• Our team researched 50 prescription and over-the-counter hearing (OTC) aids and tested 27 to create our list of the eight best hearing aids.
  • We focused on testing hearing aid brands that met our defined parameters. All of our selections are broadly accessible, offer a range of products and prices, and treat different types of hearing loss with a variety of features.
  • We surveyed 1,000 people, interviewed 25 hearing aid users, and read more than 30 scientific journals and scrutinized each brand’s reviews on Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau.
  • The HelpGuide Handbook Team includes six hearing aid experts, of which three are audiologists.

For more information, read our hearing aids review methodology.

If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss but don’t use hearing aids, you’re not alone. Experts tell us the average person in the United States waits about 10 years to seek help after learning they have hearing loss. The high cost of hearing aids and the stigma of wearing them are among the top reasons people put off making the purchase.

Unfortunately, hearing loss has been linked to higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease (a type of dementia), social isolation, and depression. The good news is that hearing aids can help, and there are affordable and discrete versions on the market today that make the decision to wear them easier.

See which brands came out on top (and which didn’t) in our Handbook Team’s research and hands-on testing, and learn expert tips for choosing the best-rated hearing aids for your needs.

Our best overall hearing aid pick: Jabra

Jabra is our top pick for the best hearing aids because it offers the best sound technology and features of any other OTC hearing aid on the market. Plus, we’ve found their customer service extremely helpful and responsive anytime we had to contact them. 

1
Our top pick
9.9 Exceptional
Bluetooth streaming and 360-degree sound
Adjustments made by expert Audiology Team
Best over-the-counter hearing aid
100-day risk-free trial
9.9 Exceptional
Visit Site

On Jabra Enhance’s Website

87% of hearing aid users consider their hearing aids a worthwhile purchase

Find the right hearing aid for you

Think about your hearing needs, budget, lifestyle, and preferences before choosing a hearing aid. With those factors in mind, take a look at our top picks for the best hearing aids on the market.

What you need to know about our hearing aid research and testing

Here are the five most important things to know about hearing aids.

Best Hearing Aids
Best OTC brands: Jabra Enhance, Audien, Lexie, MDHearing, and Eargo. Best OTC brands: Jabra Enhance, Audien, Lexie, MDHearing, and Eargo.
Best prescription brands: Phonak, Starkey, and Oticon. Best prescription brands: Phonak, Starkey, and Oticon.
Nano and Lucid didn't pass our tests. Nano and Lucid didn’t pass our tests.
Top features include artificial intelligence (AI), Bluetooth streaming, and rechargeability. Top features include artificial intelligence (AI), Bluetooth streaming, and rechargeability.
Get a hearing test (online or in person) before buying a hearing aid. Get a hearing test (online or in person) before buying a hearing aid.

Our testing experience

of research
7500+   hours
of research
hand-tested
27   devices
hand-tested
interviewed
26   real people
interviewed
consulted
17   experts
consulted

After our Handbook Team hand-tested 27 hearing aids, mystery shopped 11 brands, and gathered insights from hearing professionals, eight stood out as the best hearing aids on the market.

Our testers tried multiple devices and answered a checklist of 25 questions about each. We used these answers to look for outstanding performers. The process looked like this:

Our Hearing Aid Testing Process
1
Purchase hearing aids as mystery shoppers. Purchase hearing aids as mystery shoppers.
2
Set up and adjust hearing aids. Set up and adjust hearing aids.
3
Wear hearing aids and adjust volume. Wear hearing aids and adjust volume.
4
Evaluate sound quality, comfort, and ease of use. Evaluate sound quality, comfort, and ease of use.
5
Charge them or remove and replace the batteries. Charge them or remove and replace the batteries.
6
Remove and reinstall the domes and wax guards. Remove and reinstall the domes and wax guards.
7
Clean hearing aid with provided tools and instructions. Clean hearing aid with provided tools and instructions.
8
Test all features, including Bluetooth streaming. Test all features, including Bluetooth streaming.
9
Download app and test features. Download app and test features.

We encountered a number of surprises during the testing process. Batteries that were hard to change, hearing aids that didn’t stay in our ears, distracting background noise, confusing user manuals, and customer service marked by long wait times were among the biggest drawbacks of certain brands. 

But we were impressed with the helpful audiology support, fine-tuning adjustments, Bluetooth streaming, and user-friendly apps offered by other hearing aid companies.

From our tester

“I was very pleased by how easy certain hearing aids and their accompanying apps were to set up and use but surprised by the poor quality of other devices. Only by hand-testing each model did I uncover the small details of each hearing aid that can make all the difference when you’re using this type of device every day.”

Our experts selected the top three OTC hearing aid brands for their stellar products and service. Keep in mind, OTC hearing aids are only appropriate for adults 18 and over with mild to moderate hearing loss, and they can be purchased and set up without help from a hearing professional.

Prescription hearing aid companies offer a greater variety of models for all degrees of hearing loss. We chose our favorite model from each of the three top brands based on our testing results. You’ll need to visit a hearing care clinic and have an in-person hearing exam before buying a prescription hearing aid. Read on to see which of our picks is the best choice for you.

Learn more about our hearing aids review methodology.

Compare the best hearing aids of 2024

OTC hearing aids

Brand Price per pair Hearing aid type Degree of hearing loss Battery type Visit Site
$799–$1,995 Receiver-in-canal, mini receiver-in-ear, in-the-ear Mild to moderate Disposable, rechargeable Visit Site
$99-$489 In-the-ear, Behind-the-ear Mild to moderate Rechargeable Visit Site
$799–$999 Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal Mild to moderate Disposable, rechargeable Visit Site
$297–$699.98 Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, in-the-canal Mild to moderate Rechargeable Visit Site
$799–$2,950 Completely-in-canal Mild to moderate Rechargeable Visit Site

Prescription hearing aids

Brand Price per pair* Hearing aid type Degree of hearing loss Battery type Visit Site
$2,475–$5,445 Receiver-in-canal Mild to severe Rechargeable Visit Site
$2,365–$5,945 Receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, completely-in-canal, invisible-in-canal Mild to severe Rechargeable Visit Site
$3,410–$5,445 Behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal Mild to profound Disposable, rechargeable Visit Site

*Prescription prices vary by retailer and may be different from those listed here.

