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The 6 Most Affordable Hearing Aids of 2022

Oct 02, 2022

By Cara Everett, MS, RDN
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.

Most Affordable Hearing Aids - Key Takeaways

  • While hearing aids can cost up to $7,000 per pair, the less expensive options on this list cost $99–$6,000 and offer both quality and personalized customer care.
  • Consider your budget, hearing needs, and lifestyle when deciding which hearing aid is best for you.
  • Don’t let price stop you from getting treatment for hearing loss. Financial aid, discounts, and payment plans can help you pay for hearing aids.

If you’re buying hearing aids for yourself or a loved one, you already know they can be expensive. Prices for the best hearing aids on the market can run up to several thousand dollars per pair. How can you save money and find the least expensive hearing aids for your hearing loss? In this review, we’ve ranked the top six most affordable hearing aids on the market based on our extensive research. 

Read about why these brands carry the best budget hearing aids, and learn about the features each one has to offer. We’ll also cover how you can be a smart shopper and choose a quality hearing aid within your budget.

Why you can trust our expert review

5,300
Hours of Research
12
Experts Consulted
18
Brands Considered
95
Models Considered
6
Models Selected

Our Reviews Team recommends products and services we believe 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 aid review methodology.

Our Reviews Team’s picks for the most affordable hearing aids in 2022

  • Most Affordable: Audien
  • Least Expensive Invisible Hearing Aids: Eargo
  • Best Customer Support: Lively
  • Most Versatile Budget Hearing Aid: MDHearing
  • Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth: Audicus
  • Most Natural Sound for the Price: Signia Silk X

Table 1 Comparison of the most affordable hearing aids, as of September 2022

Brand

Cost per pair

Style

Type of hearing loss

Rechargeable battery

Bluetooth streaming

Warranty

Financing

MDHearing

$299–$699

BTE

Mild to moderately severe

Yes
(Volt, Volt Max)

No

Limited 90-day

Yes

Audien

$99–$249

ITC

Mild to moderate

Yes

No

1 year

No

Eargo

$1,450–$2,950

CIC

Mild to moderate

Yes

No

1–2 years

Yes

Audicus

$1,898–$3,398

RIC

Mild to severe

Yes

Yes

1 year

Yes

Lively

$1,195–$1,995

RIC

Mild to moderately severe

Yes
(Lively 2 Plus, Lively 2 Pro)

Yes

3 years

Yes

Signia Silk X

$2,000–$6,000

CIC

Mild to moderate

No

No

Depends on retailer

Yes

Most Affordable Hearing Aids in 2022

Most Affordable: Audien

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

  • Cost per pair: $99–$249
  • Style: In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Rechargeable battery: Yes
  • Bluetooth streaming: No
  • Warranty: One year
  • Financing: No
Pros Lowest price on this list Rechargeable batteries for both models
Cons Only offers two FDA-registered hearing aids Limited special features (no Bluetooth, directional microphones, etc.)

Audien sells two lightweight, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: the Atom and Atom Pro. Although the hearing aids don’t have a lot of features, such as Bluetooth or directional microphones, our Reviews Team found that Audien hearing aids are the least expensive of several brands, starting at only $99 per pair.  That low price makes Audien them “Most Affordable” hearing aid on this list (while Eargo is “Least Expensive Invisible Hearing Aid”).

Be aware that Audien hearing aids sacrifice features for price—the company offers the lowest prices on this list, but its devices also offer the least amount of features. For example, the next most expensive hearing aid on this list, MDHearing, offers directional microphones (which can help you hear speech better in a crowded room), adaptive technology (which automatically adjusts your hearing aid settings depending on your environment), and smartphone compatibility (to control your hearing aid settings from your phone). Audien offers none of these features, but its least expensive hearing aid is $700 cheaper than MDHearing. 

If price is your main concern, Audien may be a good fit. A majority of respondents to our Reviews Team’s survey of hearing aid users said that “price” is the second-most important factor to consider when purchasing a hearing aid, behind only “ease of set up and use.” But if you’re looking for affordable hearing aids with some features, Audien may not be the best choice.

Audien hearing aid prices, as of September 2022

  • Atom: $99 per pair
  • Atom Pro: $249 per pair

Audien hearing aid alternatives

On the company’s website, you’ll see that Audien offers two other devices called the EV1 and EV3. These two are personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) and are not FDA-registered hearing aids. PSAPs are meant to amplify sounds, not to compensate for hearing loss, according to the FDA.4

Warranty for Audien hearing aids

Audien offers a one-year warranty that covers defective hearing aids. The warranty does not include broken, lost, or water-damaged products.

Battery life

Audien’s Atom and Atom Pro models have rechargeable batteries that take 4–6 hours to charge fully. The Atom battery lasts for 20 hours, while the Atom Pro battery lasts for up to four days. Based on our Reviews Team’s analysis, the average battery life of a rechargeable hearing aid is  30 hours. The Atom Pro has a significantly longer battery life, which can save you time and effort.

Customer service

You can reach Audien in the following ways for customer support:

On the Audien website, there are also video tutorials on how to set up, wear, and clean hearing aids.

