Hearing loss is a concern for a surprisingly large number of people in the US, with estimates placing the number of people suffering from some degree of hearing loss at about 20% of the total population. Many of the best hearing aids have been available by a physician’s order for many years, but costs for these prescription devices tend to be very high and can be a barrier for many people who could benefit from them.
Nonprescription hearing aids gained FDA approval in 2017. These devices differ from traditional hearing aids in that they have adjustable settings and are not custom-set to each person by an audiologist. These devices are typically much less expensive than prescription aids, are readily available and are easy to use. They also feature quality materials, a discreet design and a surprising number of great features.
Various options for over-the-counter hearing aids are available, and you may find yourself wondering which one might be the right choice for you. Knowing what to expect and keeping a few simple tips in mind while shopping could help you narrow the field when looking for the best hearing aids.
Best Hearing Aids – Comparison Table
|Otofonix Elite||With a 35 dB Gain & 10 Levels of Superior Volume Control|
4 Different Listening Programs
Advanced Noise Cancelling
|3.8 out of 5|
|Otofonix Apex|| With a 35 dB Gain|
3 Different Listening Programs
Advanced Noise Cancelling
|3.6 out of 5|
|Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-1222||Extra Long Life Rechargeable Varta Battery|
American Made Knowles Speaker
Simple To Use & Easy To Wear
|3.5 out of 5|
|Britzgo Digital Hearing Amplifier BHA-220||Digital Chip With Long 500hr + Battery Life|
Adjustable To Fit Either Ear
|3.8 out of 5|
|Sentire Med SM-300||4-channel Wide Dynamic Range Compression (Wdrc) Modes|
Fast Usb Charge
|3.4 out of 5|
|Hearing Assist ReCharge! HA-302 Air Conduction Hearing Aid||Fda Registered Air Conduction Hearing Aids For Both Ears|
100% Rechargeable Hearing Aid
4 Programs For Different Environments
|3.2 out of 5|
|LifeEar Empower||Thin As A Pencil, Almost Invisible Behind Ear|
8 Batteries Included
Comfortable And Very Effective.
|3.8 out of 5|
|Ovation Link Personal Hearing Amplifier||Most advanced digital audio technology available|
Industry-leading Adaptive Feedback Cancellation
State-of-the-art Layered Noise Reduction
|3.6 out of 5|
|Banglijian Ziv-201||Easy Use And Comfortable Feature|
|4 out of 5|
Best Hearing Aids Mini Buyers Guide
Selecting a Hearing Aid
Since some hearing aids are designed for certain levels of hearing loss, you may find it helpful to have a hearing test performed before you begin shopping. Free versions of these tests are available online, and Medicare and some insurance plans may also help cover the cost of a professional test. Having your hearing tested is optional, however.
You also have the choice between styles that fit over the ear or that can be worn directly in the ear canal. There are several model choices available in over-the-ear styles, and changing the volume and mode settings is typically very easy. If you use glasses, an ear canal model that is less likely to be dislodged may be a convenient choice. In addition, you may prefer this option if you want your hearing aid to be as discrete as possible.
For hearing aids powered by standard batteries, a button style is ordinarily used. If you think you may have trouble handling a small battery, a rechargeable model could be a great choice for you.
Benefits of a Hearing Aid
A hearing aid can help you regain the ability to hear what is going on in the world around you and more fully participate in conversations. These things can be easy to take for granted until they start to become difficult.
Many people using nonprescription hearing aids report being able to watch television or listen to the radio at a far lower volume as well as feeling more confident and comfortable when they no longer need to ask people to repeat themselves.
What You Can Expect From a Hearing Aid
A hearing aid increases sound along several frequencies. While a simple amplifier will increase all frequencies alike, many hearing aids also use noise reduction technology. This feature primarily amplifies frequencies most often found in the human voice, while those associated with background noise are amplified to a much lesser degree. This enables you to more clearly hear a person speaking, even in a noisy place like a crowded restaurant.
Nonprescription hearing aids typically feature a range of volume and environmental settings and can be a great choice for those who suffer from most types of hearing loss.
Ten Best Hearing Aids Reviewed
Otofonix hearing aids utilize high-end technology that is especially adept at amplifying the frequencies found in the human voice while reducing background noise. This hearing aid also offers high-quality construction, great customer support and its products carry a one-year limited warranty.
The Elite is at the top of Otofonix’s line and is designed to work in a number of different settings, whether at home with family or when you are out and about in loud places. The volume can be set to ten different levels with a multi-position switch. Preset programs for environments that are normal, noisy or have high-pitched background noise can be selected by a button, along with a low-power mode to extend battery life.
This hearing aid is designed with a soft tip that fits inside the ear canal and attaches to the amplifier by a flexible sound tube. This tube can be shaped to fit comfortably around most ears. At a little larger than the size of a dime, the device itself is quite compact and sits on top of the outer ear.
This hearing aid is available in both right and left ear options or as a set of two, and color choices are beige and gray. A set of six replacement batteries is included.
- With a 35 dB Gain & 10 Levels of Superior Volume Control
- 4 Different Listening Programs
- Advanced Noise Cancelling
The Apex shares several features with the Elite including size, shape, warranty and customer service. The main differences between the two models are the control button and the number of volume and environmental settings.
The Apex’s seven volume and three environmental settings are controlled by a push button rather than the Elite’s multi-position switch. The volume control can only be moved upwards; If you want to change the volume to a lower setting, you must reach the top volume setting and then start again at level one. The control button is simple to use and is within easy reach on the device’s outer portion.
The Apex’s color choices, extra batteries and single ear or set options are also the same as the Elite.
