The best hearing aids 2013-2014

So you are looking for a good quality hearing aid? Here are the best to date in the world. Update 12 June 2014 )

Who am I to judge? My name is Richard Andrew I have dispensed Independent private hearing aids for well over 20 years. In that time I have gained experience in retrieving feedback from the actual user of the hearing aid, not the manufacturers advertising hype. I am honest and straight forward in my appraisal in the hope of helping the user select the right outlet to purchase, the right price bracket to buy and the key points to look for when purchasing an hearing instrument. This update will obviously need adjusting throughout 2014 but this is how in my opinion it stands today. Please feel free to email me for any questions or queries I do get a lot of emails so please be patient I try to respond within 48 hours.

There are some key factors when purchasing an hearing aid.

Price – Performance – Features – After service – Cosmetics

These can all be seen in my Key factors when choosing a hearing aid

I have chosen to split the ratings into price brackets,High end, Mid range and Budget.We will start with high end or top of the range

High End

Although obviously the best and  with the most inclusive features  they are not always the best for every individual. Prices range from £1600 to £2500 dependent on the supplier even though I have seen prices nearly 3 times this the above prices are what you should be looking to achieve per instrument.

Phonak Virto Q 90, Audeo Q 90,Naida Q 90 and Bolero Q 90 ( Still my number one for second year )

Capturing voices wherever you go, whatever you do. 
This is quite clearly and deservedly the best of the best. It has a super clear sound, fantastic noise reduction and feedback stopper. The features are to many to post but every user rater this 5 out of 5. Click here for features. In fact the feedback on this instrument is nothing short of wonderful


Unitron Quantum Pro and Moxi Pro

This Canadian company utilizes the same microchip as the Phonak  and although excellent still falls short of its rivals ability. As a company Unitron are well respected and offer excellent back up services. Click here for features The best feature on this instrument and one unique to hearing aids is the ability to have it upgraded to higher technology.Download Brochure

Starkey Halo

One of two manufacturers to be able to be controlled via IPhone. Really for people who have iphones and like to control what their hearing instrument is doing more. Best feature is if you alter the instrument within a restaurant and geo tag it it will switch to that altered setting when you go there again. Very clever if you like to have more say with what your aid is doing Download Brochure

Siemens Mi 7

Siemens have come a long way this year from not being in my top five to second place, They offer a good selection of features from many of the other manufacturers and have improved there feed back canceller Click to download brochure. Also they have an excellent selection of accessories that may suit ones needs more than the Phonak.



Widex Clear 440

The Danish company is used to ruling the roost at the top of the tree with past hearing aids including the famous Widex Senso one of the best on the market for at least 8 years. Good sound, but just falls short on its peers. Clear here for features



Mid to High End

Prices range from £1295 to £1800 again depending on your local supplier. This is a difficult sector. Do you pay more for all the features or less and not notice the features you have lost. If having the best is not the issue and value for money is I would suggest going to the low end range and upgrading if it does not fulfill your hearing needs.

Unitron Quantum 16 and Moxi 16 (2)

Although the Phonak is the better of this group by a small margin this instruments ability to be upgraded to a higher technology at any time without replacing the instrument makes this a sound choice. Would still choose mid range or high end though.

Phonak Bolero 70 and Virto 70

Loses a few features on its big brother the 90 series and to be honest I would pay the difference.

 Siemans Mi 5

Widex Mind 330

This is a difficult sector the aid is good but I still would pay more for the top of the range or less for slightly less features

Starkey Wii

Mid Range

This is my favourite section its were you get the most for your money. There are some fabulous hearing aids in this section that are nearly half the price of the high end but nearly 80% as good. Prices range from £800 to £1295

Unitron Quantum 10 and Moxi 10 (2)

This is my only true choice in this category and new in. It can be upgraded at any time for higher technology at a later date if needed without changing the instruments.

Widex Mind 220

If your after a sub £900 hearing aid this is it. It can be made very small and discrete is fully automatic and is a very good price for the features it holds

Starkey E Series

Another great featured hearing aid for the price. Can be found around the £800 price bracket. Excellent feedback stopper to.

Phonak Virto Q 50, Audeo Q 50,Naida Q 50 and Bolero Q 50

At the top end for price within this category but has bundles of features and great sound.



Prices for budget aids should not exceed £700 and most should be nearly half that. A good choice of instruments in this section and if you require an in the ear hearing aid but are happy with the ( very good ) NHS behind the ear hearing aids then this is a good choice.

Starkey Ignite 20

Quite frankly an excellent budget hearing aid with a good feed back stopper. I was going to put a selection from differing manufacturers but to be quite frank this is the best of the best budget hearing aid. And can be purchased from £395 it really is a no brainer in this section.

If you have worked in noise please read my post on compensation. Hearing instruments are expensive and if you have had your hearing damaged through work you are entitled to compensation to help with the costs. Click here



Please check out my post on what to look for when buying a hearing aid.







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207 comments on “The best hearing aids 2013-2014
  1. Chris says:

    Today is April 6th 2013 and I like to know if the top of the range high-end is still:
    Phonak Virto 90 and Bolero 90
    Has anything else reached the top?
    Yesterday, I had a leaflet on Bliss digital hearing aid from SONIC. Will that fit in anywhere in your article if you wrote the article today? Urgent reply requested please since I want to get one soon.
    Many thanks. I am very keen to get the best!

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your email. Yes I would say the best hearing aid on the market in my opinion is still the Virto 90 or Bolero 90.

  2. Joe Neethling says:

    I received a setof Phonak Virto 70 H/A’s recently. I find that the sound in the left unit “hunts” It fades for about 5 seconds after about 15 – 30 seconds and then returns tothe previous setting. Any advice? Thanks

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your enquiry.
      This just sounds like a programming issue, contact your hearing aid dispenser and I am sure he can resolve the problem easily.

      Many thanks

  3. Ray says:

    I would like to know if the latest starkey 3 series. Suitable for profound hearing loss as the website introduction is can but my hearing audilogy told me can’t…….thx.

    • admin says:

      As you say it does suggest the Starkey 3 Series will fit a profound hearing loss. However I would agree with your hearing aid specialist that it might be lacking the power especially if you are not on the border line forbeing profoundly deaf.

      I hope this helps


  4. Junaid Aasim says:

    Dear All,
    My Son has profound hearing loss on left side and severe hearing loss in the right, could anyone advise honestly, which hearings aids will best suit to kid.
    Yr valuable words will be arreciated.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your enquiry. As you can appreciate with out all the audiogram and history this is difficult to answer. However I would ask for a trial on the Phonak Naida Q 90 it is the best high power hearing instrument on the market in my opinion. The trial should be with out charge or obligation, and a target price would be £3,200 to £4,000.

      I do hope this helps


      • Derik says:

        Hi Richard,

        Very interesting and informative article. You mentioned upfront that you are going to supply and update on 28 August 2013. When is the update due?

        Secondly, have you ever evaluated the Siemens hearing aids? and I have notice the Phonak Virto 90 is now a Virto Q. is it the replacement device for the 90’s?

        • admin says:

          Hi Derek
          I hope to be doing the update this week. The Siemens instruments have improve dranatically and will be in the next post. The virto is the in the ear model the Q represents the quest chip set and the 90 is the top of the range model.
          Hope you is helps


  5. Robert Croft says:

    Hi Richard

    Thanks for such an informative website. The audiologist I have seen is recommending Oticon over Siemens for behind the ear units. They haven’t mentioned Phonak at all.

    Having read your website I have decided to visit another hearing clinic that sells Phonak, but I’m interested in the improvements you have noticed in the Siemens. Have they improved to such an extent as to be better than the Phonaks?

    I work in a very hot, dry area of Western Australia. It is a windy place. I split my time at work 80% in offices (meetings, phone/video calls etc) and 20% outdoors. When not at work time spent indoors is probably still around the 80% mark.

    My hearing loss is at high frequencies – left ear marginally worse than the right but both bad. Need 70 db to hear 90%+ of spoken words.

    Assuming no budgetary constraints what would be your thoughts?

    Many thanks,


  6. Wendy schneider says:

    Can you tell me the difference between the unitron moxi 12 and moxi 6. I have mild hearing loss which interfers at home.

  7. Arlan Howard says:

    I am looking for top few hearing aids for myself with 85-90 db loss. I am wearing two older hearing aids. Wonder if Phonak virto 90 and Bolero 90 would be better for me. Where do i find them if you think those aids would fit me? I can discriminate sounds but could not be able to understand words. i was born hearing till three years old a high fever damaged most of my hearing nerves. I started to hear words till about 10 yrs old my parents put me in deaf school where it kept me from continuing hearing words a lot.
    Thus, I could not be able to understand words anymore. Of course, I can hear few words. I just want good hearing aids to help me hear better and who knows they might help me understand more words. Please help me find good aids.

    • admin says:

      Hi Arlan
      I would try the Phonak Naida range and also The Widex range. It’s difficult when there is a discrimination difficulty but seeing an independent hearing aid specialist should give you some options after conducting a full hearing test.