Payment options

You can purchase Audien hearing aids by credit card.

For more information about the company, read our Audien hearing aids review.

Least Expensive Invisible Hearing Aids: Eargo

Eargo 6

  • Cost per pair: $1,450–$2,950
  • Style: Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Rechargeable battery: Yes
  • Bluetooth streaming: No
  • Warranty: 1–2 years
  • Financing: Yes
Pros Innovative tips in a variety of sizes and styles, allowing you to find the best fit Some of the smallest hearing aids on the market
Cons Only appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss No in-person support available

Eargo sells four completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids, all of which are nearly invisible in the ear. While they don’t include Bluetooth streaming because of their small size, Eargo devices do have Bluetooth connectivity so you can adjust the settings using your smartphone. Because this brand offers small, invisible hearing aids at one of the lowest prices on the market, our Reviews Team named it “Least Expensive Invisible Hearing Aids.”

The silicone tips of Eargo hearing aids look quite different from any other brand. This is because the founder, Dr. Florent Michel, an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon, modeled them after fishing flies. Some tips look like flower petals, others resemble tiny brush bristles, and others are more traditional closed dome tips. A variety of tips and domes are included with every Eargo purchase, so you can find the best fit for your ears.  

Respondents to our Reviews Team’s survey were satisfied with the fit of Eargo hearing aids. More than 70% of Eargo users who responded to our survey reported that their Eargo hearing aids are comfortable and fit well, which is noteworthy since you purchase Eargo hearing aids directly from the company and don’t need an in-person fitting from a hearing professional.

If size and invisibility is your most important consideration, Eargo may be a good choice.

Eargo hearing aid prices, as of September 2022

  • Eargo Max: $1,450 per pair
  • Eargo Neo HiFi: $1,950 per pair
  • Eargo 5: $2,450 per pair
  • Eargo 6: $2,950 per pair

Free trial period and warranty

Eargo is a brand to check out if you have mild to moderate hearing loss and are looking for a discreet hearing aid that’s barely noticeable. At your request, Eargo will send a sample (non-working) pair of hearing aids to try free for 45 days before making a purchase. 

The Max, Neo HiFi, and Eargo 5 models come with a one-year warranty for manufacturer’s defects, loss, and damage, while the Eargo 6 includes a two-year warranty. 

Customer service

You can contact Eargo in the following ways for customer support:

The Eargo Support Center website also offers a wide variety of videos and user guides for all of its hearing aid models.

Payment options

Eargo accepts payment in the form of a credit card of PayPal. Financing is available through Bread, a third-party lender.

For more information, check out our in-depth Eargo hearing aids review.

Best Customer Support: Lively

Lively 2 Plus hearing aids

  • Cost per pair: $1,195–$1,995
  • Style: Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderately severe
  • Rechargeable battery: Yes (Lively 2 Plus, Lively 2 Pro)
  • Bluetooth streaming: Yes
  • Warranty: Three years
  • Financing: Yes
Pros In-depth online appointment with an audiologist to help set up your hearing aids Affordability combined with a level of customer support usually seen with more expensive hearing aids Longer trial period (100 days) than most brands
Cons All Lively models require familiarity with smartphone apps to make adjustments No in-person audiologist support

Lively offers a unique balance of quality, affordability, and customer support. The company sells direct-to-consumer, receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids using a completely online process. After purchasing a pair of Lively hearing aids, every customer has a one-on-one video appointment with an audiologist (a health care professional who specializes in hearing loss). Not many affordable hearing aid companies offer this level of one-on-one customer support, which is why we named Lively “Best Customer Support.”

Lively one-on-one support

During this one-on-one appointment, the audiologist does the following:

  • Gathers information about the customer’s hearing history
  • Sets hearing goals with the customer
  • Helps set up the hearing aids to ensure the correct fit
  • Covers details of cleaning and maintenance
  • Explains how to use the accessories that come with the hearing aids
  • Provides assistance setting up the app for remote adjustments

Customers also receive follow-up care and unlimited remote adjustments by an audiologist for the first three years, which can be a big perk for those buying hearing aids for the first time.

Lively customer satisfaction

Lively’s commitment to its customers is reflected in its Better Business Bureau (BBB) customer rating of 4.33 out of 5, the highest of all the hearing aid brands we researched. Customers praise Lively’s superior customer service, knowledgeable staff, and ease of making remote adjustments with the app.

Lively prices and trial period

Lively’s 100-day risk-free trial period is more generous than most, and its prices are very competitive. The base model (Lively 2 Lite) starts at $1,195 per pair, and the most expensive model (Lively 2 Pro) is $1,995 per pair, about $2,600 less than the average pair of hearing aids.2

Price differences for each model reflect the battery type and level of technology. Lively 2 Lite comes with disposable batteries (and includes a year’s supply of batteries), the Lively 2 Plus has a rechargeable battery, and the Lively 2 Pro has a rechargeable battery plus the most advanced hearing technology Lively offers. 

All three models offer Bluetooth streaming and the ability to make remote adjustments using Lively’s free smartphone app, Lively Link.

