As Baby Boomers grow older, we don’t want anyone bringing that fact to our attention. We were the post World War II babies who were brought up believing that we were a golden generation for whom anything would be possible. Because WWII was “the war to end all wars,” our generation would enjoy the benefits of advances in education, medicine, and science including good health and long life. According to Statistica‘s 2021 study of Life Expectancy in the U.S. 1860-2020, life expectancy from birth doubled from 39.8 years in 1860 to 78.9 years in 2020. I was born in 1946, the leading edge of the ’46-’64 Baby Boomer generation. I’ve already outlived my average 64.7 year life-expectancy, but I raise my hand for buying into the Baby Boomer myths of omnipotence, omniscience, and immortality.

Olive Union’s new Olive Pro 2-in-1 hearing aids could be a good choice for Baby Boomers or any generation who would rather not wear hearing aids that look like hearing aids. The Olive Pro hearables do double duty as Bluetooth earbuds that resemble Apple AirPods. The Olive Pro set of two earbuds are FDA-registered Class II hearing aids. Olive Health sent a sample set to try so I could get a sense of how they well they function in both roles. I’m don’t use earbuds for streaming content, but I do currently wear conventional hearing aids for symmetrical moderately severe hearing loss augmented with moderate tinnitus.

The Olive Pro ships in a small box with the two hearing aids in a charging case, a USB-C charging cable (but no AC adapter), five pairs of domes in different sizes, and a comprehensive owners instruction manual. You can use the Olive Pro hearing aids right out of the box. Olive Health recommends you connect them with the My Olive app on an iOS or Android device to take a 5-minute self-hearing test, to make EQ adjustments, and to configure touch-control functions on the earbuds. The hearing test is a familiar tap-when-you-hear-a-sound exam which checks each ear. When the test is over you can use the app to apply the settings to your hearing aids or leave them configured as delivered.

The Olive Pro Hear-Thru feature is an AI-driven automatic noise cancellation system with three setting levels to block out ambient noise and amplify human voice. You can turn Hear-Thru off with the app or with a tap control. I configured the samples to increase or decrease the volume with a single tap to the right earbud to raise or the left earbud to lower the volume. I set a double tap to turn Hear-Thru on or off. I used the tap and hold feature to access the Voice Assistant on my phone (in my case Google Assistant). You can also configure a Music EQ on your phone by manually changing the relative volume on 10 frequencies or adjusting for boost bass, treble, and vocals. There are also three special EQ configurations specifically for people with high-frequency hearing loss (such as most male Baby Boomers). If you want to set up multiple EQ configurations, you can save them by name for different listening environments or types of music.

I had a positive experience with the Olive Pros. After taking the self-test and applying the results to the hearing aids, I configured them to use the moderate Hear-Thru level. My subjective impression was that the Hear-Thru feature kept background sound relatively quiet and voices were clear. I didn’t do noisy restaurant and talking while walking on a city sidewalk style tests, not did I test battery life. I listened to a Rolling Stones mix streaming from my phone with the Olive Pro and the sound was OK, but I don’t have a lot of comparison reference points because I’m not a frequent streamer. I did receive a few phone calls while streaming music and I was able to conduct conversations easily, although I had to turn up the call volume a bit.

According to Olive Health, a pair of fully charged Olive Pro hearing aids will operate up to 6 hours of listening to music, 5 hours of phone calls, or 9.5 hours listening in hearing aid mode. The charging case holds about two full charges, according to the company. Olive Health states the hearing aids recharge from zero to a full charge in less than one hour and the charging case takes up to an hour and 40 minutes to fully charge.

In sum, the app worked, the hardware worked, and it was all pretty easy to set up and operate. I wish the My Olive app supported Windows because I wanted to try them with Zoom and another video conference platform I use frequently with my conventional hearing aids, but you are limited to iOS and Android.

The Olive Health Olive Pro 2-in-1 hearing aids cost $300 on the company website. They are currently sold out but you can add your name and info to a wait list.

I was pleased with the Olive Pro hearing aids. I normally wear tiny behind-the-ear hearing aids that people seldom notice. I’m not terribly concerned if people see them and figure out I’m hearing impaired and possibly getting older. The Olive Pro AirPod-like styling doesn’t give away your secret, so I suppose that will appeal to some users. One company statement that seems a bit self-defeating refers to consumers who “could begin experiencing enhanced hearing assistance without the social stigma.” My family is so happy I’m finally wearing hearing aids instead of asking them to repeat everything they say that I may be biased in my acceptance.