  8. Des says:

    Hi Richard
    Thanks for a very interesting article. I really took note of your comment on the Low end range, and would like to know which ‘top’ low end range HA you would recommend? Also would you recommend In the Ear or Behind the Ear HA for someone whose high frequency hearing is only impaired.
    Many thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Des
      For a high frequency hearing loss I would look at the Reciever in the ear range. Good value for money is the Phonak Audeo Q 50. It is a very small behind the ear hearing aid but is designed for high frequency losses

      Hope this helps


  9. Eric Snodgrass says:

    I got a Poppit hearing aid free from Amplifon several years ago. It was great, it had no batteries to bother with and fitted in my ear canal. The sound it made was fantastic as I could really hear my own voice much better. Are these still available and how much do they cost as my dog has eaten it.

    • admin says:

      Hi Eric
      I am unsure of what hearing aid you are referring to without a battery so unfortunately I am unable to advise on this matter.

  10. Karl says:

    Hearing aids for profound hearing loss and sensitive ear canals

    I have a severe (profound) hearing loss from childhood which has worsened with aging (59), resulting in many hearing aids not being suitable for me as they cause feedback due to the high amplification. The choice for the right instrument has been borrowed due to a chronic irritation in the ear canal due to wearing a mould with limited ventilation of the ear canal. Initially I used “in ear versions” but had to abandon them as the relative short distance between the speaker and the microphone in combination with the high amplification made the feedback cancellation feature ineffective. After may trails I ended up with a high end “behind the ear” Siemens Pure. Here in Australia you would need to “cough up” about $11500.00. I got them from the USA for half the price. The improvement was enormous but after wearing them for 4 years the well sealed mould (to prevent feedback) has left me with a chronic ear infection making it impossible to wear them. I am going to see a specialist to see if there is a unit that will allow high amplification and ventilation of the ear canal. This will be a challenge…

    Apology for technical jargon, it comes out of the mind of an Electrical Engineer. Ask questions if it doesn’t make sense.
    Cheers Karl Ohm
    Nearly two decades of hearing aid

    • admin says:

      I feel you need to discuss this with your ENT specialist to see if he can help.


    • Cristina says:

      Dear Karl,
      I am from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with profound deafness in both years, my problem with sealed earmolds, chronic ear infection and feedback is very similar to yours. I would like a hearing aid without earmold.
      Can we exchange our experiences?

      • admin says:

        Hi Karl

        It would depend on the type of hearing loss that you have but there are hearing aids that work outside the ear. The sound is passed through a vibrator placed on the mastoid bone and would leave your ear unoccluded.La bella is one such manufacturer but there are others.


  11. Faisal says:

    Dear Sir
    I am being recommended Bernafone Chronos
    How do you rate Bernafone although it visibly doesnt appears in any ofyour categories but since you are very experienced I am asking your opinion shall i just simply ignore it

    • admin says:

      Bernafon are a well respected Swiss company. In the early nineties they produce one of the best hearing aids in the world. No hearing aid manufacturer produces bad hearing aids any more. However I would still insist on trying the Phonak as it is number one for a reason.

      Hope this helps


      • udaya says:

        Hi richard
        my father has a hearing prob from his childhood in right ear.. He was using a hearing aid without consulting a dr and he dont know his audible range also.. i have decided to take him for a checkup and get a hearing aid but the prob is there are lot of brands in market. I totally got confused about choosing the brand.. can u suggest which ll suit him in low budget digital range.. I feel he having moderate problem only..
        since he cant hear while talking directly.. ask to talk louder.. pl do reply..

        • admin says:

          Its impossible to recommend a hearing aid without a hearing test. But i would suggest seeing a local independent hearing aid specialist

  12. Jeff Hunter says:

    Hi I have just been diagnosed with high end hearing loss and not sure how what range I need to be looking at. Everyday hearing is fine problems only arise when in a crowded restaurant or watching TV.
    I am prepared to pay if I really need to go top end but only if its necessary.

    What would you advise please

    Many thanks Jeff

  13. Don Wineland says:

    Thank you for your dedication to helping us. I am 87 and have a high frequency hearing loss. The Veterans Administration has provided me with Phonak Ambra 312 hearing aids. The volume is fine but the speech clarity is lacking for me. For example if I am watching TV I can’t understand what they are saying…or if someone is talking on the microphone, there is no clarity. The hearing tests I have had have not changed in the past two years…my range of hearing high frequency is the same. VA has suggested that my Phonak is the best on the market and the best they can do. However, I note that you rate other models higher. Would a better model make a difference to my hearing? Please note that he hooked up my aids to the computer and tried to adjust the wind factor and various other items on a drop down menu…but to no avail. Price is not necessarily my issue. Thank you, Don

    • admin says:

      Hi Don
      The Phonak Ambra is an excellent hearing instrument however it was replaced by the Phonak Virto 90 in December 2012. The Virto is a better hearing instrument however not sure upgrading from an Ambra will be worth the expence compared to the benefits. See if you can get a free trial and judge for yourself.


  14. Grant Oakes says:

    I have tried hearing aids several times but with no luck. I find as I turn them up to hear the speech the background noise increases and I still can’t hear the speech and now have to deal with a much higher noise level. I have alway tried behind the ear type as they are supposed to be the best. My loss is in the middle tones, like a cookie bite pattern. I also ride a motorcycle quite often, so of course the hearing aids have to come out and ear plugs go in.

    • admin says:

      Hi Grant
      I feel you might be better looking at in the ear hearing aids that might suit your life style better ie motorcycling etc. I would suggest looking at the Virto 90 ITE and be advised by your hearing health care professional on the style based on your hearing test and lifestyle.

  15. Wadhwa says:

    Jan 2014 .Which is the best make and model of hearing aid at present in the budget section where functionality and clear audible voice and convenience are main considerations and not so much the aesthetics.I need it for my 85 year old parents resident in India who keep avoiding to take it despite significant hearing problem.We have to speak at fairly high volume to talk to them. My mother has problem in both ears ,father acute problem but only in one ear.Is behind the ear more suitable due to high power,more battery life ,low noise ,more clarity etc.Are features like directional amplifier ,unwanted noise reduction,unwanted own voice amplification etc there in such recommended budget models and are all of them significantly important .Indian Alps model and reputed international brands-Siemens,Widex,Starkey are available in India.Not sure about Phonak

    • admin says:

      I think I would opt for the Starkey e series which offer good features at a competitive price, obviously dependent on the results of a hearing test that this is suitable


  16. Steve says:

    I have 60 % hearing loss in the left one ear and 36 % in the other. I have quite narrow ear canals. Do I understand correctly that an in ear aide is probably not suitable for me. I don’t have a hearing aide. In 2011 I tried the top end bernafon (about $10,000) on a 3 day trial but had real difficulties with it (wind noise and group situations in particular). What would you recommend?

  17. Willie Dawson says:

    When I have tried in the ear hearing aids and talked to someone I sounded to myself like I was in a barrell, I now wear open fit hearing aids from Costco and my speech sounds normal to me.I do believe that the Siemens 7 would be better than the Costco brand because I could adjust the volume. What do you think and how much do the Siemens cost?

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately i do not know what hearing instruments Costco are supplying and thus are unable to compare. However the Seimens range is very good

  18. Hal says:

    My 83yr old mother is presently using an NHS digital hearing aid (one in each ear) and she still has problems hearing especially if there are a few people talking in the room. I want to buy her a new hearing aid but i am on a budget – hopefully not more than £1000, ie £500 per ear. Do you recommend the Starkey Ignite 20 or is this aid not much better than the NHS one? If i really have to, i would scrape up extra money to buy her a better one if you recommended it. I have a hearing specialist visiting her soon but i do worry that they will try to sell me one that is not suitable for her. Thank you in advance for your invaluable insight. H

    • admin says:

      Hi H
      Firstly there are a few points to consider. Is the NHS aid one of the latest ie not older than 3 years and secondly are some parts of your mothers hearing un-aidable. If the instruments are quite old or the NHS aids have not been updated in a few years via reprogramming you should notice an improvement with the Starkey hearing instruments. I would suggest sticking to your budget and assess the benefits she receives with the Starkey instruments and also going back to the NHS to see if they can be improved upon. You can always get better and more expensive instruments so try to fulfil your goals with a trial within your specified budget.

  19. Hal says:

    I would like to add to my post above that my mother’s NHS hearing aid is a danalogic ST71. Thanks. Hal

  20. Bill Lee says:

    I tested a Phonak yesterday (2/4/14) problem is I have high frequency hearing loss with tinnitus. Sorry, but I was not told which model I was testing. But still had the tinnitus, but less loud. Also, they wanted $300. for a month trial. Is that what I can expect from all sellers of hearing aids? The warranty is only 2 years, seems to be a very short time for such a product with a high markup. For example, a car company can give a much better warranty with just a small markup in price.
    Checked your #2 choice, and maybe they just have a better web site (except for the biker pictures) they seemed to be a better choice, but I have not yet tested them, but plan trying their brand also. OK, last question, my research has explained the high markup, as they are building the cost, with of all follow up appointments in the price and this makes since. But, I am “one of those” people who may relocate to another area to retire, maybe even out outside the good ole USA. So, in your studies, can I select not to have follow up appointment cost beyond 30 days, and save on the cost? Another example, I had a close friend who got hearings aids and died 2 months later. He paid for a lot of service he never got. I guess I just like to pay as needed.

