The Best Hearing Aid for Seniors in 2021

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 all too often causes communication errors, embarrassments, and a sense of isolation. Aside from the possibility of cochlear implants, hearing aids are the main method of treating hearing loss, from the minor to the profound loss.

With hearing loss being so common in seniors, one might expect that the use of 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. For those who don’t know how to find a good deal or get financial help, the purchase can seem out of reach.

Ultimately, most of the barriers to getting a hearing aid can be overcome 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. The end of this article also includes sections on navigating the steps of the buying process and on finding financial help.

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. You can learn the basics of hearing aid parts, styles, and technology features below.

The Parts of a Hearing Aid

Knowing the basic components of hearing aids will help you understand the product descriptions that you read 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 in difficult settings such as noisy restaurants.
  • Speaker/Receiver: This is the part of the hearing aid 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 opening of the ear canal. 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 sometimes used as well.
  • Wire/Receiver Wire: In styles where the body of the hearing aids sit 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.

*Note: Analogue (non-digital) hearing aids are occasionally available, but we have not included these on our list. Digital hearing aids produce better sound quality, and most major hearing aids brands no longer make analog hearing aids. 

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 of the ear canal. Its faceplate will still be somewhat visible but more discreet than those listed above. It is substantially smaller than a traditional ITE style.
  • Invisible-In-Canal (IIC): The most discreet of all in the ear/in the canal styles, this one fits so deeply in the ear canal that the dark faceplate is virtually invisible. These devices are typically the smallest possible hearing aids. Some people cannot wear them due to having small ear canals. Sometimes the line between CIC and IIC models is fuzzy.

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 real difference between BTE and RIC models is that the receiver will be located within the dome or earmold rather than behind the ear in the RIC. 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. This style is sometimes referred to as Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE).

Important Technical Features

Programs
A program is a preset sound profile, usually custom-made for you, to which you can switch your hearing aid. Different programs are designed for optimal audio quality in different settings, such as restaurants, cars, quiet places, tv listening, and more. You can switch between programs in a variety of ways such as with physical buttons, apps, remotes, and more. Many hearing aids are so advanced that they can sense when you need to switch programs and do so automatically for you.

Note that a program is different from a channel. Channels are segments of sound frequency ranges that can be adjusted to create a custom program. Many companies will advertise how many channels their hearing aids have because channels offer some indication of how customizable your programs will be.

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 quality of reduction of unwanted noises, but they will call that technology by different names. It’s a good idea to read up on the way that hearing aids process sound, but it shouldn’t be the only feature that 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 to your phone with Bluetooth can also give you access to an app from the manufacturer that lets you switch programs. Some Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids need a special Bluetooth accessory (“streamer,” “intermediary device,” “remote”) that acts as a go-between. Other hearing aids can connect directly.

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.

How We Chose the Best Hearing Aid Brands

Reputation
Finding a company with a great reputation matters so that you can avoid cheaply made devices. It’s easy to find companies with a reputation for quality at an audiologist’s office, but choosing companies online is more difficult. We were careful to only include brands that have received significant positive press or attention from experts in the industry. We avoided all brands that appeared to be extremely new without any reviews.

Programming
We only included companies that allow significant personalization of their hearing aids. Most companies on our list will create four or more customized sound programs for their users. By and large, companies make their customizations 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 on how service is performed. We excluded brands that sell “locked” devices that can only be serviced by a particular franchise. The exception to this may be that some local audiologist offices will be unable and/or unwilling to service hearings aids that were bought online. All online hearing aid brands that we have included can be serviced directly by the company if you ship them back.

The Best Hearing Aid Brands of 2021

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

4 BTE Online No $400-$1,600

Lively

1 BTE Both (mostly online) Yes, remotely $1,850-$2,250

Eargo

3 IIC Both (mostly online) No $1,850 – $2,950

Starkey

15+ BTE RIC ITE ITC In-Office Yes About $3,000-$6,000+*

Audicus

3 RIC BTE Both (mostly online) Yes, remotely $1,000- $2,400+

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

mdhearingaid

Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, an ear, nose, and throat specialist physician 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 10 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 and analog BTE options. One of MDHearingAid’s stated goals is to “democratize” the hearing aid industry by offering a much lower price range than its competitors. No other brand that we reviewed had options as affordable as this brand’s Pro and Air models.

