Best Hearing Aid Brands in 2019
Top Hearing Aid Manufacturers
Updated 17 April 2019
The world of hearing healthcare can be overwhelming. There are so many different brands, and so many different retail outlets to choose from. Have you ever heard the following questions?
- Which hearing aid brands are the best?
- How do I choose the best hearing aid?
- How much do hearing aids cost?
- Which hearing aid brands do audiologists prefer?
- How are all the hearing aid manufacturers, brands, and retail outlets related?
- What are the best hearing aids for 2019?
- Understanding hearing aid reviews
Let’s take a stab at that first question, before moving onto a more comprehensive look at the major manufacturers and brands in the industry.
Which hearing aid brands are the best?
This is a very difficult question as there is currently no objective way to assess the quality of one hearing aid over another (more on hearing aid reviews). However, many audiologists accept that the quality of hearing aids coming from the “Big Five” hearing aid manufacturers is high standard, and that you generally can’t go wrong by sticking with the industry’s top brands.
“Big Five” hearing aid companies
So who are the “Big Five” hearing aid companies, what countries are they from, and what products do they produce?
|WS Audiology||Widex, Signia||Denmark, Singapore|
What happened to the “Big Six” hearing aid companies?
On of March 1, 2019, Widex and Sivantos merged together to create WS Audiology. The merged company, with dual headquarters in Denmark and Singapore, is now the third-largest supplier in an industry where only five companies currently command more than 80% of the global market for hearing aids. Widex and Signia hearing aids will continue as the flagship brands of the merged company. WS Audiology also manufactures Rexton hearing aids.
How do I choose the best hearing aid?
Before trying to pick your own hearing aid, watch this video from our partner Doctor Cliff, AuD. You might be surprised by how complicated the process is.
Don’t have time to watch the video?
Here are Cliff’s notes 😉 on what to consider when purchasing a hearing aid. Keep in mind that your hearing professional should be helping you understand the options:
- Your hearing loss severity - You need a hearing aid that is capable of providing adequate amplification. If you have a severe or profound hearing loss, you’ll need a device that can produce higher sound levels.
- Your ability to hear speech in noise - Speech in noise testing should be performed at every hearing evaluation. If you perform well on the test with amplification, hearing aids are likely to help you in noisy environments.
- Brand accessibility - Certain brands may not be accessible in your area. This may limit your options.
- Important features - Your hearing professional should get to know your listening needs and goals and suggest hearing aid features that can give you the most satisfaction and benefit.
- Your lifestyle - More advanced hearing aids are geared towards meeting the needs of those with the most active lifestyles. If you find yourself in more complex listening environments you should consider purchasing higher technology.
- Best practices - Does your hearing care provider follow best practices? If you aren’t receiving real ear measurement testing, you probably won’t get the most out of your hearing aids, even if they are top-of-the-line!
Looking to understand the available hearing aid features? Check out Hearing Tracker’s hearing aid matching engine.
How much do hearing aids cost?
We recently conducted a survey – with the help of the Hearing Loss Association of America – to learn more about the cost of hearing aids in the United States. Our survey showed that the overall average price paid for a single hearing aid was $2372. For a breakdown of hearing aid prices by brand, please read more on our page about the cost of hearing aids.
Looking to pay for hearing aids with healthcare insurance? Medical insurance coverage is available for some consumers.
Which hearing aid brands do audiologists prefer?
We surveyed hundreds of audiologists (most recently in August 2018) to find out which hearing aid brands are the best on the following metrics:
- Best sound quality
- Best battery life
- Best value for money
- Best reliability
- Best connectivity
- Best rechargeability
- Best aesthetics
- Best ease of fit
- Best ease of use
- Best product support
Results for the survey can be found in the infographic below. If you are looking for our popular "Hearing Technology Industry Map" keep scrolling past the survey results.
Survey results reflect the attitudes of audiologists, who may or may not be familiar with all hearing aid brands. For better or worse, each audiologist has their brand preferences, and our survey results reflect those preferences. Take the results with a grain of salt. All questions are property of UBS and cannot be replicated without consent.
How are all the hearing aid manufacturers, brands, and retail outlets related?
