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If you're asking that question, chances are good that you're noticing that sounds just aren't as clear as they used to be. Maybe you've even been putting it off for a while already, not wanting to admit that conversations in crowded rooms, dialogues on your favorite TV shows, or phone calls have gotten harder to follow.
You're not alone: according to the National Institutes of Health, around 15% of Americans aged 18+ have some trouble hearing - and that skyrockets in the older age brackets (50% of people 75 and older have disabling hearing loss).
Wednesday, September 28th
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Takes some searching to find what you want
There are several brands to choose from when shopping at the Hear Better store: Siemens/Signia, Phonak, NewSound, and Dr. Paul. Of course, if you're like most shoppers, you probably care less about the brand and more about the features. Unfortunately, there aren't many easy ways to filter the hearing aids here by feature, other than clicking on the Hearing Aids dropdown at the top of the page and selecting Rechargeable, Open Fit, Bluetooth, Under $200 or Under $100. On the positive side, there aren't so many options that you can't just browse the store until you spot some in the style you like. You can also scroll the main page by Best Sellers or by hearing aids specifically for people with profound hearing loss.
Quality options under $100
Believe it or not, you can get good-quality hearing aids for under $100 through Hear Better. In the Best Sellers category, we spotted the Doctor Paul SP for severe to profound hearing loss for just $98 each. Almost every review gave this model a 5-star rating, and customers said that they were pleasantly surprised by how well this hearing aid works.
Higher-tech models available
Maybe you want hearing aids that can be adjusted through a smartphone app. Hear Better sells those too. For example, the NewSound Forte 201 will let you test your hearing and program your hearing aids according to the results, plus it has adaptive feedback cancellation, layered noise reduction, and multi-band frequency shaping. You'd easily pay $500+ to get those features through another retailer, but Hear Better sells them for just $199 each.
Generous return policy, lifetime support
No matter which hearing aids you buy, you'll get free lifetime support and a 60-day, no-questions-asked return policy: one of the most generous on the market. And, if your purchase is over $100, you'll get free shipping too.
And, despite seeming like a bargain basement store, Hear Better has a fantastic reputation. Not only do they get those accolades we mentioned from the BBB, but customer reviews tell the same story. We encourage you to read the available reviews on any of the hearing aids you're considering, to see how actual customers describe their experience with using them - and be confident that no matter what, the team at Hear Better will help you get the most out of your equipment (or give you a refund!).
Best overall choice for hearing aids
Hearing aids don't have to cost an arm and a leg - at least, not when you shop at Hear Better. This store gets our highest recommendation for affordability, reliability, and overall selection. You can't go wrong getting your hearing aids here, and we're glad that such a terrific option exists!
Lexie strives to provide "affordable access to hearing healthcare using smart digital solutions" . As one of the newer hearing aid companies on the market, you wouldn't expect there to be much buzz about Lexie - but you'd be wrong! They've already earned an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, as well as hundreds of 5-star reviews from happy customers who say that these are the best hearing aids they've ever used. Add that to Lexie's 45-day risk-free trial and you'll see what makes this company so popular.
Free, in-depth online hearing test
Not sure if you have hearing loss? Try Lexie's online test. It will examine your ability to recognize speech in background noise by playing 23 3-digit numbers. Do the best you can to make them out and enter the number on the keypad on the screen (it's okay to guess - we did!). At the end, you'll be asked to provide your name and email address and then you can click through to your results: Normal, Reduced, or Significantly Reduced. Impressively, this hearing test widget was created by hearX Group, whose technology is used by Harvard Medical School, several children's hospitals and USAID.
Lots of settings and customization options - including colors
There's only one type of hearing aid sold here, the Lexie Lumen. These devices are digital and Bluetooth-enabled to connect with a smartphone app for easy customization. You can choose from six different hearing environment settings: everyday, noisy indoor, outdoor, music, telecoil (for use with telephones and in buildings that use an induction loop system), and companion mic. For the fashionistas out there, Lexie also comes in colors beyond the beige-toned styles you'll find elsewhere: how about metallic black, silver, bronze, or light gray?
