• Jabra Enhance offers the all-around best hearing aids on the market based on our Reviews Team’s hands-on testing.
  • 37.5 million people in the United States have hearing loss. That number is expected to almost double in the next four decades.
  • The cost of hearing aids varies significantly and can range from $99 to $7,000 per pair (for context, the Jabra Enhance starts at $1,195). Factors influencing the cost of hearing aids include the manufacturer, features, style, fit, technology levels, and customization options.
  • When shopping for hearing aids, some of the most important features to consider are your degree of hearing loss, Bluetooth capabilities, feedback suppression, and style. Some of the most popular hearing aid styles include completely-in-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC), behind-the-ear (BTE), and in-the-ear (ITE).

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
1
Editor’s Pick
9.9
Exceptional
High-quality, natural sound with Bluetooth streaming
Available in 5 colors
Audiologist support
100-day risk-free trial
Our Top Pick
2
Most Affordable
9.3
Excellent
Starting at $189 per pair
Discreet design and nearly invisible
45 day trial period
3
Best for Severe Hearing Loss
8.5
Very Good
Free online hearing test
16-hour rechargeable battery life
Ongoing audiologist and hearing aid specialist support
4
Most Feature Options
9.3
Excellent
Variety of budget products with audiologist support
Neo XS is 50% smaller than affordable competitors
45 day trial period

1,841,585 people helped this year

A Quick Look at the Best Hearing Aids

Whether you’re having dinner with friends or watching television at home, hearing loss can get in the way of your quality time, disrupt your ability to communicate and gather information effectively, and lessen your confidence in social settings. But the right hearing aid can enhance your hearing, and even protect your brain from cognitive decline, so you feel more comfortable and confident in all areas of your life. Our Reviews Team compared the best hearing aids for 2024 based on features, pricing, and customer care to help you make the right decision for your needs.

For our Reviews Team’s recommendations on the most budget-friendly hearing aids of the year, visit our list of the most affordable hearing aids we researched and tested.

Editor’s Pick
9.9
Exceptional
High-quality, natural sound with Bluetooth streaming
Available in 5 colors
Audiologist Support
100-day risk-free trial
Our Top Pick
Why you can trust our expert review
5300
Hours of
Research
12
Experts
Consulted
18
Brands
Considered
13
Models
Selected

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:

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.

The best hearing aid brands, as of February 2024

Battery Bluetooth Warranty Financing Link
Jabra Enhance Rechargeable and disposable Yes 1–3 years Yes Visit Site
Audien Hearing Rechargeable No 1 year No Visit Site
Phonak Audéo Lumity Rechargeable Yes Depends on retailer Depends on retailer Visit Site
Eargo Rechargeable Yes
for adjustments only, no streaming
1–2 years Yes Visit Site
Lexie Rechargeable and disposable Yes
adjustments only, no streaming; iPhone call streaming through B2 model only
1 year Yes Visit Site
MDHearing Rechargeable Yes
for adjustments only, no streaming
1–2 years Yes Visit Site
Signia Disposable No Depends on retailer Depends on retailer Visit Site
ReSound Rechargeable and disposable Yes Depends on retailer Depends on retailer Visit Site
Starkey Rechargeable and disposable Yes Depends on retailer Depends on retailer Visit Site
Audicus Rechargeable and disposable Yes
except the Mini
2 years Yes Visit Site
Jabra Enhance
Battery Rechargeable and disposable
Bluetooth Yes
Warranty 1–3 years
Financing Yes
Visit Site
Audien Hearing
Battery Rechargeable
Bluetooth No
Warranty 1 year
Financing No
Visit Site
Phonak Audéo Lumity
Battery Rechargeable
Bluetooth Yes
Warranty Depends on retailer
Financing Depends on retailer
Visit Site
Eargo
Battery Rechargeable
Bluetooth Yes
for adjustments only, no streaming
Warranty 1–2 years
Financing Yes
Visit Site
Lexie
Battery Rechargeable and disposable
Bluetooth Yes
adjustments only, no streaming; iPhone call streaming through B2 model only
Warranty 1 year
Financing Yes
Visit Site
MDHearing
Battery Rechargeable
Bluetooth Yes
for adjustments only, no streaming
Warranty 1–2 years
Financing Yes
Visit Site
Signia
Battery Disposable
Bluetooth No
Warranty Depends on retailer
Financing Depends on retailer
Visit Site
ReSound
Battery Rechargeable and disposable
Bluetooth Yes
Warranty Depends on retailer
Financing Depends on retailer
Visit Site
Starkey
Battery Rechargeable and disposable
Bluetooth Yes
Warranty Depends on retailer
Financing Depends on retailer
Visit Site
Audicus
Battery Rechargeable and disposable
Bluetooth Yes
except the Mini
Warranty 2 years
Financing Yes
Visit Site

Best Hearing Aids of 2024

Most Popular
9.9 Exceptional
Cost per pair: $1,195-$1,995
Hearing aid style: Receiver-in-canal, mini receiver-in-ear
For mild to moderate hearing loss
9.9 Exceptional
Why We Chose

Jabra Enhance earns “Our Top Pick” for the company’s combination of quality, over-the-counter devices and a commitment to ongoing customer service that includes support from an audiology team (specialists trained to treat hearing loss) if you purchase the premium package. All this together makes Jabra Enhance one of the best OTC hearing aids on the market.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or buttons on hearing aid
  • Warranty and trial period: Jabra Enhance offers a 100-day risk-free trial period for all Jabra Enhance Select devices; one to three-year manufacturer’s warranty and loss-and-damage protection (depending on basic or premium package)
  • Financing: Yes
Additional Details

Jabra Enhance focuses on giving customers full access to its audiology care team to ensure help is available. As a Jabra Enhance 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 OTC hearing aids. Not every OTC hearing aid company has an audiology care team on staff for consultations.

