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Hearing Rehab: Can You Trust Those Online Hearing Aid Rankings?

calendar-icon July 12, 2023
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 Consumer Reports Hearing Aid Rankings:

78- Costo/Kirkland

75- Phillips

75- Phonak

75- Oticon

73- Rexton

73- Bernafon

73- Resound

72- Wibex

72- Unitron

71- Audible

71- Lucid

71- Signia

71- TruHearing

70- Miracle Ear

70- Starkey

69- Beltone

Why You Shouldn’t Trust These Rankings

People often go to the internet to do their research. But Google, unfortunately, doesn’t always provide reliable data. Plus, there has been an increase in over-the-counter hearing aid options. But I always say that a hearing aid is only as good as the provider who fits it. If they don’t follow best practices, you may not get very good outcomes.

Let’s get back to the rankings. Consumer Report’s relies on data collection from subscribers. They ask the people who are subscribers to rank their hearing aids. We need to keep in mind that not all hearing loss is created equal and that influences the outcomes.

Costco/ Kirkland branded content will ALWAYS be first in these rankings because Costco claims they can sell things at a severe discount, consumers are more likely to report that their products are better, simply because they’ve saved money.

These rankings have nothing to do with the capability of the hearing aid. Most of these lists are not researched so they’re not honest. The people making these lists are not audiologists or trained in hearing research. Some of these results are basically just paid advertisements so it’s difficult to trust these results.

It makes me mad because as an audiologist, you try to stay on top of research to provide the best care for people and then you have this kind of nonsense that you must explain to people. It confuses people and makes it hard for people to know who to trust.

Hearing Aid Brands I Trust as an Audiologist

I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite brands. I have different brands for different types of hearing loss. I like to use Oticon for severe hearing losses, especially because their hearing aids are just incredible at recovering hearing. Widex is a manufacturer that I prefer to use for tinnitus. I’ll put a Widex hearing aid on someone with normal hearing if they feel like they’re struggling to hear or if their tinnitus is disabling the patient’s way of life. Widex’s pure sound technology makes treating mild loss easy. The new Starkey “Genesis” technology is significantly improved from their last model, the Evolve AI, and I am getting impressive results for my patients. The battery life on the new Genesis technology is twice as long as the previous generation.

My Advice for Researching Hearing Aids on the Internet

If I could give anyone a recommendation when it comes to researching hearing aids, I would say “you need to go with a provider that’s independently owned.” Independently owned practices have the flexibility of working with multiple manufacturers, meaning more options for treatment. If a provider only has one manufacturer’s hearing aid to demonstrate on you, they’re not actually working with other manufacturers, even if they say they are. If you really want to ensure you’re getting the best technology to treat your hearing impairment, you should trust your hearing treatment to an audiologist whose clinic works with multiple manufacturers. This will give you a full playbook of options, increasing your chances of success.   

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