Best If Youre New To Hearing Aids: Lively 2 Plus And Pro
Who its for: First-time hearing-aid users and people who want some earbud-like functionality.
Why its great: If youve never used a hearing aid before and want a device thats relatively affordable and packed with useful features, the Lively 2 Plus and Lively 2 Pro are both excellent choices. Our panelists loved how easy these sets of hearing aids were to set up, customize, and use. The situational sound modes were actually helpful for reducing background noise while amplifying conversation . The traditional, behind-the-ear design stays in place comfortably and is especially water resistant and dust resistant, with an IP68 rating. Both the Plus and the Pro can play back sound from devices like smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth, but only the Pro has the ability to transmit your voice for full headset-style capabilities. Livelys generous 100-day return policy gives you ample time to acclimate to your hearing-aid pair and to determine whether its a good match. In addition, with a three-year warranty and three years of included follow-up care, these hearing aids can adjust to meet your needs for a good long while. This combination of lower pricing, excellent extended customer service, and a long trial period makes a Lively 2 Plus or Lively 2 Pro pair an ideal place to start if youve never used hearing aids before.
How Do Affordable Hearing Aids Compare To Expensive Ones
In the hearing aid industry, spending more money doesnt always bring better quality. A case study by the Better Hearing Institute found that direct-to-consumer hearing aids are just as beneficial as traditional, more expensive hearing aids. Whats more, the direct-to-consumer buyer enjoys an average cost savings of 80 percent compared with traditional hearing aids.
*Data in table sourced from: Kochkin, S. A comparison of consumer satisfaction, subjective benefit, and quality of life changes associated with traditional and direct-mail hearing aid use. Hearing Review. 2014 21:16-26.
A 2014 study by Hearing Review reached similar conclusions about the quality and effectiveness of direct-to-consumer hearing aids compared to traditional ones. Here are some of the findings:
- From the consumers perspective, direct-mail and traditional hearing aids provide equivalent benefit and quality of life changes from the use of amplification.
- Direct-mail consumers are more likely to have positive attitudes toward their hearing aids than traditional consumers, as evidenced by their brand loyalty and willingness to recommend hearing aids to others.
- Given the equivalence of perceived benefit, direct-mail hearing aids provide the consumer with high value compared to traditional fittingsespecially for those consumers who had their hearing aids fitted in settings utilizing below-average best practices.
Hearing Aid Ranges Available In The Uk
As independent private hearing aid suppliers are just that independent we have access to the complete range of hearing aids that are currently available. This includes everything from the premium models of the very newest ranges, to entry-level older models.
One of the many reasons for choosing an independent private audiologist is that we can provide you with the very best hearing aids available that are designed specifically for your type of hearing loss, and then due to the expertise of our audiologists they can be even further tailored to your needs.
Whereas NHS hearing aids are limited by cost and so generally dont include anything more than the most basic technology, private audiologists are able to find the exact hearing aid to suit your hearing loss, your lifestyle and environments and if necessary your budget.
Also, as previously mentioned choosing an independent audiologist rather than one of the big chains of private audiologists, means that they are, obviously, not tied to any particular hearing aid manufacturers. Some of the big multi-national chains, even though they dont advertise this, are actually affiliated to certain manufacturers and so will push you towards these, which could cause your hearing aid costs to rise and your choices to decrease.
Also, many manufacturers are now actively promoting independent audiologists by only providing the full versions of many of their hearing aid ranges to us independents.
Signia Cros Pure Charge& go X
- Features: Bluetooth for media streaming app for setting adjustments and communication with a hearing professional face mask mode for clearer voice quality directional hearing configuration
- Style of fit: behind the ear
- Battery life: rechargeable
This small, behind-the-ear hearing aid has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can stream phone calls, music, and TV directly to your ear from other devices. Theyre designed to provide enhanced hearing in noisy environments.
They can also charge overnight for a full days worth of reliable hearing performance, plus they have a fast-charging option. In addition, they detect your voice and process it to generate a natural sound.
Speaking Out: Advice From Hearing Aid Users
Researching hearing aids taught us that users have to keep an eye on a lot of things, from features and specs to battery life and technology levels. It would be wrong for us to give you tips on hearing aids without even considering the perspective of actual hearing aid users, so to give you the best advice, we interviewed four hearing aid users about their experiences with hearing aids.
Two of the interviewees asked us to use aliases to protect their identities, while the other two allowed us to use their real names. The alias users will be named Mark Cole and Marie Rose, while the others are Eric Vincent, a designer here at ConsumersAdvocate.org, and Lourdes Rodriguez, who you met in our Helpful Information introduction. The age of these users ranges from 34 to 70, and the range of their hearing loss ranges from moderate to profound.
Hearing Aids Wont Return Your Hearing to Normal
Its a common misconception that hearing aids restore your hearing back to what it was before, but this isnt true. Hearing aids arent a cure for hearing loss, they just help you listen and understand better said Marie Rose, a hearing aid user since she was two years old. I say this because, as I grew up, I thought that eventually there would be a hearing aid that would fix all the nuances of my hearing loss, but even with the technological advancements of today, its sometimes difficult for me to understand someone during a conversation, especially if they talk on a soft tone.
