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Audien Hearing Aids Review: Are These Budget Hearing Aids Right for You?

Jun 29, 2022

By Chrissy Holm
Medically Reviewed by Brad Ingrao, AuD
Reviewed by Kathleen CameronBSPharm, MPH, Senior Director of NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Affiliate Disclosure
This content and its featured products and services were independently reviewed by a third-party, credentialed Reviews Team. If you make a purchase using the links included, our partners may earn a commission. NCOA, however, does not receive a commission for purchases.
Audien Hearing Best for the Money
  • Inexpensive and available to buy online
  • Rechargeable batteries for both models
  • Available for mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Doesn’t require a hearing test to purchase

Key Takeaways

  • The cost of Audien hearing aids starts at $99–$249 per pair, which is very low compared to other brands.
  • You can purchase Audien hearing aids online, without seeing an audiologist or licensed hearing instrument specialist.
  • The company offers two in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids designed for mild to moderate hearing loss, and two personal sound amplification products (PSAPs).

Is finding affordable hearing aids a top priority for you? It is for many hearing aid shoppers—more than 28% of respondents in our Reviews Team’s survey of hearing aid users ranked price as the most important thing they look for in a hearing aid.

Since Audien offers some of the least expensive hearing devices on the market, our Reviews Team created this independent review of Audien hearing aids, which breaks down the following:

  • Pros and cons of the company
  • Difference between hearing aids and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs)
  • Various Audien hearing aid models
  • Costs and how to pay for Audien hearing aids
  • Audien customer reviews

Our goal is to help you to decide whether Audien is right for you. For more information on finding the right hearing aids and why our Reviews Team named the Audien Atom Pro “Best for the Money,” see our best hearing aids review.

Why trust our expert review?

5,300
Hours of Research
12
Experts Consulted
1
Surveys deployed

Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe will provide value in the lives of our readers. We’ve spent more than 5,000 hours conducting in-depth research on hearing aid devices to give you the most accurate hearing aid review. To make these selections, we:

  • Consulted with audiologists and geriatric care experts
  • Mystery shopped 18 brands
  • Surveyed hundreds of hearing aid users
  • Tested various models of hearing aids
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read thousands of verified customer reviews

Read more about our hearing aids review methodology.

Why we chose to review Audien

Our Reviews Team chose to evaluate Audien because the company offers a potentially cost-effective alternative to traditional hearing aids, which cost $4,600 per pair on average.1

In our Reviews Team’s survey of hearing aid users, nearly 30% of respondents said the biggest challenge with their hearing aids was the high cost. With price being such a concern for many potential hearing aids customers (especially older adults on a fixed income), we wanted to review a company like Audien that produces some of the most affordable hearing aids on the market.

Audien hearing aids are also easy to purchase—you can buy them online without a prescription, and all models have rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are another highly valued hearing aids feature—respondents to our survey rated rechargeable batteries as the second-most important hearing aids feature, behind only digital noise reduction. 

The combination of low price with desirable features made our Reviews Team want to take a closer look at Audien hearing aids and Audien reviews.

Pros and cons of Audien hearing aids

Pros Inexpensive and available to buy online Rechargeable batteries for both models Available for mild to moderate hearing loss Doesn't require a hearing test to purchase
Cons Limited one-year warranty Doesn't include high tech features such as telecoil, tinnitus management, Bluetooth capability, or noise reduction No smartphone app, which most other hearing aid brands offer Not designed for severe or profound hearing loss No free trial period (offers 45-day money-back guarantee)

