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Best Hearing Aids In Background Noise 2023

November 8, 2023
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
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As an audiologist, I've dedicated my career to helping patients conquer their hearing challenges and embrace their lives through better hearing. One particular hurdle that patients frequently encounter is the struggle with background noise.

Background noise is often reported as the foremost listening challenge by many of my patients. The cacophony of sounds in a crowded room or the hum of a busy street can transform simple conversations into frustrating puzzles.

Thankfully, advancements in hearing aid technology offer solutions to this problem, specifically designed to enhance speech understanding in noisy environments. In this article, we'll delve deeper into the best hearing aid options and tips for tackling background noise in 2023.

Does this sound familiar?

Imagine you're having dinner with your friends at a popular uptown restaurant. The atmosphere is vibrant, and there's a lively buzz in the air with people chattering, the clinking of dishes, and the music playing in the background. You're in the middle of sharing an exciting story, an anecdote that had your friends in splits the last time you narrated it.

However, this time around, you can barely hear your own voice over the din. You struggle to catch your friends' reactions; their laughter gets lost in the sea of noise surrounding you. The essence of the story and the joy of sharing it is drowned in the overpowering background noise. This is a common scenario for individuals with hearing challenges, and it underscores why innovative hearing aids designed to cope with background noise are so crucial.

how noise interferes with speech clarity

Why is background noise tough?

Background noise presents a significant challenge because it tends to bury the peaks and valleys of speech sounds in a sea of ambient noise. In environments with lots of background noise, such as a bustling cafe or a windy park, the important auditory cues that help us distinguish speech from noise can become obscured.

This makes it harder for the listener to parse out individual words and sentences, turning what should be a straightforward dialogue into a strenuous listening exercise. The crux of the issue lies in the brain's processing capacity; it has to work harder to separate the speech sounds from the background noise, which can lead to listener fatigue and frustration.

Tips for dealing with background noise.

Before we talk about the best hearing aids for loud settings, here are a few practical tips that can help you deal with background noise:

  1. Positioning: Position yourself closer to the person you are trying to listen to. This will directly amplify their speech volume relative to the background noise. 
  2. Visual Cues: Paying attention to visual cues such as lip movements and facial expressions can greatly assist in understanding speech. 
  3. Choose Quieter Settings: When possible, choose quieter settings for conversations. Check out apps like SoundPrint to discover quieter restaurants around you.  
  4. Ask for Accommodations: Don't be shy about asking people to speak more slowly and clearly. 
  5. Preventative Measures: Regularly use earplugs in excessively noisy environments to prevent further damage to your hearing. 

Remember, dealing with background noise can be challenging, but with the right strategies and technology, it is possible to have clear, comfortable conversations, even in noisy conditions.

How we tested hearing aids for background noise management.

Running background noise tests in the Soundly test studio.

Our team, composed of audiologists and hearing aid wearers, conducted field trials in various noisy environments to gauge the hearing aids' real-world performance. In addition, we performed rigorous test box measurements to quantify each device's noise reduction capabilities, amplification of speech sounds, and overall sound quality. 

Last, we considered user reviews for insights into the comfort, ease of use, and overall satisfaction with each hearing aid. By combining these methods, we aim to provide a comprehensive, balanced view of the top hearing aids for noise in 2023, helping you to make an informed choice and find a solution that fits your individual needs and lifestyle.

Let's talk about the best hearing aids for noise in 2023 👇

#1. ReSound Nexia

The ReSound Nexia is a recently launched micro receiver-in-the-ear (RIE) hearing aid that stands as a testament to the adage, "Good things come in small packages." Despite its compact design, the Nexia delivers a remarkable performance in tackling background noise, thanks to ReSound's innovative technology. The device incorporates advanced noise filters that adeptly cut down disruptive background sounds while amplifying speech.

ReSound’s app allows users to gain additional control over their hearing aid settings and personalize their hearing experience. Specifically, it offers a dedicated program designed for noise reduction, enabling users to modify the intensity of noise filters based on their immediate environment. 

ReSound also makes a fantastic accessory, the Multi Mic+, to provide additional support in noisy environments. Your conversation partner can clip on this remote microphone technology, and their voice will be streamed right into your ears through your hearing aids. 

Soundly team reviewing NEXIA hearing aids
ReSound NEXIA
First Hearing Aid With Auracast

ReSound NEXIA

ReSound NEXIA

As Low As $3,198 / pair
Listen to a demo
pause
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable

ReSound unveiled NEXIA in October 2023. If you’ve read our past reviews, you might know that ReSound is a regular innovator in the hearing category.

The brand was the first to partner with Apple for Bluetooth streaming back in 2013. In 2022, ReSound released an impressive algorithm update with improved beam-forming tech that boasted a 150% improvement in background noise.

