Consumer Complaints and Reviews
This is my 2nd set of Phonak hearing aids (my bionic ears). I had an earlier set -- my first fitted hearing aids, and it was painful getting used to them. Those of you who were around in the 40s and 50s will remember what getting a new pair of leather soled shoes was like -- it took me about 3 months to get them fitted to my feet so they were comfortable to wear. That was what it was like getting my first set of Phonak bionic ears. On the other hand, my hearing improved greatly, and I had 3 settings -- general, music and mute. I could hear again, even if I did have to do a fair amount of adjusting volume.
My 2nd set, Phonak Virto V90FS have small computers in them, and they automatically adjust to the world around me -- crowd noises, background noise, music -- though I still have to manually adjust the volume for the thunderous applause of the rest of my class of 100+ people, to strong winds blowing across my ears, to the nearby crinkle of a potato chip bag. Still, my audiologist made them so they fit so well that I don't remember I have them in -- until I step into the shower, or get caught in the rain. I'm told they are somewhat water resistant. I also remember I have them in when I lie down for a nap or sleep. That's the only time they are uncomfortable.
I have ITE (in the ear) hearing aids because I do Aikido (a martial art which has lots of throws where I land hard on the mat or do a variety of rolls) and the only time one has fallen out in the last 6 years (over 1000 hours of practice) is when someone's elbow brushed my ear just right and my red bionic ear popped out and rolled across the mat. I just picked it up, put it back in, and continued practice... I like that my right bionic ear is red, the left blue, and the visible part when I am wearing them are flesh colored. Most don't notice I'm wearing bionic ears until I say so. I like that I can adjust the volume or turn them on or off by using the controls on just one ear. I also like that the sound from them seems to be somewhere in the center of my head, rather than in the two little plastic pieces in each ear.
My biggest complaint is that Phonak doesn't provide a good carrying case -- at least for my style of hearing aid. I use the largest battery -- size p13 -- because they last the longest -- about 9 or 10 days. My ears have a right angle, which means that the hearing aid is a little larger than those who have a straight in tunnel. It also means that the pretty boxes Phonak provides -- don't work very well. When I take my bionic ears out, I pull out the battery holders. I want to store the hearing aids with the battery holders extended, and they tend to get pushed back into the hearing aid by the lid of the case. This means that my wife starts shaking my shoulder, saying: "Your hearing aids are screaming." which I can't hear without my hearing aids in place.
Taking the batteries out if the hearing aid battery holder is not an option because there is no place to put them -- when opened batteries rattle together, they use up a lot of their useful life, and if I leave them in the closed or almost closed battery holders, then there is an extra 40 hours of use every week. I would like a hearing aid case that 1) is small enough to fit comfortably in my pocket, 2) will hold the hearing aids so the battery holders are easily held open (batteries not being used up) , and 3) has storage space for 3 or 4 spare (unused) batteries for future use.
My mother has worn hearing aids for over 25 years. Her first pair were by Beltone. $4500 after 2 years in the trash can. Her next aids were Siemens from Moran a local dealer. Very good and lasted many years. Next was Zounds. 2 weeks and they were returned. Irritated her ear and cost $4999. I read the article in Consumer Reports. She got her custom set of Phonak Brio hearing aids with remote. They are unbelievable. At 93 she hears wonderfully and understands normal conversations. What a gift for her family. Did I mention they cost $2800? A bargain??? I recommend them.
I have had the Q90's for a little over three years. One or the other, or both, have had to be sent back for repairs 16 times. Today, another return for yet another receiver replacement. Of course, warranty has expired. If you are considering Phonak, reconsider. The quality is terrible. The audiology office, Ascent Audiology and Hearing, have been great in expediting the returns and repairs.
I fully believe in this product and believe if used correctly others will benefit as well as. Hearing aids are not part time investments. They must be used every day all the time except when asleep to keep the benefits and know if they are effective!! Take this from someone with many years of experience. And you must care for them to get years of use out of them!!
Just got a pair of Phonak B90s. They are the best pair I have had. I have been wearing hearing aids for over 12 years. With the B90s the controls are all automatic and the sound fidelity is so good I can hear clocks ticking in the house. Hearing aid technology changes for the better so rapidly that replacing them every 3-4 years makes a lot of sense. The only drawback on the B90s it does not have an Android app for bluetooth. If you have a Apple you are in luck.
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My new Naida V90 hearing aid did not function properly on the first day. Disappointed with Phonak. Audiologist is great. I am concerned about Phonak's customer support and quality control process. Fingers crossed and glad to have grace period. A high price for something that is important but not quality controlled.