Lively hearing aid prices, as of September 2022

  • Lively 2 Lite: $1,195 per pair
  • Lively 2 Plus: $1,595 per pair
  • Lively 2 Pro: $1,995 per pair

Warranty

Lively’s warranty is longer than many other budget hearing aid brands, with three years of loss and damage protection and three years of coverage for manufacturer’s defects. Three-year warranties are typically seen among higher-priced hearing aids such as Phonak, Starkey, and Widex.

Customer service

Lively provides a variety of ways to contact customer support:

Payment options

You can purchase Lively hearing aids on the website using a credit card of PayPal.

Lively also offers financing through third-party lender, Bread.

Most Versatile Budget Hearing Aid: MDHearing

MDHearing VOLT MAX hearing aids

  • Cost per pair: $299-$699
  • Style: Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderately severe
  • Rechargeable battery: Yes (Volt and Volt Max) 
  • Bluetooth streaming: No
  • Warranty: Limited 90-day
  • Financing: Yes
Pros Three models offered with different prices and features One of the least expensive FDA-registered hearing aids on the market
Cons Shorter warranty (90 days) than most other brands Bluetooth streaming not available No in-person support for adjustments

MDHearing was founded in 2008 by Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon who wanted to make hearing aids more affordable. By designing a simpler hearing aid and moving the entire process online, he achieved his goal of creating a direct-to-consumer (DTC) hearing aid that’s several thousand dollars cheaper than most others on the market. Because MDHearing is the second lowest-priced hearing aid on our list but still comes with a lot of desirable features, it made our Reviews Team’s pick for “Most Versatile Budget Hearing Aid.” 

This company offers three models of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, all suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. Each model has its own price and set of features. 

MDHearing only sells its hearing aids online, which can help to keep costs down. If cost is your top concern, we have tips on how to find sales on hearing aids, and MDHearing offers regular sales. Recently, the company was offering a deep discount on all three models. The Air and Volt hearing aids were selling for $299.98 per pair, and the Volt Max was priced at $499.98 per pair. 

MDHearing says its devices are “one size fits most,” with various sizes of tubing, tips, and domes that can be combined to achieve a comfortable fit for most people. The company also states that its hearing aids are successful for more than 94% of Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss.1

MDHearing prices, as of September 2022

  • Air: $299.98 per pair
  • Volt: $299.98 per pair
  • Volt Max: $499.98 per pair

MDHearing aid features

Every MDHearing device includes feedback cancellation (to reduce whistling noises caused by holding a phone or other object close to your hearing aid), digital noise reduction (to block out background sounds), and four preset hearing profiles. 

The volume on the Air and Volt are controlled using the volume dial on the back of the hearing aid. If you want to change the hearing setting, just push the button that sits below the volume dial. 

In addition to the features above, the Volt and Volt Max also offer directional microphones (to help you hear speech in front of you) and rechargeable batteries. If you have trouble handling small parts or simply don’t want to change the batteries in your hearing aids every week, you may like the option of rechargeable ones. 

Keep in mind the Volt and Volt Max do need to be recharged every night. It can be helpful to set a reminder on your phone or put a note by the bed to help you remember to charge them. If someone regularly checks on you, they can also remind you to charge your hearing aids. 

MDHearing app

The Volt Max is MDHearing’s only model that can connect with the MDHearing smartphone app using Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that lets you connect smart devices to each other. This allows you to use your phone to change the volume of your hearing aids, choose a different hearing profile, or allow the app to automatically change the settings based on your current listening environment. You can also use the app to take a hearing screening and adjust your hearing aid settings based on the results.

With the included VIP Care for the Volt Max, a hearing aid specialist can work with you remotely through the app to make the adjustments to your hearing aid. You also have the option of using the buttons on the hearing aid to manually adjust the Volt Max yourself, if you don’t want to bother with the app.

The MDHearing app is rated well by customers, with 4.3 out of 5 stars on Apple’s App Store and 3.9 out of 5 stars on Google Play. Keep in mind the Volt Max cannot stream audio from movies or phone calls with Bluetooth; it’s only equipped to use Bluetooth for connecting to the app.

MDHearing online consultations

MDHearing does offer online consultations with a hearing aid specialist for Volt Max customers to help you set up and adjust your hearing aids. 

Many people enjoy working with a specialist from the comfort of their home, especially older adults who have chronic diseases or are concerned about the risk of COVID-19. But if you’re new to the world of hearing aids, or just want the extra support that an audiologist can provide in a clinic setting, you may want to take a look at some of the brands below that offer in-person support, such as Signia.

Free trial period and warranty

MDHearing provides a 45-day money-back trial, during which you can send the hearing aids back for any reason and receive a full refund. The company only offers a 90-day warranty though, which is much shorter than most other brands. According to our Reviews Team’s testing, a one-year warranty is standard.

You can get a longer warranty by paying $10 per month for the MDShield Protection Plan. It provides insurance for manufacturer defects and damage as long as you subscribe to the plan. The VIP Care that comes with the Volt Max also includes an extended one-year warranty.

Customer service

You can reach MDHearing in the following ways:

The company also offers user manuals and troubleshooting tips on its website.

