The Top 5 Hearing Aids in 2016
With all of the new hearing aids on the market, sorting through the different features can be confusing and frustrating. We’ve sorted through the available options and have ranked the available hearing devices according to their unique features.
#5 Starkey Muse
One of the more recent products on the market, the Starkey Muse makes the Top 5 in a crowded field. Starkey Hearing Technologies added to it’s top-notch feedback management system with improved sound quality and directionality (the ability to process and distinguish sounds in noise). The Starkey Muse includes helpful features like ear-to-ear phone streaming, which allows for the transmission of sound from one ear (the ear near the phone) to the other ear. This allows users to hear phone conversations binaurally (in both ears). The Muse devices are compatible with the Starkey SurfLink accessories. The main drawback we found was the 900MHz wireless technology used. According to audiologists we’ve interviewed, the 900MHz bandwidth is susceptible to interference from other devices and inferior to the 2.4GHz used by other manufacturers. Regardless, the complete package by the Starkey Muse is sure to be a hit with many hearing aid wearers.
#4 ReSound LiNX2
The ReSound LiNX, billed as the “world’s first made-for-iPhone hearing aid” makes it into the Top 5 despite being the oldest platform in the Top 5. The LiNX system connects to smartphones and tablets for easy streaming of video, audio and more. ReSound uses the 2.4GHz technology, which is preferred by the hearing healthcare professionals we interviewed, but also criticized for the negative impact on battery life. We also heard feedback from providers that the sound quality is not as good as other options on the market. Probably best reserved for more tech-savvy wearers, the LiNX can be a great solution for those looking to make the most of their smart devices.
#3 Starkey Halo2
Starkey is the only manufacturer to get two hearing aids in the Top 5 list. Like the LiNX, the Halo delivers streamed audio from devices via FaceTime, music, video and more. You can also use the TruLink app to make adjustments to your hearing aids. The unique shape and design of the Halo is meaningful to those looking for an aesthetically-pleasing hearing device. Many of the hearing professionals we spoke with preferred this over the LiNX, giving it a slight edge in our ranking.
#2 Signia Primax
Signia is the new brand by Sivantos, the parent company responsible for making Siemens hearing instruments. Their first product under the new label has certainly impressed. The Signia Primax hearing aids boast clinical studies that indicate not only better-than-normal hearing in certain situations, but also reduced listening effort. Their narrow directionality technology has been praised by professionals as offering patients a better experience in difficult environments. It also comes with HD Music, which helps hearing aid wearers hear music more naturally. Listening to music has been a struggle for many users of previous devices, as noise suppression algorithms sometimes distorted the music signals. Our audiology sources gave the Primax a solid thumbs up, which led to our second place ranking.
#1 Oticon OPN
Only a few short weeks after introducing the OPN, the Oticon tops our list based on feedback from hearing care providers. In addition to faster processing power from their Velox platform, the OPN improves upon other previously-seen features like SpeechGuard and Spatial Sound. They’ve also included a combination of the reliable and battery-friendly NMFI (near field magnetic induction) with the expansive 2.4GHz platform in their TwinLink. They do not use narrow band directionality like the Primax, but believe that allowing patients the ability to sort through the sounds and select what is important works much better. Last, but not least, the Oticon OPN can connect to the internet via the IFTTT service. This will provide wearers with access to a growing number of IFTTT products, like door bells, alarm systems and more.
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