MDHearing hearing aids tested and reviewed by an audiologist in 2024.
Illinois-based MDHearing has been a leader in affordable hearing aids for over a decade. Instead of outsourcing production and sales, it assembles and distributes its hearing aids directly to consumers, eliminating the middleman — and much of the cost. The company has evolved its offerings over the years from one simple device to a sophisticated line of over-the-counter hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing loss.
For this year’s review, I took MDHearing’s online hearing test (my results are below) and tried the provider’s latest model, the Neo XS. The Neo XS is a small completely-in-the-canal hearing aid. It’s the company’s smallest model yet, and it’s perfect for people who want a discreet device. I have also tested the Volt and Volt Max hearing aids, and synced the Volt Max devices with the company’s smartphone app.
My takeaway is that MDHearing’s prices and features can provide improvement for many types of people with simple hearing loss. Read on as I provide the nitty-gritty details of my testing experience and show you why MDHearing made our list of the best hearing aids in 2024!
Taking MDHearing’s Online Hearing
MDHearing’s online hearing test is well done, comprehensive, and accurate. Its results matched what I got from a traditional sound-treated booth.
The test is simple to use and navigate. Of all the online tests I’ve tried, it’s at or near the top. I liked that my results were shown in both a simplified “thermometer” version and a traditional audiogram format.
You can see how the test is conducted and the results of my test below. I appreciate how the interface and results provide information that caters to the needs and level of understanding of both first-time and more experienced users.
Quick Tip: If you’re new to the world of hearing aids and hearing tests, visit our hearing aid buyer’s guide. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know before purchasing hearing aids for the first time.
The top image shows how the test is conducted. You are first asked to put on headphones and set your volume to “max.” You’ll then select the softest tone you can hear at six different frequencies, one ear at a time.
With my test, the thermometer image below shows that my test responses were comparable to those of people who did not have hearing loss. “Normal” hearing is a range, but I’m in good shape because my scores are in the lower half of the green section.
That’s also shown in the more traditional audiogram image below. In this case, the good scores (in green) are on the top. The red O’s are for my right ear and the blue X’s are for my left ear. Each mark represents the softest level in decibels (dB) at which I heard each tone. The lower bass tones are on the left, and the higher treble pitches are on the right, like a piano.
MDHearing offers a variety of budget-friendly OTC hearing aids and 24/7 lifetime support.
Testing MDHearing Devices
Unboxing My Neo XS Hearing Aids
The sturdy box containing the Neo XS hearing aids arrived intact, with instructions about the company’s return policy on large, separately packed pages. I was happy to see that MDHearing guarantees customer satisfaction with a full 45 days to return the hearing aids if they don’t work out. There was no fine print I might miss.
The outer box sleeve slipped off easily, with no need to fumble or reach for scissors — a huge plus if you have stiff or arthritic fingers. The first thing I saw upon opening the box was a pamphlet that said, “Read me first,” so I did.
The pamphlet clearly outlined what I could expect over the next three weeks while I got used to my new hearing aids. It provided tips on how to adjust them, such as listening to familiar music, going to the movies, or seeing friends. It dawned on me while I was reading the tips that my hearing aids could help reduce the isolation that so often accompanies hearing loss.
Under the pamphlet was the compact, 50-page user manual. I tend not to have patience for these things, but the manual was written with ease of use in mind. It was in English only, so I called MDHearing to see if it’s available in other languages, such as Spanish. It is! To get the manual and other materials in languages other than English, simply call customer service. If you need help and the language you speak isn’t available, you can use the automatic translation feature in the chat on the company’s website. I appreciate these services for various languages.
The user manual included a diagram of the hearing aids and a Quick Start section.
It also had a package contents page, so I used that to ensure I had everything I was supposed to. In addition to the printed materials, here’s what was in the box:
- A charger with the hearing aids inside
- A charging cord and power adapter
- Cleaning tool
- Extra domes
- Wax guard tools
Charging My Hearing Aids
After reading over all the materials, the next step was to charge the hearing aids. I plugged the charging case, which contained the hearing aids, into a standard outlet using the USB cord. Three little blue lights came on, indicating it was charging.
One of the lights turned green fairly quickly. That confused me at first, since I thought all the lights would turn green at the same time to indicate a full charge. I checked the manual and found out that I needed to wait for a while until all three lights were green.