Payment options

MDHearing offers a number of ways to pay for its hearing aids: 

  • Purchase online from the company with a credit card 
  • Make a purchase over the phone by calling 800-918-3914
  • Pay by mail with a check or money order by downloading the order form from the MDHearing website, filling it out, and sending it in with your payment 

Financing is offered through PayPal, as well as Affirm, a third-party lender that provides 0% interest for 12 months.

Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth: Audicus

Audicus Spirit hearing aids

  • Cost per pair: $1,898–$3,398
  • Style: Receiver-in-canal (RIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to severe
  • Rechargeable battery: Yes
  • Bluetooth streaming: Yes
  • Warranty: One year
  • Financing: Yes
Pros Lower price than most Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids Membership program for people who want to lease hearing aids instead of buying them Four color options with each model
Cons Shorter warranty (one year) than some other brands Shorter battery life than other hearing aids (24 hours)

Audicus is a direct-to-consumer hearing aid company that sells three value-priced, receiver-in-ear (RIC) Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids: the Wave, Spirit, and Omni. While researching hearing aids, our Reviews Team found that many devices with Bluetooth capability cost $1,000–$7,000 per pair.  Audicus devices are at the low end of that range ($1,898–$3,398), making them our choice for “Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth” hearing aid.

Bluetooth technology in Audicus hearing aids

Bluetooth technology allows two devices to wirelessly communicate with each other by sending radio waves back and forth. In addition to being reasonably priced hearing aids, the Audicus Wave, Spirit, and Omni models include Bluetooth streaming, unlike MDHearing, which only lets you wirelessly connect to the company’s app.

Bluetooth streaming capability allows you to listen to music, movie audio, and phone calls from another device, such as a smartphone or tablet, using your hearing aids. 

How to pair your Audicus hearing aids

To wirelessly connect your Audicus hearing aids to the device you want to stream the sound from, you’ll need to “pair” them. To do this, activate Bluetooth by pressing the Bluetooth icon (which looks like this: Bluetooth icon ) on your hearing aid and the other device. You may need to go into the device settings to enable Bluetooth on your phone, tablet, or other device.

Once they’re paired, any sound coming from the other device will go directly to your hearing aids. Basically, your Bluetooth hearing aids will be working like a wireless headset. 

Your Audicus hearing aids will also stream sound to the other device, which is helpful when talking on the phone. When you speak, your voice will be picked up by the mic in your hearing aid and streamed to your phone, as long as it’s within the range needed for Bluetooth (about 30 feet). 

You can also change the volume coming into your hearing aids while leaving the volume of the other device at a different level. This is useful for watching movies with family or friends, for example. You can adjust the volume to your liking and leave the TV volume at another level for everyone else. 

Keep in mind both devices must have Bluetooth technology in order to connect with each other. For instance, you wouldn’t be able to connect your hearing aids to an older cell phone not equipped with Bluetooth. 

Most newer mobile phones, computers, and tablets include Bluetooth capabilities. Check your product manual or call the device manufacturer if you’re not sure.

How does Bluetooth affect Audicus battery life?

The Wave comes with the option of either disposable or rechargeable batteries, while the Spirit only comes with a rechargeable battery. (A rechargeable battery option for the Wave costs $200 more.) Audicus rechargeable batteries last up to 24 hours on a single charge, which is below average (according to our Reviews Team, rechargeable hearing aids have an average battery life of 30 hours).

Keep in mind shorter battery life is common among Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids compared to non-Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, because Bluetooth streaming drains the battery more quickly. 

Still, 24 hours gives you a full day of use before you need to recharge your hearing aids. Just place them in their charging case at night before you go to bed, and you’ll be ready for the next day. 

Audicus Bluetooth-equipped hearing aid prices, as of September 2022

  • Wave: $1,898 per pair
  • Spirit: $2,798 per pair
  • Omni: $3,398 per pair

Audicus membership program

Audicus offers a unique membership program for people who want to try hearing aids but don’t want to buy them. Rather than purchasing the devices up front, you pay a $100 setup fee and a monthly fee to lease them. 

Audicus monthly membership fees, as of September 2022

  • Wave: $69 per ear or $138 for both
  • Spirit: $89 per ear or $178 for both
  • Omni: $99 per ear or $198 for both

Members receive a new pair of hearing aids every 18 months, with accessories, unlimited telehealth support (including adjustments), and a warranty that covers damage and one-time loss replacement. 

Free trial period and warranty

Audicus provides a 45-day, money-back trial period, so you can try out the hearing aids and make sure they’re a good fit for you. If not, simply return them for a full refund. 

The company also offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, which can be extended for $24 per month. The extended warranty, called Audicus Protect, provides unlimited cleaning and care, unlimited repairs, and one-time loss replacement.

Customer service

You can contact Audicus in the following ways for customer support:

Audicus provides video tutorials, FAQs, hearing aid manuals, and information about repairs and adjustments on its website as well. Customers also receive free, unlimited hearing aid reprogramming after their purchase, something not all companies offer. For the price, this brand has a lot to offer in the way of technology and service.  

