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Best Hearing Aids in 2021

Our experts have researched 19 hearing aid companies and recommend 12 of the best options for seniors.

hearing-aid-icon

How We Rated Hearing Aids

Based on nearly 30 years of clinical experience fitting hearing aids from all manufacturers, and hands-on testing of the latest product lines, I rated each provider based on total user experience taking into account fit, affordability, effectiveness, and technology.

The features listed are an aggregate of features available in a given manufacturer’s current line of products, but may not be present at all price points. In this guide, we also have a detailed description of each feature.

A Comparison of the Best Hearing Aid Companies

Hearing Aid Company Hearing Loss STD Warranty Max Warranty Return Option Rechargeable Zinc Air LiON Charge Time LiON Life Stream 50% LiON Life Mic Self Test Internet Sale Remote Support Remote Control TV Streamer Remote Mic T-Coil iOS App Android App Tinnitus App Financing
Audicus Mild to Moderate 1 year 2 years 45 Days Yes Yes 3 hours 24 hours 24 hours Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes
Beltone Mild to Moderate 1 year 3 years 30 Days Yes Yes 3 hours 24 hours 30 hours Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No External
Eargo Mild to Moderate 1 year 1 year 45 Days Yes No 6 hours N/A 16 hours Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes Yes No Bread, Ally, Care Credit
Embrace Mild to severe 2 to 3 years 3 years 45 days Yes Yes 4 hours 16 hours 20 hours Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
GN ReSound Severe to Profound 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 3 hours 24 hours 30 hours No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes By office
Lively Mild to Moderate 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 3 hours 24 hours 16 hours Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes By office
MD Hearing Aid Mild to Moderate 90 days 2 years 45 Days Yes Yes 3.5 hours N/A 18 hours No Yes No No No No No Yes Yes No Affirm
Miracle Ear Mild to Moderate 3 years By office Varies by state Yes Yes 3 Hours 19 hours 16 hours Yes No No Yes Yes No Yes No No No By office
Oticon Moderate to Severe 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 3 hours Depends on use 24 hours No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No By office
Otofonix Mild to Moderate 1 year 1 year 45 days Yes Yes 4 hours N/A 16 hours Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Phonak Severe to Profound 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 2 hours 11 hours 24 hours Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes By office
Signia Moderate to Severe 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 3 hours 19 hours 16 hours Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes By office
Starkey Moderate to Severe 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 3 hours Depends on use 20 hours No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Widex Moderate to Severe 1 year 3 years Varies by state Yes Yes 4 hours Reduced 16 hours Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes By office
  • 1. Lively

    Price: Starting at $1,450 a pair

    Range: Mild to Moderate

    Purchase: Independent Practices

    Test: Traditional

    Lively has a lower price point for traditional hearing aids paired with modern technology. Also, with a purchase of Lively you have free follow-up access to an audiologist. For more information, head to our hands-on Lively review.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years Yes No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • 100-day money-back guarantee
    • Three-year warranty
    • Direct streaming from Apple devices
    • Remote care available from audiologists
    Cons
    • Not suitable for severe or profound hearing loss
    • Only BTE models available
  • 2. MDHearingAid

    Price: $199 to $799 each

    Range: Mild to Moderately–Severe

    Purchase: Online

    Test: Self-test

    MDHearingAid has a great online hearing test and based on my hands-on review and investigation, I like their products for mild to moderate hearing loss. MDHearingAid is very affordable compared to most providers. For people with severe hearing loss, their background noise management and fitting flexibility may not be sufficient.

    MDHearingAid has made some exciting developments in recent months! To help customers navigate the confusing world of insurance and hearing aid coverage, MDHearingAid recently launched a dedicated Insurance Team to help customers find out if hearing aids are covered and file claims for them. The company is also preparing to launch QuietTV Wireless headphones on Oct. 1. These new wireless TV headphones clarify and amplify the sound of your TV for crystal clear listening. To learn more, read our full MDHearingAid review.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    45 Days 2 years Yes Yes Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Low price
    • 45-day risk-free trial
    • Self-adjustable via mobile app
    • U.S.-based customer support
    Cons
    • Cannot stream sound directly into hearing aids
    • Only one color available
    • Not ideal for severe to profound hearing loss
  • 3. Eargo