The best hearing aids reviews

1. Jabra Enhance: Our top pick

9.9 Exceptional
Jabra Enhance
Price: $799–$1,995 per pair
Adjustments made by expert Audiology Team
100-day risk-free trial
Our verdict

Jabra Enhance makes the best all-around OTC hearing aids on the market due to their impressive sound quality, Bluetooth streaming in every device, and stellar customer service. Jabra Enhance hearing aids also stand out for their lengthy battery life and user-friendly design. Since Jabra gives users a premium experience from the initial self-fitting to the ongoing customer support, it’s a clear choice for our top pick.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: ITE (in-the-ear), mini RIE (receiver-in-ear), and RIC (receiver-in-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate.
  • Battery type: Disposable and rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: The best quality OTC hearing aids with a choice of styles, technology levels, and support options.
Compare models
  • Plus: Rechargeable, Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calling, 45-day trial period.
  • Select 50R: Rechargeable, Bluetooth streaming, 100-day trial period.
  • Select 100: Rechargeable, Bluetooth streaming, 100-day trial period.
  • Select 300: Rechargeable, Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calling, 100-day trial period.
More information

Jabra Enhance is a leader in the OTC hearing aid market for good reason. Among OTC hearing aids, we’ve found the company offers the best sound technology and features, along with customer service that’s prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable every time we contact them.

Jabra Enhance Select 100 hearing aid in white woman’s ear

Jabra Enhance makes one earbud-style hearing aid, called Jabra Enhance Plus, two receiver-in-canal devices, the Enhance Select 50R and 100, and one mini receiver-in-ear device, the Enhance Select 300. You can also find one prescription model, the Jabra Enhance Pro, at Costco hearing centers. Because the Pro doesn’t come with remote support and has different pricing and features, we chose to test only Jabra Enhance OTC hearing aids for this review.

The Enhance Plus is great for active people who want a device that looks like a pair of earbuds rather than hearing aids. Our testers noted how their hearing improved when using them, but background noise wasn’t as quiet as with the Enhance Select models.

Another perk was how easy the Enhance Plus was to use. Charging, adjusting, and cleaning were smaller chores than they were with many hearing aids. The design was user-friendly too, with a comfortable fit and prominent buttons for adjusting the volume and settings.

From our tester

“The buttons on this device are large and easy to push, compared to the tiny, stiff buttons on some hearing aids. I also like that the charger has strong magnetic charging ports to ensure a good connection.”

The Enhance Plus is a self-fitting hearing aid, which means after you take a quick hearing screen using the Jabra Enhance app, the hearing aids adjust to your hearing loss profile.

The three Enhance Select models are programmed for your hearing loss by an audiologist and come with two purchasing options:

  • Basic package: Pre-programmed and designed to set up and use without professional guidance.
  • Premium package: Customized to your hearing loss by an audiology professional and offered with ongoing remote audiology support.

All Jabra Enhance hearing aids come with the following features, which are also standard with most other OTC brands:

  • Background noise reduction: Cuts down on sounds in your environment that can make it harder to understand speech.
  • Feedback suppression: Reduces the whistling common with older hearing aids.
  • Directional microphones: Make conversations easier to understand by amplifying sounds in front of you.
  • Bluetooth streaming: For listening to music, movies, and phone calls from other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  • Preset listening programs: Offers specific sound processing depending on your environment. The Enhance Plus includes three programs and Enhance Select models have four.

Enhance Select hearing aids are designed with more advanced sound processing capabilities than the Plus, with the Enhance Select 300 offering technology that’s comparable to a basic prescription hearing aid. Among customers who purchased Jabra Enhance hearing aids in our survey of 600 hearing aid users under the age of 45, an impressive 97 percent said their hearing aids had somewhat or significantly improved their quality of life.

When evaluating Enhance Select hearing aids, our testers found their design, which sits behind the ear, even less noticeable than the earbud-style Enhance Plus.

From our tester

“The Select 300 is very comfortable. In fact, I thought I misplaced it but it turned out to still be in my ear.”

Our top pick

2. Audien: Most Affordable

Most affordable
9.2 Excellent
Audien
Price: $99–$489 per pair
Most affordable
Basic features
Our verdict

Audien is the best choice for people looking for affordable hearing aids with simple features. It has the lowest cost out of all of our picks but still delivers a high-quality product, an unlimited protection plan, and enhanced feedback cancellation. Our testers preferred the Audien Atom Pro 2 hearing aids, which offer a comfortable fit, and a portable charging case with built-in UV light sanitizing.

Features
  • Price: $99–489 per pair.
  • Type of hearing aid: ITE, BTE
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: Lowest starting price, updated volume control and charging capabilities, UV sanitation light with the Atom Pro 2.
Compare models
  • Atom: In-the-ear, volume control screw.
  • Atom Pro: In-the-ear, volume control screw, noise cancellation.
  • Atom 2: In-the-ear, volume button, four programs.
  • Atom Pro 2: In-the-ear, volume button, four programs, advanced noise cancellation.
  • BTE: Behind-the-ear, volume button, four programs, noise cancellation.
More information

If you’re looking for a low-cost hearing aid without nonessential features like Bluetooth streaming, the Audien Atom 2 or Atom Pro 2 may work for you. 

Of all the Audien hearing aids we tested, our testers liked the Atom Pro 2 best, saying it felt comfortable and secure in their ears and was easier to maintain and clean compared to the Atom 2, thanks to the newly added UV light sanitizing case. We also like that the new charging cases can be fully closed and are now powered by USB-C, making them much more on-the-go and user-friendly.

The Atom 2 costs $189 and the Atom Pro 2 costs $289, making both hearing aids some of the most affordable options on the market. However, there are a few things to know before you buy. The hearing aids don’t have a low-battery warning; you’ll have to remove the hearing aids and insert them into the charging case to see their remaining power level, which is measured by four lights on the case. Neither model is water resistant, nor do they support Bluetooth streaming or connect to an app for making adjustments. 