Table 1 Comparison of Audien hearing aid models, as of June 2022

Audien Atom

Audien Atom Pro

Cost

$99

$249

Type of hearing aid

ITC

ITC

Type of hearing loss

Mild to moderate

Mild to moderate

Rechargeable battery

Yes

Yes

Bluetooth capability

No

No

Customization

No

No

Water resistant

No

No

Telecoil

No

No

Directional microphone

No

No

Noise reduction

No

No

Processing channels

No

No

Audien hearing aid models

Two small rechargeable Audien hearing aids next to their black charging case

Audien Atom

  • Cost: $99
  • Dimensions: 
    • Top (part that’s outside of your ear): 1.4 cm x 0.9 cm (height x length)
    • Bottom (part that fits inside your ear): 0.4 cm H x 0.4 cm L
  • Weight: 1.9 grams
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth compatible: No

The Audien Atom is the company’s most affordable model. It’s an in-the-canal hearing aid that only weighs 1.9 grams, which is approximately the weight of two U.S. dollar bills.2

This model includes a wireless charging dock with compartments for each hearing aid. The dock plugs into a standard wall outlet and takes 4–6 hours to reach a full charge of 20 hours of use.

The Atom is the only Audien hearing aid that automatically turns off the hearing aids while charging, which can help speed up charging time.

Besides rechargeable batteries, the Atom is a basic model with no special features such as Bluetooth technology, noise reduction, or directional microphones.

Two small rechargeable Audien hearing aids next to their white charging case

Audien Atom Pro

  • Cost: $249
  • Dimensions: 
    • Top: 1.1 cm H x 0.8 cm L
    • Bottom: 0.3 cm H x 0.3 cm L
  • Weight: 1.85 g
  • Type of hearing aid: In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Battery type: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth compatible: No

The Audien Atom Pro is even smaller than the Audien Atom. The Audien Atom Pro uses a wireless charging dock and has a longer battery life compared to the Atom, with a battery life of four days after 4–6 hours of charging. 

The longer battery life and smaller size are the main distinctions between the Atom and Atom Pro. Otherwise, like the Atom, the Atom Pro has no special features typically found in other, more expensive hearing aids.

This model is a good option if you’re looking for a smaller Audien hearing aid for mild to moderate hearing loss, or a hearing aid with a long battery life.

What is a hearing aid vs. a hearing amplifier?

  • A hearing aid is “a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear,” according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.3 It consists of a microphone, which converts soundwaves to electrical signals, and an amplifier that increases the power of the signals, sending them to the ear through a speaker. You can adjust the volume of Audien hearing aids, but only with a screwdriver provided by the company. Most other hearing aids allow you to adjust the volume using a button/dial on the hearing aids themselves or through the company’s app (Audien has neither).
  • Hearing amplifiers, also known as personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), “are intended for people with normal hearing to amplify sounds in certain situations, such as recreational activities like birdwatching or hunting,” according to the FDA.4 The FDA doesn’t regulate PSAPs for safety and effectiveness as they do with hearing aids. Unlike some brands of hearing aids, you don’t need to consult with a hearing aid professional or audiologist to purchase a hearing amplifier. But to determine whether you need a hearing aid or PSAP, it’s recommended you undergo an in-person hearing test with an audiologist to gauge your level of hearing loss. If you’re not able to attend an in-person test, you can also take an online hearing test.

Based on these definitions, two out of the four hearing aids Audien offers are not classified as medical-grade hearing aids, but rather as PSAPs. The EV1 and EV3 are not medical-grade hearing aids, while the Atom and Atom Pro are medical-grade hearing aids registered with the FDA.

Disclosure about Audien marketing claims

In May 2021, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced an “Assurance of Discontinuance” against “Budget Hearing Aids and its subsidiary, Audien (Budget), to stop the company from misleading consumers about over-the-counter hearing devices. Budget owns several websites and advertises ‘FDA APPROVED’ or ‘FDA REGISTERED’ hearing devices, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any over-the-counter hearing aids.”5 Audien complied with the notice and has stopped referring to its hearing aids as “FDA approved.”

