If you’re thinking about getting your first pair of hearing aids or upgrading to a new set, you’re not the only one. Approximately 37.5 million Americans suffer from some degree of hearing loss that could be remedied through modern, cutting-edge hearing aids.

Finding the best hearing aids isn’t always easy, with so many manufacturers and models available.

Become an informed consumer and step into a world of better hearing by looking up the best hearing aids on the market with EarPros.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Not all hearing aids were created equal, just like not all types of hearing loss were created equal. Before researching the best-rated hearing aids, it’s important to understand your type of hearing loss. Schedule a free hearing test with a licensed hearing professional through EarPros to find out more about your degree of hearing loss.

So, what causes hearing loss? It’s a combination of aging, genetics, and environmental conditions. These lead to two types of hearing loss: conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is an irreversible type of hearing loss. It’s by far the most common form and tends to afflict the elderly the most. Some people living with sensorineural hearing loss may only experience it in a single ear or to different extents in both ears.

However, sensorineural hearing loss can be managed with hearing aids. Hearing aids selectively amplify sounds, so you can continue to enjoy a high quality of life.

Conductive Hearing Loss

Less common is conductive hearing loss. Anyone can experience conductive hearing loss. For most, it’s temporary and can be relieved through medication or corrective surgery.

Some of the causes of conductive hearing loss include:

  • Impacted earwax
  • Ear infections
  • Fluid buildup in the middle ear
  • Certain disorders that block sound

It’s not unheard of for older people to suffer from a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. Although doctors can treat the latter, hearing aids may still be recommended for a better hearing experience.

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Although hearing aids are more advanced than ever before, they all work in roughly the same way. With chronic hearing loss, it means cells in the inner ear are dead. As of this writing, medical technology has yet to find a way to restore these cells. This is where hearing aids come in.

All hearing aids contain a microphone to detect external sounds, an amplifier to increase the volume of these sounds, and a receiver that transmits the signal into the ear canal. The best hearing aids are digital and use computer chips to adjust volume and frequencies to filter out unwanted sounds and reduce listening effort.

When buying hearing aids for the first time, a hearing professional will help you calibrate your hearing aid. This can take some time as everyone has a different hearing profile. Once calibrated, advanced models can take hands-free calls, stream media through your mobile devices, and even be serviced remotely through special apps.

Now has never been a better time to start looking at the top-rated hearing aids. Start your journey to better hearing by scheduling an appointment with a hearing professional through EarPros today.

Top Hearing Aid Models

When searching for the best hearing aids on the market, it can be difficult to differentiate between manufacturers and models.

Hearing aids reviews can be extremely helpful but time-consuming to sift through. Using hearing aid reviews and the technical specifications from the most popular models on the market, here are some of the best hearing aids 2021 all wearers should consider.

1. Oticon Opn S1

The Oticon Opn S1 has been marketed as the first piece of wearable technology for sufferers of hearing loss.

Easily connect to your mobile devices for full media streaming directly into your ears. Together with the ConnectClip remote microphone, you can overcome difficult listening environments by filtering out background noise.

Hearing aid reviews praise the Oticon Opn S1 for all but eliminating feedback and providing a more natural hearing experience.

Oticon has also released a fully rechargeable version of its Opn range, so no more fiddling around with awkward batteries. Remote charging accessories enable you to fast charge on the go for 24/7 hearing.

Since its release in 2016, the Opn S1 is considered one of the best hearing aids for seniors.

2. Signia Silk 7nx

If you’re a hearing aid wearer who values discretion above all else, the Signia Silk 7nx could be the ideal hearing aid for you. This In-the-Canal (ITC) hearing aid is practically invisible once inserted.

Unlike other ITC hearing aids, the Signia is so small that it can be fitted inside a soft silicone sleeve and inserted into the ear for a comfortable, secure fit. No custom earmolds required.

Signia’s state-of-the-art hearing technology improves speech quality and filters out background noise. The touchControl app can be used to personalize your listening profile and for automatic adjustments as you enter different hearing environments.

