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Beltone Hearing Aid Reviews

80 Years in Business
1,500 US Locations
Overall Rating:
4.9 of 5
See Pricing
3-D Sound Environment
30-Hour Battery Charge

Overview

My first job in audiology in 1992 was for a small independent private practice. We were a “multi-line” office, meaning that we represented all major manufacturers. There were, at that time, two proprietary chains selling in our market: Miracle-Ear and Beltone. I had the opportunity to meet and become friends with the owner of the Beltone franchise near us which gave me a good perspective on that model as well as their products.

Back then Beltone developed and manufactured their own hearing aids out their Chicago headquarters. They were the leaders in using television advertising and provided a good range of products from some of the first in-the-ear devices to very powerful behind-the-ear instruments for people with profound hearing loss.

In 2000, Beltone was acquired by the Great Nordic (GN) group that had previously purchased the ReSound hearing aid company. This move allowed Beltone to take advantage of GN's research and development and release Beltone products that are essentially private-labeled ReSound hearing aids.

Despite this partnership with a “Big 6” manufacturer, Beltone retains its vertical sales channel through its single-brand locations. Some are corporate-owned, and some are franchises. In my experience, the franchises often have a bit more “personalized” feel as the owners are usually members of the communities they serve like my old pal Barry in the '90s.

Beltone has won several awards in recent years for its products including an Edison Award in 2017 for its smartphone apps1 and a Big Innovation Award in 2020 for its Android streaming technology.2

The Beltone portfolio

Beltone offers a wide variety of hearing aid styles to meet hearing, cosmetic, and lifestyle needs.

  • Invisible in-Canal (IIC): These are designed to fit deeply into your ear canal with only a clear monofilament “removal string” visible at the very edge of the ear. An ear impression of your ear canal is made and then turned into a 3-D computerized rendering to custom fit your ear.
  • Completely in-Canal (CIC): These hearing aids sit right in the ear canal. An impression of your ear is also made for these to give you a perfectly tailored fit.
  • Mic-in-Helix: This is one of the shared technologies from ReSound. The main part of this hearing aid hides in your ear canal. The hearing aid microphone is worn within the curved groove of your ear, where it is still out of sight. A small transparent tube sends sound from the microphone to the component in your ear canal. This product, unique to Beltone and ReSound, places the microphone in the anti-helix of the outer ear. This position has been shown to improve speech understanding in background noise. Resound and Beltone are the only ones to offer this in hearing aids, but this “semi-remote” microphone technology is also found in Advanced Bionics cochlear implant speech processors and works well to give directional microphone benefit in a small space.
  • In-the-Canal (ITC): These are custom made and slightly larger than the completely-in-canal models. They also come with push-button controls and are designed for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
  • In-the-Ear (ITE): These are also custom-made but are made to partially or fully fit the outer ear. Because they are a bit larger, there are more controls and larger batteries, making them good for people with more severe hearing loss or dexterity problems. This model is also well suited for those with vision loss as it's large enough to allow right/left identification by feel, the controls are large enough to easily feel and the batteries are easy to handle.
  • Receiver-in-Ear (RIC, RIE or RITE): These are the newest type of hearing aid on the market and are becoming the most popular. There is a small casing that sits behind the ear while a narrow transparent wire that connects the casing to the receiver, which rests in your ear canal.
  • Behind-the-Ear (BTE): These hearing aids are small and have a curved casing that sits behind the ear. A transparent tube connects the device to a custom-created ear mold that sits in your ear canal. A common modification of the BTE is the “Thin tube” which is thinner and more discreet than a traditional earmold tube. This tube connects either to a custom earmold, or a stock dome, similar to a RIC.

Beltone offers those hearing aid styles in a variety of families that all include different features.

Beltone Trust

These hearing aids provide great sound, are discreet, and offer personal wireless control. Beltone Trust hearing aids also work with the app to give you the best hearing aid experience. They include CrossLink Directionality 2 that allows you to identify where sounds are coming from at all angles. This “ear-to-ear” technology allows the hearing aids to sample the speech-to-noise ratio on each side to better determine where the microphones should point for maximum speech understanding.