How are all the hearing aid brands related? Which retail outlets are owned by hearing aid manufacturers? Who really manufactures that hearing aid brand? To provide a very quick (and visual) answer to each of these questions, we have put together the following Hearing Technology Industry Map:
Click on the image above for a larger version of the map.
How did we make this infographic? We used information available on the web, including investor reports, but also received a number of tips from industry insiders. Please let us know if you see any inaccuracies and feel free to use the commenting system at the bottom of this page to suggest corrections and updates!
Disclaimer: The brand map depicted in the image above reflect our best educated guesses as to associations between companies, brands, etc. Linkages do not always indicate full ownership of brand x by company y. Any corrections may be suggested using the inline commenting system or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the best hearing aids for 2019?
Dr Cliff AuD rings in the new year with his top 7 hearing aids picks for 2019. Keep in mind that you may or may not be a candidate for the hearing aids he discusses in the video. Consult a professional to determine your eligibility for any of the devices discussed!
Don’t have time to watch this video either?
We’re all busy. That’s why we have Cliff’s notes! Here’s a summary of Cliff’s video for our avid readers:
In 2018, we saw some amazing new technology hit the market, with more technological advancements already in the works for 2019. All of these new devices were designed to provide better sound quality and better speech understanding in background noise, so let’s focus more on the specific features that set these devices apart from the competition.
The Marvel is the closest thing that you will find to an all-In-one device, because it basically does everything. It is the only device to stream audio directly from Android AND iOS devices (no accessory required). And, the new AutoSense 3.0 allows the hearing aid to make better adjustments on its own without the user having to make manual adjustments.
The Marvels are also Roger-Ready. This means that your hearing care provider can do a firmware update to make the already-installed internal Roger Receiver active so you can use any of the great Phonak Roger FM accessories. And, later this year, Phonak will release telecoil versions of the Marvel in 312, 13, and rechargeable battery models. .
The Quattro replaces the LiNX 3D line of devices. Along with its long-lasting lithium ion rechargeable batteries, it will also have the capability of streaming from Android devices, not just iOS devices. It also has the best smartphone app in the industry. It allows you to make all kinds of adjustments to your program settings and even allows you to receive remote adjustments from your hearing care professional.
Oticon’s next generation Opn hearing aids feature dramatically improved feedback cancelling along with a new OpenSound Booster in the Oticon On App. Users will be able to use their iPhone or Android smartphones to boost hearing support in their hearing aids when they feel they need it.
OPN Sound Navigator allows you to hear speech from different directions while still suppressing background noise. This is different than the traditional directional-microphone strategy for improving speech in background noise. Combine this feature with decreased listening effort and good reported sound quality, and the Oticon OPN S is one of the best hearing aids that money can buy.
Our top pick from the new Oticon Opn S family is the miniRITE-R version, which features Made-For-iPhone connectivity, lithium-ion rechargeability, and a telecoil for better hearing on landlines and telecoil-looped gathering places
Note: Dr Cliff recommended the previous generation Oticon Opn in his video, but we’ve updated this section to reflect the recently released technology.
The Virto B-Titanium is the only Invisible In Canal (IIC) hearing aid to make the list. As the name suggests, it is made out of Titanium so it can be 30% thinner and smaller than an acrylic hearing aid. Not only is it extremely discrete, it is the best performing IIC hearing aid on the market. It does require a deep ear mold impression, and is not suited for extremely severe cases of hearing loss.
This hearing aid has Artificial Intelligence right in the name. This is because it uses on-board sensors to track both body movement and social interaction. It is designed to help you become more physically and socially active, which we know can improve health outcomes. It is packed with a bunch of features such as fall detection and real-time language translation. It now also has the capability of working with remote accessories such as a TV streamer and remote microphone, which can improve your listening experience even more.
Evoke made the list because of its use of machine learning technology. Evoke can learn your preferences by allowing you to make A/B comparisons in real listening environments. Tell the Evoke app if you prefer Sound A or Sound B, and your feedback is used to personalize the sound of the Evoke hearing aids. This leads to improved sound quality and greater listening comfort across a variety of listening environments.
In addition, Evoke is able to automatically adjust to a variety of challenging listening environments and applies two different compression strategies to improve speech clarity in noisy listening situations.
