A hearing aid is a small device placed in or around the ear, which amplifies sound in order to assist those who suffer from hearing loss. The most common hearing aids are digital, which process sound waves into digital signals, but some people still use conventional analog aids that work by amplifying sound waves. Another option are sound amplification headphones or earbuds for people who have some hearing difficulties, but not enough to require full hearing aids. Additional features for hearing aids include water resistance, speech enhancement, noise reduction, wind noise manager, and directional microphones.

There are many reasons someone might be suffering from hearing loss. There could be an excess of wax in the ear canal, or other irregularities in the inner ear like a perforated eardrum. These types of problems can be corrected medically. If after a hearing test it has been determined that your hearing loss is not a result of one of these factors, you could be a candidate for a hearing aid. According to the NIH, nearly 30 million Americans are such candidates. Hearing aids can benefit children with hearing difficulties, the elderly, people with bilateral hearing loss or tinnitus, and people with acquired or progressive hearing loss.

The most important factor to consider when choosing between hearing aids is the severity of the hearing loss, as this may require different types of devices. Invisible in the canal (IIC) or completely in the canal (CIC) hearing aids are great for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. While In the canal (ITC) hearing aids are suited for more severe cases. Other types include behind-the-ear, Receiver in the ear (RITE), or receiver in the canal (RIC).

Before making a final decision on which hearing aid is best for you, make sure to check the fine print. Is there a warranty and what does it cover? Is there a money back guarantee? Is there a free trial trial period? How easy will it be to get your unit repaired?


Top 9 Companies

#1
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • 12 month warranty guarantee
  • Personalize from home with smartphone technology
  • Buy directly from company, save $$
  • Crystal clear conversations
  • Background noise reduction
  • Energy-efficient
  • Advanced 12- band processing
#2
8.7 / 10
  • Online hearing test
  • Invisible hearing aid
  • 30-day free trial
  • Control app for iPhone
  • Online chat support
  • The only American-owned and operated hearing aid company
#3
Our Partner
8.6 / 10
  • 30-Day hassle free returns
  • Free lifetime telephone technical assistance
  • Digital sound processing
  • Ready to wear
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Long battery life
#4
8.3 / 10
  • Soft level focus
  • Wireless assistant
  • HD microphone
  • Green and easy charger
  • Water resistant
  • Feedback reduction
#5
Our Partner
8.2 / 10
  • Award-winning hearing technology and designs
  • Rated A+ by the BBB
  • Streamlined process without extra charges
  • Export support from audiologist and customer service team
  • Optional personalization
#6
Our Partner
8.2 / 10
  • Small, lightweight, digital hearing amplifiers 
  • High quality at an affordable price + free shipping
  • Buy one or two hearing amplifiers all at once
  • 90 day money back guarantee
  • High customer satisfaction
#7
7.9 / 10
  • 6 styles of hearing aids available in a number of models
  • Speech Variable Processing produces clearer, more intelligible speech 
  • SoundGate connects your hearing aids to other devices wirelessly
  • Watch instructional videos and read about the intricacies of hearing loss 
#8
7.9 / 10
  • Winner of the 2018 CES Innovation Award
  • World’s first hearing health fitness tracker
  • Hearing aids tailored for veterans, children, and teens
  • Customize your hearing aid's color and features
  • Built-in tinnitus sound support
#9
7.9 / 10
  • 24 hearing aids to choose from
  • Lyric model offers 30-days for free
  • 100% invisible, no batteries to change
  • Battery lasts for 2-3 months
  • Take an online hearing test to measure up your hearing capacity
  • HearingLikeMe blog helps understand how to live with hearing loss
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How We Compare Hearing Aids

Product Offerings

20%

The digital revolution and advances in miniturizationand battery technology have spurred development of a number of new hearing aid types and designs. While all hearing aids amplify sound, contemporary models are better than ever at filtering out noise, muting sudden loud and unwanted sounds, helping people determine where sound is coming from, and enabling hearing aid users to connect directly to computers, music players, televisions, and other media devices. They often come with accessories such as cleaning kits, chargers, tools, and carrying cases. Many contemporary hearing aids can be linked to--and even controlled from--mobile phones.

Product Type

One of the most important distinctions between products in this category is the one between Hearing Aids and Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). Hearing aids are recommended and fitted by hearing professionals. They are deemed Class 1 medical devices by the FDA and are defined by that agency as "wearable instrument or device designed for, offered for the purpose of, or represented as aiding persons with or compensating for, impaired hearing." PSAPs, however, do not require the prescription or fitting by a hearing professional. The FDA defines them as devices "intended to amplify environmental sound for non-hearing impaired consumers for use in a variety of listening situations (e.g. hunting, bird watching, listening to distant sounds)." The FDA also cautions that "PSAPs do NOT meet the regulatory definition for a medical device and are not subject to medical device regulations."

