Time to Read: 8 minutesWhen it comes to hearing aids, you're not short of choice. So, what is the best hearing aid currently on offer in 2021? Emma discusses what's on offer in hearing aid technology in 2021 and the importance of finding the best hearing aid for you. Watch the video or read the transcript below.
Hi there. Welcome back to Value Hearing’s YouTube channel.
I'm Emma, I'm a clinical audiologist.
Today I'm going to tell you what I think is the best hearing aid of 2021.
So, I'm afraid that answer is not going to be simple, and certainly not one that I can answer in a YouTube video because the answer is it depends on you.
Every client who walks into our rooms at Value Hearing, and ask what's the best hearing aid of 2021, will get a different answer.
It could be the Oticon More with its new Deep Neural Network. It could be the Phonak Paradise with its phenomenal connections to all types of mobile phones and fantastic ability to improve speech in background noise.
It might be Widex with their pure sound technology that sounds extremely natural, and is also known for their ability to really help you understand speech in background noise. And also perhaps you're a musician. Then there's no other hearing aid for you really than Widex.
Or maybe it's Starkey with their Livio AI technology where you can double tap on your ear. If you've got the Edge version and you can actually access artificial intelligence that works with information in the cloud.
Or it could be the Starkey Livio ITC hearing aid because the audiologist has decided that you are better going in the ear rather than over the ear.
Perhaps your priority is having something that isn't over the ear at all.
Therefore, we might look at GN ReSound and get one of their fancy invisible in the ear canal hearing aids that actually have Bluetooth, if your ear is big enough.
So as you can see, there's quite a variety and I haven't even talked about them all.
There's the new Unitron Blue that came out last week which is so similar to the Phonak Paradise, but has more features for less cost at the lower end, and has double tap in every level. So maybe, if that's important to you to have hands-free answering and calling and pausing of streaming, we choose Unitron.
It's a difficult job for us because we have to keep on top of all this technology.
Oh, sorry! I forgot about Signia. They have released some really cool hearing aids recently. They've got their Signia Silk which is a little in-the-ear hearing aid, usually invisible in most ears; doesn't have to have an impression taken and has an app on the phone that allows you to adjust and we can actually do remote fine tuning with it.
They've even got a little tiny hearing aid called the Styletto that does sit behind the ear but it's so long and thin it's barely noticeable and it also looks pretty cool.
They've also just recently released a hearing aid called Active Pro which is actually a hearing aid, but doesn't look like a hearing aid at all. It looks more like some pretty cool little earphones.
So, like I was saying, it's a tough job.
What makes a hearing aid best for you?
There are so many amazing hearing aids out there and they all have strengths. I don't want to say they have weaknesses but they all have cases for them, and every human that walks into our room is completely different.
They may have the same audiogram but when we do a speech and noise test they often have completely different results in that test.
The speech-in-noise test is incredibly important for helping us decide which hearing aid is best for them. Maybe it's to do with their lifestyle as well. We'll often look at where they work, what kind of environment they're working in, who they communicate with day-to-day.
We would also look at whether they use mobile phones a lot. Do they have connections to computers? Do they need a connection to the TV?
We also think about them in terms of how well they'll manage the hearing aids. Do they play a lot of sports for example? Do they want something that's really invisible? Is this person going to refuse to wear something that isn't invisible?
Actually, what we're seeing more and more, is someone who wants it to look really visible to look more like a Bluetooth headset or they want it to be more like a fashion accessory.
So really, they all offer different things and we're so lucky to have such a huge and fantastic choice in the technology, but there is no such thing as the best hearing aid.
One size does not fit all
That is almost a crazy question when you, or an audiologist, know all about the industry. There is no one-size-fits-all.
So the answer for you is, go see a good audiologist who knows all of these products - at least knows they exist - and has had some training on them, and also someone who has the ability to fit any of these products.
So, not someone who works for a company that only fits one, or two, or three of these, or has tried to re-badge this technology with a different name, so you actually don't know what you're getting.
It is so important that you get the best for you, and that requires, yes a hearing test, but also, your ability to understand speech and noise needs to be tested. They need to understand your lifestyle, your needs.
They need to look at your general health and well-being - things like dexterity are really important. Your eyesight can be really important.
So, be an advocate for yourself. Go see a decent audiologist. A good audiologist, a fantastic audiologist, whatever it requires in terms of research.
Look at their website, look at their reviews and go and find out from them what they think is the best technology for you, and then make sure you do a little bit of research into that. Of course, it's good to have a return period, so a trial of hearing aids in terms of, 'yes it's the real hearing aid that you get you pay for that hearing aid', but if in 30 to 60 days when you've gotten used to it, you've tried it in different environments ,you're actually finding it's not reaching the goals that you set.
That's something you should do with your audiologist, set at least three to four palpable goals, measurable goals, that you can achieve with your hearing aids. Then that may be a reason to return them and to look at something else or to look at a different audiologist or a different clinic.
So there you have it - best hearing aid of 2021.