The Phonak "Compilot" bluetooth pendant supposedly pairs with a Bluetooth source such as an iPad or computer. It works only occasionally. Within any fifteen-minute stretch of being paired with a source it will drop out five or six times, each time with a voice telling you that it has stopped pairing or is pairing or is turning off or some such thing. It's a recipe for irritation and occasionally serious inconvenience - such as when you are listening for weather warnings, news bulletins, etc. While I have been typing this I have gotten four messages from the Compilot: "Bluetooth Audio"; "Compilot stopped pairing"; "Bluetooth pairing stopped"; "Bluetooth audio." Each time it either interrupts or completely stops connecting with the source. I am seriously tempted to try some "hammer therapy" on the bloody thing.
Costco Phonak Brio 2 - Purchased 11-16-2016. Seventy-eight year-old male with moderate to severe hearing loss from unattenuated exposure to jet aircraft. I had not looked into hearing aids until I started having difficulty distinguishing individual words in a movie theater with all the volume they customarily use. Went to local Costco on the recommendation of a fellow pilot and was highly impressed with the personal attention and, what I perceived as, the expertise of the audiologist working at the Costco kiosk. The combination of the extended 180 day trial period, the two-year extended warranty and the recommendation of the friend prompted me to take the plunge and buy the Brio 2. Which brings up the subject of documentation. Apparently, the Brio allows custom functions which are programmed by Costco, and there is no place to find written instructions for some basic operations. The Phonak website is notably deficient.
I was specifically impressed with the several automatic pre-programmed environmental modes for music, driving, restaurants, etc. During the fitting, these modes and operation of the aids were explained...mostly. I missed the explanation of how the volume of the aids was controlled with the volume buttons on the top of the aids and searching the included instructions and available online help was no help. How they worked was explained on the first follow-up visit. As many as Costco sells, there is no reason for not having better instructions and documentation.
The iPhone Bluetooth capability was also a selling point. I didn't realize that this option requires the use of the goofy ComPilot Air II to work at all. It does work, but my impression was that no "streamer" was necessary. I know there is a lot of technology crammed into these little buds, but having to have the ComPilot fastened to your collar makes this feature marginally useful. All-in-all, I am happy with the improved level of hearing I have now.
Received my Phonak in March 2016. After 10 days my canal was so sore. I returned it for remake. Since that time it has been returned to Phonak for more times because of pain. Previously I have had 3 previous HAs, other brands, without any painful fits. My audiologist has made impressions three times four Phonak. In addition my audiologist has made minor fit adjustments in his office four times. Phonak has quality control problems. Blue Shield Claim ** 3/16/2016.
I've been a hearing aid wearer for 12 years now. I was replacing a Phonak Audeo V50 hearing aid that was 4 years old because my insurance plan will cover it. My coverage allows me to buy very good hearing aids every 3 years. It seems that depending on the hearing aid place you go to they peddle only one brand and in each case this time around the experience was horrible. I was not happy with what I was hearing from the Oticon and Starkey brands. Sounds were too sharp at the high ends and yet overall sound quality seemed muffled and feedback was intolerable. Those hearing aids carried a price of around $4500 to $4800/pair.
I went to Costco and got their Phonak Brio 50 hearing aids. I was not expecting success but I was pleasantly surprised. In one visit, the world sounds good again and it doesn't hurt that the price is affordable and fully covered by my insurance. Losses and damages are 100% covered in the first 2 years. I think that Costco is making a good buck on them and I can't help but feel that people are getting fleeced going to the other guys now.
I have had my set of Phonak hearing aids for 3 years now, and they've been nothing but trouble. My hearing loss is moderate due to a childhood illness. I can't rely on my hearing aids at all. They have had to be repaired 4 times now. They either just flat quit working or the volume starts cutting in and out and then just quits altogether. I'm very disappointed. I have no choice but to get them repaired as my insurance paid for them and won't pay for new ones for another 2 years. I would never recommend them to anyone. Good luck in getting any kind of response from Phonak.
I bought a pair of Phonak hearing aids from Costco. Costco's customer service was first rate and I chose the aids I thought best at the time. I have now had four months to review my purchase and I am thoroughly disappointed. My hearing loss is not severe but I do miss syllables such that I have to ask people to repeat themselves. I have a hard time understanding children. The hearing aids amplify all the sounds I do not want to hear, e.g. fans, mowers, leaf blowers, vacuum cleaners, muzak, announcements and other audio pollution, but they do nothing to help with conversation or my understanding of children. I am going to return them to Costco but first I wanted to hear what Phonak had to say. They don't even answer their bloody phone!
I have had two experiences with Phonak that were very good. But the last CIC aid purchased in 2014 has been nothing but trouble. I have returned to the Connect Hearing center multiple times and often it has to be returned to the company for repair. Once it simply stopped working. On multiple occasions the volume starts fading over a period of days or weeks. This level of unreliability is unacceptable. The audiologist who works with me is very pleasant and cooperative but offers no insight into why this keeps happening.
