Updated November 1, 2016 – Hearing loss can be the result of many causes. Sometimes physical damage to the ear in the wake of an injury or extended exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss. Some of the best hearing aids can help alleviate these issues.
Hearing loss can also be caused by tumors or diseases. Meningitis is an example of a disease that is thought to cause hearing loss problems. Hearing loss that occurs after a person is born is called acquired hearing loss. Occasionally, some people have a congenital hearing loss, meaning that they are born with hearing problems. Some of the best hearing aids are designed to combat the damage done by diseases and extreme trauma.
Some types of hearing loss can be congenital or acquired, such as sensory hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss occurs when the cochlea in the ear is damaged. If the auditory nerve is damaged as well, this type of hearing loss can be called sensorineural hearing loss. Some genetic diseases can cause this sort of hearing loss, but it can also be due to repeated exposure to noise. If this type of hearing loss is very advanced, hearing devices often do not help.
Fortunately, there are things that you can do if you suffer from hearing loss. First, you can tell people that you are hard of hearing and tell them to speak loud and clear when they talk to you. It is also helpful if you face the person speaking to you so that you can see their lips moving. You can also use the best hearing aids to help you hear what is being said around you. When you choose a hearing aid, you should know that there are two main types: analog and digital hearing aids. They work in different ways, but they both produce the same result, which is to help you hear.
If you think you have problems with hearing loss, individuals should see your doctor as soon as possible so that he or she can help you determine what you need to do.
Best Hearing Aid Basics: Different Types
When it comes to buying the best hearing aids, there are two main types that you can purchase. They are analog hearing aids and digital hearing aids. Both types will improve your ability to listen to the sounds around you, but they work in different ways. Both types also come in some different styles, including in the ear models and around the ear models.
Analog hearing aids amplify the sounds that enter your ear. They consist of a microphone, which captures the sounds, and an amplifier, which makes the sounds louder. The receiver is a speaker, playing the sounds close to your ear drum. These hearing aids use something called automatic gain control or AGC to ensure that noises that are already loud are not over amplified. This means that if someone screams, your hearing aids will not blast the sound into your ears. The best hearing aids can also adjust for different environments like your home or a football game, for example. On average, analog hearing technology cost around a few hundred dollars.
Digital hearing aids are another option, and they are often more expensive than analog hearing aids. They use a computer chip that converts sounds into digital signals, which are converted back to sound closer to your ear drum. This process is called Digital Signal Processing or DSP. These hearing aids can differentiate between noises and voices and can filter out background noise. They will also protect your ears from loud sounds, digital hearing technology will shut off if things get too loud. These hearing aids are often more expensive than analog hearing aids, and they average around one thousand dollars.
Some people prefer digital hearing technology over analog because they use more advanced technology. Digital hearing devices are the most expensive of the two. Speaking with your doctor can help you decide which type is right for you.
Best Hearing Aid Styles: In the Ear and Behind the Ear
Whatever type of hearing aid you choose to buy, you can choose from a number of different styles. The two main styles are in the ear models and behind the ear models. The first style, in the ear, is the smaller of the two, and they fit inside of your outer ear, which is also called the concha. These hearing devices have to be custom fitted so that they will fit properly inside of your ear and not fall out. Many in the ear hearing devices are so small that other people cannot easily see them.
Some of the in the ear styles include completely in the canal hearing devices, in the canal hearing aids, and half-shell hearing aids. These different styles are different sizes going from smallest to largest. The larger hearing devices can correct more severe hearing loss. The smallest hearing aids are the least visible, and they do not pick up much wind noise. However, they use the smallest batteries, which do not last as long as larger batteries, and they do not have things like a volume control on them because of their small size.
The behind-the-ear model is the biggest type of hearing aid. This style goes over the top of the ear, and the hearing aid rests behind the ear. The hearing aid captures sound and transfers it into your ear through a molded piece that goes into the ear canal. This type of hearing aid can be used to help with all kinds of hearing loss. Even though these hearing devices are large, they provide the most amplification when compared to other types of hearing technology. These models can often be adjusted manually.
Some behind-the-ear hearing devices are quite small. For example, one small behind the ear hearing aid is called open fit. The best hearing aids do not block the ear canal because sounds it transferred into the ear through a small wire instead of a larger molded piece. Finding the right style for you depends on your type and severity of hearing loss, as well as your budget.