Jabra Enhance offers an online hearing screening and a pre-purchase video consultation with a member of the audiology care team. The company’s devices can also be paired with a smartphone app that allows you to adjust the settings or volume from your phone.

If  you choose the Premium package for $200 more when buying a pair of Jabra Enhance hearing aids, you’ll get remote support from the audiology team to set up the app and your hearing aids. You can also receive audiology team consultations for up to three years if you need adjustments. Customers who choose the Basic package will get their hearing aids programmed for their hearing loss profile before the devices are shipped to them, but ongoing audiology support is not included.

Jabra Enhance Select 50 hearing aids gray

A pair of battery-powered Enhance Select 50 hearing aids cost $1,195 (basic package), about 40% less than the average $3,000 price tag for similar high-tech aids purchased at an audiology clinic. A pair of rechargeable Enhance Select 100 costs $1,495–$1,695 (basic versus premium package), though the company offers financing options that allow you to pay as little as $49–$55 per month for this device.

Jabra Enhance also has a newer rechargeable model called the Enhance Select 300. At $1,795 per pair for the basic package ($58 per month with financing) or $1,995 per pair for the premium package ($65 per month with financing), the Enhance Select 300 is the most expensive option. But it’s also smaller than the previous Select 200 and offers the company’s newest technology.

Jabra says the 300 provides greater depth of sound than the 200, better speech understanding in noisy settings, and minimal disruption from repetitive background sounds (like dishes clattering or dogs barking).

For a high-quality OTC hearing aid with knowledgeable remote audiology support, Jabra Enhance Select is our top choice.

Read our Jabra Enhance review for more information.

Our Top Pick
Most Affordable
9.3 Excellent
Cost per pair: $99–$289
Hearing aid style: In-he-ear
For mild to moderate hearing loss
9.3 Excellent
Why We Chose

At only $249 per pair, the Audien Atom Pro has the lowest price of every other hearing aid on the market, and the company has options that cost even less, starting at $99 for the Audien Atom. 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.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Screw on hearing aid
  • Warranty and trial period: Audien offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, an unlimited warranty for customers enrolled in the protection plan, and a 45-day trial period.
  • Financing: No
Additional Details

The Atom Pro 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 24 hours (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 that can be common in hearing aids.

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 devices. This warranty will give you a replacement pair of Atom Pro hearing aids for $34.

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 devices or troubleshoot issues, although the company does offer a limited number of articles and videos to help resolve common problems on its support page. 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 function and features in exchange for getting one of the most affordable hearing aids on the market, the Audien Atom Pro may be a good choice. But if you’re a first-time hearing aid buyer or would prefer more support, we recommend choosing another hearing aid with options for remote adjustments or audiologist support.

Read our Audien review for more information.

Best with Prescription
8.5 Very Good
Cost per pair: $2,600–$6,500
Requires a prescription
For mild to severe hearing loss
8.5 Very Good
Why We Chose

The Audéo Lumity, from prescription hearing aid manufacturer Phonak, comes with high-performance hearing technology, exceptional quality, rechargeable battery life, and Bluetooth connectivity, making it a popular choice for both customers and hearing care professionals. The audiologists our Reviews Team consulted all had positive feedback for Phonak.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Local fitting included with purchase
  • Warranty and trial period: Dependent on retailer
  • Financing: Dependent on retailer
Additional Details

Using AutoSense technology, the Audéo Lumity automatically detects 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 Audéo Lumity also allows you to stream anything from any Bluetooth device. You can even stream from two devices at the same time. You can answer or decline calls with a simple tap of your hearing aid once you’ve connected them to your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. With hands-free calling, 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. Phonak hearing aids feature Roger wireless technology, and the Phonak TV Connector allows you to stream television sound directly into your hearing aids.

While the Audéo Lumity offers a variety of features and is suitable for mild to profound hearing loss, it is one of the most expensive hearing aids on this list at $2,600–$6,500 per pair. People with mild to moderate hearing loss who want a simple, easy-to-use device may prefer a more inexpensive over-the-counter option.

Read our Phonak review for more information.

Most Feature Options
9.3 Excellent
Cost per pair: $999.98–$2,399.98
Hearing aid style: Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, completely-in-canal
For mild to moderately severe hearing loss
9.3 Excellent
Why We Chose

MDHearing offers behind-the-ear (BTE) and in-the-canal (ITC) 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. Its four models offer a wide range of features, which is why we gave this brand the title of “Most Feature Options.”

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (VOLT MAX)
  • Adjustment: Volume dial (all models) and remote phone app (VOLT MAX)
  • Warranty and trial period: MDHearing offers a one-year warranty on the Air, Neo, and Volt, a two-year warranty on the VOLT MAX, and a 45-day trial period on all models.
  • Financing: Yes
Additional Details

All MDHearing models are registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are FDA-cleared. The company’s entry-level model, the AIR, is $299 per pair—one of the lowest prices on this list. It lacks the advanced features of more expensive MDHearing models, such as dual directional microphones (which help filter out unwanted noise) and Bluetooth capability. But it still comes with advanced noise reduction, rechargeable batteries, feedback cancellation, telecoil technology, and customizable options that make it a good budget-friendly pick.

The water-resistant NEO is also $299 per pair and has rechargeable batteries, which will give you roughly 18 hours of use on a three-hour charge. The Neo also features background noise reduction and feedback cancellation, and it offers simple controls for seamless sound adjustment, as well as a handy cleaning tool.

