Best Hearing Aids
Best Hearing Aids
Hearing aids restore the art of hearing and the art of being heard—they empower older adults with hearing loss to remain quick-witted and socially engaged. Untreated hearing loss in older adults may lead to social isolation and depression that increases their risk of dementia.
“Wearing hearing aids also allows for greater independence and safety,” said Hillary Taylor, Au.D., Vice President of Audiology for Livingston Hearing Aid Center. “The earlier a person can treat their hearing loss with hearing aids, the better because untreated hearing loss over time can increase the risk for cognitive decline and decrease the amount of benefit received from hearing aids.
The National Institute on Aging states that approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than age 75 have difficulty hearing. But getting older doesn’t mean having to give up the sounds you love. To help you find your solution, we’ve interviewed experts and researched, purchased, and tested 15 well-known hearing aid brands to come up with our top 10 picks for the best hearing aids of 2022.
Best Hearing Aids Based on AgingInPlace.org Research
- Editor’s Choice: Jabra Enhance Select 200 4.27/5
- Best Value: MDHearing VOLT MAX 3.10/5
- Best Invisible Hearing Aid: Eargo 6 3.81/5
- Best for Severe Hearing Loss: Phonak Naida Paradise 3.54/5
- Audiologist’s Pick: Starkey Evolv AI 3.81/5
- Best for Ongoing Care: Audicus Omni 3.97/5
- Best for Tinnitus: ReSound ONE 3.65/5
- Best High-Tech Features: Widex MOMENT 3.71/5
- Best for Active Lifestyles: Signia Active Pro 3.70/5
- Best Budget Option: Audien Atom Pro 3.49/5
Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review
Our hearing aid team at AgingInPlace.org began the testing process by researching and ordering 15 of the most popular FDA-cleared hearing aid models, including devices that can be purchased directly online and those available only through an office visit with an audiologist. We scored the hearing aids we tested based on the following criteria:
- How durable and easy they are to use in terms of setting up Bluetooth, cleaning and charging, and water and scratch resistance.
- Pricing and value, including costs and length of free trials and warranties
- Features and app accessibility, including how easy it is to use their apps, their battery type and life, if they have telecoil, and the quality and usefulness of any extra features
- Customer support, including response time to requests for assistance, clarity of setup instructions, if financing is available, and the quality of their phone support
- Reputation and credibility, including how well customers and professional associations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Trustpilot, and Consumer Affairs have rated them
We then interviewed expert audiologists Brad Ingrao, Au.D, with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Sheri Mello, Au.D, with Raleigh Hearing and Tinnitus Center, about the hearing tests they use in their offices, different types of hearing loss, specific hearing aid models and the industry as a whole.
Next, our team conducted an online survey in August 2022 and held two focus groups—one for hearing aid users and the other for non-hearing aid users. The last step of our rigorous methodology process included the team physically testing 11 hearing aid models in our Raleigh, North Carolina testing laboratory.
Overall, we’ve spent more than 4,000 hours researching the best hearing aids to help you find the device that’s best for you.
Summary of the Top Hearing Aids
Our team used a 5-point system to score hearing aids during our testing summit.
|Audicus Omni||Overall Score||3.97||Ease of Use||4.00||Pricing and Value||4.00||Features||3.75||Customer Support||4.75||Reputation and Credibility||3.75|
|Phonak Naida Paradise||Overall Score||3.54||Ease of Use||3.75||Pricing and Value||4.75||Features||4.00||Customer Support||3.75||Reputation and Credibility||3.50|
|Eargo 6||Overall Score||3.81||Ease of Use||3.75||Pricing and Value||3.75||Features||3.50||Customer Support||4.00||Reputation and Credibility||3.75|
|MDHearing VOLT MAX||Overall Score||3.10||Ease of Use||3.50||Pricing and Value||3.25||Features||3.25||Customer Support||3.50||Reputation and Credibility||4.50|
|Jabra Enhance Select 200||Overall Score||4.27||Ease of Use||3.75||Pricing and Value||4.50||Features||4.00||Customer Support||4.75||Reputation and Credibility||3.75|
|Signia Active Pro||Overall Score||3.70||Ease of Use||3.75||Pricing and Value||4.50||Features||3.50||Customer Support||5.00||Reputation and Credibility||2.75|
|Widex MOMENT||Overall Score||3.71||Ease of Use||2.50||Pricing and Value||4.25||Features||5.00||Customer Support||2.25||Reputation and Credibility||2.00|
|ReSound ONE||Overall Score||3.65||Ease of Use||1.25||Pricing and Value||4.25||Features||4.00||Customer Support||2.50||Reputation and Credibility||2.25|
|Starkey Evolv AI||Overall Score||3.81||Ease of Use||1.25||Pricing and Value||2.75||Features||3.75||Customer Support||1.25||Reputation and Credibility||3.00|
|Audien Atom Pro||Overall Score||3.49||Ease of Use||2.25||Pricing and Value||2.50||Features||2.00||Customer Support||1.50||Reputation and Credibility||3.50|
Best Hearing Aids of 2022
Editor’s Choice: Jabra Enhance Select 200
Formerly Lively 2 Pro
- Price: $1,995 per pair
- Features: Receiver in canal, Bluetooth streaming, telecoil, tinnitus management, rechargeable battery, 3-year warranty, 100-day free trial, financing available
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to moderate
- How to Purchase: Online
Affordable Bluetooth-audio-streaming hearing aid
Longer free trial than other brands
Requires a hearing test and audiology consult
Cleaning and app usability are not the easiest
What Is Editor’s Choice?
Our team of editors and writers choose a product from each article that stands out based on our extensive research of the products we review. While it may not always be the highest-scoring product in the lineup, we’ve chosen the product based on its overall value to our audience.
