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The Best Hearing Aids of 2016

November 01, 2016 by David Roberts
Published in: Hearing Aids

 

Hearing aids aren't exciting. Well they are for us audiologists, but we are a rare breed. For most people hearing aids are a necessary tool to help you through everyday life.

If you're reading this then chances are your hearing aids aren't doing a good enough job and you are looking for something better. If that is the case then you should be at least a little excited because 2016 has been a very good year for hearing aid advances. There have been a number of innovations, especially in the area of improving hearing in the presence of background noise.

This year for our top hearing aids of 2016 article we have picked both the best of the best and also those that provide something different, so whatever your budget, hearing loss or ear shape, there should be something for you.

First Place - Oticon Opn

This year has been the easiest ever to pick the top hearing aid. The Oticon Opn came out in June 2016 and has outperformed every other hearing aid on the market. These hearing aids certainly won't suit everyone. They have no in-ear models and no full sized BTE's, just the single RIC (receiver in canal) model. They are also quite expensive. If you are fortunate enough to be able to afford one and have the right kind of hearing loss to suit this hearing aid then you are unlikely to get better hearing anywhere else.

Pro's

  • Best in class hearing, especially in background noise.
  • Clear, natural sound.
  • Highest specced hearing aid available at time of writing.

Con's

  • Expensive
  • No ITE models
oticon opn


2 Resound Linx2 9

The Linx2 9 hearing aid was top last year and slips to number two only because it was edged out by the Oticon Opn. It retains its high position as they now have an even smaller RIC model and because the price has come down. You get a lot for the money with any of the Resound Linx2 range.

Pro's

  • Great quality hearing in all environments.
  • Additional functionality with smartphones as they are a "made for iPhone" hearing aid.
  • Full range of forms available including in the ear (ITE), completely in the canal (CIC) and invisible in the canal (IIC).

Con's

  • None
linx

3 Starkey Soundlens Synergy

Starkey brought out a lot of new hearing aids this year, 11 in total. Whilst all were impressive, the ones that stand out for us are the Soundlens Synergy. These IIC (invisible in canal) hearing aids can be made 20% smaller than any other IIC's on the market. This means that if you have narrow ear canals and have been unable to wear IIC's previously then it may now be a viable option. 

Pro's

  • Makes IIC's available to more people.
  • The Soundlens Synergy i2400 is the only IIC hearing aid with full wireless capabilities.

Con's

  • The most expensive hearing aids we supply.
soundlens

4 Unitron Flex

You won't find a hearing aid called the Unitron Flex, it is a "flexible" way of trying out a hearing aid. Available on any of the Unitron North range, Flex lets you try out the hearing aid without paying for it first. When you get the hearing aid, it will only function for a set amount of time before disabling itself (this stops people running off with them) You can then return the hearing aid or decide to get the fully enabled unit. This also lets you try out different technology levels to see which suits you the best. As we offer a full 60 day money back guarantee anyway this offers no real benefits, however for some people who are less trusting of guarantees, it certainly offers peace of mind when first trying out hearing aids.

Pro's

  • Try hearing aids, worry free.
  • Unitron North is a great range of hearing aids in it's own right.

Con's

  • Restricts you to just trying and comparing Unitron aids.
flex


5 Bernafon Nevara 1

The Bernafon Nevara 1 is far from the best hearing aid, it's not the smallest, it's not a name most people have heard before. What you do get is the best performing hearing aid you'll get for under £500 each. It's worth bolding that statement. Unlike hearing aids by other manufacturers, the Nevara 1 has exactly the same base technology as their top-of-the-range aids that are three times more expensive. If you are looking for a basic hearing aid then don't be tempted by various national companies "own brand" hearing aids, or tempting sounding "two for one" offers on outdated technology, buy a pair of these instead, you won't regret it.

Pro's

  • The same Channelfree processing system as the more expensive Bernafon aids.
  • Full range of forms available including in the ear (ITE), completely in the canal (CIC) and invisible in the canal (IIC).
  • £795 for a pair.

Con's

  • These are still basic aids and are not suitable for those with an active lifestyle as they don't have much noise reduction.
nevara


6 Oticon Dynamo / Resound Enzo2

Those with profound hearing losses often don't have much choice when it comes to hearing aids, many have worn the NHS power range of aids and have struggled to get the clarity they need. This has drastically changed over the last year with the release of two new ranges of superpower aids. The Oticon Dynamo is an "old school" design, big and robust, manual volume control wheel that goes from one to four. If you are not profoundly deaf then this won't mean anything to you but for many veteran hearing aid wearers this is what they might have been missing. The Resound Enzo2 range takes the opposite approach. High tech, smartphone compatible, built for streaming and accessories and still with great clarity when not using them. Whatever type of superpower aid user you are, one of these two is likely to significantly improve your quality of life.

Pro's

  • Best of both worlds for the profoundly deaf, both aids with higher peak amplification than ever available before.
  • Compatible with TV and phone streamers, direct mic's, audio shoes. The full range of accessories.

Con's

  • Only available in the large BTE shape.

 


 

- Now the aids that didn't make it.

Phonak Belong / Phonak Venture

Whilst we like Phonak, they always make solid reliable aids, they haven't done much to excite us recently. Their Venture range is coming up to two years old and had been outclassed by most manufacturers, so when the new Phonak Belong range was announced we were looking forward to it.

There was much secrecy and speculation, what amazing new innovations would Phonak be introducing? Come September 23rd 2016, launch day, big fanfare and... rechargeable batteries, that was about it. A new computer chip in them? No. Finally managed to achieve streaming without the bit hanging around your neck? No. That last one we expected at the previous launch two years ago.

Again, we really like Phonak and expect them to get back on top at some point, but currently there isn't much to recommend them.

Siemens / Sivantos / Signia Primax

Like the Phonak aids above we had high hopes for the Primax. The Previous range, Binax, hadn't been terribly well received amongst audiologists. Since then however, a company called Sivantos has bought Siemens hearing and were putting in considerable investment. They were changing over the branding to "Signia" and we were told that much had been refined and improved with the new Primax range. Having spoken to many of our audiologists about these aids since then, the main feedback we get is that they can't really tell the difference between the older Binax and the newer Primax.

 

Author: David Roberts

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