Audien hearing aids alternatives

On the Audien website, you may notice that Audien offers two other devices called the EV1 and EV3. These devices are not FDA-registered, so they are not considered hearing aids. The EV1 and EV3 may not be the best options if you’re looking for a medical grade hearing aid and one that has advanced features. If budget is your main concern and you’re looking for a simple solution, these two PSAPs might be an alternative choice for your hearing needs.

But again, it’s recommended you undergo an in-person hearing test to help determine whether a PSAP is a viable alternative.

History of Audien

Arthur Garber founded Audien, one of the newest hearing device companies, after searching for an affordable hearing aid for his grandmother and finding that people were paying thousands of dollars to purchase hearing aids when they cost far less to produce. Audien hearing aids range from $99–$249 per pair.

Although Audien hearing aids are inexpensive, Audien has claimed in the past that its hearing aids are “similar technology to $5,000 hearing aids” and “can be used for Tinnitus management.” But because Audien has not provided evidence to support these claims, the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau recommended that Audien stop making the claims, and Audien complied and removed these claims from its advertising.6

Purchasing Audien hearing aids

How do I purchase Audien hearing aids?

To purchase a pair of Audien hearing aids, visit the Audien website and add the hearing aid to your cart to check out. You can pay by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover).

Our Reviews Team found the Audien website very easy to navigate with transparent prices and an easy checkout process.

How much do Audien hearing aids cost?

Audien hearing aids range from $99–$249 per pair, depending on which model you choose. The company does not offer an option for financing or payment plans. But Audien does offer a 45-day free trial period during which you can return your hearing aids for a 100% refund.

Audien hearing aids are cheaper than traditional hearing aids because they are sold directly to the consumer. Ordering hearing aids online may be more convenient and easier than going to a hearing center or audiologist. On the other hand, in-person consultations with an audiologist or licensed hearing instrument specialist can offer such benefits as customized fit and ongoing support, as well as helping you determine what type of device is best for you (e.g., a hearing aid or hearing amplifier).

Also, only in-person appointments with audiologists can diagnose the cause of your hearing loss.

In 2017, Congress passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act to make it easier for people to buy affordable hearing aids.7 Although over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are not available as a formal category of hearing aids yet, they won’t require a prescription or audiologist visit once the category has been approved by the FDA.

For more information about OTC hearing aids, check out the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Resources from the American Academy of Audiology.

Does insurance cover hearing aids?

Most insurance plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids, but there are a few options you may be eligible for: Medicare Advantage (Medicare C), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), or benefits for veterans or active members of the military.

Unlike Medicare Part A and Part B,8 Medicare Advantage,9 also known as Medicare C, may offer coverage for your hearing aids. If you have Medicare C, check with your provider to see what benefits they offer for hearing aids, if there are limitations, and if you qualify.

An FSA is “a special account you put money into that you use to pay for certain out-of-pocket health care costs,” according to HealthCare.gov, and an HSA is “a type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses.”10 According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the cost of hearing aids and batteries, repairs, and maintenance are considered medical expenses for an FSA or HSA.11 

If you are a veteran or active member of the military, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs covers medical services like audiology, and you may be eligible for hearing aid assistance.12

Check out Benefits CheckUp to learn more about benefits in your area.

Audien app and accessories

Audien does not have a smartphone app, which many other hearing aid companies do offer. Without an app, you might be missing out on telehealth services, custom programs, and the ability to adjust the volume and frequencies of your hearing aid.

The company offers three accessories: the Audien Hearing Accessory Pack; Atom Pro Charger + Case; and the Atom Charger + Dock.

  • Audien Hearing Accessory Pack: This pack costs $12 and comes with an accessory case, 12 replacement earbuds, a cleaning brush, a screwdriver for volume adjustments, and eight earwax guards. Users can adjust the volume on their Audien hearing aids using the screwdriver, which may be a cumbersome process. Most hearing aids let the user adjust volume using either buttons on the hearing aids themselves or through the company’s app.
  • Atom Pro Charger + Case: This charging kit costs $24 and comes with a charging cable, power block, and an Atom Pro charging case.
  • Atom Charger + Dock: This accessory costs $14 and includes a charging cable, charging block, and an Atom dock.