Audien does not provide post-purchase audiology support, but our call to customer service was answered promptly. There’s also a live chat function on the Audien website for device support, but when testing the feature we received an automated message with a wait-time of several hours before our question was answered.

Audien sells a behind-the-ear model for just under $500, but it doesn’t offer Bluetooth streaming. Because we have found similarly priced hearing aids with more features, we don’t recommend the Audien BTE. 

3. Phonak Audéo Lumity: Best for kids or active adults

Best for kids or active adults
8.7 Very good
Phonak Audéo Lumity
Price: $2,475–$5,445 per pair
Variety of accessories for different environments
Bluetooth streaming
Our verdict

The Phonak Audéo Lumity is the best choice for people who need help hearing in classrooms, auditoriums, and other large public spaces because Phonak offers a variety of accessories for challenging listening environments. Phonak Audéo Lumity uses the brand’s unique technology to automatically adjust to your environment, so you can hear no matter where you are. Additionally, their exceptional Bluetooth technology allows you to stream everything from TV shows to phone calls directly to your hearing device.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: RIC (receiver-in-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to profound.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: Top-notch hearing aids with accessories, technology, and advanced sound processing to make listening easy even in large, noisy spaces.
Compare models
  • Audéo L-R: Mild to profound hearing loss, health tracking, tap control.
  • Audéo L-RT: Mild to profound hearing loss, health tracking, telecoil.
  • Audéo L-RL: Mild to profound hearing loss, health tracking, waterproof.
More information

Phonak is a powerhouse among prescription hearing aids. This brand is known for some of the best sound technology on the market, with accessories designed to make hearing speech easier in group settings, as well as offering lifestyle features, like water resistance, rechargeable batteries, Bluetooth streaming, and activity tracking (like heart rate monitoring and step counting).

A white woman with brown hair wears a Phonak hearing aid

Students, other people who are often in classrooms, auditoriums, or conference rooms, and those who enjoy traveling and being active should check out the Audéo Lumity. It features AI-powered sound processing, rapid adjustments when you move between different listening environments, and a variety of accessories, like clip-on and tabletop mics, to pick up sound from across a large room and transmit it directly to your hearing aids.

The Phonak Audéo Lumity is appropriate for anyone 36 months or older, but Phonak also has a dedicated line of hearing aids for children called the Sky Marvel line. Sky Marvel hearing aids have more color options (21 versus 11 with the Audéo Lumity) and are designed specifically for children with a tamper-proof battery door and an app (myPhonak Junior) meant for children to use themselves. But although the Sky Marvel line is designed with children in mind, it’s not waterproof (only water-resistant) like the Audéo Lumity. If durability is your top concern for a child’s hearing aid, we recommend the Audéo Lumity for its waterproof rating.

“As far as pediatrics are concerned, Phonak has probably the most robust portfolio of hearing aids as well as assistive listening devices for kids of all ages. They have specific hearing aid models that are geared more towards the types of learning environments that kids of all ages will be in. They also make FM systems for classrooms and have a lineup of remote microphones.”

Brian Murray, hearing instrument specialist in Raleigh, North Carolina

During testing, we loved the comfortable fit of the Audéo Lumity. One of our team members said, “This hearing aid is very comfortable and ergonomic. It honestly felt like it clicked right into place.” The multifunction button on the outside of the hearing aid, which you use to cycle between programs, makes phone calls, controls Bluetooth, and is cleverly placed on the top of the hearing aid, so when the user presses the button, the device stays firmly in the ear.

From our tester

“Using the buttons on the exterior of the hearing aids was much easier than other brands. The multifunction button is higher on the outside of the hearing aid, so when you press the button to change settings it doesn’t destabilize the hearing aids in your ears like other brands do.”

We also enjoyed testing the health tracking features accessible through the Phonak app, which include heart rate monitoring, steps walked, and daily hearing aid use. On the flip side, the manual wasn’t user-friendly or easy to follow.

Keep in mind that the Phonak Audéo Lumity, like all prescription hearing aids, is meant to be programmed and set up by an audiologist in a hearing care clinic. If you run into issues, you can watch how-to videos in the app or contact your audiologist for help.

4. Eargo: Best for an invisible fit

Best for an invisible fit
9.6 Excellent
Eargo
Price: $799–$2,950 per pair
Free try-on sample
Unique tip and discreet design
Our verdict

Eargo is the winner for a small, discreet hearing aid among OTC brands. Despite their small size, Eargo hearing aids offer impressive features, including models with Bluetooth streaming, customizable hearing settings, and sound adjust options to offer better clarity in noisy environments. We also like that Eargo hearing aids can be used right out of the box with the option to adjust the settings yourself, or with one of the company’s virtual hearing professionals.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: CIC (completely-in-canal) and earbud style (LINK by Eargo).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: The smallest OTC hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and water resistance.
Compare models
  • Eargo 5: One year warranty
  • LINK by Eargo: One year warranty
  • Eargo SE: One year warranty
  • Eargo 6: One-year warranty, water resistance, automatic sound adjustments
  • Eargo 7: Two-year warranty, water resistance, automatic sound adjustments
More information

Eargo is known for being one of the smallest OTC hearing aids on the market. The company makes hearing devices for mild to moderate hearing loss that fit completely in your ear canal, making them almost invisible to other people.

With every hearing aid purchase, Eargo provides tips and domes of different sizes and styles so you can select the best one for your ears. We found these hearing aids to be quite comfortable once we got the right fit. Our survey respondents seem to feel the same: 87% said their Eargos were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” to wear.

From our tester

These are comfortable, and I think they give a less plugged feeling than many other CIC or ITE devices.

Eargo hearing aid in white woman’s ear

We didn’t love the sound quality of Eargos compared to prescription devices, but they were better than some other OTC brands. Our testers noticed that background noise was distracting at times, making it harder to understand conversations.

Another drawback of Eargo is that the devices are too small to accommodate Bluetooth streaming, so if you want that option you’ll need to look at other OTC brands like Jabra Enhance. All prescription brands offer Bluetooth streaming as well.