The VOLT is a step up in terms of features. In addition to rechargeable batteries, which give you roughly 20 hours on a two-hour charge, the Volt has advanced digital technology with dual directional microphones and intelligent noise reduction, which should provide improved speech comprehension, and ultimately, easier communication.

At $699.98, the VOLT MAX is the most advanced of the line. It may be the priciest, but it comes with the most additional features. To start, it’s the only Bluetooth-compatible model that works with the MDHearing smartphone app, which allows you the extra option to make volume and settings adjustments from your phone—in addition to the manual controls. Plus, the adaptive technology auto adjusts to noise detection. The only downsides are the VOLT MAX is a slightly larger model and the rechargeable battery only lasts 15 hours on a full charge.

If you ever have problems with your devices, 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.

Read more in our MDHearing review.

Best Invisible Fit
9.6 Excellent
Cost per pair: $1,650–$2,950
Hearing aid style: Completely-in-canal
For mild to moderate hearing loss
9.6 Excellent
Why We Chose

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 devices mean you won’t get that “plugged up” feeling sometimes caused by in-canal hearing aids.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or by tapping your ear
  • Warranty and trial period: Eargo offers a one-year warranty on the Eargo 5 and 6 models and a two-year warranty on the Eargo 7. All warranties include unlimited repairs and a one-time replacement. Eargo also provides a 45-day trial period.
  • Financing: Yes
Additional Details

The newest OTC model, Eargo 7, was officially released February 2023. It features an improved Sound Adjust+ with Clarity Mode, which can automatically adjust the hearing aids’ sound profile to your surroundings for a clearer listening experience in both loud and quiet environments. The Eargo 6 has a similar Sound Adjust feature, but it functions best in quiet environments. While most Eargo models come with a one-year warranty, the Eargo 7 comes with a longer two-year warranty.

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 Eargo only sells online hearing aids, and you don’t need an in-person fitting from a hearing professional. We named Eargo “Best Invisible Fit” because the brand’s devices offer comfort and a small size.

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 $47 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 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 devices remotely.

Read our Eargo review for more information.

Most User-Friendly
9.7 Excellent
Cost per pair: $799–$999
Hearing aid style: Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal
For mild to moderate hearing loss
$50 off all hearing aids with code SASNCOAL23
9.7 Excellent
Why We Chose

Lexie offers three self-fitting OTC hearing aids Self-fitting hearing aids include software that allows the user to program their own devices. with a range of features. Lexie ties with Jabra and Lucid Hearing for the highest rating from our Reviews Team’s hands-on testing. Given its top score, advanced features, user-friendly app, and competitive price (it’s one of the least expensive hearing aids on this list), Lexie is our Reviews Team’s pick for Most User-Friendly.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: App or buttons on hearing aid
  • Warranty and trial period: Lexie offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and 45-day risk-free trial period
  • Financing: Lexie doesn’t have traditional financing, but the company now partners with Klarna, allowing you to have flexible payment options.
Additional Details

Lexie’s three models are appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss and come with noise reduction and feedback management. They are all available for purchase online and in stores and offer remote support.

The Lumen is a behind-the-ear (BTE) model priced at $799 per pair. It includes disposable batteries and six preset listening profiles. You can make volume or profile adjustments using buttons on the hearing aid or through the smartphone app. The Lumen also has a telecoil, which allows you to stream sounds directly to your hearing aids in any facility equipped with a hearing loop.

The B1 has disposable batteries and costs $849 per pair, while the B2 costs $150 more and comes with rechargeable batteries that last up to 18 hours per charge. The B2 also allows iPhone users to stream calls through their hearing aids. All three Lexie models are self-fitting hearing aids, which give you more control over the settings and sound quality.

The FDA classifies hearing aids as medical devices and regulates them for safety and efficacy. Some manufacturers, such as Lexie and MDHearing, have submitted additional data showing that the settings on certain models can be customized at home by the user. These devices have received FDA clearance as self-fitting hearing aids.

The key difference between a self-fitting hearing aid and a non-self-fitting model is that you can customize the settings to your hearing profile on the former but not the latter. The Lexie B1 and B2, for example, allow you to use the Lexie app to adjust the volume, bass/treble balance, left/right sound balance, and amount of sound you receive from certain directions. The Lexie Lumen, on the other hand, only lets you change the volume and select from one of six listening settings, but it also adjusts to your hearing loss profile based on an in-app screening that you complete when setting up the hearing aids. In testing, we found the app quick and easy to use.

Read our full Lexie review for more information.

Most Natural Sound
8.4 Good
Cost per pair: $1,998–$3,998
Hearing aid style: Completely-in-canal
For mild to severe hearing loss
8.4 Good
Why We Chose

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.

Features
  • Battery: Disposable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Phone app, remote, or in-person
  • Warranty and trial period: Dependent on retailer
  • Financing: Dependent on retailer
Additional Details

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.

Read more in our full Signia hearing aids review.

Best Rechargeable
8.7 Very Good
Cost per pair: $3,200–$6,500
Hearing aid style: Receiver-in-canal
For mild to severe hearing loss
8.7 Very Good
Why We Chose

Most hearing aid manufacturers offer a rechargeable option, but the ReSound Omnia rechargeable hearing aid is one of the most feature-rich and longest lasting, offering up to 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 them the “Best Rechargeable Hearing Aids.”

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or in-person
  • Warranty and trial period: Dependent on retailer
  • Financing: Dependent on retailer
Additional Details

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.

ReSound also stands out from other companies for its feature-heavy app. Most hearing aid companies offer apps to help you make minor adjustments to your devices’ 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 book a ReSound Assist Live Assistance video call, which is a video appointment with a hearing professional for live assistance and remote fine-tuning. Similar to other hearing aid apps, you can also control volume, bass/treble, noise reduction, and microphone direction.

