Phonak vs Oticon

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Phonak at a Glance

  • Directional microphones zoom in on desired sounds
  • Our pick for severe hearing loss
  • Unique IIC offerings
  • Best technology for complex listening environments

Oticon at a Glance

  • Hearing aids with 360-degree soundscape
  • Bluetooth features for some Android users requires an intermediary device
  • Best technology for listening comfort
  • Our choice for mild to moderate hearing loss
Our favorite is Phonak
  Phonak Logo Oticon Logo
Bluetooth capability Yes (phone, TV) Yes (phone, TV)
Tinnitus support help Yes Yes
Customer service Online FAQ, 1-800 number, Online form Online support, 1-800 number
Accompanying App Yes Yes

Comparing the Costs

Neither company advertises its hearing aid prices online. If you’re interested in a product, you’ll be directed to find a professional hearing aid provider in your area to book an appointment. From there, your hearing aid provider will work with you to find which hearing aid model best suits you and your budget. Take a look at our Oticon and Phonak pricing pages for more information on price and how to purchase your hearing aids.

My Friend's Father-in-Law wearing Oticon

My Friend's Father-in-Law wearing Oticon

Phonak: Our favorite hearing aids for severe to profound hearing loss

Phonak offers durable and reliable hearing aids for all levels of hearing loss, making them an excellent solution if they’re right for your budget.

4.4 of 5

Phonak vs. Oticon: How do They Compare?

The most significant difference between Phonak and Oticon is in the fundamental philosophy they use to calculate how much sound is produced at which pitches to address your hearing loss. Phonak leans toward the “maximum speech audibility” approach defined by the DSL-I/o 5 algorithm developed at the University of Western Ontario. Oticon’s algorithm is closer to the NAL-NL2 formula from the National Acoustics Lab in Australia. Both accurately represent the entire spectrum of speech for soft through very loud sound inputs, but the NAL-NL2 approach provides a little more listening comfort. Research has historically shown the algorithms to be essentially equivalent when listening to speech, so you really can’t go wrong.

Beyond providing basic loudness correction for hearing loss, Phonak and Oticon differ significantly in how they approach hearing speech in background noise. Phonak relies on automatic and manually adjusted directional microphones to “zoom” into desired signals. Oticon’s “Open Sound” approach in their OPN generation devices aims to provide an accurate “360” representation of the world that allows the brain to select the signal you want to listen to. I don’t see a significant difference between the two approaches for people with mild to moderate hearing loss in my clinical practice. For those with more severe hearing loss, particularly those with very poor hearing in background noise, the Phonak approach works a bit better for my patients.

To see how these providers compare to other providers in the industry, take a look at our top picks for hearing aids in 2023.

Phonak and Oticon Devices

Phonak Hearing Aid

One of Phonak's BTE hearing aid styles

Both Oticon and Phonak offer hearing aids ranging from IIC (invisible in the canal) to high power BTE (behind the ear). The most popular for both is the RIC (receiver in canal) style that provides a great balance between discretion and functionality. Phonak also offers a unique device called Lyric, which is an “extended wear” IIC. The Lyric uses a sealed battery and is placed very deep in the ear canal by specially trained dispensers. After about three months, the device is replaced under a subscription plan. I’ve fit a lot of these in my practice; I’ve found that for folks with mild to moderate hearing loss and the right size and shape ear canal, they work quite well.

Oticon Hearing Aids

One of my friend's Oticon hearing aids

Quick Tip:

Quick Tip: Not sure which hearing aid style is right for you? Check out our hearing aid buying guide for more details on hearing aid styles and more.

Wireless Connectivity

Both Phonak and Oticon offer “Made for iPhone” devices. Android users can also connect to both, but Oticon users will need an intermediary device called the Connect Clip for some incompatible  Android phones . In contrast, the Phonak Marvel can connect directly to most Android devices using the “Bluetooth Classic” protocol.

Hearing Assistive Technology

Both Oticon and Phonak allow users to overcome the limitations of distance, reverberation, and background noise; however, Phonak has the edge here. Their Roger system, while quite expensive, is the leader for hearing well in complex listening environments, including educational settings. Both offer equivalent TV streaming devices and smartphone apps.

Our Thoughts on Phonak and Oticon

For the average first-time senior customer, I feel very comfortable recommending either Oticon or Phonak. Both will provide world-class technology and customer service at a fair price. Phonak and Oticon are currently only available through “brick and mortar” dispensers, but they offer some level of telemedicine support.

I tend to lean toward Phonak for those with more severe hearing loss since those users nearly always need the more aggressive speech-in-noise approach that Phonak provides.

Did one of these providers pique your interest? Check out our Phonak and Oticon reviews for more details on both companies.

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Written By:
Dr. Brad Ingrao
Read About Our Panel of Experts
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… Learn More About Dr. Brad Ingrao