Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus BT buds – the step before hearing aids (AV review)

As its name implies, the Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus are Bluetooth buds assisting clear conversation. But as Sennheiser points out, it is not a hearing aid meant to treat hearing loss.

Hearing loss is way more complex. It can be as simple as the loss of volume (in which case these are appropriate) to loss of specific frequencies, reduction of frequency range, including sibilance S sounds like ssss (in which case see an audiologist). Pulsatile Tinnitus and Tinnitus sufferers probably should avoid these, although it does have some AI occlusion control.

Sennheiser also makes it clear that you should only consider these if you:

  • Have no difficulties understanding everyday speech when having conversations in quiet situations.
  • Can hear birds chirping outside.
  • Have no noticeable hearing differences between your ears.

If you have difficulties with any of the situations above, we advise that you visit an audiologist/ENT instead.

That is good advice.

Consumer Advice: Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are risky

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 2022 approved the OTC Hearing Aid Act (a good read). The Act was to facilitate innovation and increases competition by lowering the barriers to entry for new hearing aid manufacturers.

But consequently, there has been a flood of so-called personal sound amplification products (PSAP) from China that are useless and make unsubstantiated claims like “Hear 50X better”. So much so that the FDA advises that anything called an ‘amplifier’ won’t help with hearing loss.

In Australia, OTCs must have a Therapeutic Goods Administration registration. So far, it has not registered any OTC or PSAP products, often called self-fitting.

Warning – do not believe any claims about OTC/PSAP being as good as hearing aids.

Australian review: Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus

WebsiteProduct Page and Manual
Price$1399.95 for Black
FromSennheiser online, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Qantas Marketplace, Addicted to Audio, Amazon
Warranty2-year warranty (exceed)
Made inSwitzerland and Vietnam
CompanySennheiser (Est 1945) is a German privately-held audio company specialising in designing and producing a wide range of high-fidelity products, including microphones, headphones, telephone accessories, and aviation headsets for personal, professional, and business applications.
Sonova Holding, based in Switzerland – a global medical hearing solutions provider, now owns its consumer audio business.
MoreCybershack Sennheiser news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Passable (meets low expectations), Pass (meets expectations), Pass+ (near Exceed but not class-leading) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First Impression – Talk is not cheap – Pass+

I am a perfect test subject. My hearing frequency range is excellent for a sexagenarian – 30Hz-12kHz. However, years of loud occupational noise (at a rifle range as a youth) have left me with difficulty hearing conversation in noisy environments like restaurants, conferences and even at home with music or TV playing.

The Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus looks very much like a typical pair of BT earphone buds. But at $1399, clearly, they are not. They are specifically for clearer hearing, and 95% of users experience significant speech enhancement in noisy situations (source).

They come with S/M/L silicone ear tips, S/M/L wing tips, and a USB-C charge case – no Qi wireless.

Controls are via a top press button (short and long press/double tap) on each if you can remember what each does in the three modes.

Setup – Pass

First, pair with the BT host device. It uses BT 4.2, SBC codec, and 16-bit/44100Hz stereo. It can pair to 8 devices and will try to connect to the last two paired devices. There is no support for multi-point or fast pairing.

Why not 5.2 BLE? The older version is fine and offers wider compatibility with older host devices like TVs.

App Android or iOS – Pass

The App requires setting up an account using an email address and password. It also knows the country and encourages you to add a phone number and agree to receive marketing information.

Privacy terms are benign. Apart from firmware updates, the App has three main functions (and the control panel is beside these).

Relax – Pass

This active noise reduction mode isolates you from your surroundings, offering 0-100% ANC to ambient mode via two mics per bud. It uses noise isolation from the silicone ear tips (must be a good fit) and anti-noise generated from the external mics. This is effective.

Communication – Pass+

Purely for conversations in noisy environments. While the App only allows for 0-17 volume adjustment (I needed 14-16), its smarts identify and amplify voices (1-4kHz) and recess the noisy sounds around you. This changes the timbre of the voice and background noise and takes some getting used to.

Steaming – Passable

For listening to music, it can vary the ratio of ambient sound to streaming music. Music tends to be flat. It is not recommended.