Payment options

Audicus hearing aids are only available for purchase on the company’s website. You can pay using a credit card or PayPal.

Audicus also offers financing through third-party lenders Care Credit and Allegro.

Most Natural Sound for the Price: Signia Silk X

of Signia Silk X

  • Cost per pair: $2,000–$6,000
  • Style: Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Type of hearing loss: Mild to moderate
  • Rechargeable battery: No
  • Bluetooth streaming: No
  • Warranty: Depends on retailer
  • Financing: Yes
Pros Advanced technology for better sound processing while you’re moving Small, completely-in-canal design
Cons Only appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss No rechargeable battery option

The German company Signia makes a variety of custom-fit hearing aids and one ready-to-wear device, the Silk X. The Silk X is a completely-in-canal (CIC) device that includes four soft tips to help you find the best fit. We chose the Signia Silk X for “Most Natural Sound for the Price” due to its advanced sound technology. 

Using motion sensors, Silk X devices detect your movement and listening environment and automatically adjust the listening settings accordingly. Based on Signia’s internal research, more than 90% of users said they could hear sounds more naturally while moving with Silk X hearing aids.3 

You can adjust the volume and hearing settings on the Silk X with the free Signia smartphone app or with the miniPocket, a small remote control that you can purchase as an accessory. The miniPocket costs about $135, depending on the retailer. 

While you can take phone calls through your hearing aids, this model is too small to support Bluetooth streaming of music or TV audio. It also only comes with disposable batteries, which could be a downside if you have trouble handling small batteries. 

Signia hearing aid prices, as of September 2022

  • $2,000–$6,000 per pair

Within this price range, there are five models (1X, 2X, 3X, 5X, and 7X), each with a different number of channels. Hearing aid channels are filters that process sound within a certain band of frequencies. With every step up in Silk X price, you get more channels. 

Free trial period and warranty

The company offers a 45-day trial period during which you can test the hearing aids to make sure you’re happy with them. Because Signia only sells its hearing aids through audiologists’ clinics, warranty length and financing options depend on the individual clinic.

Customer service

Signia offers customer support in the following ways:

Payment options

Signia provides an online store locator to help you find a local clinic where you can purchase its hearing aids. Payment options will depend on each clinic’s policies.

Pros and cons of affordable hearing aids

While saving money on hearing aids is important to most shoppers, it’s also wise to consider what you might be giving up if you pick a budget hearing aid. Let’s look at the advantages and potential disadvantages of the most affordable hearing aids.

Pros  

Lower up-front cost

This is the primary reason most people choose one of the least expensive hearing aids on the market: you will pay less up-front. Some of the hearing aids on this list, for instance, cost several thousand dollars less than high-end hearing aids. And lower cost is an important consideration for many of us, especially for older adults living on a fixed income. 

Our Reviews Team’s survey of hearing aid users found cost was the number one obstacle to buying hearing aids for the majority of respondents. Indeed, people who need hearing aids wait, on average, 10 years before getting help for hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.5 And one of the biggest reasons people wait is the high cost associated with hearing aids.

Thankfully, hearing aids are less expensive than in years past, and the arrival of direct-to-consumer hearing aids has increased competition among manufacturers and lowered prices even more.

Online testing, purchasing, and customer support

With many budget hearing aids, such as MDHearing and Eargo, the entire process of shopping, purchasing, and making adjustments can be done online. In fact, keeping everything online and not paying for brick-and-mortar stores is one of the primary ways direct-to-consumer hearing aid companies keep their prices down. By eliminating much of the overhead costs, they can sell quality hearing devices at a lower cost.

Cons 

Fewer features

While hearing aid technology has gotten less expensive in recent years, devices with high-tech features still usually cost more than cheaper models. For instance, you can expect to pay around $200 extra for a rechargeable battery in models that give you a choice between disposable and rechargeable. 

In addition, advanced hearing technology, such as that found in Signia, will drive the cost up. The good news is certain features like feedback cancellation (which reduces the whistling sounds common in older hearing aids) and directional microphones (to help you pick up conversations in front of you) are now common in most hearing aids.  

Not fully customizable

Budget hearing aids typically cannot be completely customized to your individual hearing loss. It’s more common to see four or five hearing settings to choose from, depending on your environment. 

For example, MDHearing provides the following settings: quiet, social, noisy, and restaurant. In addition to these settings, you can also adjust the volume to reach a comfortable listening level. 

A preset listening profile may not accurately meet each person’s hearing needs, though. More expensive hearing aids (usually those purchased through clinics) can often be adjusted by a hearing aid specialist to meet your unique hearing profile. 

May not be suitable for severe or profound hearing loss

High-powered devices that treat severe and profound hearing loss are generally more costly due to their increased circuitry and the level of customization required. This means if you have severe or profound hearing loss, you will likely pay more for the devices themselves as well as after-purchase adjustments. 

The in-person support needed for the customization, adjustments, and maintenance of hearing devices for profound hearing loss is part of the reason they cost more—the cost of ongoing care is factored into the purchase price.