How the Best Hearing Aid Technology Works
If you or a loved one wears hearing devices, then you know just how helpful they can be. When a person can hear and understand what is going on, he or she feels more included and feels happier. So you know what a hearing aid does—it makes it easier to hear things, but do you know how it works?
All hearing technology, whether they are analog or digital, have the same essential parts. First, they all have a microphone that gathers sounds. Second, they all have a device that amplifies sound, and third, they all have a receiver that sends the amplified sound to the inner ear where it can be heard. So, in the simplest terms, hearing aids make sounds louder. All hearing aids are powered by batteries.
Analog hearing aids convert sound into electronic signals, and they will often need to be manually programmed or adjusted for specific environments. Digital hearing devices convert sound into digital signals, and they can adjust themselves automatically to changes in noise level. Because the best hearing aids use digital signals, they can also tell the difference between speech and noise. This helps people hear someone who is speaking even if there is a lot of background noise.
If you need a hearing aid, you will often have a mold of your ear made. The doctor will put a silicon material in the ear, which is removed once it has hardened, and this mold is used to make a custom hearing aid. Because hearing devices amplify sound and reproduce it right next to the ear drum, a hearing aid will not work if your auditory nerve has been severely damaged. Also, if the hair cells in your ear, which convert sound into nerve signals, have been damaged, even the best hearing aids will not be able to help you.
Often the largest hearing devices are the best amplifiers because of the larger microphone, amplifier, and receiver parts. However, you will need to see an audiologist to determine the severity of your hearing loss and to determine what type of hearing aid you need.
Cost of the Best Hearing Aids
So you and your doctor have decided that you need the best hearing aids, and now you have to buy them, but does your insurance even cover hearing technology? Unfortunately, some insurance providers do not cover hearing aids, which can be a major problem for some people because the best hearing aids can be very expensive. On average, the least expensive hearing devices can cost a few hundred dollars each, but the most expensive one can easily cost over a thousand dollars.
Most insurance providers will not cover the cost of the best hearing aids, but some will pay for the medical exams that are necessary to determine if you need hearing technology. Medicare, for example, will pay for those exams, but it does not cover the cost of hearing aids. Some private insurance providers in individual states are required to provide a benefit of a certain amount of money to help a person buy and maintain their hearing aids. States such as New Mexico, Connecticut, and Delaware require that private insurance companies help pay for hearing aids for children. Only a few states require that both children and adults are covered, and they include Rhode Island, Arkansas, and New Hampshire.
If you need a cochlear implant, you will have better luck finding insurance coverage because many companies consider these implants to be a prosthetic device. If you do need hearing aids, but your insurance provider does not cover them, there are a few things you can do. First, many sellers will sell used, or refurbished hearing aids and these tend to be less expensive than brand new ones. Some non-profit organizations will help people buy the best hearing aids, but they tend to focus on children or the elderly. Financing your hearing aids or using flexible spending accounts that are set up by your insurance provider, can also help you afford to buy the best hearing aids.
Common Hearing Aid Questions
How does a hearing aid work?
All of the best hearing aids have three basic parts: the microphone, the amplifier, and the receiver. The microphone gathers sounds and sends them to the amplifier. The amplifier converts the sounds into either electronic or digital signals, which transmit to the receiver. Located right next to the ear drum the receiver takes the signals and converts them back into sounds so that you can hear them. Larger hearing aids often have larger amplifiers, and used for more severe hearing loss.
Wearing a hearing aid embarrasses me, are there any discreet options?
Some of the best hearing aids are actually tiny. The completely in the canal versions fit inside the ear canal and can only barely be seen. However, most forms of severe hearing loss will need a slightly larger hearing aid. You should talk to your doctor to find out which style is right for you.
How much does the average hearing aid cost?
The best hearing aids do tend to be expensive. On average, they can cost anywhere from $500 to over $2000. The prices depend on the brand and the model of hearing aid that you choose. Refurbished or used hearing aids are often less expensive than new ones. Even some of the best hearing aids companies offer disposable hearing aids. These hearing devices can be as low as $100.
Will private insurance cover my hearing aids?
Most insurance providers do not cover the cost of the best hearing aids. However, a few states require that insurers must cover the cost, like Rhode Island and Arkansas. These States are obligated to cover both adults and children. A few more states require that insurance companies cover the cost of hearing aids for children but not for adults.