    • admin says:

      Hi Bill
      They are good points. I believe that you may not be able to get rid of the tinnitus with any hearing instrument unfortunately for some people this does happen did you try the built in tinnitus masker in the Phonak? As for the after service costs I would suggest looking round and trying to negotiate with the hearing healthcare professional you never know. $300 seems a bit steep for a trial.

  21. Anne says:

    Can you compare bi-cross hearing aids…? currently have a Phonak from early 2000. Phonak has let me know that they are not marketing to people who use these hearing aids because it’s just not something that seems to have much audience. This is a drawback. It might be a good hearing device in some ways but in other’s it failed… it’s too bulky…. battery life stinks… the on/off is the battery compartments on both. For the one side you lose the battery easily when the compartment is opened. Also opening and closing these things makes them weaker (which you have to do daily to keep battery life). The other side I found you if you turn your head during the day depending on what you are wearing it will pull the battery compartment open and turn it off (which turns off all the settings as well and when you turn it back on you have to start over). Winter wear, a hat, putting anything near your ear can open it up. Here Phonak seemed to fall short. What is out there in the 2014 issue for different manufacturers if anything? I try to talk to my guy but he’s not the best at giving me solid information (or so I feel).

    • admin says:

      I will be sounding like all I recommend is Phonak . But they have produced a fabulous Bluetooth cros system. No wires. I have supplied a few of they systems the feedback is superb . Cost for the cros aid is about 895 plus the cost of the hearing aid from 900 to 1800. Ring or email me if you want the brochure sent out. Unitron use the same system which is slightly cheaper. Down side to these aids is battery life of about 3 days but other than that it is excellent.

  22. Mike says:

    I am working with a provider that offers NuEar. He recommends the Premier. Are they good?

    • admin says:

      Hi Mike
      I think the Nu Ear is the Starkey hearing aid range but you will have to check with your provider to confirm this

  23. carlos says:

    i am 42years old with moderate hearing loss try to get the first hearing aid but i dont want get the wrong one for me can you recommend one with the best performance because am too younger to buy a diferent every 2 or 3 years thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi Calin

      All hearing aids are too expensive to replace every three years I would set a guessimate of 6 to 7 years for the life of a hearing aid. Certainly look at the Phonak range the Q90 being the best but alas the most expensive.


  24. Shannon says:

    Hey there,
    I was wondering if you also did a post for children’s hearing aids? My daughter is 2 and she is receiving Phonak Sky Q70’s. The audiologist felt that the 90’s could not offer her any more benefit at her age. She has a moderate hearing loss in both ears.
    We have a 30 day trial period. I was wondering if there is anything better we should be looking at? Thanks!

  25. Mark Williamson says:

    1. What is a power hearing aid? are you still recommending the Naida Q90 from Phonak? I have Phonaks now for 5 years. Upgrading and hope there is improvements for $6,000 with Icom

    • admin says:

      Yes I would still recommend the Naida Q90 as the best power hearing aid. What Phonak hearing aid are you currently using?

  26. Stephanie says:

    I’m 31 years old and work as a server in a lively restaurant and am pretty active outdoors, what would be the best hearing aid for my lifestyle? I have congenital bilateral SNHL w/ some asymmetry (left ear is about 30% worse and getting worse still).

    I’m used to wearing CIC models, but am afraid I’ll have to upgrade to a larger aid for my left ear since it seems to be declining.

    Thanks so much for this site, it’s been a great help in shopping for aids.

    • admin says:

      Hi Stephanie
      Its difficult to give specific advice without a hearing test but the Reciever in the Ear hearing aids do offer a cosmetic appeal without loss of sound quality in lost cases. I would ask your hearing health care professional about the Audeo Q 90 from Phonak to see if this would be suitable for your hearing loss.


  27. Lori Stokes says:

    I have profound to severe hearing loss. I have to get a ditigal aide. Currently was using an analog (phonak). I am trying a naida q50 right now. I need to be able to hear off the phones but need to cut off back ground noise and extra volume. frustrated right now. I am using the cros and rodger gadget as well.I should not have to depend on the cadget. do you have any advice? need the best only have had it on since march 6th, 2014 on a 10 trial. this is affecting my job. Help me please.

    • admin says:

      Hi Lori
      The best is the Naida Q90, the CROS system from Phonak gets very good feedback. I do agree with you re the gadgets and Phonak do seem to have a lot of accessories but they are there to help. You might want to try the Widex range as well, they have just introduced a new CROS system which at point of writing I have not tried. The accessories from Widex might offer you a better solution to your needs or at least it would be worth finding out.


  28. Irfan Dean says:

    Hi thank you very much for all your information here. My sister has moderate hearing loss and has been provided with hearing aids by the NHS Siemens danalogic i-fit71 . However she is not happy as she cannot hear people in busy restaurants, outdoor environments and in group situations she cant make out what the conversation is about. In one to one situations she is fine but if the backgroud noise is too high she is finding it difficult. She is still experiencing this after reprogramming sessions with her audiologist. I am now looking for the best hearing aids for her and her circumstances. Can you please let me know what you would suggest I can purchase. Many thanks in advance for all your help.

    • admin says:

      Hi Irfan
      This is a very common problem and one that a lot of manufacturers claim to have solved. The feed back I receive from hearing aid users is that the Phonak Quest 90 range really does work in noise, pubs etc. It is todate the only one that gives me 100% patient positive feedback at solving this area.

      Hope this helps


  29. Luis Rebolledo says:

    Hi, I have 64 and severe loss in both ears at frequencies 2000 reaches 80. Pure 300 and currently use is not enough, I am hard of understanding in conversations and meetings. I want some new headphones and I have no budget problems. you recommend to me? from and I appreciate your response. I live in Chile.

  30. ritu says:

    A frnd of mine suffers total deffness in right ear but as per the doctors he can hear vibrations in the left ear. Is there any very high frequency hearing aid which he can use 4his left ear

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately probably not, however I would take the advice of your hearing healthcare professional who will have a better idea having all the audiological data to hand

  31. Vinh Mac says:

    I am 66 years old and have just retired with mild hearing lost. I was told that I have lost about 30% of my hearing, I cannot hear conversation well from a distance and with road noises while driving. No problem with my hearing up close without mumbling from the other person.
    I will have a hearing test soon for a possibility to purchase a hearing aid if it is recommended by the ENT and audiologist.
    Is Oticon Alta a good hearing aid? or any other recommended brand?
    Vinh Mac

    • admin says:

      Hi Vinh
      The Alta would not be my first choice however I do know many dispensers who like the model. I would compare with the Phonak and the Widex models

      • Vinh Mac says:

        Hi Richard
        I had a hearing test last Friday and the results are:
        SRT % Discrimination HL MCL
        R 55 76 85 85
        L 55 92 80 80

        Pressure Compliance Volume Type
        R -40 1.9 1.2 AQ
        L 35 3.1 1.5 AQ

        The ENT Doctor needs a MRI done first, before a hearing aid is recommended.

        From the results above, what do you recommend? I was told that I would need hearing aid for both ears from this test.

        Thanks for for opinion
        Vinh Mac

        • admin says:

          I would await results then discuss with your hearing healthcare professional

          • Vinh Mac says:

            Hi Richard
            Yesterday, with the results above and fitting with my retired life style, the audiologist recommended the Phonak Bolero Q70. However, I selected the Bolero Q90 for $5,200 or about 3,082 British Pounds for both ears. This included 200 batteries, 3 yrs guaranty, 60 days trial and adjustment. Do you think it is good choice? I would let you know of my experience after 1 month usage and re-evaluation by the audiologist.
            Thanks for all your comments

          • admin says:

            Hi Vinh
            That’s seems an excellent choice and a good deal to please do give feedback when you have the time myself and fellow users much appreciate it.

  32. Michelle says:

    Hi Richard, I have been pouring over your recommendations and questions and answers sections. Thank you for all the info. My husband is 70, plays golf (wind noise), eats out in loud restaurants (lots of background noise, and keeps a grandchild. He loves television and has to have it loud. I always have to repeat myself when speaking. He has high frequency loss and mid range. A few years back he bought DOT by Resound which were over the ear and they were just okay. We are ready to buy the best at this point. It sounds like perhaps the Phonak Q90 would be the best choice. Which would you suggest for someone who has a lot of activity going on in his life? And, his family would love to communicate without yelling. We will be getting his new hearing test next week. Thank you for any suggestions you might have. And, you were right about costs. We have found them from 4000$ to 6500$. Crazy! The two best deals we have found are the pair of q90 for 5000$ with remote and batteries for a year. The other place offers 4000$, but remote is 600$, Any thoughts?

    • admin says:

      The DOT was one of the first RIC hearing aids and I would agree it is average but also an old hearing aid now. I can not recommend an exact hearing aid without looking at the audiogram but based on the DOT the Phonak Audeo Q90 is an excellent upgrade. It is a Q hearing aid and does seem to excel in groups and bars and clarity. Thats the feedback I get from its users. I would not be too guided by price if it is a few hundred dollars but what I would suggest is you trust, like and have faith, the audiologist will be honest and fair as hearing aids should last 6 years and you will have a long term relationship with him.

      Hope this helps


  33. Mary Ford says:

    My ent uses Rexton, is that an issue?