While a few manufacturers, such as Audicus, sell direct-to-consumer hearing aids for severe hearing loss, hearing aids for profound hearing loss must be purchased through an audiologist’s clinic. The benefit of receiving extra support and having a personal relationship with an audiologist who gets to know you and your needs may be well worth the cost.

In-person support may not be available

Lower cost hearing aids often do not come with the option of in-person support from an audiologist or hearing aid specialist. If you have mild or moderate hearing loss without any other complicating factors (such as tinnitus or an accompanying disease), this could be fine. 

But for certain people, budget hearing aids may not meet all of their needs. 

Dr. Candice Ortiz-Hawkins, clinical audiologist at Capital Institute of Hearing and Balance in Silver Spring, Maryland, believes new hearing aid users or those with other medical conditions typically need more support offered through audiologists’ clinics. “Those who require more follow up tend to be new hearing aid users; those with multiple medical conditions, including cognitive decline, low vision, or dexterity issues, who will have difficulty caring for and managing their hearing aids; and those with fluctuating hearing losses,” said Ortiz-Hawkins.  

The only budget hearing aid brand on our list that offers in-person adjustments and customer support is Signia. The other companies offer adjustments and other services only by phone or video.

How much do hearing aids cost?

Hearing aids cost, on average, about $4,600 per pair.6 But prices can vary widely depending on features, style, and technology.

Direct-to-consumer hearing aids are often cheaper than those purchased through audiologists’ clinics, and they can be a great option if you have mild to moderate hearing loss and don’t feel you need in-person support. 

If this describes you, choosing one of the affordable hearing aids brands reviewed here can save you thousands of dollars. Let’s take a look at why some hearing aids cost more than others.

Three factors that affect the cost of hearing aids:

1. Degree of hearing loss

For people with severe or profound hearing loss, lower-cost hearing aids may not be a good option. This is also true for those who experience hearing loss due to an injury or a medical condition in the ear. 

In either case, you may need in-person help from an audiologist or ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to customize and adjust your hearing aids for your specific ear anatomy and hearing needs. While a few direct-to-consumer brands offer devices to address severe hearing loss, most brands that specialize in severe and profound hearing loss are sold through audiologists’ clinics. 

Signia is our Reviews Team’s pick for the most affordable hearing aid in this category.

2. Availability of in-person support

When purchasing hearing aids through a clinic, you will typically pay more than you would buying them online from a hearing aid manufacturer. But you won’t just be buying the hearing aids; the price often includes ongoing in-person support in the form of adjustments, cleaning, and other maintenance. 

Some hearing care clinics provide longer and more comprehensive warranties than direct-to-consumer hearing aid companies. The clinics may also offer service plans that include cleaning and maintenance. Both warranties and service plans could include additional fees, so it’s important to ask for details before making a purchase. 

“Another option is to purchase hearing aids from an audiologist who offers an unbundled pricing model. This allows for lower up-front costs for the hearing aids and fitting services,” said Ortiz-Hawkins. “After the initial fitting, you pay for services only as you need them. This can save you up to a couple of thousand dollars.”

The additional cost of in-person support may be worth it for people who are new to hearing aids, are not comfortable making adjustments on their own, or just want the extra help that a hearing specialist can provide in person. 

3. Level of technology

High-tech hearing aids cost more than those with fewer technological features. These technologies can include options such as:

  • Activity tracking: Counts steps and time spent in conversations
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): Provides superior sound and even fall detection 
  • Bluetooth streaming: Allows you to stream TV show audio and phone calls and use your hearing aids with a smartphone app 
  • Rechargeable batteries: Companies such as MDHearing offer a choice of disposable or rechargeable batteries, depending on the model. Those with rechargeable batteries cost more up front, but keep in mind you won’t have to buy (or change) disposable batteries in those models. This can save you time and money in the long run.

The good news is the FDA has finalized a rule to grant access for hearing aids that can be sold over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription or an audiologist’s exam.7 With passage of the FDA’s rule, hearing aid prices may drop even lower.8

Why are hearing aids so expensive?

A variety of factors influence the price you’ll pay for hearing aids, and understanding these factors allows you to make a wise choice about what’s important to you and where you can save money. For example, audiologists usually charge more for in-person support than specialists who help you with your hearing aids online or over the phone. 

This is because in-person, brick-and-mortar clinics have more overhead costs compared to online companies, such as rent, maintenance, and staffing (audiologists have more specialized training). They also have to pay middlemen to sell their hearing aids, while direct-to-consumer companies cut out those costs by taking care of the marketing, sales, and after-purchase support themselves. Having this knowledge allows you to save money if you’re comfortable with an online process.

Does Medicare or insurance cover hearing aids?

Unfortunately Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids. Medicare A and B does not currently cover: hearing exams not requested by a physician; hearing aid fittings; or hearing aid supplies, although NCOA is a strong advocate for Medicare coverage of hearing aids.9

If you have Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), it may pay for some expenses related to hearing aids. Private insurance plans sometimes offer partial or full coverage as well. Contact your insurance provider for more information.

If you qualify for Medicaid, it will often pay for part or all of the cost of hearing aids, but it depends on your state. The Hearing Loss Association of America provides a detailed list of Medicaid hearing aid coverage by state.

