The Clear-Hear HD hearing device distributed by Four Corners Direct Inc. (fourcorners.com) might have been an answer to prayer. Instead, it turned out to be a major disappointment. Because I have a slight hearing loss, my wife thought she had found a solution when she discovered a Four Corners ad in the Sunday paper. Since the device was advertised as rechargeable, I went to the website to check it out.
Four Corners Direct markets several hearing devices which the company is quick to point out are sound amplifiers, not hearing aids. Prices range generally from $30 to $40 per item; cheap when you consider the cost of hearing aids that can run into thousands of dollars. The company also offers a 90 day guarantee for a full refund, so I took the opportunity to try the device.
The Clear-Hear HD kit arrived in less than a week. Included were the hearing device, a recharger, six soft silicone ear tips, a cleaning brush and instructions. I tested the tips for comfort until I found one I could use and tested the device. It fits easily into the ear while the business end, the battery and operating components, slips over the back of the ear. A clear tube connects the ear insert to the battery. Don’t expect this device to be a fashion statement. Women are used in the ads to display the device because hair styles hide just how noticeable a device of this kind really is.
As soon as I turned on the device, I was greeted by the unnerving ability to “hear myself” reverberating. Since I have another battery operated sound amplifier, I switched out the devices for comparison, trying first one, then the other. Sure enough, the Clear-Hear HD had an echo effect. I adjusted the volume and the problem seemed to go away.
The instructions told me to use the amplifier until the battery was completely spent: “Leave the product on for 24 hours to ensure that the battery inside is totally depleted.” Afterward, the product is to be plugged into the recharger for ” a minimum of 12 hours.” When the red charging light turns green, the device is ready to go.
Except we never arrived at that point. I plugged in the device before going to bed and checked it the next morning. The light was still red. I waited the rest of the day. The light was still red. When the red light still shown after 48 hours, I turned on the device to see if it had been recharged at all. Nothing. I checked all the dials and settings, plugged in the device once more and waited again.
After 72 hours of constant charging, I decided the device was defective. The company will replace it. The big question is, is it worth it? Considering the echo I heard when the amplifier did work, I would say no. True, I could turn the device down enough to do away with the echo, but then the idea of using the device is to increase sound, not reduce it.
Sound amplifiers of this sort do work, but they cannot be depended upon to replace hearing aids. Be careful of ordering these devices from ads and online distributors. Be certain you are buying from a reputable dealer. In this case, it was a disappointment.