One thing to note is that the ReSound Omnia has one of the most expensive price tags on this list. Rechargeable hearing aids are generally more expensive than those with disposable batteries because rechargeable hearing aids require more advanced technology.

But some OTC hearing aid companies, such as Jabra Enhance, Lexie, Eargo, and Audien, offer rechargeable hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing loss at a lower price than ReSound and other prescription brands. Just keep in mind that if your hearing loss is severe or profound, or you’re often in challenging listening environments, a prescription hearing aid like ReSound that offers the most advanced sound processing and in-person support can be worth the extra money.

Best with Fall Detection
8.5 Very Good
Cost per pair: $4,300–$7,500
Hearing aid style: Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, completely-in-canal
For mild to profound hearing loss
8.5 Very Good
Why We Chose

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’ve fallen. This gets you the help you need and, at the same time, alerts those closest to you that you’ve fallen.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote phone app
  • Warranty and trial period: Dependent on retailer
  • Financing: Dependent on retailer
Additional Details

More than one out of four people over the age of 65 fall each year, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Facts About Falls. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/falls/facts.html In 2012, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that patients with mild hearing loss were nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling. [2] Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Linked to Three-Fold Risk of Falling. Found on the internet at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/hearing_loss_linked_to_three_fold_risk_of_falling

Most Financing Options
9.0 Very Good
Cost per pair: $1,398–$2,798
Hearing aid style: Receiver-in-canal, completely-in-canal
For mild to moderately severe hearing loss
9.0 Very Good
Why We Chose

Audicus produces five models—the Spirit 1, Spirit 2, Omni 1, Omni 2, and the Mini—and earned our distinction as the best hearing aids with the “Most Financing Options,” thanks to its flexible payment plans. The brand partners with Care Credit and Allegro to keep hearing aid payment plans easy, depending on your financial circumstances.

Features
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (all Spirit and Omni models—not available for the Mini)
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, buttons on hearing aid, remote control, and mail-in options
  • Warranty and trial period: Audicus offers a two-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
Additional Details

Excluding the Mini, all models are RIC style, offer telecoil technology, come with rechargeable or disposable batteries, and are Bluetooth-compatible. In contrast, the CIC-style Mini doesn’t come with telecoil technology or Bluetooth, and it only comes with a disposable battery option.

The newest Series 2 models, the Spirit 2 and Omni 2, are 10% smaller than the Series 1 models, have upgraded sound technology, better background noise performance, larger memory banks, and quicker environmental sound scanning and adjustment features. Plus, both the Omni 1 and Omni 2 now offer Speech Finder technology, which enhances speech sounds from any direction. All five models are water-resistant and offer advanced technological features, like directional microphones and noise reduction. Additionally, all models have customization options. Processing channels vary by model.

During purchasing, if you opt for Care Credit, you can obtain Audicus hearing aids interest-free—if paid in full within the first 12 months of your purchase. For those with lower credit scores, Allegro is also a great financing option with low monthly payments. Additionally, you can toggle your payment option to “switch to pay over time” at checkout, which allows you to secure payments of less than $100 per month on a six-, 12-, or 18-month basis.

In addition to great financing options and low prices, Audicus helps customers save money through a hearing aid membership program called Audicus Premier, which is available with the Series 2 models. For a one-time setup fee of $249 plus a monthly fee of $99 for the Spirit 2 and $149 for the Omni 2, the membership program covers a new set of hearing aids every 18 months, accessories, and insurance to protect you in the event your devices are lost or damaged. You are under no contract obligation and can cancel at any time.

When you purchase a hearing aid from Audicus, you can upload your previous hearing test results or take a free online hearing screening from the comfort of your home. Then a team of audiologists will program each hearing aid to address your hearing loss needs. Unlike some OTC brands, Audicus does offer in-person appointments in select locations. Use the online locator to find a clinic near you.

Brands that didn’t make our best hearing aids list

Our Reviews Team vetted the top hearing aids through careful research and testing, but there are many other brands on the market. While Go Hearing, Otofonix, Rexton, and Unitron are close contenders for our best hearing aids designation, here’s why these brands and others didn’t make our current list.

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 frequencies entering the ear.

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

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing aids are worn in or behind your ear. They’re designed to make certain sound frequencies louder to improve your hearing and speech comprehension. A microphone inside the hearing aid first picks up sounds, which are then analyzed and converted to electrical signals. These signals are then sent to the amplifier.

The now amplified sounds are sent to the speaker or receiver, which are transmitted to the inner ear by a tube or thin wire. Once in the inner ear, the sounds are transformed into electrical impulses, which your brain turns into sound.

Digital vs. analog hearing aids

Hearing aids are available in analog or digital. Although digital is the most common type of device, a few companies still carry analog hearing aids. The difference between analog and digital devices comes down to the type of electronics used. Both devices convert sound waves, but the process used sets each type apart. [3]U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Types of Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/hearing-aids/types-hearing-aids

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.

Types of hearing aids

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

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

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 allows you to remove the device.

In addition to an invisible fit, CIC devices 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, such as Bluetooth streaming and rechargeable batteries. Some CIC hearing aids are also too small for a directional microphone. Battery life may also be shorter due to the small size of the device, and ear wax and moisture can affect their function.

Of the brands and models covered in this review, the following companies offer CIC hearing aids:

One subtype of CIC hearing aid is the invisible-in-canal (IIC) style. The Phonak Lyric comes in this style. Sitting deep in the ear canal, IIC hearing aids are truly invisible when properly inserted.

