Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions among seniors. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 30 million people over the age of 60 have some form of hearing loss. Among this group, nearly 2 million suffer from severe or profound hearing loss; this variety of the condition makes it nearly impossible to partake in everyday activities like conversing or listening to the radio without amplification.
Luckily, there are special types of hearing aids designed to accommodate people with severe or profound hearing loss. In this rundown, we’ll take a look at some of the best options available.
Not all hearing losses are created equally. Similar to vision impairment, there are different degrees of loss that require different solutions.
This is something you should keep in mind when looking to purchase a hearing aid, as different devices are made to accommodate different degrees of hearing loss. Most hearing aids are suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss; however, only certain devices can accommodate the needs of someone with severe to profound hearing loss.
|Type of Hearing Loss||Hearing Threshold||Symptoms||Common Sounds You Might Miss|
|Normal Hearing||0 – 25 dB||
|Mild Hearing Loss||25 – 40 dB||
|Moderate Hearing Loss||40 – 60 dB||
|Severe Hearing Loss||60 – 80 dB||
|Severe-Profound Hearing Loss||80 – 90 dB||
|Profound Hearing Loss||90 dB and greater||
For most people, hearing loss is caused by a combination of noise exposure, genetics, and age. Naturally, the latter is why the condition is much more common in older adults; however, as noted, there are also several external factors that can contribute to hearing loss:
Once these sensitive parts of your ear are damaged, there is often no way to repair them, so it’s important to take care of your ears. With that said, a quality hearing aid can go a long way towards restoring one’s ability to hear, especially for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
I have fit many patients with profound hearing loss. One thing to keep in mind is that if you have been wearing one brand of hearing aids for many years, it may be difficult to switch to another. This is because your brain is already used to the sound quality and sound processing of a particular brand. Still, you know what works for you. If you’re in the market for new power hearing aids, there are a few qualities that I considered that you may want to look for:
Phonak has been a leader in power hearing aids for many years, often starting as a choice for pediatric patients with profound hearing loss. Even more impressive is its array of accessories that are compatible with hearing aids for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
Phonak’s Naída Paradise delivers rich sound to those with moderate to profound hearing loss. Additionally, with the myPhonak app, you can control your hearing aids from your smartphone, and even stream audio from your phone to your hearing aids.
Naida Marvel hearing aids are compatible with Roger accessories. Roger products are accessories that allow you to participate more easily in multiple talker conversations. There are three styles of Roger available. The Roger Pen can be held by the listener and be discreetly pointed at whichever person is speaking, allowing you to control and quickly switch focus between speakers. The Roger Select and Roger Table Mic II are disc-shaped mics designed to sit in the middle of a table and facilitate participation in group conversations. The mic itself chooses which speaker to focus on and automatically switches the direction of focus when the speaker changes. This means that you can get the benefit of multi-talker conversation, hands-free.
Phonak hearing aids must be purchased from a hearing care specialist, so the price will vary depending on which one you visit. With that said, a pair Naída Paradise will likely run you around $3,000 per pair for entry-level technology and $6,000 for high-end technology. Phonak also offers a one- to three-year limited warranty on all of its devices. Most retailers also offer a 45-day trial period for your device. It’s best to confirm your exact warranty and trial period prior to purchase.
Oticon suited for people of all ages and for all types of hearing loss, from mild to severe. What impressed us most about Oticon, however, was the great sound quality and feedback (whistling) management in their power hearing aids.
Oticon bills its Xceed device as the world’s most powerful hearing aid, and it’s plain to see why. The Xceed sound processing focuses on allowing you to hear all of the noises around you for a true-to-life hearing experience. With its proprietary OpenSound Optimizer, the Xceed also prevents whistling and static. This allows you to focus on the sounds that matter most to you, whether this is a conversation with loved ones or a song on the radio.
The cost for Oticon’s Xceed will vary based upon the retailer; however, a pair will likely cost you somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000. With any of its devices, most providers offer a 30- to 45-day risk-free trial, during which time you can return your device for a full refund. There are also different yearlong warranties available, depending upon which device you choose and the retailer from which you purchase it.
The Oticon Xceed is great for any person with severe to profound hearing loss. Additionally, for the more plugged-in users, the Xceed can be paired with iPhones without any additional accessories and can be paired to any smartphone for hands-free streaming and talking.
ReSound hearing aids are centered around the idea of replicating natural sounds for their users. For those with mild to profound hearing loss, they offer expertly designed behind-the-ear models that amplify into whatever audible range you need. Resound was the first company to offer direct from iPhone streaming in its hearing aids, and it excels at this.
ReSound’s most advanced model, the Enzo Q is made specifically for those with severe to profound hearing loss. This hearing aid provides direct from iPhone streaming, which can be a lifesaver for patients struggling with hearing on the phone. The Enzo 3D will also have great background noise reduction so that you can focus on what matters most.
There are three different technology levels of ReSound’s Enzo Q, all of which come at different price points. With that said, you should expect to pay a minimum of $3,000 for a pair of these hearing aids. While warranties and returns will vary depending upon the retailer, most ReSound products will include a trial period after purchase. Additionally, all ReSound hearing aids will be covered under a warranty of one to four years, depending upon the specific model.
ReSound hearing aids are ideal for: iPhone users; individuals who already have or may get a Med-El Cochlear implant; and for those who have tried other solutions for severe to profound hearing loss and have been dissatisfied by the audio quality of said hearing aids. ReSound hearing aids offer great streaming connectivity and natural sound quality.
Philips offers a variety of hearing aids, from tiny in-ear units to traditional behind-the-ear devices. All of them are powered by Philips HearLink technology, which allows you to hear well even in noisy environments and something many hearing aids struggle to accomplish. Philips hearing aids are made by Demant, the same parent company that makes Oticon aids. Although Oticon’s aids feature newer features, Philips offers a more budget-friendly option.
For those with severe to profound hearing loss, the Philips BTE PP offers stellar audio quality in a simple behind-the-ear design. Using directional microphones, this hearing aid delivers clean audio of speech, even in environments with lots of background noise. It can also connect wirelessly to phones and other smart devices.
The Philips BTE PP is available at Costco, in addition to other hearing specialist centers. At Costco, you’ll spend about $2,400 for a high-end pair of these hearing aids. Warranties and returns will vary depending upon the retailer. At 180 days, Costco has one of the most generous return policies in the industry.
Philips hearing aids would be ideal for the user looking for a simple model. Their BTE PP model delivers solid audio performance in an easy-to-use package.
For those with severe to profound hearing loss, a hearing aid is one of the most essential ways to continue living life to the fullest. When looking into a hearing aid, be sure to weigh your options carefully, as high-powered devices like these do not come cheaply. Luckily, most retailers will offer some sort of trial period, ensuring that you’ll be able to find the right hearing aid for your needs.
To learn more about hearing aids, be sure to check out our helpful guides: