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Jabra Enhance Plus
February 25, 2022
Earbuds: $799 USD
Belcare+: $199 USD
Total: $998 USD
Earbud: 19 x 14.5 x 12.5 mm
Case: 70.14 x 46.81 x 24.1 mm
Earbud, no tip: 2.96g
Left earbud: WOE46L 03
Right earbud: WOE46R 03
The Enhance Plus is Jabra’s first advance into the direct-to-consumers hearable device market. Its parent company GN, however, isn’t new to this niche—it’s one of only six global hearing aid manufacturers. Does this give Jabra a leg up?
Our tests of the Jabra Enhance Plus yielded mixed results. If you’re an Android user, you can skip right to our alternative recommendations, as these hearables only work with iOS (for now). Keep reading if your main goal is to hear better in everyday situations.
Editor’s note: this Jabra Enhance Plus review was updated on February 22, 2023, to address frequently asked questions.
iOS users with mild-to-moderate hearing loss can benefit from the enhanced hearing features built into these true wireless earbuds. Active people will love the Jabra Enhance Plus’s compact and ultra-light design, as well as its IP52 dust and water resistance. Bike riders, walkers, or runners can simultaneously listen to music and stay aware of their surroundings.
What’s it like to use the Jabra Enhance Plus?
The Jabra Enhance Plus’ ultra-small form factor immediately stands out. At just under 3g, each earbud weighs about half as much as standard in-ears. Thanks to their tiny size, the buds almost disappear in your ears.
The charging case is equally compact and lightweight. It features a matte dark-grey exterior, C-shaped rubber feet, and a rubber interior that’s pleasant to the touch. Magnets make the earbuds snap into place and secure the lid. A single LED at the front indicates the case’s battery status, and you can plug in the USB-C charging cable at the back. The case is so small that it fits into the coin pocket of our jeans.
Aesthetically, the Jabra Enhance Plus remains conservative. Each earbud features a single multi-function button with a discreet Jabra logo, an embossed L or R (for left or right, respectively) on its rear end, and a color-coded ear tip connector (blue is left, red is right). The side facing your ear hides the charging connectors and printed product details. Note that if you’re allergic to nickel, the copper charging connectors could pose an issue as they might touch your skin. Jabra includes three pairs of clear silicone EarGels with the Enhance Plus, which should help most users find a secure and comfortable fit.
How do you control the Jabra Enhance Plus?
The single-button design is user friendly, but also limits your options. You can increase or decrease the Listen Mode volume with a single press on the left or right button, respectively. Double-press the left earbud to mute the Listen Mode microphone. To answer a call, press the right button; a double-press ends or rejects the call. You can’t use the earbuds to switch between Listen Modes, nor can you control media. For the former, you’ll need to download the Jabra Enhance iOS app.
Listen Mode volume down
Listen Mode volume up, answer call
End or reject call
Yes, although this will be done automatically when you create your personalized hearing profile using the app. There’s no way to manually control the volume of each earbud by itself.
Should you download the Jabra Enhance app?
The Jabra Enhance app is essential to using the Enhance Plus earbuds. The app guides you through the setup process, from pairing the earbuds with your iPhone to personalizing them to your unique hearing profile.
In the Jabra Enhance app, you can check the earbuds’ charging status, control the volume, and switch between the three Listen Modes. You can also apply one of three speech filters; clear, normal, or full. During the initial setup or under Settings > My Profile, a recorded conversation helps you pick the filter that sounds most natural to you.
The Listen Modes change how the microphones pick up sound. In Focus Mode, the microphones will target sound coming from your front. To pick up sound from anywhere in your environment, switch to Surround Mode. To let the microphones choose, stay in Adaptive Mode. You need an iPhone with iOS 14 or later to run the app and pair the earbuds.
While the Jabra Enhance Plus features Bluetooth 5.2, it’s certified under the Made For iPhone (MFi) hearing devices program, meaning it’s incompatible with Android, Windows, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device that doesn’t support MFi. Unfortunately, you also can’t use it with macOS. It’s unclear when the Enhance Plus will work with Android, but Jabra is actively working on it.
The personalization feature, which is a simplified hearing test, involves tapping the screen when you hear a sound.
What Bluetooth codecs does the Jabra Enhance Plus support?
The Jabra Enhance Plus runs on Bluetooth 5.2 and supports the SBC and AAC codecs. This is in line with its lack of support for non-Apple platforms as AAC works best with iOS. Again, the iPhone is the only device you can pair the Jabra Enhance Plus with. While you can pair the earbuds in the absence of the Jabra Enhance app, you won’t be able to set them up.
- Download and install the Jabra Enhance app from the Apple App Store (iPhone only).
- Remove the earbuds from the charging case and wait until the LEDs light up green; they should power on automatically.
- Press and hold the earbud button of both the left and the right earbud for three seconds until the LEDs flash blue; the earbuds are now in pairing mode.
