Best Hearing Aids Brands
Senior Products Contributing Editor
Updated on 11/06/2017
Over 36 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss, and hearing aids – small sound amplification devices worn inside or around a person’s ear – are one of the most common ways people manage it. Today, the need for hearing aids is growing as more people are diagnosed with hearing loss each year.
While there are many types of hearing aids and many causes of hearing loss, the purpose of a hearing aid is always the same: to amplify sound and improve the wearer’s quality of life. Hearing aids can vary in placement, features and pricing.
Compare Top Hearing Aid Reviews
Read 302 Reviews
Hear.com continuously strives to provide their customers with top quality products that will also accommodate their budget. hear.com helps consumers find the right hearing aid through an easy, hassle-free process.
|Miracle-Ear Hearing Aids|
Read 1668 Reviews
Miracle-Ear has equipped its customers with hearing aids for more than 65 years. The company currently has a network of over 1,200 locations nationwide, and they offer hearing aids with a three-year warranty.
|Zounds Hearing Aids|
Read 377 Reviews
Zounds Hearing was created by an engineer who has a hearing-impaired daughter. The company offers several exclusive hearing aid models, in addition to various accessories which are available at franchise hearing aid centers.
|Beltone Hearing Aids|
Read 542 Reviews
Beltone was founded in Chicago in 1940. Today, the hearing aid company has 1,500 locations in 27 different countries, and it provides hearing aids and services primarily to customers aged 50 and older.
Read 177 Reviews
Embrace Hearing provides high performance, state-of-the-art, German-engineered hearing aids directly to you for about 1/3 of the price of local retailers. They provide custom programming, free shipping & 24/7 customer service.
|ReSound Hearing Aids|
Read 117 Reviews
ReSound is a hearing aid company that was founded in 1943. The innovative hearing aids made by ReSound rely on smart technology, including device connectivity and apps, to help people hear better.
|Widex Hearing Aids|
Read 91 Reviews
Widex focuses on creating wireless and discreet hearing aids for both adults and children. The innovative hearing aid company is headquartered in Denmark and has dealers across the United States.
|Costco Hearing Aid Center|
Read 33 Reviews
Costco Hearing Aid Centers offer the latest in hearing aid technology and open-fit design, with easy-to-use and value priced hearing aids. After a free hearing test, customers can choose from a wide selection of styles.
|Starkey Hearing Aids|
Read 29 Reviews
Starkey Hearing Technologies focuses on innovative products and was first to introduce nanotechnology to hearing aids. As the only privately held American-owned hearing aid company, they maintain a global network.
|Phonak Hearing Aids|
Read 63 Reviews
Phonak International was founded in 1947. The company, which is headquartered in Switzerland, offers both pediatric and adult hearing solutions through an extensive network of international distributors.
Common questions about hearing aids
How do the hearing aids fit?
One of the most important considerations is the way a hearing aid fits on a person’s ear. The fit of a hearing aid not only affects the way it feels but also how it works. Different fits are better for different types of hearing difficulties.
- Behind-the-ear aids: Behind-the-ear aids are plastic and rest behind a wearer’s ear. They are often used for children because they are easy to wear on different ear types and easy to clean. They have a small plastic tube that connects them to a rubber ear mold that sits inside the outer ear and ear canal.
- On-the-ear aids: These are a smaller version of the behind-the-ear aids that sit behind the wearer’s ear with increased comfort and less visibility. These are sometimes called open fit behind-the-ear aids.
- In-the-ear aids: In-the-ear aids are plastic and sit in the outer part of a wearer’s ear. They are visible but not as noticeable or cumbersome as behind-the-ear aids and usually come in shades of tan to make them less noticeable. These come in full-shell and half-shell models. Full shells are larger and fill the entire outer part of the ear, while half shell fills about half of the outer ear.
- In-the-canal aids: In-the-canal aids sit completely in a wearer’s ear canal, meaning they offer the least amount of visibility and excellent listening advantages. These come in two sizes depending on how small you want the aid to be, usually referred to as canal and completely-in-canal aids.
Do the aids have noise reduction technology?
The human brain automatically filters out background noise in those with typical hearing, but people with hearing loss have more difficulty honing in on specific sounds, like the voice of someone speaking to you in a crowded room. Hearing aids help by amplifying sound, but they don’t distinguish between important sounds you want to hear and distracting background noise. Hearing aids with the ability to reduce background noises can improve your ability to hear the right sounds, such as people speaking to you, while drowning out the unnecessary sounds around you.