How to save money on hearing aids

Along with looking for the most affordable devices, there are other ways to save when purchasing hearing aids.

Look for sales

Hearing aid companies frequently run buy-one-get-one-free deals and other sales, particularly around the holidays. You can save quite a bit of money if you buy the hearing aids you want during a sale. 

For instance, MDHearing was offering a deep discount on all three of their models from April through June 2022. With the discount, they were priced between $299 and $699 per pair instead of the regular cost of $799 to $1,899 per pair. Sales like this are fairly common—you just have to keep an eye out for them.

Ask about payment or membership plans

Many hearing aid companies offer financing through third-party lenders. CareCredit also offers financing for hearing aids and other hearing loss treatments.

Other options, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), can be used to pay for hearing aids and batteries.10

Audicus offers a hearing aid membership plan if you want to try hearing aids without purchasing them. For $39 per ear per month, you can use the hearing aids as long as you’d like. If they don’t suit your needs, you can simply return them and end your membership.

Use your HSA or FSA

Other health care accounts, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), can be used to pay for hearing aids and batteries.11

Pay in full

Finally, if you buy hearing aids at an audiologists’ clinic, it’s worth asking for a discount if you pay in full. 

Organizations that provide financial assistance for hearing aids

Cost shouldn’t stand in the way of getting treatment for your hearing loss. Fortunately, a number of non-profit organizations may be able to help you pay for hearing aids. Here’s a list to get you started. 

Some of the websites we’ve outlined also provide links to other associations that give financial assistance for hearing aids.

Veterans Affairs

If you’re a veteran and receive general VA health care, you can get hearing exams, hearing aids, batteries, hearing implants, and a variety of hearing assistive technology, such as remote microphones, media streamers, and hearing aid-compatible smoke alarms, at no cost. 

The VA will also repair hearing aids purchased by veterans in the private sector free of charge. Go to the Veterans Affairs website to learn more about these benefits.12 

Discount networks

Networks such as ZipHearing sell hearing aids and service packages at prices up to 30% lower than clinics. The discount network will lock in the best price they can offer for your hearing aids and then connect you with a local clinic, where you can get a hearing evaluation, purchase your hearing aids, and receive service and support.

Member benefits

AARP members can receive a 20% discount on hearing aids along with other hearing benefits through a program with HearUSA.

Lions Club members can also get hearing aids at a discounted price. See their website for details. 

Hearing Aid Project

Developed by Hearing Charities of America, the Hearing Aid Project provides hearing evaluations and refurbished hearing aids at little or no cost. If you are a U.S. resident, have been diagnosed with hearing loss by an audiologist, and do not have health insurance that covers hearing aids, you may qualify for devices from the Hearing Aid Project. 

Go to the website to complete an application and get a list of national, state, and local resources that help pay for hearing aids. 

Other resources

The following organizations provide resources and links to help you get financial assistance for hearing aids:

Lastly, check out NCOA’s Benefits CheckUp tool to see what other benefits you’re eligible for.

Hearing aids vs. hearing amplifiers

You may be familiar with personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), also called hearing amplifiers. They are much cheaper than hearing aids, so they may seem like an attractive alternative. 

But be aware these products are meant to be used by people who do not have hearing loss but want all sounds in their environment to be louder. For example, hunters and bird watchers often use PSAPs to amplify sounds so they can hear wildlife better.

PSAPs are not meant as an alternative to hearing aids, nor are they designed to treat hearing loss. While the FDA regulates hearing aids for safety and good manufacturing practices, they do not oversee PSAPs.13 

If you’re experiencing hearing loss, especially if it’s sudden or accompanied by pain, be sure to see your doctor for an in-person evaluation. They can diagnose your hearing issues and help you find the best treatment.

What to look for in the best affordable hearing aids

Features to help you get a good fit

A variety of tips and domes will help you find the best fit with hearing aids that aren’t made for your exact ear anatomy. Eargo and Signia, along with all makers of behind-the ear (BTE) and receiver-in-ear (RIC) devices, offer several sizes of tips and domes.

Free trial period

In most states, hearing aid companies must offer a trial period of at least 30 days. Go to the Hearing Loss Association of America website for a list of requirements for hearing aid trial periods in each state.14 During the trial period, you can return the hearing aids and receive a full or partial refund if you decide they aren’t a good fit for you. 

Warranty

Check the length and type of warranty before purchasing hearing aids. Most companies provide a warranty between one and three years from the date of purchase, but not all warranties are created equal. 

For example, Lively’s warranty offers unlimited repairs and loss and damage coverage for three years, while Eargo’s warranty covers unlimited repairs but only one replacement during the warranty period of one to two years (depending on the model). 

Also, ask if the warranty can be extended. If so, find out how much the extended warranty costs. Of our hearing aid survey respondents, 62% needed to have their hearing aids repaired during the warranty period, so having good coverage and an extended warranty are both important factors to consider when choosing a hearing aid. 

Technology

While not all of the following technology features will be available in most lower-cost hearing aids, see which ones are most important to you before deciding which device to invest in.