Moxi all made the list thanks to FLEX:UPGRADE. The Flex Upgrade lets you purchase a lower level of technology and upgrade it to a higher level of technology at a later date. You keep the same physical devices, you just have the technology inside of the devices upgraded. This way you can upgrade to new technology when you need it (and when you can afford it), even if it is years down the road.
In my opinion, those are the best hearing aids of 2019. Which one is right for you? This depends on your wants and needs, and how familiar your hearing care provider is with each type.
No matter how great a hearing aid is, it will not perform its best unless you’ve had real ear measurement performed on them. If you don’t know what real ear measurement is, I highly recommend you check out my REM video because it is the only way to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed correctly to your hearing loss prescription.
Understanding hearing aid reviews
Hearing aid reviews are fundamentally different from reviews for most other consumer electronic products. The reason is that individual factors, such as degree of hearing loss, can have a profound effect one's satisfaction with the hearing aids. Hearing aids are also unique in that they require a professional fitting and programming session to work effectively. Seeing that professional services vary from clinic to clinic, purchasing the same exact product from two different clinics may yield drastically different results.
Why hearing aid reviews are different
To help illustrate the difference between consumer reviews for hearing aids and general consumer electronics, let’s take a look at two example scenarios:
Scenario 1: Consumer electronics reviews
Bob and Steve both purchase a new pair of Sony headphones. Bob and Steve both have normal hearing, and are are on even ground when it comes to evaluating the sound quality of the headphones. Bob has a slightly bigger head, and gives the Sony headphones 5 stars on Amazon, because they're a perfect fit for him, and he loves the sound quality. Steve also loves the sound quality, but finds the headphones slightly loose on his smaller head. He only gives the headphones 4 stars.
As you can see, there are individual factors with any consumer electronic. Bob's larger head size made the Sony headphones a perfect fit.
Scenario 2: Hearing aid reviews
Bob and Steve both suffer from hearing loss. Bob has a severe hearing loss while Steve has only mild-to-moderate hearing loss. Bob and Steve are both fitted with the new Resound LiNX Quattro hearing aids by the same hearing provider, and both have textbook perfect hearing aid fittings. Bob and Steve both report a good physical fit and no discomfort while wearing their hearing aids.
Steve sees a dramatic improvement in his hearing with the new hearing aids, and streamlines right back into the social scene he's been missing. He gives the hearing aid 5 stars. Bob, with his severe hearing loss, sees a definite improvement in his hearing, but still misses about half of what people are saying, and can't hear soft speech, or the television, very well. He gives the LiNX Quattro only 3 stars.
Same fit and performance. Different outcome.
In the example above, the hearing aid is fitted and performing perfectly for both Bob and Steve, but Steve achieves a more perfect hearing outcome, since he has better hearing to begin with. Due to the inherent limitations of more severe forms of hearing loss, Bob cannot possibly achieve the same result. While he has been counseled by his hearing provider about these limitations, he still feels the hearing aids are imperfect, and his hearing aid review reflects that concern.
Only the names in this example are hypothetical. In my years in clinical practice, I have seen this scenario play out again and again, with satisfaction varying wildly for the same exact products, and a clear pattern of greater satisfaction in patients with milder forms of hearing loss.
Are you rating the product or the provider?
To muddy the waters further, imagine now that Bob and Steve both have the exact same hearing loss, both purchase the same LiNX Quattro hearing aids, but are each fitted by a different hearing provider. If Bob's hearing provider is superior to Steve's, Bob will likely achieve a better result with his LiNX Quattro and report greater satisfaction with the product.
This is possibly the single most important bias to keep in mind when reading hearing aid reviews. Many argue (and I agree) that comprehensive hearing care is the the most important factor in achieving a good outcome with hearing aids – even above the product itself.
Why hearing aid reviews still matter
When purchasing a hearing aid, you'll need to consider more than just your hearing outcome. Hearing aids are manufactured with varying levels of quality; some hearing aids are extremely durable, while others suffer frequent breakage. Battery life also varies between models, and manufacturer predictions of battery life are often optimistic. By collecting feedback from consumers, we can get a better idea of real world product durability and battery life.