Purchased the Phonak Brio R at Costco for $2600 June 1. It is now August 20 and I have had two pair fail. Res Ipsa Loquitur.
I am very upset by the type of Customer Service being given to us at of your Phonak Hearing Aids Agents in Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon. I came with my father and my mother who's already 76 y/o for programming the Hearing Aids I have purchased from one of your Agents in Qatar. However, when Beirut staff learned that the Hearing Aids was purchased in Qatar, they treated us really bad. We have waited for more than 2 1/2 hrs, w/c as of this moment, they have not rendered any immediate response in particular in our appointment with them. To think that, my mother is already 76 y/o, an old patient, which requires immediate attention. These totally unbelievable response to your patients.
Received a set (both ears) of Phonak hearing aids through the VA. After one month one kept beeping as through the battery needed to be replaced, even after new batteries were installed. I lived with that for around two weeks, and then called the VA hospital that issued them. I then had to mail one back. About 3 weeks later it was returned, and a statement was sent referring the aid was gone over and fixed.
Two months later it started again in the same aid. I again lived with that beeping and replacing the batteries for about two weeks, then both aids started beeping. This started to drive me crazy. I called the VA again and was told to contact the manufacturer. This was done and I was advised to mail both aids to them. They returned new aids, they worked great for about 4 months, then the same side aid that was the first to beep started beeping again. I now just use one aid, fortunately the one not beeping is for the ear that has the most hearing loss. I believe this firm is dumping its lesser than 100% quality checked aid to veterans through the VA.
Purchased brand new Phonak hearing aids approximately 10 months ago and have had to have them repaired on four occasions. The Wire is very sensitive to both moisture and wax which of course most ears have. And have to be constantly repaired. Had I known how poor the quality was of this hearing aid I never would have purchased it to begin with. Unfortunately I have gone beyond my trial. And I am unable to return them. So there they sit on my desk never to be used again. What a wasted $4,000 I spent. Beware of Phonak hearing aids.
Phonak customer service? They don't have any. Call them & you get an answering machine & it tells you they will call you back within 2 business days. Do this 3-4 times then they might call you back. Then they leave a message or tell you to go to your local service provider. Everything seems to be a big secret with them.
I have spent ten thousand dollars on 2 sets of Phonak hearing aids. One behind the ear and the other in the ear. Both of them were their top of the line. I have the remote for both sets ($250 each) and a TV link. At 3 years the in the ear one broke. While removing it, the case split. I went to my provider and was told I was 20 days out of warranty and it would be $650 to repair the one!
I sent an e-mail to the company and they called me back in a few days and stated any repairs would be up to my provider, the company could do nothing. I returned to my provider and they stood fast on the cost. I sent a long email to the company with the complete story of my purchases and how I've told friends and family how great they were. I also mailed a letter with the same info to their corp office. I've never heard from them for 20 days. They have lost me as a customer forever, and I do not recommend this company or brand to anyone. I will post my feelings on every review site to warn people not to expect much from Phonak.
Do not buy Phonak hearing aids or the accessories, I've had mine for a year and have to send them back for repair 3 times. The ComPilot II is junk, was replaced once, will not stay paired with TV deck, does not work good with cell phone. I also have the Roger Pen. This seems to work ok and is quite useful, I don't use it too much so it hasn't broke yet. I have worked hearing aids since 1994 and with the plan I have with the dept. of veterans affairs I get replacement every 4 years. Will definitely not get any Phonak hearing aids again.
I have had the hearing aids for two yrs. They have been sent in for repairs 4 times. Took four weeks to have them repaired each time. All four times it was the same problem. They would just turn themselves off. Their customer support is no help if you ever get thru to them on a phone call.
I am using a "loaner." A Phonak Naida S III SP. This hearing aid was loaned to me by my audiologist who has my permanent one in repair. This is the SECOND loaner that I've used that failed me. The same problem I encountered with my own is happening with the loaner. I can hear the tune when it comes on but no outside sound can be heard. When it DOES work, the sounds are very diminished and I still struggle to hear with it. Overall, bad hearing aid. I wouldn't recommend using this especially for small children. It's frustrating to deal with the same technical issue within different aids.
I've had my Phonak's for about two years. The sound quality has deteriorated making the AIDS useless. During my two years of ownership they have been returned 4 times for repair. Three times the receivers have had to be replaced. Spoke with another hearing aid provider who said Phonak two years ago moved their manufacturing to China. There has been significant repairs issues since then. "We try to discourage our customers from choosing Phonak due to repair issues."
I am 69, a cancer survivor twice and my Phonak tv head phone device battery needs replacing. It keeps telling me low battery every ten mins. My provider has no batteries. Phonak service is not concerned and I have referred four family members to Phonak. Am I sorry or what? As a new unit is 300 bucks I seem to have used up my bank account fighting for my life. Now I can hear the tv. Also thanks Phonak. Now it's understandable why you don't belong to bbb. Check with them and consumer affairs before laying out ten cents with them.
