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The Best Hearing Aids for Seniors in 2022

Last Updated: July 28th, 2022

Hours of Research User Manuals Consulted Brands considered  Brands selected
95+ 20+ 14+ 10

 

An estimated 40%-50% of all seniors have a measurable hearing impairment. For some, the effects of the loss are minor, while for others, it impacts nearly every facet of life. Hearing loss often causes communication errors, embarrassment, and a sense of isolation. Aside from the possibility of cochlear implants, hearing aids are the primary method of treating minor to profound hearing loss.

With hearing loss being so common in seniors, one might expect that hearing aids would be widespread as well. Surprisingly, only 30% of those who would benefit from using hearing aids have ever even tried them. Some seniors develop hearing loss so gradually that they don’t recognize how much they need help. Other seniors fear that people will treat them differently if they wear an assistive device. Perhaps the largest factor preventing seniors from getting hearing aids is cost. The purchase can seem out of reach for those who don’t know how to find a good deal or get financial help.

Ultimately, most people can overcome the barriers to getting a hearing aid through education. By learning about the variety of options on the market, seniors can feel confident enough to find the help they need. This guide for both seniors and caregivers explains industry terms and introduces ten of the best brands on the market. It also includes sections on navigating the buying process and finding financial help.

How We Chose the Best Hearing Aid Brands

Reputation

Buying hearing aids from a reputable company is vital so that you can avoid cheaply made devices. Although finding companies with a reputation for quality at an audiologist’s office is easy, choosing companies online is more complicated. We were careful only to include brands that have received significant positive press or attention from industry experts. Additionally, we avoided all relatively new brands with little to no user reviews.

Programming

We only included companies that allow customers to personalize their hearing aids. Most companies on our list will create four or more customized sound programs for their users. In general, companies customize their devices using a patient’s audiogram (hearing test results), though there are exceptions. Some brands on our list provide apps for user-led customization instead.

Service

Proper maintenance of hearing aids is crucial, so we selected companies with an eye for service quality. All online hearing aid brands we have included can be serviced directly by the company if you ship them back. Meanwhile, we excluded brands selling “locked” devices only third parties can service. The exception may be that some local audiologist offices will be unable and/or unwilling to service hearing aids bought online.

The Best Hearing Aid Brands of 2022

Overview Of Hearing Aid Companies

Company Number of Available Models  Available Hearing Aid Styles Online or In-Office Sales? Audiologist Programmed? Price Range (per pair)
MDHearingAid 3 BTE Online No $300-$700
Lively  3 BTE Both (mostly online) Yes, remotely $1,195-$1,995
Eargo 4 IIC Both (mostly online) No $1,450-$2,600
Starkey 15+ BTE

RIC

ITE

ITC

In-Office Yes About $3,000-$6,000+*
Audicus 6 RIC

BTE

Both (mostly online) Yes, remotely $998-$3,398
Oticon 10+ BTE

ITE

In-Office Yes About $2,600-$8,000+*
Widex 11+ BTE

RIC

ITE

CIC

In-Office Yes About $2,200 – $4,800+*
Signia 20+ RIC

IIC

BTE

CIC

ITE

In-Office Yes About $2,000 – $5,000+*
ReSound 11 BTE

RIC

ITE

ITC

In-Office Yes About $2,300 – $6,000*
Phonak 10+ ITE

RIC

BTE

In-Office Yes About $2,200- $4,700*

*Note: Companies that sell exclusively through audiologist offices do not list their costs online. Costs listed in this chart are merely estimates based on market research. Your local audiologists’ prices could be significantly higher or lower.

MDHearingAid

Lowest Starting Costs

Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, founded MDHearingAid in 2009. Now led by CEO Doug Breaker and a team of audiologists who act as advisors, this brand has been a popular online option for over ten years. Based in Midwest, MDHearingAid assembles and tests its products in Southfield, MI. To date, it has served over 500,000 Americans with its digital BTE options. One of MDHearingAid’s goals is to “democratize” the hearing aid industry by offering a much lower price range than its competitors. The brand’s Air model is the most affordable device among all companies we reviewed.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from MDHearingAid
Pros

  • Battery Options: We love that MDHearingAid offers hearing aids that use traditional and rechargeable batteries. Many older adults love rechargeable devices for convenience. However, replacing the battery is faster and more convenient for seniors who have trouble remembering to charge their devices consistently.
  • Telecoil: A hearing aid equipped with a telecoil is an excellent option for those who frequently visit busy environments such as church meetings, concerts, lectures, and more. Telecoils allow you to hear the most important sounds without background noise. MDHearingAid’s telecoil option comes with its lowest-cost digital hearing aid, Air, so you don’t need to pay much for this feature. Air is the only model that’s telecoil-equipped.
  • Protection Plan: For those who want more peace of mind beyond the limited 90-day warranty, MDHearingAid offers the MDShield Protection Plan. Unlike the original warranty, the protection plan covers accidental damage and defects. Depending on the device, the protection plan has a monthly cost of $10-$15 (up to $180 annually). Therefore, seniors should balance their likelihood of needing the plan against its costs over time.

Cons

  • Limited Customization: While MDHearingAid has audiologists who can advise seniors, they do not create custom hearing aid programs. Instead, they look at the customer’s hearing test results and provide general suggestions. This lack of professional customization means that these hearing aids may not meet all needs perfectly. However, note that this brand’s most advanced model, Volt Max, has an app that patients can use to fine-tune their programs based on their requirements.
  • Few Styles: MDHearingAid only carries BTE devices, so this brand may not be a good fit for those who prefer more hidden or less conspicuous designs Still, BTE styles continue to be very popular. MDHearingAid’s BTE devices have a discrete wire and a color that will blend into many, though not all, skin tones.

Comparing Select Models of MDHearingAids

Air Volt Volt Max
Fit Type BTE BTE BTE
Pricing (Pair) $299.98 $299.98 $699.99
Battery 13 Rechargeable Rechargeable
Number of Possible Programs 4 4 4
Audiologist Programmed No No No
Directional Microphone No Yes Yes
Tinnitus Relief No No No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching Dial and physical buttons Dial and physical buttons Smartphone app or volume dial
Telecoil Equipped Yes No No
Bluetooth Enabled No No Yes
Return Period 45 days 45 days 45 days
Warranty* 90 days 90 days 90 days

The table above shows the full range of hearing aids that MD HearingAid offers. MDHearingAid sells exclusively online. Its hearing aids may not be suitable for profound levels of hearing loss.

