Phonak vs. Starkey: Hearing Aid Comparison 2023

Updated: Apr 28, 2023 keeps our resources free by working as an affiliate partner with some companies mentioned on our site. These partnerships or the commission we may earn do not affect our opinions or evaluations of the products we mention. Our reviews are solely based on our research methodology and from input from our Advisory Board. Learn more about our ad policies.

Phonak and Starkey are two of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the market. If you’ve come across these two brands while shopping for hearing aids, you might be wondering how they stack up against each other. To help with your decision-making between the two brands, we’ve put together this comparison to help you find the ideal hearing aid for your unique needs. 

lady putting on hearing aid

Key Takeaways

  • Phonak and Starkey offer similar high-quality hearing aids with advanced sound technology for superior sound quality. 
  • Both brands require you to visit an in-person provider, as neither sells products directly to consumers online.
  • Each brand offers a variety of styles and models to suit various hearing needs, including for individuals with mild to profound hearing loss. 

Phonak and Starkey Hearing Aids

Phonak is a Swiss-owned manufacturer that is operated by its parent company, Sonova. Starkey is a U.S.-based manufacturer with headquarters located in Minnesota. 

Both brands offer high-quality hearing aid technology that must be purchased via an authorized provider. In other words, you can’t buy these hearing aids online.

Bluetooth Hearing Aids

That makes Phonak and Starkey hearing aids prescription-grade. These devices are custom-fitted or custom-adjusted based on your specific hearing needs. 

Both Phonak and Starkey offer smartphone-compatible hearing aid models, allowing you to stream audio straight to your hearing aids. Newer models from these brands also deliver innovative features, like background noise suppression powered by artificial intelligence. 

Keep in mind that not all hearing aid models from Phonak or Starkey have the same features, and feature sets will depend on the specific device you choose. For example, because they’re so small, hearing aids like invisible-in-canal (IIC) devices may not have Bluetooth connectivity or built-in telecoil technology. 

Both brands offer a few similar features, including:

  • Custom-fitted hearing aids 
  • Option for rechargeable or replaceable batteries
  • Settings for people with tinnitus
  • Compatible smartphone apps
  • Technology suitable for all types of hearing loss, including severe and profound hearing loss
  • Bluetooth connectivity and device streaming 
  • Multiple hearing aid styles 
  • Water-resistant devices 
  • Telecoil options 
  • Noise reduction technology
  • Directional microphones

Comparing Features

Here’s a quick overview comparing each hearing aid brand’s features.

Phonak Varies according to provider
Starkey Varies according to provider
Available online?
Phonak No, only available through a hearing provider
Starkey No, only available through a hearing provider
Types of hearing loss
Phonak Mild to profound
Starkey Mild to profound
Tinnitus masking
Phonak Yes
Starkey Yes
Bluetooth connectivity
Phonak Yes
Starkey Yes
Smartphone app
Phonak Yes
Starkey Yes
FDA approval
Phonak Yes
Starkey Yes
Styles offered
Phonak BTE, ITE, and RIC
Starkey IIC, ITC, CIC, ITE, BTE, and RIC
Noise reduction
Phonak Yes (except the Lyric model, which uses the ear’s anatomy to minimize sound)
Starkey Yes, all models
Microphone type
Phonak Directional microphone (except the Lyric)
Starkey Yes, except for certain styles on some models
Phonak Rechargeable and replaceable
Starkey Rechargeable (except Picasso)
Water resistant
Phonak Yes, all models
Starkey Yes, all models
Phonak Yes (except the Lyric)
Starkey Yes (except Picasso and some styles)

Styles Offered By Phonak and Starkey

Both hearing aid brands manufacture multiple models and styles of hearing aids. Here’s a quick look at what each offers:

Starkey Hearing Aids

The Picasso device is a custom-fitted hearing aid that is available in multiple styles, including invisible-in-the-canal (IIC), completely-in-the-canal (CIC), ITC, and in-the-ear (ITE).

The Livio device is a rechargeable hearing aid that offers premium sound quality. It’s available in multiple styles, including ITC, ITE, RIC, and BTE.

The Livio AI is a step up from the Livio model, with additional features like activity tracking and transcription. 

The most advanced model in the Livio series, the Edge AI device also features activity tracking and transcription, as well as fall detection and alerts. 

