Did you know that one in three people aged 65 – 74 has some degree of hearing loss? Many people struggle with hearing as they age – but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
Hearing loss makes everyday life more challenging. Hearing the phone or doorbell ring, keeping up with conversations, following a movie or TV show, or even enjoying the sounds of nature, are harder for seniors who have hearing loss.
Finding the right hearing aid can go a long way towards making life sound good again. A good hearing aid makes it easier to hear in most situations, even crowded restaurants or concert venues. And with so many hearing aids today designed to be discreet and light, there’s no need to worry about how they look or whether other people can see them. These days there are plenty of companies producing hearing aids so tiny and discreet that no one else will know you’re wearing them.
What Should I Look For In A Hearing Aid?
Every hearing aid and manufacturer is different. However, there are some things it helps to look for no matter where you are buying from:
- Easy to replace batteries, or easy to charge. You want to be sure your hearing aids are always ready to work.
- Suitable for your lifestyle. Your hearing aid needs will differ depending on if you have an active lifestyle and go to a lot of noisy environments, or whether you lead a quieter life with fewer crowds and more one on one conversations. Either way, the manufacturer should be able to advise you of which models suit you best.
- Guarantees and warranties. Hearing aids tend to run in the $300 – $6500 range, so you want to be sure there’s a good solid guarantee in place.
- Support and advice. Make sure the retailer has staff on hand – or even better, specialist centers – where you can be fully assessed and get expert advice on which hearing aids are right for you.
If you’re concerned about finding the best hearing aid for you, a specialist company such as Hear.com might just be the solution you need. Hear.com provides a free telephone assessment prior to meeting in person with a hearing professional, who can test your hearing, recommend the best solutions (they stock all the big brands), and provide hearing aids with a 45-day risk-free test period.
Let’s take a look at four of the most popular hearing aid manufacturers and see what they have to offer. Because some manufacturers have an extensive catalog, we’ve picked out one or two of our favorites from each provider, to showcase what they can do.
List of the Best Hearing Aids in 2019
- Widex – Best Hearing Aid Overall
- Phonak – Best Customer Service
- Signia – Best Mobile App
- Oticon – Most Comfortable Hearing Aids
- Eargo – Best Low Profile Hearing Aids
Widex – Best Hearing Aid Overall
Widex hearing aids are designed to give excellent sound in a wide range of environments, with an emphasis on user-led adjustments and settings to get the perfect sound for you no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
Hearing aids: Widex’s two major offerings are Evoke, a smart hearing aid, and Beyond Fusion 2, a hearing aid designed to be compatible with iPhones. Evoke comes in a range of styles that includes both behind the ear and in-ear models.
Notable models: Both models are well worth a look! However, we’re particularly impressed with Evoke, which Widex bills as the world’s first smart hearing aid. Evoke learns from each individual situation, and uses the information to create an even more personalized hearing experience the next time. For example, Evoke can learn the difference between how classical or rock music should sound, or how a business meeting has a different soundscape to a birthday party.
Charging: Widex hearing aids are designed to be low on power use, so you can simply pop them in the charger at night and enjoy crystal clear hearing all day. However, in the rare event you run out of charge, you can simply swap the rechargeable battery for a zinc-air one, to keep you going till you get home.
Accessories: Widex offers a range of accessories to help you stream sound from your phone, audio devices, and even FM radio so you can hear directly through your hearing aids.
Support: Yes, you can book an appointment at a Widex hearing center (see below) to chat with a professional and get the help you need.
Anything else: Widex hearing partner centers offer no-obligation trials so you can try Widex for yourself. Get in touch through the website to find your nearest center. You’ll also find some models in a wide range of colors from metallic blue through to vibrant red, so you can wear your aids with pride!
Customers love: We saw lots of reviews citing the sound quality of Widex. Customers love the crystal clear results and the way the hearing aids perform in different situations. Most people also find them comfortable to wear.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Widex is generally well-liked. However, it seems a few customers do run into problems with the receivers not lasting as long as they should, and with getting their iPhone app to work as it should.
Ideal for: Seniors who are looking for the clearest, most natural sound they can get.
Our verdict: Excellent modern hearing aids that suit every lifestyle, and give a highly personalized performance depending on the wearer. Read out full Widex hearing aid review here.