Lively 

Best Remote Care Program
Lively is redefining the purchasing process for hearing aids, making the devices more accessible than ever with its simple online ordering process and remote audiologist programming and adjustments. Lively aims to reach previously unreached customers by offering simplicity, affordability, and convenience. Customers can buy from the brand entirely online, though if they prefer they can also work with a local audiologist. All Lively hearing aid purchases include 3 years of remote, on-demand follow-up care with an audiologist, ensuring customers continue to be supported by experts far beyond the purchase process. Customers can contact Lively audiologists at any time through the mobile app, and audiologists can even make instant adjustments to wearers’ aids remotely for the best sound experience in any environment.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Lively

Pros

  • Included Extras: Lively hearing aids are available in a bundle that includes the Lively mobile app, three years of follow-up care with an audiologist, a charging case or one-year supply of batteries, and three years of loss and damage protection. This bundle is feature-packed and offers tons of value and convenience.
  • Phone Compatibility: Using hearing aids with a phone often comes with sound quality problems. Lively hearing aids fix phone-related sound quality issues by enabling the “Phone Now” program, which uses a magnet attached to your phone to switch programs automatically.
  • Payment Plans:
    Lively offers convenient monthly payment plans for those who qualify. Monthly payments can start as low as $39 for the battery-powered model and $52 for the rechargeable device, though they may also be higher depending on your down payment, the length of the loan, and more. The interest rate can be 0% for two years in some cases. More details are available on Lively’s website.

 

Cons

  • Limited Options: The Lively hearing aid only comes in one fit and will not meet all needs, especially for those with severe to profound hearing loss. These hearing aids also lack telecoil features. Customization and upgrades for color, battery rechargeability, Bluetooth capability, dome/earmold size and shape, and receiver wire length are available, however.

Lively Hearing Aids Specifications Overview

Lively 2 Lite Lively 2 Plus Lively 2 Pro
Fit Type BTE BTE BTE
Pricing (Pair) $1,195 $1,595 $1,995
Battery 312 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (higher cost) Rechargeable Lithium-Ion or Zinc-Air
Number of Possible Programs 4 4 8
Audiologist Programmed Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely
Directional Microphone Yes Yes Y
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching – App controls

– Physical buttons on hearing aid

– Remote (Phone Clip+, extra cost)

– App controls

– Physical buttons on hearing aid

– Remote (Phone Clip+, extra cost)

– App controls

– Physical buttons on hearing aid

– Remote (Phone Clip+, extra cost)

Telecoil Equipped No No Yes
Bluetooth Enabled – Yes (Apple and select Android devices)

– Incompatible Androids can connect with an accessory

– Yes (Apple and select Android devices)

– Incompatible Androids can connect with an accessory

– Yes (Apple and select Android devices)

– Incompatible Androids can connect with an accessory

Return Period 100 days 100 days 100 days
Warranty Length 3 years 3 years 3 years

Lively has one retail location in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan for those who like to see a product in person. Locals can set in-person appointments and get an up-close look at the hearing aids before purchasing. Anyone not in the Manhattan area can shop online, and avail of the company’s remote audiology services.

Eargo

First Rechargeable IIC
Florent Michel, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon, founded Eargo in 2010. By 2013 the company had received funding from multiple investors, including the venture capital firm Maveron. The company spent significant time on development, releasing its first IIC hearing aid in 2015. Now led by CEO Christian Gormsen, Eargo has enjoyed numerous successes, including the inclusion of the Eargo Max model on the Time Magazine 50 Best Inventions of 2018 list. Eargo is notable for its innovations in design, and it released the first rechargeable IIC hearing aid.

 

Eargo Max  Eargo Neo Hi-Fi Eargo 5 Eargo 6
Fit Type IIC IIC IIC IIC
Pricing (Pair) $1,450 $1,950 $2,450 $2,600
Battery Rechargeable Nickel Hydride Rechargeable Nickel Hydride Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Number of Possible Programs 4 4 4 4
Audiologist Programmed  No No No No
Directional Microphone No No No No
Tinnitus Relief No No No No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Tap control -Tap control

-App (Apple and Android)

-Tap control

-App (Apple and Android)

-Tap control

-App (Apple and Android)

Telecoil Equipped No No No No
Bluetooth Enabled No Limited* Limited* Limited*
Return Period 45 Days 45 Days 45 Days 45 Days
Warranty Length 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 2 Years

*No audio streaming; only some ability to connect to the Eargo app.

The above table shows the full range of Eargo hearing aid models that are currently available. It’s important to note that this brand’s hearing aids are only suitable for mild to severe high-frequency hearing loss. If you’re interested in Eargo, you can shop for the brand online or find its hearing aids at twenty different retail stores nationwide or Eargo’s store in Nashville, Tennessee. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of buying from this online brand.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Eargo

Pros

  • Price Reductions: When Eargo first released its Max model of hearing aid, the advertised price was $2,450 for a pair. Now the Max model has dropped to $1,450 as the company has released more advanced versions. Temporary price drops and discounts (especially for veterans and first responders) are also relatively common on all Eargo models.
  • Discreet Design: Some hearing aids on the market still feature an outdated, bulky design, but Eargo’s aids are sleek and small. Whatever one’s reason for wanting discretion, the Eargo is one of the least visible, most comfortable options on the market.
  • Unique Controls: To switch between programs, all you have to do is deliver a light, quick double-tap to your ear. This motion-activated program control is relatively uncommon. Most other companies use apps, remotes, and buttons for toggling between programs.
  • Payment Plans: In addition to offering relatively low costs, Eargo makes hearing aids more financially accessible by offering 12- and 24-month payment plans. All financing is provided through Bread, and the APR will be between 0%-29.99%, depending on the individual. Please refer to Eargo’s website for more information on Terms and conditions.

Cons

  • Connectivity: Eargo hearing aids don’t have a telecoil, and their Bluetooth function is among the most limited of all companies on our list. Eargo devices can connect to smartphones, enabling you to adjust your aid via the Eargo app. But these devices cannot stream anything (music, calls, TV, etc.) into your ears via Bluetooth.
  • Programming: Eargo does not offer custom programming by audiologists based on patients’ audiograms (hearing tests). Instead, customers can customize their programs based on their personal preferences using the app. Eargo staff does assist customers with the customization of programs, but the person who helps you will most likely have less training than a licensed audiologist would. This adjustment method can still be beneficial, but customer satisfaction will vary.