    Price: $1,500 – $2,950 per pair

    Range: Mild to Moderate High-Frequency

    Purchase: Online

    Test: Self-test

    Eargo is very clear about the niche they are after, which is folks with mild to moderate hearing loss. In looking at and test driving Eargo’s products, I found the company to be a perfect solution for a first time, high tech user. They get extra points from me for not trying to fit people they aren’t appropriate for and offering a rechargeable CIC. Visit our full Eargo review to learn more.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    45 Days 1 year Yes Yes Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Distributed outside of traditional prescription models
    • Lower price, as they are more accessible
    • Nearly invisible design
    • Rechargeable
    • Includes support from licensed hearing professionals
    Cons
    • Not designed for those with profound hearing loss
    • Cannot stream sound directly into hearing aids
  • 4. Lexie

    Price: $799 per pair of $49 per month for 24 months

    Range: Mild to Moderate

    Purchase: Online or at select Walgreens for a one-time payment or monthly subscription

    Test: Online

    Lexie Hearing offers affordable BTE devices that can either be purchased outright or through a monthly subscription. Lexie’s subscription option offers great perks, including protection against damaged or lost hearing aids and care kits with replacement batteries and accessories shipped straight to your door. While Lexie doesn’t offer the most advanced hearing aids on the market, I appreciate how inexpensive they are and that you can adjust your devices from home using their mobile app. Visit our Lexie Hearing review to learn more.

    Please scroll to the right for more info.
  • 5. Otofonix

    Price: $199 to $649 each 

    Range: Mild to moderate

    Purchase: Online, single payment or financing

    Test: Online or email your audiogram

    Otofonix is a “hearing amplifier” rather than a hearing aid but provides basic amplification for mild to moderate hearing loss. Overall, Otofonix devices have good build quality. Plus, Otofonix is a great option for those on a tight budget who spend most of their time in quiet settings talking to only one or two others at a time. Check out our latest Otofonix review for all the details on this provider.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS/Android App
    45 days 1 year Yes Yes Yes (Sona model)
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
  • 6. Phonak

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just about average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase: Independent practices, Phonak-owned  Connect Hearing  stores, and VA Audiology

    Test: Traditional

    Phonak gets the prize for measurable improvement in hearing in a difficult setting, making it the audio logic champ of this list. That said, their best solution, Roger, is priced outside the range of many folks, and their other remote solutions are not quite as good as ReSound’s MultiMic. Their integration with Advanced Bionics cochlear implants is however better than the ReSound/Cochlear one. If Phonak’s higher prices fit in your budget, it’s worth considering. Read our latest Phonak review to learn more.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years Yes No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Motion sensor and built-in microphone for hands-free calling
    • Long-lasting battery
    • Amazing phone capability and sound quality
    • Environmental balance allows wearer to increase streamed audio volume over and above surroundings
    Cons
    • No speech in loud noise situation
    • No Tinnitus therapy feature
    • Can only be bought through local provider
    • Cannot fine tune hearing aids remotely
  • 7. Embrace Hearing

    Price: $599 to $1199 per instrument

    Range: Mild to Severe

    Purchase: Direct to consumer, single payment, or up to 36 monthly installments via Care Credit.

    Test: Online test or upload of your own audiogram

    Embrace is an affordable provider, offering “white label” versions of Phonak, Unitron, and Rexton hearing aids at significantly lower prices than traditional sales channels. For a more hands-on look, head to this year’s Embrace review.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS/Android App
    45 days 3 years Yes Yes Both
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
  • 8. Beltone

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just above the average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Severe

    Purchase: Beltone stores which are mostly independent franchises

    Test: Self-test or in-store

    I have fitted Beltone hearing aids extensively in my clinical practice. ReSound makes current Beltone hearing aids, and so have all the benefits of a “Big 6” company.  As such, they are audiologically suited for all types of hearing loss with two caveats. First, even though the hardware is ReSound, the software is proprietary, so they can only be serviced and adjusted at a Beltone location. Second, the typical partnership between ReSound and Cochlear for those with cochlear and bone-anchored implants is no longer valid. It’s possible that Beltone-branded wireless accessories will work with Cochlear products, but I don’t have that data. Visit our latest Beltone review for a closer look at this provider.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    30 days 3 years Yes No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
  • 9. Widex

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just about average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase:  Independent practices.