Technology reliability and accessory functionality are other areas where consumer feedback can be useful. Are the manual controls on the hearing aid working consistently? Does your phone maintain a persistent Bluetooth pairing with your Made for iPhone hearing aid? Does your remote control work every time you press a button, or are there some inconsistencies. Do your synchronized hearing aids always change volume and program setting together? Does your remote microphone maintain a steady connection?
Factors to focus on
When reading through hearing aid reviews and looking at product ratings, here are some suggestions on product factors to focus on:
- Hearing aid manufacturing quality, durability, and water resistance
- Battery size and battery life
- Wireless connectivity options and consistency of connections
- Availability and consistency of accessories and manual controls
These types of issues have been reported by many users on Hearing Tracker. Knowing about product limitations ahead of time can help establish realistic expectations or help avoid bad products completely.
Are written reviews better than ratings ?
It's important to read written review comments to learn about specific product limitations. See what one reviewer said about the Oticon Opn S:
I find they cut in and out while using the TV streamer. My suspicion is because I use sound notifications for messages and emails so when they arrive I can’t hear the sound but my aids will cut off in one or the other ear. Very annoying.
Our hearing aid review process
We are proud to host the industry's most comprehensive hearing aid review system. Rather than implementing the common one-dimensional star-rating system, Hearing Tracker’s product review system was built from the ground up – by audiologists – to accommodate for the nuances of hearing aids. We devised a 10-question survey using established hearing aid outcome questionnaires as guidance.
Here are the 10 questions we ask reviewers:
- How much does your hearing aid help you to hear speech in quiet environments?
- How much does your hearing aid help you to hear speech in noisy situations (restaurants, crowds, etc)?
- How much does your hearing aid help you to hear speech on the phone?
- How clear and natural does the hearing aid sound?
- How much does your hearing aid improve your hearing for music?
- How comfortable is the hearing aid?
- How reliable is the hearing aid?
- Does the hearing aid do a good job of stopping unwanted feedback?
- How much does the hearing aid improve your hearing?
- How would you rate the value of your hearing aid?
Each of these survey questions is averaged (between surveys) to give us a nice bar chart showing the ratings for each model, by question. Here are the ratings for the Oticon Opn miniRITE, as of September 2018:
Understanding the reviewer
Aside from gathering more relevant information in our survey, we also encourage reviewers to add their audiograms (hearing tests) and select their hearing provider from our database when submitting a review. By collecting relevant feedback from reviewers and connecting hearing aid reviews with hearing tests and hearing providers, we hope to provide a more complete picture of the reviewer's experience and circumstances.
If you want to know more about the reviewer's hearing loss, or want to find out who fit their hearing aid(s), click on the user's name or photo. This will bring you to their profile page, where you will find any additional information provided by the reviewer.
Hearing aid models
While many websites only allow consumers to review hearing aid technology families (e.g. Phonak Audéo Marvel), Hearing Tracker is model specific (e.g. Mavel 312T). Different hearing aid models from the same technology family can differ in appearance, power, and performance, and some models may be missing important technological features like directional microphones or telecoils. Battery life can also vary wildly, depending on the size of the battery, power required by the device, and wireless functionality of the device. As a result of these differences, we believe it is important to review the device, not the product family.
Popular Hearing Aids
Check out this list of popular hearing aids. Most of our website visitors are interested in one or more of the product families below! For a full list of models, check out our complete hearing aid directory.
More reviews are needed!
A large number of product reviews are needed for any product review platform to have value. It will take time, and greater community involvement, to enable truly meaningful hearing aid model comparisons. For now we advise soaking up the insightful written comments, and interpreting the product ratings with caution.
Help us make Hearing Tracker better! Review your hearing aids today, and receive a $5 promotional credit for use in our hearing aid battery shop as a special thank you.
Parting advice: Find a trusted provider
One last piece of advice (and this is an important one). While hearing aid reviews do have some value (for the reasons I mentioned above), your best bet is to find a trusted advisor who lives and breathes hearing aid technology. Be sure to find a hearing aid provider who embraces a contemporary approach to hearing enhancement. If you're interested in a specific hearing aid brand or model, let your hearing aid provider know, but be prepared to discuss alternative options! They truly do know best!