Audien customer service and satisfaction

The Audien website includes tutorial videos on setting up, wearing, and cleaning your hearing aids. You can also reach out to Audien’s support team by phone, email, or live chat.

  • Phone: You can reach Audien’s customer support at (205) 255-1112, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.
  • Email: You can contact Audien via email at support@audienhearing.com. The support team has a 24-hour response time. 
  • Live chat: The live chat option can direct you to resources for setting up your hearing aids, troubleshooting, ongoing maintenance, returning, and reporting lost or damaged hearing aids. Chat can be found at audienhearing.com/support.

When reaching out to Audien customer service, our Reviews Team received mixed results. Some phone calls were answered immediately, others were answered after 10 or more seconds. And the live chat option doesn’t involve chatting with an actual person—our Reviews Team found the live chat uses what it calls an “Answer Bot” (a software program rather than customer service employee) to direct you to articles and other resources on the Audien website that can help answer your question. A live person never actually communicates with you in the chat.

In our Reviews Team’s independent survey, more than 28% of Audien hearing aid users said the biggest challenge with their hearing aids is that they don’t work as they should, compared to 9% of all respondents. About 14% of Audien users said their hearing aids were uncomfortable to wear, compared to 10% of Widex users. The survey also indicated that more than 14% of Audien users reported their hearing aid doesn’t have enough features compared to 5% of MDHearing users.

Audien maintenance, warranty, and care

Audien warranty

Audien offers a one-year warranty for defective hearing aids and guarantees a replacement. The warranty does not include broken, lost, or water-damaged products.

How to clean Audien hearing aids

In our Reviews Team’s survey, respondents reported that Audien hearing aids were about as easy or difficult to clean as hearing aids from other companies. More than 16% of respondents said their hearing aids were extremely easy to clean, while more than 23% said it was difficult. That’s compared to 28% of Audien hearing aid users who said their hearing aids were difficult to clean, and another 14% who said their Audien hearing aids were neither easy nor difficult to clean.

On the Audien website, tutorial videos explain how to clean the Atom and Atom Pro hearing aid models. The first step is to turn off your hearing aids and then remove the ear dome, which is the small piece that fits inside your ear. Brush off any debris with the black cleaning brush included with each device. 

Next, you’ll clean the tip of the hearing aid, also known as the receiver. If you have a wax guard on the tip, remove it before cleaning. Audien recommends using a rubbing alcohol swab or wipes to clean the tip thoroughly.  After you’ve cleaned around the tip, replace the old wax guard with a new one using the special tool that comes with your hearing device. After the new wax guard is in, wipe down the rest of the hearing aid. Finally, clean each ear dome before putting it back onto the hearing aids.

How to charge Audien hearing aids

The Atom and Atom Pro both use a wireless charger. Here are the steps to charge your Audien hearing aids:

  1. Turn off the hearing aids before charging. (Note: The Atom Pro will automatically turn off when charging.)
  2. Plug the micro USB end of the cable into the charging dock. 
  3. Insert the USB end into the two-prong wall charger.
  4. Plug the charger into the wall. 
  5. Place hearing aids into the hollow section of the charging dock with the removal wires facing down.
  6. Hearing aids will magnetically click into place, and a red light will indicate the devices are charging.
  7. The red light will turn solid green when the charging is complete (after 4–6 hours). 

Are Audien hearing aids water-resistant? 

No, Audien hearing aids are not water-resistant, which may be an issue for those who prefer to wear hearing aids in the shower. Taking out hearing aids each time you shower or swim can take more time and be less convenient. Other brands, such as Phonak and Lively, offer water-resistant hearing aids.