What’s more, if you suffer from tinnitus, Signia hearing aids come with tinnitus therapy to limit frustrating symptoms. This hearing aid is perfect for those with mild to severe hearing loss.

3. Starkey Livio i2400 AI

Starkey’s range of hearing aids is truly world-class and has been praised for turning hearing aids into so much more than hearing devices.

The Starkey Livio i2400 utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to tailor the hearing experience to the wearer. Fully Bluetooth-compatible, this hearing aid can perform a wide range of other functions, including:

  • Tracking physical health
  • Monitoring brain health
  • Heart rate monitors
  • Automatic fall detection
  • Foreign language translation
  • Conversation transcription

Together with the Thrive Hearing app, Starkey hearing aids go beyond what you would ordinarily expect from your hearing aids. These are entirely remote controlled and, once fitted, can be remotely serviced. With all its other functions, this is not just a hearing aid — it’s a medical device designed to keep you in good health. According to most hearing aids reviews, this is the future of hearing aids.

4. Widex Evoke 440 Passion

The Widex Evoke 440 Passion aims to provide the clearest quality sounds while incorporating wireless technology into the listening experience. The standout feature of the Evoke 440 Passion hearing aids is how they adapt to changes in your environment. They are customized according to the wearer and will automatically adjust whenever you enter a new listening environment. Together with modern power-saving technology, there are 15 different processing channels to help you hear better. This model of Widex hearing aids even filters out wind noises while enhancing speech to isolate voices.

If you’re searching for the best-rated hearing aids that require no manual adjustment when you enter a room, consider purchasing Widex Evoke 440 Passion hearing aids.

5. Phonak Marvel M90 2.0

The M90 2.0 is an upgrade to Phonak’s previous hearing aid models. This update encompasses the latest in hearing aid technology. These hearing aids can be simultaneously paired with two separate Bluetooth devices for full media streaming.

At the same time, Phonak Marvel is now compatible with RogerDirect devices, which are universally known as the gold standard of hearing aid accessories.

While many hearing aids lack the functionality for those suffering from severe to profound hearing loss, Phonak Marvel M90 2.0 hearing aids come with accessories to aid high-degree hearing loss.

Phonak also provides rechargeable models that are designed to last for a full day of hearing. Furthermore, hearing aids reviews have shown that these hearing aids can last the whole day, even when indulging in regular media streaming and hands-free calling.

Types of Hearing Aids

When looking for the best hearing aids, your decision largely rests on the degree of hearing loss and your preferences when it comes to style. Not all types of hearing aids may be suitable for you. This is why it’s wise to book a free hearing test through a licensed care professional at EarPros to get some informed recommendations on the right hearing aids for you.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of hearing aids you need to take into account.

Digital vs. Analog Hearing Aids

You may have heard different hearing aid models referred to as “digital” or “analog.” There is a common misconception that digital hearing aids are ITC models, whereas Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models are analog. Digital and analog hearing aids are available in all styles.  The differences between the two are in how they detect, amplify, and send sound to the brain.

An analog hearing aid will make continuous sound waves louder, whereas digital hearing aids will convert sound waves into digital signals. Digital hearing aids can make sounds clearer and crisper.

While analog hearing aids contain microchips to cope with different listening environments, they are less advanced and have less flexibility than digital hearing aids.

The main difference between the two types of hearing aid is cost. Analog hearing aids deliver an inferior hearing experience, but they are significantly cheaper.

So, why should you invest in digital hearing aids?

  • Better quality sound
  • More features
  • Finer calibration

Overall, when considering the best hearing aids, most people should look to digital hearing aids before considering the analog equivalent.

Two Primary Categories of Hearing Aid

There are two primary categories of hearing aid: Behind-the-Ear (BTE) and In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids. These can be further broken down into several sub-categories to better suit the needs and lifestyles of different hearing aid wearers.

BTE Hearing Aids

These hearing aids sit behind or on top of the outer ear. A piece of tubing connects to an earmold inside the ear. Sound is transmitted through this tube. Due to the visible nature of BTE hearing aids, manufacturers offer different skin and hair tones to make them more discreet.