How often do the batteries in my hearing aid need to be replaced?
The best hearing aid batteries are tiny, and, as a result, they do not last for a very long time. The smaller your hearing aid is, the shorter the battery life will be (because the battery is smaller). Also, digital hearing technology will consume batteries more quickly than analog hearing aids. In general, the best hearing aids batteries last about a week. Some will only last four or five days, and some will go as long as two weeks. So it is a good idea to have a lot of hearing aid batteries on hand, and you should store them in a cool, dry place.
The Best Hearing Aid Brands Available
If you are looking for the best hearing aids, you probably want to know which brands are the most popular. When you buy brand name hearing technology, you know that you will be getting a quality product. Some of the best hearing aid brands can be expensive, but you are paying for good quality. How are you to know what hearing aid device to buy? This was my first question when I started looking at getting a hearing device. It can be overwhelming with so many brands of hearing devices out there. With each company having numerous models individuals can have a hard time choosing. The process can be very daunting but if you are armed with the right information that the decision can be that much easier. Your best resource is going to be your hearing specialist, however, the more you know about the different brands and models the better off you are going to be.
Rexton Digital Hearing Aids Reviewed
Rexton is known for manufacturing a large variety of both digital and analog hearing aids. They split their hearing technology into three main categories each with a significant difference in price. The Arena offers the standard features and is in the basic range. The Targa model is a mid-level hearing aid that gives the wearer such features as adaptive noise reduction as well as a technology known as microphone noise reduction which can significantly enhance the effectiveness of the hearing aid. Rexton latest and greatest hearing aid is known as Calibra. If you are wanting the best digital hearing aid, Rexton has to offer then this is the model for you then check out Rexton Hearing Aids
Siemens Hearing Aids Reviewed
Siemens’ history of helping people hear better has been around for 125 years and has one of the most respected names in the business. Siemens offers a range of digital hearing aids for anybody’s pocketbooks. The least expensive models Siemens produce are the Cielo and Artis models which both have some great features including digital noise reduction. If you want some more features but don’t want to break the bank then the Intuis and Phoenix models are great options. These models come with a high tech micro computers and background noise reduction technology. If you want the best digital hearing aid that Siemens has to offer then, you should look into the Acuris and Centra models.
Beltone Digital Hearing Aids Reviewed
Beltone hearing technology has a long history of helping people hear better. The company was founded in 1940 and has a broad distribution that covers twenty-five countries. Beltone is a very reputable brand with an excellent reputation. Beltone offers three different levels of digital hearing devices as well. If you are on a budget, then you should consider the as it Beltone’s low-end model. For a middle of the road models from Beltone, you should check out Access and Mira. Both have technologies to recognize human voices, ways to deal with feedback and do a good job of reproducing human voice sounds. One of the best Beltone Hearing Aids
is the Linq and Edge which have nine digital channels to help hear the human conversation clearly while eliminating background noise.
Miracle Ear Hearing Aids Reviewed
Miracle Ear is another popular hearing aid brand that you can buy. They have been in business for over 60 years, and they have many different hearing aid models. In addition to making and selling hearing technology, they also run centers where you can have your hearing tested, and your hearing devices cleaned. They also offer warranties for their hearing aids that range from one year to three years. While Miracle Ear
does not tend to be as expensive as Siemens, their prices still average around $1000 or higher.
Phonak Hearing Aids Reviewed
Phonak has also been selling hearing aids for over 60 years, and they are another trusted brand when it comes to improving your ability to hear. They offer numerous models and styles, including in the ear, completely in the canal, in the canal, and behind the ear styles. Their products are very advanced with features such as automatic volume control and noise cancellation. They also have hearing aids that can be connected wirelessly to your computer, cell phone or MP3 player. Their prices also range from about $1700 to $2000. See our other Phonak Hearing Aids
As you can see all these companies mentioned above have great long standing reputations with a wide range of digital hearing aids to meet almost any budget. There are many other brands out there as well, and I will do my best to review these when I get more time. If you could not find the information on the company you were looking for, then check back soon as I update this site fairly often. Check out our other Hearing Aid Reviews below.
We have many reviews on other hearing aids brands, see our easy guide to see which is best for your needs.
