We bet that most of you thought of some serious spy tech after reading the title, right? We tend to relate small listening devices to detective work, CIA, FBI, etc., however, in reality, there are many regular jobs and situations, where the use of small listening devices can make your life a lot easier.
Herein we will address two types of small listening devices. The majority of them fall into the recording listening devices category and the remaining fall into the live/assistive listening.
Both categories have very self-explanatory annotation – the first once serve to record any types of sound, which can then later be listened to, moderated, and edited, while the second type enables you to enhance your listening experience right there at the moment.
The recording listening devices are highly suitable for students, detective, journalists, doctors, writers, teachers, and everyone else who have the need to record someone else’s speech or make their own audio recordings in a subtle and practical way.
The assistive listening devices are mostly intended for individuals with hearing difficulties or for those just looking to drastically improve the listening experience. They are most often used by seniors for TV watching or in any other day-to-day situation that would require noise cancellation, amplification, listen-through, and other practical features.
Before we take a closer look at the best 7 small listening devices that we have selected, let’s go through some of the essential features of small listening devices.
Key Features of Small Listening Devices
Essential features of small listening devices for recording:
- A small practical size that is not immediately perceived as a voice recording device.
- Ability to capture sounds of the full range of human hearing abilities.
- Ease and practical record and stop button.
- Decent amount of storage to hold even longer recordings.
- Decent battery life so it can be used for an extended period of time.
- Easily transferable recorded audio files (connectivity to laptop/computer/mobile phone).
- Good to have (not essential):
- option to listen to recordings right on the device,
- noise reduction,
- option to manipulate recording on the recording device,
- voice-activated and continuous recording options.
Essential features of small listening devices for enhanced/assistive listening:
- Decent battery life
- Sound amplification
- Audio tone control
- Balance control (many individuals have different hearing abilities for each ear)
- Durability and flexibility (these sort of devices are often left on a couch and sat on, thus it is very important that they don’t fall apart the first time that happens)
Top 7 Small Listening Devices
We did our best to present you with 7 different types of devices so that you can see that there are many options and go with the type that best serves your small listening device needs.
Small Listening Device #1: Pen Recorder
Let’s say you are a student, then this device is a perfect match to record the lessons and use them for studying later on. It is an actual pen with a simple record switch on top. It has two microphones, one on top and one on the side for maximum sound intake.
This small listening device has an amazing battery life that can go on for continuous recording of 19 hours and lasts up to 30 days in standby. It also has a capacity of 8GB, which is enough to store 144 hours of recording, which is easily compared to many professional recording devices’ capabilities.
It has both, voice activation and continuous recording option. There is also a button right on top that enables one-touch recording by simply turning the record switch.
Voice activation recording is a great option for occasions that has a lot of silence intermission. The small listening devices operation in that option will go to sleep mode when there is no sound and then automatically start recording as soon as the sound appears.
It is easy to transfer files to a computer, where they can be listened to. Moreover, this device also comes with an OTG cable that enables you to listen to the recordings on your smartphone or tablet.
Small Listening Device #2: Mini Voice Recorder with a Screen
Our second choice is a highly practical device with professional capabilities and many extra features.
This mini voice recorder resembles a square smartwatch (display part). It is ultra-light and measures only 40 x 40 mm and is 14 mm thick (or should we say thin).
It has a very large storage of 16GB that can store up to 1160 hours of recordings. Its built-in rechargeable battery can last for a massive 25 hours of continuous recording and has a very quick charging time of only 1.5 hour. It also has continuous and voice-activated recording options.
To impress you further, this mini voice recorder has 8 quality recording modes, Bluetooth connection, FM radio, file browser, and even e-book reading (supports txt files). It further comes with a lock button, A-B repeat, it is easily connected to a laptop and also enables you to listen to the recordings or upload any music you like and use it as an MP3 player.
Small Listening Device #3: USB Stick Recorder
The third device we’ve selected looks just like any regular USB Stick. It is the same size and it actually has a USB connection on one side, which is used to connect the device with a laptop or PC to download the recording. On the opposite end, it has a record button, indicator light, and microphone.
It also has a hole for a small rope to place it on key or around your neck, the same way that many carry their regular USB sticks.
The USB Stick Recorder is able to store up to 188 hours of recordings on its 16GB storage. Its battery life is not as impressive compared to some other small listening devices presented herein, yet 15 hours is still more than enough.
It comes with a professional I16 Droid voice-activated audio recorder which boasts one of the highest bit rates. Easy one-touch operation makes things super practical.
Aside from storing audio recordings, you can actually use it as a USB key to store any other files.
The device has a unique USB connector that can be transformed into a micro USB, which means you can connect it in any laptop, PC or even smartphone or tablet. That way you can easily access WAV files recorded on it.
Small Listening Device #4: One Button Voice Recorder
One Button Voice Recorder is yet another great small listening device that offers great convenience, mostly due to its size compatibility and battery life.
It looks very similar to camera one-click remotes, it is super lightweight and fits even the smallest pockets.