Phonak – Best Customer Service
Phonak is all about creating hearing aids that make life simpler, and simply better. Their hearing aids are designed to travel with you no matter where you go, from at home watching TV to dinner with the family to a cross-country vacation.
Hearing aids: Phonak offers a great range of hearing aids for different situation. This includes the Marvel hearing aid for connection to smartphones TV and more, the Audeo V which auto-adjusts to situations and is excellent for music, the Cros B single-sided hearing aid, and the Virto-B discreet in-ear hearing aid.
Notable models: Phonak are currently talking up their Marvel model – and with good reason. It’s rechargeable, connects to other devices, and provides a simple yet powerful hearing solution. However, we were also struck by the Cros B, which is a single-sided hearing aid. The Cros B automatically detects the best sound output for your environment, and then picks up sound from your “bad” ear and streams them to your “good” ear so you can hear clearly from both sides.
Charging: Phonak offers both rechargeable and battery-powered solutions, depending on which model you opt for.
Accessories: Phonak offers accessories that broadcast phones to hearing aids, or turn your hearing aids into headphones. They also offer clip-on, pen, and table microphones for better sound enhancement.
Support: You can chat to a Phonak expert when you contact them through the site. They also offer hearing exercises on their site so you can get the most from your new hearing aids, plus a support app you can put on your phone to learn more about your new hearing aids.
Anything else: Phonak operates centers throughout the US so you can talk to a professional. We also noticed that some models come in an impressive array of colors!
Customers love: Many customers reported a dramatic increase in the quality of their hearing and the range of sounds they could hear, once they got a pair of Phonaks.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Some customers have issues with the hearing aids no lasting as long as they should and needing frequent replacement or recalibration.
Ideal for: Seniors who are looking for amplified hearing with no hassle, and who are happy to wear a behind the ear style (as most Phonak models are behind rather than in the ear.)
Our verdict: Good, solid technology and a range of different solutions to suit different lifestyles, whether you have one-sided hearing loss, use a smartphone frequently, or simply want better hearing. Read out full Phonak hearing aid review here.
Signia – Best Mobile App
Signia offers a wide range of hearing aids, built around the idea of creating a natural sound. Many Signia models feature their unique natural voice technology, so your own voice sounds natural while holding a conversation.
Hearing aids: Signia offers an impressive range of hearing aids. They have a good mix of behind the ear and in-ear models. Some are designed to focus and pick out speech, others are Bluetooth connected or excellent for hearing music, while others still (the Lotus range) are designed for those on a budget. No matter what your lifestyle, Signia probably has a hearing aid to fit!
Notable models: With so many to choose from, it’s hard to know who to highlight! We were particularly struck by the Pure 312, though. There’s a real trend right now for unobtrusive in-ear devices – and that’s great! But what about seniors who don’t want to wear a device in their ear? That’s where the Pure 312 comes in. It’s so tiny and discreet that hardly anyone would notice it sitting behind your ear, yet it still packs a lot of power in that tiny housing. You can control it via a smartphone app or a tiny pocket device that fits on a keychain.
Charging: Signia offers both traditional battery and rechargeable battery models.
Accessories: Signia offers a great range of accessories that can do anything from amplifying hands-free calling to connecting to your TV, or turning your hearing aids into high-quality stereo headphones.
Support: Signia has hearing centers around the country where you can go for professional tests, advice, and hearing aid fitting.
Anything else: Signia also has a range of apps that help you control your hearing aid, and even train yourself to get the most from it.
Customers love: We noticed several customers praising the quality of Signia’s staff and commenting on how knowledgeable, committed and helpful they are.
Customers aren’t so keen on: It seems some customers have issues with the hearing aids cutting out, or not picking out different sounds as clearly as they wanted them to.
Ideal for: Seniors who want a wide range of options to choose from, and seniors who are looking for discreet behind the ear models.
Our verdict: Signia has something for every lifestyle, and certainly has the widest range of any of the companies in this article. Whatever you need, there’s a good chance they’ve got a hearing aid for you. Read out full Signia hearing aid review here.
Oticon – Most Comfortable Hearing Aids
Oticon uses the latest technology to create hearing solutions for every severe hearing loss. Their state of the art hearing aids are highly customizable and built to bring you the best possible sound.
