A personal sound amplification product (PSAP) may be a good alternative for someone who can’t afford traditional digital hearing aids, or is not quite ready. However, just like hearing aids, not all PSAPs are created equal. We have set out to review some of the more popular PSAP devices to help you get the best quality PSAP there is.
This review focuses on the Lucid Audio Enrich Pro personal sound amplifier, but be sure to also check out our list of the best PSAP devices currently on the market.
This PSAP was worn and reviewed by our Audiologist. We will look at three main categories: fit, sound quality, and ease of use. To keep it simple the rating for each will be positive, mixed, or negative.
I chose the smaller tube size for my left ear (2B) because I know I have small ears. However, even the smallest option was too long for my ear and it stuck up above my ear. This is not ideal for a secure fit or cosmetic appearance.
Other than the incorrect tube size, the device is very small and lightweight. I chose the smaller dome option for in-the-canal and it fit well.
In order to provide a more universal fit, I think the Enrich Pro needs to come with more tube size options, or the ability to order different sizes as needed. I would not want to wear this device with the tube as long as it is.
The tubing and parts look the same as Phonak products so they likely receive at least some of their components from the same supplier as Phonak.
Fit review: Mixed
There are four listening modes (programs):
- Conversation – for everyday listening
- Crowd – for noisy environments
- Concert/Music – for concerts, meetings or theaters
- Active/Nature – for running, walking or biking.
There was not much information about the different programs. I could probably guess and tell you what was different about the programs (differences in soft gain versus loud gain and noise reduction features) however I could not tell any difference in sound quality when cycling through the programs while listening in different environments.
The PSAP was worn in mode #1 the majority of the time, and speech mapping measurements (below) were performed in mode #1.
The Lucid PSAP did fairly well at not amplifying too much of the background noise. This is likely because the soft gain is well below NAL-NL2 targets for a mild hearing loss (see image below). While it is not amplifying the background sounds (i.e. air conditioning running, paper rustling etc.) the wearer may also experience some difficulties hearing a whisper or soft conversation with this PSAP.
For moderate inputs, or normal conversational speech levels, the Lucid PSAP overamplifies the high frequencies between 2-4kHz when measuring using both NAL-NL2 (above) and MSS (below) targets. This is quite a large overamplification and will likely result in a perceived tinny, shrill, or sharp quality for the wearer. This may be enough for the wearer to reject use of the PSAP.
An MPO measurement was also performed and it was reassuring to see that the MPO did not exceed about 112 dB. This meets our qualifications for a safe PSAP.
Sound quality review: Mixed
Ease of Use
I did not like the packaging of this product. The device was very hard to get into and I was frustarted with the device before I could even touch it. I can imagine an older individual with poor dexterity or arthritis having a very tough time opening this product.
In addition to that, the user guide was bunched up in the pocket of the case, again not very accessible. Once unfolded I was forced to read through the crumpled up manual to figure out where to start. The manual said I would be receiving the following supplies with my PSAP:
- Carrying case (yes, I received this and like it)
- 4 batteries (I only received 2)
- Assorted tips and tubes (One of the tubes is discolored and I received 3 different tip options)
- Cleaning tool (Yes, I received this but without prior experience with it I may have overlooked it as trash)
As far as the user guide goes, there is no logical order, though it does have sections for tubing replacement, inserting the device, on/off unction, cleaning tools, volume control, and program selection. I would like to have seen a step by step booklet for setting up the device for the first time (it comes in pieces), followed by some cleaning techniques and a troubleshooting guide.
The insertion guide is not very helpful and I can’t imagine a first-time user being able to insert it properly without further instruction. Part of the instruction says “tuck the concha lock into the bowl of your ear.” Based on my experiences with new users, that is not a helpful description of what to do.
The videos on their website are much more helpful than the instruction pamplet. I would recommend every patient watch these before setting up and wearing their device.
Ease of Use review: Negative
Overall Review of the Lucid Audio Enrich Pro PSAP
I have mixed feelings about this PSAP. Sound quality is on-par with other high-end PSAP devices we have tested, but I have concerns about the overamplification for the high frequencies.
The size of the PSAP is great as it is very small, however the fit and flexibility of the tubing options was not sufficient for a proper fitting. Also, the ease of use of the user’s guide leaves me feeling like a first-time hearing aid or PSAP wearer would have a lot of difficulty navigating this device without additional help.
We recommend that you have a hearing evaluation before considering a getting a PSAP.
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