All three lights turned green, indicating that the hearing aids were fully charged, in about two hours. I was impressed with the speed of the charge. It took six hours to fully charge Eargo 7 hearing aids when we tested them.
Fitting and Using the Neo XS Devices
Here’s where it got a bit sticky. I have smallish ear canals, but I was still surprised at how much of the hearing aids showed after I placed them in my ears. I can tell from the promo materials for the Neo XS that the hearing aids should be completely invisible, but I didn’t want to push them in farther than I felt they should go. I used the MDHearing chat feature to ask if that meant the hearing aids were not a good fit for me. Stephanie answered the chat and suggested I try the smaller-size domes that came in the package.
Good advice, but I struggled to get the domes off and on. Stephanie recommended turning the domes inside out and curling them over the hearing aids. That was very hard to do, and I didn’t get them back on snugly. She said it takes practice and patience to change the domes, but that may be a real sticking point for people who aren’t used to hearing aids or those with limited strength in their hands. But I persevered.
Finally I was able to get the domes back on. Once the smaller domes were on, they were less visible while I was wearing them. They fit snugly!
The hearing aids whistled a bit while I was putting them in my ears, but the noise stopped as soon as they were inserted completely.
Once they were inserted properly, I gave the devices a spin. I was pleased that the hearing quality was crisp and clear across all the channels. The volume and program controls were easy to use. It just takes the push of a button on one hearing aid. To increase or decrease the volume, I pressed and released the button quickly. To change the program, I held the button down for three seconds and then released it. The number of beeps I heard indicated which program I was in. The choices are:
- Quiet: One beep
- Social: Two beeps
- Noisy: Three beeps
- Restaurant: Four beeps
My own voice sounded a little echoey in my ears, but I still sounded like myself. Watching TV and listening to music while I cooked dinner felt comfortable, but I felt the need to remove one hearing aid while I talked on the phone.
Using the MDHearing App
MDHearing offers a mobile app, but it’s only compatible with the Volt model. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t work with any of MDHearing’s other models. I downloaded the mobile app, and it was well designed and intuitive. The Volt hearing aids easily connected to the app. It even caught my mistake of not fully closing the battery door.
The personalization process took a little under 10 minutes. The process essentially is a repeat of the online hearing test. The big advantage of this version of the test is that it works directly through the hearing aids in your ears. It’s called “in-situ testing,” and it’s very good at compensating for ear canal acoustics. It’s not quite the gold standard for hearing tests in the industry, but it’s much better than just the audiogram.
I find apps like this very helpful for people with dexterity issues or who may need professional assistance with programming their hearing aids. The app allows a relative or caregiver to adjust the devices and monitor their condition much more effectively than trying to do so on the ear.
The app is helpful, but I appreciate that you can also make adjustments to your hearing aids without it. Some comparable devices, including Eargo hearing aids, require the use of a smartphone for adjustments. That can exclude seniors without smartphones from using the hearing aids.
The Details: MDHearing Models
Like other manufacturers, MDHearing offers a few options at different price levels. That allows people who are on a tight budget or buying hearing aids for the first time to improve their hearing without breaking the bank. Speaking of the bank, MDHearing offers financing through a third party. Financing is common in hearing aid sales, but most financing options have very high interest rates for balances carried past the typical no-interest promotional period.
It’s important to note that all prices listed below are after discounts. MDHearing runs discounts all year that bring prices down to just a few hundred dollars per pair. The sales change throughout the year, so check out MDHearing’s website for all the details.
FYI: MDHearing sells QuietTV wireless headphones, which are perfect for TV lovers and movie buffs! The wireless TV headphones offer advanced voice-clarifying technology and adjustable volume for an enhanced TV-watching experience.
The Air is one of MDHearing’s most affordable models, priced at $297 per pair after discounts. The virtually invisible behind-the-ear (BTE) model offers advanced noise reduction. The rechargeable devices are best for those who want a simple, entry-level device. Along with a portable charging case and a one-year warranty, you’ll get free lifetime support from the company’s team of audiologists. The long-term support is excellent, since some providers offer only short-term care after purchase. Jabra Enhance hearing aids, for example, come with only three years of follow-up care.
MDHearing’s first in-the-ear (ITE) model is the Neo, which costs $297 per pair after discounts. The discreet in-the-ear style makes them nearly invisible. The Neo is also rechargeable and provides clear sound.
