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The 12 Best Hearing Aids of 2022

We selected our top hearing aid choices based on features, price, fit, and more.
Aug 19, 2022

By Courtney Schmidt, PharmD 
Medically Reviewed by Brad Ingrao, AuD
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Hearing aids amplify sounds for people with hearing loss. Although they won’t completely restore your hearing, the correct device can greatly improve your hearing ability.
  • Our hearing aid review provides everything you need to know to find the right device for your needs.
  • Not sure what type of hearing aid you need? Speak with an audiologist or hearing aid specialist who can provide guidance.
  • In August 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its ruling that over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids will be available without a medical exam, prescription, or professional fitting as soon as mid-October.¹

A Quick Look at the Best Hearing Aids

Why you can trust our expert review

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

How we research and review hearing aids

A wire container with hearing aids is lowered into a bucket of water to test the waterproof claims of various hearing aids

Our Reviews Team tests the waterproof claims of various hearing aids

We only recommend hearing devices that we think will have a positive impact for our readers, so we began our testing process by reviewing hearing aid research. We also consulted with audiologists and geriatric care experts to better understand the research, the needs of people with hearing loss, and the hearing aid brands and models on the market.

We read thousands of reviews on trusted third-party sites such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot to understand customers’ experiences and where they think hearing aids are falling short. Next, we conducted a survey to discover what people love about their hearing aids, what features they use, and what their biggest challenges are.

We focused on brands that:

  • Are widely available 
  • Have a range of prices
  • Treat different types of hearing loss
  • Offer a variety of features for different hearing concerns

Any time we recommend a hearing aid brand, we have our selections medically reviewed by an audiologist to examine the company, find the best model, and ensure every hearing aid on our list is appropriate for our readers’ needs.

Read more about our hearing aids review methodology.

Table 1 The best hearing aid brands, as of June 2022

Brand

Price per pair

Battery

Bluetooth

Adjustment

Warranty

Financing

Lively

$1,195–$1,995

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app or audiologist consultation

3 years

Yes

Audicus

$998–$2,798

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app and mail-in options

1 year

Yes

MDHearing

$800–$1,900

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app

Limited 90-day warranty

Yes

Phonak Paradise

$2,400–$7,000

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Local fitting included with purchase

Depends on retailer

Yes

Eargo

$1,450–$2,950

Rechargeable

Yes

Remote

1–2 years

Yes

Audien Atom Pro

$249

Rechargeable

No

Self-adjust

1 year

No

Signia Silk X

$2,898–$4,598

Disposable

No

Self-adjust phone app

Depends on retailer

Yes

Widex Moment

$2,798–$4,598

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app

3 years

Depends on retailer

ReSound One

$3,198–$4,798

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app and live assistance

4 years

Yes

Starkey Evolv AI

$2,800–$7,500

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Remote phone app

Depends on retailer

Yes

Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

$2,400–$7,000

Disposable

Yes

Local fitting included with purchase

Depends on retailer

Yes

Oticon More

$3,000–$7,500

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Local fitting included with purchase

Depends on retailer

No

Editor's Pick: Lively

Contents of a Lively hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $1,195–$1,995
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app or audiologist consultation
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Lively offers a three-year manufacturer’s warranty, three-year loss-and-damage protection, and 100-day risk-free trial
  • Financing: Yes

Lively earns our “Editor’s Pick” for the company’s combination of quality, powerful hearing aids, and a commitment to ongoing customer service that includes support from audiologists (health care professionals trained to treat hearing loss). All this together makes Lively one of the best hearing aids on the market.

Hearing professionals often say that the benefits of hearing aids may be due not just to the devices themselves, but also how they’re programmed. When an audiologist tailors your hearing aid settings to your type of hearing loss, it will work better for you. 

Lively focuses on giving customers full access to an audiologist to ensure  help is available. As a Lively customer, you’ll get personalized, professional expertise—with no in-person visits to an office or hearing center—for a low price compared to other hearing aid brands. Not every hearing aid company has audiologists on staff to offer consultations. Many use hearing professionals (people trained to fit hearing aids but with less experience than audiologists).

Lively offers an online hearing test and a pre-purchase video consultation with an audiologist. The company’s hearing aids can be paired with a smartphone app that allows you to adjust the settings or volume from your phone. 

After purchasing a Lively hearing aid, you’ll get audiologist support to set up the app and your hearing aids. You can also receive audiologist consultations for up to three years if your hearing aids need adjustments. 

It’s important to note that online hearing tests are not the same as tests performed in a clinic. Clinic tests are administered by a hearing professional and can sometimes diagnose the cause of your hearing loss.

A Lively hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big they are

A pair of battery-powered Lively 2 Lite hearing aids costs $1,195, about 40% less than the average $3,000 price tag for similar high-tech aids purchased at an audiology clinic. A pair of Lively’s rechargeable Lively 2 Plus hearing aids are $1,595, though the company offers financing options that allow you to pay as little as $52 per month.

Lively also has a new rechargeable model called the Lively 2 Pro. At $1,995 per pair ($65 per month with financing), the Pro is Lively’s most expensive option. But it also offers the newest technology, which the company says provides a clearer, more natural listening experience compared to older models. 

Lively offers no in-person consultations, so if you’d prefer to be seen in person, you may want to consider a company with physical locations or products that are sold through a licensed distributor.

Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth: Audicus

Top-down view of four Audien hearing aids in their charging cases with their owner's guide against a stone background

  • Cost: $998–$2,798
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (Wave and Spirit)
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app and mail-in options
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Audicus offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, a 45-day risk-free trial, and customers enrolled in the membership plan get an unlimited warranty during the length of their membership.
  • Financing available: Yes

Audicus sells affordable digital and Bluetooth hearing aids with some of the most advanced features available in its price range. Bluetooth hearing aids have a wide price range—from $1,000 up to $7,000 per pair, according to our Review Team’s research. That’s because Bluetooth hearing aids come with extra technology that lets you connect wirelessly to compatible devices such as headphones or smartphones. 

After you connect your Bluetooth hearing aids to a device such as a smartphone (also called “pairing”), you simply answer the call on your phone, and the call is routed right to your hearing aids, eliminating the need for you to hold your phone up to your ear while you talk. Because Audicus offers the least expensive Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids on this list, it earns our distinction as “Best Budget-Friendly Bluetooth Hearing Aid.”

An Audicus hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big they are

When you purchase a hearing aid from Audicus, you can upload your previous hearing test results or take a free online hearing test from the comfort of your home. Then a team of audiologists will program each hearing aid to address your hearing loss needs. 

In addition to low prices, Audicus helps customers save money through a hearing aid membership program. For a $100 setup fee plus a monthly fee that starts at $39, the membership program covers a new set of hearing aids every 18 months, accessories, and insurance to protect you in the event your hearing aids are lost or damaged. 

Unlike Lively, Audicus does offer in-person appointments, but only in Denver, Chicago, and New York City. If you prefer an in-person appointment and don’t live near these cities, it may not be the best choice.

Most Versatile: MDHearing

Contents of an MDHearing hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $800–$1,900
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (VOLT MAX)
  • Adjustment: Volume dial (all models) and remote phone app (VOLT MAX)
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: MDHearing offers a limited 90-day basic warranty and 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • Financing: Yes

MDHearing offers behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids to fit almost any budget. That’s important for many customers. Respondents to our Reviews Team’s March 2022 survey of hearing aid users identified cost as the second most important factor when purchasing hearing aids, behind only “ease of set up and use.”

But the real benefit of MDHearing is the company’s versatile line of products. Although it only sells three models, there are a wide range of features which is why we named it “Most Versatile.” The company’s entry-level model, the AIR, is $799 per pairone of the lowest prices on this list. It lacks the more advanced features of more expensive MDHearing models, such as dual directional microphones (that help filter out unwanted noise), rechargeable batteries, and Bluetooth capability. But it still comes with advanced noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and customizable options that make it a good budget-friendly pick.

MDHearing devices are intended for mild to moderate hearing loss. All models provide noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and four hearing settings. The company’s top model, the CORE, is also Bluetooth-enabled and can be used with a smartphone app. 

MDHearing hearing aids rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big they are

All MDHearing models are registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although they are not FDA-approved.2 This means that while MDHearing has completed the basic process of registering its products with the FDA, the company has yet to undergo the extensive testing process necessary for FDA approval. 

If you ever have problems with your hearing aids, MDHearing has licensed audiologists on staff who can answer any questions you have by phone or email. MDHearing doesn’t include hidden costs or equipment fees, so you can be sure the price you see is the true cost. You’ll also get a 45-day money-back guarantee. 

MDHearing has a versatile line to choose from, but its most expensive option does lack some of the advanced features other hearing aids on this list have, such as a wider range of customization options and natural sound processing (which uses a combination of sensors and artificial intelligence to more accurately replicate sound). If you want the most advanced features, you may want to consider another option.

Audiologists’ Pick: Phonak Paradise

Contents of a Phonak hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $2,400–$7,000
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Local fitting included with purchase
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Phonak offers a 45-day risk-free trial. Warranty length depends on the clinic where you purchase the hearing aids.
  • Financing: Yes

The Phonak Paradise line of hearing aids includes three models: the Naída (behind-the-ear), Audeo (receiver-in-canal), and Virto (in-the-ear). Their high-performance hearing technology, exceptional quality, rechargeable battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, and affordable pricing make these hearing aids a popular choice for both customers and hearing care professionals. The audiologists our Reviews Team consulted all had positive feedback for Phonak, specifically favoring the Paradise models. That’s why we named them our “Audiologists’ Pick.”

With AutoSense technology, the Paradise automatically senses your sound environment and adjusts as needed. If you’re in an empty restaurant that suddenly gets busy and the noise around you increases, your hearing aids will sense the new noise level and make the necessary adjustments with little to no interruption to your hearing ability. You don’t have to press any buttons or pull out your phone. 

The Phonak Paradise models allow you to stream anything from any Bluetooth device. You can even stream from two devices at the same time. You can also answer or decline calls with a simple tap of your hearing aid once you’ve connected them to your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. The microphones in the hearing aid double as a phone microphone, so your phone can be in another room and the person on the other end will still be able to hear you. 

A hand holds a Phonak hearing aid in its thumb and index finger against a stone background to show the hearing aid's size

Phonak’s Paradise and Marvel models have Roger wireless technology. Roger is a line of microphones and receivers made by Phonak. The use of these wireless devices can improve speech understanding in difficult-to-hear environments, but be aware that Roger devices cost extra—more than $1,500 for the most advanced microphone.

The TV streamer allows you to stream television sound directly into your hearing aids without any intermediary device. This is a helpful solution for people who like to listen to the TV louder than their significant other or who watch TV in bed and do not want to disturb anyone else. You can set your own volume level through your hearing aids and leave the TV at its usual volume. 

If your phone happens to ring, you can switch over to the phone call, or ignore it with a tap of the hearing aid and continue streaming the TV. The remote and table microphones can help you understand speech in noisy environments or when listening at a distance.