Starkey

Most Committed to Philanthropy

The Starkey brand of hearing aids was founded in 1967 by Bill Austin. Austin still leads the company as owner and CEO to this day. Famously, Austin has helped set up an array of public figures with their own Starkey hearing aids, including multiple U.S. Presidents as well as Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa. The Starkey Brand is also famous for partnering with veterans through the VA healthcare system. Starkey participates in considerable charitable work worldwide and the United States. The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Hear Now program offers underserved individuals free or extremely low-cost, high-quality hearing aids every year.

Comparing Select Models of Starkey Hearing Aids

Livio Edge AI Picasso
Fit Type BTE, RIC, ITE, and ITC ITE, ITC, CIC, and IIC
Pricing (pair) Approximately $6,000+ Approximately $3,000-$6,000+
Battery Rechargeable or 312 Battery 312, 13, or 10
Number of Possible Programs 12+ * 3+ (Variable)
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes
Directional Microphone Yes Yes (some models)
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -App (Apple & Android) -Tap Control -Automatic Adjustments -Physical Buttons -App (Apple & Android) -Tap Control -Some Automatic Adjustments -Physical Buttons
Telecoil Equipped No Yes (Most Devices)
Bluetooth Enabled Yes Yes, with Accessory
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location

*In this model there are 12 set programs, but due to adjustments you make in the app and adjustments that the Edge software can make automatically, the actual number of programs is virtually unlimited.

Starkey has an extensive selection of hearing aids available through local audiology offices nationwide. Buyers can fine-tune their programs remotely, but in-person adjustments offer more optimal results. Most Starkey models are available in multiple performance levels (Premium, Advanced, and Select, for example). Our reviews focus on the premium level of performance, which costs the most. Lower levels of performance may have fewer features.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Starkey

Pros

  • Selection: As a long-time industry leader, this brand has made many product lines over the years. It currently heavily markets the product lines Livio Edge AI, Livio AI, and Livio, but the Picasso or Muse product lines are available in some cases as well. Each line has about four different fit styles, and most lines have quality levels/price points ranging from Select to Premium. With this wealth of options, you’re more likely to find a device that suits your budget and feature requirements. The free Hearing Aid Finder tool can help you explore your options.
  • Advanced App Features: The Starkey Thrive app is the most advanced one we have seen for hearing aids. When used with the Livio Edge AI (Artificial Intelligence) line of products, this app can help users understand how much physical and social/brain activity they have engaged in during the day. This app can use the hearing aids to track steps, detect falls, and even provide in-ear and in-app help with translating foreign languages.
  • Sound Quality: The Livio Edge AI line has some of the most advanced audio quality available on the market. These high-end devices incorporate machine learning to produce on-the-go adjustments for your life. They also have excellent tinnitus relief sound programs, including some customizable tinnitus programs.

Cons

  • Streaming Issues: In general, audio quality from the Starkey products will be state-of-the-art. However, some online reviewers mention problems with iPhone streaming in the Livio AI product line. If Bluetooth streaming is something you think you’ll use often, you may want to consider the Livio Edge AI product line instead, or you may simply test the Bluetooth streaming quality before buying.
  • Expense: The most advanced Starkey hearing aids are likely to be among the most expensive in an audiologist’s shop. Our research indicated that Starkey hearing aids could retail for over $6,500 a pair in some cases, especially if you’re adding accessories to your purchase. Your audiologist may be able to offer you a range of Starkey items that have lower costs.

Audicus

Best Membership Plan


Audicus, founded by Patrick Freuler in 2011, began out of the founder’s desire to break down barriers to getting hearing aids. This direct-to-consumer brand has locations in New York, Denver, and Los Angeles, and has plans to open more clinics. However, most customers take advantage of Audicus’ services completely online. Audicus offers a unique, no-commitment membership plan that makes it the ideal choice for seniors who feel unsure about hearing aids and those on a tight budget.

Comparing Select Models of Audicus Hearing Aids

Dia II Clara Aura Wave Spirit Omni
Fit Type BTE RIC CIC RIC RIC RIC
Pricing (pair) Purchase: $998

Membership: $78/mo.

Purchase: $1,398

Membership: $98/mo.

Purchase: $1,398

Membership: $98/mo.

Purchase: $1,898

Membership: $138/mo.

Purchase: $2,798
Membership: $178/mo.
Purchase: $3,398
Membership: $198/mo.
Battery 312 -312

-Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (extra cost)

-10 zinc-air -312

-Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (extra cost)

-Rechargeable Lithium-Ion -Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Audiologist Programmed Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely
Directional Microphone Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Automatic Adjustments

-Remote

-Physical Button

-Automatic Adjustments

-Remote (Bluetooth or Regular)

-Physical Button

-Ear Tap for Volume Adjustment -Automatic Adjustments

-Remote

-Physical Button

-App

-Automatic Adjustments

-Remote

-Physical Button

-App

-Automatic Adjustments

-Remote

-Physical Button

-App

Telecoil Equipped Yes No No No No No
Bluetooth Enabled No Yes, with accessory No Yes Yes Yes
Return Period 45 days 45 days 45 days 45 days 45 days 45 days
Warranty Length 1-2 Years* 1-2 Years* 1-2 Years* 1-2 Years* 1-2 Years* 1-2 Years*

*Note: 1-year warranty is standard, but you have the option of upgrading to 2 years for an extra fee at checkout.

Audicus currently offers five models of its hearing aids, though in the past it has carried other models as well. Customers should note that some Audicus hearing aids come in both “Standard” and “Enhanced Clarity” performance levels, so you may wish to ask your audiologist which would be better for you. You can shop this brand online as well as in-person in limited locations. Below, you can learn more about the pros and cons of Audicus hearing aids.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Audicus

Pros

  • Flexible Membership: Audicus offers a membership for between $39-$89 per month. You may cancel at any time without fees as long as you return the hearing aids Plus, it includes many benefits, including a new set of hearing aids every eighteen months. This plan offers low financial risk and many benefits. Look online or call Audicus for complete details.
  • Clear Pricing: Thanks to its simplified product line and direct-to-consumer business model, the prices that Audicus charges are easy to find online. Starting prices for purchasing are listed clearly on the “Shop Hearing Aids” section of the company’s website. When you click on an individual model, you’ll be able to see upgrades, including accessories, cleaning kits, warranty extensions, and other enhancements. The company even offers to check your insurance coverage for you.
  • Convenience: For those who have limited mobility or no longer drive, the convenience of consulting with an audiologist from home is hard to argue with. As evidence of its popularity, Audicus says it has run over 70,000 online hearing tests. If you’ve already had a hearing test, you can also just submit its results.
  • Customization: Audicus focuses on customizing and providing options to its patients. All Audicus hearing aid programs are made to match customers’ hearing test results. When purchasing, seniors can choose from a variety of upgrades, including enhanced sound quality (achieved by a larger number of channels) and multiple accessories such as Bluetooth, regular remotes, or TV connector devices.