- Directional microphone: A directional microphone reduces noise that comes in from the sides and back and amplifies the sound from the front. Some high-tech hearing aids can adapt the direction of the microphone automatically by mapping and responding to the sounds in a person’s environment.
- Multiple channels: In order to reduce unavoidable ambient noise like the whirring of fans or humming of machines, many hearing aids are equipped with multiple channels. Several channels that pick up ambient sound are reduced, while other channels that amplify speech or voice sounds are prioritized.
- Wind noise manager: Wind blowing across a hearing aid produces a loud and distracting sound like blowing into a microphone directly in the ear of the wearer. Many hearing aids are equipped with electronic features that are able to reduce extra sound created by blowing wind.
Do the aids reduce feedback?
Electronic interference can cause hearing aids to emit an unpleasant, high-pitched whistling sound. To avoid feedback, many hearing aids are now equipped with technology to reduce such problems.
- Feedback reduction technology: While the fit or shape of a hearing aid can help control feedback, there is now special technology that can help reduce feedback as well. This feedback suppression technology requires a calibration test and then is able to detect and reduce feedback once it starts.
- Proper fitting: Feedback in hearing aids can happen when sounds leak back to the hearing aid’s microphone. The better your ear mold fits, the less likely it is to produce feedback, since feedback can happen when sound waves move through the ear canal around the hearing aid in a feedback loop. Growing children or adults who have recently lost weight may find that their hearing aid mold needs to be resized to avoid feedback.
How well do the aids enhance speech?
In addition to reducing background noise, many hearing aids are outfitted with technology that helps them enhance speech. This technology can help people hear others’ voices and the noises they are actually intending to listen to.
- Speech detecting directionality: In addition to reducing noise from the sides and the back of a listener, the directional microphone increases the sound of noise right in front of a wearer, which is great in situations where a speaker will be across from you, such as in a classroom setting or when sitting across from a loved one at a table. Some devices are equipped with technology allowing it to actually detect speech sounds and amplify those while suppressing other sounds.
- Wide dynamic range compression: This feature helps increase softer sounds more than louder sounds so that listeners can hear voices and soft conversations, which are often lower in volume than unnecessary background or atmospheric noise.
How do you program the aids?
People who wear hearing aids wear them in many environments with varying noise levels and acoustics, such as a classroom, cafeteria and gymnasium. If the hearing aids are kept at a constant volume, they can be too quiet in some settings and uncomfortably loud in others. Some hearing aids can be programmed to adjust to various noise environments by storing volume levels and frequency adjustments for specific situations.
- Pre-programmed aids: The simplest hearing aids have come pre-programmed by your audiologist or hearing aid specialist at a volume that is recommended for your level of hearing loss. For example, children’s hearing aids are typically pre-programmed to prevent children from inadvertently turning the volume up too loud and damaging their eardrums.
- Button operated: Some hearing aids have a very small button on the earpiece that you can press to switch between pre-programmed settings as you change environments. For instance, you may have one setting for the office and another for home.
- Remote-control operated: Some hearing aids have separate remote control devices to adjust volume and program preferences for various times of the day, or to switch between two or more pre-programmed settings.
- Computer chip operated: Some hearing aids are equipped with the technology to sense a change in location and switch programs based on the sounds in the new space.
Do the aids use innovative technology?
Smart technology is making an impact in the hearing aid industry. Some manufacturers are incorporating new technological innovations to improve the wearer’s experience and the device’s effectiveness and efficiency.
- Telephone compatibility: Electronic interference from telephone conversations can cause problems with hearing aids, and many hearing aid users avoid talking on the phone for this reason. Some hearing aids have a special technology called a telecoil that can reduce feedback and increase sound while wearers are talking on the phone. The telecoil transmits sound information from the telephone via magnetic signal rather than acoustic signal, which prevents feedback.
- Mobile apps: Some hearing aid companies have developed mobile apps that allow users to program the sound level on their hearing aids from their mobile device. You can also stream music to your hearing aids through the app, receive mobile notifications when you need to replace your batteries and more.
- IFTTT connection: Some hearing aids are able to connect to the Internet in order to use a web-based service called “If This Then That” or IFTTT. IFTTT uses applets to program your hearing aids and other smart devices in your home to respond to one another in certain circumstances. For example, you may add an IFTTT applet so that if you turn off your hearing aids at night, then all the lights in your home will turn off and your security system will turn on.
