If you have had your hearing tested and determined that you are a candidate for hearing aids, the next step may be to do some research on different hearing aid types and find the most reputable hearing aid companies. There are a lot of great devices on the market at a wide variety of price points, with different selling points based on your individual lifestyle and hearing needs.

The Best Hearing Aid Companies

As an audiologist, I would recommend seeking guidance and professionally fit hearing aids through an audiologist. There are six major hearing aid companies in this category: Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Signia/Siemens, Starkey, and Widex. Depending on the size of the clinic, all of these may be offered, while other audiologists tend to focus on just one or two manufacturers. This generally means that they have a lot of experience with this particular brand and software and feel confident fitting a variety of patients with the selection of devices from that brand.

Oticon (Denmark) 

Oticon has focused a lot of research on how the brain processes sound and has tried to develop technology that makes listening less effortful. They call this BrainHearing, and with all the research linking hearing loss, cognition, and dementia, it is a particularly relevant path. Their newest hearing aids, Oticon Real, were released in 2023. Oticon is also one of the main manufacturers of pediatric hearing aids and has an Oticon Medical branch that produces a bone-anchored hearing aid as well as a cochlear implant which currently has FDA pre-market approval in the US.

Phonak (Switzerland)

Phonak is part of the Sonova group, a hearing healthcare company that includes several brands, including Advanced Bionics (cochlear implants), Connect Hearing (retail partner), and Unitron (hearing aids). Phonak was the first company to release a “Made-for-All” hearing aid that was directly compatible with any Bluetooth device. They also manufacture Lyric, which is a subscription model for hearing aids that are placed deep in the ear canal and replaced every couple of months. These hearing aids are designed for mild to moderate hearing loss. Phonak has a range of other hearing aid styles to fit all types and degrees of hearing loss and is particularly strong in the pediatric space. Their newest model is the Lumity, introduced in 2022.

Resound (Denmark)

hearing aid companies

GN Resound was the first company to introduce open-fit hearing aids in 2003, which have become an industry standard for increasing degrees of hearing loss since that time. They were also the first to market with a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid with their Linx devices. They have continued to build upon this platform, and their newest model is the Resound Omnia, introduced in 2022. They now have the capability to stream to some non-Apple devices via their proprietary app. 

Signia/Siemens (Singapore)

hearing aid companies

Signia is the new brand name for hearing aids previously sold under the Siemens name. They were the first to introduce directional microphones, ear-to-ear connectivity, waterproof hearing aids, and rechargeable hearing aids. They are under the WS Audiology umbrella, which also includes the hearing aid brand Widex and the retail chain Miracle Ear. The newest model from Signia is the Styletto AX, released in 2022. They are Made-for-iPhone but also have the ability to stream from some Android devices.

Starkey (USA)

hearing aid companies

Starkey was first to market in several hearing aid innovations, including trial periods (now an industry standard), invisible-in-canal hearing aids, and sensor-based fall detection in their hearing aids. They also have an all-make repair lab, which will service hearing aids of any brand and technology level, as well as a charitable foundation (Hear Now) that provides hearing aids to those who are unable to afford them. Their latest model is the Genesis AI, released in 2023, and includes a very long rechargeable battery life as well as Bluetooth streaming capabilities and health tracking data.

Widex (Denmark)

hearing aid companies

Like Signia, Widex is also part of the WS Audiology family. The newest hearing aid from Widex is the Moment Sheer, released in 2022 and built upon the Moment platform introduced in 2020. Widex is a popular hearing aid brand for patients who also struggle with tinnitus, as they have put a lot of research and innovation into tinnitus masking technology. Their hearing aids have the ability to play a wide variety of low-level sounds (anything from static to non-predictable melodic music) while simultaneously providing amplification suited to the individual hearing loss.

American Made Hearing Aids

Some patients feel particularly strongly about seeking American-made devices. While all of the major hearing aid companies have US headquarters, the only manufacturer that originated in America and retains all production in the US is Starkey. Founded in 1967 and based in Eden Prairie, MN. All companies also employ audiologists who provide support on a local level and train clinical audiologists on new products and software.