Cons

  • Remote Care Issues: Audicus encourages virtual testing over in-office testing. The lack of an in-office test can lead to issues such as missing significant medical problems that could affect the efficacy of the hearing aid. It is admirable, however, that Audicus requires a test and always customizes its hearing aid programs.

Oticon

Best for Internet-Based Connectivity

Hans Demant founded Oticon in the early 1900s. Demant was initially inspired to import hearing aids for his wife’s use, but he began producing his own models over the years. Oticon is one of several Demant subsidiaries, and it now has over 3,000 worldwide employees. This company was the first to use the If This Then That (IFTTT) web platform in its hearing aids. This technology allows the hearing aids to get notifications from a smart doorbell, change settings automatically based on GPS data, change programs by voice command, send battery alerts to caregivers, and more. For seniors or caregivers who love keeping up with technology, these are some of the most advanced features available on the market.

Comparing Select Models of Oticon Hearing Aids

Opn S BTE PP Xceed BTE SP
Fit Type BTE BTE
Pricing (pair) Approximately $3,000-$6,600+ Approximately $3,200-$7,600+
Battery 13 13
Number of Possible Programs 4 4
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes
Directional Microphones Yes* Yes*
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Physical buttons -Apple App -Remote -Physical buttons -Apple App -Remote
Telecoil Equipped Optional Optional
Bluetooth Enabled Yes Yes
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location

*Oticon has directional microphones, but they are only a small part of its sophisticated sound processing system which is called OpenSound Navigator™.

The devices in the chart above represent only a fraction of the models available from Oticon. Most devices are BTE or RIC/RITE, and they come in versions suitable for the full range of hearing loss levels, including single-sided deafness. Your local Audiologist may have three different performance levels for most or all Oticon hearing aid models, so you may wish to discuss which level is most appropriate for your needs.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Oticon

Pros

  • In-Person Care: Oticon doesn’t directly sell to customers, so it heavily promotes the idea of you seeing a hearing professional in your area. The website explains the benefits of in-person audiology, and it even provides tools for finding your own audiologist. If you’re unsure if you need a hearing test, you can take the quick Oticon hearing quiz which will ask you questions about what you struggle to hear.
  • Great Website: Oticon’s website is full of detailed information on its many models of hearing aids. User manuals are unusually intuitive, detailing how the hearing aids work in a way that’s not excessively technical. To find user manuals, you must click the Support tab, then scroll down until you find and can click on the Download Center.
  • Special Trial: Users can test the Oticon Opn S, and Xceed hearing aids via a special Risk-Free Trial. The trial can be an excellent option for those who care about being part of improving hearing products. Those who provide feedback on the devices and purchase them after the trial is up can receive a $50 gift card for their participation. Read the terms and conditions to see if the trial is right for you, and if it isn’t, you may still want to ask about other forms of trial periods at your audiologist’s office.

Cons

  • Costs: Like most hearing aid companies that don’t sell directly to consumers, Oticon does not make its prices available online. Our research indicates that most devices from this brand are $1,500+ per ear ($3,000+ for a pair), but these numbers could vary significantly based on models, optional features, and more. Information online conflicts, but the most high-end models from this brand could be between $4,000- $7,600 per pair.

Widex

Best Sound Processing

Christian Tøpholm and Erik Westermann founded Widex in 1956 in Denmark. Since its founding, the brand has expanded, now operating in over 100 countries and employing over 4,000 people. With a focus on making virtually every component of their hearing aids themselves, Widex continually improves its technology, aesthetics, and comfort features. The Moment line of products, in particular, has made great strides of improvement in sound processing speed. Widex calls its sound processing method the “pure sound” program with “zero” (very low) delay. This program provides one of the best sound qualities for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Comparing Select Models of Widex Hearing Aids

Evoke Fashion Mini Evoke CIC-Micro Moment mRIC R D
Fit Type BTE (mini) IIC RIC
Pricing (pair) About $3,500+ About $3,500+ About $4,000+
Battery 312 10 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Number of Possible Programs 9+ 9+ 9+
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes Yes
Directional Microphones Yes No Yes
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -App -Physical buttons -Remote -Automatic adjustments -App -Remote -App -Physical Button -Remote
Telecoil Equipped Yes, with accessory No No
Bluetooth Enabled Yes, with accessory Yes, with accessory Yes
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location Varies by Location

Widex offers its hearing aids in four different quality/price tiers, and the table above reflects some features that may only be available in the top tier. The brand also has numerous old and new product lines, and several more models that we could not include in the table above. Seniors interested in a wider range of models can easily find more options on the Widex website. Since Widex is a brand that doesn’t sell online, it’s best suited for those willing to go into a local audiologist’s office for hearing care.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Widex

Pros

  • Fractals: The tinnitus relief program that Widex has developed is called Zen. It uses fractal sounds instead of traditional white noise. Some clinicians prefer fractal tones for their sequences which can induce relaxation and may mask tinnitus more effectively than other options.
  • Telecoil: When companies put Bluetooth on their devices, they often decide to eliminate telecoils to keep the device as small as possible. However, Widex models have both. If you’re looking for both options, the Evoke line is a great choice. Some models will require a small telecoil accessory.
  • SoundSense: Devices from the Evoke line of products use machine learning to predict which settings you want to switch to. Self-adjusting hearing aids are somewhat common now, but when Widex released the Evoke line in 2018, it was cutting-edge technology. Widex indeed focuses on developing innovations that will improve users’ lives.

Cons:

  • Pricing: You can find some estimates of Widex pricing online, but ultimately you can’t know how much you’ll pay until you meet with a local audiologist. The fact that Widex doesn’t list costs online makes it challenging to comparison-shop for this brand accurately. Although Widex offers some relatively low-cost models, many models will exceed $3,000-$4,000+ per pair.