In-the-canal (ITC) 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 than many CIC devices, as well as directional microphones. But 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.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

Traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid

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

These devices tend to be larger than in-the-ear or in-the-canal hearing aids, but they 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’re also easier to handle and can be a better choice for people with severe or profound hearing loss.

Of the brands and models covered in this review, the following companies offer BTE hearing aids:

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid

Mini behind-the-ear (mBTE) hearing aid

Also referred to as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or mini behind-the-ear (mBTE), 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 encased in silicone tubing that hooks over the ear and connects to a small receiver that fits inside the ear canal.

For many users, these devices strike the perfect balance between looks and functionality.

Of the brands and models covered in this review, the following companies offer RIC hearing aids:

In-the-ear (ITE) 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 style. ITE hearing aids are generally 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.

Of the brands and models covered in this review, the following companies offer ITE hearing aids:

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids

In August 2022, the FDA established a new hearing aids category for OTC hearing aids. Consumers can now purchase certain hearing aids directly from pharmacies, stores, and online retailers—with no doctor visit or prescription required.

Based on the FDA’s final rule, [4]Federal Register. Medical Devices; Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices; Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/08/17/2022-17230/medical-devices-ear-nose-and-throat-devices-establishing-over-the-counter-hearing-aids OTC hearing aids:

The FDA’s final ruling on OTC hearing aids is meant to increase access. [6]Federal Register. Medical Devices; Ear, Nose, and Throat Devices; Establishing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids. Found on the internet at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/08/17/2022-17230/medical-devices-ear-nose-and-throat-devices-establishing-over-the-counter-hearing-aids The high price of hearing aids, the perceived stigma of wearing them, and the concern that they aren’t effective are all common reasons that people with hearing loss wait an average of 10 years before seeking treatment. [7]Smith D, et al. Acceptability, benefits and costs of early screening for hearing disability: a study of potential screening tests and models. Found on the internet at https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hta/hta11420/#/full-report This has paved the way for more retailers to enter the hearing aid market, which should drive the price down, making them affordable and shortening the wait time before people decide to treat their hearing loss.

Pros and cons of OTC hearing aids

If you’re not sure whether OTC hearing aids are right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. This can help you make the most informed decision when it comes to treating your hearing loss.

Pros
Can be purchased directly in stores and online
No hearing exam required
Can be set up and adjusted by you
Can self-fit with various tips and domes provided
More affordable compared to most prescription options
Cons
Not as advanced as prescription models
More limited access to hearing health professionals
Offers remote adjustments (no in-person customer care)

Pros and cons of prescription hearing aids

Pros
Offers better all-around customer care access in-person, online, and via company apps
Better ongoing maintenance and adjustment offerings
More customization options to fit your ear and hearing needs
More technologically advanced hearing loss features
Cons
Mandatory in-person hearing exams and fittings by a hearing professional
More expensive than OTC hearing aids
Must purchase through a hearing clinic—not online or in stores

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. [8]National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Found on the internet at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing 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. Which is why it may come as a surprise that only one in three adults who could benefit from hearing aids has ever used them. [9]National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Found on the internet at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/quick-statistics-hearing

People with hearing loss may not seek help for a variety of reasons, including:

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 [more 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 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.

What older adults look for in hearing aids

Older adults concerned with the visibility of a hearing aid should consider in-the-ear (ITE) models that are more discreet compared to behind-the-ear (BTE) options. Additionally, if you are not particularly tech-savvy or just want a hearing aid that has the easiest setup, it might be beneficial to consider a more basic hearing aid device without too many complex features. On the other hand, if you’re comfortable with smartphones, apps, and customizing your own settings, a more advanced model does offer more overall convenience in terms of operations.

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 aids more helpful and enjoyable to use.

FeatureDescription
Bluetooth capabilitiesWhen your smartphone is paired with your hearing aids using wireless Bluetooth technology, you can stream calls and audio from your phone or other device 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.
Directional microphonesDirectional microphones help you understand conversations in noisy environments by making the sound in front of you louder than the sound coming from the rear or sides. Directional microphones work best when you are close to the sound source.
Feedback suppressionFeedback suppression in hearing aids helps to reduce high-pitched whistling sounds. It’s useful for minimizing feedback if you’re close to the telephone or if the hearing aid becomes 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 frequencies.
Digital noise reductionDigital noise reduction improves listening performance in noisy environments by blocking out some background noise, making it easier to hear and understand speech. A majority of respondents to our survey said that digital noise reduction was the most important feature they wanted in a hearing aid.
Tinnitus maskingHearing aids with a tinnitus masking feature minimize the ringing or buzzing sounds common in tinnitus by playing a variety of tones to help distract the brain.
Rechargeable batteriesRechargeable hearing aid batteries allow you to recharge your devices 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 can place both hearing aids in a charging dock at night so they’re charged and ready to go in the morning.
TelecoilA telecoil improves the ability to hear on telephones equipped with assistive listening technology and in facilities fitted with hearing loops. Most types of hearing aids have the telecoil option available. But due to their small size, CIC and IIC devices do not come with a telecoil.

Common types of hearing loss

The type of hearing loss you have could influence the type of hearing aid you decide to purchase. Read on for information on the most common types of hearing loss. [11]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Understanding Hearing Loss. Aug. 7, 2023. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/parentsguide/understanding/understandinghearingloss.html

Degrees of hearing loss

Your degree of hearing loss can also impact the style of hearing aid that suits your needs. The CDC outlines four levels, or degrees, of hearing loss based on how loud sounds must be for you to hear and understand them. [11]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Understanding Hearing Loss. Aug. 7, 2023. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/parentsguide/understanding/understandinghearingloss.html

How much do hearing aids cost?

