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Phonak Hearing Aid Reviews

An Audiologist’s Review of Phonak Hearing Aids in 2024

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SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.4 of 5
50+ Years in Business
100+ Markets Worldwide
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$1,000 Starting Price

SeniorLiving.org is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Read our Editorial Guidelines here to learn more about our review process and to learn more about how we are compensated.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.4 of 5
Brad Ingrao
Dr. Brad Ingrao, Audiologist Read About Our Panel of Experts

I’ve seen Phonak continue to break ground ever since I went to graduate school for Audiology back in 1988. In the early days, they focused on meeting the needs of those with severe to profound hearing loss and children. More recently, their products have also focused on adults with hearing loss spectrum-wide, from mild to profound. Over the years, I’ve probably fit a few thousand hearing aids — at least 75 percent have been Phonak.

Phonak’s current hearing models include the powerful Naída Lumity line of behind-the-ear hearing aids and the completely invisible, extended-wear Lyric. The Audéo Lumity RIC hearing aid comes in rechargeable and disposable battery options.

One of the things I like most about Audéo Lumity is its dual-use as a health data tracker. Lumity has also been trained with AI-based machine learning that automatically identifies and adjusts to pretty much every type of sound environment you might find yourself in. See our hearing aid buyers guide for more on why this is important. In this review, I’ll give you more information about my experience with Phonak, some of their top hearing aid models, and more. Let’s get into it!

Our Top Alternatives to Phonak

Phonak has evolved substantially over the years, expanding its basic features to include things like rechargeable batteries, direct streaming to mobile devices, and synchronized control between two hearing aids. However, quality comes at a price, and Phonak is not the cheapest option available. If Phonak feels a bit too expensive for your budget and you want to find a more affordable option, be sure to check out some of the best alternatives we have reviewed.

We may receive compensation from the brands listed here. The compensation we receive from our partners impacts the products and services shown here, but it does not impact our ratings in any way. Our ratings are chosen through comprehensive research, clear methodologies, hands-on testing, and input from our team of experts.
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What’s New with Phonak?

Phonak has long been an innovator in hearing technology, and the company’s Lumity technology represents a leap forward in user experience. Phonak was a pioneer in using directional microphone technology to help users separate the speech they want to hear from distracting background noise. This technology is one of the many reasons I recommend Phonak to my patients, and I’ve personally experienced how well these devices perform when background noise is present.

Phonak also offers industry-leading remote microphones that pair with their hearing aids to help further separate speech from other noise. That’s why Phonak is my go-to recommendation for those who really struggle to hear in settings with background noise.

Some of Phonak’s other key features include:

  • Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries
  • Integrated Roger receivers in some models
  • Direct streaming to both Apple (iOS) and Android devices
  • AirStreamTM technology for TV and Audio streaming

Not new, but significant:

  • Binaural Voicestream Technology allows the two hearing aids to exchange information. This allows for convenience features like synchronized volume and program control (adjusting one hearing aid makes the same change on the other side). More importantly for communication, this feature allows the hearing aids to determine which ear has more speech and then copy that cleaner signal to the other hearing aid. This reduces the negative effects of background noise (Speech in Loud Noise), wind (WindBlock), and reverberant rooms (EchoBlock). Some of these features are only available in higher technology levels, but the basics of synchronized controls are available across levels.

Current Lumity Models

Lumity is available in several styles and models, along with a special series just for kids, called Sky. Lumity Sky BTE hearing aids utilize Phonak’s cutting-edge SmartSpeech technology to identify and prioritize speech clarity and understanding. Like every Lumity hearing aid, they reduce listening effort, so your child can focus on their environment instead of their hearing. They have a tamper-proof design, plus are water and dust resistant. They’re Bluetooth enabled, and come in lots of cool, kid-friendly colors.

FYI:

FYI: Phonak offers other hearing aids outside of the Lumity family, though we’ll be focusing on Lumity for this review.

The Audéo Lumity receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) and Naída Luity behind-the-ear (BTE) versions are available with either traditional zinc-air or rechargeable batteries.

Here’s a quick look at some of Lumity’s form factors.

Audéo Lumity Receiver in the Canal (RIC) Key Features and Benefits

Audéo Lumity Receiver in the Canal

Audéo Lumity Receiver in the Canal

  • For mild to profound hearing loss
  • Utilizes SmartSpeech technology to make hearing easier in noisy and quiet environments
  • SpeechSensor algorithm identifies the direction of the main speech signal
  • Comes in disposable battery and rechargeable options
  • Tracks health data through the MyPhonak app
  • Universal connectivity for easy streaming
  • Waterproof and sweatproof models
Naida Lumity Behind the Ear (BTE) Key Features and Benefits

Naida Lumity Behind the Ear (BTE)

Naida Lumity Behind the Ear (BTE)