My audiologist who introduced me to the LYRIC brand of IIC invisible-in-canal product was forced to stop providing my service as Phonak required an annual sale commitment to continue distribution and service. I was forced to then continue service 40 miles further away... The LYRIC concept is that it is completely self-contained with a marketed battery life of 3 months. Users are forced to go to the audiologist and receive a replacement unit. The longest battery life run for me has been 2 months and that was with Series-1. Not in town when it dies or on a Friday night... too bad for your luck until you find an open office. Compile the inconvenience with faulty quality assurance of the Series 3 "innovation" and you have a 3-year customer (me) now seeking other ICC solutions with a vengeance.
My last experience... my last replacement lasted 7 hours. I delayed vacation travel plans to replace the unit with a 80-mile round-trip drive to the "approved" audiologist that lasted 4-hours and died while I was driving to my 9-hour vacation destination. I "wasted" a morning of my vacation getting in to see a local LYRIC distributor for a replacement. I am seeking a self-service battery model with integrity for distribution and quality practices. Likely a Beltone Micro Invisa or a Siemens Insio... Never a Phonak/LYRIC again.
Have been wearing Audeo V50-10 that is what I was recommended and to be honest it's not that great. Cannot hear clearly when an individual speaks in a noisy environment or in a meeting room if an individual sits 6 feet away from you. Would not recommend.
I was so excited to finally be getting a hearing aid. Had no choice about the type as the audiologist recommended this Phonak Audéo V was the one. Went to my fitting appt and she had it all programmed up and put it in my ear. She asked if I could hear her. NOPE. She ramped up the power and again NOPE. She tried a third time and was looking at me as if I was crazy as "it was all working." She took the hearing aid out and put it on some diagnostics testing computer and it was NOT working! So disappointed! I had gotten up early to shovel over a foot of snow to make it to the appt, and went home with nothing. To my co-workers - keep hollering! Hope it goes better the next round.
The Bluetooth components have very short range at considerable inconvenience. The aids do not process sound as advertised. Useless in loud environment. Failure to process voices clearly. Com pilots battery lasts about an hour when transmitting from TV to the aids. Generally very poor voice quality into the earpiece. Not an audiologist problem there is just nothing more that can be done.
I have worn Phonak hearing aids since 1995 and they have been problem free. I just purchased a new set of Phonak's last week. The new chips make a huge difference in my ability to hear and understand voices. Sound is clear and I can hear people speak in noisy environments now. I would recommend them to anyone.
I was fitted with Phonak V 70 hearing aids 10 days ago. So far so good. I have not had to change the batteries yet. My hearing has improved at least 70%. I can now hear a conversation in a noisy environment, hear my students in the back of the room, and hear my friends, who I thought were mumbling in the kitchen. I have to go back to UPMC Hamot Audiology for some minor tweaking changes. I read some reviews that were negative about the brand. I went in with an open mind. Also a 30-day free trial. OVR, Occupational Vocational Rehabilitation, from the State of Pennsylvania paid for the aids. If you are working and need help paying for hearing aides to keep your job... OVR can help. Our Human Resources staff told me about the service available. Im an Emergency Medical Services Instructor.
Shelley WebbSenior Products Contributing Editor
Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and freelance writer who concentrates on the subjects of eldercare and health.
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.
- Convenience: Phonak is a leading worldwide hearing aid brand, so it is easy to find an audiologist or hearing specialist near you. Use the Phonak website to locate a provider, then schedule an appointment to find out what Phonak hearing solution is best for your needs.
- Technological innovator: Phonak has developed multiple hearing aid technologies that are not available from other brands, including the Quest platform which uses unique binaural VoiceStream technology.
- Smallest options available: In keeping with their focus on innovation, Phonak consistently produces some of the smallest devices on the market for those who want their hearing aids to be discreet. Its new Lyric in-the-canal device is the smallest on the market and is completely invisible when worn correctly.
- Kid-friendly options: Phonak offers solutions for listeners of all ages, including infants, toddlers, school-aged children and teens. Phonak also has developed an iPad app to teach children with hearing difficulties and the people around them how to get comfortable with hearing aids.
- Tinnitus help: For those with tinnitus, Phonak has developed several sound therapy options to help reduce its annoyance. Users can stream ambient sound from the Tinnitus Balance noise generator directly to their hearing aids, or use the mobile app without hearing aids to mask the ringing and buzzing sound.
- Best for aging listeners, people with acquired or progressive hearing loss and children with hearing difficulties
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Phonak Hearing Aids Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Phonak Hearing Aids
- 4520 Weaver Parkway
- Postal Code:
- United States