  34. julz says:

    Hi Richard,
    My Daughter has profound hearing loss on right side and severe hearing loss in the left, she’s 1 year old already.could anyone give advise honestly, which hearings aids will best suits to my daughter.

    Thank you and GODBLESS!

    • admin says:

      If you live in the UK I would suggest staying with the NHS who offering an outstanding service for paediatrics.

  35. I am 47 year old female, and I have very small sensitive ears! When on the golf course or the boat, the wind will cause ear aches. I do not wear ear buds due to the pain and soreness it causes. I have lost 40% hearing in both ears so far and need hearing aids in order to finish my bachelors. Please advise me on best choice of hearing aids.
    Thank you

    • admin says:

      First I would advise happy a word with your GP re earache. Then seek an independent hearing specialist to walk you through your options which may include trying a few instruments.

  36. Dan says:

    How come there is no mention of the ReSound hearing aids such as the links? I would have thought this would be going down as the best on the market given how revolutionary it is?

    I am considering purchasing the links but just wondering why you haven’t included it?

    • admin says:

      Yes the Links and the new Starkey Halo which link to an iphone have some fabulous features. I will be updating blog next week to take in all the latest technology. These hearing instruments have there place but are really only suitable for the select few. ie iphone users, people who like to tinker with their hearing instruments. Some people just like to wear and forget about it.

  37. aziz hashmi says:

    i would like your opinion on unitron quantum e model versus phonak naiada s 111, super power, vendor selling each for the same price. which of the two you would recommend for severe hearing loss,both behind the ear with ear mold.

  38. Andy says:

    Hi Richard,

    Thanks for this informative article.

    My mom has a mild to medium hearing loss and her audiologist suggested Resound Alera. My mom is trying this hearing aid for the last four days and is very satisfied. I want to get her the best hearing aid. How do you rate Resound Alera? do you think I should check out the Phonak Q90 or do you recommend any other model?


    • admin says:

      Resound is a good manufacturer and if she is happy then thats great. If I was choosing for my own mother I would purchase the Phonak Q90.
      Hope this helps

  39. Brian Lewis says:

    I have been offered a trial of Phonak Virto Q ultimate package $9490 less 1200 discount . Money to be paid upfront of trial but refundable if not satisfactory. . This does seem expensive, your opinion please. I am in Tasmania, Australia.
    My 4 year old hearing aids, Bernafon , unable to cope with them when outside gardening.due to wind noise.
    With the Phonak there are 6 packages, ranging Ultimate to Budget.
    Thank you look forward to your comments. Is The q90 you recommend same as Virto Q, this is supposed to be the latest !!

    • admin says:

      Im not sure how much that is in pounds but it sounds alot. Anywhere from £3,000 to £4,000 is a fair price. The Q ( Quest chip )means the chip inside the aid. I would avoid the budget as too many features have been taken off anything from the Q50 Q70 or Q90 is very good

  40. Louby says:

    I’m sure this is a frequent question, so apologies. Is the top hearing you suggested still the same or has anything else come out which is better? Is this hearing aid suitable for a first pair of hearing aids? Thanks

    • admin says:

      There has been some new releases in last few week but i would say Phonak still runs top but at a smaller margin. I will be updating blog next week.

  41. Louby says:

    Admin, thank you for your reply. I ordered the Phonak naida q90 UP yesterday, so it is very reassuring to know that you would recommend Phonak too. (I have ordered purple too!)

  42. George says:

    Am I right in thinking that, whichever model of aids I get (e.g. Phonak Virto Q90) the RIE (or BTE) version will always give me better hearing than the more cosmetic CIC (Nano) version?

    • admin says:

      Hi George
      I think the answer to that is very subjective, every one is different and has differing preferences. But there are less features on CIC and less power but better more natural sound collection due to the microphone being in the ear canal.

  43. Katie says:

    Hi Richard, I am seeking your advice for my next set of aides – first set of were Widex CIC (9 years) and binaural Oticon Delta 6000 RIC currently (7 years). I have always had some degree of SNHL bilaterally and as I age it progressively worsens, alas it appears to be a family trait. My current level of loss ranges from mild to severe with worst with in mid to high frequency levels – follows typical presbycusis pattern. Most limiting is my ever decreasing abilities with word discrimination (52% right, 32% left). My main concern is that with my profession, I am a doctor of physical therapy who does all day direct patient care and I really struggle to understand and correctly articulate what my patients are communicating with me especially when they are not looking directly at me (for both lip reading and directionality of projected dialect). I am very up front about my hearing abilities and get quite frustrated with this as I know it is negatively affecting ability to treat them effectively. I am really wanting to update my new ears with the top of the line product and one that can be effectively amplified as my loss increases (I have my Delta’s maxed out and subsequently am not getting optimal amplification as well as the dreaded extra feedback – not ideal but it works for now). I love how durable Oticon’s have been (I am very active with my job and exercise as well as have 2 toddlers) but amplification isn’t working well enough anymore; Widex I was not a fan for both poor durability, and fit (I was also blessed with “very petite” ear canals so CIC was a disaster). You do seen to recommend Phonax NadiaQ90 quite a bit, what I am looking for is something that would allow me as an experienced user who is expecting yearly 2-5 loss increase across the board as I age to achieve optimal amplification as well as durability. Cost is not an issue. Thank you and apologize for the wordiness of my comments!

    • admin says:

      Sorry for late reply Katie, as a profession you will appreciate I can not recommend any hearing instrument with out all the history, however I can direct you as to what instruments you might like to try. Phonak Audeo Q90, Unitron Moxi 2 would be my suggestion to look at with your hearing aid audiologist. Both can have receiver upgrades to increase power as and when required in the future and have a good range of accessories to help you in your practice. The Delta has not got a very good feedback stopper due to the age of the technology. Starkey Phonak and Unitron have class leading phase inverters to reduce feedback to a minimum.
      Hope this helps email me if you require more indepth information

  44. Rick says:

    Wondering which aid you would suggest for active musicians. Not using aids yet but I will be soon I think.

  45. koshy says:

    hi.. I would like to know which earing aid brand have low maintenance and best service in India and rest of world also.

    • admin says:

      Most hearing aid suppliers provide world wide service, the main being Phonak , Seimens, Widex , Resound, Starkey Oticon and Unitron

  46. Minal shah says:

    I have severe loss in right n moderate to severe in left. Pl suggest good n reasonable price hearing aids

    • admin says:

      I would consider the new Unitron Range which I have not had time to report on. This instrument gives you the option to buy at any level and upgrade at any time in the future should you require, an excellent feature for future proofing your hearing instrument

  47. I read your reviews and all the comments, and chose the Phonak Audeo Q 90 about 3 months ago. I have moderate hearing loss but really wanted the highest quality and also to be able to listen to music. I have used Wides Senso Diva CIC for over ten years and was very happy with them, but did not like listening to music with them.

    I have to say I am very happy with the Phonaks, and I understand why you rate them so highly and can recommend them across the board. Nose reduction is fantasic. The surprise for me is that I never hear the volume being ‘turned up and down” by the program like I did with the Divas — the processing is so advanced it is all done in real time, and it’s nearly flawless. Unlike the older hearing aids, I actually completely forget I am wearing these and really have to think carefully before walking into the shower with them on. It is as if I do not have hearing aids on at all. With the CICs I was very aware of them.

    It took some getting used to the slight ‘warble’ the Phonaks add to voices, and I really disliked it at first, but took my time and gave them a chance. Now I realize that this ‘warble’ is how they dramatically enhance voices to make them very clearly audible over other sounds. The ability of the Phonaks to pick out voices in a very busy and loud restaurant is simply outstanding. It really is amazing audio technology. I believe I can hear conversations better than people with normal hearing who don’t wear hearing aids in that situation.

    Listening to music is also really great — no more ‘auto volume levels done by the hearing aid.’ My expensive stereo and speakers has never, ever sounded better, and I have a very discriminating musical ear for the most professional sounds reproduction. I custom built my speakers and even the crossovers to give absolutely life-like reproduction.

    What pleases me the most about the Phonaks is that they do not ‘occlude’ my ears — meaning when I talk, no longer is my voice dully echoing in my own head, preventing me from hearing anything else while I talk. I am also a singer and simply could not even sing with my old hearing aids in — with the Phonaks I have no problems. My audiologist gave me a bunch of different ear pieces and I use the largest one that does not ‘occlude’ or ‘block up’ my ears. The only issue singing in a choir is that the ‘warble’ or slight off-tone overtone that the Phonaks add to human voices above a certain frequency is quite distracting in a musical setting, but I am able to get used to it, given all the other advantages. My audiologist told me she tried the same hearing aids with a violinist, and that warble drove her absolutely crazy, and she had to go with another model. If music was my life, not my hobby, I might have felt the same way. But for this model, the 3-year warranty was the final clincher.

    • admin says:

      Thank you Barry for your in depth evaluation which I hope every one will benefit from.

      • It is my pleasure to be able to contribute something. I found it very hard to find quality information on hearing aids, I just wanted someone who was very knowledgable to ‘give us the straight facts’ and I felt that one or just a handful of hearing aid(s) must stand out as being better than the others, for particular needs. This forum was exactly what I was looking for, and I give you full credit for helping me make a good selection with confidence. Thanks for going the extra mile and making this information publicly available.