What Matters When Using Hearing Aids

Ultimately, you are likely to find success with any of the hearing aid brands listed above if you follow a few simple rules.

  1. Wear your hearing aids during all waking hours. Your brain needs to adjust to the sound quality and the re-introduction of sounds you have been missing. This means a full recalibration of soft and loud, so don’t make the mistake of neglecting to wear them if you are quiet or alone. If you don’t learn to listen in quiet, you won’t learn to listen in noisy or more difficult listening environments. Eyes open, ears on!
  2. Provide detailed feedback for your audiologist. There are often several appointments early on to make tweaks and changes, and this will be more successful if you are able to work as a team. This is also one of the reasons to pursue prescription hearing aids through an audiologist; they have the training and expertise to customize the hearing aids to your hearing loss but also to your lifestyle. The level of service you will get from an audiologist makes up for much of the price differential between prescription hearing aids and something over the counter.
  3. Advocate for yourself with family, friends, and other communication partners. There is often an assumption that hearing aids are going to be a quick fix, like glasses. But putting hearing aids on does not automatically give you bionic ears. You will likely still have difficulty in noisy restaurants, over distance, or when the person you are trying to listen to is not looking at you. Visual cues can be critical for understanding, particularly for those with greater degrees of hearing loss. It’s important to communicate all of this to your loved ones so that they can practice getting your attention before speaking to you, maintaining eye contact, and trying to choose environments that are better suited for conversation when possible.

Providers of Prescription Hearing Devices

Since 2007, the standard endorsed degree for an audiologist in the US is the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree. The first Au.D. was awarded in 1996; prior to the 1990s, the standard degree for audiologists was a Master’s level. Some Master’s degree audiologists have since obtained their Au.D., though it is not required to continue to practice. Au.D. programs are three- or four-year programs beyond an undergraduate degree, typically in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Audiologists are trained in all areas of hearing and balance from a diagnostic and rehabilitative perspective through didactic coursework and clinical rotations in a variety of settings with different patient populations.

The other type of professional you may encounter in your pursuit of prescription hearing aids is a hearing aid dispenser. These are individuals who have undergone specific training to provide prescription hearing aids. Still, they do not have the extensive schooling which provides a foundation in hearing and neuroscience, medical audiology, and full diagnostic test batteries. There are wonderful hearing aid dispensers that provide excellent patient care. Many of them are employed in retail chains or big-box stores at which the goal is to sell hearing aids. It is never a bad idea to get a second opinion before making an investment in hearing aids or if you suspect any underlying causes of your hearing loss that might warrant a medical referral.

Non-Prescription Hearing Devices

There are two categories of non-prescription hearing devices: over-the-counter hearing aids (OTCs) and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs). Most OTCs rely on a self-administered hearing test and the patient to work through their programming individually. PSAPs (such as EarCentric EasyCharge PSAP) do not incorporate any individual hearing test data but simply make everything globally louder. While both of these options are considerably less expensive than prescription hearing aids, the missing factor is the service and expertise of an audiologist.

Many patients decide to start with one of these options as it feels like less of a financial risk. If you have tried an OTC or PSAP device in the past and have not found success, do not let that discourage you from pursuing prescription hearing aids. There is a significant difference between these devices. Hearing and communication are incredibly individual and complex, and in order to make the best use of your time and money it is wise to work with a professional. 

We hope the information above has helped you decide which hearing aid companies are the best choice for you!

erin edwards aud
Clinical Audiologist at Towson University | + posts

Erin Edwards received her Doctor of Audiology degree from Towson University in 2015 and her Ph.D. in Education and Leadership from Pacific University in 2022. She has worked with patients of all ages in a variety of settings and has a specific interest in cochlear implants, the relationship of hearing loss and dementia, and interdisciplinary healthcare.

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