The Paradise line includes hearing aids that offer a variety of features and support for mild to profound hearing loss, but they are also some of the most expensive hearing aids on this list at $2,000–$7,000. For those new to hearing aids who want a simple, easy-to-use device, you may prefer a more inexpensive option.

Best Invisible Fit: Eargo

Contents of an Eargo hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $1,450–$2,950
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Eargo offers a one-year warranty with the Eargo 5, Neo HiFi, and Max models, and a two-year warranty with the Eargo 6. Both warranties include unlimited repairs and a one-time replacement. Eargo also provides a 45-day return policy for customers.
  • Financing: Yes

Eargo is known for its small, rechargeable hearing aid devices that are nearly invisible when positioned in the ear canal. Because of the small size, users in verified customer reviews routinely report that they forgot they’re there. Also, the unique flexible fibers in Eargo hearing aids mean you won’t get that “plugged up” feeling sometimes caused by in-canal 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. That’s why we named it “Best Invisible Fit.”

Eargo employs a unique design that allows for a more natural hearing experience with noise reduction and feedback cancellation. The company also offers affordable financing options that get you a hearing aid for as little as $78 a month. 

When you purchase an Eargo device, you’ll work with a personal hearing professional to help you along the way, and you’ll have customer support for a lifetime. 

Eargo hearing aids rest in a palm against a stone background to help show how big they are

Eargo hearing aids can be used right out of the box. You can either make adjustments yourself through the smartphone app, or the company’s hearing professionals can help you program your hearing aids remotely. 

However, be aware that Eargo hearing aids are only suitable for those with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss. If you need a hearing aid for moderately severe to profound hearing loss, we recommend going with a different company.

Read our Eargo hearing aids review for more information.

Best for the Money: Audien Atom Pro

Contents of an Audien hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $249
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Self-adjust 
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Audien offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, an unlimited warranty for customers enrolled in the protection plan, and a 45-day money-back guarantee.
  • Financing: No

At only $249 per pair, the Audien Atom Pro is quite a bit cheaper than every other hearing aid on the market, which is why we named it “Best for the Money.” Price is a critical consideration when purchasing hearing aids—respondents to our survey chose price as the second most important factor when choosing which hearing aid to buy. If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend thousands on a hearing device, Audien may be a great choice.

The Atom Pro is Audien’s newest model and has a collection of features that helps it punch well above its weight class, including enhanced feedback cancellation and advanced sound processing. It is a small, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to four days (after charging for four to six hours) and can be charged wirelessly in the hearing aid case. The Atom Pro also features Audien’s newest sound processing technology, which the company says cuts down on feedback and the whistling noise hearing aids can sometimes cause.

Along with the low price point, Audien also differentiates itself with an unlimited protection plan, which is a step above the standard one-year warranty. For $4 per month, you can enroll in the plan, which covers broken, lost, and damaged hearing aids. This warranty will give you a replacement pair of Atom Pro hearing aids for $34. 

Audien hearing aids rest in a palm against a stone background to help show how big they are

With the Atom Pro’s competitive low price comes less functionality and fewer features. For starters, Audien doesn’t offer audiologist support or remote adjustments. That means you’ll be on your own for any attempts to adjust your hearing aids or troubleshoot issues, although the company does offer a limited number of articles and videos on its support page to help resolve common problems. In addition, none of Audien’s devices can be customized for your particular hearing needs, and the company offers no smartphone app—both of which are standard features of the rest of the hearing aids on this list. 

If you’re comfortable sacrificing functionality and features for price, the Audien Atom Pro may be a good choice. But if you’re a first-time hearing aid buyer or would prefer  more support options, we recommend choosing another hearing aid with options for remote adjustments or audiologist support.

Most Natural Sound: Signia Silk X

Contents of a Signia hearing aids box are are spread out on a stone floor in the background, while in the foreground the hearing aid rests in a palm

  • Cost: $2,898–$4,598
  • Battery: Disposable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Self-adjust phone app
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Signia offers a 45-day risk-free trial. Warranty length depends on the clinic where you purchase the hearing aids.
  • Financing: Yes

The Signia Silk X is a completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid. The small size gives you both an invisible fit and a customized hearing experience. Like other devices on this list, the Signia Silk X does not require an in-person fitting with a hearing professional. It’s actually the only Signia hearing aid that sits completely in your ear canal that doesn’t require an in-person fitting. It uses soft silicone Click Sleeves—these are flexible silicon sleeves that attach to the end of your hearing aids to help position them in your ear canal and provide better acoustics. They come in different sizes based on the size of your ear canal and the type of your hearing loss. The Silk X has 48 channels and six customizable programs, giving you plenty of choices to find the right one for your needs. 

A Signia hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big it is

But where it really shines is its sound processing. The Signia Silk X runs on the company’s Xperience technology, which uses acoustic-motion sensors to create a more natural sound experience while you move. The Xperience technology is why we called out the Signia Silk X for “Most Natural Sound.” These motion sensors, which are built into the Silk X, detect when the wearer is moving and adapt their sound processing accordingly. This provides a more natural sound than other hearing aids, since we hear differently when we’re moving versus when we’re stationary. Not all hearing aids can account for this difference. 

Xperience technology also helps you filter out background noise and focus on the conversations in front of you (for example, in a busy restaurant) and hear a more natural version of your own voice while wearing your hearing aids, according to the company’s whitepaper.

 The Silk X is ideal for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, but isn’t suitable for those with moderately severe to profound hearing loss.