We did like several features of Eargo that many other OTC devices don’t offer. For instance, you can change programs to select a different listening setting by simply tapping on your ear. This is easier than pushing a button on the hearing aid. But strangely, you have to use the app to adjust the volume, which took some getting used to.

From our tester

“It’s confusing that you can’t change the volume on the hearing aid, but you can change the program.”

The Eargo 6 and 7 both offer Sound Adjust, a feature that enables them to change the amplification of speech and background noise to accommodate your movements. They’re also water-resistant, and the 7 has added sweat resistance as well. This makes both models a great choice for active people.

5. Lexie: Most user-friendly app

Most user-friendly app
9.6 Excellent
Lexie
Price: $799–$999 per pair
Friendly, knowledgeable customer support team
45-day trial-period
Our verdict

Lexie offers lifetime audiology support and the best OTC hearing aid app on the market. With three self-fitting hearing aids, Lexie’s products include a wide range of features, including Bluetooth connectivity, impressive sound quality, and competitive pricing.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: ITE (in-the-ear) and RIC (receiver-in-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate.
  • Battery type: Disposable and rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: The best quality OTC hearing aids with a choice of styles, technology levels, and support options.
Compare models
  • Lumen: Telecoil, disposable batteries.
  • B1 by Bose: Rechargeable.
  • B2 Plus by Bose: Hands-free calling, rechargeable, on-the-go charging case, in-app hearing test with recommended settings.
More information

Lexie is a fairly new member of the OTC hearing aids market, but the company has already made a name for itself. By partnering with audio giant Bose and backing its devices with clinical research, Lexie has developed a line of hearing devices that deliver excellent sound quality at a fraction of the cost of prescription hearing aids.

Lexie hearing aid in white woman’s ear

Coupled with a user-friendly app is outstanding audiology support that’s helpful and attentive without being pushy. The company carries three models, each with its own set of features.

The Lumen is the lowest-priced option and doesn’t incorporate Bose sound technology or a rechargeable battery, but it does include a telecoil. Hearing aids with a telecoil can pick up sound directly by a signal emitted from a hearing loop installed in some public facilities, such as auditoriums, places of worship, and museums. Sound quality when using a telecoil is similar to Bluetooth streaming because both bypass background noise. All Lexie hearing aids include Bluetooth connectivity (meaning they can use Bluetooth to connect to the Lexie app).

The B1 is the next step up and offers Bose sound technology for improved clarity, but no Bluetooth streaming (meaning it can’t stream audio to your hearing aids), telecoil, or rechargeability. The top-of-the-line Lexie model, the B2 Plus, is the only Lexie model with Bluetooth streaming (for phone calls on iPhone only) and a rechargeable battery. When our testers placed an iPhone call through the B2 Plus hearing aids, the audio quality was strong and clear. All three models are self-fitting, like Jabra Enhance Plus, so they automatically adjust to your hearing profile after you take an in-app hearing screen.

We found all three Lexie hearing aids had good sound quality, and we were impressed with the Lexie app, which walks you step-by-step through the setup process and hearing screen, demonstrating everything more clearly than most other hearing aid apps. This is really important with OTC hearing aids, which are meant to be fitted and adjusted by the user without professional help.

From our tester

“The app has a really handy walk-through feature with videos, images, and diagrams for how to fit your hearing aid correctly. It’s much better than other hearing aid apps.”

You can do all of the following from the Lexie app:

  • Watch videos on how to set up and adjust your hearing aids.
  • Change volume and listening settings.
  • Order hearing aid supplies.
  • Read articles and watch tutorials on hearing loss, hearing aid use, and ways to troubleshoot issues.
  • Contact audiology or general customer support.
  • Earn and redeem rewards for wearing your hearing aids consistently.
Lexie hearing aid app displaying how to put a hearing aid on

The Lexie hearing aid app shows you how to put your hearing aid on correctly.

We did find some drawbacks with Lexie. Changing the batteries in the Lumen and B1 was inconvenient since both the battery door and the batteries are tiny and could be hard to manage for people with dexterity issues. If you drop them, they’re nearly impossible to find.

We also didn’t like the user manual. A few of the instructions were confusing, and the manual was long and hard to follow. Most other OTC hearing aid manuals are shorter, easier to use, and have larger text and more pictures.

While you can make hands-free calls with the B2 Plus, Lexie doesn’t offer Bluetooth audio streaming. The sound quality also isn’t as great as what you’ll find in Jabra Enhance, but we still were impressed with the audio.

From our tester

“The B2 iPhone call streaming was intuitive to set up, and streaming audio was easy. The Made for iPhone call quality was super strong and clear.”

6. MDHearing: Lowest starting cost

Lowest starting cost
9.1 Excellent
MDHearing
Price: $297–$699.98 per pair
Lifetime audiologist support
45-day trial-period
Our verdict

MDHearing is one of the only OTC hearing aid companies to offer a free audiology consult before purchasing its products and unlimited post-purchase audiology support at an affordable price. With four different models, each offering their own range of features, MDHearing has an option for every user. Additionally, with the brand’s generous sales, you can often find a high-quality MDHearing device for a fraction of the retail price.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: BTE (behind-the-ear), RIC (receiver-in-canal), and ITC (in-the-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to moderate.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable.
  • Standout feature: Some of the most affordable audiology support you’ll find with an OTC hearing aid.
Compare models
  • Air 3: Telecoil, one-year warranty, four environmental settings.
  • NEO: Discreet model, one-year warranty, one environment setting.
  • NEO XS: Smallest model, one-year warranty, multiple environment programs.
  • Volt: Dual directional microphones, one-year warranty, four environment settings.
  • Volt Max: Connects to app, dual directional microphones, two-year warranty, automatic environment adjustments.
More information

MDHearing sells OTC hearing aids that are more basic in functionality than many other devices, but the company’s commitment to hearing care with generous audiology support helps it stand out from the crowd.

Beige behind-the-ear hearing aid worn by a brunette woman.

