Top Hearing Aids for the Elderly
How We Chose Our Top List
There are a lot of hearing aids on the market and they probably all sound like a great choice. With that being said, making a decision can be difficult. The great news is that we got you covered! We have gone through the 19 biggest hearing aid brands and have narrowed it down to our top 10. See which hearing aids we crowned as our favorites.
Eargo hearing aids range in price from $1,850 to $2,650. The Eargo Max costs $1,850, the Eargo Neo model costs $2,350 and the Eargo Neo HiFi model costs $2,650.
Eargo offers multiple hearing aid products, with exceptional features, award-winning design, and cutting edge technology. All devices arrive ready to use, so you can hear right out of the box. Each purchase of their modern hearing aids grants clients access to Eargo’s team of audiologists and licensed hearing professionals, who provide lifetime support to help you determine whether Eargo is right for your mild to moderate, high-frequency hearing loss. Read our Eargo review to learn more about this top rated hearing aid company.
Currently, Lively offers The Lively Bundle, which starts at $1650/$69 per month. Keep in mind you get a lot for your money as the package includes one pair of programmed aids, two years of medical follow-up, access to the Lively mobile app, a one-year supply of batteries, and two years of loss and damage protection.
Now more than ever, the senior world needs to be heard and granted better accessibility. Lively clearly recognizes this, and because of its uber-compassionate, economical angle, more and more untreated individuals are finally seeking help and receiving the support they deserve. Making device adjustments on the go or connecting with a professional for real-time advice has never been easier.
Widex offers more than seven hearing aid models through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $750 and $3,000 depending upon which model you choose, and which features are installed in that model.
Understanding that hearing aids are not one-size-fits-all, Widex offers a strong repertoire of features with a broad price range, including both budget and premium options. Lots of helpful information is available on their website. Due to the company’s technological advances, Widex provides some of the best hearing aids you can buy and has one of the more transparent warranty programs in the business.
Signia only offers their wide range of hearing products through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $1,200 and $2,000 per unit depending upon which model you choose, and which features are installed in that model.
Being the new kid on the block, Signia has had little time to establish a reputation. But with their products based on the Siemens brand, consumers can be “cautiously confident” in the company’s ability to deliver a high-tech quality product. Signia’s strength lies in their broad range of products and the amazing amount of features they put in their hearing aids. Any information you need about financing and trial periods may be obtained from a hearing professional. Read our full review of Signia hearing aids here.
ZipHearing offers a wide variety of hearing aids from several manufacturers. The company offers discounts on hearing aids, compared to pricing offered by some other hearing aid companies or providers because ZipHearing works directly with manufacturers.
The price of hearing aids depends on which model you choose and from which company. Another factor possibly affecting pricing is your specific hearing aid needs.
ZipHearing offers a variety of affordable hearing aids, including products from well-known manufacturers. Seniors save when shopping online at ZipHearing because there is no mark-up of products typically seen when dealing with a middleman.
ZipHearing has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, with dozens of positive reviews. The warranty and free trial offer is another reason that some seniors likely choose ZipHearing.
MDHearingAid hearing aids start under $200 and go as high as $800 per device. Of all the top rated brands we have evaluated, MDHearingAid offers substantially lower prices for all their hearing aid models.
MDHearingAid delivers FDA-registered hearing aids right to your door. By selling directly to the consumer, they’ve made the hearing aid buying process quicker and easier without sacrificing hearing device quality and customer service. Their warranty is short compared to other brands and you make adjustments to hearing aids yourself which may be difficult for someone with limited dexterity.
Phonak only makes their more than twenty hearing devices with a variety of unique features available through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $1,500 and $3,000 per unit depending upon which model you choose, and which features are installed in that model.
Phonak is an industry leader and one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. They are recognized as a premium brand hearing aid manufacturer and renowned for their high-quality hearing aids. Additionally, they are regarded as an industry leader in pediatric hearing care. They offer a wide range of hearing aid products with more than 20 models to choose from; however, they may be most widely known for their LyricTM model – the first 100% invisible hearing aid that can be worn for months, 24/7. Unlike some of their competitors, Phonak does not offer lower price range models. They prefer to sell their products through hearing health professional and licensed audiologists only.
Starkey only offers their hearing products through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $1,500 and $3,100 per unit depending upon which model you choose, and which features are installed in that model.
Starkey offers a wealth of hearing aid choices and packs them with technology. Like most other top brands, Starkey hearing aids are sold only through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Starkey has a solid reputation and is proud to be the only American-owned and operated hearing aid company. If you want to buy American, Starkey is the hearing aid brand for you. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. After more than 50 years of service, they have not had any product recalls, have not been the subject of any regulatory actions and there has been no reported consumer litigation.