Types of Hearing Aids

Some of the most common types of hearing aids are:

BAHA--Bone Anchored Hearing Aids. A titanium implant is fastened into the patient's skull behind the ear and a small sound processor plugs into that jack on the outside of the skull.
BTE--Behind the Ear hearing aids. The microphone, processor, and amplifier are enclosed in a "case" that rests behind the ear.
BiCROS--Bilateral Microphones with Contralateral Routing of Signal.
CIC--Completely-in-the-canal. A hearing aid that is inserted in the ear canal and cannot be seen from the outside. It can be removed by pulling on the small transparent stick that protrudes from it.
IIC--Invisible in-canal hearing aids. Custom-made devices that fit completely inside the ear canal.
ITC--In-the-canal hearing aids. Very small hearing aids that sit in the ear canal, but whose outer parts are visible.
ITE--In-the-ear hearing aids. Placed in the outer ear.
For more information, consult our Glossary of Hearing Aid Terms.


Additional Services

25%

Since hearing aids are not generally covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, many hearing aid companies offer financing arrangements to assist people in purchasing their products. And because hearing aids tend to be highly personalized, some companies give their customers a trial period during which they can experiment with their hearing aids and make a final decision about whether it's right for them. The websites for some hearing aid companies offer hearing tests, and while these are not really a substitute for professional audiological evaluation, they are useful for giving consumers a rough idea of what type of aid might be best for them. Hearing aid company websites also give consumers the choice of voice or text contact options, which is particularly important when dealing with a hearing-impaired clientele. 


Pricing

20%

There is a significant price difference between true hearing aids and personal sound amplifiers (PSAPs), with the latter being significantly less expensive than the former. Prices for true hearing aids range from $500 on the extreme low end all the way up to $4000. To intelligently compare prices, it's important to compare similar products. Our price comparisons assume the purchase of a hearing aid for a single ear, though there are some types of devices (such as BiCROS hearing aids) that must be purchased in pairs. 


After-Sale Service

20%

Hearing aids are a big investment for many people. Naturally, then, it benefits consumers to have be covered by a warranty that will protect that investment. Most companies offer a warranty of at least a year and some companies offer extended warranties for purchase. As with all consumer product warranties, consumers should pay close attention to hearing aid warranty terms such as exclusions, co-pays, and shipping charges. 


Reputation

15%

We evaluate hearing aid companies' reputations by looking at the positive and negative reviews consumers have posted on the Better Business Bureau's website. We also consider the BBB composite score, which combines the BBB's own company rating with customer sentiment. We consult Trustpilot, which tends to skew more toward companies that do a lot of business online. We look at each company's longevity and tend to give more weight to firms that have been in business longer. We also search for information about product recalls, consumer lawsuits, and state regulatory actions. In doing so, we caution consumers that litigation is a fact of life even for the best of companies and that the longer a company has been in business, the more likely it is to have been sued or investigated by governmental authorities. 



What's important to know about Hearing Aids?


Does Medicare cover hearing aids?

Medicare does not cover the price of hearing exams or hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B does cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams when requested by your doctor if he needs them to work out a treatment plan.

Does Medicaid cover hearing aids?

Medicaid coverage varies from state to state. In some states Medicaid provides no coverage at all, while in others it may cover a combination of hearing aids and other services like hearing tests and exams, repairs and replacements, and accessories. The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list where Medicaid beneficiaries can check what kind of coverage is available in each state.

Does health insurance cover hearing aids?

Like Medicaid, the amount of insurance coverage for hearing aids differs between companies and will also change from state to state. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), only 22 states require health insurance to cover hearing aids—18 of them only demand they do so for minors. Only the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island require coverage for both children and adults. Elsewhere, private insurance may cover hearing tests and screenings, but hearing aids are unlikely to be included in their coverage. Check with your current health provider to learn if you qualify for hearing aid benefits.

How much do hearing aids cost?

The price of hearing aids will depend on the kind of features and style a customer wants. There is no way around it though, hearing aids are expensive—they typically run from $1000 to $4000 per ear. This is because the cost will more often than not include the price of a preliminary hearing test, consultation with a specialist, and any follow-up adjustments or routine cleanings.

Can internet-connected hearing aids be hacked?

Although there has yet to be any hacking of medical devices en masse, cybersecurity is a serious issue for hearing aid manufacturers as their technology becomes increasingly powerful—and vulnerable. Currently, most hearing aids on the market are not secure enough to ward off potential cyber attacks. As a result, some manufacturers have begun to to add encryption algorithms and other fail-safe measures to their devices to give them an edge over competitors.

Can hearing aids be modded?

Hearing aids can be modded to further fine tune their features to the wearer's heart's content. Both their software and hardware can be updated, and there are communities online solely dedicated to tinkering with these devices. Those unexperienced with modding, however, should look for help there first.