Choose between monthly payments or one-time fee
How much will Lexie hearing aids cost? There are two options: you can pay $799 as a one-time cost, or $49/month for 24 months. Yes, if you do the math, that means you'll pay just under $1200 on the payment plan. Why would you choose that instead of saving nearly $400? Well, maybe because it includes insurance for loss/breakage and regular deliveries of Care Kits with all of your batteries and other consumables! There's also no credit check required; if you can't afford $800 all at once, $49/month (plus a one-time activation fee of $50) will probably be much more comfortable budget-wise.
Watch for promotional savings
There might be savings available if you keep an eye out for Lexie promotional offers. When we visited the site most recently, there was a pop-up coupon to get $100 off a purchase or the first two months free on a payment plan.
Two years of support included
"Lexie Care" is included in every purchase, whether you pay the $799 upfront or go for the $49/month payment plan. This gives you video or voice support from their team of hearing experts for two years.
Unique rewards program
This is one of the only hearing aid companies we found that has a rewards program. The complimentary service helps you learn how to use your Lexie hearing aids, and it gives you points for every day that you wear them, perform typical tasks, or give them feedback. The points you earn can be redeemed for discounts up to 5% off on your monthly subscription or towards purchases made through the Lexie app.
Top pick for over-the-ear hearing aids
For anyone who wants an over-the-ear hearing aid with plenty of advanced technology for crystal-clear sound, Lexie should be at the top of the list. The company goes above and beyond to help you hear better - without making you spend too much to accomplish it. Although you'll have to shop somewhere else if you're looking for strictly in-ear hearing aids, Lexie is a fantastic option for most customers.
Eargo wants to revolutionize the hearing aid industry. When you buy your equipment here, you'll get access to on-demand, licensed hearing professionals to help you "hear life to the fullest" . Eargo hearing aids have been named as a "Best Invention" by Time Magazine, earned an "Innovation by Design" award from Fast Company, and received several other accolades.
Almost invisible in-ear design
One aspect that sets Eargo hearing aids apart is that they're really small: they're designed to be virtually invisible when in use. That's a plus if you're trying to be discreet about wearing them, but for some users (especially ones with arthritis in their hands or reduced dexterity overall), they can be difficult to insert, remove, and adjust.
4 models to choose from
All Eargo hearing aids are rechargeable and come with lifetime professional support. Standard warranty coverage is one year, but the Eargo 5 comes with a two-year plan. Let's take a look at some of the other differences among the four models sold by Eargo:
Discounts available, insurance benefits may apply
Yes, these are some of the most expensive hearing aids in our review. Lucky for you, there are ways to save some money. If you're active or retired military, or you're a first responder, nurse or doctor, click the links at the bottom of the Eargo site to get a discount (typically 10%). Also, if you have health insurance (federal or private), you might have a benefit allowance to offset some of the costs: again, go to the bottom of the site and follow the links. Eargo will verify your coverage and work with your insurance plan to get it done.
45-day returns, lifetime support
You'll have 45 days to try your Eargo hearing aids. If they don't work as you expected, or the earpiece styles aren't a comfortable fit, you can get a full refund. We encourage you to work with the company's licensed hearing professionals first, however: you'll have a welcome call when you place your order, and you can access them at any time after your hearing aids arrive. They can even adjust your devices' programming remotely! Your Eargo hearing aids come with lifetime support.
Strong customer feedback
As you can see from the thousands of five-star reviews across the four styles of hearing aids here, Eargo makes equipment that customers love. The Better Business Bureau agrees, giving the company a perfect "A+" rating and accreditation too.
Best in-ear hearing aids
Eargo is our favorite choice for in-ear hearing aids. They're worth the extra money if you want the most advanced technology, terrific customer support, and cutting-edge earpiece styles that should make them the most comfortable hearing aids you've ever tried (if you don't mind how small they are!).
Otofonix was co-created by a retired ENT who wanted to help people who needed hearing aids - but who couldn't afford to spend thousands of dollars to buy them. The company is based in North Carolina and is "A" rated by the Better Business Bureau.
Site is not easy to navigate
At the time of our most recent visit to the Otofonix site, there were six styles of hearing aids to choose from. However, two of them (Apex and Sona) were marked as "closeout sale" , so we've opted not to review those here since they may not be available in the near future. You might need to click around for a while to see exactly what Otofonix has to offer when you shop their site: even using the "Compare Hearing Aids" option in the dropdown menu doesn't display everything they sell. That's a little frustrating, frankly.
