Hearing loss is very common for seniors, ranking as the third most common chronic health condition for seniors.1 Untreated hearing loss has been linked to reduced health-related quality of life.2 Fortunately, hearing technology is more advanced and accessible than ever before. For years, the hearing aid industry was limited to about six multinational companies distributed by local professionals. However, in recent years, smaller companies have emerged, offering lower-cost products that can be easily ordered online. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these “new kids on the block” provide a personalized customer experience remotely via telephone, web-based tools, and smartphone apps. One of the most cost-effective we've found thus far is Otofonix.
Otofonix provides behind-the-ear “hearing amplifiers” at an inexpensive price. While these devices do increase sound, they are not technically “hearing aids” per FDA definitions. However, they do provide many of the same proven technologies to improve hearing and understanding in many settings. Their devices range from $250-$650 per device, depending on the level of technology and features. This is on the affordable end when compared to some of the market's leading hearing aid providers such as Audicus and Miracle-Ear, whose devices start at around $499 and $1500 per ear, respectively. Read on for a closer look at Otofonix and their hearing solutions for seniors!
Otofonix, a US-based company headquartered in Cornelius, North Carolina, was founded by a medical professional with over 25 years of industry experience. The company prides itself on its devices' high-quality technology and durable manufacturing. Otofonix's mission is to provide hearing amplifiers that are both comfortable and discrete with affordability and accessibility in mind to meet the needs of the millions of individuals experiencing hearing loss.
Unaddressed hearing loss can lead to cognitive impairment in some individuals3 and feelings of isolation and disconnect from their environment. Fortunately, hearing aids and amplifiers can prevent and even reverse these effects.4 The problem is that millions of seniors' hearing loss goes untreated. A major reason for this is the high price of many hearing devices on the market.5 This was precisely what led the founder of Otofonix to develop their first line of high-quality devices at an affordable price, making them an excellent budget option for the quality they provide.
It's important to note that Otofonix provides personal amplification devices that can be purchased over-the-counter without a doctor's prescription. If you're experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss, Otfonix's line of hearing devices can help you hear sounds in your environment with more clarity.
As mentioned previously, you don't need a doctor's prescription to purchase Otofonix devices. You can buy these hearing aids in the privacy, safety, and comfort of your own home on the Otofonix website. The company provides a detailed description of each of their devices and what types of hearing loss they're built for. Once you decide which hearing aid works best for you, you can choose to purchase a device for one or both ears and select the color you want.
Unlike most traditional hearing aid providers like Beltone and Phonak that require you to visit an audiologist to purchase your hearing aids, Otofonix hearing aids are only sold online. This is convenient, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, seniors who want a detailed hearing evaluation and consultation with an audiologist should look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you're all about quick, easy, and affordable, Otofonix is a great choice! Once you purchase your hearing aids, they'll be shipped right to your door in two days.
Pro Savings Tip: If you sign up and subscribe to Otofonix's newsletter, you'll receive updates and coupon offers for extra savings on devices and accessories.
Otofonix has a lineup of five different devices with varying features, programs, and processors. Below is an overview chart for all of Otofonix's hearing aids. Scroll down past the table for more details about each device!
|Apex||$250 per device||#312||6-8 days||3 programs and 8 volumes|
|Elite||$398 per device||#312||6-8 days||4 programs and 10 volumes|
|Encore||$599 per device||#312||6-8 days||4 programs and 10 volumes, *Telecoil technology, dual microphones|
|Helix||$649 per device||Rechargeable||18 hours||4 programs and 10 volumes, *Telecoil technology, dual microphones|
|Sona||$649 per device||#13||5-7 days||4 programs and 10 volumes, *Telecoil technology, dual microphones, smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity|
FYI: Many Otofonix devices feature a telecoil, which is a special receiver inside the hearing amplifier that allows you to connect wirelessly to audio induction “hearing loops” and most telephones to reduce the negative effects of background noise and reverberation. For more information about Telecoils, see our Hearing Aid Buyers Guide.
The Apex is Otofonix's most affordable device. It starts at $248 per ear, which we think is a great deal and very competitive among other budget hearing aids, such as MDHearing which range from $199-$399 per device.
The Apex offers three program settings: “normal” for everyday listening and basic noise reduction, “noisy” for medium noise reduction for things like wind, and a “treble” setting that decreases high pitched sounds. Each program is designed to provide the optimal hearing experience in different environments. It also offers eight volume settings, with a single button to easily adjust volumes and programs. The Apex is designed with a thin sound tube for discrete and comfortable wear and a “magic ear dome” that provides more natural sound.
These hearing devices are appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss. We recommend them for those who can still hear sound but need more clarification for distant sounds and loud environments, such as restaurants, sporting events, and other outdoor activities. The Apex is both budget- and user-friendly, making it a win-win in our book!.