Why We Chose This Product:
The Jabra Enhance Select 200 (formerly Lively 2 Pro) strikes the best balance between features and affordability by offering features typical of high-end hearing aids in a less expensive direct-to-consumer option.
With high-end hearing aid features at an affordable price, Enhance Select 200 is our highest-scoring hearing aid and Editor’s Choice for best hearing aid. The Enhance Select 200 packs in full features of Bluetooth hearing aids. It can connect to Apple and some Android smartphones with the Enhance Select mobile app and act as wireless headphones to stream audio from your phone or TV and take hands-free phone calls. You can also use your smartphone to switch between Enhance Select 200’s listening programs, which are preset combinations of hearing aid settings that optimize hearing aid function in places with different noise levels, like restaurants and the outdoors. Plus, you can control hearing aid volume and select which devices to stream audio from through your smartphone. The Enhance Select 200’s features are comparable to those of the more expensive Bluetooth hearing aids but at half the cost.
The Enhance Select 200 is a receiver-in-canal hearing aid. With this style of hearing aid, the receiver that amplifies sound goes directly in the ear canal instead of behind the ear in the hearing aid’s hard shell like similar behind-the-ear hearing aids. The Enhance Select 200 offers a tinnitus management feature that generates sounds to temporarily relieve tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. Other features include telecoil, a water-resistant hard shell, a rechargeable battery with a life of 24 hours, a three-year warranty, and a generous 100-day free trial—the longest of any trial offered by other brands. With Jabra Enhance Select hearing aids you are required to complete a hearing test and an online consult with one of the company’s audiologists before making a purchase.
When we purchased the Enhance Select 200, we first took the 10-minute online hearing test and discussed our results with a Jabra Enhance audiology team member before placing our order. The hearing aids we received in the mail were programmed based on our specific test results. Jabra Enhance also gives you the option to upload an audiogram if you’ve already been tested by an audiologist at an in-person clinic. After purchase, Jabra Enhance continues to offer remote access to their audiology care team for fine-tuning your hearing aid settings and updating the software that runs them.
Direct-to-consumer hearing aids with remote hearing care help make hearing aids more affordable while giving you access to audiologists when you need them.
Overall, we gave the Enhance Select 200 a 4.27/5 rating. Compared to all other hearing aids we tested, the Enhance Select 200 outscored the rest on customer support, earning a nearly perfect score for good phone support, financing options, a fast response time and having excellent instructions on how to use the hearing aids. It took only 10 seconds through the Jabra Enhance Select app for a customer representative to respond to our request for assistance. Our favorite added touch from Jabra Enhance: The brand prints its setup instructions in larger print to make them easier for older adults to read. The Enhance Select 200 lost some points with us, however, because cleaning the hearing aids and using the app wasn’t as easy as some other brands, like Widex and Audicus. The BBB seems to agree with our overall Jabra Enhance impression—it gives Jabra Enhance an A+ rating and its customer reviews score Jabra Enhance at 4.33/5 stars. If you have mild to moderate hearing loss and want more affordable hearing aids that offer a long free trial and don’t sacrifice tech features, the Enhance Select 200 may be the choice for you.
In November 2022, Lively rebranded to Jabra Enhance following GN Group’s acquisition of Lively in 2021 to expand offerings in the telehealth market. Lively’s existing hearing aid technology will continue to be offered, but now as Jabra Enhance Select 50, Enhance Select 100, and Enhance Select 200.
- Prices: $1,899.98 per pair
- Features: Behind the ear, Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable battery, 90-day warranty, 45-day free trial, financing available
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to moderately severe
- How to Purchase: Online
Affordable Bluetooth-app-connectivity hearing aid
Can be purchased without a prescription
No audio streaming
Short battery life and warranty
MDHearing VOLT MAX hearing aids are our “Best for Bluetooth Connectivity” because they allow you to change hearing aid settings like volume and listening programs and receive remote assistance from audiologists. However, you cannot use these hearing aids as wireless headphones to stream audio or take hands-free phone calls. VOLT MAX’s smartphone app is compatible with Apple and Android phones and also lets you monitor the hearing aids’ battery life.
MDHearing VOLT MAX is a behind-the-ear hearing aid that appears similar to Jabra Enhance Select’s receiver-in-canal style, except its receiver is in the hard shell behind the ear instead of inside the ear canal when worn. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, VOLT MAX’s features include a rechargeable battery with a 15-hour battery life, a 45-day free trial, and a 90-day warranty. It is not water resistant.
We gave MDHearing VOLT MAX 3.10/5 stars, with high marks for its smartphone app that’s easy to use. We were able to download VOLT MAX’s app in under 20 seconds, and the hearing aids were able to automatically connect to the app. MDHearing VOLT MAX lost some points because of longer customer service wait times on its app—we had an approximate 3-minute wait before receiving a request for us to leave our number so they could call us back. Other companies like Jabra Enhance and Eargo responded within a minute or less. On the BBB, customer reviews rate MDHearing a 4.21/5 stars.
Doesn’t provide the most responsive customer support and its VOLT MAX hearing aids aren’t as technologically advanced as other hearing aids, but if you have mild to moderately severe hearing loss and want a basic behind-the-ear hearing aid with Bluetooth app connectivity, VOLT MAX offers you these features without breaking the bank.
- Prices: $2,950 per pair
- Features: Invisible style, Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable battery, 2-year warranty, 45-day free trial, financing available
- Type of Hearing Loss Treated: Mild to moderate
- How to Purchase: Online
A rechargeable invisible hearing aid that’s over the counter
Easy-to-use app with responsive customer service
Small size makes it more difficult to clean
No audio streaming
The smallest in-canal hearing aid on the market, Eargo 6 gets our vote for best invisible hearing aid. Of all invisible Eargo hearing aids, the Eargo 6 packs the most impressive sound technology into the most discreet hearing aid that’s smaller than the diameter of a quarter and can’t be seen when worn. Invisible hearing aids, unlike receiver-in-canal and behind-the-ear hearing aids, fit completely inside the ear with no hard shell that rests behind the ear.