Returns

Audien offers a 45-day return policy, which is common across the industry, with company return policies averaging from 45–100 days for most hearing aid companies. That means you have 45 days to return your Audien hearing aids for a 100% refund. Audien’s policy starts the day after receiving your shipment, and if you receive a defective pair of hearing aids, Audien will give you a free replacement.

Who is best suited for Audien hearing aids?

Audien hearing aids are suited for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, and not for those who have moderately severe to profound hearing loss. For example, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, moderately severe to profound hearing loss is from 56 decibels to 91+ decibles (decibles are a measure of sound levels).13 That is approximately the average noise level of an office or air conditioner, according to 3M’s noise navigator.14 In another example, you might have moderately severe hearing loss if you can only hear 71 dB or higher sounds, such as a dishwasher or electric mixer.

“If you have a flatter or less sloping shape to your hearing, you will likely be a good candidate for in-the-canal devices,” said Sarah Lundstrom, AuD, ABA Certified in Audiology, a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and a member of the Florida Academy of Audiology. “Many of the small devices can be very discreet and are good for people who are unable or uncomfortable with something resting on the outside of their ear. [Though], you may have to sacrifice some additional features such as Bluetooth or rechargeability in order to have those small devices.” 

Lundstrom also said that “some people who have good low-frequency hearing and poorer high-frequency hearing find that in-the-canal hearing aids make them feel occluded (plugged up), like when [they] have a cold or fly on a plane. This can be bothersome and cause poorer hearing.”

Lindsey Jorgensen, AuD, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Dakota, and added that if discreet hearing aids are “battery operated then the batteries are smaller and more difficult to use. Additionally, when the aids are smaller, there are fewer features that are able to “fit” in the aid. Therefore, the aid may not have some of the high-end features that are in slightly larger aids.” Dr. Jorgensen is a fellow and board member of the American Academy of Audiology.

Table 2 Audien vs. other brands comparison, as of June 2022

Audien

Eargo

Lively

Phonak

MDHearing

Starkey

Signia

Cost per pair

$99–$249

$1,450–$2,950

$1,195–$1,995

$2,798–$4,798

$798–$1,598

$2,000–$6,000

$2,000–$6,500

Type of hearing aids

ITC

CIC

RIC

BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC

BTE

IIC, CIC, ITC, ITE, RIC, BTE

ITC, RIC, BTE, ITE, IIC, CIC

Types of hearing loss

Mild to moderate

Mild to moderate

Mild to moderately severe

Mild to profound

Mild to severe

Mild to severe

Mild to profound

What to consider before buying hearing aids

Our Reviews Team recommends considering many features before buying hearing aids, including your budget, type of hearing loss, technology, and batteries.

  • Budget: Hearing aids can range from $100–$6,000. If you’re looking for other affordable hearing aids, our Reviews Team named Audicus “Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth” in our best hearing aids review.
  • Type of hearing loss: According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, hearing loss ranges from normal to profound. If you have severe hearing loss, our Reviews Team named the Phonak Naída Paradise as “Best for Severe Hearing Loss.”
  • Technology: Advanced hearing aid technology includes directional microphones, feedback cancellation to reduce background noise, and streaming via Bluetooth. Our Reviews Team chose Oticon More as the hearing aid with the “Most Advanced Smart Features,” since it has advanced technology that results in a more balanced and precise listening experience.
  • Batteries: Many different hearing aid batteries are available, including zinc-air (disposable) and lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries. The hearing aid model you choose will determine what kind of batteries you can use. Our Reviews Team picked ReSound One as “Best Rechargeable” for its long battery life.

Audien hearing aid reviews from customers

Customer reviews vary for Audien among different sites, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB)15 and Trustpilot.16 On BBB, Audien has a B rating and a customer review rating of 4.04 out of 5. On Trustpilot, Audien has a ‘great’ rating, with 3.9 out of 5 stars.

I am very happy with my experience with Audien. The first pair I got I had to send back since they were too big and wouldn’t fit right. Even before I got the ones I was returning processed, the replacement was on the way. Then something was wrong with them. They let me return them and sent me another one right off. I am so proud to say that I have them right now.