  48. Ken Cavanaugh says:

    Hi Im looking at the Lynx 9 . They do have a hookup with the Android cell phones . Im also looking at the Starkey 3 Series I 110 they only hookup to tha Apple phones .I can get the Lynx for 4500 for a set 3 yrs warranty 3 yrs replacement. The Starkeys for 3800 for a set same warranty & replacement. Which is a better hearing as its for there functions. Costco hearing aides are made by GN Resound there Verso 5 Wireless sell for 1895 for a set 3 yrs warranty & replacement . I have a Aubale a Starkey brand that are 5 yrs old there not cutting it so im looking for new ones . Any suggestions. Thanks

  49. Rick says:

    I’m sure your very busy, but I was hoping to get some guidance as to hearing aids that seem to be best for live musicians. I read a article that said Widex Dream are very good,according to their test,for live musicians. Would like to know your thoughts , thanks in advance.

    • admin says:

      This is tricky quite tricky as we all have differing tastes in music. However I feel the Widex are excellent with a very smooth sound, the Phonak and Unitron have automatic music programmes. It is difficult to say with out the full audiological history however all the above are excellent

      • Rick says:

        Thank you for your replies sir, as I said I am a live musician ,but what I forgot to mention is I am a lead singer in our band also. So knowing that would that change your opinion about which hearing aids to look at. Thanks in advance. Rick

  50. Gabor says:

    Reading your comments helped me make a decision concerning my next hearing aid. I had phonak for over seven years and just made a decision to go with the Q-90 versus Resound Linx (which was highly recommended) I do have an I Phone but do not like to tinker with it. Like you said put them in and forget it. My question is which Q-90 should I get. Currently I have a BTE and like it. I am 78 years old. You are doing a great service with your fair comments. I got my last hearing aid from the Mayo Clinic but they seem to be much more expensive. Do you have any recommendations. Thanks

    • admin says:

      Hi if you are used to a behind the ear the Bolero Q90 or the Naida Q90 both have the same chip inside but the Naida is more powerful. Your audiologist should recommend which is more suitable


  51. DW Burks says:

    I am a 56 year old male with hearing problems
    related to working with steel manfacturing for so many years.
    My ears scream all the time.
    I do not use a cell phone on a regular basis.
    Looking for hearing aids for everyday use to be able
    to hear people, tv, etc.
    What brand would you recommend for someone who has never
    had hearing aids?

    • admin says:

      Hi DW

      I think you should try the NHS hearing aids first this will give you a bench mark for purchasing better hearing instruments. Or you may find the free NHS suitable for your needs.


    • admin says:

      I think firstly DW I would see your GP about the tinnitus ( ears screaming )

  52. John Dory says:

    Hello, I was hoping you could explain the difference between the Phonak Naida Q90UP with the Sky Q90UP. It is for my 6 yo daughter who is profoundly deaf and currently on Phonak Savia Art (which we want to change as it is getting a bit old) and cochlear implant. We were recommended the Sky Q90UP as she is a child and it is apparently more durable, but I am a bit worried that the Sky Q90UP is just not as powerful or as clear as the Naida Q90UP. Many thanks for any advice.

    • admin says:

      Hi John
      I have just spoke to Phonak and the Sky is a new design especially for children. It is exactly the same hearing aid but with greater colour options and a bit more robust


  53. Abdul Rahim says:

    Great service Richard. My daughter fortunately got to your site today while we are trying to finalise what aid to go with.

    My son 6 years old has been wearing Oticon Get for last 2.5 years. His hearing was discovered late but he has picked up very well and picked up normal speech and sounds (some issues with b,d,g differentiation at school). His loss is moderate to severe as follows (almost same in both ears):

    Frequency : 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000
    Hearing dB : 50 70 80 80 75 70

    The aid is now giving some noise problems and the shop says the amplifier needs replacement which is half the cost. Is it worth repairing or just go for a new one. He is wearing one aid for last 4 days while the issue has come up. Is this damaging or okay for a few days?

    I would be very grateful for your advice what would be appropriate for the age and loss. The aid shop suggested Resound Live 5. Is this appropriate. Other makes are also available Phonec, Oticon, Bernafon, Siemens. The prices vary a lot and it is difficult to decide what make and model is appropriate at this age – should one go with top end max features – many may not be utilised at this age ? what are essential features for age 6-8.

    Does the loss increase with age ? what precautions should one take to contain loss ? does the aid quality and settings make a difference to the loss ? Each make dealer has his own recommendation (what make he markets) so can’t make out.

    I live in Pakistan (Karachi) and it is quite humid here (so kids sweat a lot).

    • admin says:

      Hi Abdul

      Look at the latest Phonak Q90 for children in the UK they call it SKY Q90, it is very important to get the best hearing device possible as your daughter is learning sounds all the time and the sooner you get the second instrument back the better.


  54. Dave Mileham says:

    Hi Richard,I have the Phonak Audio S IX. Or did have I lost one of the pair, they are two yrs old. I am advised to now to purchase a new generation set from the Phonak Quest range. This will cost me about a further £800,which I am happy tp pay if they would be better than what I have.(I am insured so I am being reimbursed for my present loss etc.)
    Your advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you very much from me and many others

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave
      There is not a massive difference between the S and Q range although the Q is better. The Q will not pair with the S so its either replace the S for another S or replace both with Q.
      If it was me and the insurance was paying for the lost aid I would get the Q.


  55. Valda Hayes says:

    Dear Sir, Would you be able to give me some advice on getting two hearing aids RIGHT/LEFT ears. I am elderly and have suffered deafness since a child. I attend hospital and have NHS hearing aids =, which although frequent visits to hearing clinic etc, am not coping very well and have spent the last 18months in absolute misery, feeling depressed because I feel I’ve a blanket over my head.
    I have had an audiologist private consultation, who said I have hardly any hearing in right ear/and have a perforation for many years. Moderate/severe in my better left ear.
    The Widex 440 was suggested a good aid for me at a cost of £4000 per pr. I have found one supplier advertising same aid at almost half that cost. I am confused. It was suggested that I shopped around first before I decided to go ahead.
    I would be very grateful if you could give me advice, as I may need to get another test, and also whether I should be looking at some other make. Thank you for reading my e-mail. Kind regards
    Mrs V, Hayes

    • admin says:

      Hi Mrs Hayes

      Is that £4000 per ear?

      If you would like please email me the area you live i.e. London, Bristol etc.. and I will find a reputable independent in your area.


  56. Abi says:

    Hi Richard. I have moderate sensorineural hearing loss but unlike the majority of cases my loss is in the low-mid frequencies; my hearing in the higher frequencies is within the normal range (the opposite pattern of what is usually seen). This means that as well as low frequency speech getting amplified I also get a load of other low frequency background noise amplified which is distracting and particularly difficult in noisy social situations like bars and restaurants. Clarity is also an issue generally. I’ve only ever had NHS hearing aids and currently have a Siemens Impact Pro M but it’s not very good. I’ve been thinking of going private to get access to a wider range of makes and models and more recent technology. Is there is a make and model that you could recommend for my usual pattern of hearing loss? Thanks.

    • admin says:

      Hi Abi

      I would definitely recommend you try the Phonak Q90 range expensive but should give you what you want

  57. Dan Powell says:

    The ENT has recommended resound Linx. I do not see your comments on resound. Could you please advise and/or compare them with the phonak. Thank you

    • admin says:

      The Resound is a good hearing instrument, however the proof of the pudding as they say. Ask for a trial on both and decide on your own experiences


  58. Nancy says:

    I have tried several different hearing aids and unfortunately have
    had no success with them. I have moderate to severe hearing loss
    and the major problem I have is back round noise. It does not
    matter where I am. It;s mostly in public places, although I do also
    have problems at home on a one on one with my husband. What would you recommend. Thanks for any help you can give me.


  59. Nancy Evans says:

    I have tried several different hearing aids and unfortunately have
    had no success with them. I have moderate to severe hearing loss
    and the major problem I have is back round noise. It does not
    matter where I am. It;s mostly in public places, although I do also have problems at home on a one on one with my husband. What would you recommend. Thanks for any help you can give me.


    • admin says:

      Hi Nancy

      I would definately consider trying any of the Phonak Q90 range as long as it has wireless features. It is the wireless feature that seems to excel in noise as the two hearing instruments communicate to give the best clarity in noise. The models that have this feature are: Audeo q90 – Virto Q90 (must be wireless ) Bolero Q90 and Naida Q90 ( The different models are for differing powers and cosmetics your audiologist would advise the best model for you )


      • Nancy Evans says:

        Hi Richard,

        Thank you for your reply. I forgot to tell you That I also
        have trouble with comprehending words over noise. I here the
        voice, but not the words. I am also having a tough time finding a supplier in my area for Siemens and Phonak Hearing Aides. I
        came across 1 hearing aid called Oticon. What are your recommendations on that and what model would you recommend for
        me based on my hearing loss. Thank you again.


  60. Rick says:

    Hi Richard,thank you for all your information. Wondering how you feel about the new Mfi hearing aids out now from Resound, the Linx model. Are they as good as some say, I see they are not on your list of the best. Thanks in advance Rick

    • admin says:

      Hi Rick

      All hearing instrument today are of good quality. Some instruments have many gadgets and facilities that only the technology type person would appreciate as they can manipulate their own hearing instrument like the iPhone app this does not make them better in difficult listening environments. However in my opinion I want to just put the instrument on and forget about it and let technology work for me. I believe the instruments I have selected do just that.

