💨 In a hurry? Our top hearing aid brands for 2023 are:
If it takes you a moment to orient yourself, welcome to the club.
When I got my first pair of hearing aids, the research process sent me down a rabbit hole. This guide is my best attempt to explain the wild world of hearing aid brands in the simplest terms possible.
Let's Start With Some Basics
- There are 5 major, global manufacturers that make around 95% of all hearing aids
- Each manufacturer sells their hearing aids to multiple groups who in turn often re-name the products. A good example is manufacturer GN who sells to Beltone stores under the name "Serene" and sells the same product to private practice under the name ReSound
- In the The past 10 years there have been some net-new manufacturers including Eargo and Orka.
In this guide, we've organized the hearing aid brand landscape into two groups:
- Prescription brands available at local clinics
- Direct to consumer brands available at retail or online
Prefer to watch? Here’s a 5 minute video about hearing aid brands. 👇
Group #1: Prescription Hearing Aid Brands
Today, most hearing aid wearers work with a local audiologist to select and program their hearing aids. These audiologists are licensed to carry medical-grade hearing aids made almost exclusively by five big holding companies. Here are the leading audiologist-prescribed brands on the market organized by their size.
#1. Sonova - Maker of Phonak, Unitron, Audicus and Lyric
Sonova is a Swiss company that commands more than 30% of the industry. Sonova sells Phonak and Unitron products. Sonova also makes products for top brands like Sennheiser, Audicus, and Lyric.
Phonak Audeo Lumity is Sonova’s top selling product.
#2. Demant - Maker of Oticon, Philips and Sonic
Demant is the only company globally that covers all areas of hearing healthcare, from hearing devices and hearing implants to diagnostic equipment and professional hearing care. Demant's top brands include Oticon, Philips (at Costco), and Sonic. Demant also owns the popular hearing health site HealthyHearing.com.
Oticon Real is Demant’s most popular product.
#3. WS Audiology - Maker of Widex, Signia and Rexton
According to the WSA website, one of their brands manufactures 1 in 3 hearing aids worn worldwide. WSA owns popular brands like Widex, Signia, and Rexton (at Costco). My mother has worn Widex custom, completely in canal, hearing aids for years and loves the brand. WSA owns hear.com, which publishes hearing information and sells its own brand.
#4. GN Hearing - Maker of ReSound, Jabra, Beltone, and Interton
ReSound GN hails from Denmark, where they create products Jabra, Interton, and Beltone brands. ReSound is also the manufacturer of my favorite online hearing aid, Jabra Select. ReSound has been behind several important breakthroughs over the years, including the first connection to Apple's iPhone in 2013 and a 3rd microphone inside the ear in 2020. In 2023 ReSound became the first hearing aid brand to launch Auracast-enabled devices.
ReSound NEXIA is the most popular hearing aid from GN.
#5. Starkey - Maker of Starkey, NuEar, Audibel
Starkey Hearing Technologies is the only American-owned company in the top 5. Starkey has led the way in AI tech and intelligent hearing aids that track fitness and even translate foreign languages. Starkey is also the manufacturer behind Audibel and NuEar products. Starkey is best known for their excellent, custom-mold devices. Starkey famously fit Ronald Reagan during his presidency.
Starkey Genesis AI is currently Starkey’s most popular hearing aid.
For the nerds out there, here’s a breakdown of each hearing aid brand’s market share.
Full Hearing Aid Brand List 👇
If you want to go deeper, the founder of HearingTracker put together an enlightening map of all hearing aid brands on the market. No wonder things can get confusing!
Group #2: Innovative Online Brands
The five brands above provide prescription products that require visits to an audiologist or hearing professional. A second breed of hearing aid brand has emerged in the past few years. Instead of selling devices through clinics, this next group of brands sells directly to the consumer.
Let's start with brands that offer direct-to-consumer Telehealth services.
Jabra Enhance is currently our favorite online hearing aid brand available. Jabra Enhance (formerly named Lively) delivers high-quality, Bluetooth hearing aids at a third of the cost by providing care through Telehealth instead of a brick-and-mortar clinic. Jabra has a team of licensed audiologists who guide you through an online hearing test (you can take their online test here). A licensed professional then programs your hearing aids and ships them to your home.