The Neo features advanced feedback-cancellation technology and noise reduction so you can hear better in noisy environments such as restaurants or busy streets. It also features manual volume control, which I find very useful. This model is an excellent option for people who want discreet hearing aids and those who wear glasses regularly.
MDHearing Neo XS
MDHearing’s newest model, the Neo XS, is a smaller version of the Neo. Priced at $397 per pair after discounts, the ITE model is the company’s smallest rechargeable hearing aid yet. I like the decrease in size, since some larger ITE hearing aids can be uncomfortable for people with smaller ears. One of SeniorLiving.org’s writers tested the Eargo 7 and found that the in-ear devices were painful for her ear shape. Smaller devices like the Neo XS can help alleviate that discomfort.
It took me a little while to get used to wearing the Neo XS. Once I did, I found them comfortable and effective. I like the portable charging case, with its magnetic holders and wax-guard cleaning tools.
The removal string makes the hearing aids easy to pop in or take out. It’s super flexible and easy to grasp. I was concerned that the string might break, so I played around with it a bit to see what would happen. I’m happy to report that it’s sturdier than it looks!
The Neo XS also features upgraded noise reduction and several environment programs. Changing programs was very easy, and it really made a difference in the sound quality of varying environments. I live on a busy city street, and shifting the program to “noisy” enabled me to hear more of the sounds around me (including my neighbor’s barking dog). I recommend the Neo XS for people who want nearly invisible hearing aids and seniors who have smaller ears.
The Volt is MDHearing’s more advanced BTE model, and it costs $397 per pair. This model features dual microphones and smart noise reduction to help you focus on the sounds you want to hear instead of distracting background noise. The Volt also has the same advanced feedback cancellation and noise reduction as the Neo. These features prevent feedback and help you hear better in noisy environments.
The Volt devices were well built, with an easy-to-use charger that fully charged in a few hours. The ear tips are comfortable. I found ear tips in the package that allowed me to turn up the devices about halfway without any feedback. If I had more severe hearing loss, I would need to use a different ear tip that may have been a bit on the tight side, but I was generally impressed.
I appreciate that all of MDHearing’s devices are rechargeable, so you don’t have to remember to change your batteries regularly. If you have sausage fingers like me, changing small batteries can be a real hassle.
Check out our Volt hearing aid video review for a closer look at this model!
The Volt Max is MDHearing’s top-of-the-line model. The device has the same BTE style, slim tube, and standard earmold as the Volt model, but the Volt Max has a slightly slimmer shape.
MDHearing claims that the Volt Max’s digital processor is more advanced than the other models. It also has a smartphone app to create custom profiles and fine tune your devices. It can tune out background noise so users can focus on what they need to hear instead. The premium model currently sells for $699.98 per pair and comes with VIP Care service.
MDHearing won’t abandon you after your purchase. The company offers free access to its audiologists via email or a toll-free number that also handles general customer-service issues. The customer-service department can assist with requests for replacement accessories such as batteries, tubing, domes, storage cases, and cleaners. I found the folks on the phone helpful and knowledgeable.
I had great experiences with MDHearing’s team, but the company could improve its follow-up care offerings. Jabra Enhance offers more in-depth follow-up care from its audiology team, although it’s available for only three years. It includes on-demand video calls, unlimited chat, remote adjustments, and individually programmed devices, all through a mobile app. You can read our Jabra Enhance review to learn more.
All MDHearing products offer a 45-day return option, in addition to a parts-and-labor warranty. The Volt, Neo, Neo XS, and Air models offer a one-year warranty, while the Volt Max comes with a two-year warranty. Additional coverage is available with the MDShield protection plan, which is typically one or two years.
One of the most notable limitations of the standard and up-sell warranties is the lack of loss-and-damage coverage, which is standard for most traditional hearing-aid manufacturers. Even though the purchase price is low, a few losses can easily add up to the cost of a more advanced hearing aid that offers loss-and-damage coverage. Those with memory loss, in my clinical experience, require loss-and-damage coverage. If you’re buying for a loved one in that situation, it’s something to think about.
Final Thoughts on MDHearing
MDHearing disrupts the standard brick-and-mortar model for purchasing hearing aids through a third party, like an audiologist. Its technology is limited compared to some other hearing-aid brands though. Technology has changed, but the human ear hasn’t. If your needs are pretty simple and you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative to high-end hearing aids, these may do the trick for you. Since most insurance plans in the U.S. don’t pay for hearing aids, MDHearing offers many people access to hearing help who would otherwise be left out in the cold.