JLab says $99 hearing aids are on the way

Ahead of next week’s CES 2023 show in Las Vegas, JLab gives us a look at what it has to show attendees. The company, which has a reputation for very affordable audio gear, is showcasing the JBuds Mini, a $40 wireless headset that’s 30% smaller than the already pretty small JLab Go Air Pop. They come in a charging case designed to attach to a keychain like the Skullcandy Dime, and the entire package is no bigger than most wireless car keychains.

JLab

While previous JLab headsets came with charging cases with integrated USB cables, the JBuds Mini takes a more traditional approach with a separate USB-C cable. The JBuds Mini is expected to hit stores in the fall of 2023, with six hours per charge in the earbuds and 24 hours of playtime when you include the charging case. They are also compatible with Bluetooth Multipoint for simultaneous connection to two devices.

JLab also has something new for those who want a superior wireless experience. Also arriving in the fall, the $199 JLab Epic Lab Edition headphones use a hybrid driver design that combines a 10mm dynamic driver with a Knowles balanced armature (BA) driver. JLab says this produces the most detailed, balanced and clear sound the company has ever made from a headset. They also support wireless charging as well as JLab’s customizable active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency modes.

JLab Epic Lab Edition.
JLab

The most unusual aspect of these new buds is the USB-C dongle hiding inside the case. This allows devices such as phones and computers to connect to Epic Lab Edition using Bluetooth LE Audio. LE Audio introduces a new codec called LC3, which is more efficient than the previous Bluetooth standard SBC, but JLab is most concerned with low latency, which makes the LC3 a very good choice for gamers.

No word yet on battery life, whether Bluetooth Multipoint or Epic Lab Edition will support additional Bluetooth codecs such as AAC, LDAC or Qualcomm’s aptX codec family.

JLab OTC hearing aids.
JLab’s OTC Hearing Aids. JLab

Finally, JLab is taking a stab at the newly opened market for OTC hearing aids. While details are slim, the company says it plans to sell two types of these devices: OTC Hearing Aid ($99) and Self-Wearing OTC Hearing Aid (price is still TBD). JLab hasn’t said how these two devices will differ, but claims that both will offer a discreet design, iOS and Android streaming compatibility, “impressive” battery life, and a two-year warranty.

Considering that typical hearing aids cost thousands and even new OTC hearing aids from companies like Sony cost $1,000, a set of devices that cost just $100, if effective, will be a remarkable feat. JLab did not specify when the hearing products will hit the market.

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