Hearing aids are available in analog or digital version. Analog hearing aids have been on the market for quite some time and are the least expensive type of hearing aids. Today, most hearing aids are digital as these provide better amplification, cleaner sound quality and can be programmed by computer. They are becoming more affordable as their prices have fallen.
There are 4 styles of hearing aids on the market. A hearing professional can help you determine the style that suits you best. The inexpensive behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is fitted over the ear and rests behind it. A hearing aid that can sit just inside the ear is the in-the-ear (ITE). The in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid fits slightly lower into the ear, so it is almost invisible. Lastly, the completely-in-the-ear-canal (CIC) hearing aid is fitted down the ear canal.
This review is focused on the 4 leading manufacturers of hearing aids. Siemens, Beltone, Starkey and Phonak are well known for producing superior quality hearing aids and excellent customer service.
Siemens Hearing Aids
Siemens has been the largest hearing aid manufacturer in the US for over 125 years. Siemens hearing aids are designed to meet any hearing need and lifestyle. All of them come with a two-year warranty. More channels and features are placed in every Siemens hearing aids as compared to other leading brands. Phoenix and Cielo models are Siemens' most inexpensive line of hearing aids while the Artis e2e model is their top-of-the-line hearing aid with wireless ear-to-ear technology.
Beltone Hearing Aids
Beltone has more than 1300 locations in the United States of America and an exceptional reputation in the hearing aid business. The company has a program called Belcare wherey they provide support for ongoing needs of customers who have purchased a Beltone hearing aid. Beltone hearing ptofessionals are trained to carry out a lifestyle assessment called Personalized Hearing Health Assessment (PHHA) on their customers. This program helps determine which hearing aid is right for individual hearing needs. Beltone hearing aids are available in 4 categories: basic, quality, advantage and premier. The three-channel Edge model is the least expensive. Beltone's mid-range model is the six-channel Mira. Beltone's state-of-the-art hearing aid is the twelve-channel Oria which has many advanced features.
Starkey Hearing Aids
The world's largest hearing aid maker is Starkey Laboratories. They were the first to offer warranty as well as a free trial period. They have many hearing aid models available starting with the 3-channel Aspect. The mid-level Destiny comes in several models to accommodate your needs. Your Bluetooth-capable phone would work great with the top-of-the-line Eli models with its wireless capability.
Phonak Hearing Aids
Phonak, based in Switzerland, extends its services throughout the globe. You can have your Phonak hearing aid tailor to fit your hearing needs and lifestyle. The six channel eXtra model is Phonak's basic entry-level hearing aid. The Valeo and Elva models are mid-range hearing aids that have sixteen channels. Savia is the top range model with twenty channels and more features than the rest of their products. Phonak also provides wireless hearing solutions.