Because of its small size, the Eargo 6 can’t support Bluetooth streaming for use as wireless headphones, but it does have Bluetooth app connectivity like the VOLT MAX. The Eargo 6 has an app feature, Sound Match, that tailors your volume and pitch preferences for each ear based on a hearing screening you complete on the app. It’s the only Eargo hearing aid to feature their most advanced sound feature, Sound Adjust, that more precisely and automatically eliminates non-speech background frequencies to better enhance speech. Other Eargo 6 features include a rechargeable battery with a 16-hour battery life, a two-year warranty, and a 45-day free trial. The Eargo 6 is also water resistant.
Eargo offers an online hearing test, or you can submit an audiogram taken at a hearing clinic. Although testing isn’t required to purchase your hearing aids—unless you’re planning to use medical insurance to pay for them—Eargo’s customer representative recommended we take the brand´s hearing test and then speak with one of its “personal hearing guides” (not audiologists, but rather people Eargo trains to understand the type of hearing loss the company´s hearing aids treat) about the results to ensure the Eargo 6 is a good fit.
The Eargo 6 received a rating of 3.81/5 stars from us. It scored well for durability. It didn’t show any signs of damage after putting it through our 10-trial drop test and water dunk test to verify its water resistance. Like MDHearing, we also found Eargo’s app easy to use—we had no problems connecting our Eargo 6 hearing aids to the app and only waited one minute to connect to customer service on the app, and less than one minute for responses to our questions. The customer representative was able to adequately explain how our charger’s indicator lights worked.
Because of its small size, we found the Eargo 6 difficult to clean, especially when removing ear tips, and we would not recommend the model to someone who has difficulty with hand dexterity.
Eargo is BBB-accredited with an A- rating and a 3.62/5 stars rating from BBB customer reviews. Trustpilot customer reviews rate it higher with 4.5/5 stars. If you’re self-conscious about wearing a hearing aid and like the idea of the Bluetooth app connectivity feature, Eargo 6 is a more affordable invisible hearing aid that hides your hearing loss.
- Prices: $3,000-$7,000 (retailer dependent)
- Features: Receiver-in-canal style, telecoil, rechargeable and disposable battery options, Bluetooth streaming, up to a 3-year warranty, up to a 60-day free trial, financing is retailer dependent
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to Profound
- How to Purchase: Through an audiologist
Advanced streaming technology and sound quality
Best-value hearing aid when comparing advanced features and pricing
More easily damaged than other hearing aids in our drop test
A separate accessory is needed for advanced streaming technology
The Phonak Naida Paradise is a receiver-in-canal hearing aid that we voted best for severe hearing loss because it has the option to pair with a remote microphone system that allows for direct audio streaming into the hearing aids with RogerDirect technology that’s more advanced than Bluetooth. RogerDirect technology can adapt to varying noise levels and speech coming from different directions and filter background noise and amplify speech better than typical microphone systems of other hearing aid brands that use Bluetooth. The Phonak Naida Paradise comes with built-in RogerDirect technology, but you have to buy its compatible microphone separately.
The Phonak Naida Paradise comes in two slightly different models: one with a disposable battery and the other with a rechargeable battery that has a 24-hour battery life. Only the disposable-battery version comes with telecoil. The Phonak Naida Paradise uses Bluetooth for connecting to Apple and Android smartphones to stream audio, take hands-free phone calls, and make hearing aid adjustments. These hearing aids are waterproof. Warranties and free trial periods will vary by the retailer you purchase them from, but warranties can be as long as three years and free trial periods as long as 60 days.
We gave the Phonak Naida Paradise 3.54/5 stars. Of all the hearing aids we tested, it received the best value score based on its price for the features, warranty, and free trials offered. We also rated it well for being easy to clean and having an easy-to-use app. It lost some points in our 10-trial drop test for showing signs of damage, such as cracks forming at the base of the hearing aid, about halfway through the trials.
Phonak is BBB accredited with an A+ rating but has a 2.33/5-star rating. Trustpilot shows a 2/5-star rating based on customer reviews. Some users poorly rated Phonak the company, not the Phonak Naida Paradise hearing aids, citing an unhelpful technical support staff and difficulty staying connected to the smartphone app. Customers do say, however, that Phonak’s sound quality is excellent. The Phonak Naida Paradise treats mild to profound hearing loss. These hearing aids are a good option for anyone with more severe hearing loss who is willing to invest in high-quality tech features.
- Prices: $2,800–$7,500 per pair (retailer dependent)
- Features: Six hearing aid styles, Bluetooth streaming, telecoil, tinnitus masking, rechargeable and disposable battery options, one- to three-year warranty, 30-day free trial, financing is retailer dependent
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to profound hearing loss
- How to Purchase: Through an audiologist
Fall detection and medication reminder features
Caregiver app for monitoring your safety and activity levels
Bluetooth connectivity issues when pairing app and hearing aids during testing
Advanced technology that increases safety is the reason prescription hearing aid Starkey Evolv AI is our audiologist’s pick. The Starkey Evolve AI is the only hearing aid we reviewed to come with the impressive features of fall detection and a caregiver app that alerts your loved ones.
“I have a lot of patients whose kids use this app, primarily to detect when their parent falls or to ensure they’re wearing the hearing aids,” Magann Faivre, Au.D., commented about the Thrive app. “Even though many of these patients also wear a life alert necklace, [assisted] living facility staff sometimes aren’t quick to respond to those. The Thrive Care app allows the family to call a facility immediately upon a fall. Also, a patient may think they’re wearing their hearing aids, but don’t have them turned on or charged. The app is also helpful for family to see and troubleshoot. To my knowledge, Starkey is the only company that offers this. It’s so useful for my patients.”