Comparing Select Models of MDHearingAids

Pro Air Volt+ Core
Fit Type BTE BTE BTE BTE
Pricing (Pair) $400 $800 $1,200 $1,600
Battery 13 13 Rechargeable 312
Number of Possible Programs 2 4 4 4+
Audiologist Programmed No No No No
Directional Microphone No No Yes Yes
Tinnitus Relief No No No No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching Dial and physical buttons Dial and physical buttons Dial and physical buttons Smartphone app or push button
Telecoil Equipped No Yes No No
Bluetooth Enabled No No No Yes
Return Period 45 days 45 days 45 days 45 days
Warranty 90 days 90 days 90 days 90 days

 

The table above shows the full range of hearing aids that MD HearingAid offers. Note the Pro model is analog rather than digital. Audiologists now recommend digital over analog in most cases, but some seniors may prefer an analog hearing aid due to its familiarity. It’s nice that this brand offers both. MDHearingAid sells exclusively online. Its hearing aids may not be suitable for profound levels of hearing loss.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from MDHearingAid
Pros

  • Battery Options: We love that MDHearingAid has devices that use traditional batteries and hearing aids that can be recharged. Many seniors love having rechargeability. However, simply replacing batteries is faster and more convenient for seniors who have trouble remembering to consistently charge their hearing aids.
  • Telecoil: A hearing aid equipped with a telecoil is a great option for those who frequently visit certain public settings such as church meetings, concerts, lectures, and more. Telecoils allow you to hear the most important sounds without crowd noise. MDHearingAid’s telecoil option is included on its lowest-cost digital hearing aid, Air, too, 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 than the limited 90-day warranty can provide, MDHearingAid offers the MDShield Protection Plan. Unlike the original warranty, the protection plan covers accidental damage in addition to defects. Depending on the device, the protection plan costs $10-$15 per month (up to $180 each year), so seniors should balance their likelihood of needing the plan against its costs over time.

Cons

  • Limited Customization: While MDHearingAid has audiologists on staff who can offer advice to seniors, these audiologists do not actually create custom hearing aid programs. Rather, they look at the customer’s hearing test results and offer 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, Core, has an app that the patient can use to fine-tune his or her own programs based on trial-and-error.
  • Few Styles: MDHearingAid only carries BTE devices, so this brand may not be a good fit for those who want a style that can be easily hidden deep in the ear. 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.

 

Lively 

Best Industry Newcomer
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. This New York-based company was founded by CEO Adam Karp who started the company along with Elad Kolet and Nicole Cadoret. Although it only began operations in 2018, the company has already gained significant positive press and has updated its product in response to demand and industry trends. 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.

Lively Hearing Aids Specifications Overview

Lively 
Fit Type BTE
Pricing (Pair) $1,850-$2,250
Battery -312  -Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (higher cost)
Number of Possible Programs 4
Audiologist Programmed Yes, remotely
Directional Microphone Yes
Tinnitus Relief Yes
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -App controls -Physical buttons on hearing aid  -Remote (Phone Clip+, extra cost)
Telecoil Equipped No
Bluetooth Enabled -Yes (Apple and select Android devices) -Incompatible Androids can connect with an accessory
Return Period 100 days
Warranty Length 3 years

 

 

For those who like to see a product in person, Lively now has one retail location in the Chrysler Building in Manhattan. Locals can enjoy seeing staff in-person and getting an up-close look at the hearing aids before purchasing. Anyone not in the Manhattan area can shop entirely online, benefitting from the company’s remote audiology services.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Lively

Pros

  • Included Extras: For those who choose the non-rechargeable option, a 1-year supply of batteries is automatically included in the purchase price. The value of this bundle is probably less than $100, but the convenience of the inclusion is a great plus. Additionally, Lively includes a cleaning kit and extra wax filters with all aids.
  • High Phone Quality: Using hearing aids with a phone often presents problems with sound quality. If you do have issues with this, the “Phone Now” program can be enabled. It uses a magnet attached to your phone to enable automatic program switching.
  • Payment Plans: Lively partners with Affirm loans to set up payment plans for those that qualify. Monthly payments can start at $78, though they may also be higher depending on money down, 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.
  • Mixed Messages: The Lively website includes some outdated materials and some mixed messages that may leave prospective customers scratching their heads. Different pages on the website list different warranty lengths due to lack of website updating. If you come across conflicting product details, call the company for clarification.
  • Testing Concerns: Lively offers a basic hearing test that can be taken at home. According to the promotional video, the test is meant to be taken at maximum volume with headphones, raising a concern that some tones could be loud enough to cause damage. The test also is less likely to be accurate than an in-office test would be. You may wish to consult a local audiologist for a hearing test instead.