Miracle-Ear offers hearing products through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $1,500 and $3,100 per unit depending upon which model you choose, and which features are installed in that model. Miracle-Ear offers lifetime services, including regular cleaning and adjustments, making them even more affordable when many of their competitors charge extra for service plans and additional warranties.
Being one of the oldest and best-known manufacturers in the industry, Miracle-Ear has patented some of the most technologically advanced hearing aids available today. Miracle-Ear designs and creates hearing aid technology that has evolving features, setting their products apart from many of their competitors. With their long history of service, hearing aid technology and extensive store network, Miracle-Ear offers both quality and support.
ReSound offers hearing products through hearing professionals and licensed audiologists. Because of this, prices may vary. Average prices range between $1,200 and $3,000 per unit depending upon which model you choose, which technology level you choose, and which features are installed.
The GN ReSound Group builds on 147 years of expertise to become a global leader in intelligent audio solutions. ReSound is committed to the process of making continuous advancements in the audiology industry. Along with their sister group, Jabra, ReSound is a worldwide distributor of hearing products. They offer a full range of hearing aid styles and technology levels to fit every need including pediatric and profound hearing loss.
It’s estimated that 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss. Thirty-three percent of individuals between the ages of 65 and 74 report hearing difficulties. By the age of 75, approximately half of all seniors report hearing loss according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Hearing loss is serious and can have serious repercussions. There is mounting evidence that hearing loss, left untreated, is linked to depression and a decline in memory and concentration, and perhaps even dementia.
With so many brands of hearing aids, and each brand offering sometimes more than 20 models, it can be difficult to determine which hearing aid is best for you.
Here are a few factors you may want to consider when it’s comes time to purchase a hearing aid.
Keep in mind that your hearing professional has been trained to help you better understand the options that are available to you.
Although it can’t reverse hearing loss, a hearing aid can drastically improve your hearing by amplifying sounds and reducing background noise. A hearing aid is composed of three parts – a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker.
Hearing aids work by collecting sound, analyzing and adjusting it to accommodate factors like levels of hearing loss, surrounding sound levels and listening requirements. Then it delivers the adapted sound back to the ears. Hearing aids have a learning curve when it comes to learning how to use them and acclimating to the way noises sound, but the payoffs can be significant.
The most common types of hearing aids and common abbreviations include:
Each type has clear-cut advantages and disadvantages. For example, smaller hearing aids may be less noticeable and enable the consumer to feel less self-conscious, but they often lack advanced functionality, such as volume control or directional mics. Additionally, seniors who have problems with fine motor skills experience difficulties changing the small batteries they require.
There are two types of hearing aids – analog and digital – and each of them works differently.
With analog hearing aids, sound waves are converted into electrical signals that are then amplified. Analog/adjustable are personalized to satisfy the specific requirements of each customer. It’s programmed by the manufacturer to the audiologist’s recommended specifications. Analog/programmable hearing aids have more than one program or setting. Using a computer, the audiologist programs the device. Analog/programmable hearing aids enable you to change the program for different listening environments, quickly and easily. Analog hearing aids are typically less expensive than digital hearing aids.
Digital hearing aids transform sound waves into numerical codes (kind of like a computer’s binary code) before amplifying them. Using the information contained in the code, the hearing aid is programmed to intensify some frequencies such as loudness and pitch. A hearing professional can adjust the hearing aid’s digital circuitry to accommodate certain listening environments and to further adapt the device to the consumer’s needs.
In a 2018 survey, 71% of Consumer Reports members said they wore the mini-behind-the-ear style. Digital hearing aids come in five common styles.
The mBTE includes various types of hearing aids including RIC, RITE, RITA and CRT. With these devices, the receiver (the speaker that transfers sound to the inner ear) is located in the ear canal. These devices are attached to the ear with a thin wire and an earmold (soft material that fits snugly in the ear and channels sound) that is custom-made or with a non-custom-made dome-style ear-canal piece.
With traditional BTE hearing aids, all electronic components reside in a plastic case situated behind the ear. Sound is transmitted through tubing that connects a custom earmold located in the ear canal and its receiver to the plastic case.
All electronic components reside inside the case that rests in the bowl of the outer ear.
The entire device is located deep inside the ear canal and is removed with a removal string.
Although not as discrete at the CIC hearing aid, the ITC hearing aid remains barely visible.
When you first begin to wear a hearing aid, noises can sound strange to you. Remember to give yourself time to adjust to your hearing aid. In the long run, it will be worth it. Do everyday activities as you adjust to your new hearing aid. Some sounds might seem loud at first because your brain is processing sounds it hasn’t heard in a while. If you’re not sure your hearing aid is working as well as it should, consider taking it in for an adjustment. This is especially important if your ear feels clogged or your voice sounds strange.
