The 5 Best Hearing Aids of 2021
While an estimated 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, only 30% of adults aged 70 or over have ever used hearing aids. Whether they are undiagnosed or apprehensive at the thought of buying hearing aids, the problem is the same: they are at risk of increasing their stress and blood pressure levels, muscle tension, and at worse, depression.
One challenge for seniors could be in sourcing the best hearing aids for their needs. Hopefully, this complete guide on the best hearing aids available in the United States should point you in the right direction.
When Should You Consider Hearing Aids?
Common signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty understanding people on the phone or when you cannot see their faces
- Complaining about people mumbling or speaking too softly
- Preferring louder volume of television or radio than other people
- Increasingly asking people to repeat what they said, especially in noisy or group situations
However, it is important to consult your doctor or a hearing specialist, who will be able to test your hearing capacity with great precision.
Understanding How Hearing Aids Work
Your inner ears have small hair cells that help capture sound. They can be damaged by long exposure to loud noises or simply die naturally as you age.
Once these inner ear hair cells die, there is simply no way of reviving them. Unlike eyeglasses, hearing aids cannot correct your hearing back to what it once was. What they do instead is amplify sounds in the specific range where hair cells have died.
This is why there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to hearing aids. Some people might require one or two. Some might need to focus on lower frequency sounds, while others will need to help capture higher-pitched sounds and voices.
Pros and Cons of Different Hearing Aids Styles
Everyone has different ear shapes and comfort levels. This is why hearing aids manufacturers have developed several different types of devices.
The Traditional Behind the Ear Hearing Aid
Also known as BTE (behind the ear), this is the most common type of hearing aid. All the electronic components are in a plastic case that sits behind the ear, and the sound is sent through tubing into the ear canal.
- Pros: Good amplification capacities, which makes them the first choice for those suffering from severe hearing loss. Easy to clean and easy to control the volume.
- Cons: More visible than other models.
Mini Behind the Ear
As the name implies: a smaller version of the traditional behind the ear model. It is also known as receiver-in-the-canal (RIC, receiver-in-the-ear (RITE), receiver-in-the-aid (RITA), and canal receiver technology (CRT).
- Pros: Comfortable and hardly visible. Easy to insert.
- Cons: Less powerful than traditional BTE models both in terms of battery and amplification.
Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aid (CIC)
This one is designed to sit directly in the ear, like earphones.
- Pros: Virtually invisible. They’re also less likely to pick up wind noise.
- Cons: They are vulnerable to buildups of wax and moisture and need to be cleaned regularly. The battery is small, so doesn’t last as long as others.
Traditional In-the-Ear Hearing Aid (ITE)
With this model, all the electronics are encased in the plastic box, which rests between the inner ear and outer bowl of the ear.
- Pros: Roomier than other mini models, so more powerful in terms of amplification features. They are also comfortable and very easy to insert and remove.
- Cons: More visible than fully in-the-ear-models.
The 5 Best Hearing Aids Brands of 2021
A few years ago, Siemens, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers, sold their hearing aid division to Signia. That’s why these hearing aids carry both names.
Three of their popular Behind-The-Ear (BTE) models are the Fun P and the Fun SP for moderate hearing loss, plus the Fast P for severe to profound hearing loss. These lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use hearing aids are powerful yet discreet. They feature a digital signal processing chip that reduces background noise and produces high-quality sound. These hearing aids are water-resistant and come with an easy to adjust rocker volume control. They are interchangeable and fit comfortably in either the left or right ear.
- Pros of Siemens/Signia: 100% digital processing chips and noise reduction create crystal clear sound. They are easy to use and have a 2-year warranty.
- Cons of Siemens/Signia: The batteries are not rechargeable, making them a bit inconvenient if you happen to run out.
Each WiderSound® C100 is suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. They are CIC or “Completely in the Canal” hearing aids. They fit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear, making them almost invisible. Color-coded, the red one is for the right ear and the blue one for the left. They are ready to use upon delivery.
