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There are five major manufacturers of hearing aids globally. Collectively they make 90% of the hearing aids you, and I access through a local audiologist.
A few brands have taken a different approach and manufacture from scratch. That process is challenging, but it also leads to meaningful innovation. Eargo famously built their hearing aids from scratch with significant funds from venture capital and discovered a way to make invisible products rechargeable.
Lucid Hearing also started from scratch when it launched in 2009. Today the brand has an exclusive partnership with Sam's Club and designs its products from scratch here in the U.S. Between direct sales and the Sam's Club partnership; Lucid has reached 280K+ patients.
The built-from-scratch approach has allowed Lucid to innovate in ways that stand out in the field.
Lucid has one of the strongest Bluetooth capabilities (Phonak Lumity is another front runner) due to its patented antenna.
The Lucid self-fit app is also innovative and particularly interesting and hearing aids become available over the counter. LucidShape lets you adjust the shape of your hearing aid amplification in a way that mimics and audiogram. I found the feature to be intuitive and interesting.
Lucid doesn't get as much attention as it probably should, so in this guide, I'm going to dig into the company's history, key products, and pros and cons.
Let's get into it.
About Lucid Hearing
Lucid Audio launched in 2009 with headquarters in TX. The company got its start making headphones and hearing amplifiers and eventually formed a significant partnership with Sam's Club as the sole manufacturer behind their 500+ Sam's Club hearing centers.
Lucid Audio and the companies it owns now make a range of hearing-related products, including kids' headphones called Hearmuffs, products for musicians through Etymotic, and construction-focused hearing protection through a brand called Safe-T-Ear.
Lucid Hearing Aids
Lucid offers a range of hearing aids and amplifiers starting at just a few hundred dollars. I am not personally a fan of PSAP products because I don't often find that they provide long-term relief for those looking for hearing support. For that reason, I won't spend much time covering Lucid's Enrich amplifiers.
Behind The Ear Style, Bluetooth Enabled, Rechargeable
Engage is a device that sits behind the ear, and offers Bluetooth connection and adjustments using a smartphone. I tried the product at a recent dinner and found the sound quality was impressive and clear.
The Bluetooth connection in Engage was among the strongest and clearest that I've experienced. I had a chance to talk with Lucid's EVP of research and development, Bennett Griffin. He shared that the strong Bluetooth signal is delivered using Bluetooth Low Energy and patented antenna.
Notable Lucid Engage features:
✔️ Self-fit using the Lucid app
✔️ Rechargeable with 30 hours of battery life
✔️ Available in grey, black and beige
✔️ Compatible with iPhone or Android (you will have to choose at checkout)
✔️ Requires iOS 12 or above and Android 10 or above
Invisible Style, Rechargeable, Not Bluetooth Enabled
Fio is Lucid's invisible style product that offers rechargeable batteries and allows customization using the Lucid app. The Lucid Fio is a lot like the Eargo hearing aid (although slightly larger) at around 40% less price. Like Eargo (and most invisible hearing aids), Fio does not allow Bluetooth streaming. One notable feature in Fio is that in order to adjust programs or the volume, you will need to place the devices back in their recharge case.
Notable Lucid Fio features:
✔️ Nearly invisible unless someone looks directly in your ear
✔️ Self-fit using the Lucid app
✔️ Rechargeable with 16 hours of battery life
✔️ Available in aluminum
❌ No Bluetooth streaming is available
How Customization Works
Fio and Engage will be registered OTC hearing aids after the FDA's enactment date of 10.17.
Lucid ships each pair of hearing aids with four preset programs that the company designed by examining over 100K audiograms. You can read more about their process here. The preset programs are intended to give benefits to wearers the moment they come out of the box.
From there, Engage, and Fio wearers can use LucidShape to customize the devices to their hearing loss.
How LucidShape Works
Both Fio and Engage use an innovative app feature called Lucid Shape. If you've taken a hearing test, you'll remember that hearing is measured using an audiogram chart that shows the slope of your hearing loss across different frequencies.
Lucid mirrors this interface by letting you drag the line up and down to see which amplification works best.
I found this feature to be incredibly fascinating and dynamic compared to other hearing aids on the market. The downside is that you'll need to use some trial and error to find what works, and you might not get as accurate a program as you would through an audiologist or a product that auto programs your devices based on a hearing test.
Think of Lucid as the product for the person who wants the most control. If you want to mix your own sound and freely change things with the tap of a few buttons, you will likely love the Lucid app.
Overall Impressions of Lucid Hearing Aids
The Fio and Engage hearing aids from Lucid offer real customization, an impressive Bluetooth connection, and rechargeable batteries at a very competitive price.
There are little things about the product that feel slightly less premium than products from industry leaders like ReSound and Phonak. The case has less of a luxury finish, and the devices come in fewer colors.
Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise because Lucid Engage is just $999 compared to the national average of $4,500 from leading manufacturers.
Lucid puts the controls in your hands, which is attractive to many hearing aid wearers.
How to Purchase Lucid Hearing Aids
Lucid sells Fio and Engage hearing aids online. You can purchase the hearing aids online or schedule a free hearing test at any Local Sam’s Club to discuss your goals and determine if Lucid hearing aids are right for you.
At the time of this writing, it looks like appointments are available each day over the next week.
All Lucid hearing aids come with a 60-day money-back return policy.
Lucid at Sams Club
Lucid is the sole manufacturer for Sam's Club hearing clinics. The Lucid product in Sam's locations is called Liberty but is essentially the same as Lucid Engage. You can read more about Sam’s Club Hearing Aids here.
Lucid makes Liberty behind-the-ear style devices that are similar to the Engage product sold directly online. You can also get custom molded hearing aids from Lucid by visiting Sam's Club.
The big difference between Liberty and Engage hearing aids is that at Sam's Club, you will work with an in-person licensed provider to program your devices. The prices at Sam's Club will also be several hundred dollars more than over-the-counter or online prices.
Sam's Club hearing aids come with built-in LucidShape functionality that will give you the ability to make adjustments at home. For Sam’s Club members this might be the best of both prescription and over-the-counter worlds.
Lucid gets less attention than the largest manufacturers on the market but creates a good product with some unique features.
If you are a person who wants full control over your hearing aids or you want to access a premium device at a lower cost, Lucid could be a great fit.
Lucid Engage is one of the lowest-priced Bluetooth hearing aids available.