Hearing can deteriorate throughout the course of your life for various reasons, including aging or prolonged exposure to loud environments. The important thing is to quickly act on the early signs and invest in a hearing aid best suited for your needs.
With so many types of models and designs out there, we know it can be a little daunting to find the best hearing aids that are still affordable.
Therefore, we’ve compiled this list of the best hearing aids on the market, hoping to narrow down your search a little more.
Top 5 Hearing Aids: First Look
- Best value hearing aids overall – MDhearingaid
- Best for severe hearing loss – Signia
- Commonly prescribed by doctors (expensive) – Widex
- Lowest-price hearing aids online – Otofonix
- Best financing options – Eargo
1. MDhearingaid – Best Value Hearing Aids Overall
- $199.99 to $799.99 per ear
- 45-day trial period
- Rechargeable and disposable battery options
- Four types of hearing aids available
- Phone support only available on weekdays
- Currently, only behind-the-ear models available
Based in Illinois, MDhearingaid provides U.S.-made, FDA-certified hearing aids to suit most budgets. These hearing aids are audiologist-approved and even come with a 45-day money-back guarantee in case you aren’t satisfied with them. Plus, they offer free shipping across the U.S, and while they don’t currently provide in-the-ear models, there are other types to choose from.
MDhearingaid provides access to a hearing specialist who will help to fit your new hearing aids. This is especially useful if you’ve never worn hearing aids before. Also, you can choose from several different models, like Bluetooth enabled, basic analog, and other more high-tech models. If you don’t like the idea of fiddling around with batteries, MDhearingaid also provides rechargeable hearing aids. You can read more MDhearing aid reviews here.
2. Signia – Best for Severe Hearing Loss
- From $1,500 and $3,000 per ear
- Mobile app support
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Tinnitus friendly
- High-quality sound
- Not the cheapest
- Some models have a bulky appearance
Signia is widely known for its high-quality hearing aids, which use the latest technology. Additionally, a lot of their models are suitable for mild to more severe hearing issues and offer various models to choose from. While they are quite expensive, the hearing aids feature exceptional sound and advanced noise reduction functions.
The current top Signia models are Signia Insio, Signia Styletto, and Signia Pure. The more high-end models feature Bluetooth-enabled technology, rechargeable batteries, tinnitus treatment, Dolby-digital sound quality, and much more. The total cost of the Signia hearing aids also includes the testing process, fitting, tuning, and anything else you may require.
3. Widex – Best Doctor Prescribed Hearing Aids
- From $2000 to $5500 per ear
- Smartphone friendly
- Responsive customer support
- Covered by some Medicare plans
- Can’t be purchased directly from the website
- Sometimes doesn’t work well in crowded spaces
Founded in Denmark, Widex is one of the biggest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. Widex offers various models, including in-the-ear (ITE) and behind-the-ear (BTE). The price ranges also vary between the models, and users can opt for an extended warranty as well. However, the hearing aids can’t be purchased online, and you’ll need to visit the hearing diagnostic in person.
Users can easily control the volume of the hearing aid via the smartphone app, which also has plenty of other personalized settings available. Active users may benefit from Widex hearing aids as they are both discrete and waterproof; plus, most models feature wind reduction technology, as well.
4. Otofonix – Most Affordable Hearing Aids Online
- From $199 to $1000 per ear
- Affordable, high-quality options
- FDA-approved models
- Discreet design
- 45-day trial
- Only behind the ear models available
- Not suitable for severe hearing issues
Otofonix is a U.S.-based company that provides hearing aid solutions for a cheaper price. Otofonix hearing devices aren’t professionally calibrated by an audiologist, which is the biggest reason for its low cost. Instead, they’re designed to enhance the sound quality and levels in your environment. This means they aren’t the best solution for serious hearing loss.
Currently, Otofonix offers five different models to choose from, and each features a discreet design that snugly fits in the ear canal. The more expensive hearing aids also come with omnidirectional microphones, feedback reduction, and volume control for more functionality.
5. Eargo – Best Financing Options for Hearing Aids
- From $1,950 to $2,450 per ear
- 45-day refund policy
- Provides a free sample
- Rechargeable hearing aids
- User-friendly mobile app
- Not the best option for severe hearing loss
Eargo currently offers four hearing aid models, the Eargo Plus, Eargo Max, Eargo Neo, and the Neo HiFi. Eargo hearing aids, similar to the other well-known brand, Embrace Hearing, are completely-in-the-canal models that are discreet and suitable for active adults. Plus, they are also user-friendly and come with a convenient mobile app, as well.
Eargo hearing aids also include wind reduction technology—meaning that your hearing won’t be affected outdoors. Currently, Eargo hearing aids are best for those suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss. So if you have more severe symptoms, you may not find them suitable. Lastly, Eargo offers an online hearing test, and you can have your results emailed to you after.
Hearing Aids Online: Your Questions Answered
What Are OTC Hearing Aids?
OTC or over-the-counter-hearing aids can be purchased without visiting a professional audiologist. These models are meant for those who suffer from mild-to-moderate hearing loss, rather than more severe issues.
They work by amplifying the surrounding sounds, especially during a conversation or when watching TV. They are also a lot cheaper than traditional hearing aids since you’ll be fitting them yourself, without any assistance.
How Do Hearing Aids Work?
Hearing aids work by amplifying sound using a three-part technology. First, the microphone detects and then receives the sound and turns it into a digital signal. The amplifier’s role is to increase the volume and strength of the signal received, after which the speaker produces the amplified sound back into your ear.