Hearing aids: Oticon offers three main models. Opn is a revolutionary in-ear model designed to highlight speech and give you good sound quality in any environment. Siya comes in a range of styles (both in-ear and behind the ear) and combines clear sound with wireless connectivity. Finally, Dynamo uses powerful technology to make speech clearer than ever.
Notable models: Dynamo jumped to our attention for its focus on creating a clear speech experience for those with severe or profound hearing loss. Dynamo captures a wide range of sound frequencies and processes them in a way the brain can easily understand, to give those with severe hearing difficulties a better chance at following a conversation.
Charging: Oticon offers both traditional and rechargeable batteries.
Accessories: Oticon offers a TV adaptor, a connect clip that turns your hearing aids into headphones and streams conversations or music direct to the devices, and an app for full control of your hearing aids.
Support: Oticon has many centers nationwide where you can have an assessment and fitting by a trained hearing professional.
Anything else: Oticon offers a range of hearing aids that are covered by veteran’s benefits, to help veterans get the devices they need without spending thousands of dollars. Some models also use “if this then that” commands so, for example, you can be notified in your hearing aids when someone’s at the door, or have the lights come on when you switch your devices on in the morning!
Customers love: We saw a lot of comments about how comfortable Oticon hearing aids are – to the point that people forget to take them out or off! Oticon has plenty of happy customers who love the sound quality.
Customers aren’t so keen on: We noticed that some people had issues with rechargeable battery life, and some people didn’t hear conversations quite as clearly as they’d hoped.
Ideal for: Seniors with any level of hearing loss who want to hear clearly and participate in conversations again.
Our verdict: Oticon offers small, comfortable hearing aids that work for even severe hearing loss to restore sound quality and make life more enjoyable. Read out full Oticon hearing aid review here.
Eargo – Best Low Profile Hearing Aids
For seniors worried about the look of hearing aids, Eargo is one to watch. Their tiny hearing aids look like speaker buds and are designed to sit comfortably in the ear canal.
Hearing aids: Eargo offers three hearing aids. They all share the same discreet design – the difference is in the sound quality. Plus is their basic model, Max offers enhanced sound, and Neo offers their very best sound.
Notable models: All three Eargo models are interesting! However, we think Neo is worth a second glance for the quality of its sound profile. Neo offers Eargo’s clearest, sharpest, most natural sound. It comes with four sound profiles – simply tap your ear to change sound profile – so it’s adaptable to each situation. Eargo is also app-enabled, allowing you to fine-tune your hearing experience.
Price range: Eargo hearing aids range from $1650 – $2750
Charging: All Eargo models are rechargeable, and in fact, their carry case doubles as a charger for added ease.
Accessories: You can purchase an extra charger case, wax guards, and replacements for the “flexi” – the little shuttlecock-like apparatus that covers the body of the Eargo.
Support: Eargo hearing aids are bought directly from the site with no need for individual fitting. However, you can call Eargo and chat to their experts at any time, and you’ll get a welcome call after you receive your hearing aids.
Anything else: All Eargo models come with a 45 day evaluation period so you can be absolutely sure they’re for you. You’ll also get a warranty for up to two years (exact time depends on the model) and lifetime support. If you’re not sure you’ll like the feel of Eargo, they will send a pair of non-functioning units out to you for free so you can test for fit. Do note however that Eargo is only suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Customers love: According to the reviews we found, Eargo hearing aids are very light and comfortable to wear, but still give excellent sound quality and are backed by great customer service.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Eargo was generally popular, but we did notice some customers had problems with them not lasting quite as long as they’d hoped.
Ideal for: Seniors who want high-quality sound, but also want their hearing aids to be completely discreet.
Our verdict: A great little solution for those who are looking for a discreet hearing aid, and excellent sound quality to boot. The lack of in-person fitting is a slight drawback, although the free non-functioning models and good phone support go quite a ways to mitigate that. Read out full Eargo hearing aid review here.
There are plenty of hearing aid manufacturers on the market, but the ones on this list represent some of the industry leaders. From tiny in-ear devices to discreet behind the ear models, these companies offer solutions that keep you connected, are easy to wear and make life sound better than ever.