This brand is known for reliable and prompt remote audiology service provided by hearing professionals, something that not all OTC brands offer. One of our testers bought a pair of MDHearing Volt Max devices and received help through email, chat, and over the phone from the company’s audiology team. MDHearing audiologists also sent follow-up emails to see how he was doing for several weeks afterward. Additionally, the company offers help over video sessions as needed.

We found MDHearing devices comfortable to wear and easy to set up. Testers appreciated the small size and comfort of Neo XS, noting it did not fall out when shaking their heads. One tester commented that Neo XS is good for people who have limited experience with technology.

But we didn’t like how the buttons used to make adjustments on the Neo and Air 3 were small and hard to push. The devices were also noisy when taking them out of our ears.

The tester who used the Volt Max experienced continuous whistling, even after emailing photos to the MDHearing audiologist to ensure he had the right fit. We found the same problem with the Air 3 during our testing.

“The Air 3 often whistles as I’m inserting it into my ears and taking it out,” said one tester. “It can even be painful because it’s very loud.”

MDHearing doesn’t have Bluetooth streaming in any of its models and has more basic sound processing than you’ll get from any of the other brands on this list.

Despite these drawbacks, we liked the comfort, fit, and listening settings of MDHearing devices better than several other OTC brands we tested. The charger was also easy to use and well-made.

From our tester

“The ports in the charging case are very strong, and it’s easy to snap the hearing aids into place for charging. If the aid isn’t fully clicked in, the green light doesn’t turn on.”

A big benefit of this brand is the company’s unlimited audiology support, which is something that many hearing clinics don’t even offer. We also like how you can take a free online hearing test and schedule a free remote consultation with an audiologist, something that no other brand provides.

7. Starkey Genesis AI: Longest battery life

Longest battery life
8.6 Very good
Starkey Genesis AI
Price: $2,365–$5,945 per pair
Industry-leading rechargeable battery life
Advanced hearing aid technology
Our verdict

The Starkey Genesis AI has one of the longest-lasting rechargeable batteries in the industry, with 51 hours of use from a single charge. Additionally, Starkey’s advanced AI technology scans your environment and auto-adjusts your sound to ensure superior clarity.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: RIC (receiver-in-canal), ITE (in-the-ear), ITC ( in-the-canal), CIC (completely-in-canal), IIC (in-the-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to severe.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable and disposable.
  • Standout feature: Industry-leading battery life (51 hours), AI-powered processors, and health features, like fall detection, heart rate monitoring, step tracking, and language translation.
Compare models
  • Genesis AI R: Mild to severe hearing loss, rechargeable, Bluetooth.
  • Genesis AI RT: Mild to severe hearing loss, rechargeable, telecoil, Bluetooth.
  • Genesis AI NW: Mild to severe hearing loss, rechargeable, no Bluetooth.
More information

Starkey has been making hearing aids for more than 55 years and now offers a wide variety of hearing instruments with the most advanced technology in the industry. This year Starkey released a new model called the Genesis AI. Everything about it has been redesigned, from the device itself to the software to the app. And at 51 hours per charge, this model has one of the longest rechargeable battery lives in the industry. For context, rechargeable prescription hearing aids usually average about 30 hours per charge.

A white woman with brown hair wears a Starkey hearing aid

The Genesis AI operates on an updated platform called the Starkey Neuro Processor, which scans the environment 22,000 times per second and adjusts the sound accordingly.

We found the manual easier to use and understand than those from Phonak or Oticon, a point that’s especially important for people who are new to hearing aids. “It’s surprisingly easy to use for a prescription hearing aid manual,” said one tester. Because your audiologist sets up prescription devices, their manuals seem to be written for hearing professionals rather than customers. But some customers will want to read through their manuals at home after having their hearing aids fitted in the clinic, and we appreciated the clear language and directions in the Starkey manual.

The Starkey Genesis AI also has a newly designed app we liked using better than the old version. However, it could be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t use a smartphone often, or who doesn’t need all the health features offered with this device.

From our tester

“The app is very easy to navigate, but it also includes a lot of information. I like the activity tracking and the ability to add goals and fall alerts. Hear Share, a caregiver network that can send alerts to loved ones, is also a great feature.”

All prescription hearing aids come in several technology levels, which is why you see a price range for each model. Stefanie Godbey, an audiologist in Cincinnati, Ohio, says the cost will vary based on the technology level each patient needs and wants. Some people will choose lower-end devices that cost less, while others will be happier and hear better with more advanced hearing aids.

“Higher-end instruments can reduce more background noise than the mid- or low-level instruments. When you compare even basic prescriptive technology to what we had 15 or 20 years ago, it’s light years ahead. But there is a huge difference between lower-end and higher-end instrumentation.”

Stefanie Godbey, AuD

8. Oticon Real: Best sound quality

Best sound quality
9.2 Excellent
Oticon Real
Price: $3,410–$5,445 per pair
Best sound quality
Reduced noise interference
Our verdict

The Oticon Real was the best-performing hearing aid we tested in terms of sound quality and background noise reduction. With a comfortable fit, exceptional audio processing, and sound stabilizing technology that reduces wind and handling noise, Oticon Real is one of our top performers for prescription hearing aids.

Features
  • Type of hearing aid: BTE (behind-the-ear), RIC (receiver-in-canal).
  • Degree of hearing loss: Mild to profound.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable and disposable.
  • Standout feature: The Oticon Real has the best sound quality of any hearing aid we tried along with a comfortable, low-profile fit.
Compare models
  • Oticon Real miniRITE T: Mild to profound hearing loss, disposable batteries.
  • Oticon Real miniRITE R: Mild to profound hearing loss, rechargeable.
  • Oticon Real miniBTE T: Mild to moderate hearing loss, disposable batteries.
  • Oticon Real miniBTE R: Mild to moderate hearing loss, rechargeable.
More information

Our favorite Oticon hearing aid model is also the brand’s newest. In the world of hearing aids, “newest” equals the most updated platform, fastest sound processing, and most innovative design and features.

A white woman with brown hair wears an Oticon hearing aid

Oticon Real delivers on all these points. Like the Phonak Audéo Lumity and Starkey Genesis AI, Oticon Real incorporates AI technology for extremely accurate sound processing, which has been shown to reduce brain fatigue by making listening to and understanding sounds as easy as possible. They were comfortable and offered the best listening experience we had with any hearing aid in our testing lineup.

