Sony CRE-E10 Review

Prices, Sound Recordings, Models
Blake Cadwell
Blake Cadwell

Blake Cadwell is a hearing aid wearer and co-founder at Soundly. He regularly tests and reviews hearing technology to share his experience with Soundly’s readers. Blake's research and perspectives have been featured in the The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, AARP and FastCompany.

Updated
January 24, 2024
Methodology
i

Soundly is an independently owned hearing health research tool. Our reviews are conducted by hearing aid wearers and audiologists. We physically review the leading hearing aids on the market for sound quality, comfort, durability, and more. Our review process starts with hands-on unboxing and days, weeks, or months of wear. We also record live sound demos using a calibrated binaural microphone (read more here). We experiment with backend fitting software for prescription products and use test box measures to measure prescriptive accuracy and flexibility. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Read more about our story here.

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Affordable
In the Ear
OTC
Rechargeable
Bluetooth

Sony is the 3rd largest headphone maker in the world (behind Apple and Samsung).

The tech powerhouse stayed away from hearing aids until late 2022 when the FDA published new rules that allow hearing aids to sell over the counter (no doctor required). 

Shortly after the FDA's update, Sony announced that they would release two products.

Sony Offers Two Hearing Aid Designs

CRE-C10 - Invisible style without Bluetooth or rechargeable batteries

CRE-E10 - Earbud style with Bluetooth streaming and rechargeable batteries 

Both of the new OTC hearing aids from Sony were co-designed with hearing health giant WSA. WSA has decades of hearing aid experience and owns brands like Widex and Signia. 

Product Highlights

Consumer reviews of Sony CRE-E10 are mostly glowing (see below). Many users feel that Sony hearing aids go toe-toe with prescription options. You can hear a live sample of Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids above. 

The biggest complaints are that the CRE-E10 recharge case can be temperamental and that the devices are streaming-enabled with iPhone devices (sorry Android users). 

Pros 👍
  • Comfortable earbud-style fit with excellent sound quality 
  • Rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming (iPhone only for now)
  • Control over your program with an onboard hearing test and bass/treble controls 

Cons 👎
  • More expensive than some other OTC options 
  • Little to no professional support (you can call customer service with questions) 
  • More visible than their smaller CRE-C10 counterparts 
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Soundly Scorecard
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Hearing Loss Level 🔊
Mild - Moderate
  • Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids are sold over the counter and are appropriate for those with mild-moderate hearing loss
  • If you have more significant hearing loss it is recommended that you access professional care through Telehealth or local care
Care Type 🏥
Over-The-Counter
  • Available for purchase online or at retail stores Best Buy
  • Does not require a prescription from a doctor
  • Customize your hearing aids with an onboard hearing test and app-controls
Sound Quality 🔊
Strong in Background Noise
  • Sony CRE-E10 is made in collaboration with hearing leader WSA audiology
  • Some people compare this product to Signia Active Pro
  • Sony CRE-C10 offers excellent background noise in line with premium prescription hearing aids
Comfort 🦻
Somewhat Comfortable For All-Day Wear
  • Sony CRE-E10 sits in the ear like an earbud and comes with various ear tip sizes
  • The device is larger than other in-the-ear hearing aids but does a good job handling occlusion
  • Our team finds all in-the-ear models slightly less comfortable for all-day wear than RIC hearing aids

Style  💫
In The Ear - Earbud Style
  • Sits inside the ear like an earbud
  • Only available in black
Battery 🔋
Rechargeable Only
  • Sony CRE-E10 has built-in rechargeable batteries
  • 26 hour runtime on a single charge
  • Each pair comes with a sleek, portable charging case that includes additional, on-the-go charges
Connection 📡
Bluetooth Available
  • CRE-E10 only streams Bluetooth through iPhones at this time
  • CRE-E10 offers hands-free calling for iPhone users
  • Android users can use the hearing aid app
Dexterity Level 🤏
Easy
  • Sony CRE-E10 is very easy to handle
  • The recharge case includes convenient magnets that pull the product into place
  • No battery changes needed
Waterproof Level 💦
N/A
  • CRE-E10 has an IP Rating of IP68, which means it can be submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes
App features 📱
Has An App
  • The Sony Sound Control app allows users to take a test that programs their devices to match their hearing loss
  • The rest of the App is very minimal, with features to control directionality, volume, and bass + treble
  • The app is required to make changes (no buttons onboard)
How Programming Works
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CRE-E10 hearing aids pair with the Sony Sound Control app. CRE-E10 users are guided through a short hearing test via the App.

