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The 13 Best Hearing Aids of 2023

We selected our top hearing aid choices based on features, price, fit, and more.
Jan 09, 2023

By Courtney Schmidt, PharmD and Cara Everett, MS, RDN
Medically Reviewed by Brad Ingrao, AuD
Reviewed by Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, Senior Director, NCOA Center for Healthy Aging
Fact Checked

Best Hearing Aids—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 instrument specialist who can provide guidance.
  • The best hearing aids of 2023 include Jabra Enhance, Lexie, Eargo, Audicus, Phonak, and Audien.
  • In October 2022, a final ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids available without a medical exam, prescription, or professional fitting.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
13
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

Brand

Price per pair

Battery

Bluetooth

Adjustments

Warranty

Financing

Jabra Enhance

$1,195–$1,995

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app or remote support

3 years

Yes

Lexie

$799–$999

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)

Phone app or remote support

1 year

No

Eargo

$1,450–$2,950

Rechargeable

Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)

Phone app or remote support

1–2 years

Yes

Audicus

$1,398–$2,998

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app, remote support, and mail-in options

2 years

Yes

Audien Atom Pro

$249

Rechargeable

No

Screw on hearing aid

1 year

No

Phonak Audéo Lumity

$2,498–$4,598

Rechargeable

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

Depends on retailer

Yes

MDHearing

$299–$699

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)

Phone app or remote support

1–2 years

Yes

Signia Silk X

$1,998–$3,998

Disposable

No

Phone app, remote, and in-person

Depends on retailer

Yes

Widex Moment

$2,798–$4,598

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

3 years

Depends on retailer

ReSound Omnia

$3,200–$6,500

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

4 years

Yes

Starkey Evolv AI

$2,800–$7,500

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

Depends on retailer

Yes

Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

$2,600–$6,500

Disposable

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

Depends on retailer

Yes

Oticon Own

$3,000–$7,500

Rechargeable and disposable options

Yes

Phone app, remote, and in-person

Depends on retailer

No

Best Hearing Aids of 2023

Editor’s Pick: Jabra Enhance

Jabra enhance unboxing all products

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

Jabra Enhance earns our “Editor’s Pick” for the company’s combination of quality, powerful devices, and a commitment to ongoing customer service that includes support from an audiology team (specialists trained to treat hearing loss). All this together makes Jabra Enhance one of the best hearing aids on the market.

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

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 hearing aid brands. Not every 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.

After purchasing a pair of Jabra Enhance hearing aids, you’ll get 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.

It’s important to note that online hearing screenings 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.

Jabra Enhance Select 50 hearing aids gray

A pair of battery-powered Enhance Select 50 hearing aids cost $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 rechargeable Enhance Select 100 costs $1,595, though the company offers financing options that allow you to pay as little as $52 per month.

Jabra Enhance also has a newer rechargeable model called the Enhance Select 200. At $1,995 per pair ($65 per month with financing), the Enhance Select 200 is the 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.

Read our Jabra Enhance hearing aids review for more information.

Best OTC: Lexie

Lexie hearing aids

  • Cost per pair: $799–$999
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (for adjustments only, no streaming)
  • Adjustment: App (all models) or buttons on hearing aid (Lumen and B1)
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: Lexie offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and 45-day risk-free trial
  • Financing: No (subscription plan is available)

Lexie is an over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aid manufacturer that offers three models, two of which are self-fitting, with a range of features. Lexie also earned the highest rating of any brand during our Reviews Team’s hands-on testing. Given its high rating, advanced features, and competitive price (it’s one of the least expensive hearing aids on this list), Lexie is our Reviews Team’s pick for “Best OTC” hearing aid.

Lexie’s three models are all appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss. This is one important difference between OTC and prescription hearing aids: OTC hearing aids can only treat mild to moderate hearing loss, but prescription hearing aids (sold at hearing care clinics) can treat every stage of hearing loss, from mild to profound. All Lexie hearing aids come with noise reduction (to decrease background sounds) and feedback management (to cut down on the whistling that can be common with hearing aids).

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. Places of worship, theaters, and museums often have hearing loops.

While the Lumen is a BTE hearing aid, in which all of the working parts (including the speaker, also known as a receiver) sit above and behind the ear, the B1 and B2 are both receiver-in-canal (RIC) models. RIC hearing aids look similar to BTEs, but they’re made a little differently. RICs have the microphone and amplifier, which pick up sounds and make them louder, in a slim casing that sits behind the ear. A tiny wire runs from the casing into the ear canal, where the receiver sits to transmit the amplified sound into your ear.