Best for Tinnitus: Widex Moment

Contents of a Widex hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $2,798–$4,598
  • Battery: Rechargeable and battery-powered options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Widex offers a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and a 45-day risk-free trial.
  • Financing: Depends on provider

Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears, comes in many forms.3 While no cure has been found for tinnitus, there are solutions for helping to manage symptoms.

Most hearing aids try to mask tinnitus symptoms by blending them with background noise. The Widex Moment uses a more sophisticated system, which is why we named it “Best Hearing Aid for Tinnitus.” It uses Widex Zen technology, which the company’s internal studies found helps manage tinnitus by using sound therapy. Widex Moment with Zen tones uses fractal musical tones (musical chimes that are played at random) to soothe the ringing in your ears. This is important because there is no pattern. The tones are always random, so your brain can’t adapt to them. 

A Widex hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big it is

These relaxing chimes also help to alleviate stress and anxiety, which are known triggers of tinnitus.4 These chimes are more pleasant to listen to than broadband (such as white noise) or narrowband (such as a hissing noise), which other hearing aids use to combat tinnitus.

If you have tinnitus, it’s important to see your hearing care professional to rule out underlying causes and to help you manage the chronic condition.

Best Rechargeable Hearing Aids: ReSound One

Contents of a ReSound hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $3,198–$4,798
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app and live assistance
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: ReSound offers a 45-day risk-free trial and, depending on the type of hearing aid purchased, a one- to four-year warranty.
  • Financing: Yes

Rechargeable hearing aids remove the hassle of having to exchange small (and often difficult to swap out) batteries. They also help you potentially save money in the long run since you don’t have to regularly purchase disposable batteries.

Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a rechargeable option, but the ReSound One rechargeable hearing aid is one of the most feature-rich and longest lasting, offering more than 30 hours of continued use from three hours of charging. The case also stores and recharges your hearing aids on-the-go without needing to be plugged into an outlet. The long battery life and high customer satisfaction with ReSound rechargeable hearing aids is why we named it “Best Rechargeable Hearing Aids.” 

A ReSound hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big it is

ReSound also stands out from other hearing aids for its feature-heavy app. Most hearing aid companies offer apps to help you make minor adjustments to your hearing aids’ settings. But ReSound offers an extra level of personalization with tinnitus management, location-based hearing (which lets you save hearing settings from your favorite locations so your hearing aids automatically switch to those settings when you return), and a “Find My Hearing Aids” feature. You can also use the app to schedule a ReSound Assist Live Assistance video call, which is a video appointment with a hearing professional for live assistance and remote fine-tuning. Like with other hearing aid apps, you can control volume, bass/treble, noise reduction, and microphone direction.

One thing to note is that the ReSound One has one of the most expensive price ranges on this list. Rechargeable hearing aids are generally more expensive than hearing aids with disposable batteries, since rechargeable hearing aids require more advanced technology. So if price is your most important factor, you may want to consider a less expensive hearing aid.

Best with Fall Detection: Starkey Evolv AI

Contents of a Starkey hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $2,800–$7,500
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Starkey offers a 45-day risk-free trial. Warranty length depends on the clinic where you purchase the hearing aids.
  • Financing: Yes

More than one out of four people over the age of 65 fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)5. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that patients with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling.6 

The Starkey Evolv AI has artificial intelligence (AI) that can detect a fall. You can add loved ones or caregivers as a contact in the Starkey app, and it will send them a notification if the hearing aids detect that you fell. This gets you the help you need in the event of a fall and, at the same time, alerts those closest to you that you’ve fallen. Falling is not a normal part of aging. Use NCOA’s Falls Free CheckUp tool to see if you’re at risk of falling and learn more about other resources to help you stay falls free.

A Starkey hearing aid rests in a palm against a stone background to help show how big it is

The Evolv AI also comes with Bluetooth capabilities for streaming TV shows and music. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 24 hours, and you can charge your hearing aids up to three times in the case without plugging it in.

While Starkey does provide an online hearing test, customers must purchase their hearing aids in-person through a clinic. This could be a drawback for people who want to complete the entire process online.

Best for Severe Hearing Loss: Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

Contents of a Phonak hearing aids box are spread out on a stone floor to see everything included

  • Cost: $2,400–$7,000
  • Battery: Disposable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Local fitting included with purchase
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Phonak offers a 45-day risk-free trial. Warranty length depends on the clinic where you purchase the hearing aids. 
  • Financing: Yes

If you have severe hearing loss, a powerful hearing aid that provides clear sound is critical. The Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP, one of Phonak’s top performers, is a Bluetooth-enabled behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid designed for severe to profound hearing loss. Its features are specifically designed for this level of hearing loss, making the Naída Paradise P-UP our pick for “Best Hearing Aid for Severe Hearing Loss.” The audiologists we consulted advise people to see a hearing specialist if profound or severe hearing loss is suspected.

The Naída Paradise P-UP is a high-tech hearing aid with a variety of customizable programs for different listening environments. You can choose from four types within the P-UP model, each with its own cost and set of features. The following prices for each type were current as of May 2022:

  • Essential (P30): $2,400–$3,000 per pair
  • Standard (P50): $3,000–$3,600 per pair
  • Advanced (P70): $3,600–$4,400 per pair
  • Premium (P90): $4,400–$7,000 per pair

All four types come with Phonak’s newest operating system, Autosense OS 4.0. This technology provides improved sound analysis and automatic adjustment to different situations, helping you hear clearly wherever you are. Autosense OS 4.0 makes the Naída a definite upgrade from previous Phonak hearing aids. The difference among the four types is that with each step up in price, you get additional programs to choose from.