The test results are then used to program your hearing aids to match your hearing loss.

After the initial test, you can control the volume, directionality, and bass/treble through a simple app interface.

You will not work with a hearing professional to program your hearing aids at any point.

Sony does offer reputable customer service if technical issues arise.

Where to Buy
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Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids are available on Amazon or in select retail locations like Best Buy. 

CRE- E10 Vs. Alternatives
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CRE-E10 is most often compared to its sister product CRE-C10 and competitor Jabra Enhance Plus.

CRE-E10 offers similar sound quality and functionality to Jabra Enhance Plus, but we found that Sony's product is more comfortable.

CRE-E10 is significantly larger than CRE-C10, but we preferred its sound quality and streaming features for iPhone.

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Name

Full Review

Blake Cadwell
Written by
Blake Cadwell

Drumroll, please. There’s a new hearing aid in town.

Sony and WS Audiology are back with another device. If you follow this blog, you know that the brand duo released the CRE-C10 in October. You can read my full review of Sony’s nearly invisible CRE-C10 here.

Sony’s newest hearing aid goes by the (very similar) name Sony CRE-E10, and it comes with some big promises, including audiology-grade audio, self-programming, rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming (for iPhone users).

In this review, I’ll take you along for my unboxing experience, explain the pros and cons and even share some audio samples from my home recording rig.

Let’s get started!

First, some background.

If you are just learning about Sony’s entry into the hearing aid market I’ll catch you up. Sony is the 3rd largest headphone maker in the world (behind Apple and Samsung).

The tech powerhouse stayed away from hearing aids until late 2022, when the FDA published new rules that allow hearing aids to sell over the counter (no doctor required).

Shortly after the FDA announcement, Sony announced that they would release two products:

CRE-C10 - Invisible style without Bluetooth or rechargeable batteries
CRE-E10 - Earbud style with Bluetooth streaming and rechargeable batteries

Instead of going it alone, Sony formed a partnership with WS Audiology (the #2 hearing health company in the world.)

Sony sells and services their OTC devices, and WSA provides consult and underlying audio-grade technology.  

As of today, Sony’s hearing aids sell on Sony.com alongside headphones, tablets, and cameras.

It’s a telling snapshot of how far we’ve come from the “big and beige” options of the past. As a hearing aid wearer, I love to see it.  

But are these new Sony hearing aids worth it? In this review, we'll find out.  

Quick Facts About Sony CRE-E10  

Sony CRE-E10 compared to Sony CRE-E10
  • E10 is larger than C10 and takes on a modern earbud style.
  • E10 comes with Bluetooth streaming and rechargeable batteries.
  • Both devices use the Sony Hearing Control smartphone app to customize amplification to your hearing loss.
  • Both devices use the app to adjust volume and sound (no buttons)
  • Sony CRE-E10 retails at $1,299 (compared to $999 for CRE-C10)

Unboxing Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids.

Sony CRE-E10 Unboxing

CRE-E10 comes in a simple box with a recharging case nested inside. Both the packaging and recharge case has the premium feel you would expect from a tech leader like Sony.  

Sony CRE-E10 recharging case

One of the big selling points for the CRE-C10 is the rechargeable batteries. The devices and their recharging case look more like earbuds than hearing aids. That’s exciting for anyone looking for a hybrid solution they can pull out in tough listening environments.

Sony CRE-E10 in ear

CRE-E10 isn’t invisible, but it’s also far from clunky. I guess that 90% of people who see this device in my ear assume I’m listening to music. That can be good for some, but it can also be confusing in social settings.

On a few occasions, I found myself explaining that the devices were hearing aids that help me hear better and not a way to tune people out.

Sony CRE-C10 vs Sony CRE-E10

The photo above shows the size difference between CRE-E10 (on the left) and CRE-C10 (on the right). Both are good-looking devices, but the E10 is larger and more earbud-like.  

Let’s move on to the CRE-E10 app setup process.

Once my CRE-E10 hearing aids were out of the box I downloaded the Sony Hearing Control app to my iPhone. The Sony app is available to both Android and iPhone users but streaming capabilities are only available for iPhone users at this time.

The app guided me through a basic setup process and prompted me to create a Sony account.

Trouble (and solutions) while pairing my CRE-C10 hearing aids.  

After I set up my account and selected the CRE-E10 product my app took me into the device setup. This is where things started to break down.

