Best Hearing Aid Brands in 2019
Top Hearing Aid Manufacturers
Updated 21 January 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?
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 Six” hearing aid manufacturers is high standard, and that you generally can’t go wrong by sticking with the industry’s top brands.
“Big Six” hearing aid companies
So who are the “Big Six” hearing aid companies, what countries are they from, and what products do they produce?
It has come to our attention that Unitron, Sonova's second largest hearing aid brand, has a market share on par with Widex. As many audiologists know, Phonak and Unitron share many of the same sophisticated hardware and software features, with Unitron providing unique innovations like FLEX:UPGRADE™, which allows consumers to upgrade their hearing aids using the same physical units. For these reasons Hearing Tracker believes Unitron should be included in the Big Six (let's just call it the Big Seven).
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.
The OPN has been an extremely popular hearing aid since 2016. The 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 is one of the best hearing aids that money can buy.
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 machine learning features. This device can learn your preferences by allowing you to make A/B comparisons in a real listening environment. All you do is tell the App if you prefer Sound A or Sound B. It then takes this data to improve how you hear, and learns your preferences over time.
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.