Best Hearing Aids in 2021 (Buying Guide: Reviews, Pros & Cons, Price)
There is an extensive range of hearing aids and auditory enhancement devices on the market. With more options being introduced almost daily, buyers have difficulty keeping up with which brand has the best hearing aids. This expert guide has been curated to solve this exact problem, exploring some of the best hearing aids available and breaking them down into understandable details.
Common Causes of Hearing Loss
Before we dive into the main content, let us talk about the common topic that typically steers a lot of individuals in the direction of hearing enhancements – hearing loss.
Loss of hearing can be experienced by anyone and in varying degrees ranging from mild to severe. However, some of the most common causes of hearing loss are aging, noise exposure, and in some cases, head trauma.
Sensorineural hearing loss can also occur due to viral infections like measles or mumps, shingles, meningitis, or diabetes.
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is a type of auditory defect that obstructs sounds' entrance into the inner ear.
This form of hearing loss has a wide range of causes. Some of these causes include;
- Deformation of part or the whole ear structure
- Obstructive fluid production in the middle ear
- Infections in the middle ear- common infections
- Sometimes allergies can cause hearing loss
- A defective Eustachian tube
- A damaged eardrum
- Benign tumors
- Impacted earwax
- Ear canal infection
- Otosclerosis - abnormal hardening of body tissue
The good news is there are a bunch of easy ways to treat or rectify conductive hearing loss.
The first option is surgery. This method is effective only if the hearing condition is caused by any form of defect in the ear canal or middle ear structures, such as failure of the ear canal to be open at birth, dysfunction of the central ear structures (i.e., from head trauma), and otosclerosis.
Another way to treat conductive hearing loss is through amplification. This uses a bone-conduction hearing aid, a surgically implanted, osseointegrated device, or even a conventional hearing aid, depending on the auditory nerve's condition.
For chronic ear infections or middle fluid, antibiotic and antifungal medications are the most effective treatment options.
Types of Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are available in different types, styles, and sizes. Buyers are always advised to opt for products that best serve their specific needs.
The most popular kinds are;
- In-the-ear canal
- Receiver-in-the canal/ Receiver-in-the ear
- Open Fit
Behind-the-ear hearing aid
A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is designed to hook over the top of your ear. It features a tube that connects the central hearing aid to an earpiece fitted inside the ear canal. This earpiece is called an ear-mold and is often custom-made for each wearer.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are suitable for all types regardless of age and hearing loss severity. They are commonly regarded as the largest amongst hearing aid types and designs. However, a range of newer, improved techniques on the market minimize size and maximize functionality. These smaller hearing aids feature directional microphones that possess amplification superior to other styles. They also tend to pick up more wind noise than other typical hearing aids and are often fitted with a rechargeable battery.
In-the-ear hearing aid
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are available in two designs. The full shell design occupies a large portion of the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear. The half-shell design only fills the lower part (half shell). These two designs are useful for wearers who suffer from mild to severe hearing loss. Both of them also feature directional microphones for better filtering of sound in noise.
The in-the-ear hearing aid expands on the features that designers can not include in smaller-style hearing aids, such as volume control and a larger battery for more prolonged use. While the in-the-ear hearing aid has expanded several options for rechargeable batteries, it is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker. It may pick up more wind noise than smaller devices. It is also more visible in the ear than smaller devices.
What to Consider when buying a new hearing aid
Before purchasing a new hearing aid, there are a lot of factors you need to consider. Hearing aids are devices that need to be personalized to an extent, which is why getting the right one is essential. Here is a checklist to help you determine if you need a hearing aid and how to get one:
1. See a doctor
2. Get a referral
3. Protect yourself
4. Plan for expenses
5. Buying hearing aid online
- See a doctor
The first thing we recommend you do when you notice a loss of hearing in either ear is to book an appointment with your doctor or physician. Scheduling a check-up to get a correct diagnosis can help you rule out minor causes of hearing loss - such as earwax and mild infections. A doctor can quickly treat conditions such as this with medication and surgical procedures, so you won't necessarily need a permanent hearing aid.