Signia

Largest Range of Models

Signia is now an independent company but had previous ties to Sivantos Group and Siemens. The roots of these companies go all the way back to 1878. In 2016, Signia transitioned to operating as a global brand and soon became one of the top brands in America. Signia’s impact on the hearing industry is significant because its hearing aids are high quality and come in various options. This brand offers over twenty different models of hearing aids. There’s a good chance you’ll find a model with just the right style and features from Signia.

Comparing Select Models of Signia Hearing Aids

Styletto Connect Silk NX
Fit Type BTE IIC/CIC
Pricing (pair) About $5,000+ About $4,000+
Battery Rechargeable Lithium-Ion 10
Number of Possible Programs 6 6+
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes
Directional Microphone Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Remotes -App -Automatic adjustments -Remotes -App -Physical Buttons*
Telecoil Equipped No No
Bluetooth Enabled Yes Yes
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location

*Not accessible when in the ear.

The Signia brand of hearing aids has an incredibly diverse range of products that the table above cannot fully communicate. In addition to an extensive range of models, these hearing aids can come in various performance levels. Only in-person purchases are allowed, so this brand best suits seniors who want to visit a local audiologist.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Signia

 

  • Global Service: If your hearing aid develops an under-warranty problem in another nation, chances are surprisingly good that you’ll get it fixed locally. Signia offers repair services in sixteen European countries, ten Asian countries, virtually all countries in North and South America, two African countries, and in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Style: Signia is famous for being the first hearing aid company to release a “fashion” hearing aid. Many hearing aids are functional but not stylish, and many more are simply designed to be “invisible.” The Styletto, on the other hand, is intended to be seen. It’s thin, with crisp edges and modern color combinations like rose gold with white or navy. For seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss who really value style, this hearing aid offers everything you want in both looks and features.

Cons

  • App Rating: Signia’s app for controlling hearing aids tends to get low scores in reviews. On the Apple App store, it has just 1.9 out of 5 possible stars. Users also complained about poorly-designed controls that require unnecessary steps for adjusting settings. Overall, it seems the app may be useful for some but too limited and prone to glitches for others.
  • Cost: Like most companies sold in audiology offices, Signia has high costs on its most advanced models. While not the most expensive company on our list, it’s still possible to spend over $4,000 or even $5,000 on Signia hearing aids.

ReSound

Best for Profound Hearing Loss

ReSound, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord, was founded in 1943 by Dr. Rodney Perkins of Stanford University. ReSound has been known for its high-powered hearing aids in the past few years and operates in over 80 countries, with headquarters in Ballerup, Denmark. ReSound’s Enzo Q is one of the company’s most popular models for profound hearing loss because it can connect directly via Bluetooth with all iPhones and some Android devices, with no accessories needed. Very few companies offer similar high-tech options for profound hearing loss than ReSound.

Comparing Select Models of ReSound Hearing Aids

Enzo Q LiNX Quattro MIH
Fit Type BTE MIH*
Pricing (pair) About $5,000-$6,000+ About $5,000+
Battery 13 or 675 13 or 312
Number of Possible Programs 3+ 4
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes
Directional Microphone Yes No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -App -Automatic switching via geotags -Remote -Physical buttons and dials -App -Automatic switching via geotags -Remote -Physical button
Telecoil Equipped Yes Yes
Bluetooth Enabled Yes (Apple and some Android) Yes (for Apple products)
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location

*Note: MIH stands for Mic-in-Helix, a design unique to this brand. The benefits of this design are detailed below.

ReSound only sells through licensed audiology offices. It has a robust product line, with hearing aids in every conceivable style and for all hearing loss levels. Models are available in a variety of performance/price levels. The company’s website is highly informative, with videos, articles, and numerous visuals. For exact pricing, warranty, repair, and return information, you’ll want to speak with your local audiologist since prices and terms vary by purchase location.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from ReSound

Pros

  • iSolate Nanotech: Moisture within the ear is one of the most significant contributors to eventual hearing aid failure. Plus, the lack of airflow and the presence of wax and oil can take a toll on these small devices. ReSound uses a coating called iSolate Nanotech on its hearing aids to address these issues. This coating repels both oils and water, contributing to long-term durability.
  • Mic-in-Helix Fit: ReSound is the only company on the market offering Mic-in-Helix fit hearing aids. This design features a custom piece that fits in the ear, a narrow tube that extends upward on the outer ear, and a microphone that nestles into the helix of the outer ear. This unique microphone placement provides natural sound quality. It’s an uncommon design that’s worth asking your audiologist about, particularly if you’ve been unhappy with more traditional styles in the past.
  • Connectivity Options: Most devices from ReSound can tap into various streaming and sound transmission methods. For example, most devices can use telecoils, PhoneNow systems (magnet-based phone use enhancements), and Bluetooth streaming. They can connect to a variety of remotes and tv accessories. ReSound hearing aids can connect directly to virtually all Apple devices and a few Android ones, and they can also use a Bluetooth accessory to link to all Androids.

Cons

  • Expense: Complaints about ReSound hearing aids are relatively few and far between, but if there are any, they’re likely about cost. Pricing varies significantly by model, but it’s common to spend anywhere from $2,300-$6,000 on a pair.

Phonak

Best Accessories

Phonak is a well-known hearing aid brand based in Zurich, Switzerland, founded in 1947. Now owned by Sonova Holding AG, Phonak continues to grow and is one of the top brands. This company offers, by far, the most extensive selection of hearing aid accessories. For instance, Phonak’s Roger Mic collection includes a variety of microphones in different sizes, technologies, and price points – many of which can connect directly to hearing aids. These accessories can be practical in busy environments like classrooms, churches, and restaurants. If your audiologist thinks your lifestyle requires high-quality accessories, this brand has some great options.

Comparing Select Models of Phonak Hearing Aids

Audeo Marvel Lyric
Fit Type RIC Extended-Wear IIC
Pricing (pair) About $2,200-$3,400+ Subscription-based pricing only, cost varies
Battery 312 or 13 (varies) or rechargeable NA*
Number of Possible Programs 7+ 1
Audiologist Programmed Yes Yes
Directional Microphones Yes No
Tinnitus Relief Yes Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Physical Button

-App

-Remote

“SoundLync” Remote
Telecoil Equipped Optional No
Bluetooth Enabled Yes No
Return Period Varies by Location Varies by Location
Warranty Length Varies by Location Varies by Location

*Note: Lyric hearing aids are “the contact lenses of hearing aids”- they are tiny and are meant to be disposed of in approximately 120 days or less. Their batteries are neither rechargeable nor replaceable and do not adhere to typical battery categories. Learn more about this disposable hearing aid below.