The Evolv AI is Starkey’s premium hearing aid model. It provides “elite sound quality,” along with features like activity tracking, transcription, language translation and remote adjustments. It’s available in multiple styles, such as IIC, CIC, ITC, ITE, RIC, and BTE. 

Phonak Hearing Aids

The Sky Marvel device is specifically designed for children and comes in many fun, bright colors. These hearing aids feature an operating system specifically built with children in mind that helps clarify sound in child-specific environments like classrooms. 

There are three different Sky Marvel models. The most basic, known as the M-M model, is designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. The M-PR version is rechargeable and suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. Finally, the M-SP is suitable for all types of hearing loss. All Sky Marvel models are BTE hearing aids. 

Titanium Virto hearing aids are discreet and custom-fitted. These hearing aids are suitable for mild to severe hearing loss and have a replaceable battery. A nontitanium model is also available.

These rechargeable hearing aids are Bluetooth-enabled and compatible with the myPhonak smartphone app. These hearing aids are only available in a RIC style. There are three models to choose from, including one telecoil-equipped option. 

Audéo Paradise features personalized noise canceling technology and is compatible with the brand’s smartphone app. It’s only available in the RIC style, but comes in several models, including those with rechargeable and replaceable battery options. Some models are also equipped with a telecoil. 

These Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids are designed to connect to your IOS or Android smart devices via the myPhonak app. This model is available in multiple colors and only comes in an RIC style. 

These BTE hearing aids are smartphone compatible and feature advanced sound technology, including dynamic noise cancellation that allows you to personalize how much noise cancellation you want based on your environment. Plus, you’ll experience motion sensor hearing, which makes it easier to have a conversation on the go.

There are two versions of the Paradise—one for individuals with mild to severe hearing loss and the other for those with severe to profound hearing loss. 

The Lyric is an invisible hearing aid that offers natural sound. The Lyric is only available through a yearly subscription service. When the battery runs out, your provider will replace the hearing aid. 

Connectivity of Starkey vs. Phonak

Elderly using a smartphone app.

Both brands offer hearing aid models with Bluetooth connectivity. Each brand also has a smartphone app that’s compatible with many of its hearing aid devices. Apps are available for both Android and iOS. 

Some models can stream audio from your devices right to your hearing aids. Make sure to check feature lists before assuming a device is equipped with Bluetooth. While some discreet hearing aids are equipped with advanced sound technology, their small size may mean they cannot support Bluetooth streaming. 

Pricing: Phonak vs. Starkey

The cost of Phonak and Starkey hearing aids varies depending on your hearing aid provider. Because they’re prescription hearing aids that require an in-person visit to a hearing specialist, such an audiologist, you can expect them to be priced higher than over-the-counter (OTC) devices that you can buy directly online.

As you are calculating your estimated costs, remember to also factor in the cost of the audiologist visit. On average, you can expect to pay more than $1,000 per ear for these devices. 

Other Hearing Aid Brands We Recommend

If Starkey or Phonak hearing aids aren’t quite what you’re looking for, you may want to consider these other brands: 


Both Phonak and Starkey offer quality hearing aids with similar features and have many styles available. Because both companies require an in-person visit to a hearing professional, we recommend talking to a health care professional about your options. These experts can give you more information about pricing and advise you on which model might suit your type of hearing loss and personal needs best. 

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Review

4,000+ Hours of research
11 Experts consulted
17 Brands considered
18 Models considered
10 Models selected

Our experts research and recommend products that can help give you a better quality of life. Using our high standards and rigorous testing methodology, we’ve spent more than 4,000 hours, collectively, researching the best hearing aids to help you find the device that’s best for you. Throughout our research process, we did the following:

  • Consulted with audiologists and geriatric care experts
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed hundreds of hearing aid users
  • Tested various models of hearing aids
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read thousands of verified customer reviews 

Frequently Asked Questions

Pricing varies according to your hearing aid provider. We recommend talking to a hearing specialist about options that fit within your budget. Some hearing professionals may be able to offer you financing options as well.

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Coelho Steph. "Phonak vs. Starkey: Hearing Aid Comparison 2023" Apr 28, 2023. Web. Sep 30, 2023. <>.


Coelho S. (2023, Apr 28). Phonak vs. Starkey: Hearing Aid Comparison 2023.


Steph Coelho, "Phonak vs. Starkey: Hearing Aid Comparison 2023," last modified: Apr 28, 2023,