How We Rate Hearing Aids

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

The Aging In Place editorial team wants to help people find the best hearing aids for their unique needs and preferences. We exist to save our readers time and money through our expert reviews, research, and testing.

To do that, we developed rigorous hearing aids review standards. Our process includes interviewing audiologists, mystery shopping hearing aid brands, surveying hearing aid users, and more.

Listed below is more information on our testing standards and how we rated hearing aids.

4,000 Hours of Research
18 Brands Considered
11 Experts Consulted
4 Professional Medical Reviewers

The Aging In Place Testing Process 

two young men's using mobile app

The Aging In Place team uses five categories to rate hearing aid companies and devices. We weighted each category so each hearing aid company gets rated fairly. 

  1. User Experience (35 percent)
  2. Pricing (30 percent)
  3. Customer Support (20 percent)
  4. Features (10 percent)
  5. Reputation & Credibility (5 percent)

Our review standards are unbiased and aren’t affected by any affiliate partnerships we may have.

User Experience

Our user experience scores come from Pollfish surveys we conducted. We asked 600 people who use hearing aids every day to give feedback on their devices. We asked survey respondents ten questions and offered a range of possible answers. We then broke out the answers per hearing aid brand and applied them to each overall score.

Ease Of Cleaning

Most hearing aids need regular cleaning due to earwax buildup, sweat, and more.

We gave respondents a range of six possible answers on a sliding scale. The highest-score answer (worth six points) was “extremely easy to clean”, and the lowest-score answer (worth one point) was “extremely difficult to clean.”

Ease Of Changing Or Recharging Batteries

Hearing aids are small. If a hearing aid has batteries that need replacing, the process needs to be simple and painless. We also asked rechargeable hearing aid users how easy it was to charge their devices.

Respondents could answer six different ways on a sliding scale. The highest-scoring answer (worth six points) was “extremely easy” and the lowest-scoring answer (worth one point) was “extremely difficult.”

Ease Of Pairing To Bluetooth

Bluetooth is one of the best modern features for digital hearing aids. By pairing your hearing aids to other devices through Bluetooth, you can watch TV, take phone calls, or listen to music directly through your hearing aids.

However, depending on the hearing aid, pairing can be a challenge. We allowed our respondents to answer this question with one of the five following responses:

  1. Unable to pair hearing aid to mobile device (two points)
  2. It takes more than three tries (three points)
  3. Connected on the second try (four points)
  4. Connected on the first try (five points)
  5. Connected immediately (six points)

Number Of Repairs Within Warranty Period

Hearing aids usually come with a limited-time warranty. These warranties can last between 90 days and three years and can cover loss, damage, theft and more.

We asked hearing aid users how many times their devices needed repairs within the warranty period. They could respond with one of the following answers:

  1. More than five occasions (one point)
  2. Several times (two points)
  3. Twice (three points)
  4. Once (four points)
  5. Never (five points)

Comfort/Fit

We also asked our respondents how well their hearing aids fit their ears. Comfort is an important contributor to hearing aid enjoyment, so we take it seriously. Our respondents could answer with one of six responses on a sliding scale. The highest-scoring answer (six points) was “extremely satisfied”, and the lowest-scoring answer (one point) was “extremely unsatisfied.”

Pricing

senior man doing online shopping with a credit card

Price is the second biggest contributor to our hearing aid scores. Hearing aid cost is often the number one concern among hearing aid users. That’s because hearing aids usually range in price between $1,500-$5,000 per pair.

At Aging In Place, we want to recommend devices that have the best value for the lowest price possible. Our reviews will always show the range between the lowest and highest costs of a hearing aid brand’s models. In our research and testing, we found that a bigger price tag didn’t always mean a better hearing aid.

We also work hard to gather costs for extended warranties and add-ons while keeping you updated on special sales and promotions to save you money.

Each hearing aid’s cost and value accounts for 30 percent of its final score. We composed those scores from the following three contributing factors.