The majority of BTE devices require batteries that last anywhere from three days to three weeks. Rechargeable batteries are becoming increasingly common, however. BTE hearing aids are typically the best option for sufferers of severe to profound hearing loss as they are more powerful and come with more capacity.

ITE Hearing Aids

ITE hearing aids are typically worn in the ear canal. The exact style of ITE hearing aids determines how deep inside the ear canal your hearing aid sits. These hearing aids require a trip to a licensed hearing professional, who will take measurements for a custom hearing aid fitting. You’ll also be able to choose the color of your hearing aid for additional discretion.

Like with BTE hearing aids, ITE hearing aids come in a selection of hair and skin tones to better blend with the outer ear.

Common Hearing Aid Styles

After consultation with a hearing care professional, you will likely have a choice of different styles. Each one comes with its pros and cons. It’s important to be aware of what each style brings to the table before making a final decision.

Invisible in the Canal (IIC)/(CIC)

Both IIC and CIC hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids on the market today. IIC are virtually invisible and are fitted deep inside the ear canal. A small pull-out string allows the wearer to remove them from the ear canal. CIC hearing aids are practically the same, but they’re not fitted as deeply in the ear and are, therefore, more visible.

IIC and CIC hearing aids are the best hearing aids for seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss. There are usually no manual controls on the hearing aids themselves due to their small size.

While they are discreet and offer good sound quality, they are more susceptible to damage caused by moisture and ear wax. They also may not be good hearing aids for seniors who have limited dexterity.

In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids

ITC hearing aids offer a good compromise between discretion and power. These hearing aids are fitted into the lower portions of the outer ear bowl. They tend to be extremely comfortable and come with additional battery life.

ITC hearing aids are ideal for several types of hearing loss, from mild to severe. Due to their larger size, they often come with additional features, including directional microphones. The additional capabilities of ITC hearing aids enable a better hearing experience in noisy environments, as well as more personalization. Like with IIC and CIC styles, the ITC style of hearing aid can be vulnerable to moisture and ear wax.

Finally, some hearing aid reviews claim that ITC hearing aids lead to occlusion, where the wearer feels “plugged up.”

Low-Profile Hearing Aids

The final in-ear style of hearing aid is the low-profile hearing aid. These are more similar to ITC hearing aids, with their half-shell and full-shell designs. Depending on this shell, these hearing aids may fill the whole outer ear bowl.

The low-profile design lends itself well to manual controls, volume wheels, pushbuttons, and directional microphones. If you’re looking for hearing aids for the elderly that require less dexterity to use, low-profile hearing aids could be the right style.

Receiver in the Ear (RITE)

Also known as the Receiver in Canal (RIC) style, this is an open-fit hearing aid where the speaker is plugged into an ear dome independent of the hearing aid’s body. The microphone and processor fit behind the ear, whereas the receiver remains inside the ear canal.

A thin wire connects both parts of a RITE hearing aid. This style’s larger capacity enables above-average sound quality and additional features that cannot be found with the styles described above.

The big advantage of RITE hearing aids is if the speaker inside the ear is damaged, it can often be replaced in a few minutes at a hearing center, rather than needing to ship it back to the manufacturer.

With most manufacturers, this is the only style of hearing aid that comes with a rechargeable battery. Most models also come with wireless connectivity and may even possess cutting-edge tech, such as artificial intelligence.

Remember, these hearing aids are visible, so if discretion is a must, this style isn’t for you.

How to Compare Hearing Aids

When choosing the best hearing aids for the elderly, it’s wise to try on different pairs. Most brands require in-person appointments before you can purchase their hearing aids, including a hearing test. Before comparing hearing aids, book a free hearing test with a licensed hearing specialist from EarPros.

After receiving your results, a professional can provide you with recommendations regarding the right style of hearing aid for your hearing loss. They can also make recommendations based on your lifestyle.