What are the different types of hearing aids?
Digital hearing aids
Digital hearing aids use digitized sound processing to turn sound waves into digital signals. They also have the technology to distinguish noise from speech. These are the most commonly prescribed devices today.
Programmable hearing aids
New technology makes it possible for users to program their hearing aids using a remote control or mobile-based app. Because they are programmable, digital programmable hearing aids can switch between settings as your environment changes.
Conventional analog hearing aids work by making sound waves louder. They are not able to distinguish between speech and noise. These hearing aids have become less popular as digital hearing aids have developed and are no longer available for purchase in most areas.
Sound amplification headphones
Some people may experience hearing difficulties but not to the degree that they require full hearing aids. For example, some people have hearing loss only on lower sound frequencies, meaning that they may struggle to hear voices in a crowded environment but do not need any other hearing support. Sound amplification headphones and earbuds are an affordable, portable solution for use in situations when hearing may be more difficult.
Who uses hearing aids?
Those with mild to severe hearing loss
Hearing loss is classified on a scale of minor, mild, moderate, severe or profound. Hearing aids are most beneficial for people with mild to severe hearing loss. Most audiologists don’t recommend aids for people with minor loss because the benefits are minor compared to the expense and inconvenience. Hearing aids are also not generally recommended for people with profound hearing loss because they are not effective, but people with profound loss may be candidates for cochlear implants instead.
People with bilateral hearing loss
In addition to mild to severe hearing loss, the ideal candidate for hearing aids has bilateral hearing loss, or loss in both ears. Most people with hearing loss in only one ear can adapt well without needing a hearing aid. The hearing loss doesn’t need to be symmetrical; for instance, a candidate for hearing aids may have mild loss in one ear and moderate loss in the other, since hearing aids can be programmed separately.
It is common for people to gradually lose their hearing as they age, usually after age 50. Hearing aids allow people to hear well even as their physical ability to hear declines over time.
Children with hearing difficulties
Some children are born without full hearing capabilities or may develop hearing loss in childhood. Hearing aids designed for babies and children allow them to grow up hearing sounds even if they naturally lack the full physical capability. It is important to fit babies and children for hearing aids as soon as hearing loss is diagnosed because the brain is most plastic, or able to adapt, early in life and can rewire itself to learn to process sounds correctly through hearing aids.
People with acquired or progressive hearing loss
Many people experience hearing loss due to exposure to very loud noises, accidents, diseases or progressive degeneration related to genetics. Hearing aids can help people of all ages continue to hear despite physical challenges.
People who experience tinnitus
Tinnitus is a symptom that can be caused by many possible disorders. It causes ringing, buzzing, roaring or hissing sounds in one or both ears. Many people with tinnitus also have hearing loss, but tinnitus can also occur in isolation. Although there is no treatment for tinnitus that actually eliminates or reduces the unwanted sounds, new hearing aid technology can help relieve the pain and annoyance of tinnitus by using sound therapy to mask the ringing or buzzing sounds. Pleasant, neutral noises or even music can be projected into the ear to deaden or counteract the ringing.
Hearing aid expert reviews
Headquartered in Minnesota, Miracle-Ear is one of the oldest and most trusted hearing aid companies in the United States. Miracle-Ear has been a well-known name in the hearing aid industry since its founding over 65 years ago. It operates both corporately-owned and franchised locations that offer hearing evaluations, hearing aid consultations, fittings, maintenance and more.
Founded in 1940, Beltone is one of America’s oldest hearing aid companies. The Chicago-based company manufactures its own hearing aids and sells them in over 50 countries worldwide. Its target market is patients 50 years old and above.
Founded in 1943, ReSound is an international hearing aid company headquartered in Ballerup, Denmark. ReSound is one of the largest suppliers of hearing aids in the world with distributors in more than 80 countries and more than 4,100 employees worldwide.
Embrace Hearing offers consumers a discreet, affordable and customized hearing aid that can help with any amount of hearing loss, including severe hearing loss. The company is based in the United States, and they ship their German technology hearing aids anywhere in the world.
Century Hearing Aids was founded in 2010 to provide affordable, quality hearing aids to consumers. Century is a family-owned company with the express goal of putting the customer first. Century is also veteran-owned and offers military discounts to active service members and military veterans.
hear.com is an online company that partners with hearing aid providers and audiologists around the world. It sells hearing aids from all major manufacturers at every price point to help individuals address their hearing loss. It was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in Miami, Florida.