FYI: Otofonix provides a protection plan for $9.99 per month, which covers 100 percent of all types of damage, accidental or otherwise, that isn't covered by the standard warranty. If you're tough on your devices, we think this plan is totally worth it!
The Elite costs $398, which is a modest increase from the Apex thanks to some extra bells and whistles. It builds on the Apex by providing 10 volume settings and an additional fourth program for more customization in different sound environments, whether you're at home watching TV or walking down a busy street. The Elite uses digital noise cancelation, a technology that filters out background environmental sounds like road noise. It also provides a directional microphone to further focus on the sounds you want to hear. Additionally, the Elite has a memory recall feature that saves your preferred settings. This feature is excellent for those who have a hard time remembering their favorite settings.
The Elite's design is virtually invisible with a clear sound tube and camouflaged case. The case has a rocker style control switch to move from setting to setting with ease. Talk about keeping it simple!
At its price point, the Elite is considered a budget device, but its features rival some of the more expensive devices on the market. Hearing aids with similar features from providers such as Beltone run about $1,600 per device, making the Elite a fraction of the cost. Overall, this device is optimal for seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss who engage in activities outside of the home, such as socializing in small cafes and work settings with moderate amounts of noise.
Next in Otofonix's lineup is the Encore, priced at $599 per device. The Encore has the same features as the Elite, but it adds a telecoil setting for optimal sound clarity when coupled with devices like hearing aid compatible telephones and “hearing loops” in public venues. Another unique feature is the Encore's “Earhook kit,” which stabilizes the device in the ear and allows an even greater increase in volume. This device's improved features and programs make it a good option for seniors who experience even severe hearing loss.
It's also a solid choice for older adults who have a hard time hearing over long distances or during one-on-one conversations and those who struggle with word clarity. With dual microphones and telecoil technology, this device is a good fit for meetings and gatherings such as work meetings, conferences, and even church events. Just like the previous devices, the background noise cancellation makes it optimal for outdoor activities.
Savings Alert: Otofonix offers certified refurbished Apex, Elite, or Encore devices that can save you almost 50 percent off the cost of new devices.
The Helix provides all of the great features of the Encore with the added value of rechargeable batteries. Even with these improvements, the Helix offers excellent value at $649 per device. For comparison, other rechargeable hearing aids from companies like Widex range from $750-$3,000 per device, depending on the model. The rechargeable battery power of the Helix is enough for a full day of use. Never again will you have to hassle with purchasing and replacing tiny batteries.
The Sona is the latest and greatest device from Otofonix and runs the same price as the Helix at $649 per device. Unlike the other Otofonix models, the Sona offers Bluetooth technology and a smartphone app to control them. The app allows users to customize their hearing experience in the comfort of your own home. Bluetooth connectivity lets you easily stream audio from other devices, such as your cell phone, or tablet. These advanced features are great for tech-savvy seniors. Plus, they come at a great price; other devices with similar features from providers such as Starkey can set you back an upwards of $1,799 per device. Talk about savings!
The Sona is also equipped with the same great features and programs as the Encore, making it a solid choice for seniors with moderate to severe hearing loss. We would have liked to see a rechargeable battery option; however, you get a package of #13 disposable batteries included with your Sona purchase.
With so many hearing aid devices on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. For seniors on the hunt for affordable hearing devices, Otofonix provides a lineup with various features to meet the needs of those with mild to severe hearing loss. With a price range of $250-$650 per device, this line is comparable in both price and function to some leading hearing aid providers, which can cost thousands of dollars for just one device.
Keep in mind that Otofonix provides hearing amplifiers, which are meant to help increase volume and clarity of sounds, but not necessarily to address hearing impairments, which is what hearing aids do. Nevertheless, these devices can provide just as much hearing power as medical-grade hearing aids for a fraction of the cost. Otfonix provides a 45-day free trial and return policy, so why not give them a shot?
Otofonix devices are pre-programmed to provide an optimal hearing experience in different environments. Additionally, Otofonix provides easy-to-follow instructional videos on their website that clarify all features and uses.
Like hearing aids, hearing amplifiers can improve the ability to hear. However, hearing aids are designed for hearing impairments, while hearing amplifiers are for those with hearing loss. Hearing amplifiers are good options for seniors with mild to severe hearing loss.
No, their business hours are from 9:00 a.m-5:30 p.m EST Monday-Friday.
The Otofonix warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the time of the order receipt for a free repair or replacement.
5. Kitterick PT, Ferguson MA. Hearing Aids and Health-Related Quality of Life in Adults With Hearing Loss. JAMA. 2018;319(21):2225–2226. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.5567
Ashawire. (1992). Sustained Benefits of Hearing Aids.
Project Muse. (2016). Prevalence of Untreated Hearing Loss by Income among Older Adults in the United States.