Beltone Amaze

This is Beltone's latest technology as of this writing. When fully charged, these hearing aids can last for 30 hours. You can connect this hearing aid to any of your devices…smartphones, televisions, etc. These hearing aids work with the Beltone Hear MaxApp so you can adjust your hearing aid from your smartphone. This is best suited for people with mild to severe hearing loss. It only comes in two styles, RIE with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and RIE with 13 battery.

Beltone Legend

The Beltone Legend hearing aids include Personal Sound ID that attempts to mimic the way sound is processed naturally by the ear. It helps to make you more aware of your surroundings and have better conversations. You can also stream calls from your iPhone to your hearing aid.

Beltone Boost Max

Beltone Boost Max is made for those with the most severe hearing loss. These hearing aids connect with the app and connect to Apple products and Android phones. Enjoy CrossLink Directionality 2 technology as well.

Beltone Ally

Beltone Ally offers advancements and easy-to-use features like Noise Reduction and Sound Cleaner to reduce background noise so you can focus on the conversation at hand. You can also stream devices right to your hearing aid.

Accessories and Apps

Beltone also has several accessories and apps to go along with its hearing aids. Like their sister products, the Beltone line uses a 2.4GHz wireless system to connect to accessories. This is a very robust and long-range (about 60 feet in most buildings) way to overcome some of the additional challenges of distance, reverberation and background noise.

Beltone myPAL Micro and Pro

This small portable microphone allows you to hear what people are saying when they speak into it. The sound streams directly into your hearing aid The official range is 80 feet, but realistically, I've found that depending on certain environmental factors, they are very reliable up to 60 feet. These remote microphones use the same hardware as the ReSound MultiMic and Mini Mic. They operate very similarly with a few differences.

The MyPAL Micro has a directional microphone and accelerometer that senses if the microphone is dropped and mutes it before the “clunk” of the floor happens.

The MyPAL Pro is, in my experience, one of the best values in Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT). In addition to the features above, it also allows for manual adjustment of the microphone sensitivity from onmi-directional to ultra-narrow. The accelerometer automatically switches to omni when placed on a flat surface. What makes this device one of my favorite hearing system components is that you can use it as a hub for other technologies. On the bottom of the myPAL Pro, there are two sockets: One for a standard 3.5mm audio cable (included) and a 3-hold “Euro” jack. These allow you to connect other audio devices to the myPAL Pro and then stream to your hearing aids.

I've used this feature on ReSound hearing aids to allow folks to listen to Mp3 players, hearing assistive devices in theatres or in the case of students, take advantage of district-owned FM systems like the Phonak Roger that uses a Euro plug.

As if all that wasn't enough, the myPAL Pro also has a telecoil to allow for connection to wide-area “hearing loops” found in auditoriums and houses of worship (see our hearing aid buyers guide for more about this). This is great because even if you have a smaller hearing aid without a telecoil, you can take advantage of this very effective technology for computing distance, reverberation and background noise.

Beltone Direct TV Link 2

This device connects to a television or other audio producing device and streams the sound to your hearing aid. It is very easy to connect and supports both analog and digital inputs. Streaming reduces the negative effects of distance and reverberation on speech understanding. For those with different TV tastes than their partners, the Direct TV 2 allows you to hear clearly when the TV speakers are very low or even muted.

Beltone DirecTV Link

Beltone DirecTV Link

Beltone Phone Link 2

The current line of Beltone hearing aids stream to iPhones and iPads. If you use an Android phone or tablet, the Phone Link 2 converts the Bluetooth signal from your phone to the 2.4 GHz signal of your hearing aids. This allows you to hear in both hearing aids, hands-free and controls the basic functions of the hearing aid.

Beltone Phone Link 2

Beltone Phone Link 2

Beltone Direct Remote Control 2

With this small remote you can adjust hearing aid volume and switch streaming devices. This is very helpful for those with dexterity problems or who require assistance in daily living as it allows a caregiver to easily control the hearing aids.

