8 Best Hearing Aids in 2024

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Tens of millions of adults in the United States have hearing loss. We asked a medical expert what to consider when starting your search for hearing aids.

It can take time before you realize you need hearing aids. Once you’ve decided on this important step, you’ll start the process of finding the right hearing aids for you. This can be challenging, as there are different types of hearing aids, levels of functionality, and prices.

From rechargeable units and hearing aids that let you enhance the sound of live music, to pairs that are nearly invisible and those that celebrate your favorite color, you have options.

In this article, we explain the main features of hearing aids and how an audiologist can guide you to the right pair for your needs. Plus, we give you our picks for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids offering the best quality for the price.

* Rx: prescription, OTC: over the counter

There are numerous factors that influence which hearing aids for best your needs. Here are a few important ones to keep in mind.

Level of hearing loss

“Degree of hearing loss, type of hearing loss, and configuration of hearing loss all contribute to a final hearing care plan including the recommendation of devices if appropriate,” said Caroline V. Palmer, PhD, director of audiology at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center.

The American Academy of Audiology stresses the need for consumers to receive a comprehensive audiological assessment, before buying hearing aids. This will also help determine if underlying factors, such as taking ototoxic medications or conditions like ear infections, may be causing your hearing loss.

Prescription vs. OTC hearing aids

Prescription hearing aids include customization for your particular hearing needs and ear shape, and ongoing care from a hearing specialist. This ensures regular assessments of your hearing as well as adjustments to your hearing aids as needed.

“What matters is how the hearing aids are programmed for the individual,” Palmer said. “There are some differences between levels of technology and manufacturers for specific signal processing and features. The audiologist keeps up with all of this — it changes all the time — and makes sure they are selecting the right combination of features and signal processing and tuning them correctly for the individual.”

Prescription hearing aids can also cost thousands of dollars. Original Medicare and many other health insurance plans don’t cover the cost of hearing aids. Plans that do provide coverage often have high copays, or high deductibles. Some FSA and HSA plans can help cover costs.

OTC hearing aids are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss, and they don’t come with in-person, ongoing care. However, they’re typically less expensive than prescription hearing aids, which can be a big plus. There are online hearing tests available to help guide your choice in OTC hearing aids, although they’re not as accurate or comprehensive as what you’d receive in person with a hearing specialist.

Other factors

Within both categories are rechargeable hearing aids and ones that run on disposable batteries. Your ability to handle small batteries and other hearing aid components will matter in this regard. If you have arthritis that affects your hands, the Arthritis Foundation provides an ease-of-use product list that includes disposable hearing aid batteries with easy-to-handle tabs.

Different hearing aids also come with different enhancements and options, from noise cancellation and Bluetooth connectivity to special settings for being outdoors or listening to live music. There are also a range of technological support packages available, from minimal to having online help 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.

At the end of the day, using your hearing aids once you get them is what matters most — even when it means going through an adjustment period. “Hearing aids need to be worn full time, all waking hours, to provide maximum benefit,” Palmer said. “It takes about 3 weeks of full-time use for the brain to adjust [to hearing aids]. The individual cannot adapt to the sounds if they are not exposed to them, so full time use is essential.”

For this roundup, we reviewed hearing aid brands and products that are consistently recommended by licensed hearing professionals to their patients. The products featured here also meet criteria approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

We took a deep dive into each brand’s best practices, to make sure their products meet industry standards for efficacy and customer service satisfaction. We also looked into the companies’ reputations, to see if changes were made to remedy past offenses, if any.

In addition, we read scores of online consumer reviews and only chose products that consistently get more positive than negative comments.

Most of the hearing aids on this list come with financing options, a manufacturer’s warranty, and a 30-day or greater risk-free trial.

We also looked at a wide range of features that are important to consumers, including:

  • invisibility, or being discreet to wear
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • ease of use
  • adaptive noise reduction
  • tinnitus relief
  • custom fit options
  • price
  • ability to recharge

Read more about how we vet brands and products.

Your first step when beginning your hearing aid exploration should be to speak with an auditory specialist who can assess your situation, Palmer said. “Each person has a unique hearing loss and unique ear canal characteristics.”

She recommends finding someone who works with all the major hearing aid manufacturers, to help find the right technology for your needs.

Other factors to keep in mind when considering hearing aids include:

  • your budget
  • cost add-ons you may or may not want, like app connectivity and Bluetooth streaming
  • your hand dexterity and ability to handle small components
  • money-back guarantees and risk-free trial periods that provide for an adjustment period
  • warranty and insurance options that protect you from loss or damage
  • how noticeable you want your hearing aids will be

Learn more about what to look for, and how to shop for hearing aids.

There are many reputable, high quality hearing aid companies. They include Phonak, Oticon, ReSound, Starkey, Widex, Jabra, Miracle Ear, and Signia, among others. There are others, and this isn’t an exhaustive list.

All of the hearing aid manufacturers make excellent products,”said Catherine V. Palmer, PhD, director of audiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

She recommends going to an audiologist who works with all major brands to ensure you get the right match for your needs.

Additionally, when considering hearing aid brands, you might also consider things like available support, warranty, and insurance options that protect you from loss or damage to your hearing aids.

 

 

 

Ease of use is determined by many factors, including technological comfort, type of battery, and ability to quickly alter or change program settings.

Many people find that the Phonak Lyric is the easiest hearing aid to use, since it’s inserted into the ear by a hearing professional, and left there for many months.

Others prefer a hands-on approach, and the ability to finetune their hearing aids either through an app or through their devices.

 

There are many comparable hearing aids. For this roundup, we chose the Phonak Bolero Marvel because its sound quality is considered superior by many users.

Hearing aids can top $8,000 per pair. The most expensive hearing aids may, in some instances, produce better sound with less noise or interference. They may also include special features, or a smaller size.

But you can still get excellent, comparable sound quality from hearing aids that are much less expensive.

About 37.5 million adults in the United States have hearing loss and would benefit from wearing hearing aids.

Getting fitted for hearing aids to make sure they fit properly, are comfortable, and match your preferred style is important. But the price and cost of meeting with a professional may be outside of your budget at the moment.

In that case, OTC alternatives, while not specifically tailored to your needs, may be a more budget-friendly alternative.

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