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The Benefits Of Hearing Aids
Only one in five people who would benefit from a hearing aid uses one, according to the Hearing Loss Association of AmericaHearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Hearing Loss Association of America. Accessed 4/27/2022. . Cost, confusion about and access to hearing care, and gradual hearing loss going unrecognized are all reasons for this underutilization. Vanity also plays a role, though hearing aids continue to become smaller and sleeker.
Having hearing loss is like youre backing out 10 feet from a conversation, says John Coverstone, an audiologist in New Brighton, Minnesota, and host of the AudiologyTalk podcast. People feel more isolated, he says.
Studies link trouble hearing with serious health consequences. Untreated hearing loss increases your risk of anxiety, depression, social isolation, falls and cognitive decline, research shows.
Proper hearing aids can greatly improve hearing and, consequently, health, studies find. For example, wearing hearing aids appears to reduce the excess risk of dementia from hearing loss, according to a 2020 report in The LancetLivingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A, et al. Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. The Lancet. 2020 396:413-346. .
Check For Local Hearing Aid Discounts
HearingTracker hosts a platform for audiologists to post Local Hearing Aid Discounts. This is a great place to start if youre trying to get your bearings. Youll see a selection of discounted hearing aids available in your area, how much they cost, and whats included.
This advertising platform also allows HearingTracker to track hearing aid prices. You can review the average price for each hearing aid on our hearing aid price tracker. Though keep in mind that local factors, such as higher commercial rents or wages in urban areas, will impact the price of hearing aids. More experienced audiologists, or those that provide clinical best practices, may also charge moreand rightfully so!
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What Type Of Hearing Aid Is Best For Me
Hearing aids come in a variety of styles. To find your best option, youll need to consider features, size, visibility, and your degree of hearing loss. In general, hearing aids come in the following styles:
- Mini behind-the-ear
In-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal aids are very small, so they may be more difficult to remove and adjust, but theyre the most discreet style.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are bulkier and more visible, but they are also easier to handle and more appropriate for profound hearing loss. Since hearing aids are a substantial expense, its important to research the different companies and styles to ensure youre getting the right one for your hearing loss.
Reading a variety of hearing aid reviews can help you better understand the different styles and how people choose the best hearing aids for their comfort level and needs.
How We Chose The Best Otc Hearing Aids
Our top four over-the-counter contenders for mild to moderate hearing loss were chosen with great consideration. We evaluated a variety of criteria, including cost, battery life, features, and warranty. While the products look like over-the-counter hearing aids, theyre technically electronic devices that offer a range of hearing enhancement features. These four devices stood out when compared to the FDAs draft OTC hearing aid legislation.
Because OTC legislation is still being finalized, we also included a list of our top picks for FDA-approved hearing aids that can be purchased online. We evaluated various criteria, including functionality, battery life, remote care, warranty, and cost. These hearing aids will be more affordable than traditional hearing aids and come with support from audiologists. All of the devices on our list will only be suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Check Your Insurance And Consider Your Options
Its worth double-checking that you arent able to get insurance to cover the cost of hearing aids before investing in a PSAP. Though these devices are affordable, studies show that many people tend to be more satisfied with a true hearing aid that can be customized for their hearing loss. Insurance companies will likely not cover the cost of any PSAP because they are not considered medical devices. If your barrier is not cost, but rather a hesitancy to seek or lack of access to medical care, you may also want to consider online providers of true hearing aids, such as Lively and Lexie.
What Is A Hearing Aid
A hearing aid is an electronic device designed to improve your hearing in both noisy and quiet environments. Hearing aids work by magnifying sound vibrations entering the ear.
Hearing aids have one or two microphones to pick up sound, and most have an amplifier to make the sound louder and a speaker to produce the amplified sound in the ear. Beyond the basic operating parts, companies offer hearing aid devices with different designs, features, and technology.
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Are Inexpensive Hearing Aids Worth Buying
Inexpensive hearing aids are worth buying, but again, it depends on your individual circumstances. Cheaper hearing aids generally offer fewer extra features, such as Bluetooth connectivity and automatic sound adjustment. So if those features are important to you, you may be better off with a more expensive model.
Input Of Knowledgeable Provider Is Invaluable
Other research indicates that people who’ve tried out OTC hearing aids greatly benefit from the help of a knowledgeable hearing care provider. This small 2017 trial provides some clues. It tested the outcome when adults aged 55 to 79 years with mild-to-moderate hearing loss chose among three pre-programmed hearing aids on their own for both ears. These were high-end digital mini-behind-the-ear aids, one of several common hearing aid styles.
As Catherine Palmer, AuD, director of Audiology at the University of Pittsburgh, notes, a large majority90 percent of participantstried more than one hearing aid. But close to three-quarters picked the wrong aids based on their audiograms. In addition, although they saw a video and received handouts, 20 percent asked for extra help using the aids.