ReSound is also the only manufacturer that places a microphone inside the ear to use the natural shape of the pinna to sort out background noise. Those popular features will remain with ReSound NEXIA with some exciting additions.

The first is a visible reduction in size. Impressively, NEXIA maintains a 30-hour battery life while cutting 25% off the overall size—big thumbs up from us.

The second big announcement is that NEXIA has an updated Bluetooth capability that allows Auracast streaming in public places. If you aren’t familiar with Auracast, check out our guide to the topic here.

ReSound is among the best in the industry at separating speech and noise in a background situation. Our lead audiologist recently put NEXIA in a test box and found the hearing aids could consistently provide up to 8-10 dB of background noise reduction.

ReSound NEXIA is on most of our shortlists for the best premium, receiver-in-canal hearing aids on the market.

  • Overall notes: ReSound NEXIA is an all around excellent product with an innovative approach to microphones and one of the smallest form factors in the industry. ReSound NEXIA has strong Bluetooth connection that now boasts Auracast compatibility.
  • Price: The national average price for ReSound NEXIA is $7,410 per pair. In our price research we've found some national providers with prices as low as $3,198/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth with hands-free calling for iPhone and iPad, Small behind the ear style
  • What audiologists say: “ReSound offers elegant design and good (if not elite) sound quality. These hearing aids are high quality and reliable.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Soundly Scorecard
+
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Pros

Great for background noise management

Auracast compatible

Small form factor and an optional 3rd microphone in the ear

Cons

More expensive compared to direct to consumer and OTC options


NEXIA's in-ear M&RIE microphone is a bit larger and can be uncomfortable for some

Get the full ReSound NEXIA breakdown 👉
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#2. Phonak Audeo Lumity

The Phonak Audeo Lumity is another noteworthy entrant in the realm of advanced hearing aids. Central to the Audeo Lumity's impressive performance in noisy environments is its AutoSense OS technology, helping the user to focus on the conversation rather than adjusting their hearing aid settings.

For those seeking further customization, the myPhonak app is your personal remote for the Audeo Lumity.

The Phonak Audeo Lumity technology also works seamlessly with the Phonak Roger devices. This synergistic pairing further enhances the Lumity's adeptness in managing background noise, thanks to the Roger devices' renowned performance in such conditions.

Phonak Audéo Lumity
Best Bluetooth Connection

Phonak Audéo Lumity

Phonak Audéo Lumity

As low as $3,198 / pair
Behind the Ear
Professional Fitting
Bluetooth
Rechargeable

Phonak Lumity hearing aids are new in August 2022 and replace the world's most popular hearing aid (Audéo Paradise).

Lumity get’s top marks from audiologists for stable Bluetooth connection, precise customization and impressive accessories like the Phonak Roger Pen.

Think of this hearing aid as the Mercedes level. High-end, built by the world's largest hearing company and packed with all the tech you could want.

  • Overall Notes: Audéo Lumity is the #1 hearing aid on the market by sales volume. It offers best-in-class Bluetooth streaming, powerful sound algorithms, remote care, and an innovative ear vent. If you can swing the cost for this premium device, chances are that you'll be very happy.
  • Price: The national average price for Phonak Lumity is $6,213 per pair. In my price research I found two larger providers who offer lower prices starting at $3,195/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth and hands-free calling, behind the ear style, motion sensors
  • What audiologists say: “Our patients say that the sound is clear and crisp, while maintaining natural sound quality. Patients also love the unique ability to pair with almost any cell phone and take calls hands-free.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

Top of the line customization, Bluetooth connection and rechargeable batteries

Enhanced background noise reduction

Highly water-resistant option available for active lifestyles

Cons

Audeo Lumity is a premium product with an average price of $3,198 - $7,000 per pair

Phonak manages sound quality in a way that can lead to a "closed off" feeling compared to Oticon or ReSound's more open sound quality

Get the full Phonak Lumity breakdown 👉
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#3. Signia Pure Charge&Go IX

The Signia Pure Charge&Go IX is the newest addition to Signia's product line, boasting several advanced features that significantly enhance the user's listening experience. A standout aspect is the device's improvement on Signia's noise management technology.

Moreover, the Pure Charge&Go IX introduces a groundbreaking feature in the form of its multiple beam-forming technology. This innovative technology enhances the wearer's ability to capture and focus on multiple conversations simultaneously. It forms distinct 'beams' of sound, pinpointing different speakers in the user's environment. As a result, users can engage in conversations more effectively, with each voice coming through clearly.

