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Widex vs Starkey

Brad Ingrao Dr. Brad Ingrao Audiologist is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

Widex and Starkey are two major hearing aid companies that offer a wide variety of hearing aids for mild to profound hearing loss. I have fit many of my patients with hearing aids from both brands over the decades. Widex is my go-to solution for musicians with hearing loss, while Starkey offers some of my favorite solutions for severe hearing loss. Read on to learn about my experience with both providers, the differences between the two, and how each company’s products compare.

Comparison Table

Our favorite is Starkey
  Widex Logo Starkey Logo
Level of hearing loss Mild- profound Mild to profound
Bluetooth Capability Yes Yes
One-sided hearing loss CROS available
Tinnitus Support Help Yes Yes
Styles offered BTE, RIC, ITE, CIC BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC
App 4 apps 5 apps
Accessories offered COM-DEX streaming tool and remote mic, SoundAssist telecoil connector and mic, TV Play connector Surflink media streamers, In-ear audio monitors for musicians, TV streamer, table mic, remote mics
Hearing aids for Veterans None listed Yes, through the VA
Battery types Rechargeable and disposable options Rechargeable and disposable options

Widex and Starkey are trusted manufacturers of innovative and reliable prescription hearing aids. Both offer technologically advanced devices for mild to profound hearing loss in a wide range of styles.

To purchase hearing aids from either company, you’ll need to see a professional hearing specialist, such as an audiologist, in person. The audiologist will work with you on determining the cause and type of hearing loss you have. They’ll also discuss the types of hearing aids that may work best for you.

» Learn About: How to choose a hearing aid

Widex Hearing Aids at a Glance

  • Hearing aids for mild to profound hearing loss
  • Excellent options for musicians
  • Known for cutting-edge technology and innovative design
  • PureSound Technology produces undistorted, natural sound
  • CROS hearing aids for one-sided hearing loss
  • Tinnitus solutions
  • SoundSense Technology and Fluid Sound Analyzer utilize AI (artificial intelligence)

Widex manufactures a wide range of hearing aid styles, including one CROS (one-sided hearing loss) model. There are rechargeable and disposable battery options available throughout their offerings.

Widex is known for using a state-of-the-art approach to producing natural sound quality, and cutting-edge hearing aid designs. Here are some examples:

EVOKE uses AI technology to intuitively adjust to the sounds around you. These hearing aids keep up with your needs and environment, and automatically make hearing aid adjustments accordingly. Whether you’re listening to pop or classical music, or are indoors or outdoors, you can count on EVOKE to adapt seamlessly in the environment you're in with the Fluid Sound Analyzer and Controller.

EVOKE hearing aids have a dedicated app with an intuitive interface. Widex uses cloud-based data from users around the world to fine-tune sound profile preferences in the app. These hearing aids are available in behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), custom in-the-ear (ITE), and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) styles. There are also mini and micro-sized versions.

SmartRIC is another offering from Widex. It has a sleek, unique L-shaped design that places the microphones at a high angle, making hearing in noisy environments easier. The microphones contain inlets that also reduce wind and touch noise.

SmartRIC is rechargeable. These hearing aids keep their charge for up to 37 hours, a nice added extra. They also come in five colors, including rose gold, dark cherry, and silver gray that give them a high-tech, savvy look.

Read our full Widex hearing aid review to learn about my overall experience with this brand.

Starkey Hearing Aids at a Glance

  • Hearing aids for mild to profound hearing loss
  • Known for true-to-life, realistic sound quality
  • Several virtually invisible hearing aid styles
  • CROS hearing aids for one-sided hearing loss
  • Tinnitus solutions
  • AI technology includes fall detection and alerts

Starkey manufactures several lines of hearing aids in styles ranging from behind-the-ear to invisible-in-the-canal. Their current offerings have a strong leaning toward small, in-ear devices that are discreet and high tech. Like Widex, Starkey offers CROS hearing aids, as well as rechargeable and disposable battery options.

» Related Reading: Best rechargeable hearing aids and best invisible hearing aids

Starkey uses AI technology in many of their hearing aids. AI automatically and quickly makes up to 80 million sound adjustments per hour in each hearing aid. This results in less stress, less hearing strain, and more ease during conversations, even in difficult listening environments. Here’s one example of Starkey’s use of AI tech:

Starkey’s Genesis AI hearing aids mimic the cerebral cortex of the brain to process sounds in the environment. They make adjustments to sound quality, so you don’t have to manually adjust your hearing aids when you switch listening environments, or when the environment you’re in becomes noisier or quieter. Genesis AI hearing aids are available in several styles, including receiver-in-canal (RIC), invisible-in-canal (IIC), and in-the-ear (ITE).