Several styles of hearing aids
Let's take a look at two Otofonix hearing aid styles that, theoretically, should be available for purchase:
Otofonix has some decent customer perks. First, you'll have 45 days to try their hearing aids: if they don't work the way you hoped, you can get your money back. You'll get free delivery on every order, and all hearing aids include lifetime customer support via phone. And, if you qualify, financing is available to help you with your purchase.
Good enough for most shoppers
Could you get lower-priced hearing aids from another store? Yes. More technologically advanced ones elsewhere? That too. But, overall, Otofonix is a reputable company selling decent hearing aids across a range of styles and price points. If you don't find the devices you want at a higher-ranked store, rest assured that this is a solid choice as a backup.
Hearing Direct got its start in 2010, providing pre-programmed hearing aids in the British hearing aid marketplace. The company sells hearing aids in the US as well, but it definitely maintains its UK origins (as you'll see with some of the British English spelling throughout the online store).
4 hearing aid designs to choose from
There are four hearing aid styles to choose from with Hearing Direct (not exactly as many as we would expect from a company that bills itself as "the world's largest online hearing experts" , but okay): three in-ear designs and one traditional over-the-ear model. One design, the HD 230 Mid-range One-Size-Fits-All, was sold out during our most recent visit to the Hearing Direct site (but, for what it's worth, it was priced at $349 per ear and had an average of 4 out of 5 stars over 100+ reviews, in case it's back in stock when you shop here).
No high-tech features even on the most expensive models
The highest-end hearing aids sold by Hearing Direct are the HD 395, "premium, almost invisible in-the-ear" . Priced at $499 each or $899/pair, this equipment is made in the USA, programmable to your audiogram, and uses size 10 batteries that last 4-5 days. Its standard setting is best for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss but it has an extended range to help those with more severe hearing loss. There are four hearing settings controlled by a multi-function button on the hearing aid itself: no smartphone app needed (or possible!) here.
Mediocre ratings on lowest-priced design
On the opposite end of the scale, you'll find the HD 211 with a "comfortable, open-fit design" that "delivers a balanced, natural sound" . This is the basic over-the-ear hearing aid style you expect with traditional hearing aids. It is also USA-made and uses size 10 batteries. You'll pay $299 for one or $499 for the pair. Shoppers haven't loved the HD 211: there were only 15 reviews on the Hearing Direct site, and they had a slightly-above-average rating of just 3.3 out of 5 stars.
Long wait for delivery
It's worth pointing out that all hearing aids sold through Hearing Direct will be shipped from a UK-based warehouse (even though the equipment is made in the USA!). That means you should expect a delivery timeframe of 10-17 business days: this isn't the place to buy hearing aids if you're in a hurry!
30-day return window
That may also impact returns. Hearing Direct says that you have 30 days to send back products for a replacement or full refund - but that's from the date it was shipped, not the day it was delivered. If your hearing aids take 3+ weeks to arrive (i.e. 17 business days), that would mean you'd have very little time to put them to the test before deciding if you want a refund. But, it may not be quite that harsh: the return policy specific to hearing aids says that you'll have 30 days from when they were received by you, not from when they sent them out. The good news is that you don't have to send them directly to the UK: Hearing Direct provides a USA handling address for returns, and they take care of getting them back across the pond.
For what you'll spend at Hearing Direct, you could probably get more features with a different retailer. At the $899 price point, most hearing aids come with fairly advanced sound technology and smartphone app controls that let you really customize your settings - but not here. Combine that with the longer shipping timeframes and some lackluster customer reviews, and it's easy to see why Hearing Direct earns a "good not great" ranking.
MDHearingAid is based in the Midwest and has helped over 500,000 Americans hear better during the 10+ years the company has been in operation.
Free, basic online hearing test
Have you been wondering if you even need hearing aids? Maybe your family members have been telling you that you do, but you're still not convinced. If so, try the free online hearing test on the MdHearingAid site (you'll find the link at the top of the page). You'll need to be in a quiet environment and headphones are recommended. You'll play several tone frequencies in each ear, indicating the lowest level that you can still hear the sound. At the end, you'll get preliminary results indicating the level of impairment your answers indicated - similar to an audiogram you'd get from an in-office test.