What’s the Difference Between a Digital Hearing Aid vs. Analog?
The main similarity between digital and analog hearing aids is the fact that both receive sound and amplify it through the speaker in your ear canal. Both models also often use lithium ion batteries as well. However, the fundamental difference lies in how the sound is actually amplified.
Analog hearing aids use a more simple technology that makes the sounds louder in a more continuous manner—without much room for adjustment or advanced settings. Often these models come with a microchip that regulates the different types of sound input, which the user also has control over.
On the other hand, digital hearing aids turn the sound into digital signals, making the sound much clearer and more amplified. The settings can additionally be fitted to suit the users’ level of hearing. Plus, these hearing aids often use advanced technology to determine whether the sound is coming from you or the outside.
This is why digital technology is often more expensive, but the results are very effective.
What Features Should I Consider When Buying a Hearing Aid?
With so many hearing aid options, there are a few factors you should consider before choosing a model.
For example, programmability is very important, and whether you can include your own programmed settings to suit your hearing level. Other things to look out for are style and whether it comes with one or two directional microphones for better sound quality. Here are other things to pay attention to:
Smartphone Connection: Today, many hearing aid models are easily compatible with your smartphone. This allows you to regulate the sound settings using the dedicated app and access other configurations that enhance your hearing. Plenty of models on our list come with their own apps that work well on both iOS and Android smartphones.
Directional Microphones: Directional microphones play a huge role in how you perceive sound. They work by focusing on the sounds which are coming from a specific direction. Plus, how you perceive them highly depends on how far the microphones are spaced away from each other and whether the hearing aid comes equipped with one or two of them.
Noise Reduction: Many models such as MDhearingaid offer background noise reduction technology. This works by providing less amplification noise than speech, meaning that the hearing aid can differentiate between environmental sounds and people talking. We also refer to this technology as the speech enhancer.
Tinnitus Masking Hearing Aid: Signia is a brand of hearing aid that comes with tinnitus masking technology. This means it can increase the level of environmental noise to mask the ringing sound in your ear. This is especially effective for users with profound hearing loss, who also experience tinnitus.
Feedback Suppression: The feedback suppression feature is pretty essential in hearing aid technology. This prevents the mechanical and acoustic feedback picked up by the microphone from reaching your ears and is usually suppressed by using an adaptive filter to cancel out all the unnecessary noise.
Rechargeable Battery: Most modern hearing aid brands use rechargeable batteries, which are both convenient, and often more affordable in the long-run. Plus, rechargeable batteries have a longer shelf life and are also safer for kids since the small disposable batteries are dangerous if swallowed.
Telecoil: A telecoil can profoundly enhance the sound level of your hearing aid when used together with a loop system. It’s a small coil that acts as a type of antenna and picks up various signals, and acts as an electromagnetic field.
Therefore, when you link the telecoil with a sound system at, for example, the theater or church, you’ll get clearer and more amplified sound directly into your hearing aid.
How Do I Know if I Need a Hearing Aid?
There are various symptoms that can point to hearing loss, such as:
- You find it difficult to hear people during conversation
- You prefer the TV or radio louder than most people
- You often struggle to understand what’s said during large public gatherings
- You have more trouble understanding what people say when you can’t see their face
- You have more difficulty understanding someone during over the phone
If you experience any of these symptoms or similar ones linked to your hearing, it’s important to see a hearing aid specialist.
Will a Hearing Aid Restore My Hearing?
Unfortunately, no. A hearing aid cannot restore your hearing or cure hearing loss. However, hearing aids can improve other parts of your life and allow you to enjoy activities the same way as you would without hearing loss.
Are Hearing Aids Uncomfortable?
Initially, some people may experience minor discomfort at the first fitting. However, once the adjustment period passes, it should become more comfortable. There are plenty of hearing aids online, such as Eargo, whose hearing aids have been reviewed as being very comfortable and discreet.
Which Hearing Aids Are Best for Seniors?
This widely depends on the severity of the hearing loss. So whether you’re picking up a pair for yourself or you want to get a new hearing aid for your mom or dad, it’s important that they first take a hearing test to find the perfect fit.
Luckily, most doctors offer free hearing tests to determine the severity of hearing loss. If hearing loss is very severe, the best option may be Signia or Widex, but it’s best to consult your doctor to know for sure.
MDhearingaid also offers a free online test as well as a 45-day trial period to make sure they are suitable before committing.
How Should I Decide Which Hearing Aid to Buy?
If you’re unsure of which hearing aid to buy, there are a few things you could do. Visiting a professional audiologist can help you clarify the various options out there, especially once they are familiar with the severity of your hearing loss.
It’s also important to go through other customer reviews and see what experience they had with the particular model. If you spend a lot of time on your smartphone, Bluetooth compatibility is worth looking into. Lastly, many models offer both rechargeable and disposable battery options. If you’re always on the go, the rechargeable option may be more convenient for you.
Plus, the design is another thing to consider, especially if you want something a little more discreet, like the in-the-ear models.
Best Hearing Aids 2021: The Takeaway
As there are so many ear hearing aid brands on the market, it’s a little overwhelming to pick the best model for you. Especially since there are so many factors to consider, such as battery life, the type of directional microphone it comes with, sound profiles, and much more.
The models we’ve talked about today all feature unique functions in various styles to choose from, plus, there are some affordable options available, too.
Hopefully, we helped you find the best hearing aid company for you to make the right decision.
Thanks for reading!
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