It has a capacity of 8GB, which can store up to 90 hours of recordings. If fully charged, it can last for as many as 20 hours in a row.
It also has a voice activation sensor built-in, which enables it to conserve energy and record only when actually needed. Its rather large button allows for super easy and simple operation. It comes with a USB cable for a simple connection to any PC or laptop.
Small Listening Device #5: Keychain Recorder
This keychain recorder is highly practical and durable. It can be stored on your keys, which means you will always have it at your hands and be able to use it when needed.
It is equipped with a 16GB storage, which is more than enough to store all your voice recording and also your favorite songs since it has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning you can use it as a player to listen to the recordings, music, or any other audio tracks.
Its 160mAh lithium battery supports up to 20 hours of recording in a single charge, which is quite impressive. It has a simple single-button operation system and also a voice activation option.
Of course, it comes with a USB cable, which enables you to connect it to any device that has a USB port. The same cable is used for charging as well.
Small Listening Device #6: BeHear Access
With this small listening device, we are entering the second category – assistive listening devices.
BeHear Access is intended for those with hearing disabilities, making it a perfect choice for seniors. BeHear Access is an advanced personal hearing amplifier. It enables you to hear what is important.
It is suitable for all sorts of environments – from concert halls to coffee shops. The W&H BeHear app for Androids or iOS makes it possible for you to set up your device to perfectly meet your needs in the current environment. And to use the headphones for hearing impaired person when talking on telephones calls.
Aside from simple and quick adjustments, BeHear is also long-lasting and stylish. It also has an option to stream the TV sound directly to your ears and make sure you don’t miss a single sound.
BeHear can improve your day-to-day life immensely. It can enable you to communicate like never before and be a part of every conversation.
This device is capable of running for 13 hours on a single charge. It has the listen-through function, the easy-listen function, it amplifies sounds and reduces noise to maximize your experience. Moreover, it has large control buttons on both sides for extra simplicity.
Small Listening Device #7: SIMOLIO IR Wireless
Unlike BeHear presented above, which is suitable for multiple purposes, the SIMOLIO small listening device fully focuses on the TV watching experience. It comes with a base unit that is connected to the TV. Headphones are wirelessly connected to that base unit.
SIMOLIO is a perfect solution for those who want to improve their TV watching experience. After the initial installation, it offers maximum simplicity. The base unit also serves as a charging spot for the headphones (similar to home cordless phone). SIMOLIO is a perfect choice for all seniors who struggle with properly hearing the TV.
The receiving distance of the headphones is a maximum of 10 m and they can last up to 15 hours on a single charge. The headset is also very flexible and durable so it should last you for years.
Key Considerations before Buying Small listening devices
Herein we will cover all the points you should go through before buying any of the above best 7 small listening devices or any other small listening device. This section is essentially a small listening device buyer’s guide and it will drastically improve your chances of purchasing a device that will suit your needs.
Why Are You Buying One?
Before buying any small listening device (either for recording or assisted listening), you should know what is your main purpose of use. This will help you determine which the best fit is for you.
How Much Storage Do You Need?
On recording devices, the store is usually not a problem as you can easily and fast transfer the files to your laptop to free up space. However, it is recommended to aim for 8GB or more.
Do You Need A Noise Reduction Feature?
Noise reduction feature is essential if you plan to use your device in crowded places, where there is a lot of background noise. However, if you plan to use the device in a quiet environment, you can make it with noise reduction.
How Important Is Discreetness?
This fully depends on the purpose of use. If you want to record sounds, a voice without other people noticing, you should aim for maximum discreetness possible. If discreetness is not an issue for you, then don’t stress about it.
Cell Phone Compatibility
If a device is able to playback recordings on its self (has a headphone jack), then you don’t have to worry about phone connectivity. However, if it doesn’t allow you to listen to the recordings straight on it, it is nice for it to have phone compatibility.
Ease of Use
Ease of use allows you to get straight to usage, without any learning curve. If you are not that familiar with electronics, it is always smart to go with the maximum ease of use.
Voice activation is a good option as it allows you to save a lot of battery. However, it is important that the function is working well and doesn’t have a delay that would cause the initial words to be missed.
The size also fully depends on your needs. Though it is always easier to pack small devices, thus people normally aim for slim and small listening devices.
Help for Hearing Impaired
This is rather important when considering assistance listening devices.
Stay within your budget limits, though keep in mind that a higher price actually is very often an indication of quality.
Before purchasing any device take a look at the existing reviews. It is great if a device has at least 10 or more reviews to provide you with tangible opinions. Avoid buying products that have less than 3.5 stars.
We have covered a lot of details and provided you with much useful information that should help you a lot with your purchase of a small listening device. Remember to go through our buyer’s guide and make an informed decision.
If you want to save time on performing your own research, you can choose any of the best 7 small listening devices presented herein with confidence. Each of those will serve you well, however, make sure to buy the one that suits your needs.
We wish you great listening.