We are frequently asked, “What are the best hearing aids on the market?”
First we’ll start out with a little background on the hearing aid industry in general. Basically, there are only four or five primary hearing aid manufacturers in the world today producing products under many different brand names. There are also dozens and dozens of tier two and tier three small market manufacturers producing limited technology hearing aids, PSAP’s and OTC hearing aids for the “discount” or “affordable” priced market. To make things even more convoluted, the major manufactures private label products for large retail chains and big box stores.
These are exciting times in the hearing aid world indeed. Innovations are coming fast and frequent. In 2018, we saw significant innovations from every manufacturer that will reshape the hearing landscape for years to come. 2019 is building on that. ReSound is introducing their version of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Siri access. Widex launched their Machine learning and AI Evoke line and has announced the up coming release of their Fuel Cell powered hearing aid (No more batteries). Starkey is adding more sensors and deeper AI to their Livio line-up. The recent merger of Widex and Sivantos means there is one less hearing aid manufacturer in the world. The Signia (Sivantos) and Widex brands will continue to be sold as separate brands.
Digital Hearing Aids
All modern hearing aids are digital, in fact, it is nearly impossible to find the older technology analog hearing aids anymore. This has been the case for years, which is unfortunate. There are many people who still wear and swear-by their old analogue hearing devices. Some of these people have a difficult time adapting to digital hearing aids. Some high powered hearing aids have the capability to provide a more analog sound. However, even with this feature, old analog hearing aid users can find it difficult to get acclimated to digital aids.
We are frequently asked, “What are the best hearing aids on the market?” There is no right answer to that question. The better question is “What are the best hearing aids for me?”
Modern digital hearing aids have improved tremendously over the last few years and it seems that they will continue to do so in the future. They work better than ever at their principle function, helping people hear better in most sound environments. Every brand seems to do something or process sound a little bit different from each other. Also, every brand seems to bring something new to the market every few years. To answer the “what is the best hearing aid” question is complicated. First we need to understand more about you, your needs, lifestyle, physical capabilities, etc., to make a recommendation.
Every major hearing aid manufacturer offers outstanding hearing aids. Every one of the major brands has unique features to offer to their customers.
Currently, who are the major hearing aid manufacturers and their associated brands?
- 1. GN – A Danish manufacturer, brand names ReSound & Beltone.
- 2. Oticon – A Danish manufacturer, owned by William Demant Holdings (William Demant Holdings also owns Bernafon and Sonic brands)
- 3. Phonak – A Swiss manufacturer owned by Sonova
- 4. Starkey – An American hearing aid manufacturer. Also owns brand names Audibel, Micro-Tech, and Nu-Ear.
- 5. WS Audiology – A Danish/German manufacturer group brand names Widex & Signia (Signia was previously Siemens)
Generally these are considered the dominant hearing aid manufacturers in the world today.
GN ReSound is one of the three Danish hearing aid manufacturers that have become the world’s largest. ReSound was the first to the market with “Made for iPhone hearing aids”. Their latest offering is the LiNX Quattro. ReSound is also in the process of introducing their version of Artificial Intelligence and Siri integration.
Widex is also a Danish hearing aid manufacturer. Widex hearing aids are renowned for their sound quality and are commonly viewed as one of, if not THE premium hearing aid manufacturer. Their newest family of hearing aids are the Evoke, which is a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid and utilizes the first ever “machine learning” technology. Widex has also developed a new “Fuel Cell” powered hearing aid which will revolutionize the industry….No more hearing aid batteries! Widex is now part of the WS Audiology group with Savantos.
Phonak is a Swiss hearing aid manufacturer and one of the largest in the world. Phonak is known for offering high-quality hearing aids and is also viewed as a premium hearing aid brand. They have recently launched their new Marvel platform. Marvel’s are “Made For ANY Phone” and rechargeable hearing aids.
Oticon is another Danish hearing aid manufacturer headquartered in Copenhagen. In 2016 Oticon introduced the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, the Oticon Opn. The Opn employs an “open sound” approach to sound processing and is designed to manage multiple speech and noise sources simultaneously, even in complex hearing situations. The new “OpenSound Navigator” scans the environment 100 times per second, analyzing and balancing every sound individually.
Starkey is a privately held hearing aid manufacturer headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA. Starkey is recognized for its innovative design and development of advanced hearing aids. The company manufactures and distributes hearing aids via three brands, Audibel, NuEar and Starkey.
Signia (previously Siemens) is now a brand of the Sivantos. It aims to provide hearing innovations that center around the customer’s needs while delivering the highest level of quality and satisfaction. The Styletto is not only the newest, but also the sleekest hearing aid when it comes to design. The Styletto uses “Own Voice Processing” to provide the clearest hearing possible. Signia/Sivantos is now part of the WS Audiology group.