Best Practices Checklist

$400 Nano vs. $20 Alibaba Comparison | High Tech Hearing Aid or Cheap Amplifier?

By: Dr Cliff Olson
February 8, 2019
Video Transcript

*The information presented in this video is my own opinion.  My content is intended to provide information that is of value to the public on issues of public concern.  I did not receive any compensation for this video.If you've ever done a search for online hearing aids and then gone on Facebook, you've likely been bombarded by ads from a company called Nano Hearing Technologies.  According to the Nano website, they manufacture Advanced Hearing Aids that "Auto-Adjust" to you hearing loss without the need of a hearing test, they work for "98.7%" of individuals with hearing loss, and have over 3,000 reviews without a single 1 or 2 star review, and all of this for only $400 for a pair of devices.Upon looking at these Nano hearing aids, they appear to be very similar to the $18-20 amplifiers sold on  

Alibaba connects manufacturers of cheap products from places like China and India to distributors who sells those products to consumers.  An unboxing of the Nano Hearing Aids and  Alibaba Hearing Aids revealed devices that were 99% identical other than the NANO branding and the Chinese branding.  However, looks can be deceiving so we decided to objectively test the performance of the devices to see if there are any differences.The first test is the Diagnostic test inside of the Otometrics Hearing Instrument Test Box.  This allows us to test the hearing devices in a very controlled environment that eliminates almost every variable of testing.  Results of this test showed that both devices performed almost identical to each other.  Not only did they perform the same, but even the volume control functioned the same.  The volume on both the NANO and the Alibaba device only had 2 settings, Maximum volume & Minimum volume.  

There is no in-between volume settings with these devices.Next, we tested these devices using Real Ear Measurement using the Otometrics Aurical Probe Microphone Measurement (PMM) equipment.  This test will let us see how these devices perform inside of a user's ear.  It will also tell us if a prescription for a Normal to Moderate Sensorineural Hearing Loss can be met with these devices.

 Upon testing the amplification, the devices performed almost identical.  This was not surprising considering their similar performance in the Hearing Instrument Test Box.  They were also not able to meet the user's hearing loss prescription.Not only do these devices perform identically, they look identical, feel identical, and have equally bad sound quality in my opinion.  I typically try to remain as unbiased as possible, and don't care if you buy hearing aids from me, another provider, Costco, or online, as long as you are making an informed decision.  That being said, I would not, in good conscience, recommend that anyone even try a NANO or Alibaba hearing amplifier.

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