SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie review
This discreet Bluetooth beanie facilitates easy phone calls with hearing aids
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Talking on the phone can be a thorn in the side of hard-of-hearing individuals like me. Getting the phone to work in tandem with hearing aids or getting the internal phone speaker volume just right can sometimes be an actual impossibility.
I got the SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie as a gift, which I was planning to use to listen to music more discreetly at work, but the SoundBot has become a staple for me when using my phone with my hearing impairment. I’m glad to have something that allows me to play my tunes without having to constantly be wary of who is watching me or having to continuously remove and reinsert earbuds or hearing aids. The SoundBot hat is unique in that it functions similarly to wireless earbuds, like Apple AirPods, except the wireless Bluetooth speakers are stitched into the hat’s material, making its speakers unnoticeable when placed over your ears.
About the SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie
The speakers are relatively lightweight. The hat weighs under 4 ounces in total, (less than a standard baseball cap) and the hat can likely accommodate most average-sized American adults comfortably despite being a little on the small side. The speakers have an internal rechargeable battery which uses a standard micro-USB input to charge, and the battery life is advertised to support eight hours of continuous use, though I have not used it for that long in a single session. The speaker on the right-hand side contains two volume rockers and a play/pause button, respectively. The SoundBot beanie comes in nearly a dozen colors and styles to fit your desired look, and the speakers are removable in the event you want to use it as a standard beanie hat or need to wash it.
Why I like the SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie
Talking on the phone
I’ve never come across a phone that had speakers powerful enough for me to carry on a conversation with ease. With the SoundBot, I find myself putting it on to make and receive phone calls on a casual basis or while working my day job in food service. The speakers are close enough to your ears that you can keep your conversations private, but not too close to cause major issues with hearing aids and other listening devices while on the phone. I primarily use this hat to talk on the phone and have had no issues with people on the other end hearing me through the built-in microphone.
Ease of use
This easy-to-connect Bluetooth hat allows me to keep my hearing aids in my ears and turn up the volume as loud as I need to for any situation. When using wireless earbuds, I have to take out my hearing aids, store them in a case, hope I don’t drop them, dig my earbuds out of their case, put earbuds in, and connect them to my phone to talk. With the SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie, I can throw it on, hold down the play button to turn the speakers on, and it quickly connects to my phone. I’m no longer removing, storing, or transferring my $1,500 hearing aids in and out of my ears, risking them becoming damaged or lost.
Unlike other wireless earbuds, the speakers in this hat are not too obvious. Other than the logo on the side of the hat, which does identify itself as being a SoundBot and has a small Bluetooth-indicative light on the side, it’s not very noticeable that you have speakers playing in your ears. It appears less rude when approaching or being approached by people and conversing. Unlike other wireless earbuds, you can pause your music or stop your phone call to talk to the individual who has approached you without touching your ears or having eyesore buds sticking out.
The SoundBot is also as cheap (if not cheaper) than many wireless earbuds, and it doubles as a warm, comfortable hat, which comes in handy during winter months.
What I don't like about the SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie
Like any headphones or earphones, you may experience some discomfort over time when using the Soundbot, though I’ve endured far less of it with this device compared to others.
Size of the hat
Sizing can be tricky with this hat. I have an average-size head, and I find myself wishing it was a little bit larger. That said, its smaller size keeps the speakers closer to the ears rather than sagging down below, so the smaller size does make some sense. It’s possible the SoundBot SB210 may not function as seamlessly for someone with a larger-than-average head size, however.
Should you buy the SoundBot SB210 Wireless Musical Beanie?
This has become one of my favorite products I use to help me live with my hearing loss. Using my smartphone to make calls used to be impractical without putting on speakerphone, allowing the entire room to listen in to my conversation. The SoundBot has been a great addition to my arsenal, and I recommend it to anyone who shares my predicament or doesn’t like the feel of traditional headphones and earbuds.
_Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.