Which Hearing Aid Brand is the Best?
To clarify a common misconception, it is important to understand that every hearing aid manufacturer invests hundreds of millions of dollars each year in research and development (R&D) in order to produce the best technologies available. Understand that even in 2016, there is no research that proves one brand is better than others because wearing hearing aids is a subjective experience.
Consumer Reports from 2015 share that because individuals’ sound perception is so individual, a hearing aid that thrills one person may appear mediocre to someone else, even with identical hearing test results. “That kind of variation makes judging hearing aid models and brand almost impossible,” says Consumer Reports.
”There are differences between brands, but they’re not significant enough that you can say what are the best brands,” says Todd Ricketts, PhD, noted hearing aid researcher and professor at Vanderbilt University.
Although some hearing aid offices within your community may claim their technology is “the best” as a marketing strategy, the truth is: all hearing aid manufacturers provide great options.
How many manufacturers are there?
There are six main hearing aid companies to choose from, often called “The Big Six” by university trained Audiologists. Phonak, Resound, Oticon, Sivantos, Widex and Starkey make up each large umbrella of “The Big Six” manufacturers. Underneath each of the six individual umbrellas are various brand names; a few being nationally recognized franchise brands.
At Heartland Hearing Center, we work with all manufacturers to provide the ultimate customization. We specifically chose our slogan “Hearing is Personal…” because it’s the utmost truth and the secret to patient satisfaction.
Finding the right hearing aids for you is similar to finding the perfect pair of shoes for you. A friend might recommend a certain store or brand, but you may find the store unpleasant or the brand uncomfortable on your feet, even if you wear the same size.
In the year 2016, all six hearing aid companies offer great digital hearing aid technologies. As an independently owned practice with the freedom to openly use all “Big Six” manufacturers, the honest answer is: in order to determine the best type of hearing aid for you, you need to define your “best hearing aid.”
How do I determine what is best for me?
In 2016 you can feel confident that hearing aids will provide you benefit, regardless of the brand chosen, as long as the provider you choose is educated.
The first step in finding your best hearing aid, is visiting with an Audiologist, the only health professionals who are university trained to have your best interests in mind to talk about your preferences, your lifestyle and your budget. It is not only about the lifestyle you currently have, but the lifestyle you want to have, in order to determine what is the best solution for you.
Do you want the smallest device possible? Do you want to wirelessly connect to your iPhone? Do you want an American made product? Do you have unique needs due to single sided deafness? Do you have dexterity concerns? These are just some of the reasons a “one size fits all” mentality does not work.
It is important to note that an Audiologist cannot test your hearing nor diagnose your potential hearing loss online or over the phone. Schedule an appointment to have your hearing tested and discuss in person your preferences, lifestyle, and budget.
During your consultation, determine your personal level of comfort and trust with the provider and think about having a long-term relationship with this person and/or office. Hearing aids require ongoing maintenance and adjustment so it is imperative you genuinely feel comfortable with the provider.
Unfortunately, many people make price the priority when buying hearing aids, often not realizing the sheer importance of quality education, customer service and follow up care until it’s too late.
The best hearing aid for you is truly personal. Finding your best hearing aid begins with choosing an educated provider that you trust to appropriately select and fit the hearing aid that is best for your preferences, lifestyle and budget.
Your sound perception is also vital to your overall satisfaction, which is why an open and comfortable relationship with your provider is imperative. You will work as a team over infinite years to continue to fine-tune the hearing aids and ensure maintenance, monitor progression of your hearing loss and make changes to the hearing aids as your lifestyle and/or hearing loss changes.
So honestly, hearing is personal…
Together with your Audiologist, YOU define which hearing aid brand is the best for you.