One common annoyance among hearing aid users is static when handling the hearing aids, touching their eyeglasses, or brushing their hair. The Real has detectors that sense these movements and reduce noise interference, so conversations aren’t disrupted. We loved this feature, along with the seamless listening experience while moving from quiet to loud rooms.

From our tester

“The sound quality is not harsh at all, and this is just right out of the box without any programming. There is still some light background noise, but the sound is very smooth. The quality is immediately and obviously better than OTC models.”

The Oticon Real app also includes a remote microphone function, which picks up sound from your phone and transmits it to your hearing aids, even when you’re in a different room. We think this feature could be great for students or people who need to hear someone speaking in a conference room or auditorium.

From our tester

“The remote microphone is very precise. I could hear clearly what people were saying from across the office when they were speaking near my phone.”

Should you buy Oticon Real?

While pricier than many other hearing aids, Oticon Real also boasts some of the most advanced technology you’ll find in any hearing aid. They were comfortable and offered the best listening experience we had with any hearing aid in our testing lineup.

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a small, battery-powered device worn in or behind the ear that improves hearing ability by amplifying certain sounds. Unlike personal sound amplifiers (PSAPs), hearing aids don’t make all sounds louder, only the frequencies that each person needs help hearing.

Different types of hearing aids

Handbook Team Tip #1

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are one of the most popular styles on the market since they’re large enough for advanced technology, like Bluetooth connectivity and streaming. Completely-in-canal devices, for example, rarely have Bluetooth because they’re so small.

Hearing aids come in a variety of styles, and the one that’s best for you depends on your type of hearing loss, which features you want, and your lifestyle. Take a look at the key points of each style to help you make the right decision when shopping for hearing aids.

Hearing aid styles graphic

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

Good for: Active people, children, people with profound hearing loss

  • All working parts fit in a curved case that sits behind the ear, with the amplified sound transmitting to the canal by a thin tube.
  • Treats mild to profound hearing loss.
  • More durable than hearing aids that sit in the ear.
  • Able to incorporate advanced technology and wellness features.

Receiver-in-canal (RIC)

Good for: Treating profound hearing loss and people who want a discreet hearing aid with advanced features

  • The microphone and amplifier sit behind the ear, and the amplified sound travels through a thin wire to the ear canal, where the receiver transmits it to the inner ear.
  • Treats mild to profound hearing loss.
  • Often less noticeable than other types of hearing aids.
  • Able to incorporate similar technology and features as BTE devices.

In-the-ear (ITE)

Good for: People who prefer a hearing device that looks like an earbud

  • All working parts fit in the bowl of the ear and ear canal.
  • Most aren’t appropriate for profound hearing loss.
  • More susceptible to damage from earwax and moisture.
  • Offers a range of technology levels and features.

Completely-in-canal (CIC)

Good for: People who want an invisible hearing aid or concealed look

  • As the smallest hearing aid available, it sits in the ear canal and is removed by a tiny cord.
  • Due to the small size, some CIC devices can only treat milder levels of hearing loss and can’t accommodate advanced features or rechargeable batteries.
  • Need daily cleaning and routine maintenance.

Hearing aid features

Handbook Team Tip #2

When evaluating hearing aids, ask whether the hearing aid is capable of increasing power so you can still use it if your hearing gets worse.

Technology and features vary widely among hearing aids, and it’s important to evaluate the most important ones to you as you shop for a device. Take a look at some of the most common hearing aid features:

  • Digital noise reduction: To reduce background noise.
  • Feedback suppression: Cuts down on whistling and squealing from handling or wind noise.
  • Battery type: Rechargeable or disposable.
  • Telecoil: Among our top hearing aid brands in this review, the Lexie Lumen, Phonak Audéo Lumity, Starkey Genesis AI, and Oticon Real offer telecoil options.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth Low Energy provides direct streaming (meaning you can stream audio directly to your hearing aids) without draining the battery and is now offered in a number of OTC and prescription devices for streaming music, TV shows, and phone calls. 
  • App compatibility: While all prescription hearing aids have an app for adjusting your hearing aid settings, using Bluetooth, getting remote help from your audiologist, and more, not all OTC devices come with an app. Those that don’t can only be adjusted using buttons on the hearing aids. Hearing aids without an app are quite simple to use, though, and that can be nice for people who don’t have a smartphone or who prefer to adjust their hearing aids without needing their phone nearby.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is a type of machine learning that uses algorithms to “learn” patterns over time. In the case of hearing aids, this means optimally processing the sounds in your environment for a more natural listening experience, better comprehension of speech, and less fatigue. 
  • Wellness features: Some hearing aids offer additional technology, like heart rate monitoring, step tracking, and fall detection. The Starkey Genesis AI and Phonak Audéo Lumity are top-of-the-line devices that come with wellness features.

Handbook Team Tip #3

Hearing aids can’t restore your normal hearing—don’t trust any company that says otherwise.

Benefits of hearing aids

Handbook Team Tip #4

Wear your hearing aids consistently all day, every day. Doing so helps rewire the pathways in the brain that became dormant from untreated hearing loss.

Hearing aids can improve your ability to hear and understand conversations, but they also offer a surprising number of benefits for overall wellness and quality of life. 

“It’s important for people to pay attention to their hearing,” says Kate Carr, president of the Washington, DC-based Hearing Industries Association. “It’s one of our five senses, and while we don’t think twice about wearing glasses, people think for a long time before they address their hearing loss. And when they do, their quality of life improves.”

Ruth Reisman, an audiologist and lecturer for the City University of New York in New York City, shared a story of a 41-year-old chiropractor who had difficulty hearing his patients. “He finally accepted that he needed help for his hearing. After being fitted with Starkey Genesis hearing aids, he told me he hasn’t said ‘what?’ once. The hearing aids are improving his quality of life and his family’s, as well as the care he can offer to his patients.”