Comfort – Pass+

They weigh 5.7g each, which is light but has a larger physical size. The three sizes of wing tip mean a secure fit, and the three sizes of ear tip mean you can get better noise isolation (although there is no fit pressure test in the App).

We wore them all day for several days, and there was no undue pressure or ear irritation. But as with any earbuds, we suggest a few hours of use is best.

Battery – Pass

Each but has a 70mA battery for 9 hours (assumed at 50% volume in communications mode) – we got 6 hours on level 14 (1-17 levels).

The case has a 500mAh battery for an extra 27 hours (we expect 18 hours), but it has an exceptionally slow USB-C 5V/1A/5W charge at a little over 5 hours.  A 5-minute fast charge in the case gives up to 60 minutes of listening.

How do they sound?

It is all custom tech, from the 12mm drivers and beam forming mics to the DSP and chipset. The tuning is focused on helping to hear clear voice in noisy surroundings,

Music – Fail

It is not a patch on the Sennheiser Momentum 3 BT/ANC earphones. In comparison, the music lacks definition, dynamism, sharpness, and pleasure.

Communication – Pass+

They work well except in very noisy surroundings (night clubbing is out). But you need to get used to the sound. It is tinny, lacking bass and treble. You may hear things you never heard, like the clinking of keys or the sound of a glass being put on a table.

The Clarity Boost focuses on voices further by cutting the frequency range focus.

Podcasts – Pass

Video/audio conferences are acceptable, although the mode swapped from Streaming to Communication without warning.

TV – Pass

There is some perceptible latency (lip sync), but it is negligible unless you really look for it. It is fine for voice but not for musical TV content.

Soundstage – Pass

The stage is narrow and appears to come from well within your head. That means stereo separation is not as well defined.

Voice control – Pass+

Siri, Alexa, and Google are all available and do as they are told.

Hands-free – Pass

While it is usually good, and callers comment on the clear voice, it cannot handle wind noise.

IP – Pass

It is IPX4 rated for water splashes like rain, although it lacks any format dust rating.

Inbox – Pass

Two earbuds, three sizes of ear tips and ear fins (small through large), a charging case, and a USB-C cable.

We can only presume that Sennheiser will provide replacement parts for many years.

CyberShack’s view – Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus BT bud help hearing in noisy environments

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus is not a replacement for a hearing aid but can provide clear voice reinforcement. We call it a speech-optimised hearable.

Users will initially feel a significant change in their hearing experience. The focus on clear voice and noise removal means a shift in timbre (tone colour, and quality). But it is more pronounced than hearing aid users initially experience as it is not tailored to your hearing needs – just volume and clarity.

Should you buy them?

If your hearing is only mildly impaired and you don’t mind wearing buds in social situations, then yes.

For everyone else, consult an audiologist to get a tailor-made hearing aid to do this and much more.

Further reading


We cannot formally rate these as we have no benchmarks. The ratings below are indicative at best.

  • Features: 80 – basic App lacks any EQ
  • Value: 80 – Sennheiser has many intangibles that allow it to charge $1399 but we can;t help but feel this is too close to entry level hearing aids.
  • Performance: 90 as a clear voice enhancer in noisy environments. Fail as music buds.
  • Ease of Use: 80 – easy enough to setup, and the two tests are basic volume and clarity.
  • Design: 80 – typical Sennheiser well made.


Having yet to try any other speech-optimised hearables, it is hard to comment. Other brands include.

  • Apple iPod Pro Gen 2 claims to offer hearing-aid-like features.
  • Sony CRE-10 offer an OTC in the USA
  • Bose has Hearphones OTC in the USA
  • Nuheara IQbuds2 ash OTC in the USA


  • Effective speech enhancement in most noisy environments


  • Larger size and more visible
  • Not a hearing aid and won’t work for those with hearing impairment
  • Can’t import audiogram data – it is about volume and clarity only
  • If music is your priority, get the Sennheiser Momentum 3
  • Changes the timbre of voice and sounds
  • A tad expensive
  • Slow charging

Sennheiser Conversation Clear Plus BT buds