Eargo

First Rechargeable IIC
 Eargo was founded by ear, nose, and throat surgeon Florent Michel in 2010, and 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.

Comparing Select Models of Eargo Hearing Aids

Max Neo Neo Hi-Fi
Fit Type IIC IIC IIC
Pricing (Pair)</Comparing Select Models of Eargo Hearing Aids> $1,850 $2,350 $2,950
Battery</Comparing Select Models of Eargo Hearing Aids> Rechargeable Nickel Hydride Rechargeable Nickel Hydride Rechargeable Nickel Hydride
Number of Possible Programs</Comparing Select Models of Eargo Hearing Aids> 4 4 4
Audiologist Programmed  No No No
Directional Microphone No No No
Tinnitus Relief No No No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Tap control -Tap control -App (Apple and Android) -Tap control -App (Apple and Android)
Telecoil Equipped No No No
Bluetooth Enabled No Limited* Limited*
Return Period 45 Days 45 Days 45 Days
Warranty Length 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 moderate high-frequency hearing loss. If you’re interested in Eargo, you can shop the brand entirely online, or speak to one of their licenced professionals over the phone. 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 price was advertised as $2,450 for a pair. Now the Max model has dropped to $1,850 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.
  • Payment Plans: In addition to offering relatively low costs, Eargo also 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. Terms and conditions can be viewed on Eargo’s website.

Cons

  • Connectivity: Eargo hearing aids don’t have a telecoil, and their Bluetooth function is among the most limited of all of the companies on our list. Eargo devices do connect to smartphones, enabling you to make adjustments to your aid via the Eargo app. But these devices cannot stream anything (music, calls, TV, etc.) into your ears via Bluetooth.
  • Programming: Eargo is the only company on our list that does not offer custom programming by audiologists based on patient’s audiograms (hearing tests). Eargo staff does assist customers with customization of programs, and customers can also customize their programs themselves based on their personal preferences using the app. This method of adjustment 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 all over the world and in 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 that are sold through local audiology offices across the nation. Their programs can be remotely fine-tuned, but in-person adjustments are recommended. Most Starkey models are offered in multiple performance levels (Premium, Advanced, and Select, for example). Our reviews are generally based 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 so many options, almost anyone can find a price and selection of features to suit his or her needs. 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 activity and social/brain activity he or she has 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 the translation of foreign languages.
  • Sound Quality: The Livio Edge AI line has some of the most advanced audio quality available on the market. These are truly high-end devices that 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 wish to simply test the Bluetooth streaming quality for yourself 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 can 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 three more locations. 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 are feeling unsure about hearing aids as well as for those on a tight budget.

Comparing Select Models of Audicus Hearing Aids

Dia II Clara Wave
Fit Type BTE RIC RIC
Pricing (pair) Purchase: $998-$1,444 Membership: $39/mo. Purchase: $1,398-$2,796 Membership: $49/mo. Purchase: $1,798-$2,846 Membership: $59/mo.
Battery 312 -312 -Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (extra cost) -312  -Rechargeable Lithium-Ion (extra cost)
Number of Possible Programs 4* 4* 4*
Audiologist Programmed Yes, remotely Yes, remotely Yes, remotely
Directional Microphone Yes Yes Yes
Tinnitus Relief No No No
Adjustment Methods for Volume and Program Switching -Automatic Adjustments -Remote -Physical Button -Automatic Adjustments -Remote (Bluetooth or Regular)  -Physical Button -Automatic Adjustments -Remote -Physical Button -App
Telecoil Equipped Yes No No
Bluetooth Enabled No Yes, with accessory Yes
Return Period 45 days 45 days 45 days
Warranty Length 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 sells just three 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-$59 per month. It can be canceled any time without any more payments required as long as the hearing aids are returned, and 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. Staring 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 or 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
Oticon was founded by Hans Demant in the early 1900s. Demant was originally inspired to import hearing aids for his wife’s use, but over the years he began producing his own models. 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 much 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 really need to get your hearing tested, 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. To find user manuals, all you need to do is click the Support tab then scroll down until you find and can click on the Download Center. User manuals are unusually intuitive, detailing how the hearing aids work in a way that’s not excessively technical.
  • Special Trial: The Oticon Opn S and Xceed can be tested via a special Risk-Free Trial. Those who provide feedback on the devices and who purchase them after the trial is up can receive a $50 gift card as thanks for their participation. The trial can be a great option for those who care about being part of improving hearing products. 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 indicated that most devices from this brand will be $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 were not able to include in the table above. Seniors who are 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 who are 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 in their devices, they often decide to eliminate telecoils so that they can keep the device as small as possible. However, Widex models have both. If you’re looking to find 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’ll want to switch to. Self-adjusting hearing aids are somewhat common now, but when the Evoke line released in 2018 it was cutting edge technology. Widex certainly focuses on developing innovations that will improve users’ lives.