Keep in mind, however, that unlike a medical alert system, fall detection with Starkey Evolv AI does not call an emergency response center; it only sends an alert to your selected contacts to let them know you’ve fallen.
The Starkey Evolv AI comes in six different styles: behind the ear, receiver in the canal, in the ear, in the canal, completely in the canal, and invisible. The hearing aids act as wireless headphones, streaming audio and allowing hands-free calls with Apple and Android devices via Bluetooth. The Thrive Hearing Control app has features for tinnitus masking, locating misplaced hearing aids, and setting medication and appointment reminders. You can also use the app to create customized listening programs for places you frequently visit that the hearing aids will remember so you don’t have to manually switch to them when you need them. The Starkey Evolv AI is water resistant and comes in disposable and rechargeable battery versions. Rechargeable battery life lasts up to 24 hours on a single charge.
The Evolv AI received 3.81/5 stars from us. We found the app to be easy to use and to have plenty of options for tweaking sound preferences. We liked that you could access the user guide and operations manual directly from the app. Unfortunately, we experienced connection issues with pairing the hearing aids to the app and got disconnected from Bluetooth during our testing. We found the Evolv AI to be durable—it withstood our drop and dunk tests without any visible signs of damage. Starkey is a BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating. On Trustpilot, it has a rating of 3.1/5 stars from customer reviews with some complaints similar to ours about connecting to Bluetooth. For families who like the fall detection and care apps that let you monitor your loved one’s activities, there’s no other hearing aid that quite compares to the Starkey Evolv AI for its monitoring and safety features.
- Prices: $3,398 per pair ($129 per month with the Audicus Plus plan after a $499 sign-up fee)
- Features: Receiver in canal, telecoil, tinnitus masking rechargeable battery, Bluetooth streaming, leasing option available, one-year warranty, 45-day free trial, no financing options
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to moderately severe
- How to Purchase: Online
Offers a hearing aid rental option
One of the easiest hearing aids to connect to its app
Less clear how to contact customer service on the app
The Omni, Audicus’ most high-tech Bluetooth hearing aids, are our “Best for Ongoing Care” because of Audicus’ unique hearing aid membership program that lets you rent a hearing aid model for 18 months. The Audicus membership program charges a monthly fee, and you become eligible for an upgrade to a newer model if you renew your 18-month contract. For the Audicus Omni, the monthly rental fee costs $129 per month, and there is an additional one-time sign-up fee of $499. As part of the rental plan, you receive free cleanings, an unlimited warranty and damage protection, and replacement of lost devices for a $250 fee. Audicus also offers the option to buy its hearing aids outright.
The Audicus Omni is a receiver-in-canal hearing aid that offers Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling, and remote programming from audiologists when software updates and assistance with changing hearing aid settings are needed. The Audicus Omni’s app is compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones. Telecoil and tinnitus masking features can also be added to these hearing aids. The Audicus Omni is water resistant and comes with a rechargeable battery with a 16-hour battery life.
Audicus offers a free online hearing test before purchase or the option to upload a test from a hearing clinic. We rated the Audicus Omni with 3.97/5 stars and were especially impressed by its ease of use and good durability—it had the fewest steps to follow when connecting to the app. Also, the hands-free calling feature automatically initiated without us having to push any buttons on the phone or the hearing aids. Connecting with customer service on the app, however, was a less clear process. Instead of using a recognizable name like “Audicus” or “Omni,” the app takes you to “Unitron” when you want to contact customer service. Audicus is BBB-accredited, with a BBB rating of A+ and a score of 3.08/5 stars based on customer reviews. The Audicus Omni is a good option for people who want regular, free upgrades to the newest hearing aid model and other perks that come with the company´s membership plan.
- Prices: $2,800–$7,500 per pair (retailer dependent)
- Features: Receiver in the ear, Bluetooth streaming, telecoil, tinnitus masking, rechargeable and disposable battery options, four-year warranty, 30-day free trial
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to severe
- How to Purchase: Through an audiologist
Many app features for managing tinnitus
App is easy-to-follow once connected
Difficult to connect hearing aids to the app
Instruction manual is difficult to follow
Compared to the other hearing aids we reviewed, prescription hearing aids ReSound ONE put an added emphasis on treating tinnitus with its ReSound Relief app that includes sound therapy, relaxing exercises, and meditation videos to help mask tinnitus symptoms. Tinnitus is the perception of a sound, usually a ringing in the ears, that a person hears because of damage to the ear. The ReSound Relief app has 35 masking sounds to choose from, such as ocean and forest sounds, to distract you from tinnitus.
The app also lets you keep track of how often and when you’re using the feature so you can discuss your symptoms with your audiologist who can help you tweak and adjust how you’re treating your tinnitus. The app is compatible with both Apple and Android smartphones, and even the basic free plan offers plenty of functionality, according to Hadassah Kupfer, Au.D . For $6.99/month or $69.99/year, you can purchase ReSound’s Relief Premium plan that offers personalized training plans to manage tinnitus. As part of the plan, you’ll gain access to more in-depth meditations that include education on breathing and imagery.
The ReSound ONE is the first hearing aid model to have a microphone attached to the hearing aid receiver in the ear canal, making it a microphone and receiver-in-canal hearing aid. This style is meant to improve sound quality and your ability to recognize where sound is coming from. The ReSound ONE also has telecoil and Bluetooth capabilities for audio streaming, hands-free calling, remote programming, and adjusting hearing aid settings through the smartphone. The ReSound ONE is water resistant. Its two versions include a disposable battery option and a rechargeable battery option. The rechargeable battery option has a battery life of 25-30 hours on a single charge, depending on how often you use audio streaming.
