Not all hearing aids are made the same. That's why it's essential first to know what you're looking for in a hearing aid, and then to compare what different companies offer. To start you off on your search, we'll compare two of the industry's leading providers: Oticon and Starkey. Both providers have been in the hearing aid business for decades and have quality products on the market. Let's take a look at how they measure up.
|An Introduction to Starkey|
|An Introduction to Oticon|
Starkey, the only “Big Six” hearing aid company founded in the U.S, has always been an “envelope pusher” in custom hearing aids. They were the first provider to offer advanced health and safety features like all detection and activity tracking built into their hearing aids.
Oticon also has an impressive line of hearing aids and accessories. Their OPN line is “Made for iOS,” which allows direct streaming of phone calls and audio signals. They offer the Connect Clip for those with Android devices, which combines a Bluetooth Rebroadcaster and remote directional microphone. Their “Brain Hearing” approach aims to make all sounds audible so that the brain can filter them out.
Oticon and Starkey both offer a full range of hearing aids with styles ranging from invisible in canal (IIC) to behind the ear (BTE), along with a lineup of add-on equipment and features that include products like remote microphones, TV streamers, and smartphone apps.
Oticon's OPN system relies on the premise of “Brain Hearing.” In my clinical experience, this works very well for people with mild to moderate hearing loss with minimal difficulty in background noise, which represents the majority of first-time hearing aid users.
Starkey's Livio AI hearing aids combine “wearable” consumer technology features like activity tracking and fall detection. These are great for both active seniors who want to stay at the top of their game and older adults who are more at risk for falls. Family members and caregivers will be alerted if they experience a fall, ensuring that help will be sent straight away.
|Bluetooth capability||Yes (phone, TV)||Yes (phone, TV)|
|Tinnitus support help||Yes||Yes|
|Customer service||Online FAQ, 1-800 number, email||Online FAQ, 1-800 number, email|
You'll need to make an appointment with a local hearing specialist that sells Oticon or Starkey hearing aids to purchase your devices. Because prices vary by several factors, including location, features, device style, and your unique needs, it's best to talk with your hearing specialist for an accurate quote. Oticon and Starkey don't currently list their prices online. We'd recommend reading through our senior guide to hearing aids for more information on visiting a hearing specialist and purchasing your devices.
Starkey has an extensive line of hearing aids that are easy to choose from because it divides them into specific hearing needs. Starkey started and remains in middle America and has grown from a small family business for those who prefer American companies. They are the first to blend hearing aid and healthy, safety, and wellness features. If Starkey sounds like the right provider for you, take a look at our hands-on Starkey review for more information.
Oticon, one of the elder statesmen of hearing aids, continues to innovate hearing correction with their “Brain Hearing” approach. For those just entering the hearing aids space, these provide a convenient, “hands-off” way to get back into the swing of things while also providing enough flexibility for audiologists to make adjustments if your hearing or listening needs change. Are you interested in Oticon hearing aids? Our in-depth review of Oticon hearing aids offers even more details on the provider.