    Test: Traditional

    Widex fills out the “just below top shelf” group. If a patient was not a potential cochlear implant candidate I’d fit them with a Widex without hesitation. They get a small blip for performing musicians. Read our full Widex review for more information, or head to our Widex pricing guide to see how their prices stack up.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years Yes No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Has corresponding apps to allow for easy personalization and a user-friendly experience
    • Comes in rechargeable models
    • Widex offers best-in-class spin processing including “Zero Delay” in its new MOMENT product line.
    • Water-resistant
    Cons
    • Cannot purchase Widex hearing aids directly from website
  • 10. Signia

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just about average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase:  Independent practices  and VA Audiology

    Test: Traditional

    Continuing with the “shelf” analogy I’d put Signia’s products on the same shelf as Oticon. Their products cover the full range of hearing loss and a nice group of wireless accessories. They work very well in both low and high tech modes and their rechargeable technology is leading the pack. Visit our review of Signia to learn more.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years Yes No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • Great for people with all levels of hearing loss
    • Many options to select from
    • Made with innovative technology
    • Own Voice Processing (OVP)
    • myHearing app connects directly to hearing care professionals
    Cons
    • Higher cost
    • Relies heavily on website to provide information, which may not be ideal for those who are not tech-savvy
  • 11. Starkey

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just about average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase: Independent practices, Starkey-owned stores, and VA Audiology

    Test: Traditional

    Starkey occupies their place next to Signia and Oticon as a company suited to fit all losses with the same cochlear-implant patient caveats. As the only US member of the Big 6, Starkey’s products get Made in the USA points corporate wise, but in reality, a lot of their tech is manufactured overseas. Check out our hands-on Starkey review for all the details.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years No No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
    Pros
    • 30-day trial available
    • Crisp sound without interference
    • Plenty of useful features in addition to Bluetooth capability
    • Use corresponding free app to control the device from a mobile phone
    • Multiple ways to contact customer support
    Cons
    • Warranty details not available on website
    • Must visit in-person to purchase hearing aids
    • Not suitable for people with profound hearing loss
  • 12. ReSound

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run about  average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase: Independent practices and VA Audiology

    Test: Traditional

    ReSound sits squarely on the top shelf for patients of all groups primarily due to their long history of being honest about the reality that nearly everyone with hearing loss will need more than just hearing aids to perform optimally in the real world. Their 2.4 GHz accessories are well built and ReSound’s prices are affordable, and their partnership with Cochlear extends their fitting range to profound. Visit our full ReSound review to see if this provider is the right fit for you.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    By state 3 years No No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.
  • 13. Oticon

    Price: Not listed, but based on reports from my patients, they run at or just about average for storefront dispensing of $1,500 to $3,500 per ear

    Range: Mild to Profound

    Purchase: Independent practices, Oticon-owned  Hearing Life stores, and VA Audiology

    Test: Traditional

    Oticon’s products sit just below the top shelf across all levels of hearing loss and has a full product lineup. While they don’t have a direct partnership with cochlear implant manufacturers, they fully support FM systems and offer telecoils in the majority of their power products and some accessories. Read our latest review of Oticon for more information.

    Return Option Maximum Warranty Online Self-Hearing Test Internet Sale iOS / Android App
    Varies 3 years No No Yes
    Please scroll to the right for more info.

How I Recommend Hearing Aids to Patients

I get asked all the time, “what’s the best hearing aid?” As I used to say to my university students, it depends.  When meeting with patients in the clinic, I try to get an idea about their areas of greatest need and then attempt to match features with those needs. Manufacturers print out “Lifestyle Guides” which are in reality sales tools to steer folks into the highest technology level they can afford. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but it’s not at all scientific.