We rated ReSound ONE with 3.65/5 stars. Unfortunately, during our testing, it took us several tries before we successfully connected to and set up the app, totaling at least 15 minutes. The app was easy to use for controlling hearing aid settings and clearly marked each setting, such as treble, bass, mic boost and TV streaming. The ReSound ONE’s buttons for controlling volume and switching between listening programs were more difficult to use because they required more precision to push than those of other hearing aids we tested. It came with four instruction manuals, which we found difficult to follow due to the amount of information they contained.
The company ReSound has a Consumer Affairs rating of 3.2/5 stars, a BBB rating of F, and has 1/5 stars from the BBB’s customer reviews. Because of its focus on tinnitus, the ReSound ONE is a good option for anyone with hearing loss who wants the added in-depth tinnitus management features.
- Prices: $2,800–$7,500 per pair (retailer dependent)
- Features: Prescription, 3 hearing aid styles, Bluetooth streaming, telecoil, tinnitus masking, rechargeable battery, three-year warranty, 45-day free trial, financing is retailer dependent
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to profound
- How to Purchase: Through an audiologist
Shorter sound processing delay than other hearing aids for clearer, more natural sound
Fastest connection time between hearing aids and app
Difficult-to-follow instruction manual
No way to contact customer service through the app
The Widex MOMENT has advanced sound technology that gives users more customization options than other hearing aids and allows the MOMENT to adapt to different sound environments more automatically. The MOMENT processes sounds faster than other hearing aids because of a very short sound processing delay, which also makes it less likely to distort sounds and better able to mimic our natural hearing abilities. It can automatically switch between different listening programs to amplify speech when noise levels vary in different situations so you don’t have to manually do it yourself.
The Widex MOMENT comes in three styles: behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, and completely-in-canal. It is Bluetooth compatible with Apple and Android smartphones for audio streaming, hands-free calling, and remote visits with an audiologist, and changes to hearing aid settings through the smartphone app. Other features include telecoil and tinnitus masking. Receiver-in-canal and behind-the-ear models come in disposable or rechargeable battery versions. Receiver-in-canal rechargeable hearing aids have an estimated battery life of 16 hours; behind-the-ear rechargeable hearing aids have a battery life up to 37 hours, but closer to 24 hours if frequently using audio streaming. The MOMENT is also water resistant.
We gave the Widex MOMENT 3.71/5 stars. It earned a perfect score for its quality and variety of tech features along with how easy it was to use its app. MOMENT hearing aids connected to the app via Bluetooth in less than a minute, faster than any other hearing aid we tested. The app included many details for customizing the MOMENT using clear, easy-to-digest language and formatting.
We thought the print in the instruction manuals, however, was too small, and also the language was somewhat hard to follow. We also disliked that you can’t contact customer service directly through the Widex app. If you need assistance, you have to contact your audiologist’s office instead of the manufacturer’s customer service team like with a lot of the other hearing aids we tested.On Consumer Affairs, Widex as a company has a customer review rating of 3.7/5 stars. If you’re willing to spend more on high-quality prescription hearing aids that can treat up to profound hearing loss, the Widex MOMENT´s sound technology can’t be beat.
- Prices: $2,898–$4,598 per pair (retailer dependent)
- Features: Prescription, in the canal, Bluetooth streaming, tinnitus masking, rechargeable battery, three-year warranty, 45-day free trial, financing is retailer dependent
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to severe
- How to Purchase: Through an audiologist
Sporty look so it doesn’t look like a hearing aid
Good wind reduction for clearer sound outdoors
Stays in place during exercise
Requires the purchase of an accessory to connect to Android phones
Difficult-to-understand instruction manual
Endorsed by triathletes with hearing loss, the Signia Active Pro lives up to its name. Similar in appearance to earbuds, the durable and water-resistant in-the-canal Active Pro hearing aids stay in place while exercising. Athletes also praise it for having good wind reduction, which means it reduces how loud wind sounds through the hearing aid, so you get less interference from wind and can focus on hearing other sounds. Active Pro uses Signia Xperience sound technology that’s meant to help the active wearer in a busy environment be aware of sounds from all directions.
The Signia Active Pro has a tinnitus masking feature and Bluetooth capabilities for audio streaming, hands-free phone calls, remote programming from an audiologist, and connection to Signia’s app for changing hearing aid settings. The Active Pro is compatible with Apple smartphones only. It connects to Android devices only with the purchase of a separate device known as the Signia Streamline Mic. Streamers enable incompatible devices to connect via Bluetooth. The Active Pro comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts 26 hours on a single charge. To save battery and make life more convenient for the active user, the Active Pro automatically shuts off when placed in its charger and automatically turns back on when removed from the charger and placed in the ear.
The Signia Active Pro received 3.70/5 stars from us. We found the setup instructions to be more technical and difficult to understand. Connecting to Signia’s app for the first time, however, was quick and easy.. Another plus we noticed when inquiring about the Active Pro’s hearing settings was that customer service was very thorough in their explanations.
Signia the company was rated well by customers on Consumer Affairs, 4/5 stars.
The Signia Active Pro is an excellent choice if you’re athletic, wanting to wear your hearing aids while working out, and willing to spend more on the high-quality technology of prescription hearing aids.
Best Budget Option: Audien Atom Pro
- Prices: $249 per pair
- Features: In-the-canal, rechargeable battery, one-year warranty, 45-day free trial, no financing options
- Hearing Loss Level Treated: Mild to moderate
- How to Purchase: Online
OTC hearing aids with an easy online purchasing process
No Bluetooth technology for connection to other devices
Instruction manual is bare
The Audien Atom Pro doesn’t have the technology of other models we reviewed, and its cost reflects that, making it a good, basic hearing aid for the budget-conscious who prioritize price and basic sound amplification over extra features. The Audien Atom Pro is a discreet in-the-canal hearing aid that has a rechargeable battery with a 24-hour battery life. These hearing aids do not have Bluetooth capabilities or telecoil, and they are not water resistant.