Moneyback Guarantee

Moneyback guarantees are important, especially when you’re buying online. If you’re not happy with your purchase, most hearing aid companies offer guarantees that allow you to return the device within a limited-time window. Each company will take the device back for any reason and return your payment in full.

We researched which hearing aid companies have a moneyback guarantee policy and singled out the ones that don’t. If a company offered a moneyback guarantee, it received full points for this metric.

Three-Year Warranty

Hearing aid companies usually offer warranties covering loss, theft, and damage. The length of those warranties varies, with the maximum we’ve seen being three years. We awarded hearing aid companies full points if they offer a three-year warranty.

Value For The Price

Everyone knows the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Like anything else, more expensive hearing aids may come with more features. Sometimes, however, pricier options can still be lacking necessary features you need.

We assigned a range between 1-5 score for this category based on how many features a hearing aid model carries. Each hearing aid received five points if it offered all eight features we test for (see our Features section below).

Customer Support

Buying a hearing aid online comes with many advantages, but it also means customer support needs to be top-notch. What if you receive your hearing aids and they don’t fit well? What if your hearing aids stop working and you need to contact someone?

Customer support is an essential component of our methodology, making up 20 percent of our scores. We broke these customer support scores down into two driving factors: regular phone support and follow-up care support.

Regular Phone Support

young team of call center managers working together

We based our evaluations of a hearing aid company’s phone support on:

  • How easy it was to find a phone number
  • Hours of availability hours (business hours vs. 24/7)
  • Friendliness
  • Helpfulness

Listed below is our breakdown of possible scores between 1-5:

  1. Difficult to find a phone number on the company’s website (one point)
  2. Available during business hours and unfriendly (two points)
  3. Available 24/7 by phone, but unfriendly (three points)
  4. Available during business hours and friendly (four points)
  5. Available 24/7 by phone and very friendly (five points)

Follow-Up Care

What happens after you buy hearing aids online? We believe hearing aid brands should follow up with you to ensure your hearing aids work properly and suit your needs.

We assigned possible scores ranging between 1-5 for this category, which we have explained below:

  1. Follow-up care only happens over the phone, and it’s difficult to find a phone number on the company’s website (one point).
  2. Follow-up care only happens over the phone, and they’re unfriendly (two points).
  3. Follow-up care happens by video through telehealth options (three points).
  4. Follow-up care happens through in-person appointments, but there’s a long waiting period or not much availability (four points).
  5. Follow-up care happens in person, and it’s easy to get an appointment (five points).

Features

woman holding hearing aid

Hearing aids today come with a wide range of high-tech features. We looked for eight specific features common to modern hearing aids:

  • Bluetooth
  • Directional microphones
  • Feedback suppression
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Telecoil
  • Additional special features

If a hearing aid brand’s devices had each feature, the company received full points for this category.

Features counted for 10 percent of our total scoring. These scores also contributed to the Value metric under our Pricing category.

Reputation and Credibility

We reserved the final piece of our methodology for a hearing aid company’s reputation and credibility in the industry. To determine that, we read thousands of verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) and TrustPilot. We took the average of those scores and incorporated them into our ratings, making up 5 percent of the total score.

Our Hearing Aid Professionals

Aging In Place partners with audiologists who medically review our content for accuracy.

Dr. Brad Ingrao, Audiologist

Brad Ingrao earned his Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree in 2005, but has been practicing in the field since the 1990s. He is an active member of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

See the Best Hearing Aids for 2022

We compiled all this data to create our 2022 roundup of the best hearing aids. Start your research today, and let us help you take your next step to better hearing.

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WRITTEN BY

Zach Riggs has worked as a professional writer since 2016 covering topics in healthcare, tech and personal finance for publications including Forbes, MarketWatch, Gizmodo and more. He currently specializes in coverage on hearing aids and medical alert systems.

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