- Get a referral
Now that you have confirmed your need for a hearing aid, you should get an audiologist referral. As a specialist, an audiologist's job is to recommend multiple safe options for treatment and advise you on what hearing aids will be most suitable for your condition.
- Protect yourself
Once you get enough information from your audiologist on which device will suit you the most, ask about a trial period. A trial period will let you test your new device and determine whether the hearing aid is the best fit for you. If it is not, a trial period will help you recoup your investment. You are also advised to check for a warranty - this will ensure that you are protected in the event of damages to your hearing aids.
- Plan for the expense
Hearing aids are typically expensive. In fact, some of the best models on the market can set you back between $3,000 to as much as $10,000. Planning a few months in advance will be a good idea. You should also check for any insurance offers and installment plans that can help to relieve the expense.
- Buying hearing aids online
Buying hearing aids has never been this easy! We live in a time where you can order your state-of-the-art hearing aid from home and have it delivered to whatever location you choose. However, you should note that not all hearing aids will work for you.
And this is why retailers like us offer live video programming in your own environment to ensure that your hearing aid meets your needs. Our specialized software will assist you in configuring your hearing aids. So it's absolutely safe to purchase a hearing aid online.
Now more than ever, it’s important to find a hearing aid company that provides you with the best support and care. Soundak provides unlimited remote support for all Widex, Signia, and Resound hearing aids. You now have the ability to get real-time adjustments according to your specific needs.
Get unlimited access to hearing aids experts that will remotely adjust and program your hearing aids via call or video. So you can feel comfortable at all times.
Best Natural Sound
A very potent design requirement for hearing aids is to keep the delay between direct and processed sound as short as possible. Achieving minimal sound lag improves the sound quality and helps to achieve the best natural sound possible.
For hearing aid users who only have mild or partial hearing loss in some part of the frequency range, they will often hear both the sound amplified through the hearing aid and the sound that enters the ear canal directly through the earmold or ear tip.
Advanced Hearing Aid Features
As technology increases, digital hearing aids become more automatic and have more features to help you communicate in difficult listening situations.
Some of these features are explained below
Some Advanced Hearing Aid Features:
Technology advances every day, and, in turn, digital hearing aids have become more automatic and possess more features to help you communicate during difficult conversations and listening situations. Some of these features are explained below;
Anti-phase feedback can also be referred to as feedback management, feedback cancellation, and ultra-whistle control manager. This is a prevalent feature found in even the most basic hearing aids. Anti-phase feedback detects and removes unwanted feedback, echo, and noise in the wearer's auditory environment.
Today, a lot of hearing aids now have two microphones positioned in opposite directions, one behind and the other in front of you. With this, hearing aids can automatically identify and amplify speech and other intelligible sounds in front of you in noisy conditions. This feature is very handy in one-on-one conversations and can help improve your focus in noisy environments.
As it is commonly called, a telecoil or loop will help you hear more clearly in environments with lots of background noise. Oversized hearing aids generally have a Telecoil setting, which an experienced audiologist can activate.
Ear-to-ear directionality is also called binaural processing. This feature is exclusive to wireless hearing aids, and it gives these devices the power to communicate with each other when placed in both ears.
Depending on the technology it uses, your hearing aid can also synchronize directional microphones to form a single hearing system. A function like this will prioritize speech, reduce noise, and eliminate the need to manually adjust your hearing levels.
Automatic noise detection/reduction
Automatic noise detection and noise reduction is an important and powerful feature in hearing aids. It is also known as transient-noise reduction or impulse-noise reduction. This feature works by reducing and eliminating background noise in the wearer's environment.
The primary concern for a lot of people suffering from hearing loss is the loss of range. This is mostly because sound is transmitted at different frequencies and pitches. If your hearing aid has the same frequency lowering feature, it will take the higher-frequency or pitched sounds that you should hear and drop it to a frequency where you have better hearing. This effect can also be achieved with frequency transportation and frequency compression.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Today's hearing aids are designed with rechargeable batteries. This is a quality of life feature that gives the wearer the choice of prolonged use without the need to swap tiny button batteries every few days or weeks.
There are innumerable advantages attached to opting for rechargeable hearing aids. One would be that they help to save costs that you would otherwise spend on replacing disposable batteries.
