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The 9 best hearing aids of 2024, according to audiologists

These are the top 9 prescription and OTC hearing aids of 2024, according to our experts and testers

Hearing impairment can significantly impact your life and relationships, leading to communication difficulties, social isolation and cognitive decline. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, almost 29 million U.S. adults have some degree of hearing loss and could benefit from hearing aids. While there are many reasons for a decline in hearing, people of all ages and demographics are at risk. But there is some good news: The best hearing aids on the market today are "smaller, sleeker and more sophisticated than ever before," says audiologist Mel Hecker.

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Another big movement in the hearing aid market came in 2022 when the FDA authorized over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids for adults with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. While OTC hearing aids offer an easier, more convenient option, prescription hearing aids are recommended for those with severe hearing loss. "OTC hearing aids can be a good option for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss who don't feel they need the in-person guidance of a hearing professional," explains Amanda Cooper, a licensed hearing aid specialist.

To better understand the difference between OTC and prescription hearing aids, what to look for and avoid with each and who would benefit from each type, Yahoo spoke with it’s panel of hearing experts, ranging from ear, nose and throat doctors (ENTs), audiologist and hearing aid specialists. We then researched over 50 different hearing aids and settled on nine stand-out options based on style, comfort, sound quality, price and professional assistance available.

Cost: $1,595-$1,795 | Covered by insurance: Reimbursement available | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Receiver-in-canal (RIC) | Battery type: Rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: Sparkling silver, warm gray, champagne, gold and bronze

Jabra Enhance offers four OTC hearing aids but the Select 300 stands out thanks to its incredibly discreet design and impressive sound quality. Anish Thakkar, audiologist and director of audiology at L.A. Center for Ear, Nose, Throat and Allergy, tells us, "Through our research, the Jabra Enhance Plus has proven to be the best OTC hearing aid in the market. It requires an iPhone and some basic familiarity with smartphones in general, but it is a decent budget option for our patients that cannot afford hearing aids programmed and serviced by an Audiologist."

Described by the company as a “mini,” the Select 300 is smaller than a paperclip and has a slim, nearly invisible design. It’s a receiver-in-canal (RIC) style hearing aid, meaning the hearing aid is worn behind the ear with the microphone attached to a nearly invisible wire that allows it to be discreetly hidden in the ear canal. In terms of sound quality, Jabra Enhance might just be the best you can get without a prescription. The Select 300 is designed to prioritize speech and reduce background noise so you can easily have a one-on-one conversation in a noisy environment. Additionally, its Bluetooth capabilities allow for hands-free calling and music streaming. The only drawback is that the hands-free calling feature only works for iOS users with an iPhone 11 or newer — some Android users might require an extra accessory for Bluetooth features.

There are two Select 300 options to choose from: 

Premium: The premium package offers a fully customizable hearing aid, three-year warranty with three years of follow-up care and remote adjustments from the audiology team and costs $1,795.

Basic: The basic package includes a pre-programmed hearing aid with three hearing profiles to choose from and costs $1,595.

Pros
  • 100-day trial period
  • Premium package includes access to audiologists
  • Advanced customization options with premium package
Cons
  • Hands-free calling only available for iPhone 11 and newer
  • Only suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Requires smartphone or tablet
$1,595-$1,795 at Jabra Enhance

Cost: $4,000-$6,000 | Covered by insurance: Depends on the provider | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Receiver-in-canal (RIC) or Behind-the-ear (BTE) | Battery type: Disposable and rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: Chroma gray, steel gray, gray silver, silver, chestnut brown, olive green, hear pink, diamond black and terracotta

Oticon is one of the top hearing aid providers in the world due to its cutting-edge technology, innovative research and dedication to sound quality. The Oticon Real is designed to support the way your brain naturally interprets sound. It has an on-board Deep Neural Network (DNN) — a form of machine learning — that was trained using 12 million real-life sounds. The end result is a hearing aid with a more natural, open sound experience. The Oticon Real is an over-the-ear hearing aid that comes in two styles: behind-the-ear (BTE) with the RIC or behind-the-ear where the hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind it with the microphone attached to the hearing aid, not a wire that fits in your ear canal. RIC devices are generally considered more powerful and work best for those with more severe to profound hearing loss.

The Oticon Real offers two standout features that offer a high-quality hearing experience:

Sudden Sound Stabilizer – reduces the sound of both soft and loud sudden noises to reduce disruptions.

Wind and Handling Stabilizer – minimizes distracting noises that come from handling hearing aids (such as your hair or glasses touching them) and wind.

There are a total of four different styles and battery combinations available:

- Rechargeable BTE

- Rechargeable RIC

- Disposable battery BTE

- Disposable battery RIC

Each model is available in three performance levels (1, 2 or 3) which offer a different level of sound processing.

Rechargeable versions come with either a desktop charger or a portable SmartCharger. Either way, you’ll get about 24 hours of power on a single charge.

Pros
  • Good for tinnitus
  • Multiple styles, colors, and battery options available
  • Deep Neural Network technology
Cons
  • More expensive than other prescription brands
$4,000-$6,000 at Oticon Real

Cost: $3,000-$6,000 for annual subscription | Availability: Prescription | Covered by insurance: Depends on provider | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Invisible |Battery type: N/A | Remote/App customization: No | Colors available: Yellow

If an over-the-ear style hearing aid isn’t your cup of tea, there's a more discreet option: In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids typically come in three forms: low profile (either full or half shell), in-the-canal (ITC) or completely in-the-canal (CIC). Then there’s the Phonak Lyric.

Unlike other ITE hearing aids, the Phonak Lyric is 100% invisible. It’s an extended-wear hearing aid that’s placed near the eardrum by a trained hearing professional. Another feature that sets this ITE hearing aid apart from the pack is that it’s meant to be worn day and night for several months at a time. That means you won’t have to worry about charging it, replacing the batteries or the hassle of daily removal. 

The Lyric can last up to four months before replacement is necessary, depending on individual ear canal conditions. While that means you may need to visit your audiologist more often, the process only takes a few minutes. Rather than paying for each replacement individually, the Lyric is sold on a subscription basis in one- to two-year intervals.

There are seven sizes available, ranging from XXS to XXL. Since it’s worn 24/7, you can shower, exercise and sleep without issue. However, it’s worth noting that it's not fully waterproof, so underwater swimming and diving should be avoided.

Pros
  • 100% invisible due to placement
  • Designed to be worn 24/7
  • Provides clear, natural sound
Cons
  • Not fully waterproof
  • Must be replaced by professional every 2 to 3 months
  • Not suitable for severe or profound hearing loss
$3,000-$6,000 at Phonak

Cost: $2,550 | Availability: Over-the-counter | Covered by insurance: Yes | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Completely-in-canal (CIC) | Battery type: Rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: Black

Eargo offers high-quality, over-the-counter hearing aids best suited for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. "OTC hearing aids can be a good option for those seeking a lower price point. Hearing aids can be quite expensive, it’s not something that everyone can or is willing to pay for especially if this is their first time using hearing aids," explains Hecker.

The Eargo 7 is the newest and most advanced offering from Eargo. The hearing aid is a nearly invisible, completely-in-canal hearing aid with self-fitting technology. Although this hearing aid is pricier than other OTC brands, Eargo offers prescription-level sound quality. It uses a feature called Sound Adjust+ that automatically adjusts to your environment, reduces unnecessary background noise and helps you hear speech more clearly.

The Eargo 7 also offers lifetime support from hearing professionals. Customer care is available six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.

Pros
  • Discreet, virtually invisible design
  • Lifetime virtual support
  • Self-fitting
Cons
  • More expensive than other OTC brands
  • No Bluetooth streaming
$2,550 at Eargo
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$2,950 at Amazon$2,490 at Best Buy

Cost: $3,000-$7,000 | Availability: Prescription | Covered by insurance: Depends on provider | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Behind-the-ear (BTE), Receiver-in-canal (RIC) or in-the-ear (ITE) | Battery type: Disposable and rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: 13 colors available, such as shocking pink, Mediterranean turquoise, sporty red or toned down blacks and grays.

Widex is often considered the favorite hearing aid brand among musicians, which makes sense considering that it has the fastest processing time of any hearing aid company. Faster processing speed equals higher sound quality. Hands down, Widex Moment is our pick for the best hearing aid for sound quality.