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. Both the B1 and B2 are self-fitting hearing aids, which give you more control over the settings and sound quality. Let’s take a look at the details to help you decide if self-fitting hearing aids are a good choice for you.

What is a self-fitting hearing aid?

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 testing results showing that the settings on certain models can be customized at home by the user. These devices (including the B1 and B2 by Lexie and the Volt Max by MDHearing) 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 make fine-tuning adjustments 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, which is not a self-fitting model, only lets you change the volume and select from one of six listening settings.

Many people enjoy the additional control that self-fitting hearing aids offer, especially those who have worn hearing aids before or have experience with music and sound equipment. A Lexie representative explained to our Reviews Team that those who are new to hearing aids or aren’t as comfortable with technology may be happier with a simpler device, such as the Lumen.

Lexie hearing aids are available for purchase both online and in stores where health care devices are sold. As with most other OTC hearing aid brands, Lexie offers only remote support.

Best Invisible Fit: Eargo

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

  • Cost per pair: $1,450–$2,950
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or by tapping hearing aid
  • 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 devices 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 devices 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 devices 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 prescription brand.

Read our Eargo hearing aids review for more information.

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 per pair: $1,398–$2,998
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes (Wave, Spirit, and Omni)
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, buttons on hearing aid, and mail-in options
  • Warranty and money-back guarantee: 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

Audicus sells affordable Bluetooth hearing aids with some of the most advanced features available in their price range. Bluetooth hearing aids can cost up to $7,000 per pair, according to our Review Team’s research. That’s because they come with extra technology that lets you connect wirelessly to compatible devices such as tablets, TVs, and 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 earned 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 screening 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 called Audicus Plus. For a setup fee of $300–$500 (depending on the model) plus a monthly fee that starts at $89, 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.

Unlike some OTC brands, Audicus does offer in-person appointments in select locations. Use the online locator to find a clinic near you.

Most Affordable: Audien Atom Pro

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

  • Cost per pair: $249
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Screw on hearing aid
  • 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 “Most Affordable.” 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 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.

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 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 hearing aids review for more information.

Audiologist’s Pick: Audéo Lumity

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

  • Cost per pair: $2,498–$4,598
  • 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 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. That’s why we named it our “Audiologist’s Pick.”

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 also 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.

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 hearing aids have Roger wireless technology, which include a variety of microphones and receivers. 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 Phonak TV Connector 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.

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 $2,498–$4,598 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 hearing aids review for more information.

Most Versatile: MDHearing

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

  • Cost per pair: $299–$699
  • 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 one-year warranty on the Air, Neo, and Volt, a two-year warranty on the Volt Max, and a 45-day money-back guarantee on all models.
  • Financing: Yes

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 named this brand the “Most Versatile.”

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 (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. The Neo and Volt are also priced at $299 per pair and offer the convenience of rechargeable batteries.

MDHearing devices are intended for mild to moderately severe hearing loss. All models provide noise reduction, feedback cancellation, and four hearing settings. The company’s top model, the VOLT MAX, 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 three of its models 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.

The brand does carry one model, the VOLT MAX, that has received FDA clearance as a self-fitting hearing aid. This means that the company has provided testing information to the FDA showing that customers can customize the settings on their hearing aid without the help of a hearing care specialist.

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.

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 brand.

Read more in our MDHearing review.

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 per pair: $1,998–$3,998
  • Battery: Disposable
  • Bluetooth capabilities: No
  • Adjustment: Phone app, remote, or in-person
  • 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 per pair: $2,798–$4,598
  • Battery: Rechargeable and battery-powered options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or in-person
  • 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.”

Widex Zen technology helps manage tinnitus with 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 And they’re 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 Omnia

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

  • Cost per pair: $3,200–$6,500
  • Battery: Rechargeable and disposable options
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Yes
  • Adjustment: Remote, phone app, or in-person
  • 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 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.”

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 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: Starkey Evolv AI

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

  • Cost per pair: $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 most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)5. 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.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’ve fallen. This gets you the help you need 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 safe.