      Hope this helps


      • Rick says:

        Thank you so much for your comments. My Audi feels after all my testing that he strongly suggests we start with Oticon Alta Pro. He says he’s having great success fitting musians and singers with these. My lower frequencies are still great it’s the high that are the problem. Mild sloping to moderatly-severe SNLU AU it says on the test results. Any thoughts on the Oticons proposed, pros or cons. Any questions I should ask of him. I really like him,he spent a lot of time with me, so I feel good about his suggestions, just would like some feedback from you,if you would. Thanks in advance Rick

        • admin says:

          Hi Rick

          The Oticon Alta Pro is the latest from Oticon it offers a very smooth sound, musicians also have a preference to the Widex models to. Could I ask after trying the Oticon that you post your feelings here from a musicians point of view.


          • Rick says:

            Only been in the Alta’s for a week, but so far I love them. As with most I’m sure I have to get use to what my own voice really sounds like. The high frequency loss has made everything sound a little tinny this week,but it seems everyday is better. I guess I’m just not accustomed to hearing those. Very comfortable to wear,don’t even feel like they are there. Was worried about appearance as I’m sure a lot of people are, but since I’ve been wearing them NOT ONE person has noticed them without me telling them I have them on. Now that’s amazing , almost disappointing, cause I kind of want to share my joy with my friends. I work out in the public and honestly no one has noticed! Now about the music, on my first visit back they installed the music widening program. Haven’t played with the band yet, but the radio sounds awesome. So I’ll play with the band again next Wed.and see how it sounds with that program. Now this last Wed. I played with the band and was very pleased with the sound, even though it was with just the original settings. I found a program that was very pleasant ,both vocally and instrument wise. Right now to get away from the tiinny,brassy sound I simply lower the volume a little. I felt there was plenty of headroom and I sang some pretty high notes at a high volume, I let it fly loud so I could see if there was any distortion . There was none at all! I ask the others in the group to listen to my playing and my vocals, and tell me if I was off pitch or wavering off key at all. Told them I needed the feedback,they all kept saying I was right on with both all morning. Does it sound like I’m pleased, I am. These may be keepers, don’t know what more I could ask for. But Richard you never gave me your thoughts on Oticon,what are your thoughts now?

          • admin says:

            Hi Rick

            Thank you for the in-depth response.
            I like Oticon and the smooth sound however I would still keep the Phonak at the top as the Q90 would automatically select the music program rather than having to select it manually however for yourself if you where wearing them on stage they would probably select comfort in noise program which would sound awful for you and you would still have to select the music program manually, but I think you would agree your situation is unique.
            The good thing is that other musicians who read this or in that fact come to see me I will certainly make the Oticon one of the choices I offer.


  61. Dave Kennealy says:

    I wish I had come across your site 6 months ago! After much discussion and trial with my audiologist I eventually settled on Phonak Virto 70. I desperately wanted the 90 but Phonak in South Africa do not bring them in and despite much pressure from my audiologist were adamant. I go to sports stadia and restaurants a lot and still am not happy with background noise. I am going back to Ireland for a few weeks next month and am considering getting the 90. My audiologist says that she would be very happy to program these and give total support if I go this route. Would these units give me a significant advantage over the 70? (I am totally happy with these from a comfort point of view).

    Thanks for a great independent view!

    • admin says:

      Hi Dave

      Sorry for the late reply. The Virto 70 is a very good instrument and the Virto 90 is better especially in crowded and noisy environments like pubs ect.. However having bought the Virto 70 its a lot of money to buy the Virto 90 as well. Please make sure you can trial it first.


  62. Marissa Ballard says:

    I am a 54 year old community nurse & have had hearing loss for approximately 10 years and have only now succumbed to buying a pair of hearing aids. I have been to about 3 Audiology Clinics who each performed an Audiogram and all came up with the same result – mild to moderate high frequency loss in both ears. Unfortunately, I am very gullable and tend to trust everyone!! I was shocked and surprised at the different quotes and advise I received. After all the information I collected, I finally decided on the Siemens 3 with rechargeable batteries. I have noticed you have not mentioned anything re. rechargeable batteries, which I thought was unusual as it would be ideal (especially with elderly clients having impaired eyesight, loss of dexterity etc)Also the price was quite reasonable $4,500 per pair inc. the charger, 2 yrs battery supply, 4year warranty & service and 30 day trial. Admittedly, I have not received any information re. Phonak, do they do rechargeable batteries too? What are your thoughts?
    Regards, Marissa

    • admin says:

      Hi Marissa
      I think you make a very good point, however apart from the advantage of not changing the battery I feel there is no other benefit. Plus i would look into the cost of replacing the rechargeable battery, its charging time and the life of the battery when charged. I found these figures disappointing.
      The other consideration is how good the instrument is when using it, i.e. in noise, company and work etc.
      I would urge you to try the Phonak as well if possible.

      Siemens do produce good hearing instruments but I feel at this moment in time they are out shone by many other manufacturers.

      Hope this helps


  63. Dave Kennealy says:

    Thanks Richard. Although happy to pay for the improvement, I am not sure the upscale is justified. I guess I should wait until I need to replace. What is a reasonable life cycle for these devices?
    Your comments are greatly appreciated.


    • admin says:

      Hi Dave
      I would suggest a life span of 5 to 7 years. The 90’s are better and more than worth the extra few hundred pound, but a few thousand pound is a lot even for these instruments.


  64. Tom Dodgen says:

    My wife is a retired federal employee. We have, through her, Bluecross/blueshield federal employee insurance. Today in the mail we received information on a hearing aid program they have started.
    What I would like to know is, which of the following five brands they are featuring do you recommend? I should mention that I am the one in the family that wears hearing aids and I have a bluetooth device that allows me to hear my cell phone through my hearing aids and would like to keep that feature.

    They have featured the following: Widex Dream 330
    Starkey 3 series i70
    Resound alera 5 w
    Phonak audeo Q70
    Unitron quantum/moxi2 10

    Thank you very much for your help.

    • admin says:

      All five are very good models however personally in the selected range I would have a preference to the Widex, Starkey and the Phonak avoid the Unitron as this is a lower model and not equivalent to the rest, although a very good the Unitron is Mid range where the rest are Mid to High end range. Hope that makes sense.


  65. Sally Rogers says:

    Dear Richard,
    I have been trying to discover the definitive differences between the Phonax Audeo Q70 and Bolero Q70. Both seem to have the same features. Thank you

    • admin says:

      Hi Sally

      The main differences between the two is 1. The casing the Audeo is smaller 2.The type of receiver, the Audeo is a receiver in the canal where as the Bolero is a standard style behind the ear with the receiver in the aid itself,. Both aids have the same Quest 70 chip and therefore each perform as well as one another. The best one is dependent on a hearing test to find which suits the hearing loss better.


  66. Lee Larson says:

    I am in need of a good BiCROS hearing aid (bad left ear; better right ear). Recently, Costco (here in the U.S.) started selling the Phonak, line (at attractive prices), although they don’t offer the CROS model. However, they do offer their ‘Brio’ model (which is apparently the equivalent of the Bolero Q90, without CROS compatibility or tinnitus correction) with a remote microphone. Thinking that the remote microphone might prove to be a more flexible alternative to the CROS left earpiece, I decided try out the Brio first, as Costco has a generous 90-day return policy. About a month ago, I purchased the Brio model ($1300) with the Compilot/TV/mic accessory ($300) from Costco. I am not satisfied.

    I have been quite pleased with the Costco service, and the hearing aid itself works great. The clarity, functionality, and freedom from feedback and distortion of the right earpiece are significantly better than my old unit, although I have only been able to use it for one ear without the remote microphone, which has only worked for two days. However, the accessories and Phonak’s service, documentation, and reliability leave much to be desired. Phonak’s documentation (including features and specifications) and operating instructions are virtually nonexistent, in the package or online. The accessory operability is cumbersome, inadequate, and ill-conceived.

    I have until the end of October to return the Costco hearing aid, and I’d like to explore other alternatives before then. The two best alternatives are the Phonak Bolero Q70 CROS (which is the same as the Q90 in CROS mode) and the new Widex 330 or 440 CROS. For the above reasons, I’m not too keen on Phonak right now, and I’d prefer the Widex if its performance is comparable to that of the Phonak. I am contemplating taking the Widex for a one or two week test drive while I still have the Brio. I plan to compare the CROS configuration to the remote microphone, but I suspect that I will prefer the former. Do you have an opinion as to the relative performance of these two CROS models?

    • admin says:

      Hi Lee

      I have a confession for the last two decades I have thought the CROS or BICROS to be of little use based on users basically not using the instruments after a year. That said this is not the case now. I have been amazed at the feedback I have received from the Phonak CROS and BICROS. It is an excellent hearing instrument and people feel it improves hearing in all their listening environments. The Q70 and Q90 are not the same and there are quite a few differences. The audiologist should be showing you all you need to know about the instruments operation but the documentation is quite basic I would agree. Unfortunately CROS and BICROS instruments are ones that I do not dispense a lot of based on the type of loss not being very common, and I have never tested the Widex however I do think Widex is an excellent manufacturer and well worth a trial. Please leave feedback for others if you do trial the Widex.


