In fact, our curiosity got the better of us and we went and bought one. This is what we found…
Packaging – of reasonable quality given the price point. Many languages delivering the same message. Already beginning to look suspiciously like the Sanitas product sold by Lidl in 2015.
Instructions – does advise purchasers to seek professional advice before use, but it’s already been purchased at that point. Use with anyone under the age of three is not recommended, but by implication, anyone over three years old is fine!
Batteries – Argos website says alkaline, but the product is actually supplied with size 13 zinc air batteries.
Design – big, unsightly and a poor advert for the brand of hearing aids.
Output – on a test box on maximum, output was measured at 125dB. Considerable low frequency gain rolling off in the high frequencies before disappearing at 4KHz. The output of the product was measured on full volume and it didn’t quite achieve the claimed 128dB, but it was close…
Just to see how close the frequency response would get to the desired response to a mild/moderate sensorineural hearing loss, we then entered an audiogram that would be typical of someone who wants to do ‘something’ about their hearing (a typical mild-moderate sloping loss).
We then set the product to half volume and measured its output compared to target. A woeful miss with under-amplification in the important high frequencies and over-amplification in the low frequencies. A trained eye can predict what the patient experience of trying to hear through this device might be? It’s also worth observing that the Argos website claims a frequency response between 200Hz and 5000Hz, the output graph shows little or no amplification after 4000Hz.
In conclusion, we have established that the device is of poor quality and is capable of producing dangerous sound levels if turned up to full volume. The other observation is that the packaging and overall design closely resembles that of the ‘Sanitas’ hearing aid (Aldi’s description, not ours) sold by Aldi in the UK but withdrawn a few years ago.