The Naída Paradise P90 is the most expensive option, but it comes with three unique features. First, Speech Enhancer lowers the level of listening effort needed to hear soft speech in quiet environments (such as libraries). The second feature, Dynamic Noise Cancellation, allows users to set their own level of noise cancellation in loud environments. Finally, EchoBlock reduces distracting sounds in facilities that tend to echo, such as large auditoriums.

A hand holds a Phonak hearing aid in its thumb and index finger against a stone background to show the hearing aid's size

All four Naída Paradise P-UP hearing aids include the following features: wax guards, excellent sound quality streaming from the TV, and the myPhonak app, which allows you to control the hearing aids with your phone. This includes changing the volume, switching programs, and adjusting the sensitivity of the microphones. The Naída Paradise P-UP connects wirelessly to most devices, including several smartphone models. Many customer reviews speak highly of this hearing aid’s features and talk about how easy it is to use. 

Bluetooth connectivity allows for direct streaming and hands-free calls from your smartphone, making it easy to speak with friends and family. You can also stream music and video clips directly to your hearing aid. Moving between devices, such as your smartphone and a tablet, can be a bit tedious, but if you’re only using your phone, this shouldn’t be a problem. You can also check your phone’s compatibility with Phonak.

Like many other Phonak hearing aids, the Naída Paradise P-UP is compatible with Roger technology, which includes remote microphones, table microphones, and TV streamers. Roger technology picks up the speaker’s voice through a Roger device and wirelessly transmits it to the listener while reducing background noise. But Roger comes with an extra cost—more than $1,500 for the most advanced microphone.

Because it is worn behind the ear, this model is sturdy, comfortable, and easy to clean and maintain. One thing to note is that the Naída Paradise P-UP only comes with a disposable 675 zinc-air battery, which needs to be changed about once a week.

The Naída Paradise P-UP is one of the most expensive models on this list. If budget is an issue, you may want to consider less expensive options. But be aware that not all hearing aids are suitable for severe hearing loss.

Most Advanced Smart Features: Oticon More

  • Cost: $3,000–$7,500
  • Battery: Rechargeable or disposable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Local fitting included with purchase
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Oticon offers a 45-day risk-free trial. Warranty length depends on the clinic where you purchase the hearing aids.
  • Financing: No

The Oticon More hearing aid is designed to address mild to severe hearing loss, and it features the most advanced technology Oticon has to offer. In addition to feedback suppression, the device comes with a Deep Neural Network (DNN), which is a type of machine learning that learns tasks in the same way our brains do—through trial and error. Oticon trained the More hearing aid using 12 million sounds until it could instantly recognize each sound and organize groups of sounds in different environments. According to the company, the Oticon More is the first hearing aid to utilize DNN technology for a more balanced and exact listening experience. This unique technology is why we consider the Oticon More the hearing aid with the “Most Advanced Smart Features.”

According to the company’s internal research, using a hearing aid with DNN technology allows users to understand 15% more speech and receive 30% more sound in the brain compared to the previous Opn S model. The Oticon More processes sound through two different paths, one with four channels and the other with 24 channels, to provide greater contrast between sounds. Plus, Oticon hearing aids are known for their quality and durability (Oticon has been making hearing aids since 1904, according to the company’s website).

The Oticon More has Bluetooth streaming capabilities so you can listen to music or take phone calls through your hearing aid. It also features IFTTT (If This Then That) compatibility, which is an internet-based service that allows you to use your hearing aids with other wireless products like lighting systems, home appliances, home alarms, and more. While the Oticon More can wirelessly connect to any Apple device, Android device users will need the ConnectClip accessory, a wireless transmitter, to make hands-free calls or stream music to the hearing aid from your smartphone.

With the Oticon ON App, you can control your hearing aids from your smartphone, check the battery level, switch programs, and access user instructions. The Oticon app also features HearingFitness, which allows you to set listening goals (such as how many hours you want to wear your hearing aids per day) and get tips on how to hear better. Think of HearingFitness like a fitness tracker for your ears—it gives you encouragement and advice on ways to use your hearing aids more, hear better, and improve your overall hearing health.

The Oticon More comes in four styles:

  • miniRITE T: Receiver-in-the-ear with telecoil and disposable batteries
  • miniRITE R: Receiver-in-the-ear with rechargeable batteries (no telecoil)
  • miniBTE T: Behind-the-ear with disposable batteries
  • miniBTE R: Behind-the-ear with rechargeable batteries

All styles are offered in eight color choices. The rechargeable models have some of the fastest charging times on the market, needing only three hours to provide a full day’s worth of power.

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is an electronic device designed to improve your hearing in both noisy and quiet environments. Hearing aids work by magnifying sound vibrations entering the ear. 

Hearing aids have one or two microphones to pick up sound, and most have an amplifier to make the sound louder and a speaker to produce the amplified sound in the ear. Beyond the basic operating parts, companies offer hearing aid devices with different designs, features, and technology.

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids

In August 2022, the FDA established a new category of hearing aids, OTC hearing aids.¹ This new category will allow consumers to purchase hearing aids directly from pharmacies, stores, and online retailers—with no doctor visit or prescription required.

Based on the FDA’s final rule, OTC hearing aids:

  • Are “intended to address perceived mild to moderate hearing loss in adults age 18 or older”7
  • Can be purchased online or in stores without a medical exam, prescription, or professional fitting

Some OTC hearing aids are already available directly from manufacturers. For example, Lively, Eargo, and Audicus sell their hearing aids online directly from their websites.