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 screening to give you an idea of your degree of hearing loss, customers must purchase their hearing aids in-person through a hearing care clinic after completing an in-person hearing exam and getting a prescription. 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 per pair: $2,600–$6,500
  • 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 levels within the P-UP model, each with its own cost and set of features. The following prices for each type were current as of January 2023:

  • Essential (P30): $2,600–$3,500 per pair
  • Standard (P50): $3,200–$4,000 per pair
  • Advanced (P70): $3,800–$5,000 per pair
  • Premium (P90): $4,600–$6,500 per pair

All four levels come with Phonak’s Autosense OS 4.0 operating system. 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 levels is that with each step up in price, you get additional programs to choose from and more advanced sound processing.

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). Dynamic Noise Cancellation allows users to set their own level of noise cancellation in loud environments. And 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 Phonak hearing aids, the Naída Paradise P-UP connects to 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 Own

  • Cost per pair: $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 Own 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. This unique technology is why we consider the Oticon Own 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 previous models. The Oticon Own processes sound through two different pathways, 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 Own 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 Own 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 devices 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 Own comes in four styles, all of which can treat mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss:

  • In-the-ear (ITE)
  • In-the-canal (ITC)
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC)
  • Invisible-in-canal (IIC)

For more information on the different styles of hearing aids, see below or read our hearing aids buyer’s guide.

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.

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids

In August 2022, the FDA established a new hearing aids category called OTC hearing aids.¹ 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, 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 hearing exam, prescription, or professional fitting

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 an in-person hearing 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.

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 may 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 most don’t include access to in-person care).

Although OTC hearing aids often come with less customer support, some OTC manufacturers, such as Eargo and Jabra Enhance, are known for remote customer care that includes adjustments by audiologists and hearing instrument specialists.

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 they 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 available online from manufacturers such as Eargo, Lexie, Jabra Enhance, Audicus, and MDHearing.

They are also available at pharmacies, electronics stores, and other retailers that carry health care devices.

Some of the stores that currently carry OTC hearing aids include:

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 therefore 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

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

  • The cost of hearing aids and hearing care
  • The fact that some insurance companies and Medicare plans do not cover hearing aids
  • 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 [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 can impact all aspects of life, including making it hard to understand and follow a doctor’s advice 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 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. Now, there are many ways to purchase high-quality hearing aids.

Visit a hearing clinic

You can visit a hearing center for an in-person consultation and hearing exam. 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 and in retail stores 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 Yes Hearing for up to 35% 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 retailers stores, such as Walmart and Costco, 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 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 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.

How to find affordable hearing aids

Hearing aids are an investment. Even reputable companies that manufacture inexpensive hearing aids charge around $300 per pair.

MDHearing, for example, sells inexpensive digital hearing aids that start at $299 per pair. 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 cheap 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, which manufacture and sell their own devices to consumers.

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, but the company facilitates the purchasing process with the hearing provider. This  option could save you hundreds of dollars.

Medicare Parts A and B don’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 the best option for you, you’ll need to consider features, style, and your degree of hearing loss. In general, hearing aids come in the following styles:

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

In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-canal (CIC) aids are very small, so they may be more difficult to remove and adjust than a style like BTE or RIC that sits behind the ear. Some ITC and CIC hearing aids are also too small to accommodate Bluetooth technology or rechargeable batteries.

BTE and RIC hearing aids, while larger than ITE or CIC styles, are actually not very visible because they are slim and often come in a variety of colors to match each person’s hair color. The tiny tubing or wire that runs into the ear canal is barely noticeable when the hearing aid is fitted correctly. BTE and RIC styles 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.

We suggest watching the video below for more information about the main types of hearing aids.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.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.

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 more helpful 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 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. 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’ve been unsuccessful in pairing their hearing aids with a smartphone.

Directional microphones

Directional 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.

Advanced versions, such as those found in Phonak and ReSound hearing aids, can even focus behind 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 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 reduction

Digital 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 masking

Hearing 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. Widex, Oticon, and Jabra Enhance are a few brands that offer hearing aids specifically for people with tinnitus.

Rechargeable batteries

Rechargeable 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.

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 up to five years. Traditional disposable hearing aid batteries need to be replaced every few days or 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 telephones equipped with assistive listening technology and in facilities fitted with hearing loops. Most types of hearing aids have the telecoil option available. However, due to their small size, CIC and IIC devices do not come with a telecoil.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Sources

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