They come complete with a protective carrying case, USB charging cable, cleaning tools, and four sizes of silicone ear domes for a perfect fit. The rechargeable batteries save money, and a 4-hour recharge lasts about 48 hours of use. The C100 features smart noise reduction, and it’s easy to adjust the volume.
- Pros of WiderSound: Fully rechargeable using any USB port, the C100 saves you money on batteries. It reproduces sound quality comparable with models costing thousands of dollars more.
- Cons of WiderSound: These hearing aids only have a 30-day money back guarantee. They are not interchangeable for the left or right ears.
Vivid Hear is the perfect hearing for mild to moderate age-related hearing loss. These discreet over-the-ear aids are more comfortable than in-ear brands and almost impossible to lose. They arrive ready to use and have two volume control buttons for easy, one finger sound adjustments. Vivid Hear uses an Adaptive Chip to reduce unwanted background noises.
They include a Reward Dollars program. You get $50 per month. With over 500,000 places to spend your cash, it virtually pays for these hearing aids. They cost less than doctor prescribed brands and offer low-cost financing. Battery life is over 140 hours or about two weeks of regular use. With a 45-day, risk-free trial period and 1-year warranty, these high-tech aids are our first choice
Pros of Vivid Hear: Purchase without a salesperson or doctor. The Rewards program gives you $50 per month. 45-Day Risk-free Trial. No uncomfortable sharp edges like other brands. Adaptive Chip makes conversations clearer.
Cons of Vivid Hear: Price is higher than other brands, but the Rewards program and financing option make it affordable. They are not recommended for severe hearing loss.GET STARTED
Hearing Hero restores hearing quality, resulting in crisp and clear sound. Designed by aerospace engineers, Hearing Hero uses cutting-edge technology that amplifies soundwaves while drowning out background noise in your environment, so you can be more alert and attentive.
Hearing Hero works for anyone with common hearing loss. Whether your hearing has deteriorated from age, injury, or disease, Hearing Hero can improve your listening abilities so you can enjoy life the way you used to.
- Pros of Sense Hearing: Discreet, comfortable, and great value for money. And with a money-back guarantee!
- Cons of Sense Hearing: Hearing aids sold as a pair are limiting for those with severe hearing loss.
5. Eargo – Online Shipping And Cutting Edge Design
Eargo offers three models, with cutting edge technology and design. They are FDA-registered in class 1 of medical devices, and available for anyone to purchase online easily and fast. The shipping is free and covers all of the U.S.
Prices range from $1,650 to $2,750, which makes them affordable compared to other competitors who offer the same features.
- Pros of Eargo: Great, comfortable design and high-quality audio at an affordable price. Fast, free shipping in the U.S.
- Cons of Eargo: Hearing aids are only sold in pairs. Not recommended for seniors with severe hearing loss.
Hearing aids can provide life-changing benefits to those suffering from hearing loss, but not all devices are created equal. And while the technology has drastically improved in recent years, there is still a number of factors to consider when purchasing your first hearing aids, such as:
- Insurance coverage: not all insurance plans cover hearing aids, so you might want to ensure yours does.
- Durability: You want to ensure your hearing aids are easy to clean, remove and insert, and that they don’t break easily.
- Availability for parts or replacement: You want to make sure your hearing aids are widely available, especially if you find the perfect device and want to buy it again later
- Sound quality: companies like Widex and Eargo have fantastic reviews regarding the quality of their audio. Some cheaper manufacturers might not be able to match it.
- Unnecessary features: some companies try to add numerous features that end up costly and often unused.
- Audiologist visits: seeing a hearing loss specialist isn’t a requirement for purchasing hearing aids. It’s up to you to decide if you want to do your research online or with the help of a professional.
Hopefully, this guide will help you choose your first pair, or at least point you in the direction of a recommended manufacturer for your next purchase of hearing aids.