  • Phonak’s most powerful hearing aid for mild to profound hearing loss
  • Utilizes SmartSpeech technology for easy conversational listening in noisy environments
  • Speech Enhancer lets you easily hear soft speakers in quiet environments from a distance
  • Universal connectivity with Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • Syncs to the MyPhonak app
  • Telecoil
  • Rechargeable options available
  • Connects to Roger Wireless Microphones
Sky Lumity Behind the Ear (BTE) Key Features and Benefits
Sky Behind the Ear
  • Prioritizes speech comprehension
  • Uses AI to identify sounds in the environment
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Wide range of colors from hair-blending to fun and bright
  • Able to fit hearing loss from mild to profound
  • Manual onboard controls
  • Tamper-resistant
  • LED indicators show hearing aid status
  • Can be used with Roger Microphones

Pricing and Technology Levels

Phonak offers Lumity across four “technology levels” designed to match the needs of a user’s lifestyle. Below are my thoughts on each, followed by a chart showing which bells and whistles are included in each level. Phonak prices are difficult to cite in a review like this due to geographic variability. Depending on the technology level and location, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $3,500 per instrument.

“Essential” devices (Lumity 30) provide a good, solid hearing aid for many people for whom cost is an issue. I see two distinct use cases for this technology level. The one often promoted by the industry is for the “stay-at-home patient” with very simple listening needs. While I’ve had some of these in my practice, the number of folks who never or even rarely venture into difficult listening environments is very small. On the other hand, plenty have a great deal of difficulty in background noise and reverberation, and who can’t fork over $3,000+ per ear for hearing aids. In this case, I use the “system” approach, where we add extra accessories to help improve hearing. Even an “Essential” level product will work very well in quiet settings. If that is coupled with a good remote microphone like the Phonak Roger Select or even a simpler solution like enabling a Telecoil for a looped house of worship, the user gets much more bang for the buck.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Visit our list of the best hearing aids for seniors in 2024 to compare Phonak to other top providers.

“Standard” products (Lumity 50) add a few more convenience features like the ability to hear a phone call in both ears (DuoPhone) and a few more “channels” for me to adjust (12 versus eight in the Essential). This level also adds a bit more ability to separate speech from background noise called “SNR Boost.” In clinical practice, this little bit did help enough people that I usually dropped the Essential level and adjusted my markup to make the “Standard” product the entry-level. These also work well in that “system” approach.

“Advanced” hearing aids (Lumity 70) start the real use of the Binaural Voicestream features by adding WindBlock, NoiseBlock, and a very fast-acting reduction for sharp, loud sounds like slamming doors called SoundRelax. The channels increase from 12 to 16 channels – and the price follows suit.

“Premium” devices (Lumity 90) have 20 channels and add “EchoBlock” to the Marvel 70 feature set. The price goes up, but it’s always been hard for me to measure significant differences in my patients with just this feature. That said, some people just like to have the top-of-the-line and can pay for it, so this level usually sells quite well in more affluent markets.

If you are a veteran who is eligible for general VA medical care, you are eligible for Premium levels hearing aids from Phonak and five other major manufacturers at no cost. Also, you are eligible for any needed accessories like Roger microphones and media streamers. You do not need a service connection for hearing. All you need to do is report to a VA medical center that has audiology and establish eligibility. You don’t require a primary care physician or referral. They will complete a means test, and if your income is over a certain level, there may be a co-payment for the test and fitting, but the hearing aids themselves are an entitlement benefit.

One-year warranties are standard, but many dispensers offer up to three years. If they don’t include it, you can purchase this as an add-on, which I recommend.

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My History With Phonak

My first exposure to hearing aids came from my Uncle Angelo, who worked in my father’s pharmacy after losing his hearing to a near-fatal mastoid infection. Between stocking shelves and being one of the first pharmacy technicians, he sold and serviced hearing aids. I started graduate school for Audiology in 1988. The following year, I started an externship and was handed a Tupperware container with eight hearing aids. My task was to get the “ears” of a prominent deaf family back up and running after the summer. Phonak made all eight models. None of them needed more than a good cleaning. Phonak has been one of my go-to brands for my patients over the decades.

The Bottom Line

In my long history working with Phonak products (I fit my first one in 1988), I’ve yet to find a patient that couldn’t be well fit with a Phonak hearing aid. Other manufacturers have many of the same features, but Phonak’s done it longer, and their clinical data is very solid. They are also well-made with reliability and durability.

Another big plus for Phonak is its strong market penetration.1 Because Phonak hearing aids are everywhere, including the Phonak-owned chain Connect Hearing, it’s usually not hard to find a local dealer to help out in a pinch when traveling, even abroad.

People frequently ask me what the “best” hearing aid is. There’s no clear-cut answer, but in my nearly 30 years of clinical practice specializing in difficult-to-fit hearing loss, Phonak is almost always on the shortlist.

If you’re still trying to decide if Phonak is right for you, watch my video below. I offer tips for finding the right hearing aids, compare top brands, and discuss my personal experience with Phonak.

Jeff Hoyt and Brad Ingrao discuss and review the types of hearing aids.

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Written By:
Dr. Brad Ingrao
Audiologist
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