Olive Union Good Ear hands-on: A trendy listening to gadget with tradeoffs

The Good Ear ($249) is bought as a single unit, and seems to be geared toward those that battle in noisy conditions or simply need an occasional help with their listening to. Which is to say, it is an “amplifier” reasonably than a listening to assist. It is available in both black or white, pairs along with your telephone over Bluetooth and works with a companion app. At a look, it may very well be an everyday true wi-fi earbud. It’s going to cost in a small cradle over micro-USB and gives as much as 12 hours of speak time, or over a claimed week on standby.

I used to be in a position to attempt one out, and the expertise is much like quite a lot of “good” listening to units. As soon as charged and paired, you may head to the companion app. The primary order of enterprise is a listening to take a look at. It is pretty easy and much like what you may expertise on the audiologist. I’ll say, you undoubtedly wish to discover a quiet place to carry out this. My condominium is close to a semi-busy street, and the passing visitors was sufficient for me to get distracted, opting to attend till I may discover a quieter place to finish it.


Olive Union Smart Ear

When you’re finished with the formalities, it is actually a case of popping it in your ear and selecting your settings through the app. There are three main modes optimized for various conditions: default, dialog and TV viewing. As typical, these principally give attention to listening to speech, however it’s also possible to use the Good Ear for taking calls and listening to music in a single ear, like an everyday Bluetooth headset.

Sporting the Olive Union Good Ear is as snug as most different wi-fi buds. That’s to say, it is completely nice for brief to medium-length durations, however I am undecided I might wish to put on this all day. Olive Union does not pitch it for all-day use, although, in order that’s possible not the supposed use case anyway.


As for the sound enhancement, I discovered it to be fairly good at boosting the TV and it helped with listening to individuals on the aspect the place my listening to is missing (I’ve about 50 % listening to loss in my left ear). It is undoubtedly useful, however I discovered that background noises (clinking plates, a working faucet, and so on.) have been additionally boosted, and these sounds are at all times fairly unwelcome with an assisted listening to gadget, as they are usually additional sharp or irritating. That is to not say it was an enormous drawback; it is simply full listening to assist will do a greater job at solely amplifying the sounds you wish to hear.

Equally, taking calls works however there’s an apparent flaw in case you have one-sided listening to loss like I do. Given that you simply solely have the one bud, and it is most likely in your unhealthy ear, I’d instinctively choose to make use of my different ear. You may, in fact, take away the bud and place it in your good ear for making calls, however that barely breaks the comfort of setting it and forgetting it.

I additionally had a difficulty growing the amount mid-call. After I tried it, the amount really appeared to go down. I may resolve this by ending the decision, growing the amount once more and calling the individual again, however that is clearly not splendid if you happen to’re the one receiving the decision, or cannot return their name. Likewise, the Good Ear will stream music, however with simply the one bud, it is a very lopsided expertise — extra of a “you may” than “it’s best to” characteristic.

Olive Union Smart Ear

One other bugbear is the quantity of suggestions that it could actually generate. There’s an possibility within the app for suggestions cancellation, which I discovered I wanted to have switched on on a regular basis. It is doable that totally different ear anatomies is likely to be extra liable to producing suggestions, however for me, with this setting off, the suggestions was practically constant. Even with the setting activated, suggestions nonetheless appeared to happen after some time and my colleagues may hear it. Reseating the Good Ear often solved it, but it surely’s price noting.

All in, there are sufficient positives right here for the Good Ear to be price contemplating if it suits your wants. The bud was in a position sufficient to help with my private listening to loss. The $249 value level is considerably cheaper than most listening to aids (which usually value $2,000 up), and the design means you will not really feel such as you’re carrying an precise listening to assist. I do want that the overall stigma about listening to aids would disappear, and possibly it’s, albeit slowly. Both approach, if that is one thing you would be extra snug carrying, that is a plus.

There are a number of caveats, although, which I’ve talked about above. For me, maybe the suggestions is probably the most annoying factor. It appears to slowly creep in after some time. It solely takes a second to jiggle the gadget, and it goes, but it surely’s sufficient to be a minor annoyance. The music characteristic additionally feels just a little superfluous, but it surely’s a pleasant perk nonetheless.

Olive Union does not have an official launch date simply but, however firm reps say the Good Ear will probably be accessible at b8ta shops (and b8ta.com) quickly.