  67. Nancy Evans says:

    Hi Richard,

    I recently talked to my audiologist and is now giving me a trial
    period on the Oticon Altra Pro. It has not even been a week since the trial started. So far it is pretty good. The only thing I don’t like about it is the volume control. It only beeps once
    each time you raise the volume, so you don’t have any idea what number volume you are on.

    She also told me if I wished i could try the Phonak Naida Q 90.
    So I think I might take her up on that and try it. Richard what
    are your thoughts?

    • admin says:

      Hi Nancy
      The Naida has a beep at the top and bottom of the volume range but as with all of the latest digital instruments it is difficult to find what volume the aid is on. I think it would be a good idea to try Naida and please post your feedback here for others to read. The audiologist sound’s very good the fact she offered a trial.


  68. Dawn Stutelberg says:

    I have a 91 year old mother and it her hearing aids never work. It is causing her to decline and we would like to get her new ones. She has trouble putting the batteries in sometimes because they are so small. The hearing aids she has now fit into her ear and are small. We need suggestions. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Dawn

      I would suggest visiting your local independent hearing specialist for help. There are a range of rechargeable hearing instruments


  69. Adil Khan says:

    Hi Richard
    I am using hearung aid 2007 phonak cic but now not clear sound so my hearing loss in childhood fiver so now 75 db both ear please advise me which is good for me and im working in electrical medium voltage foreman please reply


    • admin says:

      Hi Adil

      Without a detailed history and audiogram it would not be right or proper to recommend a specific hearing instrument. I can only inform you of what is worth trying and what i have found to be the best based on my feedback.


  70. Michael Williams says:

    Hi Richard,
    Following on from our recent consultations and trialling of the Phonac Q90 hearing aid pair (bi-aural), I would like to record my complete satisfaction with the instruments provided. As a long time hearing aid user, the difference in hearing and sound quality provided by the Phonac Q90 aids is nothing short of remarkable. Having long experience of some of the shortfalls of hearing aids, i.e. feed back issues, wind noise, cosmetic appearance, I can confidently say that the pair of aids which you have provided eliminate all of those problems, and have markedly improved my hearing capability. It is true to say that the Phonac Q90 aids have made a notable improvement to the quality of my life and social interaction.
    May I also add a thank you to yourself for the outstanding level of service which you have provided to me in assessing my needs and providing the opportunity to trial the aids without any obligation on my part.
    Very best regards,

  71. David Liang says:

    Hi, Richard: Thanks for posting your comments regarding the hearing aids. I am 77 years old and has been suffering from high frequency hearing range. My problem is in processing speech from others in the presence of background noises. With your helpful comments, I have pretty much decided to get a pair of Phonak Q90. My question to you is, would that be okay to receive testing and fitting from a hearing aids disperser rather than an audiologist from a clinic. Thanks & best regards.


  72. George says:

    Hi Richard,

    I am thinking of getting a pair of Phonak Q90 virtos. I notice that the Phonak website mentions several ‘wireless add-ons’ that can be bought. Does this suggest that the hearing aids may not be up to the task of improving one’s hearing sufficiently on their own?

    Best regards,

    • admin says:

      Hi George

      Thats an excellent question, all manufacturers produce wireless accessories and in every day activities they are not in my opinion needed, however for the times when they are i.e. listening to a tutor in a auditorium when your sat at the back, they are invaluable. Other accessories like connecting to a blue phone while driving, listening to your iPod with out headphones are also useful but not essential.


  73. David Liang says:

    Thanks Richard for the helpful comments on hearing aids. My hearing loss is in the high frequency region. And I am having trouble of picking up speech, particularly when there is a lot of background noises. Currently, I am considering of purchasing a pair of Phonak audio Q90. I wonder if it is okay to receive testing and fitting from a hearing aid dispenser rather than from an audiologist in a clinic.

  74. Joe LaVoise says:

    I live in a very humid area and sweat a lot. Are there waterproof hearing aids? I saw that Siemens has the Aquaris but I don’t know much about them. I currently have a behind the ear Oticin delta 6000. Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Hi Joe

      Most of the major manufacturers coat their hearing aids with a nano coating to help repel moisture which should help a lot. There are a few water resistant hearing instrument but personally I would try how the nano coating works for you as the instruments seem to be a lot better


  75. Lucas says:


    I was diagnosed with hearing loss in my both ears(I can’t hear low tones, 55db ). I’m just 30 so it is a big deal for me.

    At the moment they recommended me Starkey 3 Series 111 which is around £1200. Is it good choice or should I aim for something better?


    • admin says:

      Hi Lucas
      You are very young and your needs will be very demanding i.e. active social life. I would get the best you can afford

      • Lucas says:

        Hi Richard,

        I understand that but I still don’t know what the best is :( I don’t have chance to try them out as I live abroad so I will have small window of opportunity to adjust it and set it up. Could you advise me with some high end hearing aids suitable for me? Is Starkey series 3 worse than Phonak? Is there big difference in technologies they use?

        Thanks for any help in advance!

        • admin says:

          I would say the Phonak is better yes. But also you do need to put some time aside to ensure they are programmed to your needs as precisely as possible. After all it is important and they are not cheap

          • Lucas says:

            Thanks for this answer! I am almost convinced to Phonak now. I will have 2,5 weeks to adjust so it should be fine. My concern now is that CIC or nano versions don’t have most of the Phonak technologies. I am young and active person so I would prefer discreet hearing aid but is it worth it?


          • admin says:

            Hi Lucas

            Unfortunatley thats the trade off for smaller hearing aids.


  76. Sean Whita says:

    Hi Richard. at first, thank you for this lovely website.

    I am wearing hearing aids for the past 23 years thanks to my congenital severe hearing loss of around 70-75db at 500-2000 khz for both ears. (altough, I swear to god I can hear low sounds and bass from miles away..)

    I’m using Beltone analog hearing aids CIC specially made for me (with some naggings towards my audiologists) after a bad experience with digital hearing aids 2 years ago.

    could you recommend any way of avoiding those awfully channel changes and keep volume ratio flat and unchangable to help me do the progress to the digital world easier? I don’t belive them saying it’s improved.. I am keen to set the volume one time with my audiologist and thats it…

    Can I find a digital hearing aid with 1 channel (or whatsoever), a wireless connectivity (I’m 26yrs old and I love technology), with a good battery life and most important to be completly invisible?

    my apologies for the gibberish blah blah and the lack of a proper punctuation, my Hebrew is much better.

    Many thanks..

  77. charles says:

    Hi Richard,

    Very interesting and informative article.Secondly, have you ever evaluated the Siemens hearing aids Insio 5 mi CIC?.Can you give me your opinion about this model.
    Thank you

  78. Mohammd says:

    Dear Richard :

    Iam ask you last week but my question deleted and no answer I don’t know why .
    my problem is I found 2 hearing aids fit my problem & my life styli , unitron 6 channel and high technology in the ear ( very small ) and the scond it is oticon IIC in the ear ( very small ) , and the prices similar , please give me your advise .
    thank you

  79. Mohammed says:

    Hi Richard Please what about unitron quantum 6 canals Cic micro and are they big different between auto and by bottom

  80. Mohammed says:

    Hi Richard. Please what about unitron quantum 6 canals and are they big deference between auto and by botton. Thanks

  81. Tony Ryan says:

    Dear Richard,
    I have had a hearing test at a high Street Optical/ hearing store. They recommend Phonak Q90 @ £2950 a pair. An alternative High Street store recommends Widex 440 @ £2795 a pair. Are these prices competitive and if so, which would you recommend(or indeed, a third option?) I am 58 years old with moderate hearing loss and mild tinnitus.
    I appreciate and like your very helpful and informative site

    • admin says:

      Hi Tony

      I have never seen even on the internet prices so low. Be certain that they are not cutting corners or supplying older models or adding things on later

      • Jill says:

        Hi Richard,
        I agree that seems to be a very good price that Tony (29 Sept post) is being offered. My mother is 82 years old and the audiologist has provided 4 options in the Phonak Virto Q range for her to choose from – Base $4400, Phonack Virto Q50 $6600, Phonak Virto Q70 $8590, and Phonak Virto Q90 over $11,000 – this is in Australian dollars. The offer includes 3 years warranty and one year consultations for adjustments etc. Is this more like the prices one would expect for the Phonak range?
        My mother has chosen the Phonak Virto Q70 and will have a 30 day trial period where she has the option for a refund if she does not like it. I just hope we have not over-invested in a device that is beyond the sophistication she may require – just seeking reassurance.


        • admin says:

          Hi Jill

          It is difficult to give a price in Australia however that equates to roughly £6600 for Virto 90 which seems very high. I would shop around first before committing.
          If the user has a active social life i.e. days out meetings restaurants group conversations the Virto 90 is the best investment other than that I would chose the Virto 50

  82. Arvind says:

    Dear Richard,

    Based on the recommendation on your page, I wanted to buy Starkey Ignite 20 for my grand father. He is not in UK and I want to give him when I visit him on 16-Oct. Unfortunately, the places I searched suggested me to have patient’s hearing test done and I could not get it off the shelf. Please could you suggest how can I buy at reasonable rate outside as my Grand-father is not in UK and there is no plan for him to travel?


  83. Don says:

    Hi Richard,
    I’m testing a pair of Phonak’s Brio R-312T from Costco (Canada), got a good price at $2700/pair (I believe they are equivalent to the Q90’s). I’m considering testing maybe an Oticon or Widex Dream from an independent, they are offering discounts, but still would be more expensive than the Phonaks (I do not have exact model numbers). Do you think it is worth my time? I see you have Phonaks as top rated.

    Thank you

    • admin says:

      Hi Don

      I think the Phonak Q range is the best but every one is individual and both the Oticon and Widex are very good hearing aids and have a very similar sound to them. If you have the time I would try the Widex but still think you will prefer the Phonak.

  84. Loreto says:

    Hi Richard,
    I am hoping you can advise us: My husband is 43 and has complete hearing loss in one ear and mild to moderate in the other. He has 2 different tinnitus sounds in his head. One that is constant and another that comes and goes. When his tinnitus flares up his hearing gets even worse due to the noise in his head.
    He has seen the ENT and the audiologist and they are recommending the Widex Dream 330 cros. One of the reasons is the zen program.
    He has used a cros aide before—about 5 years ago but couldn’t get used to it and discontinued its use. Currently his hearing loss is interfering with work and family so he is resorting to using an aide again . The doctors have told us that technology has improved dramatically since he last used the device so we are hopeful. Money is not an object so we want to make sure that we purchase the best device for him. Your advice would be extremely appreciated.

    Warm regards

    • admin says:

      Hi Loreto

      I can image this is a difficult problem and I can not help with specifics as I do not know all the history and audiological data. However I can give you some advice on the instruments you mentioned. I have never fitted the Dream 330 CROS or BI CROS but Widex is an excellent manufacturer. However if money is no object the 330 is not the top of the range the 440 is and if you are from the UK this coming Wednesday Widex launch a new product range which will outdate the Dream model however I can not say that as fact until Wednesday. I have fitted the Phonak Audeo Q90 BI CROS and CROS and to be fair even I was taken back by the feedback from the patients. The Widex as you stated has a Zen program that Widex claim helps deal with tinnitus by playing Zen music which is a lot more pleasant than a tinnitus masker which plays white noise as in the Phonak( basically the sound of a off tuned TV ). Perhaps trying the 440 or awaiting a week to see if the newest model includes BI CROS system ( which it probably will ). If you need further advice please contact me via email or phone I will help the best I can. PS Ensure you have a trial period and that you have a centre to walk into for after service.


  85. Glenn says:

    Richard: Are you able to comment on the ReSound Hearing aids quality? I am looking forward to not having an extra device to carry around and am looking to get the Linx since it work with iphone to provide Blue tooth and remote control. Thank you very much.


  86. Loreto says:

    Hi Richard
    Thank you for your quick response. My husband will be testing the Widex bi cross starting the 20th of October. You mentioned that there was going to be a new launch for Widex this past Wed. possibly…I can’t find any info online…are there new products we need to look out for?
    Thank you again for all your help!

  87. Lisa says:

    When will Widex introduce the new product range outdating the current Dream model in the U.S.A.? I am currently within a 30 day trial of the Widex Dream 440. Should I wait for the new Widex product? Which is more current the Widex Dream or Phonac Q90? I don’t want to purchase today and then be outdated in the near future.

    Thanks in advance.

  88. Kim Huselid says:


    Thanks for all the great info! This is such a complicated decision with so little good info so we appreciate your efforts.
    We are in the US and have shopped a lot for this item with prices ranging from 2000-7000 a pair!
    Are you aware of the Phonak that Costco provides? It is the Brio. Is it equivalent to Phonak Q90 that you recommend? How does that compare with the Starkey, currently? We are iphone users so that seems like one less gadget to carry.
    Why isn’t there more objective info? Is it that it is still a relatively new market? Costco seems good but their customer service is overwhelmed.
    Thanks for your time!

    • admin says:

      Hi Kim
      Unfortunately I do not know if the Brio is the Q 90 equivalent but by all accounts it seems to be from what people have said on this page. The Starkey and Resound both have iPhone apps and if this is something that would be of use to you then I would certainly try it. However in my opinion the Phonak is far better in more environments than both without having to adjust via an app although I’m sure its something that will be introduce in the near future for people who like the connectivity.

  89. Sameer says:

    In the reply dated Oct 9,2014 to Loreto you stated “this coming Wednesday Widex launch a new product range which will outdate the Dream model”

    Can you please give me more details on that? ..I couldn’t find any information about any newer series from Widex …Were you referring to ‘DREAM CIC MICRO’? …I’m considering an upgrade to Widex Dream 440 from my current Widex Mind 330…I’m using Mind 330 for past 4 years and i’m currently getting 50% off on my Mind 330 in exchange of new Dream 440 from my dealer. I need to make a informed decision.


    • admin says:

      Hi Sameer

      Most launches are steeped in secrecy as to what they are launching, and yes you are right it is the Micro that was revamped/launched

  90. Kat says:

    Hi Richard
    Your website is very informative and useful so thank you .

    I have suffered with Menieres disease for the past 10 yrs and I consider in the last stages …. My left hearing (when last tested was moderate loss) whilst my left was normal. I have since noticed both slightly worse …. I have been back to ENT but the text couldn’t be performed as my tinnitus was too loud for me to differentiate the tones and had to be cancelled! I am now coming to terms that at 36yrs of age I am going to have wear hearing aids but I really want no one to know I am wearing them ….. This is really beginning to put a lot of stress on me and really wanted to know the best on the market that can’t be seen (phonak virto 90 seems best) but what level of hearing loss does this help with?? Your best opinion will be much appreciated

    • admin says:

      Hi Kat

      The latest Widex micro is very powerful as well as the Phonak Nano Q90 although most small hearing aids will be suitable upto severe hearing loss.

      The Widex comes with a Zen program which may just sooth your tinnitus more than a white noise generator that the Phonak offers.

      Hope this helps, also ask the ENT consultant if he has any further suggestions.

  91. Steve says:

    Hi Richard,

    First of all thanks for your excellent informative site.

    I have moderate loss in my left ear and fluctuating moderate-severe with distortion in my right ear. I currently have on trial a pair of Specsavers Advance 815 RIC aids but not happy with how they are performing. Whilst wearing them sharp sounds (light switches, things being dropped etc…) have a reverb type effect which can make these noises sound like they come from someplace else. My audiologist claims this is normal but that is simply not true as my old NHS Oticon’s did not have this annoyance. In your opinion is this something you would expect?

    As I mentioned, my right ear suffers from distortion and fluctuations, is there anything that can be done for this or should I just accept the right as a ‘dead ear’?

    I’ll be returning the aids soon and wondering if you have any recommendations?

    My hearing loss is:
    Left: 250 = 45, 500=40, 1000 = 50, 2000 = 60, 4000 = 75, 8000 = 95
    Right 250 = 50, 500=50, 1000 = 65, 2000 = 65, 4000 = 75, 8000 = 80

    Any advice would be much appreciated.


    • admin says:

      Hi Steve

      Not sure what the hearing aid is as Specsavers rename the aids. However most top of the range hearing aids have what some manufacturers call sound relax, this is where the instrument detects the sound as a sound you do not want to hear i.e. a light switch ect.. and does not over emphasise it.

      Hope this helps


      • Steve says:

        I think the specsavers aid is a re-branded Siemens Pure Micon 5/7 which by all accounts is a very good platform.

        Given my hearing loss, what would you recommend? It’s a shame you don’t have an office up Newcastle way as it would seem good audiologist are hard to come by.


  92. Bruce Probst says:

    I found your assessments most interesting.
    I am about to replace my 2 Phonak versata M (now 5 years old) with 2 top end aids. I am wondering if there has been any thing new since your report in June 2014 that would upstage the Phonak Q90.

    Your advice would be very much appreciated.

    Best wishes

    Bruce Probst (Sydney, Australia)

  93. Dear Sir or Madam, I have a slowly progressive post-lingual loss and my audi has recommended Phonaks. She has suggested HAs using the Venture and Quest platforms, depending on my needs. I need to hear well in business meetings with 3-6 people (I run a startup biotech company). Business sometimes includes hearing in restaurant settings. I care about reduction of noise or unneeded sound, because some sounds hurt my ears. I don’t need to hear music differently or to hear at loud parties. My loss preserves low frequencies and leaves me with unusable highs at 4k and up. 1500Hz loss is 30dB, 2kHz loss is 35dB, 3kHz is 60dB, 4kHz is 70dB, 6kHz and 8kHz are 100dB (off frequency listening, when I was younger I didn’t hear tones, I heard hiss). I would prefer an earmold because the RICs are uncomfotable unless I use power domes, which cause the wires to stick out too far. I am extremely grateful to you and other experts who can help me make the correct first attempt to find suitable aids to purchase. Your advice seems very detailed and solid–thank you for your work and commitment to patient education. Sincerely,

    • admin says:

      Hi Barb

      Your audiologist recommended two very good hearing aids. The Venture being the latest but only available in RIC form, however a c mould can be fitted on this model.
      If it has to be in the ear then look at the Virto Q range from Phonak as well and discuss your options with your audiologist


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