Trying on Different Hearing Aids First

It can take months to get used to wearing a new pair of hearing aids for the first time. Depending on your hearing profile, it may take some time for you to calibrate your hearing aids properly. Thankfully, many modern hearing aids can be adjusted remotely, so there’s no need for constant visits to your nearest local hearing center.

Here’s what to look for when wearing hearing aids for the first time:

  • Volume – For first-time hearing aid wearers, sounds will likely appear louder than usual. Hearing aids amplify sounds rather than restore your hearing. Get used to the new heightened sounds and adjust the volume appropriately.
  • Comfort – How comfortable are your hearing aids? Modern hearing aids should be custom fitted for maximum comfort.
  • Dexterity – Can you remove your chosen hearing aids easily? If using non-rechargeable hearing aids, you should practice taking out and replacing the batteries. If this is too taxing, you may want to consider rechargeable options or another style of hearing aid.

In the beginning, wearing hearing aids can feel strange and even uncomfortable. Over time, you’ll get used to the heightened sounds and the feel of the hearing aid inside your ear. For people who have had untreated hearing loss for a long time, the differences will appear more profound.

Listen to Your Loved Ones

The first test is to see what your loved ones sound like. These are the people you will hear the most, so getting the right calibration is essential for your hearing experience.

When you hear people for the first time, their voices will sound different and louder. This is because their voices are being transmitted through a microphone and speakers. Your brain simply won’t be used to these new sounds, so at first, the sounds you hear may seem strange. Ask your loved ones to repeat what they’re saying to ensure your hearing aids provide clear, consistent sounds.

Test Out the Controls

The majority of hearing aids are digital and can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app. Some of the newer hearing aids even automatically adjust themselves by using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Most hearing aids will have only one button with automatic volume adjustment. Regardless of how many buttons your hearing aid has, test out the controls.

You should also take the time to explore the smartphone app and its controls, assuming your hearing aids have one. It’s wise to perform these tests in both indoor and outdoor settings.

Test Out the Batteries

Even though hearing aid technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, battery technology has traditionally lagged. Most models still require batteries to be switched out every few days. Depending on how often you wear your hearing aids and the features you use, you may need to change the batteries every three to seven days.

Unless you have your heart set on purchasing a rechargeable model, test out removing and replacing your batteries. You must make sure you have the dexterity to do this on your own. Smaller hearing aids may present problems for seniors when switching out the batteries. If this is the case, consider a larger, more visible hearing aid or a rechargeable option.

Try Out Your Hearing Aid with Your Phone

Phones are an essential part of daily life, even for seniors. One of the significant changes hearing aid wearers experience is needing to hold their phones at a different angle to hear the caller. The difference is much more dramatic if you choose a BTE or ITE hearing aid.

Test out your new hearing aids by making a call. This will allow you to see whether your hearing aid can pick up the caller’s voice, as well as the presence of any feedback. The majority of top-of-the-range hearing aids now connect to smartphones through Bluetooth.

Look into Investing in Accessories

Hearing aids are often not enough to provide a complete hearing experience. Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to look into purchasing accessories for your hearing aids. Even if you’re not ready to invest in accessories right now, it’s good to see what’s available.

Here are just some of the different accessories that can improve quality and convenience:

  • Lapel-worn microphones
  • Cleaning accessories
  • Microphone protectors
  • Portable chargers
  • Hard carrying cases

As a minimum, make sure your hearing aids come with accessories to keep them clean and to prevent your hearing aids from being damaged by earwax and moisture. Thankfully, most of the well-known brands provide these accessories as standard with every purchase.

Take Advantage of Free Trial Periods

The only real way to find the best hearing aids is to try them during your day-to-day life. Testing your hearing aids at home will help you to ascertain the pros and cons of each model.

Ask your hearing aid provider whether they offer a free trial period. Most brands will offer free trial periods of between 30 and 60 days, with no obligation to buy. Before starting a trial period, get any costs down in writing, including if there are any costs associated with the trial period itself. While it can take months to become adequately accustomed to your hearing aids, a few weeks will give you a good idea of whether you’re wearing the right model.