- On your iPhone, head to Settings > Accessibility > Hearing Devices and tap the Your Hearing Devices option.
- Tap Pair to accept the pairing requests for the left and right earbud to your iPhone.
- Now open the Jabra Enhance app and follow the on-screen setup and personalization instructions.
How long does the battery last on the Jabra Enhance Plus?
According to Jabra, these earbuds run for 10 hours per charge. In our standardized battery test using a constant playback of real music peaking at 75dB(SPL), the Jabra Enhance Plus achieved over 14 hours of battery life, which is a good 40% more than the advertised runtime. Aside from volume, battery life also depends on the use of features, such as the microphone in Listen Mode, so your mileage may vary.
The case holds two full charges, bringing the total battery life up to over 30 hours. The battery life is solid, considering the size of the earbuds and charging case. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is twice as heavy as the Enhance Plus, but only provides half of the Jabra’s projected battery life per charge.
How well does the Jabra Enhance Plus block noise?
The Jabra’s passive isolation (dashed pink line) is similar to any other set of earbuds. Except that, in this case, we actually had to deplete the battery to turn the earbuds completely off. Since these earbuds come with environmental-based and impulse noise reduction built-in, i.e., features we can’t turn off, this was the only way to receive a clean measurement.
In its default state and with Listen Mode enabled (here: Active mode, cyan line), the Jabra Enhance Plus is amplifying surrounding sound, as it should; after all, it’s a hearing device. The earbuds do, however, reject some ambient noise in the treble range, past the 3kHz mark and peaking at 10kHz.
Keep in mind that spoken language ranges from approximately 125Hz up to 8kHz. The frequencies most important for speech intelligibility, however, range from 1-4kHz, which is where isolating speech from noise would be most useful. The Jabra’s active and passive noise attenuation largely stays clear of these frequencies. However, we have yet to test how well the Enhance Plus can isolate speech over background noise.
Note that you can turn Listen Mode down (the default amplification setting is 7/10). To get the full benefit of the Jabra Enhance Plus’s passive isolation, you can also turn Listen Mode off. With Listen Mode disabled, the Jabra hearables continue to enhance streaming audio based on your hearing profile.
How does the Jabra Enhance Plus sound?
Measured on our B&K 5128 test head, the output frequency response of the Jabra Enhance Plus deviates considerably from our target curve for consumer headphones and earbuds at both the low and high ends of the spectrum. Even with with the best ear seal we could manage, bass is not well represented, but above 200Hz, the Enhance Plus’ performance stays close to our target curve until it drops off prematurely at around 8kHz, which is typical for hearing aids.
Lows, mids, and highs
Even with Listen Mode disabled, the sound quality of these earbuds doesn’t work well for music. Everything melts together into a tinny-sounding concoction in Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. The bass is almost inaudible while the high-pitched piano and vocals, relative to the bass, are harshly over-emphasized. While you can generally distinguish between elements of a song, the music lacks any kind of bass and low-midrange impact. This is reflected by our measurement chart above, which shows that music playback is quite bandwidth-limited compared to typical earbuds.
A standout feature is that the Enhance Plus’s sound personalization applies to both Listen Mode and streaming audio. This corrects the imbalance for people with uneven or one-sided hearing loss, at least to some degree, which can improve your overall listening experience.
Does the Enhance Plus actually sound good in the real world?
The Jabra Enhance Plus features signal processing technology to enhance speech intelligibility. “Environmental-based noise reduction” quiets background noise, “expansion” lowers low-level sounds in quiet environments, “impulse noise reduction” takes the edge off of sudden and loud sounds, and “automatic digital feedback suppression” prevents unpleasant feedback whistling during sound amplification. We don’t yet have a test configuration to verify these marketing claims for hearable devices. From my subjective perspective, the enhanced sound in Listen Mode is mostly pleasant and speech comes through clearly, even in noisy environments. However, I do notice a few issues.
The outdoors is a challenge. In Listen Mode, I can hear wind noise, indicating that sound artifacts affecting the microphone aren’t properly filtered. The earbuds also enhance sounds you might not want to hear, including your own voice, causing the so-called occlusion effect. This is a normal side effect of hearing devices, and it can be irritating at first but you can get used to it.
Can you use the Jabra Enhance Plus for phone calls?
The Jabra Enhance Plus supports hands-free calling on iPhone 11 and iOS 15.3+ only. When paired with these earbuds, our iPhone 8 defaults to its own internal microphone for calls or recordings. Hence, I can’t test the microphone or prepare our usual microphone sample.
Should you buy the Jabra Enhance Plus?
The Jabra Enhance Plus is a hearable device best suited for amplifying speech. If that’s what you’re looking for, and if you own an iPhone 11 or later, the Enhance Plus is worth considering.