Cons:

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

 

Signia

Largest Range of Models
Signia is now an independent company, but previously it was tied 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 it soon became one of the top brands in America. Signia’s impact on the hearing industry is significant not only because the hearing aids are of such high quality, but also because they come in such a wide variety of options. This brand offers over twenty different models of hearing aids. Chances are extremely good that you’ll find a model with just the right style and features for you 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 a large range of models, these hearing aids can come in a variety of performance levels. Purchases can only be made in person, so this brand is best suited to seniors who want to visit a local audiologist.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Signia

Pros

  • Global Service: If your hearing aid develops an under-warranty problem in another nation, then chances are surprisingly good that you’ll be able to get it fixed where you are. 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 designed 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 comment that its controls are designed poorly, requiring 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. It currently operates in over 80 countries, with headquarters in Ballerup, Denmark. In the past few years, ReSound has been acclaimed for its high-powered hearing aids. ReSound’s Enzo Q is one of the most popular models of 2021 for profound loss because it has the ability to connect directly via Bluetooth with all iPhones and some Android devices, no accessories needed. Very few companies offer similar ReSound’s offerings high-tech options for profound hearing loss.

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 offered 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 biggest contributors to eventual hearing aid failure. Lack of airflow and the presence of wax and oil can take a toll on these small devices. In response to this threat, ReSound uses a coating called iSolate Nanotech on its hearing aids. 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 a variety of 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. Devices can connect directly to virtually all Apple devices as well as a few Android ones, and they can also use a Bluetooth accessory to link to virtually all Androids.

Cons

  • Expense: Complaints about ReSound hearing aids are relatively few and far between, but if someone does complain about these it’s likely to be over the cost. Pricing varies significantly by model, of course, but it’s common to spend anywhere from $2,300-$6,000 on a pair.

 

Phonak

Best Accessories
Phonak is a popular hearing aid brand that was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1947. Now owned by Sonova Holding AG, Phonak continues to grow and is one of the top brands on the market. This company offers by far the most extensive selection of hearing aid accessories. Phonak’s Roger Mic collection includes a variety of microphones in different sizes, technologies, and price-points that can connect directly to hearing aids. These accessories can be effective in situations like classrooms, churches, and noisy restaurants. If your audiologist thinks your lifestyle requires high-quality accessories, this brand has some great options.

Audeo Marvel Lyric
Fit Type RIC Extended-Wear IIC
Pricing (pair) About $3,090-$4,800+ 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 No
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.

The Pros and Cons of Buying Hearing Aids from Phonak

Pros

  • 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 on a day-to-day basis, though it does require multiple office visits in a year. For someone who wants something that they can literally wear 24/7 and that does not need frequent adjustments, this is truly something that’s difficult to find elsewhere.

Cons

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

 

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.

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 choose to get their hearing tested in an audiology office but then to buy their hearing aids online. Industry professionals still greatly prefer that patients get fitted for hearing aids in-office for a number of reasons, but online shopping has significant benefits. You can use the pros and cons listed below to compare the differences between the experiences of shopping online and shopping in person.

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.
  • The likelihood of being scammed or sold a poor quality product is much lower when shopping in person.

Cons

  • Some offices sell “locked” products that can only be serviced by offices that are 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 get tested, to compare models, and to 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 is less accurate and therefore may provide inferior 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 hearings 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 once you’ve had your hearing tested (preferably in person if possible), then it’s time to choose a hearing aid and any accessories. The world of hearing aids is quite complex, so it really is best to ask for a recommendation from an audiologist. You may not go with the recommended brand, but you should definitely pay attention to the style of hearing aids and the specific features that are recommended for you.

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 do decide to work only with an online hearing aid company instead of with a local audiologist, it’s a good idea to speak at length with experts from multiple companies. Talk with them about which features are the most popular and which designs and features have notable limits. Request user manuals as well, especially 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. If you do not like the length of the warranty offered, it’s often possible to purchase an extension. You’ll want to pay close attention to the limits written into warranties, as each is a little different.