Ongoing maintenance is required to keep your hearing aids working at the levels they are intended. Make sure to select a hearing aid company that backs their products, provides customer support, offers ongoing service and provides a warranty or guarantee. Ongoing service ensures your hearing aids will better deliver the sounds you need to hear.
Proper care and maintenance will extend the life of your hearing aid; therefore, you should make a habit to:
Approximately every seven to ten years, your hearing may change. This means that your hearing aids may need to be reprogrammed to continue providing the best hearing experience.
Hearing aids no longer have to be clunky devices that whistle, pop and distort the sound of your voice. If you haven’t looked at hearing aids recently, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that modern hearing aids have many incredible features, and with some models, someone may not be aware that you’re even wearing one. Today’s hearing aid is smaller and more user-friendly than ever before.
Fifty-three percent of people who wear hearing aids indicate that rechargeable batteries are most important to them when looking for a new hearing aid. Forty-two percent indicate that automatic noise level adjustment is important. Forty-three percent felt that tinnitus masking or smartphone capabilities are very important. Multiple program settings were important to 41%. Thirty-seven said wireless connectivity to other devices was important to them.
Let’s look at some of the top features that make wearing a hearing aid so much more different than it was just a few years ago, then you decide which is most important to you.
Provides a crisp, natural listening experience. Filters out background noise from speech and the environment, preventing communication issues while also providing the rich sounds of nature.
Directional microphones make the person talking right (the audio signal) in front of you louder than noises coming from your rear or sides. They work best when you’re near the sound source. With directional mics you can tune out the noise around you, isolating the sound of the person you are talking to. Advanced models can focus behind and to your sides as well. Directional mics come with a negative – they’re prone to pick up wind noise.
Hearing aids featuring multiple channels allow you to customize the equalizer in the hearing aid for peak listening quality in a particular environment. After saving the setting for later use, you simply return to the saved channel when you find yourself in the same or a similar environment. This reduces the time you find yourself adjusting your hearing aids in public.
These features allow you to connect to countless audio sources with the push of a button, causing high-quality audio to be streamed directly into your ear. This is accomplished by pairing your hearing aids with a smartphone, television, laptop or other device using built-in Bluetooth technology.
The Telecoil / T-Switch feature enables you to connect to an audio induction loop, or hearing loop, in places of worship, museums, sporting arenas, concert halls, conference rooms, taxis, subway trains and more. Consider asking for a manual T-switch which will enable a seamless connection to loop systems.
The Assisted Listening Device Locator provides a list of locations in the United States that offers hearing loops.
Automatic programming allows your hearing aid to analyze the acoustics of an environment and make automatic adjustments. With the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence), your hearing aid learns your lifestyle and listening habits, then makes automatic adjustments for you, providing crystal-clear sound. Automatic Programming is currently only available on higher-end devices.
When you’re fitted with two hearing aids, binaural processing causes both devices to communicate and synchronize their settings with each other. For example, if the wind is blowing in your left ear, both hearing aids will mirror the clearer audio signal of the right ear into both devices.
Feedback suppression, also referred to as digital feedback reduction, helps to suppress high-pitched whistling sounds. Most modern devices have this feature, but it’s more effective for some devices than others. It helps to minimize feedback when your device is slightly dislodged when you move your jaw or when close to a telephone. Some users experience greater comfort, better sound and more venting. A properly fitted hearing aid is less likely to have feedback.
Digital Noise Reduction blocks out some background noise in noisy environments. It doesn’t work in all situations.
Hearing aids are a serious investment, some costing as much as $10,000 and more per pair depending upon which brand, device and features you choose. The overall average price paid for a single hearing aid is around $2,300. That’s $4,600 for a pair. Most people require a pair.
Be sure to also look for hidden costs. When comparing hearing aids and their brands, check out the following to make sure you understand the real cost:
Be sure to ask about bundled services. It might save you some money.
Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of any hearing aid devices. They do, however, cover the cost of diagnostic evaluations for specific diagnostic purposes if they’re ordered by a doctor to assist in the development of a treatment plan. Some Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans do offer limited hearing aid benefits. Additionally, some states provide medical assistance for hearing aids and veterans may be eligible to receive hearing aids free of charge.
Some organizations, such as the Miracle-Ear Foundation and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, provide hearing aids to those who cannot financially afford the cost of the devices. Other nonprofit organizations offer financial assistance in the purchase of hearing aids. And others may provide refurbished or used devices.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) Information Clearinghouse provides information and resources, including financial assistance for hearing aids.
Hearing loss often takes place because of an obstruction in the canal of the ear. This can come about as a result of ear infections in which the canal experiences swelling. It’s also not uncommon for benign tumors to cause hearing loss. The good news is, an obstruction in the ear canal can often be removed by a professional hearing specialist. Once removed, your hearing may return to normal without any need for a hearing aid.
