2,449, or pay $69 a month over 36 months as part of the company’s monthly payment plan. The total cost of the monthly payments come out to $2,484 — only $35 more than the price of the one-time payment.

Whisper doesn’t accept health insurance to cover the costs of their hearing system, though some patients can get their money back upon requesting a reimbursement from their insurance provider.

What our audiologists say about Whisper AI

Whisper AI hearing devices are similar to the “pocket aids” developed in the 1950’s. Your Whisper AI purchase includes two hearing aids and a third device that must be worn or carried at all times to collect incoming sound and send important signals to your hearing aids. For the price, you could purchase prescription hearing aids that function just as well, if not better, without a cumbersome third device.

Whisper AI is a device with great intentions. They claim to use Artificial Intelligence to offer a cleaner crisper signal to hearing impaired patients. In order to do so, patients have to tote an additional unit called the “Whisper Brain” which is said to process sound and transmit it to the device. This can pose many issues because it is not as easy as it may seem to separate the primary speech information, to improve understanding for the user, from the confounding noise. For the cost, I would agree with my colleagues—patients can get a medical grade hearing aid, at the same price point, that is supported by many years of internal and external research and development to improve the user’s function and listening experience.

Dr Danielle Morgan

The Whisper AI system is cumbersome and expensive for what it offers. Most users want to be able to put their hearing aids on and forget about them; however, Whisper AI requires the user to carry around an external device to get the most out of the product. Whisper AI uses traditional disposable batteries and has no option for rechargeability. It has limited connectivity options for smartphones. Whisper AI is not available for purchase online and must be purchased through a local hearing care provider in their network, however their website does not have a feature to find out the location of such providers. I cannot recommend Whisper AI. Patients would have better success purchasing traditional prescription hearing aids or picking from other OTC options that are more user-friendly.

Frequently asked questions

Can I still buy the Whisper Hearing System?

Unfortunately, no. In 2023, Whisper AI announced a voluntary withdrawal of support for their product, the Whisper Hearing System. While no safety concerns were reported, the company is no longer servicing or producing the product.

How can I order replacement parts and accessories for my Whisper hearing system?

No. In 2023, Whisper AI withdrew the Whisper Hearing System from the market. They are no longer servicing or producing the product.

Where is Whisper AI located?

The Whisper AI company headquarters is located in San Francisco, California.

Does Whisper AI work for all types of hearing loss?

The Whisper AI hearing system is recommended for adults suffering from mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss. It is not recommended for use by children, or anyone suffering from profound hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or unilateral hearing loss (single-sided hearing loss). Consult a local hearing care professional to see if Whisper AI is a good fit for your hearing loss needs.

What should I do if there’s a blinking red light on my Whisper Brain?

A blinking red light on the Whisper Brain indicates that the device needs to be recharged. To recharge the Brain, simply insert the small end of the charging cable into the device, and the other end into the wall charger. Plug the charger into an outlet, and the Brain will fully charge within five hours.

What is the most intelligent hearing aid?

Since each hearing aid comes with a unique set of advantages and drawbacks, it’s impossible to single out any one as the “most intelligent.” However, models equipped with artificial intelligence are often cited as having the most cutting-edge technology currently available. The Whisper AI system also offers the added perks of machine learning and regular free software updates.