Phonak products are widely available through audiologist offices but cannot be purchased online. This brand has solutions for any kind of hearing loss, and you can find details on all models on the Phonak website. Below you can learn more about how seniors can benefit from buying Phonak, and you can also learn about some of the drawbacks of choosing this brand.

Buyer’s Guide to Shopping For Hearing Aids

Shopping for hearing aids is a process, not a single task. In many ways, the process is similar to buying prescription eyeglasses, but it’s considerably more complex and expensive. The steps below will help you understand how to start down the path to getting hearing aids that are right for you.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Phonak

  • Android Connectivity: The Audeo Marvel hearing aid (which comes in a few different versions) is one of the best hearing aids on the market for Android users. Android phone users tend to have a lot of trouble finding hearing aids that connect well with their phones through Bluetooth. Many brands do connect to Android phones, but only with additional Bluetooth accessories or only to a few models of Android phones. Hearing aids from the Marvel product line can usually universally connect to Androids.
  • Low-Maintenance Design: The Lyric model hearing aid, listed in the table, represents a unique hearing aid option perfect for some situations. A hearing aid that fits deep within the ear canal and remains there for a few months at a time is a very low maintenance option, though it does require multiple office visits in a year. For someone who wants something they can wear 24/7 and does not need frequent adjustments, this is truly something that’s difficult to find elsewhere.

Cons

  • Support: Unfortunately, Phonak’s app updates can sometimes create issues for older hearing aid models. Anecdotally, users say that hearing aids four years old or older may lose app support. Ask your audiologist for their expert opinion on the performance of the Phonak app with older devices.

The Basics of Hearing Aids

Spending a little time understanding how hearing aids work will help you to be an informed consumer who isn’t overwhelmed by the many hearing aids on the market. Below, you can learn the basics of hearing aid parts, styles, and technology features.

The Parts of a Hearing Aid

Knowing the basic components of hearing aids will help you understand the product descriptions when shopping.

  • Microphone: This is the part of the hearing aid that receives the natural sounds around you. Many hearing aids have multiple microphones, visible only as tiny holes on the surface. A directional microphone is a microphone that focuses on sounds in front of you, making conversation clearer. Note that you can buy external microphone accessories for improved sound under challenging settings such as noisy restaurants.
  • Speaker/Receiver: This is the hearing aid component that gives you back processed sound that has been amplified and digitally* “mixed” for the greatest clarity.
  • Earmold or Dome: Earmolds and domes are hearing aid pieces that fit snugly over, into, or even fully inside of the ear canal’s opening. Domes are typically soft silicone spheres that look similar to the earpieces of “earbud” headphones, whereas earmolds are often hard plastic or silicon made in the custom shape of the user’s ear. Either may have a small vent to allow airflow.
  • Battery: The battery is the power source of the hearing aid. Disposable batteries usually come in the following sizes/colors, arranged from smallest/shortest life to largest/longest life: 10 (yellow), 312 (brown), 13 (orange), or 675 (blue). Rechargeable batteries are now becoming quite common as well. Lithium-Ion batteries are typically the best rechargeables, but silver-zinc or other rechargeable options are also sometimes used.
  • Wire/Receiver Wire: In styles where the body of the hearing aids sits behind the ear (BTE, RIC, RITE), a wire will extend from behind the ear and sit in or near/pointed towards the canal. A dome, or more rarely, an earmold will be at the end of the wire and fit snugly in the ear.

Styles of Hearing Aids

The information below will help you understand the most common styles of hearing aids. You may benefit from looking at a diagram of an ear while reading descriptions of different models. Note that smaller hearing aids tend to have more trouble treating severe or profound hearing loss, but power varies by brand and is getting better each year.

In-the-Ear (ITE) Styles

  • Traditional In-The-Ear (ITE): A custom-made device of plastic and/or silicon that fills up half or all of the concha/shell-shaped region of the outer ear. This design essentially covers but does not really enter the ear canal. Its unique contours keep it securely in place since it’s made to fit like a puzzle piece into the patient’s ear. It may be roughly the size of the surface of a patient’s thumb or smaller, with buttons/volume wheels on its faceplate. Its size makes it easy to handle.
  • In-The-Canal (ITC): Nothing about this kind of hearing aid is substantially different from the ITE except that it is somewhat sunk into the ear canal and will be smaller than the ITE. Like the ITE, it’s usually easy to handle and has physical buttons.
  • Completely-In-Canal (CIC): This device will typically sit one to two millimeters inside the ear canal. It is substantially smaller than a traditional ITE style and the faceplate will still be somewhat visible but more discreet than those listed above.
  • Invisible-In-Canal (IIC): The most discreet of all in the ear/in the canal styles, IIC fits so deeply in the ear canal that the dark faceplate is virtually invisible. Sometimes the line between CIC and IIC models is fuzzy. These devices are typically the smallest possible hearing aids. Due to their size, people with small ear canals can’t wear them.

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Styles

  • Traditional Behind-The-Ear (BTE): A BTE device has an elongated body that sits behind the ear, housing all major components. A thin, transparent wire extends over the ear, carrying sound into it via a dome or earmold. Many models will be nearly or fully hidden by the top of the ear, but size varies. 
  • Receiver-In-Canal (RIC): This hearing aid looks nearly identical to BTE designs. The only difference between BTE and RIC models is that the receiver sits within the dome or earmold rather than behind the ear. Thanks to this component being housed in the ear canal, the behind-the-ear portion will often be slightly smaller than the behind-the-ear portions of traditional BTEs. Sometimes, this style is also called Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE).

Important Technical Features

Programs

A program is a preset or custom sound profiles for your hearing aids. You choose from different programs for optimal audio quality in various settings, including restaurants, cars, libraries, TV listening, and more. Typically, you can toggle between programs using physical buttons, apps, remotes, voice activation, etc. Some more advanced hearing aids can sense your environment and automatically switch to the most optimal program for you.

Note that a program is different from a channel. Channels are adjustable segments of sound frequency ranges to create a custom program. Hearing aid companies often widely advertise the number of channels their devices have because it indicates how customizable your programs are.