3 styles to consider
MDHearingAid carries three over-ear styles of hearing aids: the Air, the Volt+, and the Core. All of them are FDA-registered, customizable with four environment sound settings, and provide feedback cancellation. You'll get more features with the Volt+ and the Core, though. For example, they both have dual directional microphones. The Volt+ is rechargeable and water-resistant, while the Core is smartphone-compatible and adapts your hearing aid settings automatically based on the detected sound environment.
Good range of prices, free shipping on all orders
The Air is priced at $399.98 for the pair, the Volt+ sells for $599.98, and the Core has a retail price of $1199.99. If you qualify, you could pay for your hearing aids with a payment plan ranging from $33.33 to $66.67 per month. Shipping is included at no extra charge with all equipment sold by MDHearingAid.
At the time of this evaluation, the Better Business Bureau listing for MDHearingAid indicated that there was an alert for the company, due to some practices found to be in violation of the BBB's Code of Advertising (like misleading prices and "sales" that were really the everyday cost). That's a big reason behind the BBB's "B" rating of MDHearingAid. And, speaking of misleading advertising, the main page on the MDHearingAid store proudly proclaims that the company has an "A+" from the BBB!
Plenty of customer reviews
On the other hand, we were impressed with the thousands of verified buyer reviews featured on the MDHearingAid site. These customer comments can be sorted by rating, so we were able to see that the company didn't just offer filtered 4- and 5-star reviews. We encourage you to read through the feedback on the specific hearing aids you're considering: they will help you determine if it's the right fit for your hearing loss, give you suggestions for how to get the best use out of your equipment, and maybe even give you some hope that you can hear music, loved ones, and walking through fall leaves the way you used to.
45-day return window
There's also no reason to think that MDHearingAid won't honor their 45-day refund policy if you have any issues with your devices. Just one thing to watch out for: according to lots of customer comments, you should enter your phone number and wait for a call back to get your Return Merchandise Authorization number instead of staying on hold, because the phone system is programmed to disconnect after 20 minutes of hold time!
Not the best or the worst
MDHearingAid has a decent track record with the three styles of hearing aids they sell: they're reasonably priced, come with a good satisfaction guarantee, and they have plenty of 5-star reviews from happy customers. However, there are no in-ear-only styles to choose from, and we're not impressed with the false advertising alert issued by the BBB. MDHearingAid isn't a terrible place to get your hearing aids, but it's also not our favorite.
Timbre offers two styles of hearing aids to choose from, the Ovido and the Ovido Elite. What's the difference? The Ovido is ideal for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. The description for the Ovido Elite doesn't say which level of hearing loss it best suits, but we assume it's for a wider range than the lower-priced Ovido.
What's the difference?
Frankly, Timbre makes it challenging to determine the differences between the regular and the Elite models. Flipping back and forth through the product pages, it seems safe to conclude that the Ovido uses standard hearing aid batteries and the Elite is rechargeable for up to 20 hours after charging for three hours. The Elite's description mentions 16 channels for compression and filtering as well. Both hearing aids' settings can be adjusted using the Timbre smartphone app, though basic adjustments like volume and program control can be made using the button on the back of the devices.
No customer feedback
It's also hard to tell if Timbre's Ovido and Ovido Elite are worth the $799 and $999 price tags. While most retailers show you what other customers have to say about the hearing aids they sell, we couldn't find any testimonials or reviews on the Timbre site. Same goes for any third-party sites with verified shopper feedback or even the Better Business Bureau: zero information on the Ovido line of hearing aids. And, the links on the Timbre site for their Instagram feed took us to a "page not found" message. Is anyone even using these?
Can't recommend this store over the competition
Sure, we like that these hearing aids come with a 45-day risk-free trial and a one-year warranty (with options for buying extended coverage). But, can you guarantee that they'll honor the refund terms or cover your hearing aids if they stop working during that first year? With so little feedback about Timbre or the Ovido equipment, we don't feel confident recommending this store ahead of competitors with much more established reputations. You're going to have a better customer experience if you work with a more popular retailer of hearing aids.