If you experience hearing loss because of inner ear damage that impacts your sensory hair cells, you will most likely need a hearing aid to improve your hearing. Such hearing loss is often caused by medications, being exposed to loud noises for extended periods of time, illnesses, injuries, or age.
Important to note is that it is completely normal for you to experience hearing loss as you age. This is known as presbycusis hearing loss. You can improve this type of hearing loss with the use of one or more hearing aids.
Before shopping for a hearing aid, you should ask yourself if your hearing loss is impacting your daily life. Are you able to keep up with your regular lifestyle? Can you communicate well with others? Do your family members notice that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to? Your answers to these questions will directly impact whether you need a hearing aid. You can also have an audiologist check your hearing to see whether your hearing loss needs treatment through the use of hearing aids.
The severity of your hearing loss combined with the type of hearing aid you choose to wear will impact how long it takes you to adjust to wearing a hearing aid. And while it is the ear that collects the noises going on around you, it is your brain that translates those sounds into something that you recognize. If you don’t treat hearing loss, it may become worse and can lead to atrophy in the auditory part of your brain. It is always important to wear your hearing aids as described by your doctor as this will improve the odds of the device being able to improve your hearing loss.
Hearing aids available on the market today come with either disposable (button) or rechargeable batteries. Devices with disposable batteries tend to be the most popular, however, many manufacturers are starting to produce more hearing aids with rechargeable battery options.
Hearing aid devices that are rechargeable have the batteries built directly into them. The batteries recharge by docking the hearing aid on a charging dock, much the same as charging a smartphone. If you opt for a hearing aid with disposable batteries, you will have to replace the batteries when they go dead. You may think you can simply switch out disposable batteries for rechargeable ones, but there’s a chance your hearing aid device isn’t compatible with a charging station. If you want a hearing aid device that comes with rechargeable batteries, make sure to purchase one that is specifically designed to work with charging stations.
In most cases, it’s better to wear two hearing aids. This is especially of benefit if you find yourself in noisy environments a lot. With two hearing aids, the signal reaching your ears will arrive at slightly different times, which helps the brain more easily process the speech signal. Plus, if you wear only one hearing aid and sound is coming to you from the other side, then much of the speech signal is lost once it reaches the ear without the hearing aid. This means you may hear two different things. And lastly, with only one hearing aid, you may have a difficult time determining sources of sound, which can alter your sense of direction.
Hearing aids differ in prices, with much of the cost being determined by the technology used in each device. A hearing aid that boasts some of today’s most advanced technology and features will, of course, cost more than a device that only makes use of basic hearing aid technology. On average, though, you can expect to spend anywhere from $1,500 to $3,500 per hearing aid device. If you need a pair of hearing aids, you should plan to spend $3,000 to $7,000.
Living with Tinnitus can greatly hinder your quality of life, particularly when it comes to enjoying your surroundings and being fully aware of all the sounds around you. Many people with Tinnitus wear hearing aids because they suffer from hearing loss, and lots of them notice improvements in their symptoms. The devices allow them to hear sounds they miss due to the Tinnitus ringing. And because of the ability to better hear all sounds going on around them, this minimizes Tinnitus symptoms.
You have several options to check into when paying for hearing aids. If you have Medicare, the only way it will cover hearing aid-related expenses is if you have Medicare Part B and your doctor makes you go through a diagnostic hearing exam that indicates you need a hearing aid. And still, Medicare Part B is only going to cover about 80% of your exam and test costs. It will not cover the cost of the hearing aid device.
You can, however, possibly tap into financial assistance for a hearing aid if you have Medicare Advantage. It is very important to understand your policy to determine whether it will help with the cost of hearing aids, including the tests, exams, and devices. When you buy a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure to speak with an insurance specialist to ensure you pick a plan that will help cover the cost of your hearing aids. And once you plan to use the insurance for hearing aids, make sure to use an in-network doctor as this will help keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.
If you’re a veteran, you may be able to get the entire cost of your hearing aids covered through the Veteran’s Administration. You can go by one of your local VA Medical Facility to register with the VA as well as to speak with a representative about whether your VA coverage applies to hearing aids.
Most hearing aids last anywhere from four to 10 years. However, just because you purchase a hearing aid with a 10-year expected lifespan doesn’t necessarily mean you will want to use it for that long. About every five years, hearing aid technology becomes much more advanced. This is why a lot of people get new hearing aids every five years.
A hearing aid may or may not come with a trial period. You should shop for ones that do because during the trial period, you can make a decision for yourself as to whether or not you want to return the hearing aid. You should ask yourself whether the hearing aid helps or hurts your hearing loss. If it hurts it, then return the hearing aid device before the trial is over.
Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt