Phonak Hearing Aids - Prices, History, and Recent Technology

December 6, 2023
Blake Cadwell
Written by
Blake Cadwell
Blake Cadwell

Blake Cadwell is a hearing aid wearer and co-founder at Soundly. He regularly tests and reviews hearing technology to share his experience with Soundly’s readers. Blake's research and perspectives have been featured in the The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, AARP and FastCompany.

Soundly Staff
Reviewed by
Soundly Staff
Soundly Staff

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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Phonak is an uncontested innovator in hearing health. The Zürich-based giant isn't the showiest company in the hearing health space, but their wide-ranging products and technology are worn in more ears every day than any other brand. Founded in 1947, Phonak just topped 75 years in business.  

If you are considering the latest Phonak hearing aids or just brushing up on your Swiss history, this article is for you. We'll dig into frequently asked questions about Phonak and spend some time in the weeds with Phonak's latest range of products.

Let's get into it.

About Soundly

Before we wax poetic about Phonak's background noise handling (which is impressive), we should probably tell you who we are. Soundly is an independent consumer education site focused on hearing aid audio products.

Our team of audiologists and hearing aid wearers tests dozens of hearing aids each month to share our research with you. You can read more about us and our review process here.

Quick Phonak Facts  

  • Phonak is the leader among the six top hearing health brands
  • Phonak is owned by its Swiss holding company, Sonova (the owner of Unitron, Advanced Bionics, and Sennheiser). 
  • Phonak offers a wide range of hearing aids, from truly invisible to receiver-in-canal and high-powered BTE (more on the latest styles in a minute). 

Phonak History

AG für Elektroakustik (later renamed Phonak) launched in 1947 and, after three years of R&D, released the first portable hearing aids, Phonak Alpina. In 1965, businessman Ernst Rihs acquired the company's majority shares and renamed it Phonak AG.

The company steadily grew and innovated through the 70s and 80s.
In 1992, Phonak launched the PICS, the first-ever digital programmable hearing system with an analog signal processor.

In 2007 Phonak's parent company changed its name to Sonova but kept the original Phonak name for its flagship brand.

In 2010 Phonak purchased Lyric, a fully invisible hearing aid meant for 24/7 wear.

Over the last 10 years, Phonak has released a steady line of hearing aids with progressively more advanced technology. Phonak Lumity is the company's current flagship.

The Last 10 Years Of Products

2022: Phonak Audéo Lumity, Phonak Virto Paradise
2021: Phonak Naída Paradise
2020: Phonak Audéo Paradise, Phonak Naída M, Phonak Virto M, Phonak Brio 4
2019: Phonak Bolero M
2018: Phonak Audéo Marvel, Phonak Naída B
2017: Phonak Bolero B, Phonak Virto B
2016: Phonak Audéo B
2015: Phonak Bolero V
2014: Phonak Lyric 4, Phonak Lyric 3, Phonak Audéo V
2013: Phonak Naída Q

Phonak's top products today. 

Today Phonak's flagship product is Phonak Lumity which the vast majority of consumers choose. The brand also manufactures custom-in-the-ear products under their Phonak Virto line and higher-powered products for severe and profound hearing loss under the Phonak Naída Paradise line. 

Phonak also makes a CROS device for single-sided hearing loss and a pediatrics line under the name Phonak Sky. 

If you aren't sure what to make of all these names, here's a way to think about it.

  • Around 70%-80% of consumers choose Lumity,
  • Approximately 10% choose Virto.
  • The remaining 10%-20% select Naída, Lyric, or an older model.  

Let's take a closer look at the existing Phonak product range.  

Phonak Lumity

Lumity offers the latest sound processing technology, the longest-lasting battery, and comfortable RIC and BTE styles. Lumity is the model 80% of wearers choose in 2023.

Phonak Audéo Lumity
Best Bluetooth Connection

Phonak Audéo Lumity

Phonak Audéo Lumity

As low as $3,198 / pair
Listen to a demo
pause
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
Soundly Scorecard
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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 👉
Learn More

Phonak Virto

If you want custom-molded hearing aids that sit inside your ears, Virto is your go-to. Virto uses a slightly older operating system but offers good sound quality and Bluetooth streaming in larger models. The smallest versions of Virto are almost entirely invisible in your ear.

Phonak Virto Paradise
Most Innovative Design

Phonak Virto Paradise

Phonak Virto Paradise

$4,598
In the Ear
Professional Fitting
Bluetooth
Rechargeable

Phonak custom devices are often applauded for their stylish design aesthetic. If you choose a custom hearing aid from Phonak, you can select an entirely invisible titanium model or an earbud size version that comes with a Bluetooth connection.  

Overall Notes: When it comes to top-of-the-line custom molded products, two brands compete for the top spot. Starkey and Phonak. If the winner gets selected on style, then Phonak wins. If you want a custom-molded hearing aid that looks tech-forward and you can swing the price, Phonak Virto Paradise is a fantastic choice.

Price: Starting at $3,850 through Zip Hearing (walk-in prices $6K-$8K)

Features: Phonak Virto hearing aids come in an invisible style (without Bluetooth) and larger half shell size (with Bluetooth)

What audiologists say: “Phonak Virto has an impressive set of features packed into a small, modern aesthetic. Ask your audiologist if it's appropriate for your hearing, but if it is you'll be satisfied.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD

Pros

Tiny sized invisible product

Rechargeable and Bluetooth enabled half-shell product

Fully customizable by your hearing professional

Cons

Premium price point starting at $3,850

Invisible style requires battery changes every 4-6 days

Access pre-negotiated pricing from Zip Hearing and save 25%-40%
Find a Professional

Phonak Lyric

Lyric is a unique hearing aid that consumers love or hate. The big selling point is that Lyric stays in your ears 24/7 with regular replacements at a local office. Think of Lyric as contact lenses for your ears.

Phonak Lyric
Most Invisible Hearing Aid

Phonak Lyric

Phonak Lyric

$4,000 annual membership
In the Ear
Professional Fitting

The Phonak Lyric is a non-traditional option that is sold as an annual subscription. The devices are placed deep in your inner ear by a hearing professional every 8 weeks and stay in your ears all day instead of coming out at night.

You can shower, work out, and even swim (without fully submerging) with the hearing aid in your ears. Lyric wearers receive a magnetic “magic wand” tool that turns the hearing aid up or down and remove the device if needed.

Many people find this option more comfortable than traditional invisible hearing aids and enjoy hearing at night if they have kids.

  • Overall Notes: Lyric can be thought of as contact lenses for the ears. Patients who are successfully fit with Lyric often never go back and share that they forget they are wearing hearing aids.
  • Price: Lyric hearing aids are sold on a membership that averages around $4,000 per year
  • Features: Lyric hearing aids use analog technology and boast an impressively small size
Pros

Totally invisible

Wear 24 hours a day including workouts and water

Clear sound that uses the shape of the ear

Cons

Expensive at $4,000 per year

Includes in-person changes every 8 weeks

Lack of background noise suppression technology

Read An In-Depth Review of Phonak Lyric
Read More

Phonak Sky

Sky is designed for kids and comes with access to the myPhonak Junior app. Phonak is among the industry's leaders in pediatrics.

Phonak Sky Hearing Aid
Phonak Sky
For Kids

Phonak Sky

Phonak Sky

Pricing Varies
Behind the Ear
Professional Fitting
Bluetooth
Rechargeable

The Sky Marvel family gives children with hearing loss access to clear, rich sound, helping them to thrive and engage with the world around them. The pediatric hearing aids sit behind the ear and give your child's audiologist a wide range of customization options.

  • Hearing aids for kids
  • Comfortable and safe to wear all day
  • Tamperproof earhook and battery door, and rechargeable battery option
  • Personalizable mix and match colors
  • Connects directly to smartphones, Bluetooth® enabled devices, and Roger
  • Compatible with myPhonak Junior app
Pros
Cons
Learn More About Phonak Pediatric Products 👉
Learn More
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Apps and Accessories 

Phonak has a few smartphone apps that control Phonak hearing aids and unlock special features like sound quality adjustments, fitness tracking, and more.

Our lead audiologist recently did a deep dive into the myPhonak app here

Accessories 

Phonak offers a robust (although sometimes pricey) line of accessories. I recently tried out the Roger ON external microphone with some fantastic results. Phonak's accessories include: 

Roger ON

A versatile external microphone that can plug into your TV or computer, clip onto a partner or teacher's shirt or sit in the middle of a table. Roger ON streams cleaned-up audio directly to your Phonak hearing aids.

TV Connector 

Phonak's TV Connector does what you might imagine. Plug the device into your TV and stream audio directly to your hearing aids. 

Phonak RemoteControl 

A simple, handheld remote made to easily control your Phonak hearing aids without reaching for your hearing aid buttons or opening an app. 

Phonak PartnerMic

A small, easy-to-use microphone that attaches to your partner's lapel to improve hearing during one-on-one conversations. This one is incredible in restaurants, sightseeing, or in the car. 

How Phonak stacks up against other leaders. 

Phonak is the leader among hearing health perennials for a reason. The brand has a broader range of form factors than any other brand and a robust underlying technology base. Phonak's flagship product, Phonak Lumity, has the most versatile Bluetooth connection among hearing aids in 2023, and Phonak does a great job managing background noise. 

Compare Lumity to other leading devices like Signia StylettoReSound OMNIAOticon Real, and Starkey Genesis AI via our comparison tool. 

Phonak notes from our lead audiologist.