We’ve rated the Audien Atom Pro with 3.49/5 stars. In order to change the volume on your Atom Pros, you have to push a tiny screw on the back of each hearing aid. We found this to be easy but not as convenient as using an app to change the volume. We also noticed there’s no off switch, so if you’re not using the hearing aids, you have to put them in their charger or the batteries will drain. The hearing aids also have no alert to remind you the battery is getting low.
We also weren’t impressed with the relatively bare instruction manual. In order to get full instructions, you have to be able to watch YouTube videos online. However, despite the low price, we found the Atom Pro durable. It survived our 10-trial drop test without a scratch. Its ear tips, however, seemed fragile, like they could rip when we changed them. Despite the simplicity of its hearing aids, Audien has good customer reviews on the BBB website with a 3.97/5-star customer rating and a BBB accreditation with a score of B. Trustpilot customer reviews rate Audien with 3.4/5 stars.
What Is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a medical electronic device worn in or behind the ear to improve hearing by amplifying sounds. These devices can treat mild to severe hearing loss.
Today’s hearing aids use digital technology in a computer chip. A microphone built into the hearing aid receives and converts sounds into electrical signals. An amplifier then makes the electrical signal louder and transmits it to a receiver, or speaker, that produces the amplified sound in the ear for the brain to eventually interpret.
Difference Between a Hearing Aid and PSAP
Because hearing aids are medical devices, they are regulated by the FDA. Other products called personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) also amplify sounds but are not regulated by the FDA because they are considered electronic, not medical devices. PSAP manufacturers don’t have to follow regulations that ensure these products won’t damage your hearing. These devices are meant for people with normal hearing who want to amplify sounds for specific activities, such as hunting or birdwatching.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
To make hearing aids more affordable and accessible, the FDA finalized its rules in August 2022 for allowing over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids to be sold in stores. Before then, hearing aids couldn’t be sold in stores unless they required you to see an audiologist and take a hearing test first. OTC hearing aids are available only for adults age 18 and older with mild to moderate hearing loss based on their own perception of how severe they think their hearing loss is. OTC hearing aids are still considered medical devices, and their manufacturers have to follow FDA regulations, although these regulations are less strict than those for prescription hearing aids.
Difference Between OTC and Prescription Hearing Aids
OTC hearing aids don’t require a hearing test or prescription from an audiologist to purchase and can be bought online directly from the manufacturer or in a store.
Prescription hearing aids require a hearing test and consultation with an audiologist before purchase and treat more severe hearing loss than OTC hearing aids. They are the only hearing aid option available to anyone younger than age 18. Prescription hearing aids are more expensive than OTC hearing aids because they have more sophisticated technology that requires programming from an audiologist to treat more severe hearing loss, and they also include professional services related to customizing the fitting and ensuring the best medical outcome with the chosen equipment.
How To Know if You Need a Hearing Aid
Age-related hearing loss can occur gradually and may be noticed by your family and friends before you notice it. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Trouble hearing people when they speak, especially in noisy settings
- Asking others to repeat themselves or speak more slowly
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Turning up the TV volume more than usual
- Having more difficulty understanding women and children because they speak at higher pitches
- Difficulty hearing chirping birds or beeping devices
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you can complete a hearing test to confirm your hearing loss and tell you what type of hearing loss you have. The most accurate testing will come from a test conducted by an audiologist. However, many online hearing aid manufacturers offer hearing tests on their websites as a starting point.
Types of Hearing Loss that Hearing Aids Can Help
When you visit an audiologist, there are three hearing tests you may undergo to diagnose your hearing loss. These include:
- Audiogram Hearing Test: This test measures how well you hear different pitches at different volumes in each ear and can trace hearing loss to a particular part of the ear. It is the gold standard test for measuring hearing function. Your results are graphed on an audiogram. An audiogram is what online hearing aid manufacturers recommend you upload before purchasing hearing aids if you have one.
- Otoacoustic emissions hearing loss test: This test looks at how well the hair cells in the cochlea of your inner ear are functioning and whether there is a blockage in the outer or middle ear. Hair cell damage is associated with age-related hearing loss. In this test, tones are played through probes placed in the ear, and results are graphed on a chart. This test is more commonly performed in newborns to screen for hearing loss.
- Tympanometry Test: This test looks at ear pressure in the ear canal to test how well your ear drum functions. The audiologist places a small probe in each ear to push air through it.
Here are some additional tests you might receive:
- Auditory brainstem response hearing loss test: This test measures how well the auditory nerve functions. The auditory nerve sends signals from the ear to the brain so sound can be interpreted. During testing, electrodes are placed on the forehead and ears to detect how well signals travel along the auditory nerve. Tumors that grow along this nerve can cause hearing loss.
- Rinne Hearing Test: In this test, the audiologist starts by placing a vibrating tuning fork against the skull bone behind your ear and then moves the fork beside your ear. You have to let the audiologist know in which position the tuning fork is louder. It is conducted to determine which parts of the ear are damaged and causing hearing loss.
- Weber Hearing Loss Test: This test uses a vibrating tuning fork placed against the middle of your head to see if you can hear the vibrations more in one ear than the other. It’s meant to help determine which parts of the ear are damaged and causing hearing loss.
How To Choose the Right Hearing Aid
To choose the right hearing aids, you need to make sure they fit comfortably in your ears and improve your hearing. Here are four steps to take to find hearing aids that are right for you:
- Schedule an appointment with an audiologist to complete a professional hearing test that tells you what type of hearing loss you have and how severe it is. An audiologist can then make specific recommendations on hearing aids to match your hearing loss and let you try out different hearing aid styles.
- Consider how hearing aids feel when wearing them. Hearing aids come in different styles that can provide different levels of comfort when in your ears. If you’re very particular about how well a hearing aid fits in your canal, you may be better off getting a prescription custom-fit hearing aid that’s shaped based on a mold of your ears. OTC hearing aids with a variety of ear tips to switch between can increase your chances of finding a comfortable fit that still amplifies sounds in a way that improves your hearing.
