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
Beltone offers a wide variety of hearing aid styles to meet hearing, cosmetic, and lifestyle needs.
Beltone offers those hearing aid styles in a variety of families that all include different features.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very similar to the basic functions of the Direct Remote 2 on your smartphone.
This app connects Beltone Trust Hearing aids to your iPhone, Apple Watch, or Android phone for an easy way to control your hearing aids.
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.
This is an exclusive app for the Apple Watch, allowing you to control all hearing aid functions from your wrist.
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
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.
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.
BusinessWire. (2017). Beltone myPAL Accessories Win 2017 Edison Award.
US Department of Veteran Affairs. (2018). Progressive Tinnitus Management.
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