Check out this list for the top five ways hearing aids can help you or someone you care about:

Benefits of Hearing Aids
Improved communication and understanding of speech. Improved communication and understanding of speech.
Greater ability to stay socially connected with friends and loved ones. Greater ability to stay socially connected with friends and loved ones.
Higher education and earning potential. Higher education and earning potential.
Lower risk of depression, anxiety, dementia, cognitive decline, and falls. Lower risk of depression, anxiety, dementia, cognitive decline, and falls.
Lower health care costs. Lower health care costs.

Natali Edmonds, is a geropsychologist and the founder of Careblazers, an organization that provides support for people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s (a form of dementia). She explains the close relationship between hearing loss and Alzheimer’s.

“There are multiple Alzheimer’s look-alikes. One of them can be hearing loss. So for some older adults, they can look like they have Alzheimer’s, but it could be hearing loss.”

Untreated hearing loss may not only mimic Alzheimer’s, it also raises the risk of other types of cognitive decline. But wearing hearing aids consistently can improve brain function by reactivating the pathways used to process sound.

How to choose the best hearing aid for you

To find the right hearing aid, you will first need to determine the type of hearing loss you have. After taking an online hearing test, you’ll have a good idea of the grade of your hearing loss. For mild to moderate hearing loss, you can opt for an over-the-counter hearing aid. If your hearing loss is more severe, you should visit a hearing specialist to have a definitive hearing test done, and to discuss customized prescription options. 

When shopping for an OTC hearing aid, your budget is going to be the first factor that determines your options. Once you’ve established how much you can spend, you can decide on the style. The most common styles are completely-in-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC), behind-the-ear (BTE), and in-the-ear (ITE). Next, compare features, which includes the type of battery (disposable or rechargeable), whether it offers Bluetooth streaming or water resistance, and the number of channels and sound environments it offers. Finally, make sure to do your homework regarding the warranty and how much post-purchase customer care will be available to you, as your options are more limited with OTC devices.

When shopping for prescription hearing aids, you’ll find they’re more expensive than OTC models, but over-the-counter hearing aids are not technologically capable of treating more than moderate hearing loss. On the upside, prescription hearing aids offer improved features like water resistance, better Bluetooth streaming capabilities, and more technologically advanced sound enhancements. Plus, you’ll receive more hands-on tech and device support for the life of your hearing aid. Work with your audiologist to find the right fit for your budget, but also prioritize how the hearing aid will look and feel in your ear, and the tech features that are most important to you.

Once you determine your hearing loss grade, your budget, the ideal style, the most important features, and the level of support you need, you will be on your way to finding the best hearing aid for you.

Over-the-counter hearing aids vs. prescription hearing aids

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a relatively new category, approved by the FDA in August 2022. These hearing aids are designed to support adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. They can be purchased online or in stores without requiring users to see a physician for an exam, prescription, or professional fitting and adjustment, increasing accessibility and affordability.

Unlike OTC hearing aids, prescription hearing aids can treat all levels and types of hearing loss. While prescription hearing aids require an evaluation and fitting by a hearing professional, they also offer improved sound technology and a range of design and style options.

Pros and cons of OTC hearing aids

Pros
More affordable options
Users can purchase directly in stores and online
Self-fitting with various tips to help users find the most comfortable option
Set up at home, using an app
Cons
Less advanced sound technology
Not available for those with more severe hearing loss
Fewer options for design and fit
No in-person fitting or adjustment support

Pros and cons of prescription hearing aids

Pros
Better technology to support more nuanced hearing loss concerns
More customization available for both hearing support and fit
Regular follow-ups for maintenance and fine-tuning support
Ensure you receive a proper diagnosis for hearing loss
Cons
More expensive than OTC hearing aids
Require visiting a hearing professional both for a hearing evaluation and the hearing aid fittings and adjustments
Can only be purchased through a hearing clinic

Where to buy hearing aids

Handbook Team Tip #5

When purchasing hearing aids through a third-party retailer, be sure to compare the warranty terms with the manufacturer. You may get better terms if you purchase directly.

In years past, a visit to an audiologist or other hearing specialist was required before buying hearing aids, and you could only get them from those professionals. That has changed in the past few years, with the FDA passing a final rule on OTC hearing aids, which went into effect last October, creating regulations and opening the market to both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. 

Where to buy OTC hearing aids:

Online from the hearing aid manufacturer

Third-party retailers (online and in stores), including:

  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • FSA Store
  • QVC
  • Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Some hearing care clinics

Where to buy prescription hearing aids:

  • Costco
  • Hearing care clinics
  • Sam’s Club

Hearing aids costs

Handbook Team Tip #6

If using third-party financing, check interest rates first—some charge up to 35% interest, depending on your credit score.

Hearing aids financing

Every hearing aid brand listed in this review, as well as all hearing care clinics, offers at least one financing option. Some companies handle their own financing, while others use a third party, such as Bread or Allegro.

Hearing aids financial resources

Hearing aids are an expensive purchase, costing upwards of $1,000 in many cases. The good news is that a variety of organizations offer assistance for those who need help paying for them, including:

Hearing aids we don’t recommend

Nano

Nano hearing aids are less expensive than some OTC hearing aids, but with the company’s record of unethical business practices, we don’t recommend this brand. 

Nano was sued by the Vermont attorney general in January 2023 “for misleading consumers about the effectiveness and quality of its products.” The allegations included Nano advertising its OTC hearing aids for children, falsely stating that customers’ online hearing test results were reviewed by audiologists, and promoting its devices as FDA-approved when they’re not.

Lucid

Lucid is a company that offers an impressive six OTC hearing aid models and several prescription models sold through Sam’s Club hearing centers. Unfortunately, our testers found these devices to be less than ideal. 

For example, when testing the Enlite we found the manual confusing and the features limited. “The guidance is, “according to one tester, “more about ‘Here’s what happens if you do it wrong’ rather than ‘Here’s how to do it right.’ There is also no app and no way to adjust volume besides switching between the ‘Low’ and ‘High’ setting.”

The sound quality was also poor compared to other OTC brands we tried, and the charger doesn’t have magnetic ports like most, so you have to check the lights to be sure your hearing aids are charging. Overall, Lucid just didn’t measure up to other devices.

