It is extremely difficult for the consumer to determine which are the best makes and models of hearing aids.
So here is our quick guide;
For a start, hearing aid results are extremely variable, so make sure you get a trial period prior to any purchase.
Here is our model analysis right now (in order of preference):
PHONAK are the market leaders, and have been for some years. So, this fact should not be ignored. Their CROS system for one-sided deafness is unparalleled, and now with the addition of the li-ion rechargeable version, it needs to be trialled. The AUDEO B-DIRECT is the only hearing aid that allows hands-free calls to a mobile – very cool and unique. Their RICs in general, feature the best feedback manager – so a Phonak hearing aid is the least likely to whistle when placed under duress (near a phone, with a hat on, etc).
Alongside, OTICON should be considered. Ask us to let you compare OTICON and PHONAK. Their OPN (with fastest ever sound processor) range has massively increased their market share, being the first and only hearing aid to integrate with other WiFi devices (doorbells, Amazon Echo, etc). it is Made for iPhone, meaning stereo streaming of music and calls – not the first aid to do this, but probably the one with the best build quality and reputation.
RESOUND produce the LiNX 3D, a great Made for iPhone aid, which is the first to allow for remote audiologist programming. That means you can have your product fine tuned from thousands of miles away. The app feature to memorise settings in specific venues that are stored when you next step into that location is very useful. However the LiNX seems to have become a little dated?
STARKEY have a lower market share, but continue to make good products, notably the HALO iQ another Made for iPhone aid, with a great user fine tuning tool (SOUNDSPACE).
WIDEX produce the EVOKE, with a chip just under the processor speed of the Oticon Opn – a quality manufacturer that should be considered. The SoundSense feature uses worldwide EVOKE users’ preferences to improve each individual’s hearing.
SIEMENS / SIVANTOS undoubtedly build extremely solid hearing aids but have very poor UK market share right now.
AUDIO SERVICE, BERNAFON, UNITRON, HANSATON brands are owned by the above companies – I’d say to provide products for different markets – consider VW v. SKODA. So nothing wrong with that, except that hearing aids involve a very high level of personal service, so I wonder about the motives of such an approach to market.