In this blog, I’m sharing a list of some of the best hearing aids as reviewed by Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. He also covers some hearing-related information to help make you a better-informed consumer. So, if you’re into that make sure you follow this blog, so you won’t miss out on any new hearing-related info.
Dr. Cliff reports, “2020 may have been a horrible year due to the pandemic, but when it came to the release of some new hearing aid technology, 2020 was absolutely fantastic. So, I want to take a few minutes and share my opinion on what I think are the best receiver in-canal hearing aids in 2021.
And in no particular order, we’re going to start with the Starkey Livio Edge Ai.
#1. Starkey launched the Livio Edge Ai in January of 2020 as an update to their Livio Ai devices. Starkey is well-known as being the Fitbit of hearing aids, because with their Starkey Thrive app, they track a lot of your brain and body data, and they compile this into a Thrive score. The intent of this type of tracking is to encourage you to use your hearing aids more, since your hearing, brain, and physical health are all closely linked. They come in a wide range of technology levels, from the tier 1 premium i2400 model, all the way down to the tier 5 base i1000 model.
The Liveo Edge Ai hearing aids now have the ability to be remotely adjusted by your hearing care professional in real time so they can make adjustments while you’re wearing the hearing aids in the comfort of your own home.
These are also the perfect hearing aids for individuals who have caregivers. With Starkey Thrive Care, these hearing aids can send information to a caregiver, so the caregiver can monitor the usage of the wearer. Also, if an individual with these hearing aids falls over, the hearing aids will send a notification to the caregiver, so the caregiver can reach out and identify whether or not that individual needs help.
The Livio Edge Ai devices are made for iPhone, but now they have the ASHA Bluetooth protocol, so you can use them with your Android device as well, and still be able to do streaming. Edge mode is a cool feature that allows you to hear better in complex situations.
Overall, the Livio Edge Ai hearing aids are very impressive hearing aids, especially if you want your hearing aids to do other things than just treat your hearing loss.
#2. The second hearing aid on my list is the Phonak Audeo Paradise.
The Audeo Paradise hearing aids were released in late third quarter of 2020, improving upon the very popular Marvel line of devices that were released in 2018. Like most hearing aid brands, the Paradise comes in four different technology levels, ranging from the tier 1 Premium P90 level down to the tier 4 Basic P30 level. Each time that you drop down in technology level, you typically save money, but you do give up the customizations and features each time you drop down.
They do have disposable battery and rechargeable battery options in their devices, and you do have the option of a telecoil or no telecoil.
The Paradise hearing aids are still made for any phone, so if you have an Android phone or an Apple phone, it does not matter, you can stream audio directly into the hearing aids, and you can be completely hands-free. When you’re on a phone call, the microphones on the hearing aids actually take your voice and send it to the person on the other end of the line.
Phonak did add a couple of nice new features with the Paradise devices that you could not get with the Marvel line of devices.
The first one is you can have two active pairings at the same time using Bluetooth Classic. So, if you want a tablet and a phone connected and paired to the hearing aids at the exact same time, you can do that, and it’s very seamless for how those interact with each other.
The rechargeable version of the Paradise Audeo hearing aids also has a motion sensor inside of them, which improves your ability to hear and understand speech when there’s movement involved, but more importantly, it actually has a feature called TAP CONTROL that you can use on the rechargeable versions of these devices. You can do things like answer your phone call just by double-tapping your ear. You can actually double tap your ear to stop streaming. You can double-tap your ear to resume streaming. You can also access a voice assistant with a double tap as well.
Phonak still has one of the best remote care platforms out there, so if you’re one of those individuals who has difficulty getting into see your hearing care professional, you can have live programming sessions with them when you’re in the comfort of your own home.
Phonak also has some of the best wireless accessories with the ROGER line of remote microphones and the TV connector, which can take audio directly from your TV and stream it right into your hearing aids.
Overall, the PhonakParadise hearing aids are very popular hearing aids, and I expect them to be extremely popular for the next several years.
#3. The third hearing aid I have on the list is the ReSound ONE.
The ReSound ONE was also released in late third quarter of 2020, and it replaces the previous LiNX line of devices. This is the first receiver in-canal hearing aid ever to take a microphone and actually put it inside of the ear canal! They call this the M&RIE, which stands for microphone and receiver in-ear. The purpose of the M&RIE is to utilize the wearer’s natural pinna effect which helps you localize where sound is coming from better, and it gives you more natural ability to hear in noisy environments. The pinna effect is something that hearing aid manufacturers have been trying to replicate for years inside of the receiver in-canal hearing aids. But actually, taking a microphone and putting it inside of your ear canal to utilize your actual pinna the natural way it was intended to be used is always going to be better.
The ReSound ONE comes in three different tech levels: you have the Premium level 9, the Advanced level 7, and the Basic level 5. You can get these hearing aid in non-rechargeable, disposable battery versions or rechargeable versions that use a lithium battery. But if you want a telecoil, you have to go with the disposable size 13 battery version.
The ReSound ONE still uses all of the great accessories that ReSound has used in the past with the LiNX devices, so you have the Multi Mic, the Mini Mic, the TV Streamer, and the Phone Clip.
Keeping up with the trend, ReSound ONE now has the ability to stream directly from an Android device using the ASHA Bluetooth protocol, but they are still made-for-iPhone hearing aids. So, whether you have an iPhone or an Apple device or an Android device, you can stream from both.
Overall, the ReSound ONE is a great hearing aid and it is on par with any of the best hearing aids on the market right now.
#4. Fourth on the list is the Oticon More.