The future of hearing aids and technology

Technological advancements in hearing aids are happening every day. Device manufacturers continue to innovate to offer the best possible hearing solutions via upgraded sound technology, like improved background noise and better directional microphones.  

For example, brands like Starkey, Widex, and Oticon are already implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve auto-adjustment, natural sound, and user inputs. And it won’t be surprising if we see these types of brands collaborating with well-known tech names like Samsung and Apple in the future. 

Additionally, further trials are underway to use computer-aided features to improve hearing aid design. For example, the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders is researching new signal processing strategies that help people understand speech better.

Plus, Bluetooth capabilities are a forward-thinking component for hearing aid manufacturers who want to implement more multi-device streaming options within one device, as illustrated by brands like Audicus. This essentially allows users to switch between answering calls and watching TV shows or movies in a seamless way.

Our final verdict

If you think you may have hearing loss, get your hearing tested as soon as possible. People with mild or moderate hearing loss could be great candidates for OTC hearing aids. Jabra Enhance, Lexie, and MDHearing are among our top picks in this category for their comfort, ease of use, ability to improve hearing at an affordable price, and outstanding remote audiology support.

If you have severe or profound hearing loss, or even less significant hearing loss but want a device with higher-end technology or in-person help from an audiologist, look into prescription devices, like the Phonak Audéo Lumity, Starkey Genesis AI, or Oticon Real. 

The most important thing to remember is that hearing health is directly tied to brain health and overall quality of life. Addressing hearing loss can be a big step, but the rewards will be lasting and worth every penny.

Frequently asked questions

From our testing and research, we’ve ranked Jabra Enhance as the best OTC hearing aid brand. We like the high-end sound quality, the Bluetooth streaming capabilities available in every aid, and the top-notch customer service. Phonak’s Audéo Lumity model is our choice for the top prescription hearing aid. We like this device for those who need hearing help in large public spaces, thanks to its advancements for challenging listening environments and the amount of accessories available.

As with many tech devices, you get what you pay for, and hearing aids are no different. Those with a higher price tag will incorporate more features and often better sound processing abilities to give you a more natural listening experience.

You can buy a decent set of OTC hearing aids for $500, a mid-grade set for $1,600, and an advanced pair for almost $3,000. The prices for OTC hearing aids depend on the sound quality features and sound environments addressed, as well as whether they have Bluetooth capabilities. OTC hearing aids are best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Prescription hearing aids, on the other hand, are more expensive. These aids start in the $2,300 range, increasing to around $5,450 per pair. Prescription hearing aids offer significant technological advancements for the treatment of severe hearing loss and are fully customized and programmed to your hearing needs.

Buying OTC hearing aids online is sometimes less expensive than buying prescription hearing aids from a hearing clinic. But high-end OTC devices often cost the same or even a few hundred dollars more than entry-level prescription hearing aids.

Also, the price of prescription devices usually includes one to three years of in-person audiology support, while OTC hearing aids are meant to be set up and used by the consumer without professional support. Some companies provide remote audiology services for customers at no extra charge, but others only offer general customer service help.

Expect to get about five years out of a pair of hearing aids before needing to replace them. By that point, the technology will also have advanced such that you’ll have a better listening experience with a new pair.

At a hearing aid fitting, the audiologist will do the following:

  • Show you how to correctly fit the hearing aids in your ear.
  • Program your hearing aids to match your audiogram (hearing test results).
  • Check your hearing with the newly programmed hearing aids.
  • Explain and demonstrate how to make volume and listening setting adjustments, how to connect to the hearing aid app on your phone, how to use the Bluetooth function, how to charge your rechargeable hearing aids or change disposable batteries, and how to clean and maintain them.

Your audiologist may also propose an aural rehabilitation program to support your continued success with hearing aids.

The main difference between over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription hearing aids is that OTC devices can be purchased easily through retailers, while prescription aids require an examination and prescription from a hearing health professional. Additionally, OTC hearing aids, which treat mild to moderate hearing loss, are typically lower in cost than prescription hearing aids, which are more technologically advanced for the treatment of severe hearing loss. Plus, prescription hearing aids come with better customer support since they are tailor-made to treat each person’s specific type of hearing loss.

When it comes to caring for your hearing aids, make sure to first review the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Your new hearing aids may come with their own set of cleaning tools for self-maintenance, but not all do, so you may have to buy the supplies yourself. Either way, make sure to learn about the right tools to use based on your hearing aid’s design—for example, which tools and solutions are best for cleaning ear wax and debris without damaging the plastic or metal components. Alcohol, when used as a cleaning agent, can corrode or damage your hearing aids or charging case. If you opt for an “invisible” hearing aid, on the other hand, it will likely be placed in your ear by a professional and will not require cleaning or care by you; instead, the device is replaced every few months.

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  2. The hidden risks of hearing loss. (2022, November 1). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Link
  3. Medical devices; ear, nose, and throat devices; establishing over-the-counter hearing aids. (2022, August 17). Federal Register. Link
  4. Public Health and Scientific Information | NCEH | CDC. (2018, December 11) Link
  5. Are you hearing everything you could? (2019, September). Hearing Loss Association of America. Link
  6. Attorney general sues over-the-counter hearing aid company Nano for misleading consumers. (2023, January 3). Office of the Vermont Attorney General. Link
  7. Lin, F. R., Pike, J. R., Albert, M., Arnold, M., Burgard, S., Chisolm, T. H., Couper, D. J., Deal, J. A., Goman, A. M., Glynn, N. W., Gmelin, T., Gravens-Mueller, L., Hayden, K. M., Huang, A., Knopman, D. S., Mitchell, C., Mosley, T. H., Pankow, J. S., Reed, N., . . . Coresh, J. (2023). Hearing intervention versus health education control to reduce cognitive decline in older adults with hearing loss in the USA (ACHIEVE): a multicentre, randomized controlled trial. The Lancet, 402(10404), 786–797. Link
  8. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.). The Audiogram. Link
  9. What is aural rehabilitation (also called aural rehab or A.R.)? (2021, August 16). Hearing Loss Association of America. Link