WiderSound is an online-only retailer of hearing aids. They offer both rechargeable and battery-powered devices in a handful of styles, all priced under $400/pair.
Low prices on hearing aids
There are a few models to choose from here. For example, you can get the C100 - CIC in both rechargeable and battery-powered styles, and they're available by the pair or for just one ear. Oddly enough, the left ear rechargeable was sold out when we visited the WiderSound site for this review. These hearing aids are priced at $129.99-$194.99 for the pair, or $69.99-$79.99 for one. They're recommended for people with all degrees of hearing loss, have smart noise reduction capabilities, and fit completely in the ear.
Over-the-ear styles also available
If you prefer a behind the ear style, consider the R80. Priced at $299 for the pair, these hearing aids have 4 channels and 12 bands, frequencies for noise reduction and watching television, and are designed to fit all ear sizes.
2 years' warranty, free shipping
While the WiderSound site doesn't explain their warranty coverage in any detail, they claim to offer a 2-year protection package. Also, you'll get free shipping here - both domestic and international.
Terrible reputation - even under new management
All of that sounds pretty good so far, right? (Pun intended.) Low prices, several hearing aid styles to choose from, all with a 30-day refund policy and better-than-average warranties: that should all add up to a rockstar rating for this company. But no. WiderSound falls flat when it comes to reputation. At the time of our most recent visit to the Better Business Bureau's listing for this company, they had a disappointing "D" rating. While we can overlook the complaints filed before WiderSound came under new management, what's the excuse for the most recent one - that has gone unanswered for months? If you're taking over a business that has a history of failing to respond to complaints and you continue to do the same, don't be surprised when the BBB still gives you a bad grade! (Maybe the fact that the "Reviews" page on the WiderSound site was completely blank should have been our first sign?)
We tried reaching out to WiderSound at the toll-free number listed on their website, but all we got was a generic voicemail: no mention of the company name or any other specifics. Stranger still, that phone number also tracked to another hearing aid company, a dental marketing service, and even a fleet service listed on a workers' union site!
Don't shop here for hearing aids
You guessed it: WiderSound gets our lowest possible rating. There's just no reason to use this company for your hearing aids when you can get affordable, high-quality equipment from so many other reputable businesses. You'll have a better customer experience with any of the more reliable retailers in our review.
Many people avoid looking for hearing aids because of the cost. They see quotes of $1,500 to $3,000 per device and think that there's no way they can afford it. And, for many of us, that's true - but it's not the end of the story. Why? There are numerous over-the-counter (so to speak) options that cost much, much less: even under $200/pair.
Of course, if you're looking for higher-end technology like smartphone-app customization or multiple sound environment settings, you'll probably pay closer to $1,000-$2,000 for the set - but it's still a more budget-friendly option than you might have expected.
Now that you're feeling encouraged about shopping for your hearing aids online, what should you look for? Here are several aspects to keep in mind that can help you figure out where to get your devices:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top online retailers of hearing aids. We're confident that this information will help you find the best equipment for your needs, so that you can enjoy conversations, music, and just day-to-day life without any difficulties.
A hearing aid is a device that is designed to amplify the volume of any sounds generated in your general vicinity. This can help to make it easier to follow a conversation taking place at the dinner table or make it easier to hear what a friend or relative is saying while talking to you through the phone. A hearing aid may also allow you to hear ambient sounds such as a bird chirping, a car motor or other noises that might indicate that a person, animal, or object is nearby.
How Does a Hearing Aid Make It Easier to Hear?
A hearing aid consists of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Modern hearing aids will first convert any noise that is picked up by the microphone into a digital signal. Generally speaking, using a digital hearing system will result in improved sound quality as well as lower levels of interference from static, wind and other sources.
After a sound is converted into a digital signal, it will be sent to the amplifier. As the name suggests, this part is responsible for making the signal louder and easier for the person wearing the device to hear. The signal is then transferred to the speaker where it is decoded and made available to hear.
Hearing Aids are Different Than Cochlear Implants
It is critical to understand that a hearing aid is different from a cochlear implant in a couple of different ways. First, such an implant is surgically inserted into the ear as opposed to simply being placed inside your ear whenever you need to use it.