- With a 35 dB Gain
- 3 Different Listening Programs
- Advanced Noise Cancelling
One of the biggest benefits of Britzgo BHA-1222 is the rechargeable battery, which is specifically designed for a long life and will last up to 50 hours between charges.
A sliding switch turns the device on and off, while a mode-changing button and a multi-position volume switch enable you to easily select your preferred settings. Two environmental modes are designed to be used in either high or low-frequency ranges.
The BHA-1222 is also very lightweight, weighing just under one-third of an ounce. A swiveling sound tube allows you to use the device comfortably in either ear.
The BHA-1222 comes in a metallic blue color. Britzgo is serious about customer satisfaction and offers free replacements, a 90-day guarantee and one year warranty.
- Extra Long Life Rechargeable Varta Battery
- American Made Knowles Speaker
- Simple To Use & Easy To Wear
Briztgo’s BHA-220 is designed for people suffering from a mild level of hearing loss that is beginning to compromise their daily activities.
The BHA-220 features the same easy-to-use power, volume and mode control as the BHA-1222. The BHA-220 has four modes for amplifying sounds on four frequencies: medium, wide, low and high. This hearing aid is powered by a battery that is specially designed to have a long life, lasting around 500 hours with normal use. An extra battery is included in the starter kit.
Like the BHA-1222, the BHA-220 can be used in either ear. The BHA-220 comes in a Modern Blue color.
- Digital Chip With Long 500hr + Battery LifeSmall DiscreteAdjustable To Fit Either Ear
The SM-300 from Sentire Med is designed to powerfully amplify sounds. It could be an ideal choice for people with moderate to severe levels of hearing loss. This hearing aid is bit larger than some other units, so this is something to keep in mind
if you have a small frame or want your hearing aid to be as invisible as possible. Four simple modes are available for normal, mild, moderate and severe hearing loss. The settings are easily changed with the touch of a button. Volume level is controlled by a dial and the unit can be turned on or off by pressing and holding the mode button.
The SM-300 is rechargeable, eliminating the need for battery changes. The charging console fits into the palm of your hand and can be connected to a USB port. Charging time is typically two to five hours. The SM-300 will work for up to 20 hours per charge with normal volume. A safety chip protects the unit from overcharging.
The SM-300 is available in a beige color.
- 4-channel Wide Dynamic Range Compression (Wdrc) Modes
- Noise Reduction
- Fast Usb Charge
Hearing Assist’s ReCharge! HA-302 offers exactly what the name suggests: a rechargeable hearing aid that does not require battery changes. The ReCharge! comes in a set of two hearing aids along with a USB-equipped charging station.
The ReCharge! has four programs that adjust the level of amplification to your environment. For quiet indoor settings, choose Program 1, while Program 2 is ideal for noisy indoor spaces. Program 3 is designed for use while watching television and Program 4 is for use outside. You can easily choose a program by hitting the mode button and volume is adjusted by a dial.
Available color options are gray and beige. Hearing Assist offers a product warranty for one year and a 60-day guarantee.
- Fda Registered Air Conduction Hearing Aids For Both Ears
- 100% Rechargeable Hearing Aid
- 4 Programs For Different Environments
At a little taller than a dime and the same width as a pencil, the Empower is surprisingly small. So small in fact, that it can be almost invisible behind your ear. A flexible tube conforms to your ear and a hinged locking arm stabilizes the Empower under your ear. This makes the LifeEar product a very stable device.
The Empower features four environmental programs and 10 volume settings that are selected by a switch. Noise reduction technology helps you to focus on conversational frequencies while tuning out background noise.
The battery is easy to change with a hinged battery compartment and eight batteries are included with the hearing aid.
Color choices are graphite, gray and beige. With this entry to the best hearing aids list, LifeEar offers a 30-day guarantee and a one-year product warranty.
- Thin As A Pencil, Almost Invisible Behind Ear
- 8 Batteries Included
- Comfortable And Very Effective.
The Ovation Link is designed to be worn inside the ear canal. With a size of about half an inch in both height and width, the Link is almost undetectable to other people. The Link can be used alone or with the optional stabilization loop and comfort sleeve.
The Link has four preset amplification programs and features background noise reduction that is designed to enhance conversations. Twenty-four batteries are included in the kit, which Ovation states should be enough to last six months with normal usage. The Link is available in beige.
- Most advanced digital audio technology available
- Industry-leading Adaptive Feedback Cancellation
- State-of-the-art Layered Noise Reduction
This over-the-ear hearing aid from R&L features a compact and lightweight design, with a height of about one inch and a weight of less than one ounce. The mode button allows you to easily choose one of four programs, and the volume is set with up and down buttons. The power switch is located near the battery compartment at the bottom of the unit.
The battery is designed to have a long life, lasting for up to ten days with normal use. The open back of the hinged battery compartment makes changing the battery on the device simple, though you will need a small tool on hand to push the drained battery out.
The R&L can be worn in either ear and is available in beige.
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON
The Ziv-201 is designed for people whose hearing loss is up to a moderate-severe level. You can easily choose one of the five volume levels with the multi-position switch, and two programs for low- and high-noise environments are easy to set with a push button. The unit can be turned on and off by pressing and holding the mode button.
The Ziv-201 features a rechargeable battery with a USB charging port on the bottom of the device. Charging time is typically about two hours, and each charge will last about 24 hours with normal usage. With a height of just under 1.5 inches, this hearing aid is a little larger than some of the other choices. However, weighing in at under an ounce, the Ziv-201 is light and fits comfortably around the ear. A rotating sound tube allows for use in either the left or right ear.
Banglijian offers a generous 90-day return policy and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty. The Ziv-201 is available in beige.
- Easy Use And Comfortable Feature
- Rechargable Feature
- Exceptional Functions