A Warranty May Have:

  • Limits on the number of times a lost or irreparably damaged hearing aid will be replaced
  • Limits 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 on a regular basis, 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 you make your purchase, make sure you understand what you need to do 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 major adjustment, and it can include short-term discomfort. If you’ve been completely missing some tone ranges, then gaining them back may be jarring. 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.

Any discomfort or confusion that you face is probably very common and has a common solution, so tell your doctor what you’re experiencing and ask your loved ones for help.

Tips for Adjusting to Your Hearing Aids:

  • Explore:Take your time reading the manual and viewing informational videos. Your hearing aids could have extremely helpful features that you don’t even know about. Explore all settings, troubleshoot, and get comfortable using any accessories you purchased.
  • 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 truly 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 to understand any changes in mood or frustrations that 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 size dome or might make an adjustment to your mold.

 

Financial Help With Hearing Aid Costs

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

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 be able to get help with your hearing aid costs. Every veteran’s health coverage is uniquely determined based on service record, income level, disabilities, and a number of other factors. Spend some time learning 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, coverage of this kind of service for adults is purely optional, but in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island coverage is required to varying degrees. Some plans have a Health Savings Account (HSA) that can be used for 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 at the same time. 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. Read your exact plan’s benefits carefully to see if you already have a benefit for 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. Medicaid can only help those with great financial need and/or profound disabilities in most cases, so not all seniors will qualify. Moreover, Medicaid coverage varies greatly according to the state that you live in. 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 of states currently not offering coverage. If you do not have Medicaid but you think you may qualify, visiting your state government’s website or exploring the Medicaid State Overviews page is a good place to start.

Will Nonprofits Help Me with My Hearing Aid Costs?
It can sometimes be 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 looking for help since the staff is likely knowledgeable about financial resources for disabilities. Another good resource is any non-profit service club that has active chapters in your area. Lions Club in particular has a program for providing exams and hearing aids (often recycled/refurbished ones) 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 individual 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. You may also be asked to identify specific noises such as words that are said, and other kinds of tests or exams may be performed. 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 are constantly improving their technology in order to produce the most natural sounds possible. That being said, your hearing aids may have a noticeably different sound quality than the sounds you experienced before your hearing was damaged. The difference should be something that you are able to get used to. Higher-end companies may have the best sound processing. Bluetooth streaming is likely to be where you’ll encounter the most sound quality issues, but Bluetooth is something you don’t need to use all of the time.

Can I Get a Refund on Hearing Aids I Don’t Like?
Yes, in most cases you can get a refund on hearing aids you don’t like. You’ll usually be able to get 100% money back within a set period such as 45 or 100 days. However, you likely won’t get back anything you spent on testing or fitting appointments. You may also wish to ask if there is a restocking fee, a shipping fee, or any other cost that may not be obvious. If you don’t like your hearing aids at first, try to adjust to them for as long as possible without exceeding the return period. They may just take some getting used to.

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.” It could help to provide a gentle reminder that someone is much more likely to notice poor hearing than they are to notice a tiny hearing aid. Reinforce that most people will not be judgemental even if they do notice. Other reasons for not wearing a hearing aid include physical discomfort, or confusion over how to put it on, how to adjust it, or how to complete other important tasks like replacing batteries. 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 as a way to maximize sound quality in difficult settings. Microphones can be placed on the table in a noisy restaurant or can even be worn by the speaker in a classroom or meeting hall where the sound is otherwise unamplified. Your need for an external microphone really depends on the places you usually visit. Before buying a microphone, you may want to look into whether or not a telecoil might meet some or all of your needs. Many churches and other buildings are equipped with telecoils that will broadcast a speaker’s words directly to hearing aids. A sign featuring an ear and/or a capital T usually indicated the presence of telecoil systems, but you can also ask 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 this kind of device lacks physical buttons. In some cases, you might be able to use an app, but the remote may be more reliable. A remote might be included in your purchase price. You can also buy a remote for other types of hearing aids if you just find remotes easy to use. Depending on the brand and model, some remotes are necessary in order to use Bluetooth streaming. On a related note, many brands also offer remote-like devices that are specifically for streaming your television’s audio to your hearing aids. When you buy hearing aids, you may wish to ask about the capabilities of both remotes and streamers.