Best Hearing Aids in 2020
A Review of Top Brands and Models
Updated 31 August 2020
The world of hearing aids can be overwhelming. There are so many different brands, models, and features that many are left wondering which hearing aids might be best for them. Don’t despair! At Hearing Tracker, we have surveyed thousands of consumers and hearing professionals to help provide meaningful guidance on your quest to find the perfect hearing aid.
Frequently asked questions:
What are the best RIC hearing aids for 2020?
Dr Cliff, AuD discusses his top 7 receiver-in-canal hearing aids for 2020. Dr Cliff plans to follow this video up with two more best-of videos including his favorite custom in-the-ear hearing aids and his favorite powerful behind-the-ear hearing aids. We’ll be sure to update this page when the new videos are released, so check back often, or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
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! Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions by clicking on the three small dots.
Top RIC Hearing Aid Models - Dr Cliff’s Picks
For 2020, Dr Cliff takes a different approach to selecting his favorite hearing aids. First he selects his top 7 hearing aid brands. Next he selects his top RIC model from each of of his favorite brands. After writing the name of each hearing aid on a slip of paper, and placing those slips in a hat, Dr Cliff draws the slips at random and discusses each of the top 7 models in that order.
The list of best-hearing-aids below reflects the random order dictated by Dr Cliff’s magic-hat approach (described above), so please read each description carefully, and discuss the relevant options with your hearing care provider. They are the best equipped to help you select the best option for you!
For Signia, Dr Cliff chose the new Pure Charge&Go hearing aids, because they run on the new Xperience software platform. On the new platform, the Signia’s Charge&Go hearing aids use acoustic motion sensors to guide the directionality of the hearing aids microphones. Signia claims that this functionality leads to better hearing in background noise, while stationary or on the go.
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the Charge&Go hearing aids as his top pick from Signia include:
- Acoustic motion sensors for better hearing on the go
- 20% better battery life than previous generation
- New inductive charging case “with a lid this time”
- New rocker switch for easier program and volume changes, “without having to break out your iPhone”
- “Direct access to audio from any Apple product”
- Hearing aids are 16% smaller
- Improvements to the app
Update: Since the publication of Cliff’s video, Signia has released the brand new Styletto X, which runs on the same software platform as the Pure Charge&Go X. Styletto X is a stylish behind-the-ear hearing aid that comes with a wireless charging case.
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the Audéo Marvel hearing aids as his top pick from Phonak include:
- Telecoil-enabled models enable audio streaming from hearing loops in public spaces like churches and theaters
- Offered in rechargeable and non-rechargeable versions
- Features like onboard EQ and directional focus adjustments in myPhonak app
- Connect remotely with your hearing care professional through myPhonak app
- Automatic sound optimization for typical listening environments
- Ability to pick up phone calls by tapping a button on your hearing aids
- True hands-free calling, without the need for an accessory microphone
- Ability to connect to all of Phonak’s latest wireless Roger sound pickup devices for better hearing in background noise
Update: Phonak has just released the brand new Paradise line of hearing aids. Paradise is like Marvel in many ways, but adds tap controls, motion sensing, and improved speech clarity in quiet and in noise. Bluetooth connectivity has also been improved. Be sure to check out Paradise if you’re in the market for new Phonak hearing aids.
For Oticon, Dr Cliff chose the Oticon Opn S hearing aids, because of Oticon’s unique “Opn” approach to processing sound in a noisy environment. With Opn, the hearing aids leave “the listening landscape open when in background noise, giving you better sound awareness in noisy situations, while still being able to selectively identify and amplify important speech.”
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the Opn S hearing aids as his top pick from Oticon include:
- Next gen Velox chip provides 15% better speech understanding, 10% reduced listening effort, and 10% better memory recall
- OpenSound Optimizer yields improved feedback cancellation
- Made for iPhone, but requires mic for hands-free use
- App used for adjustments is now more user-friendly
- Telecoil and rechargeable options, but there may be trade-offs
For Widex, Dr Cliff chose the Widex Evoke hearing aids, because they offered a number of unique features that made for very well-rounded hearing technology. In March 2020 (after Dr Cliff filmed his video), Widex actually released a new product family—the MOMENT—with a refreshed lineup of RIC-style hearing aids. I caught up with Dr Cliff recently and he agrees that the MOMENT should replace the EVOKE in his best RIC picks for 2020
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the Widex MOMENT hearing aids as his top pick from Widex include:
- Automatic sound classification sound that optimizes sound for 11 environments
- Zen tinnitus program offers fractal tones to combat tinnitus
- Zen sounds may be played while hearing aids are being used to hear better
- Machine-learning enables hearing aids to learn your listening preferences to “optimize your hearing ability and satisfaction”
- Telecoil available for use in public venues
- Linear input range of 113 dB helps when listening to music or when trying to understand speech in a noisy situation
- Addition of ZeroDelay™ and PureSound™ technology for improved sound quality, which is most noticeable for people with milder forms of hearing loss.
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the Livio AI hearing aids as his top pick from Starkey include:
- First hearing aids to use motion sensors to track activity levels
- Fall detection is enabled by onboard motion sensors
- Thrive app provides “body score” based on motion sensor activity and “brain score” based on the social engagement (assumed when human speech is detected).
- Thrive app scores provide encouragement to become more mentally and physically active, which should correlate well with improvements in overall health
- Good audio adjustment hearing aid controls in Thrive app
- Direct streaming for Apple devices (no Android currently)
For Unitron, Dr Cliff chose the Moxi Jump R hearing aids, because the hearing aids are similar to the Phonak Marvel hearing aids discussed above. Seeing that Marvels are his favorite from Phonak, it seems only consistent that he would select the analogous model from Unitron (Phonak and Unitron are both manufactured by parent company Sonova).
Dr Cliff notes that the Moxi Jump R has all of the same great features as the Marvel, but is a little thicker and offers about half the battery life as the Marvel. Another limitation is that the Moxi Jump R is not able to connect directly to the Roger series of remote microphones. On the plus side, Unitron offers the FLEX:UPGRADE™ program that allows consumers to upgrade their hearing aid technology without purchasing new physical devices.
For ReSound, Dr Cliff chose the LiNX Quattro hearing aids, because they were the first to allow direct audio streaming from Android devices. While this is not technically true—due to the delay on the release of Android ASHA—the Quattros were the first hearing aids to offer direct audio streaming over Bluetooth Low Energy from Android devices. The Phonak Marvel was actually first to the finish line on direct Android streaming.
Dr Cliff’s top reasons for selecting the LiNX Quattro hearing aids as his top pick from ReSound include:
- Direct audio streaming from Google Pixel 3 and iPhone
- More Android options on the way with Android 10 and Bluetooth 5.0+
- Rechargeable options and portable charger available
- 116dB input dynamic range, which Cliff believes is the highest on the market.
- Smart 3D App is Dr Cliff’s favorite hearing aid app. There are plenty of controls for the hearing aids, and the app allows you to connect remotely with your hearing care provider
- Availability of accessories, with Multi Mic being his favorite for giving rechargeable LiNX users access to a telecoil
Update: ReSound has just released the brand new One line of hearing aids. One is like LiNX Quattro in many ways, but adds microphone-in-ear technology and beamforming directionality. All models have also been upgraded to IP68 ingress protection. Be sure to check out One if you’re in the market for new ReSound hearing aids.
Which hearing aids do audiologists prefer?
We surveyed hundreds of audiologists (most recently in Q4 2019) 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
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. Infrequently selected brands not included in the charts below.
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.