The Oticon More hearing aid was released in January of 2021, which technically makes it the newest hearing aid on the list. Building on the extreme popularity of the Opn and Opn S devices, it uses the same methodology when you get into a background noise something, which is to amplify selectively sounds that are important, but not necessarily making it feel like you have blinders on.
The More comes in three different technology levels, starting with the tier 1 Premium More 1, the tier 2 Advanced More 2, and the tier 3 Basic More 3.
The More hearing aids have a lot of adjustment handles so you can customize these devices very precisely to hearing loss prescriptive targets using real ear measurement. The premium level has 24 adjustment handles; the advanced has 20, and the basic has a whopping 18 adjustment handles.
As of this recording, there is only a rechargeable option of the More, but we do expect there to be disposable battery options as we head off into 2021. And the rechargeable version that’s available right now does have a telecoil.
While there is not yet a CROS available with the More line of devices, I do expect a CROS option to become available later on in 2021 or 2022.
Oticon is also keeping up with the trend of using the ASHA Bluetooth protocol to be able to stream directly from an Android device, as well as being able to stream from an Apple device, since this hearing aid technically is a made-for-iPhone hearing aid. However, the real claim to fame of the Oticon More hearing aid is the use of a deep neural network so the hearing aid can use deep learning to help you hear better in complex listening situations.
Overall, the Oticon More hearing aid could be the benchmark for how sound is processed as we head into the future of hearing aids.
#5. Fifth, on the list, we have the WIDEX MOMENT hearing aid.
The WIDEX MOMENT was released in mid-2020, replacing the EVOKE line of devices, which were very popular in their own right. But the claim to fame for the WIDEX MOMENT hearing aid is their extremely fast sound processing speed. Where most hearing aids take anywhere between four to nine milliseconds to process sound, the WIDEX MOMENT, using the PureSound program with zero-delay sound processing, can process sound in less than one millisecond. The reason why this is so important is because it reduces the cone filter effect that occurs when delayed amplified sound and natural sound combine inside of your ear canal. If this delay is too long, the cone filter effect introduces distortion to the signal that you’re hearing. So, in order to eliminate the cone filter effect, you have to get rid of the delay. And the way that you do that is to speed up the processing of the sound going through the hearing aid.
Widex also introduced TruAcoustics with their MOMENT hearing aids, which takes the vent effects and uses that in the calculation of the first fit. So, it’s supposed to give you a closer approximation to your prescriptive targets before verifying with real ear measurement.
The MOMENT hearing aids come in disposable battery options, as well as rechargeable options, and you also have the options of a telecoil. These hearing aids do come in four different technology levels, starting with the tier 1 premium 440 model, the tier 2 330, the tier 3 220, and a tier 4 basic 110 model.
Now the WIDEX MOMENT is a made-for-iPhone hearing aid, and they are supposed to be adding the ASHA Bluetooth protocol, but as of right now, you cannot stream directly from an Android device.
Widex is also very well-known for their Zen fractal tones, which are excellent for treating tinnitus. Most hearing aid manufacturers just use a static noise to mask over the perception of your tinnitus, but Widex has a variety of different Zen fractal tones, which do, in my opinion, better job.
The WIDEX MOMENT has one of the most fully featured remote care platforms for long distance live programming, and the MOMENT still uses the popular machine learning SoundSense Learn app feature that lets you train your hearing aids on your preferences by making AB comparisons in real world listening situations.
Overall, the WIDEX MOMENT hearing aid is a fantastic hearing aid if you have a mild to moderate hearing loss, so, you can use that zero-delay sound processing, or if you have tinnitus.
#6. And last, but definitely not least, the sixth hearing aid to make my list for best receiver in-canal hearing aids in 2021 is the Signia Styletto X.
Signia has continued to improve upon the performance and capabilities of their organizational Styletto hearing aid that was released several years ago. However, just because Signia focused a lot on the style of these hearing aids, it does not mean that they sacrifice performance.
The Styletto X only comes in a rechargeable option, and it does come with a very sleek charging case that stores three additional charges without you having to have this plugged into the wall. It comes in three different technology levels.
You have the tier 1 premium 7X model, the tier 2 advanced 5X model, and the tier 3 basic 3X model.
Some of the key features of the Styletto hearing aid is the motion sensor inside of them, so it can actually tell if you’re on the move or if you’re in a static position so it can adjust the microphones of your hearing aids accordingly.
And it has a very popular feature called Own Voice Processing. So, if you’re the type of individual that does not like the sound of your amplified voice, you can actually train these hearing aids to reduce the amount of amplification that is given to your voice without reducing the sound that is being amplified from around you.
The Styletto X can stream directly from a smartphone, but it has to be an Apple smartphone. It is not yet compatible with Android devices. Now you can use an Android device with these devices, but you’re not going to be getting any direct streaming.
You do have remote care capabilities with these hearing aids, so if you, again, have issues with mobility, you can have a live remote session with your hearing care professional without even going into their office.
Overall, the Styletto X hearing aid is the perfect hearing aid for someone who wants to hear better and make a fashion statement at the same time.
There are a lot of great hearing aid options out there, it just depends on what your specific wants and needs are, because what might be right for someone else might not be right for you. Your success with any one of these hearing aids also has a lot to do with whether or not your hearing care professional is really well versed at programming that particular brand, and, of course, whether or not they follow best practices.”
I hope this gave you some insight into the incredible technology in today’s hearing aids. As you can see, there are many variables to consider when choosing the best hearing aids for you.
As a hearing aid practitioner, it is my job to help make that decision easier.
Call today to book your no-obligation consultation.
Thanks for reading!