Bluetooth capability

Remember, Bluetooth connectivity and Bluetooth streaming are two different things. Some CIC models (such as Eargo) provide Bluetooth connectivity but not streaming. This means you can connect wirelessly to your charger and/or smartphone app, but you won’t be able to take phone calls or listen to music with your hearing aids. 

If using your hearing aids to talk on the phone or stream music is important to you, make sure Bluetooth streaming is supported in a hearing aid you’re interested in before purchasing it.

Smartphone apps

Newer hearing aid technology has made it possible to use your smartphone to adjust the volume and settings on your hearing aids without even touching them. Some hearing aid companies also offer remote adjustments by audiologists through their company’s smartphone app. 

If you’re comfortable with technology and enjoy using apps on your phone, this may be a feature you’ll appreciate.

Noise reduction

Also called digital noise reduction, devices with this feature help you focus on conversations and other nearby sounds by limiting background noise. Noise reduction was the most important feature hearing aid customers said they wanted in our Reviews Team’s survey, and fortunately, most hearing aids include it in even the most basic models. 

Directional microphones and feedback cancellation

Directional microphones inside the hearing aid pick up and amplify sounds in front of you to help you hear and respond to conversations more easily. Feedback cancellation cuts down on the whistling sound that was common in older hearing aids when they were held near a phone or other device.

Both of these features are commonly included in basic hearing aid models.

Telecoil

A T-coil, or telecoil, enables the use of hearing aids in public places such as airports and houses of worship, and in theaters fitted with specialized hearing assistive technology called a hearing loop. 

While most modern hearing aids include a telecoil, CIC devices are so small they often do not. Lively and Eargo, the two CIC hearing aids in this review, do not include a telecoil.

Battery type

Most hearing aid companies offer models with rechargeable batteries, and most customers prefer them over disposable batteries, according to our Reviews Team’s survey. Rechargeable batteries were the second-most important feature to customers (right behind digital noise reduction).

The biggest advantage of rechargeable batteries is you never have to change them; just place them in the charging case at night before going to bed, and they’ll be ready to go in the morning.

Are budget hearing aids a good fit for you?

While everyone wants to save money, the least expensive hearing aids aren’t a good fit for every person. There are two reasons why you may not want to choose the cheapest hearing aids:

1. You have sudden or profound hearing loss

If you are experiencing a sudden loss of hearing ability, have recently had an injury or illness that may be related to your hearing loss, or have pain in one or both ears, be sure to contact your doctor or other health care provider for an in-person evaluation. 

In these cases, purchasing hearing aids online without an exam by a hearing professional could result in money wasted on devices that don’t effectively treat your hearing loss, as well as underlying conditions going undiagnosed and untreated.

In addition, people with severe or profound hearing loss sometimes need hearing aids that are fully customizable, and these are often more expensive than the models on this list. If your hearing loss is mild or moderate, you will likely be able to find a good fit from one of the most affordable hearing aid brands.

Some direct-to-consumer hearing aids are customizable, while others come with preset hearing settings you can switch between, depending on your listening environment.  

2. You want in-person support

For people who are new to hearing aids or have underlying medical conditions that affect their hearing, the in-person support offered at hearing clinics could be a better route. These hearing aids are typically (though not always) more expensive than direct-to-consumer brands sold online.

Bottom line

Affordable hearing aids have many benefits, chiefly the low price. But they’re not for everyone.

If budget hearing aids are right for you, our Reviews Team chose MDHearing as the “Most Versatile Budget Hearing Aid” based on its low prices and variety of models and technology to choose from. If price is your only concern and you don’t mind sacrificing features, Audien hearing aids might work for you. For those who want an invisible hearing aid, Eargo may be a good fit. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hearing aid with Bluetooth, we recommend Audicus. For robust customer support, Lively may be a good choice for its one-on-one video calls with audiologists. And lastly, if natural sound quality is your main concern, the Signia Silk X is likely your best choice.

To learn more about how to buy hearing aids, read our Hearing Aids Buyer’s Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Sources

  1. MDHearing. MDHearing Volt Max. Found on the Internet at https://www.mdhearingaid.com/hearing-aids/mdhearing-volt-max/ 
  2. White House. 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
  3. Signia. YourSound Technology and Dynamic Sound Scape Processing. Found on the internet at https://www.signia-library.com/scientific_marketing/dynamic-soundscape-processing-backgrounder/
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 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. Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss. Found on the internet at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
  6. The White House. 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
  7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 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. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/over-counter-hearing-aids
  9. Medicare.gov. Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hearing-aids
  10. Healthcare.gov Health Insurance Marketplace. What’s a Health Savings Account? Found on the internet at https://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/health-savings-account.pdf
  11. Healthcare.gov Health Insurance Marketplace. What’s a Health Savings Account? Found on the internet at https://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/health-savings-account.pdf
  12. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services. Found on the internet at https://www.prosthetics.va.gov/psas/Hearing_Aids.asp
  13. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 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
  14. Hearing Loss Association of America. Consumer Protection Laws. Found on the internet at https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/ConsumerProtectionLaws.pdf
  15.  White House. 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

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