One of the bigger consumer audio companies to dive into the over-the-counter hearing aid market is Sennheiser. The brand’s efforts are the product of a partnership between the earbud giant and Sonova Hearing, which acquired Sennheiser’s hearing aid division in 2022. The new operation’s first product, All-Day Clear, arrived last summer, though it’s sadly missing the Dee Snider spokesmanship from Sennheiser’s previous hearing aid product.
Those expecting a fully in-ear product like Sony’s C10 and Sennheiser’s older Conversation Clear Plus may be surprised to see that the new All-Day Clear is a traditional hearing aid design that fits behind the ear and snakes the receiver into the ear canal on a thin wire. Each exterior housing contains a rocker with two physical buttons that control the volume. Either aid can be used to control the volume level for both left and right aids simultaneously. Holding one button down also lets you switch among three sound modes: default, “live music,” and a mode that works with the optional TV connector ($350), so you can stream audio directly from your television.
I immediately found these hearing aids more difficult than most—or really all other models I’ve tested—to get situated in my ear properly. The units are quite large, and the wire that connects to the in-ear receiver is long and difficult to wrangle. The main challenge I had was getting the receivers sufficiently into the ear canal, as the floppy wire kept pulling them loose. Once you get them placed properly, they stay there well and are comfortable to leave in for long stretches, but I typically spent a minute or longer getting that placement just right each time I put them on.
The All-Day Clear app is about as basic as they come. It sets up quickly and easily, walking you through a simple and straightforward tuning session to get things started. Controls are decidedly spare. The main display features a universal volume slider which can optionally be split between left and right channels. The aforementioned two or three sound modes are available here, as is a “fine tune” feature that pops up a very basic equalizer with three options: bass, mid, and treble, each of which can be tweaked from a –5 to +5 level. These tweaks make an impact, but if you’re looking to really fine-tune your hearing levels, they may be insufficient. A wind noise reduction option is available here too, but I didn’t get much out of it.
Let’s talk next about audio quality. I used these aids for multiple hours a day over the course of more than a week and was surprised to find they just weren’t all that effective, at least for me. In a typical household setting, I didn’t find conversations or television were significantly clearer with the hearing aids in versus without them—even at maximum volume. While all hearing aids tend to have a low level of hiss to contend with, the All-Day Clear units showcased some particularly annoying background noise whenever I moved the mid and/or treble sliders up, even a little. This wasn’t a typical static rumble but sounded more like a vacuum running in another room. At one point I genuinely thought someone was cleaning the floors in my house until I removed the aids, only to be greeted with blissful silence.
On the plus side, the design of the All-Day Clear hearing aids made them effective at minimizing the jarring amplification of your own voice to deafening levels, a drawback common to other hearing aids. And while I didn’t find that typing created a booming clack-clack-clack in my head (another common issue), I did find the aids uncomfortably amplified high-pitched squeaks that I didn’t know were there before, including noises from my keyboard and my office chair.