In the past, hearing aids were difficult to use with cell phones because they didn’t always pick up the audio from the speaker. Modern Bluetooth hearing aids have built-in technology to stream high-quality audio from Bluetooth compatible devices. Bluetooth hearing aids often also come with other high-tech options, including directional microphones, tinnitus relief and noise cancellation. A hearing aid with Bluetooth capabilities is a great option if you listen to audio on several different devices. The hearing aid will shut off its receptors so it only picks up the audio from the Bluetooth device, not from background noise.
What are Bluetooth hearing aids?
Bluetooth technology allows compatible devices to connect and communicate wirelessly with a hearing aid. Bluetooth hearing aids are able to play high-quality audio sent directly from these devices, making it easier for users to listen to their smartphone, TV, radio or any other Bluetooth-compatible device.
Streaming audio directly from a Bluetooth-compatible device also means you can filter out background noises that would otherwise distract from your listening experience. This is useful if you are in a noisy environment and want to focus on a phone call or video.
The high volume of power required for maximum Bluetooth functionality means that true “Bluetooth hearing aids” do not yet exist. But while "Bluetooth hearing aids" don't technically exist, these add-ons allow you to use your hearing aids in much the same way as Bluetooth headphones.
- How do Bluetooth hearing aids work?
- To use a hearing aid’s Bluetooth capabilities, you will need to use a compatible streamer. These streamers typically come with the hearing aids and are worn around the neck just like a necklace. Once the Bluetooth hearing aid streamer is set up, it will be able to pick up Bluetooth signals from compatible devices like phones, televisions, tablets and computers.
A small piece of technology called a telecoil, located inside the hearing aid, listens for Bluetooth signals. When it receives these signals, the microphone in the hearing aid will turn off, allowing the user to focus completely on the audio device. With Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, it's easy for you to connect to Bluetooth compatible devices without significant effort on your part.
- How much is a Bluetooth hearing aid?
- Bluetooth hearing aids cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 each. These types of hearing aids come in a wide range of quality and offer differing technologies, so prices will vary accordingly. Bluetooth technology in hearing aids is becoming cheaper and more common, so don’t expect to pay a premium for this added technology. Bluetooth hearing aid prices shouldn’t differ significantly from the price of a hearing aid without Bluetooth capability.
- Are Bluetooth hearing aids better?
- Bluetooth hearing aids cost a bit more than conventional hearing aids, but they are well worth the investment. Bluetooth hearing aids provide a convenient way for you to clearly hear the audio on your devices and to personalize your listening experience. Bluetooth audio can be streamed in a way that doesn’t disturb those around you, similar to traditional headphones. These features make Bluetooth hearing aids worth the purchase.
Compare the top 5 best Bluetooth hearing aids
When determining which Bluetooth hearing aids are the best, we carefully considered audio quality, value, technology, comfort, customizability, battery life, warranty, tinnitus relief and additional features. The models we’ve chosen fit a wide range of budgets and come in a variety of styles, and the companies offering these models are trusted by consumers and have received positive reviews.
Miracle-Ear Genius RIC
Miracle-Ear’s products are designed to be compatible with a wide range of devices instead of being tailored for either Apple or Android technology. In addition to wireless options for handheld technology, Miracle-Ear also offers accessories that make it easier to watch television. As the name of the model implies, this hearing aid is a receiver-in-canal (RIC) type of hearing aid, which allows for a discreet look.
This hearing aid model has a telecoil for Bluetooth purposes, an option for rechargeable batteries, a push button and dedicated volume control. Through the Miracle-Ear app, users can adjust their settings for tinnitus, feedback reduction and noise reduction. Miracle-Ear’s Genius line uses their binaural Genius 3.0 technology, billed as the ability to send a complete audio signal. The Genius 3.0 RIC comes in eight colors with two case designs and two battery sizes (13 and 312).
Additional features like phone surround, speech isolation and VoiceTarget 360 are all intended to make it easier to hear speech even in noisy environments. This hearing aid is appropriate for users with mild to profound levels of hearing loss.
Best for customizability
Beltone Legend 9
Beltone offers accessories that work with nearly every kind of smartphone, tablet or other technology and can also help control or reduce feedback and symptoms of tinnitus. The company has stores nationwide, so you can visit and see in person which product works for you.
The Beltone Legend 9 model has 14 channels available. A Beltone practitioner will also help you customize up to four listening programs. Other helpful features include ear-to-ear synchronization, asymmetric phone handling and spatial directionality, which helps listeners focus on the speech of the person they're facing. Tinnitus Breaker Pro is another feature designed to help mask ringing from tinnitus. The Beltone Legend 9 also uses data logging to keep track of your hearing preferences. This information can be used by your Beltone practitioner to fine-tune your hearing aid.
Best for battery life
ReSound LiNX Quattro
ReSound aims to combine what your audiologist wants for your health and what you need to enjoy today’s technology. ReSound’s products are compatible with the latest in Bluetooth technology and work to amplify sound and make what is coming through your hearing aids sound as natural as possible.
The frequency bandwidth for streaming expands up to 9.5 kHz, allowing for a higher quality sound. Your audiologist can use an app called ReSound Assist to fine-tune your hearing aid remotely at your request to save you from an in-person visit. The hearing aid is also rechargeable, using a lithium-ion battery with full battery power after one overnight charge. Users just have to put the hearing aids in the charging station overnight. Users can expect 30 hours of battery life or 24 hours if streaming audio for 50 percent of the time.
Best for high-quality audio
The German-engineered Embrace H-700 hearing aid has a telecoil for Bluetooth streaming and push button for program control and volume control. It also features directionality and noise reduction. Multiple directional microphones help with voice recognition. SpeechBeam is a feature used to clarify speech even further; this costs an additional $300. It uses size 312 disposable batteries, and there are 16 channels.
The Embrace Bluetooth remote is compatible with this model, essentially turning the Embrace H-700 hearing aid into a Bluetooth-enabled device. Miracle-Ear bills this hearing aid as having a behind-the-ear (BtE) design with receiver-in-canal (RiC) technology. The hearing aid is light and small and is appropriate for users with mild to severe hearing loss.
The Embrace H-700 comes in seven different colors. There is a two-year manufacturer's warranty and a 45-day free trial period.
Best for tinnitus
Widex Beyond Fusion 2
The Beyond app, the companion app for this hearing aid, allows users to adjust hearing aid volume, mute hearing aids and adjust directional focus. Geotagging and the “Find My Hearing Aids” function are available in the app as well.
This is a receiver-in-canal (RiC) model with a telecoil for Bluetooth reception and a battery size of 312. There's also a push button for program control and environmental control. The water resistant coating helps protect the hearing aid from environmental damage. The Fusion 2 can be fitted with four different types of receivers, allowing it to be appropriate for wearers with mild to severe hearing loss.
Widex provides a wealth of technologies with this hearing aid. InterEar (IE) technology allows the hearing aids to work in tandem, acting as one system to provide consistent sound. Zen tones are a feature from Widex that help provide relief from tinnitus. This model has 15 channels, five customizable programs and 10 available colors. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.