The Widex Moment is a prescription hearing aid that uses ZeroDelay technology to process sound in .5 milliseconds. For comparison, most high-quality hearing aids have a processing speed of between five and eight milliseconds. The end result is a smoother, more natural sound experience. One reviewer noted the “uncanny clarity” of the hearing aids, saying, “I could hear upper registers more clearly and crisply.”

Other key features include Bluetooth capability, hands-free calling for iPhone users and an easy-to-use app with a “find my hearing aid” feature. There are nine models to choose from with BTE, RIC and ITE styles. The BTE and RIC models offer wildly vibrant colors such as shocking pink, Mediterranean turquoise and sporty red.

Pros
  • Has both app and onboard controls
  • Up to 13 color choices for some models
  • Fastest sound processing on market
Cons
  • Requires extra accessory for remote adjustments
  • Higher cost than other brands
$3,000-$7,000 at Widex

Cost: $2,500-$5,500 | Availability: Prescription | Covered by Insurance: Depends on provider | FSA/HSA Eligible: Yes | Style of Fit: Receiver-in-canal (RIC) | Battery Type: Rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: 12 options ranging from black/fine gold, black/silver, cosmic blue/rose gold, snow white/rose gold, beige, black, deep brown

Signia's Styletto AX is a prescription BTE hearing aid that features multiple top-notch technological features and an ultra-slim RIC design for a discreet, barely-there, comfortable fit. The Styletto AX uses Signia’s Augmented Experience (AX) platform, which uses a split processing technology to separate speech from background noises to help you hear conversations better. Other key features include “Own Voice Processing,” which helps improve the sound of your voice as you speak. There's also Auto EchoShield, which helps create cleaner, crisper sounds and an upgraded eWindScreen to reduce wind sounds. Last but not least, it’s available in five performance levels, offering between 16 and 48 sound processing channels. 

Bluetooth is available for iPhone and Android users, but only iPhone users can use the hands-free calling feature. Unlike other BTE devices, though, there are no manual controls to adjust volume or sound settings. Instead, adjustments must be made using the Signia app.

Contralateral Routing of Signal (CROS) equipped versions are available for those with single-sided profound hearing loss.

Pros
  • Slim, lightweight design
  • Pocket-size portable charger
  • Own Voice Processing technology
Cons
  • No onboard controls
  • Only offers BTE styles
$2,500-$5,500 per pair at Signia

Cost: $999 | Availability: Over-the-counter | Covered by insurance: No | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Receiver-in-canal (RIC) | Battery type: Rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: Gray

The Lexie B2 hearing aid by Bose offers a lifetime support policy with customer service available seven days a week, including easy access to live support via the Lexie app — available to both Apple and Android users. The Lexie B2 is a self-fitting hearing aid, which means that the settings are programmed for your specific hearing needs using the app. The good news is that if you have any trouble syncing the hearing aid to your needs, the app also allows you to quickly connect to Lexie experts who can offer support via video, chat or phone. Lexie offers unlimited ongoing expert support throughout the life of your hearing aids. Basic customer service is also available seven days a week.

Pros
  • Free ongoing professional support
  • Customer service available 7-days a week
  • Affordable OTC option
Cons
  • Streaming not compatible with Android
  • Only available in gray
$999 at Lexie
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$999 at CVS$999 at QVC

Cost: $2,000-$6,000 | Availability: Prescription | Covered by insurance: Depends on provider | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Invisible-in-canal (IIC), Completely-in-canal (CIC), In-the-canal (ITC), In-the-ear (ITC), Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and Mini-receiver-in-canal (mRIC) | Battery Type: Disposable or Rechargeable | Colors available: Up to seven colors but varies by device

Starkey is an industry leader when it comes to custom-molded hearing aids, so it’s no wonder the Genesis AI is our top choice for the best customizable hearing aid. The Genesis AI is available in eight different styles, including receiver-in-canal (RIC), in-the-ear (ITE), completely-in-canal (CIC) and invisible-in-canal (IIC) fit options.

RIC – There are three receiver-in-canal models that come in seven colors, four technology levels and can be either rechargeable or disposable battery operated. All RIC options are Bluetooth-enabled. One of the RIC models also offers CROS for single-sided hearing loss.

