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Until fairly recently, the hearing aid industry was dominated by the “Big Six” manufacturers (GN ReSound, Oticon, Phonak, Signia, Starkey, and Widex), and distributed primarily through brick-and-mortar clinics. A few attempts have been made to break that model by providing hearing aids that can be purchased online.
Lively is one provider that has gained some traction with online direct-to-consumer sales. Their devices are currently limited to people with mild to moderate hearing loss, but the hearing aids have solid technology and a good online support system.
Lively's behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are made by ReSound, a company that also manufactures Beltone hearing aids. ReSound's underlying hearing aid technology has an excellent reputation, so Lively's decision to offer it at a lower price point is a major win for hearing aid users. Read on as I detail my personal experience with Lively hearing aids!
When you visit Lively's website to purchase hearing aids, you'll start by taking a comprehensive hearing and lifestyle questionnaire. You'll then take a basic online hearing test designed by Lively's head of audiology research, Harvey Abrams. Lively also offers the option to upload a scanned audiogram, which is a printout you likely received after a hearing screening in a doctor's office.
Did You Know: Lively is one of our top picks for hearing aids in 2022. Visit our list of the best hearing aids to learn more!
I wanted to see how accurate Lively's online testing platform is, so I tried it for myself. The test itself is pretty straightforward, and I imagine that less tech-savvy folks wouldn’t have much difficulty with it. It's accurate too. I received results very similar to what I know my hearing to be.
Here are Lively's results from my test:
The results page is not a typical audiogram, but rather a functional descriptor of hearing. I like this because one of the things I spend a lot of time doing in clinical practice is explaining an audiogram graph to my patients. The functional descriptor is much more user-friendly.
Finally, I can click on a video and Lively's Head of Audiology explains my results. This is not a truly individualized explanation, but they clearly have several videos based on common patterns of hearing loss. Lively gets a thumbs-up for open captioning the video.
To ease the pocketbook, Lively is offering their hearing aids at a pretty significant discount compared to buying the ReSound branded version from a local dispenser or audiologist. They also provide financing options, which is great for older adults who can't fork over the full amount up front.
Upfront pricing ranges from $1,195 to $1,995 per pair, and includes a pair of hearing aids and the Lively Bundle. The Bundle provides three years of online support with a remote audiologist, three years of warranty and loss and damage protection, and a free mobile app. You also get 100 days to try the devices, a major plus considering hearing aids can take time to adjust to.
For more pricing information and details on how to get the best deal with Lively, visit our Lively hearing aid pricing guide.
Lively offers three BTE hearing aid models: Lively 2 Lite, Lively 2 Plus, and Lively 2 Pro. Its hearing aids feature directional microphones for noise reduction, automatic and manual programs, feedback control, and enough adjustment channels to allow Lively's audiologists to expertly match the shape and severity of your hearing loss.
Lively's hearing aids also offer direct stereo streaming with Apple devices and most Android devices, which means you can stream calls, music, audio from Netflix shows, and more directly to your hearing aids. It's a great feature, especially for older adults who enjoy listening to music while they exercise or commute. A handy chart on the company's website makes checking compatibility a breeze.
Pro Tip: Check out Lively's compatibility page to see if your smartphone is compatible with the devices' direct streaming features.
Below, we'll take a brief look at Lively's hearing aid models.
The Lively 2 Lite provides good speech clarity and noise reduction, so the devices are great for everyday listening. This is Lively's only model that relies on disposable hearing aid batteries. If you have a limited budget or you don't want to deal with recharging your hearing aids, then this pair is a solid option.
At only $1,195 per pair, Lively 2 Lite is the company's most affordable offering. Pay as low as $39 per month with a monthly financing plan. These battery-powered hearing aids also come with the Lively Bundle and a one-year supply of batteries.
Lively 2 Plus is the midlevel rechargeable hearing aid in Lively's lineup, and it offers a rich, natural sound. These hearing aids offer better speech clarity and noise reduction so you can communicate well even in tricky listening situations such as loud restaurants. Lively recommends this pair to people with active lifestyles.
A pair of Lively 2 Plus hearing aids costs $1,595, or as low as $52 per month with financing through Bread. Your purchase includes the Lively Bundle plus a charging case that delivers 30 hours of sound per charge.
Lively's newest hearing aid, the Lively 2 Pro, features Lively's most advanced technology for natural, effortless listening. Premium features include Music Mode to improve the quality of live music, hands-free calling for iPhones 11 and newer, and automatic volume control.
This pair is a great fit for older adults who lead active lifestyles and spend time in dynamic environments such as restaurants, stadiums, and theaters. They're rechargeable, so you don't need to fumble with small hearing aid batteries. Instead, enjoy up to 30 hours on a single charge. You can choose from eight colors to best match your hair or skin tone.
Lively 2 Pro hearing aids cost $1,995 per pair or $65 per month with financing options. The purchase price includes the Lively Bundle and a charging case.
I downloaded and installed the Lively App which, not surprisingly, is exactly the same as the ReSound/Beltone App. It provides basic volume and program control as well as more advanced features like custom frequency sharing, mixing for accessories, and tinnitus management. You can also select programmed listening environments such as “outdoors” or “restaurant.”
On the hearing aid accessory side, Lively offers ReSound’s most popular wireless devices: the TV Streamer, MultiMic, and Phone Clip.
All of these accessories use the 2.4 GHz wireless platform and allow users to hear and understand speech more accurately in the presence of background noise or when the source, like a TV, is beyond the ideal sweet spot for hearing aids (six feet). These devices are easy to configure and use, and they are, in my clinical experience, quite durable and provide a lot of benefits. Plus, the accessory prices are average, so you won't need to break the bank to get some extra hearing support.
If you or a loved one have mild to moderate hearing loss and are thinking about diving in with your first hearing aid, I recommend checking Lively out. The company's advanced hearing aid technology and accessories will help you field phone calls, communicate in noisy restaurants, and go about day-to-day life with a lot more confidence and comfort. Lively sets itself apart by including three years of online support with a remote audiologist. This was a great idea even before COVID-19, but it's even more useful now for people who don't want to make the trek to an in-person office.
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