The Pitch: "Turns ordinary hearing into extraordinary hearing"
April 2009. Loud 'N Clear is a small personal amplifier designed to help wearers hear things more clearly. Powered by a pair of size 312 hearing-aid batteries, Loud 'N Clear is designed to look like a Bluetooth headset. It is worn in the ear and held in place by a loop. Unlike a traditional hearing aid, which is fitted specifically to the user and designed to amplify specific sounds, Loud 'N Clear amplifies all sounds equally -- which is the big problem. The infomercial shows users effectively eavesdropping, something that testers say just isn't possible with this product. Furthermore, expert and user reviews say that it can actually be harder to hear in some situations.
Reviews for Loud 'N Clear are generally poor. Sensitivity is a major issue. Nearby sounds, like your own voice and even the rustling of fabric, seem to be picked up okay, but sounds that you would want to hear -- like a conversation a few feet away -- aren't picked up at all in many cases. Best results are had when the Loud 'N Clear's microphone is pointed directly at the sound source, but that can lead to a lot of uncomfortable twisting and turning. You could wear one in each ear -- and Loud 'N Clear is often marketed in pairs -- though that would pretty much ruin the illusion that you are wearing a Bluetooth headset rather than a hearing device. Turning up the amplifier doesn't really help as Loud 'N Clear generates a lot of its own noise at higher volume levels. Many also find Loud 'N Clear uncomfortable to wear.
Loud 'N Clear is marketed to a wide cross-section of potential customers, from those with hearing problems, to hunters wanting to get a leg up on their game in the field, to young singles on the bar scene and neighborhood snoops wanting to know what others are saying when they are out of earshot. In one professional review we found, the author compares the promises made for Loud 'N Clear to those made for X-Ray glasses that used to be hawked in comic books. Regardless of the marketing, however, most user reports we found come from seniors -- or from those who purchased one for an elderly relative or friend -- and most say they feel let down.
1. Columbus Alive
This article at Columbus Alive, which is owned by the Columbus Dispatch newspaper, takes Loud 'N Clear for a spin at a local restaurant. Phil the Gadget Guy says Loud 'N Clear did a good job amplifying the rustling of magazine pages and the fabric of his jacket, but not much else. He adds that he could hear the restaurant background music clearer, and the sound of screaming children -- though he says he would have heard that just fine without Loud 'N Clear -- but little else.
Review: Heard Wrong, "Phil the Gadget Guy", Dec. 18, 2008
2. Yeah, But Does it Work?
This blog has short reviews of several "As Seen on TV" products, including Loud 'N Clear. The reviewer says he could hear himself loud and clear -- but little else. He adds that the earpiece is uncomfortable to wear and that he heard a lot of background static.
Review: Loud 'N Clear, "Mo B", Feb. 23, 2009
There are only a handful of reviews here. One buyer gives Loud 'N Clear four stars in what we think is a tongue-in-cheek review: He says his wife likes it because it lets her know when he starts snoring. Everyone else, however, gives it the lowest possible rating. Inability to pick up sounds, amplification of ambient noise, and uncomfortable fit are the most common complaints.
Review: Loud 'N Clear, Contributors to Amazon.com
About as many people rate Loud 'N Clear here as at Amazon.com, and the pattern of dissatisfaction is similar. The least critical reviewer says that Loud 'N Clear amplifies the sound of his TV, but still reports discomfort and complains about the cost. All other reviews sum up their opinions by calling Loud N' Clear useless, worthless or worse.
Review: Loud N Clear Reviews and Ratings, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
We found a couple of positive reviews for Loud 'N Clear here. One user simply says it's "OK;" the other is more effusive, saying he can even hear the couple next door doing more than just talking. Another review calls Loud 'N Clear "satisfactory," but reports major issues with the company's customer service -- a complaint that a few others here echo as well. Other reviews on this site say that Loud 'N Clear simply does not work.
Review: Loud 'N Clear, Contributors to As Seen on TV Reviews.com
This site lets visitors post complaints and defenses of products advertised on TV. Loud 'N Clear has a small handful of complaints, but all deal with ordering or customer service problems. No defenses were posted as of our last visit.
Review: Loud N Clear Complaints, Contributors to InfomercialScams.com