This kind of hearing aids also have a more extended use time and are less likely to die unexpectedly. Another advantage is that rechargeable hearing aids are more friendly to the environment and lead to less hazardous waste. These hearing aids are also more energy-efficient than their counterparts and are suitable for harsh and extreme weather conditions.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Bluetooth compatibility is a wireless feature that gives hearing aids the ability to connect to mobile phones and other devices that are Bluetooth compatible, often through an intermediary device.
Bluetooth technology has also been known to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and eliminate feedback from the microphone. This is because the signal bypasses the microphone and directly enters the hearing aid's processor.
However, the biggest downside to using a Bluetooth hearing aid is the shortage in the use time. Bluetooth hearing aids generally require a bigger battery, and the advanced features can also diminish the battery life. Because of the larger battery required, some inefficiencies can also arise during the design process, resulting in a bulky and large frame. With this in mind, anyone who is conscious about their hearing condition or prefers sleeker, less visible hearing aids might find Bluetooth hearing aids uncomfortable and unsuitable.
Finally, Bluetooth hearing aids might also require additional technology and equipment to pair with your other devices, undoubtedly leading to a higher cost. You should also note that this kind of hearing aid might not connect with all of the devices in your home and might require that you use a streamer and a transmitter.
Which Brand has the Best Hearing Aids?
Various hearing aid brands are currently available in the market. Due to this, selecting the one that suits you the most can often be overwhelming.
And this is why we have suggested below some brands that we think will provide you with superb sound quality, noise management, and convenience.
Signia Hearing Aids
Signia is the epitome of high-end designs in the hearing aid industry. It has become one of the top three hearing aids globally, under the ownership of Sivantos and Widex.
Signia also provides a variety of customizations with their new Nx Line of hearing aids. Aside from this, Signia's hearing aids are sleek and come in small housings that include wide color selections (much more than other brands offer) and brushed metal finishes.
The Signia brand is also known for its patented programming option, which delivers unique features that produce world-class sound quality. Signia devices cost can range between $2,000-$3,000 per ear. But on Soundak, we offer up to 70% on the best hearing aid brands and it comes with free Lifetime remote support & sound adjustments included. Signia is a great choice and is known to be a favorite by most hearing aid users.
Here are some features Signia hearing aids typically come with ( Based on the Signia Pure Charge & Go 5NX);
Hardware: Android & iPhone Compatibility, Streaming via Bluetooth( iPhone Only), IP rating 8 ( For Liquid) and 6 ( For solids), Push button available.
Software: Own voice comfort ( OVP), adjustment synchronization (Ultra HD e2e), adjustment bands, automatic phone program, directionality, feedback suppression, frequency lowering, spatial awareness, spatial noise cancellation, echo reduction, and wind noise reduction.
Accessories: miniPocket, myControl App, myHearing, StreamLine TV, touchControl™ App, StreamLine Mic, CROS Pure 312 Nx
Review: " I find it easy to insert and invisible even though I have short hair. I put in the charger nightly and the economic difference since I don't have to replace batteries is substantial. There is clarity of tone. I can adjust the volume. My husband who should be wearing a hearing aid,but doesn't, watches television while at a high volume. I can lower the sound on my hearing aid so that certainly prevents arguments."- Marilyn I.
- High-tech solutions
- Free trial
- Comprehensive selection
- Must buy through local providers
You can check out our Signia Hearing Aid Guide for more information.
Widex Hearing Aids
Widex is known for some of the best hearing aids because they possess the best artificial intelligence features in hearing aids. Since their merger with hearing care provider Sivantos, Widex has become part of the largest brands globally. Widex's hearing aids render one of the best sound adjustment and personalization tools.
Widex's extraordinary EVOKE hearing aids offer numerous colors, styles and it also provides advanced app features and audiologist assistance. Being the leading brand in A.I, Widex's hearing aids are outfitted with advanced machine learning abilities, called Soundsense, not seen in other brands.
You might be wondering how Widex's artificial intelligence works. To put it simply, the
in-built A.I. will study a user's most frequented kinds of sound preferences and environments. WIDEX hearing aids cost around $2,100 to $3,500+ on other retailers.