Hearing Aids Checklist

Hearing aids are a major investment and making the wrong decision can be catastrophic not just for your finances but for your overall quality of life. Before deciding on the best hearing devices for you, answer the following questions.

Are the Hearing Aids Water-Resistant?

Water-resistant does not mean waterproof. Any hearing aid you buy should have a level of built-in water resistance. As well as earwax, humidity changes can cause moisture to build up inside the ear. Without a water-resistant pair of hearing aids, they could be susceptible to damage.

Do My Hearing Aids Come with a Warranty?

Warranty periods are always important with an investment as large as hearing aids. Different manufacturers offer different warranty lengths, with some offering varying policies between models.

Carefully inspect any warranty to see what it covers and how long it lasts. You want to make sure you’re properly protected in case you lose your hearing aids, or you experience technical problems.

Finally, check to see if there are any extra costs associated with taking out a warranty. Some manufacturers charge, and others don’t.

How Long Can You Expect the Hearing Aid to Last?

Life expectancy between hearing aids varies wildly. When you’re spending thousands on a set of hearing aids, you need to factor life expectancy into your costs. A great pair of hearing aids with a life expectancy of three years may not be worth the cost if you find a similar model with a life expectancy of five years.

On average, hearing aids will last for between three and seven years. Obviously, this depends on how well the wearer cares for their hearing aids and how much they use them. A licensed audiologist can give you a good idea of the life expectancy of different hearing aid models.

How Should I Clean the Hearing Aids?

Modern hearing aids are designed to be easy to clean. However, if you lack dexterity or have a disability, you may need to consider hearing aid styles that are easier to maintain. The larger the hearing aid, the easier they are to clean. Smaller hearing aids are more likely to be coated in earwax and moisture, therefore require more regular cleaning.

What Additional Features are Available?

Hearing aids are about so much more than sound quality. Models with additional features are designed to make your life easier. Only you can decide whether they are worth paying for.

Some additional features might include:

  • Automatic fall detection
  • Body and brain tracking
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Wind noise reduction
  • In-app servicing

How Long Do the Batteries Last?

Battery life hinges on the model, manufacturer, usage, and capacity. There is no industry standard for how long a hearing aid battery is supposed to last. Averages range from three days to three weeks. Hearing aid battery reviews can also be helpful when comparing the life of hearing aid batteries. Make sure you check the capacity of your batteries and factor this into your overall costs. If battery life is a problem, consider a rechargeable hearing aid. 

How Durable is this Hearing Aid?

Durability is essential for ensuring you get a long lifespan from your hearing aids. It’s also important if you live an active lifestyle and want to keep living an active lifestyle. Take the time to look up hearing aid reviews regarding durability, and don’t be afraid to ask the retailer some searching questions before committing to a purchase.

Is there Any Finance Available with Hearing Aid?

A pair of hearing aids can cost thousands of dollars. Look into the financing options at your disposal. To help you pay for your hearing aids, there could be avenues like:

  • Installment plans with the manufacturer
  • Private health insurance
  • Government subsidies

Just because the sticker price might be high doesn’t mean you need a lump sum in the bank to start your journey to better hearing. There are so many financing options that you may only need to cover a fraction of the cost.

Will the Hearing Aid Need Returning or Cleaning?

Every hearing aid will eventually require professional cleaning or maintenance. However, when buying from some manufacturers, you may lose the use of your hearing aids for a few days. Other manufacturers offer replacement hearing aids for the duration of any maintenance.

If you have severe to profound hearing loss, consider opting for hearing aids that require a minimal amount of professional maintenance. It might also be worth buying from a brand that provides a replacement pair of hearing aids in the event something does go wrong.

Hearing Aids Shopping Tips

If you’re looking for hearing aids for seniors, you have everything you need to begin looking for your next set of hearing devices. But did you know that 60% of people waited at least two years after detecting a decline in their hearing to purchase a set of hearing aids? Most people cited cost as the main obstacle.

If you’re worried about the cost of the best hearing aids, follow these tips to get a great deal.

Should You Opt for Personal Sound Amplification?