The cost of hearing aids largely depends on whether you’re purchasing OTC or prescription hearing aids, as well as the battery type (disposable or rechargeable), features, and sound technology. In fact, hearing aid pricing ranges widely: from $99 to $7,000.

How to find affordable hearing aids

Hearing aids are an investment. Even the most inexpensive hearing aids cost around $300 per pair.

MDHearing, for example, sells budget-friendly digital hearing aids starting at $999.98 per pair (before promotions). Audien offers low-cost devices starting at $99 per pair, but they’re very basic compared to other hearing aids on the market.

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

Hearing aids are typically sold through hearing care clinics or larger retailers, like Walmart or Costco. But you can also find inexpensive OTC hearing aids online through companies like MDHearing, Jabra Enhance, Lexie, and Eargo.

If you need a prescription hearing aid that’s only offered through a hearing care clinic, consider purchasing through an authorized discount supplier, such as Yes Hearing, 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, while the supplier manages the purchasing process with your hearing provider. This option could save you hundreds of dollars.

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

Does Medicare or insurance cover hearing aids?

Medicare Parts A and B don’t include coverage for hearing aids, although many Medicare Advantage Plans (known as Part C) and private insurance plans do provide hearing benefits. Contact your health care provider for more information.

NCOA continues to advocate for Medicare coverage of hearing aids by working with Medicare beneficiary groups and supporting H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, which would initiate Medicare coverage for hearing aids.

In January 2023, U.S. representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) also reintroduced H.R. 244, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act, to Congress. Our Reviews Team spoke with Rep. Dingell’s office and learned that if the bill passes, it would remove a Social Security restriction on hearing aid coverage.

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) headshot
U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

“Hearing aids aren’t a luxury, they are critical for millions of people to maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle. Without them, many seniors cannot interact with family, friends, neighbors, and their communities, and as a result, can become isolated.

“By expanding coverage for hearing aids under Medicare, more seniors will be able to live with dignity and independence. I’m proud to re-introduce this legislation, and remain committed to getting this signed into law to expand access to care for so many who need it. It’s simple: No one should feel isolated, confused, or shut out from the world because they can’t afford hearing aids,” said Dingell.

How to buy hearing aids

A few years ago, there was only one way to get treatment for hearing loss: Make a trip to a hearing care clinic to be tested and fitted for hearing aids. This was a challenge for many people who didn’t have easy access to these locations. But thanks to recent changes in the hearing aids industry, there are now multiple ways to purchase high-quality hearing aids.

Visit a hearing clinic

For prescription hearing aids, you will need to visit a hearing care clinic for an in-person consultation and hearing exam by an audiologist or hearing instrument specialist. Audiologists are hearing professionals with at least a master’s degree in the field of audiology who diagnose hearing loss and 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.

Purchase prescription hearing aids through a discount network

Another option is to purchase prescription hearing aids from a discount network such as Yes Hearing for up to 40% less than retail price. When you purchase 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 which hearing aid is right for you.

Larger retail stores, such as Costco, also sell hearing aids. Almost 15% of the hearing aid users we surveyed used Kirkland hearing aids from Costco. The next most-popular brand in our survey was Eargo, with 8%.

Buying hearing aids online

The ability to buy online hearing aids eliminates some of the barriers that can prevent people from seeking care for their hearing loss. Overall, the purchasing process is simple for many OTC hearing aids, 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 a hearing clinic are programmed individually for each person according to the results of their audiogram (hearing test).

In-person vs. online hearing screenings

In-person hearing tests are much more detailed than online hearing screenings, because they include a physical exam of the ear and several tests to measure your ability to hear and understand various frequencies of speech and sound. Some OTC hearing aid companies, such as Jabra Enhance and Audicus, have an audiology team to interpret audiograms and program hearing aids, but others don’t.

A Reviews Team member gets an in-person hearing exam and receives an audiogram based on her results
A Reviews Team member gets an in-person hearing exam
Reviews team member's audiogram results
An audiogram based on our Reviews Team member’s in-person hearing exam

Keep in mind that some of the less expensive devices don’t have the detailed programming options necessary for many types of hearing loss. These include certain OTC hearing aids (including Audien) as well as personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), which are not true hearing aids. PSAPs make all sounds louder, but they 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.

Our reviews team interviewed Jacquelyn C. J. Lovitt, a practicing doctor of audiology, to help explain the costs associated with different types of hearing aids.

Buying OTC hearing aids

As mentioned above, many stores that carry health devices also sell OTC hearing aids. Check the list below to see if any of the following retail stores are in your area:

Best Buy
CVS
Walgreens
Walmart
Victra Verizon

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.

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 hearing aid’s microphone.

Telecoils can improve the quality of phone conversations and help you hear in facilities equipped with hearing loops, like auditoriums and places of worship. ITE hearing aids are smaller than BTE or RIC devices, but they are still bigger than nearly invisible options like a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) or invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aid.

Hearing aids beside coins
Size comparison of different styles of hearing aids

How to care for your hearing aids

Maintaining and taking care of your hearing aids will ensure they function properly and have a long battery life. You should clean your devices regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as substances like ear wax and fluids, including ear drainage, can cause damage to your hearing aids. You should also avoid moisture (especially if your devices are not water resistant), as well as high temperatures. It’s also best to remove your hearing aids when using hair products. When it comes to battery life, make sure you change disposable batteries as soon as they die and turn off your hearing aids whenever they are not in use.

The future of hearing aids

With so many advances in technology, it’s no surprise the future of hearing aids is especially bright. Manufacturers continue to innovate to offer consumers the best hearing solutions possible through state-of-the-art sound technology.