Zounds Hearing was founded by Sam Thomasson, an engineer and medical device developer who has a hearing-impaired daughter and wanted to improve on existing hearing aid technology for her and others with hearing loss. Zounds strives to create hearing aids for today’s world, compatible with cell phones, car communication systems and televisions. Zounds hearing aids are available throughout nearly all of the contiguous United States.
Oticon is a Denmark-based manufacturer of hearing aids. Founded in 1904 by a man who wanted to help his hearing-impaired wife, Oticon is one of the longest-lived hearing aid companies in the world. The company has American headquarters in New Jersey and has long been at the forefront of hearing and auditory research.
Founded in 1956, Widex is a hearing aid manufacturer based in Denmark. Widex is a hearing aid industry leader, ranking among the top six manufacturers worldwide. Its products are sold through independent clinical practices in over 100 countries. Widex specializes in innovative digital technology. In fact, Widex invented the first digital in-the-ear hearing aid.
Rexton is a hearing aid brand and division of Sivantos Group, a major hearing aid manufacturer based in Singapore. Rexton has been creating hearing aids for more than 50 years and has distributors in many countries around the world.
Unitron is a global company that designs and manufacturers hearing aids. Unitron has been in business for more than 50 years and has 20 international offices and 50 international partners. Unitron hearing aids are sold at many hearing clinics and audiology offices throughout the United States and many other countries.
Phonak is an international hearing aid manufacturer with subsidiaries and distribution partners in more than 100 countries. Founded in 1947, Phonak is a member of the Sonova group of hearing aid companies.
HearingPlanet is a hearing aid distributor. While they do not perform hearing evaluations, HearingPlanet partners with hearing clinics to help customers with hearing loss understand their options prior to purchasing hearing aids. They provide telephone and email-based consultations and partner with over 1,600 clinics throughout the United States to help you get a full hearing evaluation from professionals.
Costco is a multinational chain of membership-based wholesale stores with locations throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Spain. Costco Hearing Aid Center is a division of Costco, available in select locations. Costco Hearing Aid Center offers hearing tests, checkups and hearing aids for purchase.
MDHearingAid is a discount hearing aid provider, specializing in basic hearing aids for the budget-conscious consumer. Founded by an ear, nose and throat doctor, Sreekant Cherukuri, in Chicago, MDHearingAid seeks to create the highest-quality hearing aid at the lowest possible price. The MDHearingAid line amplifies sounds associated with the human voice and decreases sounds associated with noise.
As one of the world's largest membership based warehouse retail chains, Sam's Club offers a range of specialty services to its customers. Some Sam’s Clubs feature a Hearing Solutions center, and select models of hearing aids are also available for purchase on Sam’s Club’s website.
Signia Hearing Aids, formerly known as Siemens Hearing Aids, is the United States division of Sivantos, a global hearing aid corporation. Signia draws on the technological innovation of Siemens, which has been a leading innovator in the hearing support industry since Werner von Siemens developed a telephone receiver for the hearing impaired in 1878.
Founded in 1967, Starkey Hearing Technologies is an American-owned company that partners with customers, manufacturers and facilities around the world to provide innovative hearing solutions for consumers. Starkey believes every person has the right to hear the world around them, which is why they make a donation to the Starkey Hearing Foundation with every purchase made. To date, they have helped donate over 1 million hearing aids globally.
LIZN ApS is a sound solutions company based in Denmark. It has developed a prescription-free, unique solution for individuals with difficulty hearing speech in noisy situations. LIZN Hearphones are simple earbuds that are affordable, portable and helpful for those with mild hearing loss or no hearing loss at all but who simply want a bit of help hearing in crowded environments. The Hearphones are available for preorder and will ship in summer 2017.
- Simple, effective speech amplification: Hearphones feature both advanced sound processing and directional microphones that help you hear someone talking directly to you while simultaneously blocking the sound of background noise. They are great for classroom settings, noisy restaurants, concerts and more. They offer two amplification levels, normal and boost, depending on how much sound amplification you require.
- Affordable and accessible: Standard hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars, which is unreasonable for those who have difficulty hearing only in noisy environments and otherwise do not need hearing support. LIZN Hearphones are available for only $149 plus shipping and can be purchased online without requiring a visit to a hearing specialist.
- Complete solution: When you purchase LIZN Hearphones, you receive two Hearphones (left and right), three sizes of eartips (small, medium and large), a charger, carrying case, USB cable, manual and warranty. There is no need to purchase any additional accessories.