But to comply with the rules up until now (which didn’t allow for OTC hearing aids), companies that sell directly from their websites require customers to sign a medical waiver acknowledging  the FDA believes it’s in your best interest to see an audiologist before purchasing (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 A pre-purchase medical waiver from Eargo hearing aids

A pre-purchase medical waiver from Eargo hearing aids

These waivers will be unnecessary once the new FDA rules go into effect, which is expected to be mid-October 2022. By then, you’ll also be able to purchase OTC hearing aids in stores that carry health care devices.

OTC hearing aids vs. prescription hearing aids

Both OTC and prescription hearing aids are regulated as medical devices by the FDA.8  But while OTC hearing aids can be purchased directly from the companies that make them, prescription hearing aids require hearing exams and usually cost more.

Mandatory hearing exams and fittings

As their name suggests, prescription hearing aids require both a medical exam and a prescription written by an audiologist or other hearing professional. You can learn about the features of certain prescription hearing aids on the manufacturers’ websites, but you’ll need to go to a hearing clinic for an exam and prescription to buy them.

Many prescription hearing aids also require fitting by a hearing professional. OTC hearing aids don’t, so they usually come with a variety of domes and tips that you can switch out to find the ones that are the most comfortable and give you the best listening experience.

Higher prices

Prescription hearing aids tend to be more expensive than OTC hearing aids, since they are typically sold as part of a package that includes ongoing maintenance and adjustments by a hearing professional. Not everyone can afford to pay for those extra services. 

In contrast, OTC hearing aids tend to be less expensive, since you don’t need an in-person hearing exam and because the hearing aids themselves are sold as a standalone product (meaning you’re only paying for the devices themselves and may not get access to ongoing care for your OTC hearing aids). 

Although OTC hearing aids may come with less customer support, some OTC hearing aid manufacturers, such as Eargo and Lively, are known for remote customer care that includes adjustments by audiologists.

Increased access to hearing aids

The FDA’s final ruling on OTC hearing aids is meant to increase access to hearing aids by removing some of the barriers that often keep people from seeking treatment for hearing loss. The high price of hearing aids, the perceived stigma of wearing them, and the concern that hearing aids aren’t effective are all common reasons that people with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years before buying hearing aids.9

By establishing a regulatory category for OTC hearing aids, the FDA is opening the way for more retailers to enter the hearing aid market. This should drive the price of hearing aids down, making them affordable for more people and shortening the wait time before people decide to treat their hearing loss.

Hadassah Kupfer, an audiologist in Brooklyn, New York, believes we should be celebrating the new FDA ruling as a success that will expand hearing aid access. “As an audiologist, I know that adjusting and fitting hearing aids for specific use takes considerable time and understanding. OTC will not be for every type of hearing loss, but if it opens a door for those previously unwilling to seek professional help, I would consider that a success,” says Kupfer.

Where to buy over-the-counter hearing aids

OTC hearing aids are already available online from manufacturers such as Eargo, Lively, Audicus, and MDHearing. They will also be sold in stores as soon as mid-October 2022, according to the FDA press release. 

OTC hearing aids will likely be available from pharmacies, electronics stores, durable medical equipment providers, and other stores that carry health care devices.

What to consider before buying a hearing aid

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) reports that 37.5 million American adults have some level of hearing loss.10 While hearing loss can occur at any time in life, the problem becomes more common with age. 

The NIDCD estimates almost one in four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 and half of people older than 75 have disabling hearing loss. It may come as a surprise that only one in three adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. As mentioned above, people with hearing loss tend to wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.11

There are many reasons that may prevent those with hearing loss from seeking help. The following are some of the more common:

  • The cost of hearing aids and hearing care
  • The fact that insurance companies and Medicare do not cover hearing aids
  • The distance from hearing care providers
  • The stigma associated with wearing a hearing aid12

We asked Michelle Brady, an audiologist with Access Audiology, a mobile audiology service in the New York City area, what she’d like people to know about the purchasing process. According to Brady, the most important thing to consider when shopping for a hearing aid is time. 

“Research has shown that the longer hearing loss goes untreated, the brain’s ability to understand and decode speech decreases,” Brady said. “Just like muscles in the body—if you don’t use it, you lose it. Unfortunately, hearing aids cannot override the damage that occurs from years of decreased auditory stimulation. The earlier a patient gets hearing aids and wears them consistently, the better their brain will be able to process and decode speech.”

Hearing loss can impact all aspects of life, including making it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice, respond to warnings, and hear doorbells and alarms. Hearing loss also makes it harder to participate in conversations with friends and family and enjoy entertainment like movies and concerts. This can be frustrating, embarrassing, and even dangerous. Hearing loss has also been associated with higher rates of falls, depression, and social isolation among older adults. Getting your hearing checked and corrected can play an important role in improving your quality of life.

How to find hearing aids near you

A few years ago, there was only one way to get hearing help: Make a trip to a doctor’s office or hearing center to be tested and fitted for hearing aids. This was a challenge for many people who didn’t have easy access to these locations. Now, there are many ways to purchase high-quality hearing aids.

Visit a hearing clinic

You can visit a hearing center to get an audiologist consultation and buy hearing aids in person. Audiologists are hearing professionals with at least a master’s degree in the field of audiology who diagnose and treat hearing loss, as well as fit hearing aids. Hearing instrument specialists are hearing professionals with a high school diploma or two-year degree and are only licensed to help fit or program hearing aids.