Signia Charge&Go
Sleek Charging Case

Signia Charge&Go

Signia Charge&Go

$3,198 - $4,798 / pair
Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable

Signia Pure Charge&Go hearing aids were released in October 2023. They are among the smallest behind-the-ear devices on the market in 2023 and amazingly hold nearly 40 hours per charge (second only to Starkey Genesis AI). Signia is known for limiting background noise by using motion detection to gather information about your surroundings as you move from one space to the next. Their new IX line of devices uses updated beam-forming to track multiple conversations at once. The hearing aids automatically sense when you start walking or sit down and make intelligent decisions about where to focus.

  • Overall notes: Signia Charge&Go IX is a hearing aid for someone on the go. It's the smallest, has the most extended battery life, and offers best-in-class motion-based adjustments.
  • Price: The national average price for Signia 7IX hearing aids is around $7,400 per pair. We've found some national providers with prices as low as $3,198/pair. Click here for more on prices.
  • Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth, Behind The Ear Style
  • What audiologists say: “Signia offers hands-free streaming (for iOS) and connectivity with their app. It is a solid device with impressive specs and design." - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

Among the smallest body size on the market

Second longest battery with 40 hours per charge

Fully customizable with premium sound processing

Cons

Only sold through local clinics at $3,198 - $7,000 a pair

Does not include a Find My Hearing Aids feature

Get Signia Charge&Go prices and details 👉
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#4. Starkey Genesis AI

Starkey's latest launch, the Genesis AI, is an impressive advancement in hearing aids, merging state-of-the-art technology with a futuristic design. Central to the Genesis AI's exemplary performance is its neuroprocessing Deep Neural Network, which contributes to its lightning-fast processing speed. This advanced neural network mimics the complexities of the human brain, enabling the Genesis AI to process and interpret sound with remarkable accuracy and speed.

One of the Genesis AI's noteworthy achievements is its handling of background noise. It deftly navigates noisy environments, making them more comfortable for the user without compromising on the clarity of speech. This is due to the AI's advanced noise reduction technology that effectively minimizes unwanted sounds, providing a more pleasant, less distracting audio environment.

Image of Starkey hearing aids
Starkey Genesis AI
Longest Battery Life

Starkey Genesis AI

Starkey Genesis AI

As Low As $4,798 / Pair
Behind the Ear
Professional Fitting
Rechargeable
Bluetooth

Starkey released a brand new family of hearing aids in late February of 2023. Starkey Genesis AI replaces Starkey's Evolv AI lineup which was intruduced just a year earlier. Genesis is re-built from the ground up with some mind-blowing features like live translation and fitness tracking.

Genesis boasts the longest-lasting rechargeable battery on the market, with up to 51 hours on a single charge. Most people are fine with 20 hours, but this extra battery life could mean a weekend camping trip without a charge.

  • Overall Notes: Starkey Genesis AI has more tech features than any other brand of hearing aid. If you can afford the premium price and lead an active lifestyle, this product is a great choice.
  • Price: The national average price for Starkey Genesis is $7,350 per pair. I found some national providers with prices as low as $3,598/pair. Click here for more on prices.
    Features: Full range of styles and features including Bluetooth, rechargeability, and fitness tracking.
  • What audiologists say: “Starkey Genesis AI is a solid receiver-in-canal hearing aid option. It is jam-packed with technology; any techy or tinkerer would love it." - Garrett Thompson, AuD
Pros

Great features like AI

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Cons

Can be tempermental

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Get Starkey Genesis AI prices and details 👉
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Are there in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids that excel in background noise?

While there are In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids designed to perform well in noisy environments, it's important to note that they may not perform as effectively as Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) hearing aids. The latest advancements in hearing technology are typically introduced first in RIC models before being incorporated into other styles, including ITE aids. 

The smaller form factor of many custom hearing aids, while beneficial for discretion and comfort, often means these devices have fewer features and capabilities for handling background noise compared to their RIC counterparts. This is due to the limited space available in ITE hearing aids for sophisticated noise reduction hardware and software.

Nevertheless, many users find that ITE hearing aids still offer a significant improvement in hearing and understanding speech in noisy environments. However, they may not be the first choice for those frequently in high-noise situations.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the world of hearing aids can be a complex process, given the myriad of options available. From the cutting-edge Phonak Audeo Lumity and its seamless integration with Phonak Roger devices to the advanced noise management capabilities of the Signia Pure Charge&Go IX and the impressive neuro processing network of the Starkey Genesis AI, each of these hearing aids presents a unique set of features to enhance your listening experience.

However, while ITE hearing aids might not be as adept in reducing background noise as their RIC counterparts, they still offer significant improvements in clarity and understanding. It's crucial to thoroughly evaluate your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences when considering the best hearing technology for you. Above all, remember that the goal is not just to hear but to connect, engage, and live fully in your world.

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