Sound Processing

Brands develop proprietary methods of digitally reducing unwanted noises and enhancing voices for better speech recognition. In advertisements, you’ll see notes about noise reduction, feedback reduction, wind reduction, and much more. Many also have a tinnitus relief feature that plays soothing noises for those who find the ringing in their ears unbearable. Ultimately, most brands will probably have a similar noise reduction quality, but they will call that technology by different names. It’s a good idea to read up on how hearing aids process sound, but it shouldn’t be the only feature you base your decision on.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a common form of technology used to connect electronic devices to each other. Using Bluetooth to link your hearing aids to your phone, smart TV, or other devices can mean better sound quality for music, television, phone calls, and more. Connecting your phone with Bluetooth can also give you access to manufacturer apps that let you switch between programs. Some Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids need a special Bluetooth accessory (“streamer,” “intermediary device,” “remote”) that acts as a go-between. While other models can directly stream audio and phone conversations via Bluetooth.

Telecoil

A telecoil (T-Coil, T-Switch) is an optional component that uses electromagnetism to take in sound in a different way than the traditional microphone does. Businesses, churches, theaters, and other public places can set up their rooms with a telecoil system (loop system) that will broadcast sound via a special wire system installed on the perimeter of the room. Those with hearing aids can switch on their telecoil to receive this sound without the additional background noise.

Buyer’s Guide to Shopping For Hearing Aids

Shopping for hearing aids is a process, not a single task. The process is similar to buying prescription eyeglasses in many ways, but it’s considerably more complex and expensive. The steps below will help you understand how to start down the path to getting hearing aids that are right for you.

Step 1: Thoughtfully Compare the Process of Shopping Online Vs. Shopping In Person

It’s now possible to shop for hearing aids entirely online. Some seniors get their hearing tested in an audiology office but buy their hearing aids online. Industry professionals still greatly prefer that patients get fitted for hearing aids in-office for several reasons, but online shopping has significant benefits. You can use the pros and cons listed below to compare the differences between online and in-person shopping experiences.

The In-Office Shopping Experience

Pros

  • Physical exams in which the audiologist looks in your ear (otoscopy) can rule out medical issues and ear canal obstructions.
  • Testing your hearing in person with high-quality equipment is usually far more accurate than using your computer.
  • Fine-tuning your hearing aid with a process known as Real Ear Testing means great sound quality that addresses your specific hearing loss pattern.
  • Offices usually have a large selection of brands, models, and technology levels all in one place.
  • When shopping in person, the likelihood of being scammed or sold a poor-quality product is much lower.

Cons

  • Some offices sell “locked” products only serviceable by offices in the same franchise – a huge problem if you move.
  • Costs can be much higher than they are online.
  • You must leave your house to test, compare models, and make adjustments.

The Online Shopping Experience

Pros

  • Costs tend to be much lower than they are in audiology offices.
  • Rudimentary tests can be conducted online and your hearing aids can be custom-programmed without you leaving the house.
  • In many cases, hearing tests taken at audiology offices can also be used to program your hearing aid of choice if you like.

Cons

  • The credentials of the people helping you over the phone/online will vary and may be unclear.
  • Online tests and remote programming are less accurate and therefore may provide less optimal sound quality.
  • Most online companies are only capable of addressing mild to moderate hearing loss.
  • Online companies tend to have relatively few styles in their catalogs, so you may need to shop around more.
  • Some online companies only sell hearing aids in pairs, regardless of the patient’s actual need.
  • Scams and poor-quality products abound on the internet, and verifying a company’s quality can be difficult.

Step 2: Make a Purchase Based on Your Individual Hearing Needs

Once you’ve decided whether you’ll purchase online or in person, and after you’ve had your hearing tested (preferably in person if possible), it’s time to choose a hearing aid and any accessories. You may not go with the recommended brand, but you should pay attention to the style of hearing aids and the specific recommended features. The world of hearing aids is quite complex, so it is best to ask for a recommendation from an audiologist.

Questions to Ask an Audiologist About Your Hearing Needs:

  • What fits (styles) are appropriate for my level of hearing loss?
  • What’s the minimum number of programs I should have, and should I look for specific types of programs or a specific number of channels?
  • Should I get a “premium”-level set of hearing aids, or will I do well with a relatively low number of programs and less technology?
  • Do you think I should use a hearing aid with a telecoil and/or Bluetooth streaming?
  • Do you think I need a particular kind of external microphone accessory?

If you’re unclear on hearing aid design features, review the “Basics” section at the beginning of this article and make a list of any additional questions you have. If you decide to work with an online hearing aid company instead of a local audiologist, it’s best to speak with experts from multiple companies at length. Talk with them about the most popular features and which designs and features have notable limits. Request user manuals as well, primarily if you’re proceeding without the advice of an audiologist.

Step 3: Learn About Warranty Terms and Routine Upkeep

Virtually all hearing aids come with both a return period and a warranty that covers repairs and replacements. You’ll want to pay close attention to the warranty limits, as each is slightly different. If you do not like the warranty length, it’s often possible to purchase an extension.

A Warranty May Have:

  • Limitations on the number of repairs and replacements for the hearing aids
  • Limitations on where the repairs will take place and who will pay for shipping
  • Terms that stipulate that repairs done by other technicians/companies will void the warranty
  • Terms that require the customer to pay a flat fee for repairs

When you purchase, make sure you know who will be capable of repairing the device. Will you have to send it to the manufacturer every time? If you buy online from a small or new online company, then there’s a chance your local audiologist will have no experience working on your hearing aids. Know what your repair options are ahead of time.

In addition to potential major repairs, all hearing aids need routine maintenance. This usually includes changing or charging batteries, brushing or wiping down the hearing aid exterior, changing wax guards (these protect the inside of the hearing aids), and replacing earmolds/domes and receiver wires (if applicable). Some companies will send you replacement parts and cleaning kits at low or no cost. When purchasing, ensure you understand the steps to keep your hearing aids in good working order.

Step 4: Give Yourself Time to Adjust to Your New Hearing Aids

Getting hearing aids for the first time is a significant adjustment and usually involves short-term discomfort. If you’ve been missing some tone ranges, gaining them back may be jarring. In addition, having hard plastic in your ears can make them feel plugged up. You might even have difficulty putting on your hearing aids or understanding how to switch settings, change or charge batteries, use the app, or physically manipulate the controls.

It’s common for first-time hearing aid users to experience discomfort and confusion, so tell your doctor about your experience and ask your loved ones for help.