Testing out Starkey hearing aids

Testing out Starkey hearing aids

Starkey’s Signature series isn’t AI powered, but it is technologically advanced. These custom-made hearing aids include the smallest completely-in-canal rechargeable hearing aid on the market currently (according to the manufacturer). Unlike some other invisible hearing aids, including Phonak’s Lyric, Starkey’s Signature CIC rechargeables are waterproof. Read my full review on Starkey to learn more about my experience prescribing these hearing aids.

» You Might Like: Phonak vs. Starkey

Widex and Starkey Hearing Aids: Similarities and Differences

Widex and Starkey are both excellent hearing aid manufacturers with long-standing reputations. Here are some attributes to take into account, however, when you’re deciding between the two:

Sound Quality

If your hearing aids produce a tinny sound with lots of whiny feedback, they’ll probably spend more time in your drawer than in your ears. You won’t have that problem with hearing aids from either company.

Both Widex and Starkey hearing aids generate natural, true-to-life sounds with no artificial undertones. An example of this is Widex MOMENT, a hearing aid that generates crystal clear, pure sound. MOMENT is built with PureSound technology that enables sound to reach the eardrum quickly. MOMENT comes in several styles, including BTE, RIC, and CIC.

Another example is Starkey’s Evolv AI series. Evolv isn’t as new as Starkey’s other offerings. However, Evolv AI hearing aids are known for producing clear sound quality with less background noise. Like Genesis, discussed above, Evolv uses AI technology to seamlessly and continually make sound adjustments to your hearing aids.

Accessories and Apps

Better hearing is all about keeping you connected to the things that matter most. To do that in today’s modern world, your hearing aids need to be able to wirelessly communicate with your Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Starkey utilizes wireless accessories, such as the Starklink TV Streamer, to connect your hearing aids to your TV. This TV Streamer is compatible with Genesis AI, Evolv AI, and other models.

Starkey hearing aids also connect to a variety of apps. The My Starkey app enables you to stream phone calls to your hearing aids. It also contains tinnitus tools, a step counter, and other engagement tools. This app even translates languages. You can even set reminders for important appointments.

I especially like Starkey’s Thrive Hearing Control app, which syncs with Evolv AI hearing aids. When used with the app, these GPS-enabled hearing aids provide a fall detection feature, which makes them a highly beneficial choice for older adults. To use fall detection, you first enter three contact names into the app. If you take a fall, your contacts will be notified and your location will be sent to them. This differs from medical alert systems, which also contact a call center.

» Related Reading: Best medical alert systems with fall detection

Like Starkey, Widex’s TV Play lets you stream your favorite shows directly into your hearing aids. One of the things I like about TV Play is its visual appeal. It’s super-modern to look at and has attractive lines. Most importantly, it produces stable, consistently rich sound.

Widex enables hands-free phone calls to two phones simultaneously with COM-DEX, a communication device. There’s also a COM-DEX app that lets you stream media, including music and podcasts, into your hearing aids.

There are also dedicated apps for Widex MOMENT and EVOKE hearing aids.

Widex Evoke App

Using the Widex EVOKE mobile app

Tinnitus Tools

Widex’s MOMENT hearing aids can be fitted with one or both of Widex’s tinnitus tools. Through the Widex MOMENT app, you can access Widex Zen and Widex SoundRelax.

Widex Zen includes a library of masking and relaxing sounds that help diminish tinnitus noise. Widex SoundRelax uses nature-inspired sound stimulation to reduce the perception of tinnitus sound.

Starkey’s Multiflex Tinnitus Technology is a customizable masking tool that is integrated into every Starkey hearing aid.

Tinnitus is not a one-size-fits-all condition. If you have tinnitus, talk to your audiologist about the solutions, including which type of hearing aid makes the most sense for you.

» Related Reading: Best hearing aids for tinnitus 

Costs and Pricing

Widex and Starkey don’t advertise their prices online. This is standard practice for most prescription hearing aid providers. Prices for both brands will vary by location, as well as the professionals who sell them. In general, you can expect to spend anywhere between $1,000 to $3,500 or more per device for both brands.

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What We Think

If you are tech savvy and feel comfortable using your smartphone to appreciate all the functions that Widex has to offer, you may enjoy their hearing aid models. Widex's diverse product line of accessories is designed to help make hearing aids more user-friendly while being totally customizable. And, Widex hearing aids offer the widest range of sound, which is why they’re my go-to for musicians. This allows you to hear voices and instruments with much less distortion.

Starkey makes it relatively easy for customers to choose the best hearing aid for their lifestyles by dividing its hearing aids into separate groupings based on specific hearing needs. Starkey also offers unique health and safety features among hearing aids, such as step tracking and fall detection.

As I’ve said, both companies are great options. The decision will really come down to your personal preferences and needs.

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