ITE – There are two in-the-ear models that come in six colors and four technology levels. These options are rechargeable, waterproof and Bluetooth-enabled.

CIC – There are two completely-in-canal models that come in six colors and four technology levels. The CIC models use a disposable battery and can be either Bluetooth-enabled or non-wireless.

IIC – The invisible-in-canal model is the most limited version. It has a disposable battery, no wireless capabilities and is available in five colors and four technology levels.

The Genesis AI also offers an impressive list of innovative features. “These hearing aids were completely reimagined from the inside out,” says Dave Fabry, the Chief Hearing Health Officer at Starkey. Featuring the all-new Neuro Processor, it “mimics the way the human brain functions to address the top drivers of hearing aid performance: natural sound quality, speech intelligibility in the presence of background noise, comfort for loud sounds and the ability to determine the direction of sound.”

Additionally, the Genesis AI was designed with your overall health and well-being in mind, Fabry explains. “It features onboard sensors that can track physical activity, social engagement and provide fall detection alerts.”

Pros
  • Has both app and onboard controls
  • Up to 13 color choices for some models
  • Fastest sound processing on market
Cons
  • Higher cost than other brands
$2,000-$6,000 per pair at Starkey

Cost: $2,000-$4,500 | Availability: Prescription | Covered by insurance: Depends on provider | FSA/HSA eligible: Yes | Style of fit: Behind-the-ear (BTE) | Battery type: Rechargeable | Remote/App customization: Yes | Colors available: Sandalwood/black, copper/black, graphite/black, silver/black

For those looking for a high-quality, Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid, the Phonak Slim is the best option on the market. It has universal connectivity, meaning you can pair it with any smartphone, tablet or TV. In fact, you can pair it with up to eight devices at a time!

Another major benefit is the true hands-free calling feature. While many hearing aids are more geared toward iOS, the Phonak Slim allows both Android and iPhone users to make hands-free phone calls. The Slim also has onboard tap control. The integrated motion sensor lets you use Bluetooth features by double-tapping on your ear.

Like other Phonak hearing aids, the Slim has strong sound quality, particularly regarding background noise management and speech clarity. It’s only available in one behind-the-ear style, but as far as RIC’s go, the Slim stands out for its ergonomic design. It has a unique, seven-degree contour that fits the natural shape of your ear, a serious benefit for anyone who wears glasses or uses an oxygen tank. 

We personally tested this device and the feedback from our tester was pretty amazing, The first day our tester got the hearing aid, she wore it all day without issue, saying, "by the first hour, I forgot it was there." It blended seamlessly with her skin tone and was easily covered by hair. She also noted that even though you could adjust the hearing aid to various settings via the Phonak app for places such as a restaurant, concert or while watching TV, she felt like it adjusted on its own as she never had any trouble going from day to night wearing the device. 

Pros
  • Ergonomic 7-degree angle for contoured fit
  • Universal Bluetooth connectivity
  • More affordable than other Rx models
Cons
  • Limited color options
  • Lower battery life than other models
$2,000-$4,500 at Phonak

Before choosing a hearing aid, there are several factors to take into account:

Hearing aids
Credit: April McCormick
  • Style of hearing aid: There are five primary types of hearing aid styles to consider depending on your preference and what works best for your lifestyle.

    • Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are worn on the outside of your ear. This type of hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind it. BTE devices are generally considered more powerful and work best for those with more severe hearing loss.

    • Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are the most discreet option. They fit entirely inside the ear canal making them nearly invisible from the outside. This kind of hearing aid is only suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.

    • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are similar to ITE but they’re smaller and sit more deeply in the ear canal.

    • In the ear (ITE) hearing aids sit within the outer portion of the ear canal rather than outside the ear.

    • Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are similar to BTE styles but offer a more discreet option. This type of hearing aid is worn behind the ear with the speaker inside the ear canal.

  • Cost: Hearing aids aren’t cheap, so it’s a good idea to consider your budget. Insurance coverage for hearing aids can vary widely depending on your provider, but many plans don’t cover OTC options. Even if you don’t have coverage, you may be able to use a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).