Audibel Hearing Aids
For full reviews of each of the Audibel Hearing Aid
Models: Range, Audibel A2, Invisibel, AMP, Anthem XT, Anthem Plus, and the Anthem Bronze.
Here are some of the features offered by Audibel Hearing Aids.
- Feedback Cancellation
- Noise Control
- Speech Locator
- Telephone Response
- Multimedia Processing
- Remote Adjustments
- Water Resistance
Many of these lines of products are available in a full spectrum of hearing aid styles. Each different style of hearing aid provides users with various benefits, and one form of a hearing aid may be best for some individuals, but not others. Audibel produces Behind-The-Ear (BTE), Receiver-In-The-Canal (RIC), In-The-Ear (ITE), In-The-Canal (ITC), Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC), and Invisible-In-The-Canal (IIC) hearing aids.
NuEar Hearing Aids
is another model made by NuEar that is considered to be 100% invisible. See all the other features of NuEar Hearing Aids
Enhanced Speech is designed to help users hear better in noisy and crowded social environments.
The “mini BTE” is a hearing aid That is small and discreet allowing for a comfortable fit.
Oticon Hearing Aids
Oticon Hearing Aids
have many models, here are a few they offer: Agil, Intiga, Acto, Chili, Ino, Get, and Safari.
- TV Adapter
- Phone Adapter
Oticon hearing aids prices depend on the needs of the patient and the wide variety of hearing devices, from tiny, completely invisible devices, to those that can be worn comfortably behind the user’s ear. Users can choose from Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE), mini RITE, Behind-The-Ear (BTE), mini BTE, Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC), In-The-Canal (ITC), In-The-Ear (ITE) Half Shell, and ITE Full Shell. Often, these varieties are available in Power, or Super Power models, accommodating those with severe to profound hearing loss. Many styles are also available in each hearing aid series that Oticon produces.
ReSound Hearing Aids
Audio Feedback Suppression technology helps users focus on what they are listening to without being distracted by background noise and feedback.
ReSound hearing aids provide in-the-ear, in-the-canal, completely-in-the-canal, and behind-the-ear devices.
Songbird Hearing Aids
Songbird hearing aids
come within a comfortable BTE style that is fully adjustable to fit your comfort needs.
Starkey Hearing Aids
Starkey Hearing Aids
has many different models for people to choose from depending on their hearing needs. Some models include S Series iQ, the X Series, the Xino, the Wi Series, as well as the SoundLens and AMP series.
- Noise Reduction
- Feedback Eliminator
- Telephone Solutions
- Multimedia Processing
- Remote Adjustments
- Water Resistance
Starkey Hearing Aids offers many styles of hearing devices including: Behind the Ear (BTE), Receiver in Canal (RIC), Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC), Completely-in-Canal (CIC), In-The-Canal (ITC), and In-The-Ear (ITE).
Unitron Hearing Aids
Some of the many features offered by Unitron hearing aids are:
- Automatic Focus
- Speech Directionality
- Binaural Phone
- Sound Balance
- Directional Microphones
- Shock Absorption
- Wind Manager
- Music Enhancement
Unitron hearing aids make standard Behind-The-Ear (BTE) models, ultra-small BTE models, High Power BTE models, Super Power BTE models, In-The-Ear (ITE) Full Shell models, ITE Half Shell models, Canal ITE models, Completely-In-The-Canal (models), and Open-fit Canal-Receiver-Technology (CRT) models.
Vivatone Hearing Aids
- An enhanced fitting range and long battery life.
- Fewer channels than the higher models.
- Automatic directional microphone with six programming bands for remembering your settings.
- Baseline option with fewer channels but still great battery life (160 hours).
- Enhanced anti-feedback technology clears up the sound.
Widex Hearing Aids
Some impressive features of these Widex hearing aid models are:
- Sound Diary
- Speech Intensifier
- Range Compression
You can either choose an open fitting or a smaller, in-the-canal style of Widex Hearing Aids
Zounds Hearing Aids
Some Zounds Hearing Aid
models are: Clareza, Potenz, Riazo, ZENETA Micro ITC, and ZENETA Micro BTE.
- Accurate Programming
- Remote Controllable
- Amazing Clarity
- Noise Cancellation
- Feedback Cancellation
- Sound Suppression
- Phone Feedback Cancellation