The volunteers paid for their aids upfront and could get their money back if they chose to return their aids. The results: 55 percent wanted to keep them.
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Online Hearing Aids Do Your Homework
- Watch out for aggressive marketing, unrealistic promises, short trial periods, and false claims. For example, the FTC issued a warning to one company that falsely advertised a $3,000 refund through a non-existent Covid-19 healthcare stimulus program, if customers purchased one of their hearing aids. The Brattleboro Hearing Center breaks down other common hearing aid scams.
- Dont trust testimonials on the sellers website. Instead, check the companys Better Business Bureau rating and any customer reviews or complaints posted to its BBB listing.
- Read independent reviews. If youre a member of Consumer Reports, review their hearing aid ratings.
- Generally, beware of fake online reviews. These can be hard to spot, but sometimes youll notice dead giveaways, like the exact same wording showing up in multiple reviews or comments posted in quick succession with only few newer comments.
- Is it a new or generic brand? See whether you can find a white-labeled version of the product on sites like Alibaba or AliExpress, online marketplaces stocked by Chinese manufacturers. If you do, notice the price difference thats the scammers margin.
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The Best Places To Buy Hearing Aids
If youre looking for the best place to buy a hearing aid, there are a number of ways you can go: online retailers, big-box stores, directly from the manufacturer, etc. Unfortunately, hearing aids vary greatly in cost and can be quite overpriced.
I have researched the prices and process of buying hearing aids at a variety of popular retailers to see where youll get the best deal and the best customer experience. In this article, Ill take a close look at six of the best places to buy a hearing aid in 2022.
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Why Should I Buy Hearing Aids
When deciding whether or not to spend your hard-earned money on hearing aids, consider too the financial impact of not spending that money on hearing aids. It is nearly impossible to put a price on the missed conversations with your spouse, family, friends and colleagues.
It is nearly impossible to put a price on the missed conversations with your spouse, family, friends, and colleagues.
Also missing if you have hearing loss are some of the beautiful and important sounds of life: The laughter of your grandchildren, cheerful bird songs, raindrops falling softly outside your window, your doorbell, the cars turn signal and the timer on your oven.
If you are still working, you are also losing money due to your hearing loss. A study by the Better Hearing Institute looked at more than 40,000 households and found that untreated hearing loss reduced income on average by $12,000 per year and on the high end, up to $30,000 a year. The good news is that wearing hearing aids can mitigate the effects of that by 50%. Thats a good return on your investment.
What You Need To Know Before Buying Hearing Aids
Hearing aids have come a long way. We heard that phrase a lotfrom hearing-loss-community advocates, audiologists, hearing-technology experts, and our test panelists. Thanks to a combination of technological advancement, increased demand, and legislation, entry-level-priced devices available now are as good as or better than most expensive hearing aids from five or six years ago. If youve tried hearing aids in the past and gotten less-than-successful results, dont automatically judge todays devices by the one collecting dust in your drawer.
Its important to check your hearing regularly because, unfortunately, many people who need hearing assistance dont realize it right away. The human brain is remarkably adept at adjusting to progressive hearing loss, said Angela Shoup, past president of the American Academy of Audiology. As hearing ability and sound input reduce over time, the brains pathways change. This means people are bad at judging their own hearing ability this is valuable to consider because your level of hearing loss will influence which type of hearing-augmentation device will work best for you.
Hearing aids have come a long way. If youve tried hearing aids in the past and gotten less-than-successful results, dont automatically judge todays devices by the one collecting dust in your drawer.
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Is There A Cheaper Alternative To Hearing Aids
PSAPs are cheaper than hearing aids but arent designed to be a cheaper alternative to hearing aids. PSAPs are not the same thing as medical-grade hearing aids. Whereas PSAPs amplify all sounds equally, hearing aids can be adjusted to amplify those sounds the user has trouble hearing while reducing background noise and other distracting sounds.
PSAPs cannot be modified to meet a certain hearing profile the way hearing aids can be. PSAPs are fine for recreational use by people with normal hearing, but they are not a good alternative to hearing aids for someone with hearing loss.
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How Do Off The Shelf Hearing Aids Work
Unlike NHS hearing aids or hearing aids purchased from private audiologists which are fitted and programmed to your specific requirements, off the shelf aids only do exactly what they say on the tin.
Most companies have websites upon which you can browse through their range of hearing aids before selecting the one that you think is right for you, adding it to your cart, checking out and then a few days later the hearing aids will arrive in the post and you are ready to go.
Off the shelf hearing aids are marketed as being pre-programmed to suit the most common types of mild to moderate hearing loss, especially that caused by the natural ageing process where people tend to experience more problems hearing higher frequencies than they do hearing lower-frequency sounds. Their technology is focused on simply amplifying some of these higher frequency sounds.
However, the bonus on selecting the hearing aid lies firmly with the customer, as you are not getting the services of a qualified audiologist to help identify your specific type and level of hearing loss and then find the hearing aid with the appropriate features to ensure that you get the best possible level of hearing return.