Secondly, an implant doesn't help you hear by amplifying sounds through a speaker and microphone. Instead, it works to replace the part of the ear that was damaged and has resulted in your hearing loss.
How Does Your Device Know Which Sounds to Amplify?
A digital hearing aid will have multiple settings that can be activated depending on what your needs are. In some cases, the settings will be activated automatically as you move through various settings.
For instance, if you are having dinner at a restaurant, the device will focus on picking up sounds from those in your general vicinity. However, if you were taking a walk in the park, it may focus more on background noises such as frogs croaking or the wind whistling through the trees.
It's worth noting that some models require you to manually set your device to pick up whatever sounds are most important to you. If your device comes with multiple settings, you will usually have to cycle through them like you do when choosing a radio station to listen to while in your car.
Your Device May Have Wireless Capabilities
One of the secondary advantages of having a digital hearing aid is that it will likely be able to connect to devices such as a phone or computer. This means that you can listen to your favorite songs, watch a video, or otherwise interact with a connected device without bothering those around you.
Generally speaking, connecting a hearing aid to a computer, phone or similar device will reduce its battery life. Hearing aid batteries typically last for 120 hours when used in normal conditions. By using a device to stream audio or video, you should expect your hearing aid's battery to last for less than 100 hours.
Should You Use Your Hearing Aid at Night?
The average person will use their hearing aid for about 13 hours a day, which is roughly the amount of time a person spends awake each day. Therefore, it's not unusual for an individual to remove their hearing aid at night, and it's usually a safe, easy, and painless process to do so.
If you do take your device off at night, it's important to make sure that it has been turned off to preserve battery life. It is also a good idea to clean your device to get rid of any hair, skin oil or other debris that might build up over the course of a day.
Digital Hearing Aids Can Be Tailored to Meet Your Needs
There are many different causes for hearing loss, and there are also a variety of different ways in which it could impact a person's quality of life. For example, if you have ringing in your ears, you may want a product that is designed to drown out certain frequencies that give you the most trouble.
However, if you have simply lost your ability to hear properly, you would want a device that does the best job of amplifying the sounds in your vicinity. You will have an opportunity to test any device that you are interested in using before actually purchasing it. This will help to ensure that it isn't too loud, too bulky, or otherwise incapable of meeting your needs.
Hearing Aids May Come With Multiple Microphones
A hearing aid that has more than one microphone may allow you to hear sounds that are coming from all directions at the same time. This may be ideal if you are worried about being struck from behind by an object that you couldn't hear coming because you could only pick up sounds coming from in front of you. The ability to hear sounds coming from multiple directions may also feel more natural as it is something that you could typically do before experiencing hearing loss.
A Specialist May Be Able to Determine Which Product Best Meets Your Needs
Prior to buying a hearing aid, you will likely need to meet with a hearing specialist. During this meeting, you should feel free to ask any questions that you might have about the various products on the market and how they work. The person who you work with will be able to answer those questions and also provide more information about how much your preferred hearing aid costs and how to use it.
During a consultation, you will undergo a series of tests to determine the severity of your hearing loss as well as the potential cause. A specialist will be able to further narrow down the range of products that might best meet your needs and budget based on the results of these exercises.
You Can Buy Hearing Aids Online
The typical hearing aid will cost about $1,000 and will last for about five years. However, it may be possible to keep the price of your next hearing aid down by buying it yourself online. Buying goods online can be beneficial to those who may not be able to hear what a salesperson has to say or who may not be able to safely drive to a physical retail location.
This is because you can research various products, compare prices, and make a purchase without having to leave home or speak to anyone. It is worth noting that most websites will have live chat services so that you can ask questions before buying anything.
If you are struggling with hearing loss, it's important that you take steps to fix the problem sooner rather than later. The longer that you let it persist, the greater your chances of causing an accident or generally feeling as if you can't interact with your friends, family members and colleagues. Modern hearing aids can be customized to fit discreetly in your ear without compromising your ability to follow conversations or hear other important sounds. You can get started on the journey to acquiring a hearing aid by scheduling an appointment with your doctor or a hearing specialist.
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