For example, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, researchers are heavily invested in learning how to apply new signal processing tactics to hearing aids. Additionally, computer-aided technology systems are being utilized to improve design components. New ideations surrounding improved sound transmission and reduced background noise are also underway. [13]National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Hearing Aids. Oct. 11, 2022. Found on the internet at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-aids

Still, studies focused on how to choose and fit hearing aids for certain groups of people, including children, are in the works, with scientists running directional microphone tests on the ear structure of a tiny fly.

Additionally, the use of Bluetooth connectivity continues to advance with major hearing aid makers because it improves our daily quality of life. For example, brands like Audicus offer multi-device streaming and connectivity, so you can switch seamlessly from your smartphone to your television. It won’t be long before more brands implement better Bluetooth features, too. With Bluetooth and smartphones top of mind, we can expect a more upgraded smartphone app experience as well.

Plus, well-known hearing aid brands, like Starkey, Oticon, and Widex, are already using artificial intelligence (AI) features for auto-adjustment, user inputs, and to power natural sound. And it won’t be a surprise if big brand collaborations are in store from household names, like Apple and Samsung, which are already extremely sound-oriented.

Frequently asked questions

There are five main types of hearing aids:

  1. Completely-in-canal (CIC): The smallest type, CIC devices sit completely within the ear canal, with a tiny string that hangs outside your ear so you can remove them easily.
  2. In-the-canal (ITC): These devices also sit in the ear canal, but are larger and a bit more visible than CICs.
  3. Behind-the-ear (BTE): BTE devices have an earmold that rests behind your ear, with a plastic tube that hooks over your ear and runs into your ear canal to transmit amplified sound.
  4. Receiver-in-canal (RIC): RIC devices, also known as receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) or mini behind-the-ear (mBTE), sit behind the ear like the BTE type, but are often smaller and less visible.
  5. In-the-ear (ITE): ITE devices sit completely within the ear like the CIC, but are larger, making them easier to handle but more visible.

According to our Reviews Team testing, Lexie was the second highest scored OTC hearing aid, right behind our “Top Pick” Jabra Enhance. Among prescription brands, Oticon earned the highest score for its advanced technology, variety of styles, and feature-rich smartphone app.

Jabra Enhance is our Reviews Team’s “Top Pick” for the company’s combination of quality, powerful devices, and ongoing customer support from an audiology care team (depending on the package you purchase). But keep in mind that the best hearing aid for you will depend on several factors, such as your degree of hearing loss, your lifestyle and preferences, and your budget.

Crackling, or static noise in your hearing aids, usually signals that your devices need maintenance—the battery may be low or there could be a buildup of moisture, earwax, or dirt in your hearing aid. When you hear a crackling, first try repositioning your hearing aids. If that doesn’t work, flush your ear canal with an earwax remover and clean your hearing aids thoroughly. If the problem persists, go to a hearing clinic or contact your device manufacturer for assistance.

Unless a doctor or audiologist has recommended hearing aids, you may not know if you need them. But if you’re noticing that you have trouble hearing in one or both ears, it may be time to consider hearing aids. Your spouse, other family members, and/or friends may have also noticed your difficulties with hearing and recommended hearing aids as a solution.

Some signs of hearing loss to be aware of, according to the Mayo Clinic, include: [14]Mayo Clinic. Hearing Loss. Found on the internet at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072

  • Feeling the need to speak loudly
  • Requiring audio devices to be turned up louder than normal
  • Asking people to repeat themselves because you can’t hear or understand them
  • Straining to hear
  • Hearing better out of one ear
  • Having difficulty hearing people on the phone
  • Noticing that certain sounds and voices are muffled

If you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of hearing loss, consider seeing an audiologist or hearing specialist. They can conduct a hearing exam to determine the degree of your hearing loss and provide a recommendation for different hearing aid styles and brands.

Even the most advanced hearing aids will not completely restore your hearing to its previous level. Instead, hearing aids are designed to maximize your hearing potential, especially in challenging listening situations.

Although they serve as an excellent tool to help retrain your brain to interpret sounds and filter others out, hearing aids can’t totally restore your hearing.

Hearing aids either use a rechargeable battery that comes with the hearing aid or a standard disposable battery. If the hearing aids use disposable batteries, make a note of the size. In general, standard hearing aid batteries come in four sizes: 10, 13, 312, and 675. You can purchase hearing aid batteries at pharmacies, retail stores, or directly from the hearing aid company.

Most rechargeable batteries are unique to the hearing aid. If you need a new rechargeable battery or charger, buy it directly from your hearing aid company.

You can have hearing loss in one or both ears. But most people have hearing loss in both ears. If you are in this category, experts recommend that you wear bilateral hearing aids—one in your left ear and one in your right ear. [15]Harvard Health Publishing. One Hearing Aid or Two? Found on the internet at https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/one-hearing-aid-or-two

Your brain receives signals from both ears, so it’s easier to process the noise into sound if it is getting information from both ears. However, many hearing aids can be programmed separately to accommodate the loss in each ear.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are custom-made devices designed to fit inside the ear, either partially or completely, and are suitable for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss. These hearing aid styles are less bulky than behind-the-ear (BTE) styles, but still larger and more noticeable than completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids.

While ITE devices are generally easier to insert, handle, and control than CIC styles, they do require an adjustment period. Some people experience discomfort during the first few weeks of use, often because they are new to wearing hearing aids, but also because they’ve become accustomed to the way other hearing aid styles feel in their ears, especially BTE styles. With time, most people find ITE styles comfortable and easy to wear.

In-the-ear hearing aids may come with a larger variety of features than smaller, nearly invisible devices are able to provide because they have more room for technology inside their casings, like telecoil for enhanced sound during phone conversations and public events. But they also have some drawbacks. ITEs may require more frequent cleaning due to earwax buildup, and are more prone to feedback issues than some models. ITE styles are not recommended for young children or those with profound hearing loss.