In addition to traditional hearing evaluation, I also perform two additional measures for those considering hearing aids. The Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB 2) was developed by Cox and Alexander at the University of Memphis in 1995. This 24 item questionnaire helps me identify the amount of difficulty in four types of listening: Quiet settings (Ease or Listening or EC), Reverberation (RV), Background Noise (BN), and Aversiveness to loud sounds (AV).  These scores can then be compared to a normative database of others with and without hearing loss. The APHAB is available as a PDF download and is also included in the Noah hearing aid software system that nearly all brick and mortar dispensing locations use.

When I look at these scores, I draw lines to specific hearing aid features as follows:

  • The higher the EC scores, the more difficulty the person has hearing in the nest case scenario of a quiet room. This deficit is easily addressed by any hearing aid that has sufficient power. The only products in this review that would screen out at this stage would be those specifically designed for hearing loss less severe than “severe.”
  • The RV and BN scores are very much related, and I typically consider them together. In my experience, if these scores are higher than 50 percent, I strongly advise remote microphones and TV streamers.
  • AV scores relate to the reality that all people with sensorineural hearing loss experience abnormally rapid growth of loudness perception called recruitment. Those with AV scores over 50 percent need some meticulous attention when fitting their hearing aids. For these folks, I make sure that I measure the loudest sounds they can tolerate (called UCL) at all test frequencies. Then I make sure that the hearing aids we consider have adjustment channels very hear the frequencies where their UCL’s are closest to their thresholds.

About three weeks after the initial fitting, I repeat the APHAB, and ideally, all the high scores are lower. If not, then I got some of the feature-matching incorrect.

After the APHAB, I also perform a Quick Speech in Noise (Quick SIN) test 3. This recorded test presents short sentences with increasing amounts of background noise, similar to what you’d hear at a pre-COVID cocktail party.  This test is available as a stand-alone CD and is also built into several popular audiometers. The scoring recommends features that match up with the “Signal to Noise Ratio Loss (SNR Loss).  Like the APHAB, I repeat the Quick SIN once the hearing aids have been fitted.

Another big part of my evaluation is to look at dexterity and how tech-savvy the client is. The first guides discussion about device size, shape, and power (zinc-air vs. rechargeable).  The second opens the door to the discussion of smartphone apps.

Finally, I look at how much tinnitus the patient has and how troublesome it is. I use the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory to measure this before and after addressing it. The American Tinnitus Association has a great online version 4. This score maps to tinnitus sound generators and smartphone apps.

Looking at these factors, I tend to group potential hearing aid users into four categories:

Group 1:

Hearing threshold in mild to moderate range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
APHAB RV and BN less than 20%
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Quick SIN SNR Loss less than 5 dB
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Tinnitus Handicap Inventory in Normal Range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
Able to use all size Zinc-Air Batteries
675
13
312
10
Uses smartphone and tablets daily
NEVER
OCCASIONALLY
OFTEN
DAILY

Group 2:

Hearing thresholds in mild to moderate range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
APHAB RV and BN between 20% and 50%
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Quick SIN SNR Loss between 5 and 10 dB
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Tinnitus Handicap Inventory in the mild range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
Able to handle size 312, 13 and 675 Zinc-Air Batteries
675
13
312
10
Uses smartphone for calls and tables a few times a week
NEVER
OCCASIONALLY
OFTEN
DAILY

Group 3:

Hearing thresholds in moderate to severe range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
APHAB RV and BN 50%
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Quick SIN SNR Loss between 10 and 15 dB
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Tinnitus Handicap Inventory in moderate range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
Able to handle size 13 and 675 Zinc-Air Batteries
675
13
312
10
Uses smartphone occasionally
NEVER
OCCASIONALLY
OFTEN
DAILY

Group 4:

Hearing thresholds in severe to profound range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
APHAB RV and BN greater than 50%
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Quick SIN SNR Loss greater than 15 dB
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Tinnitus Handicap Inventory in Severe range
NORMAL
MILD
MODERATE
SEVERE
PROFOUND
Able to handle only 675 Zinc-Air Batteries
675
13
312
10
Does not use smartphones or tablets
NEVER
OCCASIONALLY
OFTEN
DAILY
Written By

Brad Ingrao

Audiologist

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