Here are some features Widex hearing aids typically come with ( Based on the Widex EVOKE 330 fusion;
Hardware: Android & iPhone Compatibility, Streaming via Bluetooth( Made for iPhone, MFi), IP rating 8 ( For Liquid) and 6 ( For solids), Comes with Push-button, Telecoil Available, and Receiver-in-ear style.
Software: Adjustment bands, automatic phone program, directionality, Machine Learning (Soundsense Adapt & Soundsense Learn), frequency lowering, spatial noise cancellation (Speech Enhancer RT: IE), and Echo reduction.
Accessories: COM-DEX, TV-DEX, RE-DEX, UNI-DEX, CALL-DEX, FM + DEX, COM-DEX App, EVOKE App, Evoke Smartwatch App, TONELINK App, PHONE-DEX 2, TV PLAY.
Review: " My audiologist had always sold me another high end brand, and this time around suggested Widex Evoke. I am absolutely ecstatic with my new devices. The music is crystal clear and realistic, and a phone app with built in equalizer is really amazing."- Fred.
- The Widex EVOKE models can be managed directly from your smartphone or tablet.
- Widex Prices are standard.
- Widex hearing aids come with a wide range of customer support options in the event that you have a problem.
- Your Widex hearing aids costs might be covered with medicare supplement insurance.
- You can't purchase directly from Widex's website - this is where we come in.
- Warranty lengths depend on the hearing aid you purchased.
Resound Hearing Aids
For the last seven decades, ReSound has provided industry-leading technologies to individuals with hearing loss. The ReSound brand is known for utilizing smartphone technology to provide a first of its kind hearing health app, ReSound Smart Fit.
ReSound smart fit is an app that lets its users access audiologist-assisted fine-tuning, exemplary customer service, and a more customized device. Asides from this, the Resound Brand also provides various fit styles that offer top-of-the-line noise reduction and sound isolation properties.
ReSound hearing aids can cost around $1,900 to $2,900 per ear on hearing aid retailers.
Here are some features Signia hearing aids typically come with ( Based on the ReSound LiNX Quattro 5 RIE 61;
Hardware: Android & iPhone Compatibility, Battery (Battery: Rechargeable, Streaming via Bluetooth( Made for iPhone, MFi, & Android, ASHA), IP rating 8 ( For Liquid) and 5 ( For solids), Pushbutton available.
Software: Bass boost, adjustment synchronization ( Synchronized push button), adjustment bands, automatic phone program, directionality, feedback suppression, frequency lowering, phone ear focus, and wind noise reduction.
Accessories: Unite Remote Control 2, Unite Phone Clip+, Unite TV Streamer 2, Multi Mic, ReSound Smart 3D app, ReSound Smart 3D app [Watch], Micro Mic, Control+, Charger
Review: " just received my ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aids from the Veterans Administration. I could not stop giggling while walking to the car. I could hear the wind, the birds, my footsteps. I can hear again!"- Ken.
- Resound offers affordable options.
- Helpful microphone technology
- Mild to profound hearing loss covered
- It is sold through dealers, not directly through ReSound
Hearing aids are useful devices that are designed to help you live a fuller, more exciting life. Losing hearing can be a daunting experience, but through the use of these hearing aids, you can operate effectively and live as a completely average and free person.
Depending on your needs and lifestyle, you can access hearing aids in a full range of styles and fits. You have more effective options that maximize functionality and smaller designs that will blend seamlessly while still providing you with the best hearing experience.
Whether you are merely exploring the cheapest and most affordable option in the hearing aid market or actively looking for full premium hearing support, the best way to approach your journey is to let an expert guide you. You should always seek medical advice on your hearing conditions and only work with trusted audiologists and auditory-enhancement vendors afterward.
Check out our wide variety of best hearing aids and save up to 70% OFF on quality name brands. Get unlimited hearing aid support from our on-demand team of experts. Call us today: 1-844-215-7248 or 1-929-207-0001. (Get FREE Wax Guards when you sign up for our mailing list - click the spinner wheel at the bottom right!)