- Note the length of your hair. Sheri Mello, Au.D, with Raleigh Hearing and Tinnitus Center told us that people with long hair typically don’t like the feeling of their hair brushing against and getting snagged on bulkier hearing aid models. She tries to fit her patients who have long hair with in-the-ear hearing aids to avoid this source of discomfort.
- Factor in your lifestyle, including when you’re likely to use your hearing aids. If you have an active lifestyle, smaller hearing aids that are sweat resistant may be your best option. If you love watching television, hearing aids with Bluetooth audio streaming will enhance audio quality. In our AgingInPlace.org hearing aid user focus group, we learned that people who regularly wear masks have trouble with behind-the-ear hearing aids because of their mask straps getting caught on them.
How an Audiologist Helps a Person Decide Which Hearing Aids are Right for Them
We interviewed Mello during our Hearing Aid Summit. She provided the following list of questions you should ask yourself when shopping for hearing aids:
- What is my budget?
- Is financing available for my hearing aid?
- Are the hearing aids I’m interested in FDA approved?
- What are other customers saying about sound quality and feedback from the hearing aid?
- Do I prefer to control my hearing aids’ volume by pressing buttons on the hearing aid or by using a smartphone app?
- What is the hearing aids’ reputation for minimizing background noise?
Hearing Aid Features to Consider
- Bluetooth capabilities: Hearing aids with Bluetooth capabilities can connect to smartphones so you can use your phone to control hearing aid settings like volume and switch between listening programs. Hearing aids with Bluetooth vary in their Bluetooth technology. Some have only Bluetooth connectivity, which means they can only connect to smartphones. Others have Bluetooth streaming, which means they can be used as a pair of wireless headphones that directly stream audio from your smartphone and TV to improve sound quality with these activities.
- Rechargeable battery: Many hearing aid models now offer only rechargeable battery options, although some still make versions that have disposable batteries. Hearing aids with rechargeable batteries may be preferred over disposable batteries because you won’t have to worry about how difficult it is to open the battery compartment and replace them. Rechargeable hearing aids vary greatly in the number of hours they run before needing to be recharged. Some run for as little as 15 hours, while others can run over 35 hours on a single charge. If you plan to use Bluetooth often, which drains the battery faster, you’re better off with a hearing aid that has a longer battery life.
- Feedback suppression: Hearing aid feedback is an annoying whistling sound that occurs when sounds that should be going from the hearing aid’s microphone into the ear canal bounce back to the microphone and get amplified again. Feedback suppression, also called feedback cancellation, is technology that lets hearing aids identify feedback and cancel out these sounds before you hear them.
- Directional microphones: Directional microphones allow hearing aids to better detect and enhance speech sounds while reducing levels of background noise. This improves your ability to hear a person speaking to you in a noisy environment.
- Tinnitus masking: Tinnitus is a ringing in the ears or similar sound you hear when no such sound is being produced in the environment. It’s a common symptom of hearing loss. Tinnitus can become less noticeable when you introduce other sounds into the ear that compete for your brain’s attention. Hearing aids that have a tinnitus-masking feature play white noise or soothing sounds, like the sound of a stream, in moments when you’re experiencing tinnitus so that you notice it less.
- Telecoil: Telecoil, or T-coil, is technology that predates Bluetooth and allows hearing aids to wirelessly connect to telecoil-enabled phones and sound systems in public venues that have inductive loops, a type of assistive listening system for people with hearing loss. Hearing aids that have telecoil have a small coil of wire inside of them that picks up electromagnetic signals for wireless connection. Telecoil greatly improves sound quality by allowing audio to be streamed directly into the hearing aid and is most often used for streaming sound in public venues like churches and movie theaters.
Types of Hearing Aids
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Hearing Aids
BTE hearing aids sit behind your ear and have a plastic tube that loops over the top of your outer ear. That tube connects to an earpiece that sits in front of the ear canal. The piece behind your ear, known as the hard shell, holds the hearing aid technology—the microphone, amplifier, speaker, battery, and, when included, the T-coil. BTE devices can treat more severe hearing loss because they’re capable of more amplification than other styles, are easy to repair, are generally comfortable, and have room to hold more advanced technology. They’re also less likely to have feedback and whistling than in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. BTE devices are not as discreet as ITE hearing aids and can irritate the back of your ear, especially if you wear glasses.
Mini Behind-the-Ear (mBTE) Hearing Aids
Mini BTE hearing aids, also known as receiver-in-canal hearing aids, are similar in appearance to BTE hearing aids but have a slimmer hard shell and a receiver that sits in the ear canal at the end of the plastic tube instead of in the hard shell like with the BTE. Smaller wires of the mBTE that fit in the ear are meant to reduce the sensation of a clogged ear canal that can accompany the BTE models. A drawback of mBTE hearing aids is that they don’t amplify low frequencies as well as some other hearing aid styles and, therefore, may not be the best option for severe hearing loss.
Traditional in-the-ear (ITE) Hearing Aid
The hard shell of ITE hearing aids sits completely inside of the outer ear instead of behind the ear like with BTE hearing aids. ITE hearing aids are custom-fit to your outer ear shape and size. They are capable of Bluetooth streaming and telecoil and can treat mild to severe hearing loss. ITE hearing aids are the largest of custom hearing aids and may pick up more wind noise than smaller hearing aids. Because of their larger size, they completely block the ear canal. Blocking the whole ear canal may not be the best idea for people with milder hearing loss who can still process some sounds naturally. These and other hearing aids that go farther in the ear canal may be more difficult to place if you don’t have good hand dexterity.