Buy OTC hearing aids online

You can also purchase hearing aids online from companies that offer quality OTC hearing devices at lower prices. Some OTC hearing aid manufacturers provide virtual consultations with an audiologist for personalized recommendations and adjustments along with your purchase.

Purchase through a discount network

Another option is to purchase the same devices available at an audiologist’s office or hearing center from a discount network such as Zip Hearing for up to 35% less than retail price. When you purchase hearing aids through this network, you’ll be connected with an audiologist in your area for further care. If you are a veteran, check with your local Veteran Affairs (VA) medical center about meeting with an audiologist, getting a hearing test, and determining what hearing aid is right for you.

Larger retailers stores, such as Walmart and Costco, may also sell hearing aids. The majority of the hearing aid users we surveyed (almost 15%) used Kirkland hearing aids from Costco. The next most-popular brand in our survey was Eargo with 8%. 

Buying a hearing aid online

The ability to buy hearing aids online eliminates some of the barriers that can prevent people from seeking care for their hearing loss. But it’s important to know that buying hearing aids online isn’t for everyone.

In some cases, hearing loss may be caused by a medical problem such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or meningitis, and that can only be detected in a consultation with a medical doctor and an audiologist. Buying hearing aids without that intervention may let an underlying medical problem persist.

It’s also important to keep in mind that getting the right hearing aid for your needs depends on your specific type and severity of hearing loss. Hearing aids bought through an audiologist are programmed individually for each person according to the results of their audiogram (hearing test). Many online hearing aid companies have an audiologist who will interpret audiograms and program hearing aids, but others don’t.

Some of the less expensive devices may not have the detailed programming options necessary for many types of hearing loss. These devices are considered personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), not a true hearing aid. That means they make everything louder, but the devices aren’t able to target the specific frequencies where hearing loss has occurred or filter out background noise.  

If you aren’t sure what type of hearing aid you need, speak with an audiologist or hearing aid specialist who can provide guidance.

How to find affordable hearing aids

Hearing aids are an investment. Even reputable companies that manufacture inexpensive hearing aids charge around $800 per pair.

MDHearing, for example, sells inexpensive digital hearing aids that start at $800 per pair, and Audienoffers low-cost devices starting at $99 per pair. 

Before buying a lower-cost model, make sure to check the fine print. Some retailers and online distributors advertise cheap hearing aids, but are actually selling PSAPs, which amplify sound but do not provide the same level of support as a hearing aid.

Hearing aids are typically sold through an audiologist or larger retailers like Walmart or Costco. But you can also find inexpensive OTC hearing aids online through companies like MDHearing, Lively, or Eargo, which manufacture and sell their own devices to consumers. 

If you want a more expensive hearing aid that’s only offered through an audiologist, consider purchasing through an authorized discount supplier, such as ZipHearing, which sells high-quality hearing aids like Phonak and Signia at a reduced cost. You still work with a local audiologist to get fitted and set up with your device, but the company facilitates the purchasing process with the hearing provider. This  option could save you hundreds of dollars. 

Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, although some Medicare Advantage Plans (known as Part C) do offer some coverage for hearing. Contact your plan for more information. NCOA continues to advocate for Medicare coverage of hearing aids. For more information on Medicare and hearing aids, click here.

Read our review of the top affordable hearing aids for more in-depth guidance.

What type of hearing aid is best for me?

Hearing aids come in a variety of styles. To find your best option, you’ll need to consider features, size, visibility, and your degree of hearing loss. In general, hearing aids come in the following styles:

  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)
  • Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • Mini behind-the-ear (mBTE)

In-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal aids are very small, so they may be more difficult to remove and adjust, but they’re the most discreet style. 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids are bulkier and more visible, but they are also easier to handle and more appropriate for profound hearing loss. Since hearing aids are a substantial expense, it’s important to research the different companies and styles to ensure you’re getting the right one for your hearing loss. 

Reading a variety of hearing aid reviews can help you better understand the different styles and how people choose the best hearing aids for their comfort level and needs.

Types of hearing aids

The five main types of hearing aids have their own pros and cons.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid

Also called a mini CIC, this hearing aid is the smallest and least visible device for treating hearing loss. It is positioned completely within the ear canal, and a tiny string that hangs outside your ear allows you to remove the device. 

In addition to an invisible fit, CIC hearing aids offer the advantage of less feedback when using a telephone and less disruptive noise from wind. Due to their small size, CIC hearing aids may not have some of the features you’d get with other larger devices. 

For instance, CIC hearing aids are often too small for a directional microphone, and batteries will be smaller and harder to change if they aren’t rechargeable. Battery life may also be shorter due to the small size of the device, and ear wax and moisture can affect their function.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid

This hearing aid sits deep in the ear canal, but it’s a bit larger and more visible than a CIC device. ITC hearing aids allow for longer battery life and directional microphones. They are still susceptible to issues with earwax and moisture and may be difficult for some people to handle due to their relatively small size.In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid

Traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

This device sits behind your ear and uses a plastic tube that hooks over your ear to reach the ear canal. At the end of the plastic tube is a custom-fit ear mold that sits snugly within the canal.

These devices tend to be larger than others, but they do offer more capabilities, such as directional microphones and a telecoil, which can help you hear better on the telephone and with assisted listening devices. They may be easier to handle and work better for people with severe hearing loss. However, some users find the ear mold produces a full or plugged feeling in their ears, which can be a downside.

Traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

Mini behind-the-ear (mBTE) hearing aid

These hearing aids, also referred to as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) devices, sit behind the ear like traditional types, but are smaller and less visible, especially when you choose one that matches your hair color. They have a tiny wire that hooks over the ear, which connects to a small receiver that fits inside the ear canal. 

This design prevents the plugged-up feeling some people dislike with the traditional behind-the-ear models. For many users, these hearing aids strike the perfect balance between looks and functionality.

Mini behind-the-ear (mBTE) hearing aid

Traditional in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid

This type of hearing aid sits completely within the ear, but is larger than the CIC type. They are large enough to offer advanced features such as Bluetooth, directional microphones, and a telecoil, but the smaller size may limit their power compared to BTE models. ITE hearing aids are typically easier to handle and insert than their smaller counterparts, but they may also be more visible.

Traditional in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid

 

Which is better: In-the-ear or behind-the-ear hearing aids?

Hearing aids come in several styles, including behind-the-ear and in-the-ear. Finding the best device for you depends on several factors. 

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid sits behind your ear with a plastic earmold that fits into the outer ear. The case that sits behind your ear holds all the electronic parts necessary to make it work. BTE devices are bigger, so they are typically easier to use and handle, making them a good choice for kids and older adults. They’re also able to hold a larger battery, which provides a longer battery life. Plus, the bigger size makes them more durable and able to provide more features. BTE hearing aids serve a range of ages and hearing loss. They are appropriate for all ages and work well for anyone with mild to profound hearing loss.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fit inside the ear, either partially or completely, and work well for mild to severe hearing loss. Some ITE devices come with a telecoil, which is a small magnetic coil enabling you to hear sound through the circuit rather than the microphone. This may improve the quality of phone conversations or help you hear in environments that use special sound systems, like auditoriums. ITE aids are more discreet than BTE, but they are still bigger than nearly invisible options like a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid.

What’s the difference between digital and analog hearing aids?

Hearing aids are available in analog or digital. Although digital is the most common type of device, some companies still carry analog hearing aids. The difference between analog and digital hearing aids comes down to the type of electronics used. Both devices convert sound waves, but the process used sets each type apart.14

With an analog hearing aid, you will experience amplification with all sounds, including noise and speech. In other words, they make continuous sound waves louder. Analog hearing aids require the user to change settings when in different environments, but some people feel that analog devices provide a more natural hearing experience.

Digital hearing aids convert sound waves to digital signals, providing the clearest hearing possible. These devices are capable of clearing out background noise, reducing feedback, and helping you focus on the sounds and voices you want to hear. Digital hearing aids also offer more complex programming, which allows you to process sounds more selectively.

Most often, you will find more digital hearing aids than analog devices. Some companies have already discontinued selling any analog styles, while others continue to carry one or two types of analog hearing aids. 

Hearing aid features to consider

As hearing aid technology changes, more features become available. The following are a few of the most popular additional features that can make your hearing aid even more efficient and enjoyable to use.

Bluetooth capabilities 

When your smartphone is paired with your hearing aids using wireless Bluetooth technology, you can stream calls and audio from your phone to your hearing aids. Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the exchange of information or data, in this case sound, between different devices. Smartphones have Bluetooth capability. 

Hearing devices with this feature can also connect to smartphone apps, allowing you to use your phone to adjust your hearing aid sound settings. In our survey, 47% of hearing aid users had no problem pairing their hearing aids to their smartphones. A further 37% of respondents said their hearing aids connect with their smartphone, but that it takes a few tries. Only 15% said they were unsuccessful in pairing their hearing aids with a smartphone.

Directional microphones 

These microphones help you hold a conversation in noisy environments by making the sound in front of you louder than the sound coming from the rear or sides. These devices work best when you are close to the sound source. 

The microphones also let you adjust your hearing aid for different environments such as busy restaurants or quiet rooms. Advanced versions can even focus behind the listener or to the listener’s side.

In our hearing aid survey, a majority of respondents (43%) said their hearing aids helped them hear conversations better in groups of five people or fewer, which is the primary goal of directional microphones.

Feedback suppression 

Feedback suppression in hearing aids help block out high-pitched whistling sounds. It’s useful for minimizing feedback if you’re close to the telephone or if the aid is slightly dislodged from your ear when you move your jaw. It can also allow for better sound quality for listeners who have good hearing in the lowest pitches. 

Digital noise reduction 

Digital noise reduction improves listener comfort and communication in noisy environments by blocking out some background noise. This may make it easier to hear and understand speech. A majority of respondents to our survey said that digital noise reduction was the most important feature in a hearing aid.

Tinnitus masking 

Tinnitus masking amplifies the volume of external noise to the point that it masks the sound of noise or ringing in the ears that characterizes tinnitus.

Rechargeable batteries 

Rechargeable hearing aid batteries allow you to recharge your hearing aids instead of regularly buying new batteries and replacing them. The batteries don’t need to be removed from the hearing aids in order to charge them—you place both hearing aids in a charging dock while you sleep so they’re charged and ready in the morning. 

Depending on the model and the level of your hearing loss, some rechargeable hearing aid batteries do need to be removed and replaced once they die, but typically they last between 1–5 years. Traditional non-rechargeable hearing aid batteries need to be replaced every few weeks. 

This is an important consideration for many customers because hearing aid batteries are quite small and can be hard to handle. Our survey respondents ranked rechargeable batteries as the second most important feature they wanted in a hearing aid.

Telecoil 

A telecoil improves the ability to hear on the telephone and on assistive listening devices. Most types of hearing aids have the telecoil option available. However, due to their small size, CIC and IIC hearing aids don’t have telecoil.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Sources

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