I was able to figure it out and I’ll share how.

Step 1: Pairing My CRE-E10 hearing aids in the accessibility section of my iOS.

This step worked like a charm. I opened the settings app on my iPhone > opened the “accessibility” section > clicked “hearing devices” and took my Sony CRE-C10 hearing aids out of their case. They paired quickly and easily.

Step 2: Connecting to the app.

With my hearing aids paired, I re-opened the Sony app and received another set of instructions.

  1. Disconnect from any other Bluetooth devices (headphones, Apple watch etc.).
  2. Turn the device volume up to 75% (the app uses a high frequency tone to communicate with the devices)
  3. For iPhone users: change “audio routing” settings

It took me a moment to figure out the audio routing step so I created the tutorial below for anyone that might be struggling.

Sony hearing aid Bluetooth pairing

With all that out of the way, I still wasn’t hearing the test tone provided by the app, so I called Sony’s customer support at 877-864-7669.

An agent picked up within a few seconds, and I was pleasantly surprised at his knowledge of the devices.

Ultimately he suggested that I shut down my phone and restart it. Oldest trick in the books, but it worked, and I was on my way.

Step 3: Customizing my Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids

With all that out of the way I started the setup process.

The Sony app tested my hearing through a series of tones (played through my hearing aids) and when the test was complete it took a moment to update the devices to match my hearing loss.

This part of the process was simple and easy to navigate.

Sony CRE-C10 hearing test and customization

Controlling my CRE-E10 hearing aids through the Sony Hearing Control app.

Once your hearing aids are setup, you will have access to the remote control inside the app. Sony opted for an incredibly simple remote control system with just three screens.

  • Screen one changes the volume
  • Screen two changes the pitch from bass to treble
  • Screen three changes the directional focus of the devices

How did the Sony CRE-C10 sound?

I wore my CRE-E10 hearing aids while watching TV, interacting with co-workers, and running daily errands. These were my early impressions:

Comfort 7/10 - CRE-E10 is quite comfortable for a non-custom molded hearing aid. I find behind-the-ear style hearing aids like Bose or Jabra Enhance Select are typically more comfortable for all-day wear. I could imagine wearing CRE-E10 for a few hours at a time, but likely not all day.

Sound quality 8/10 - After I customized CRE-E10 to my hearing loss the the sound quality felt clear and loud. I was able to get significantly more amplification from CRE-E10 than the smaller CRE-C10 (you’ll see some notes about volume in my full CRE-C10 review). I did experience some occlusion (boomy sound of my own voice) due to the larger, in-ear style.  

Speech understanding 8/10 - CRE-E10 gave me crisp, clear sound in conversations and in front of the TV. I was impressed!

Background noise 8/10 - Lower priced devices typically break down in more complex environments but CRE-E10 handled surprisingly well in background noise. I was able to understand voices with ambient background noise, cross-talk and music.

If you want to hear CRE-E10 for yourself we've recorded sound samples on this page.

I hope you’ve found this review helpful! If you’ve tried CRE-C10 or have further questions I’d love to hear from you at hello@soundly.com.

Blake Cadwell
Written by
Blake Cadwell
Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff

Blake Cadwell is a hearing aid wearer and co-founder at Soundly. Soundly began as a passion project after Blake’s frustrating search for hearing aids. Blake regularly tests and reviews hearing technology to share his experience with Soundly’s readers.

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

The breakdown

We tested CRE-E10 hearing aids in a variety of environments including in front of the TV, out in public, and in quiet conversations.

CRE-E10 gave us crisp, clear sound in conversations and front of the TV. We were impressed. 

Overall we felt this was a high-quality product, although it is somewhat less comfortable than behind-the-ear style hearing aids like Bose or Jabra Enhance Select.

Sony CRE-E10 Unboxing
Sony CRE-E10 reviewSony hearing aids in ear

The tech inside

The Sony app is incredibly simple to use. We did have some issues pairing our CRE-E10 hearing aids.

Ultimately we corrected those issues through a call with customer service.

With that snafu out of the way, we felt the overall technology experience was on-par with other OTC leaders. 

Getting up close

Sony CRE-E10 hearing aids sit inside the ear and come with a variety of eartips to fit various ear canals. Sony CRE-E10 comes in only black at this time. The devices look more like a pair of Sony earbuds than a pair of hearing aids. The sleek matte black finish is a really nice touch.

Hand holding Sony CRE-E10 hearing aid

Overall notes:

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