In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids
Like ITE hearing aids, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are custom fit to your ear canal but smaller in size and, therefore, less visible than ITE hearing aids. ITC hearing aids can treat mild to moderate hearing loss in adults. Because they are smaller in size than ITE hearing aids, they may not be able to fit some technology, like telecoil or longer battery life, into their hard shell, but they’re able to fit more technology than completely-in-the-canal hearing aids. ITC hearing aids are known to be susceptible to earwax clogging their speaker, which can affect sound quality.
Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC), or invisible, hearing aids are the smallest hearing aid style available and are not visible once placed in the ear canal. They are appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss. Because they’re hidden in the canal, they’re less likely to pick up wind noise, but their small size also limits how much technology they offer—these hearing aids are too small to offer Bluetooth streaming and batteries with a longer battery life, for instance. With their placement in the ear canal, they’re also more susceptible to earwax clogging their speaker.
Digital vs Analog Hearing Aids
Besides style, hearing aids can also be distinguished by the technology they use to process sound. Analog hearing aids amplify all sound waves, without being able to distinguish speech sounds from background noise. Digital hearing aids, by contrast, use computer chips to analyze sounds, distinguish between them, and amplify speech instead of background noise. Compared to analog hearing aids, digital hearing aids allow for better hearing aid programming so settings can be better tailored to each individual’s hearing loss. Digital hearing aids are more common than analog ones. The ones we reviewed are all digital hearing aids.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
“Today’s hearing aids have advanced automatic features such as background noise reduction, Bluetooth connectivity, and some even have fall detection that will alert your loved ones if a fall is detected,” Taylor said. “The price of hearing aids can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the style and automatic features. However, not everyone needs or wants all of the technology that is available in today’s hearing aids.”
OTC hearing aids, once they hit the market, are expected to bring the average price of hearing aids that treat mild to moderate hearing loss down to the $600-$2,000 range. Prescription hearing aids are more expensive because they’re custom-fit, have more sophisticated technology, and require appointments with audiologists for purchase and hearing aid updates. Prices for prescription hearing aids range from $2,000-$7,000 and will vary by the retailer that sells them.
How To Find Affordable Hearing Aids
If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you can purchase OTC hearing aids that are capable of treating your hearing loss at a relatively more affordable price than prescription hearing aids. If you have more severe hearing loss, you’ll need prescription hearing aids that will likely cost more.
OTC hearing aids can be purchased online, at pharmacies, or in stores. Prescription hearing aids require a consultation with an audiologist. You can visit several hearing clinics in your area to compare prices. Reading hearing aid reviews, visiting manufacturers’ websites, and searching online for hearing clinics that sell particular brands can help you narrow down your options. ZipHearing, an online prescription hearing aid retailer, sells popular brands at a discount after you visit one of their partner hearing aid clinics for testing and hearing aid selection.
Many hearing aid manufacturers and clinics offer financing to make hearing aids more affordable. Medicare Advantage plans and private insurance may help cover some of the costs. Hearing aids are also typically eligible to be paid for with HSA/FSA health savings funds. In our hearing aid focus group and AgingInPlace.org 1,000-respondent survey, we learned that the many participants used insurance to cover a portion of their hearing aids cost. Check with your individual plan before purchasing to verify hearing aids are covered. Discounts may also exist through organizations like AARP, Kiwanis, Lions Club, and Allegro Credit.
How To Find Hearing Aids Near You
You can purchase hearing aids from:
- Online websites
- Audiologists or professional hearing specialist clinics
- Hearing aid brands that have their own flagship stores (like Audicus)
- Licensed hearing aid retailers, including discount retailers like ZipHearing
- Big-box retailers like Walmart or Costco
If a particular hearing aid strikes your interest, you can visit its manufacturer’s website and either purchase directly from there, or if it’s a prescription hearing aid, use the manufacturer’s online hearing clinic search feature that shows you nearby hearing clinics that sell it. For online retailers like ZipHearing, you provide your zip code and phone number so they can connect you to one of their partner hearing clinics in your area.
Buying Hearing Aids in Person vs. Buying Hearing Aids Online
OTC hearing aids can be purchased online or in person. Some companies like Jabra Enhance sell them online but still require a hearing test and consultation with their audiologists. Most of the online hearing aids we reviewed do not require a hearing test or consultation with an audiologist, although some like the Eargo 6 and the Jabra Enhance Select 200 do have remote support from hearing care professionals and audiologists if you need them. Online hearing aids, however, are not custom-fit to your ear shape, so the purchase process is more appropriate for people with mild to moderate, age-related hearing loss who are looking for less expensive, non–custom-fit hearing aids. Some OTC hearing aids available online will also be available in person at stores and pharmacies with the FDA’s new rules for permitting sales of OTC hearing aids in retail shops.
Hearing aids can also be purchased in person at audiology clinics. When purchasing prescription hearing aids, you have to complete a hearing test called an audiogram that is conducted by an audiologist. Hearing tests tell you what type of hearing loss you have and how severe it is. An audiologist can then make recommendations for hearing aids based on your hearing loss and fit you with a hearing aid that matches the shape and size of your ear. Prescription hearing aids also require an audiologist to access hearing aid software to program them to your specific hearing needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Jabra Enhance Select 200 is our editor’s pick because it strikes the best balance between features and affordability by offering features typical of high-end prescription hearing aids in a less expensive direct-to-consumer package.
Alex is a writer and speech-language pathologist, specialized in caring for older adults with communication disorders. She writes health and medicine content, with a focus on hearing aids and medical alert systems for AgingInPlace.org.View Author
MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY
Dr. Kupfer is an Audiologist and Hearing Aid Specialist in NYC, where she works with adults and older adults daily. In addition to diagnosing hearing loss, tinnitus and fitting cutting-edge hearing aids in her private practice, she serves as adjunct clinical faculty for the CUNY Audiology Doctoral Program.View Reviewer