  • Prescription or OTC: Prescription hearing aids are, of course, only available through a licensed hearing health provider, so you'll need to make a trip to an audiologist for a hearing test to get a prescription. They’re more expensive than over-the-counter options, but they’re also more advanced and tailored to your needs.

  • Set-up: Most prescription hearing aids can be set up in-office by your audiologist. Over-the-counter options, on the other hand, are set up at home via the company's app, but many companies offer assistance by phone as well.

  • User Controls: Some hearing aids have onboard controls that allow you to make adjustments manually by pushing a button. Others, however, can only be adjusted using an app or a remote control.

  • Extra features: Popular features to consider include Bluetooth hearing aids for streaming TV, Music and making and taking calls, fall detection, rechargeable batteries and artificial intelligence.

To find the best prescription and OTC hearing aids, we consulted audiologists and hearing specialists to determine what influences hearing loss, how it can be corrected and what to look for in a great hearing aid. We then researched more than 50 hearing ads from more than 15 companies and rated each based on the style of the hearing aid — BTE, RIC, CIC — sound quality, the technology used, comfort, whether the battery could be recharged or needed to be changed, colors, cost and additional features.

“Hearing aids work by sampling and collecting sound through tiny microphones,” explains audiologist Amy Sarow. These sounds are then converted into electrical signals and amplified. While that’s a basic description, there’s a lot more to it, especially with more sophisticated devices.

Before being converted into electrical signals, sounds are analyzed and manipulated using advanced technology. “Sound is filtered into desirable sounds, like speech and undesirable sounds, like wind and noise,” Sarow says. Before the sound is amplified and sent to the ear, the processor (or computer program/algorithm) reduces unwanted background noises and enhances speech. “This process happens continuously, hundreds of times per second to provide a clearer sound, making speech easier to understand and requiring less listening effort.”

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids can be purchased online or in a store without a medical exam. Prescription hearing aids, on the other hand, require an audiologist and hearing exam. They’re also only available through a licensed professional.

“I often compare OTC devices to the readers/cheater glasses that can be bought at pharmacies. They are self-fit and self-selected by the consumer,” says Hecker. While they can be a good option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who want something more affordable, they’re not the best. “For the highest quality treatment for hearing loss, you’ll need a prescription hearing aid,” she says. Not only are prescription options more technologically advanced, there's also the benefit of being professionally fitted.

Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, exams or fittings for hearing aids. That said, most Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offer some coverage, but the exact amount varies by plan. Similarly, private insurance is not required to cover hearing aids but some plans do.

Hearing loss is typically gradual and can be difficult to notice at first but early signs include difficulty hearing in loud or crowded places, when speaking on the phone or when someone isn’t facing you. High-pitched sounds are usually the first to go as well, so having trouble hearing female voices, children or the doorbell is another indication.

If you start to notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to see an audiologist. “I cannot emphasize the importance of getting a hearing test enough,” says Fabry, who explains that hearing loss is often linked to depression, loneliness, social isolation, cognitive decline and even dementia.

It depends on the hearing aid. One of the biggest benefits to prescription hearing aids is that they’re set up by an audiologist or hearing aid specialist. OTC options, however, will need to be set up at home, but many companies have an app to walk you through the process.

Yes, but not as well as high-quality prescription hearing aids. “Most are more basic amplifiers that aren’t properly calibrated for the individual’s hearing loss,” says Hecker. “So, it will make things louder, but may not make things clearer — which is most people’s ultimate goal.”

According to Fabry, hearing loss isn’t the same for everyone, so neither is the right solution. Cheap hearing aids may work for some people while others will need a more advanced device. “An OTC option doesn’t come with the guidance or expertise of a hearing professional,” he says, adding that it’s a good idea to make sure there’s a warranty, trial period or return policy in place. “My biggest advice is to ask questions an do your homework.”

Lenny Powell, DO, CMD, specializing in geriatric medicine at Rowan Medicine

Ruth Reisman, MD, Founder of Urban Hearing

Carissa Wentland, DO; Pediatric Otolaryngologist

Amanda Cooper, licensed hearing aid specialist

Amy Sarow, clinical audiologist

Dave Fabry, Chief Hearing Health Officer at Starkey

Melanie Hecker, audiologist and founder of BLUEMOTH Hearing