Like most hearing aids, the Jabra Enhance Plus doesn’t reproduce frequencies beyond 8kHz. This makes sense, as hearing loss typically affects higher frequencies first. Moreover, including a wider frequency range would require a higher sampling rate and more processing power, which would take an increase in size or decrease in battery life.
However, people with mild hearing loss can often hear frequencies well beyond 8kHz, they might just require more volume to hear them well. What’s more, our measurements indicate that the Enhance Plus doesn’t reproduce bass at all. Hence, before you head out to buy this hearable device, make sure the sound quality won’t be a significant nuisance in your ears.
For people who face serious trouble following conversations in noisy environments, I recommend neither the Jabra Enhance Plus nor any other over-the-counter or direct-to-consumer hearable device. Chances are your hearing loss is more severe than mild-to-moderate. Please consult an ENT or audiologist. If they can rule out treatable causes for your hearing loss, they will likely recommend that you get a real hearing aid. If you also suffer from ringing in your ears, consider these hearing aids with tinnitus masking.
Where can you buy the Jabra Enhance Plus?
While Jabra is marketing the Enhance Plus as a direct-to-consumer hearable device, you currently can’t buy it online.
The FDA has cleared the Jabra Enhance Plus under the self-fitting hearing aid category. As of October 17, 2022, Enhance Plus is available for purchase over the counter. You can also buy the Enhance Plus through state-licensed audiologists and hearing instrument specialists.
Note that Beltone, one of the major distributors of the Jabra Enhance Plus, currently charges an extra $199 USD for its Belcare+ package, bringing the total price up to $998 USD. The package includes an initial hearing evaluation, fitting assistance, and access to Belton Hearing Care Professionals service and support. While this may sound like a hefty fee for fitting earbuds, the hearing evaluation is well worth the added price tag as it might uncover an underlying medical issue of your hearing loss.
Jabra Enhance Plus vs AirPods Pro (2nd generation): Which is the better hearable device?
If you have mild hearing loss and an iPhone running iOS 14 or higher, you might be better off with the Apple AirPods Pro series. The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has Adaptive Transparency Mode that lets you amplify surrounding sounds, similar to hearing aids. The “adaptive” aspect of it minimizes the loudness of unpredictable, piercing noises in real time. If you walk by a construction site with Adaptive Transprancey mode on, the sounds of the workers’ tools won’t be as harsh or painful to hear through your earbuds. With the AirPods Pro (1st generation), you get a standard Transparency mode, amplifying all noises without the ability to mitigate the loudness of unpredictable sounds.
While the AirPods Pro likely lacks advanced speech processing, you can customize its audio profile after enabling the accessibility feature, and you’ll find its streaming sound quality much more pleasing. The AirPods Pro also features good ANC, comprehensive media controls (on iOS), and it’s much more affordable than the Jabra Enhance Plus.
On your iPhone running iOS 14+, head into Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual and turn on Headphone Accommodations. Tap the Custom Audio Setup link to customize the audio profile of your earbuds.
What should you get instead of the Jabra Enhance Plus?
Android phone owners with mild-to-moderate hearing loss don’t have too many attractive options, but here’s one: Olive Union is set to release a second version of its Olive Pro hearable earbud. The Olive Pro has better sound quality overall than the Jabra Enhance Plus, especially in the bass range, but environmental noise artifacts and battery life are much worse.
iPhone users serious about treating a beginning hearing loss should look into the Signia Active Pro. With up to 24 hours of battery life per charge, these earbud-style hearing aids offer excellent performance in a form factor similar to the Enhance Plus. Moreover, the Active Pro manages to remove the kind of outdoor sound artifacts the Jabra Enhance Plus and the Olive Pro struggle with.
While I have previously reviewed the Signia Active Pro and didn’t notice any issues, SoundGuys hasn’t tested the earbuds, so I can’t comment on the sound quality. Unfortunately, the Signia Active Pro has not been cleared as self-fitting hearing aids, meaning you’ll have to consult with a licensed hearing care professional. Typically, this means you’ll pay a bundled price, which includes a hearing evaluation, hearing aid fitting, and ongoing care—expect to be quoted north of $2,500 USD per set.
Frequently asked questions about the Jabra Enhance Plus
Yes, you can pair the Jabra Enhance Plus with up to five iOS devices. However, it doesn’t support Bluetooth multipoint, so you can only use one device at a time. To pair the Enhance Plus with a new device, either turn off Bluetooth on previously paired devices, or manually turn off the earbuds, then boot them straight into pairing mode.
No. The Jabra Enhance app, which is required for setting up the Jabra Enhance Plus OTC hearing aid earbuds, is only available on the App Store for iPhone and it requires iOS14 or later.
Once you’ve set up the Jabra Enhance Plus, you can use them as OTC hearing aids without your iPhone close-by. To switch between Listen Modes or apply speech filters, however, you’ll need to access the Jabra Enhance app on your iPhone.