Adjusting to your new hearing aids takes time. For some people, getting used to wearing hearing aids happens within a few days. For others, there is an adjustment period that may take a few months.

In general, you should notice a difference right away. If you’re having problems, contact the hearing center or online retailer that sold you the hearing aids. They can provide tips and guidance to help with the fit and improve your hearing aid experience.

All hearing aids work to some degree. The style, size, and features determine how well they work for each type of hearing loss.

The advantage of small hearing aids is the almost invisible appearance they provide. Research shows that many people, especially older adults, associate hearing loss and hearing aids with stigma related to perceived feelings of lower cognitive ability, ageism (that hearing aids or hearing loss make them feel older), and vanity (that hearing aids or hearing loss make them look older).

Because they go in your ear, smaller hearing aids may not be a good fit for everyone’s ear canal. That’s why it’s a good idea to go to a professional to get fitted. Small hearing aids may also require more battery changes since they can only hold a small battery, and the compact size may result in fewer features.

If you buy one single hearing aid, the average cost is about $2,300, with the full range at $1,000–$4,000. For more severe hearing loss, the price of one hearing aid can cost up to $6,000.

Hearing aids are a substantial investment, and finding an affordable hearing device is a high priority for many people. Most companies offer several models at different prices.

If you’re looking for a hearing aid brand that consistently sells lower-priced products, MDHearing and Audien are both great places to start. In general, MDHearing devices range in price from $200–$800 for a single hearing aid and $400–$1,000 per pair. Audien carries even lower-priced hearing devices, ranging from $99–$249 per pair.

Visit NCOA’s Hearing Health page for more resources on hearing health for older adults.

If your doctor orders a hearing exam to determine whether you have hearing loss, the exam will be covered by Medicare Part B. This hearing test will help you figure out whether you need a hearing aid. But neither Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B (also known together as Original Medicare) will cover the cost of your hearing aids. Original Medicare also doesn’t provide coverage for routine hearing tests, fittings, or adjustments.

Although Medicare Part D doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids, some Medicare Advantage plans (also known as Medicare Part C) do provide partial coverage. If you’re not familiar with Medicare Advantage plans, these are alternate ways of receiving Medicare coverage through private insurance companies, in place of Medicare Part A and B.

While Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional services, such as vision, dental, or hearing coverage, you might be restricted to a local coverage area. It’s important to understand what the Medicare Advantage plans cover and don’t cover before you make a decision during the Medicare open enrollment period.

For more help navigating Medicare, see the Medicare Guidance section of NCOA’s Age Well Planner. With in-depth information on Medicare basics, coverage, costs, and more, it’s a great resource for getting the most benefits out of your Medicare plan.

NCOA continues to advocate for Medicare coverage of hearing aids. NCOA also encourages you to contact your members of Congress to urge them to add hearing aid coverage to Medicare. To find out who your member of Congress is and how to contact them, visit house.gov to Find Your Representative.

The best hearing aids are those customized to your specific hearing loss, lifestyle, and preferences. Consulting with a hearing care professional, like an audiologist, is crucial to assess your hearing and recommend suitable options that are within your budget. 

Consider your daily environment, occupation, and desired features. The right hearing aid should fit comfortably enough to wear all day. Ultimately, the best hearing aid is one you’re willing to wear consistently, enhancing your daily life without discomfort.

Proper maintenance is essential in extending the life of your hearing aid. Some tips include cleaning as instructed by the manufacturer, keeping the device away from moisture and out of the heat, not using hair styling products while wearing your hearing aid, and keeping small devices and batteries away from children or pets. Additionally, make sure to replace disposable batteries in a timely manner and turn off your device when it’s not being used.

On average, hearing aids last about three to seven years. How well you maintain your hearing aids will impact their lifespan, but it also depends on their construction and how much wear and tear they experience from being worn each day.

Adjusting to hearing aids takes patience. The transition can take a few days to several months, so give yourself time to adapt, and visit your hearing-care professional for adjustments as needed. It’s important to remember that hearing aids aren’t able to restore your hearing to its original state but to enhance it. Hearing professionals advise users to wear their hearing aids as often as possible and in different settings, whether watching TV at home, walking in the neighborhood, or dining in a busy restaurant, to help your brain readjust to the sounds it was missing.

If you find the adjustment period challenging, schedule a follow-up with your hearing specialist. They can tweak your device settings or suggest a different style that better suits your needs. Remember, even a minor adjustment to your hearing aids can make a significant difference in comfort and performance.

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

Sources

Cara Everett, MS, RDN, LDN
Cara Everett Author, Medical Reviewer
Cara Everett is a writer and registered dietitian nutritionist who has been helping people reach their wellness goals for over 20 years. In addition to working in clinical practice, Cara writes extensively on hearing aid technology, keeping pace with new models and industry developments to help readers make the most informed purchasing decisions possible. She has spent more than 1,000 hours researching and testing hearing aids.
brad ingrao headshot
Brad Ingrao Medical Reviewer
As a practicing audiologist since the 1990s, Brad Ingrao, AuD, has fitted thousands of hearing aids to older adults and people of all ages. He is an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America, including the National Association, the Florida State Association, several local chapters, and a guest presenter for the newly formed Veterans Virtual Chapter. In addition, Dr. Ingrao is on the Board of Directors for the Association of Adult Musicians with Hearing Loss.
Kathleen Cameron
Kathleen Cameron Reviewer
Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, has more than 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher, and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Cameron is Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging, where she provides subject matter expertise on health care programmatic and policy related issues and oversees the Modernizing Senior Center Resource Center.
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