BT Remote Control Front

BT Remote Control Front

Smartphone and Smart Watch Apps

One of the many advantages of the Beltone/ReSound partnership is that owners or either product take advantage of the shared software development resources. This effort has produced several very helpful applications for both Android and iOS (Apple) portable devices. They range from very simple remote controls to sophisticated tinnitus treatment programs.

Beltone Smart Remote App

Very similar to the basic functions of the Direct Remote 2 on your smartphone.

Beltone Sound Remote

Beltone Sound Remote

Beltone Hear Max App

This app connects Beltone Trust Hearing aids to your iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android phone for an easy way to control your hearing aids.

HearMax Dashboard

HearMax Dashboard

HearMax Connecting a Hearing Aid

HearMax Connecting a Hearing Aid

HearMax Sound Enhancer

HearMax Sound Enhancer

HearMax Noise Filter

HearMax Noise Filter

Beltone Hear Plus App

This app also helps to control hearing aid features. It can be used by Apple and Android users as well as with Samsung Galaxy products.

HearPlus TV Link

HearPlus TV Link

Beltone Hear Plus App for Apple Watch

This is an exclusive app for the Apple Watch, allowing you to control all hearing aid functions from your wrist.

Beltone Tinnitus Calmer App

Get sound therapy and relaxing exercises to calm tinnitus with this app. In my practice this is one of the best and most effective supportive apps for tinnitus. A trial of this app (or the ReSound version) has been part of my standard protocol for tinnitus patients regardless of their hearing aid brand. It's logical, easy to use and is based on solid tinnitus research very similar to the Progressive Tinnitus Management program developed by the Veterans Administration.3

Tinnitus Calmer Homepage

Tinnitus Calmer Homepage

Tinnitus Calmer Dashboard

Tinnitus Calmer Dashboard

Tinnitus Calmer Meditation

Tinnitus Calmer Meditation

Tinnitus Calmer FAQs

Tinnitus Calmer FAQs

Getting help after the sale

Beltone offers much of its customer service through online support. Through the HearMax App, you can send a request to a hearing aid specialist to reset your hearing aid and get help without leaving your home.

On its website, there is also technical support available for all its hearing aids and product lines, as well as app support and support for accessories. Beltone also aims to answer many frequently asked questions on its website.

If you have a specific question that cannot be answered with the information available online, you can always send a message via the company's “contact us” page. There is also a toll-free number available if you need help.

Wrapping up

What We Like About Beltone

  • They've been around for a very long time and their stores are owned by members of the communities they serve. Their products have, for the most part, always been of a high quality and they stand behind them.
  • I like the partnership with GN, even though it takes some of the company out of the country. Hearing loss is complicated and the more smart people there are looking at solutions, the better.
  • They've embraced the reality that for most people with hearing loss, the thing hanging on the ear is part of a system, rather than the whole ball of wax.
  • Their accessories and smartphone apps are effective and relatively easy to use, especially for the current entry-level users in the Baby Boomer and Generation X. For the less tech-savvy, they still function very well in “20th Century Mode.”

Things to Keep in Mind About Beltone

  • The proprietary sales channel serves Beltone very well as a company, but not necessarily the end-user. It's frustrating to me when a new patient comes to my office with a Beltone hearing aid needing adjustment. I know that under the hood it's a ReSound that I'm very familiar with but because it says Beltone on the case, my version of the software won't read or write to it.

Aside from that, the current generation of products would be a good fit for the vast majority of people with hearing loss. As with any hearing aid brand, your success is much more about the relationship you foster with the dispenser and the amount of “mental calisthenics” you're willing to do to maximize the benefit of your hearing aids.

As a practicing audiologist since the 1990’s, Brad Ingrao, AuD has fitted thousands of hearing aids to seniors and people of all ages. Brad is the Official Audiologist for the International Committee on Sports for the Deaf and a well-known speaker. Dr…. Learn More About Brad Ingrao