Thus far, most of this guide has focused on Phonak from the wearer's point of view, but each brand has its software for programming and adjustment. We asked our lead audiologist, Dr. Amy Sarow, for her thoughts on the "back end" of the Phonak experience. These were some of her thoughts: 

Fitting Software

Phonak's backend software enables me to make fine-tuned adjustments within hearing aid programs, customizing the device to the sound preferences of individual patients. If you're a golf enthusiast, for instance, we can augment the WindBlock feature of your hearing aid. This adjustment allows you to focus more on your game, reducing the distracting noise of the wind. Additionally, for patients who suffer from persistent tinnitus, I can develop specialized tinnitus programs. These programs are designed to help manage the irritating sounds produced by tinnitus, making it less bothersome during your day-to-day activities.

Phonak fitting software.

Earmolds

Phonak's meticulous attention to detail extends to the quality of their custom-made earpieces. Phonak's earmold lab is capable of creating earpieces that fit even the most challenging ear canal geometries. I

've worked with patients with extremely narrow ear canals, often a tricky proposition when it comes to fitting hearing aids. In these instances, Phonak's expertise in creating custom earpieces has proven invaluable.

I can attest to their skill at crafting earpieces that not only fit great but also deliver superb sound quality, even for those with challenging anatomy. 

Remote Care

One of my personal favorite features of Phonak hearing aids is the remote care options that are available. Through the myPhonak app, I am able to remotely adjust my patients' hearing aids and provide them with support from anywhere.

This means that patients don't have to come to the office for every adjustment, which is especially helpful for those with mobility constraints or who live in remote areas.

Final Thoughts

Whether you've worn Phonak in the past or you are just exploring your options, it's safe to say the brand is worthy of your shortlist. 

The one major drawback is that Lumity hearing aids have a big price tag ($3,000-$6,500 for a pair). Telehealth leaders like Jabra Enhance Select and Audicus offer a lot of value for significantly less. 

Even so, if you are searching for the best option on the market, Phonak is worthy of your shortlist. 

You can use our care finder to get up-to-date pricing for your zip code here

I hope you've found this review helpful. If you have questions or comments, shoot us a note at hello@soundly.com

Frequently asked questions

What company owns Phonak?
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Founded in 1947, Phonak has a long history of providing high-quality hearing aids and accessories to individuals with hearing loss. They are known for their advanced technology and commitment to improving the lives of those with hearing impairments. Phonak is owned by a parent company in Switzerland, called Sonova. Under Sonova's ownership, Phonak continues to be a leading provider of innovative hearing care solutions. Among Sonova's product portfolio includes hearing aids, cochlear implants, and personal audio equipment and headphones. Some companies under the Sonova umbrella include Unitron, Sennheiser, Audicus, and Advanced Bionics.

Is Phonak a good company?
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Phonak boasts some of the most popular hearing technology on the market today, with an estimated 24% of the global hearing aid market. Their hearing aids offer technology for individuals with mild to profound hearing loss, and their products are known for being durable and long-lasting. In addition to their commitment to providing high-quality hearing aids, Phonak also offers assistive listening devices for additional support in background noise with their Roger technology. Overall, Phonak is a reputable and well-respected company in the hearing industry.

Is Phonak an American company?
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No, Phonak is not an American company. It was founded in Switzerland and is currently owned by a Swiss parent company, Sonova. However, Phonak has a strong presence globally and their products are available in many countries around the world. So while it may not be an American company, it has a global reach and available widely throughout North America.

Which company made Phonak?
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Phonak was founded by a group of Swiss entrepreneurs in 1947. It was later acquired by Sonova, a leading Swiss company in the hearing industry. Phonak continues to operate under the ownership of Sonova, who also owns several other notable companies in the field of hearing care and technology.

Why is Phonak successful?
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Phonak's success can be attributed to several factors. They have a long history and strong reputation in the hearing industry, offering high-quality and innovative products. Their commitment to improving the lives of those with hearing loss is evident through their advanced technology and assistive listening devices. Additionally, being part of Sonova's portfolio allows Phonak access to resources and collaborations that contribute to its success. Overall, Phonak's success can be attributed to its dedication to providing top-notch hearing care solutions, field research, and constantly striving for advancements in the field.

What is the ActiveVent feature?
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The innovative ActiveVent feature is a great option for patients who wear open domes but want some additional support in noise. Designed with open-dome hearing aid users in mind, ActiveVent is a "smart" feature that detects your environment and reacts with either an open or closed setting. This neat trick lets your devices zero in on speech with laser focus, turning a cacophony into clarity by closing the vent and focusing in on speech. And for those moments when you transition to audio streaming, ActiveVent ensures your streamed sounds are rich and full by closing the vent and bringing out bass sounds. This is where Phonak's prowess truly shines—combining form, function, and a touch of acoustic wizardry.

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