—ANTHONY, VERIFIED CUSTOMER (TRUSTPILOT.COM)

“I purchased two pairs of Audien Atom hearing aids. One for my 90 yr old mother and one for my husband. They both loved them! My husband was able to turn the ** down to a normal volume. My mother could hear me the very first time I said something without having me repeat it several times. She was excited and a bit teary eyed.”

—KAREN, VERIFIED CUSTOMER REVIEW (BBB.ORG)

The first pair I had worked well till I charged them. So they sent another pair that had the same problem. So I am not pleased with them.

—BRENDA, VERIFIED CUSTOMER REVIEW (BBB.ORG)

Bottom line

Audien is a relatively new company that supports those with mild to moderate hearing loss. The company offers inexpensive devices in two different models, the Atom and Atom Pro. Be aware that EV1 and EV3 models are not classified as medical-grade hearing aids, but rather PSAPs.

Audien hearing aids may be the right choice if your main focus is on price, and if you have mild to moderate hearing loss. Audien hearing aids are about $4,450 cheaper than the average hearing aids, a significant savings that can make the difference for those who could otherwise not afford other hearing aids.

Audien hearing devices might not be the right choice if you’re searching for advanced technology or special features. Other hearing aid companies, such as Phonak or Widex, offer cutting-edge technology and features, including water-resistant hearing aids, telecoil, and Bluetooth capability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about this review? Email us at reviewsteam@ncoa.org.

Sources

  1. Obama White House Archives. FDA Takes Action to Deliver Lower-Cost, Innovative Hearing Aids to Millions More Americans. Found on the internet at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/07/fda-takes-action-deliver-lower-cost-innovative-hearing-aids-millions-more-americans
  2. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. FAQs. Found on the internet at https://www.bep.gov/currency/faqs
  3. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-aids
  4. FDA. Hearing Aids and Personal Sound Amplification Products: What to Know. Found on the internet at https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/hearing-aids-and-personal-sound-amplification-products-what-know
  5. Arizona Attorney General. Attorney General Brnovich Obtains Settlement with Arizona Hearing Device Company to Stop Deceptive Advertising. Found on the internet at https://www.azag.gov/press-release/attorney-general-brnovich-obtains-settlement-arizona-hearing-device-company-stop
  6. National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau. Audien Rechargeable Hearing Aid Claims. Found on the internet at  https://bbbprograms.org/media-center/newsroom/audien-rechargeable-hearing-aid-claims
  7. FDA. FDA Issues Landmark Proposal to Improve Access to Hearing Aid Technology for Millions of Americans. Found on the internet at https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-issues-landmark-proposal-improve-access-hearing-aid-technology-millions-americans
  8. Medicare.gov. Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hearing-aids
  9. Medicare.gov. Medicare Advantage Plans cover all Medicare services. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-medicare-health-plans-cover/medicare-advantage-plans-cover-all-medicare-services
  10. Healthcare.gov. Using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Found on the internet at https://www.healthcare.gov/have-job-based-coverage/flexible-spending-accounts/
  11. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Publication 502 Medical and Dental Expenses. Found on the internet at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf
  12. US Department of Veterans Affairs. About VA health benefits. Found on the internet at https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/
  13. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Degree of Hearing Loss. Found on the internet at https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/degree-of-hearing-loss/
  14. 3M. Noise NavigatorTM Sound Level Database. Found on the internet at https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/888553O/noise-navigator-sound-level-hearing-protection-database.pdf
  15. Better Business Bureau. Audien Hearing. Found on the internet at https://www.bbb.org/us/az/scottsdale/profile/hearing-assistive-devices/audien-hearing-1126-1000073939
  16. Trustpilot. Audien Hearing. Found on the internet at https://www.trustpilot.com/review/audienhearing.com

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