Outside of price, Jabra Enhance offers some competitive perks, including a 100-day trial and three years of unlimited care. I've spent six months wearing my Jabra Enhance hearing aids and found them among the most comfortable and practical that I have tried.
Audicus offers customizable and feature-rich hearing aids for less by cutting out the middle man and selling direct to consumer. This approach means you won't see Audicus at your local audiologist, and that margin comes off the price. Audicus offers several hearing aid models ranging from $699-$1,399 per ear. The brand offers a 45-day trial and a 1-year warranty. Top 5 hearing aid makers Sonova and WSA manufacture Audicus products. Audicus operates a limited (but growing) number of local retail stores.
Orka is a new entrant to the hearing health category, but its founders are far from novice. CEO Ben Sun cut his teeth as a product designer at Apple and brought on technical co-founders from Siemens and Facebook. One of the company’s co-founders is a long-time hearing aid wearer with first-hand knowledge of the challenges that come with hearing loss.
Unlike hearing aid incumbents, Orka has figured out how to use a much more powerful General Chip inside their devices (the same chip as Airpods and other consumer tech).
The chip gives them up to 1,000 times the processing power and unlocks features like AI Denoise and universal Bluetooth connection. The tradeoff is battery life - Orka Two lasts 12 hours on a single charge compared to 20-30 hours among traditional options.
In July 2022 Bose formed a strategic partnership with Lexie (a well respected hearing healthcare company) to release B1 and B2 hearing aids. Bose hearing aids are self-fit using an innovative app that allows hearing aid wearers to fit, program, and control their hearing aids with clinically proven, audiologist-quality results. Compare Bose and Lexie hearing aids starting at $799 a pair here.
Pro tip: You can get a free, non-working, sample of Eargo hearing aids here.
Eargo is a tech disruptor in the hearing aid space. The brand is based in Mountain View, CA, and has built a sleek and innovative product delivered entirely online (no doctor's visit). The product is almost invisible, comes with a rechargeable case, and uses a palm tree-shaped tip so your ear can get natural airflow. Instead of white-labeling their product from one of the big six brands listed above, Eargo created it from scratch significant investment.
Costco is one of the leading sellers of hearing aids in the US and has developed a reputation for sensible service and low prices. Their popular Kirkland 10.0 hearing aids get top marks for reliability, comfort, and sound quality. These are no-nonsense hearing aids that get the job done for a fair price. Today, Costco sells more than 10% of all hearing aids in the US and partners with Sonova to manufacture its devices.
Group #3: Worst Hearing Aid Brands
Junk hearing aids have been racking up sales on the internet for a decade, and the problem isn't going anywhere. The brands listed above have their pros and cons, but each is a reputable option with an actual operation behind it. In contrast, some internet brands are just junk. If you aren't sure about the brand you are considering, here are a few factors to watch for.
Clear pricing - Flash sales, more than 50% discounts, and buy one get one free offers are all red flags. Importantly, double-check whether you are getting a PAIR or a SINGLE hearing aid for the advertised price. Many brands advertise a low cost for just one hearing aid.
Return policy - Make sure any hearing aid you buy has at least a 45-day return policy. Also, double-check that there is no minimum trial period. Some cheap brands try to make it hard to return products by requiring that you keep your product for 30 days and then giving you a short time to return them before the 45 day deadline.
Reviews - If you choose to purchase hearing aids outside of an audiologist, make sure you find reviews on a 3rd party site. You might consider searching YouTube for product reviews as well.
Amazon or Alibaba Only - If a product doesn't have an actual website, I would avoid it. A brand that only sells on Amazon or Alibaba is likely trying to make a quick buck.
Specific Brands to Avoid
If you have more questions on which brands to avoid, watch this informative video from Dr. Cliff Olson:
So what's the best hearing aid brand in 2023?
It depends on your budget and goals. Right now, my favorite online product is from Jabra (made by ReSound).
The brand I'm most impressed with for its tech-forward approach, and use of AI is Oticon.
Lexie B2 Powered by Bose is a great option if you are looking for a pair of hearing aids under $1,000.
Regardless of what brand you choose, I hope this guide makes your search a bit more informed.