Tips for Adjusting to Your Hearing Aids:

  • Explore: Take time reading the manual and viewing informational videos. Explore all settings, troubleshoot, and get comfortable using any purchased accessories. Your hearing aids could have beneficial features you don’t know about.
  • Ease Into It: Some people who get new hearing aids start by wearing them a few hours at a time in the first week or so. Consult with your audiologist to make sure this is an acceptable way for you to adjust. Easing into using hearing aids could help you stick with it in the long run.
  • Be Honest: Certain sounds can be genuinely overwhelming, even if your volume is at an appropriate level. In particular, the crying of children or any sudden or loud noise could stress or annoy you even if your hearing aids are correctly programmed. This should be only a temporary bother, but let your loved ones know if you’re struggling with sensory overload. It will help them understand any mood changes or frustrations you’re having.
  • Make Changes: If your hearing aid’s sound quality seems poor or is persistently bothering you, you might need to have your programs adjusted and/or checked for accuracy using a real ear test in the office. If your earpiece (dome or earmold) is uncomfortable, then the audiologist might give you a different sized dome or might adjust your mold.

The Cost of Hearing Aids

Typically, hearing aids cost between $2,000-$6,000+ per pair, which can be daunting. Below you can explore the answers to many seniors’ common questions about getting financial help. If none of the methods below are available, consider asking about payment plans as an alternative. Most online companies offer payment plans, and some audiologist offices may also provide such options.

Will Veterans Affairs Cover the Cost of My Hearing Aids? 

If you qualify for Veterans Affairs health benefits, there’s a good chance that you’ll receive financial assistance with your hearing aid costs. Health coverage depends on the veteran’s service records, income level, disabilities, and other factors. Take time to learn how VA health coverage works, then get details on VHA Audiology and approved hearing aids.

Will Private Insurance Cover the Cost of My Hearing Aids?

It depends. Some private insurance includes a hearing benefit that specifies the full or partial coverage of hearing aids, hearing-related office visits, and more. In most states, this coverage type for adults is optional. However, hearing coverage is mandatory to various degrees in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Also, some plans have a Health Savings Account (HSA), which may apply to hearing aids. Health plans marketed specifically to seniors are likely to have hearing benefits, though these benefits are sometimes small or restricted to a particular brand. Contact your health insurance plan or read your plan’s Explanation of Benefits (EOB) document to learn more about your private insurance coverage.

Will Medicare Help Me with My Hearing Aid Costs? 

No, Medicare itself (“Original Medicare,” Medicare Parts A and B) will not help you with hearing aid costs. However, Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans both frequently offer at least small hearing benefits. The plans are completely different, and you cannot have them simultaneously. However, they are similar in that they are both offered by private insurance companies and therefore they both can offer benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t. Carefully read your plan’s benefits to see if you have something for your hearing needs. If confused about your insurance, you may also benefit from speaking with someone at your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

Will Medicaid Help Me with Hearing Aid Costs? 

It depends. In most cases, Medicaid can only help those with significant financial needs and/or profound disabilities, so not all seniors will qualify. Moreover, Medicaid coverage varies greatly by state. About half of all states offer at least some coverage for hearing aids and related needs (audiology visits and tests, batteries, etc.), with the other half not offering any coverage at all. If you do not have Medicaid but think you may qualify, visiting your state government’s website or exploring the Medicaid State Overviews page is an excellent place to start.

Will Nonprofits Help Me with My Hearing Aid Costs? 

It is sometimes easier to find financial help for hearing aids for children than it is for older adults, but don’t be discouraged. Approaching your local Area Agency on Aging is a good place to start since the staff is likely knowledgeable about financial resources for disabilities. Another good resource is any non-profit service club with active chapters in your area. The Lions Club, in particular, has a program that provides exams and hearing aids (often recycled/refurbished) to low-income seniors and people of all ages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is An Audiogram?

An audiogram is a graph showing a person’s hearing loss pattern. When you take a hearing test, you sit in a quiet room and listen to a series of tones. You indicate when you hear a tone by pressing a button. The doctor may also ask you to identify specific noises, such as human speech, and participate in other exams. The audiogram provides a visual of the results of your hearing test. With this graph, a hearing professional can design sound programs for your hearing aids that specifically address the frequencies in which you have lost hearing.

Will I Hear in the Same Way That I Used to When My Hearing Was Undamaged?

Hearing aid companies constantly improve their technology to produce the most natural sounds possible. With that said, your hearing aids may have a noticeably different sound quality than the sounds you experienced before your hearing loss. The difference should be something that you can get used to. Higher-end companies may have the best sound processing. Bluetooth streaming is where you’ll likely encounter the most issues with sound quality, but it’s a feature you don’t need to use all the time.

Can I Get a Refund on Hearing Aids I Don’t Like? 

Yes, most hearing aid companies provide refunds. You’ll usually be able to get 100% money back within a set period, such as 30, 45, or 100 days. However, don’t expect refunds for the money spent on testing or fitting appointment fees. If you initially don’t like your hearing aids, give yourself time to adjust to them without exceeding the return period. Also, ask if there are fees for restocking or shipping, or any other hidden cost.

How Can I Help My Spouse or Parent Who Is Refusing to Use Their Hearing Aid?

Your loved one may be concerned about hearing aids making them “look old.” Offer a gentle reminder that someone is much more likely to notice poor hearing than seeing a tiny hearing aid. Reinforce that most people will not be judgemental even if they do notice. Other reasons many seniors refuse to wear hearing aids include physical discomfort and being overwhelmed with how to wear and operate them. Lend your help and sympathy, and consult the audiologist when needed.

Do I Need a Microphone Accessory for My Hearing Aids?

Most companies sell external microphone accessories to maximize sound quality under challenging environments. Microphones can be placed on the table in a noisy restaurant or worn by the speaker in a classroom or meeting hall where the sound is otherwise unamplified. Your need for an external microphone depends on the places you frequent. Before buying a microphone, you may want to consider whether a telecoil might meet some or all of your needs. Many churches and other buildings have telecoils that broadcast a speaker’s words directly to your hearing aids. A sign featuring an ear and/or a capital T usually indicates the presence of telecoil systems, but you can also ask the staff.

Do I Need a Remote for My Hearing Aids?

You’ll almost certainly need a remote if you get a CIC or IIC device that sits inside the ear canal since they lack physical buttons. Some devices are adjustable via an app, but a remote may be more accessible for seniors. Some companies include a remote with your hearing aid purchase, while some are optional. You can also buy a remote for other hearing aids if you find remotes easy to use. When you purchase hearing aids, ask about the capabilities of both remote and streaming accessories. Depending on the brand and model, some remotes are necessary to use Bluetooth streaming. Meanwhile, many brands also offer remote-like accessories for direct-streaming your television’s audio to your hearing aids.