- Color options: LIZN Hearphones offer an attractive hearing solution. They are rounded and resemble typical earbuds used to listen to music. They are available in four stylish colors: antracite grey, cafe latte, ruby red and dark ocean blue.
- No hassle returns: LIZN offers customers a 14-day no-hassle return policy. If the Hearphones don’t work for you, you can return them for a refund.
- Best for: people with mild to moderate hearing loss who need hearing support in noisy environments.
Earlens is an innovative hearing aid system that reduces feedback, increases sound frequency range and reduces environmental noise. Earlens looks like a conventional behind-the-ear hearing aid when you’re wearing it. But unlike conventional hearing aids that use speakers to amplify sound, Earlens turns sound into light and transmits it directly to your eardrum. This new technology creates a crisper, more natural sound. Earlens hearing aids are available from select ear, nose and throat physicians across the United States. Earlens Corporation is headquartered in Menlo Park, California.
- How it works: If your ENT determines you’re a good candidate for Earlens, they’ll take a mold of your eardrum. Then Earlens will make a custom-fit lens that your ENT will place directly on your eardrum in a painless, quick procedure. The lens stays in place using surface tension, much like a contact lens. A behind-the-ear processor transmits sound down a tube into your ear canal, where it is converted into light that reflects onto the lens to activate your hearing.
- Better sound quality: Earlens hearing aids can help you hear a broad sound frequency range from 125-10,000Hz, more than triple the range of conventional hearing aids. They also deliver a crisper sound with less whistling feedback and less environmental and wind noise.
- Programmable: The Earlens processor can be programmed for various noise environments like a quiet dinner, a loud concert or a classroom. You can choose from four custom programs and 20 channels.
- Rechargeable: You’ll never need to purchase hearing aid batteries if you use Earlens. The processor contains rechargeable batteries, so you simply dock the processor to its charger when you go to bed at night. The processor fully recharges in four hours and holds its charge for 24 hours.
- Warranty: Earlens hearing aids come with a three-year warranty. You’ll get a new lens once a year during those three years, and you’ll also receive free software updates.
- Best for: people with hearing loss who want to reduce whistling feedback and hear better in noisy environments.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
Compare Top Hearing Aid Reviews
Read 21 Reviews
MDHearingAid, founded by a board-certified ear, nose and throat doctor, sells discount basic hearing aids at a fraction of the price of major brands. The company is based in Chicago and sells its products online.
|Oticon Hearing Aids|
Read 47 Reviews
Oticon is a hearing aid company that has been in business for over 100 years. Founded in Denmark, the company now offers a range of hearing aids for customers of all ages, using advanced technology and a sleek design aesthetic.
|Sam's Club Hearing Aids|
Read 6 Reviews
Sam's Club Hearing Aids are available for purchase online and in Sam’s Club stores. Hearing tests are performed for free, and a range of styles are available. Batteries and accessories are also sold at low prices.
Read 7 Reviews
Signia Hearing Aids is the United States division of Sivantos, a global hearing aid company. Signia draws on a 130-year history in the hearing industry and offers a range of hearing aids for those with mild to severe hearing loss.
Read 7 Reviews
Unitron is a hearing aid company that was founded in 1964. Headquartered in Waterloo, Canada, the company now has 20 international offices, and it designs and manufactures hearing aids for customers of all ages.
|Century Hearing Aids|
Read 46 Reviews
Century Hearing Aids was created with the intent of providing top quality hearing aids at a low price. With this in mind, the company has been able to change the lives of many of their customers with their hearing aid technology.
Founded in 1999, HearingPlanet is an online hearing aid retailer headquartered in Tennessee. HearingPlanet partners with more than 1,600 clinic locations across the United States and provides its consulting services remotely.
|Rexton Hearing Aids||Read Reviews|
Rexton has been making hearing aids for more than 50 years. The hearing aid company, which is owned by Sivantos, has eight unique types of hearing aids and many accessories designed for those with mild to profound hearing loss.
|Earlens||Read Expert Review|
Earlens is a hearing aid that converts sound to light using a lens that sits on the eardrum and a behind-the-ear processor. It reduces environmental noise and whistling feedback and increases the range of sound you can hear.
|LIZN||Read Expert Review|
LIZN is a hearing solutions company. Its Hearphones earbuds provide a solution for people who struggle to hear in noisy environments. They are available in several colors and are much more affordable than standard hearing aids.