You may have heard of PSA devices as a cheap alternative to hearing aids. While some customers with mild to moderate hearing loss note improvements when using these devices, they are not hearing aids.

PSA devices are unregulated and don’t come with the personalized care you receive when investing in actual hearing aids. For this reason, we don’t recommend opting for PSA devices. In some cases, their unregulated nature could mean inadvertently causing further damage to your hearing because they aren’t tailored to the wearer.

Check Your Coverage

The majority of private health insurance policies will not cover hearing aids. Certain plans may provide limited coverage for hearing aids, particularly if you work in the public sector or have an exceptionally low income.

Even if your insurance policy does cover hearing aids, you may find there’s a high deductible attached. Factor this into your budget before you start shopping around for hearing aids. If you have an FSA fund, you may be able to use this to help you cover the cost of hearing aids.

Check the Purchasing Contract

Whenever you buy hearing aids, you’ll have a contract detailing your rights and what the manufacturer will cover. Make sure the written contract contains the following:

  • Detailed breakdowns of all the costs involved
  • The length of any trial period
  • The length of the warranty and what it covers
  • Returns and refunds policy

Remember, cheaper hearing aids may not include free returns or regular maintenance. This all has to be factored in when finding the best hearing aids for you.

Purchase Only the Features/Accessories You Need

It’s easy to get carried away with all the additional features and accessories that come with state-of-the-art hearing aids. Simple add-ons like Bluetooth capabilities can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a single hearing aid.

Consider your lifestyle and your needs. It doesn’t make sense to have Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids if you don’t use Bluetooth devices regularly. Likewise, why would you need automatic fall detection if you’re otherwise in perfect health? Some hearing aids even offer foreign language translation, but why pay extra for this feature if you won’t use it?

Economy hearing aids often offer many of the same basic features and comparable hearing performance. When shopping, test out both premium hearing aids and their economic equivalents. You could potentially save thousands in the long term by purchasing a more economic hearing aid.

Negotiate on the Price

Most hearing aid wearers are unaware of the fact that it’s possible to negotiate a price break. The prices of hearing aids are not always fixed, especially when purchasing through independent vendors. If you’re determined to bargain, you may be able to get either a lower sales price or some extra features thrown in for free.

The easiest way to increase your chances of getting a price break is to approach audiologists that carry multiple brands. These vendors offer greater scope for negotiation and may also sell more economical options.

Search for Bargains

There are bargains to be found when shopping for hearing aids. Costco, for example, is notorious for offering extremely competitive pricing on hearing aids. At select locations, Costco is also known to offer free screenings.

You can also get a free hearing test through EarPros if there are no free hearing test providers in your local area. We can schedule your free test with a licensed hearing care specialist to help you begin your journey to better hearing.

It’s possible to purchase your hearing aids online from select brands. However, you must be prepared to perform all the necessary tests at home, which could necessitate returning your hearing aids if they’re not quite right for you.

We highly recommend scheduling an in-person appointment to test different hearing aid models with a local hearing specialist.

Don’t Buy the Latest Model

Hearing aid technology advances at an extremely fast pace. Newer models may contain artificial intelligence and machine learning. Naturally, this adds hundreds, if not thousands, to the overall cost of your hearing aids.

A simple tip for getting a better deal on hearing aids is to look at some older models. Many of the models introduced five or ten years ago still offer crystal-clear sound quality while being compatible with many of the latest accessories. Dig into the major brands’ back catalogs and, with the help of your audiologist, hone in on the hearing aids that not only meet your needs but meet your budget.

Find Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids

What if you don’t have a lump sum to pay for your hearing aids out-of-pocket? Or what if your insurance policy doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids?

There are organizations dedicated to assisting ordinary people in securing the hearing loss treatments they deserve. From Lion’s Clubs to Federal, state, and local assistance, you may be eligible for financial help. There may also be specialist help if you work for the Federal government or you’re a veteran, so take the time to explore all avenues.

Financial assistance is designed to make sure you don’t need to suffer in silence.

Schedule a free hearing aid consultation