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Which are the best non-prescription hearing aids? Are any of these low-cost devices as good as more expensive, prescription hearing aids?

Devices designed to improve hearing that are sold without a prescription are known as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, and are much less expensive than prescription hearing aids.

It turns out that some PSAPs are just as good as a prescription hearing aid, while others are not, according to independent tests comparing the prescription hearing aid Oticon Nera 2 to the following PSAPs: Sound World Solutions CS50+, Soundhawk, Etymotic BEAN, Tweak Focus, and MSA 30X Sound Amplifier. Sign in to read the full answer showing how the brands stack up >>

Also see the Encyclopedia article about Hearing Loss for information about natural treatments which have been used for hearing loss.

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Barry16309   December 27, 2017
I have been using both the SoundWorld solutions for a few years. The CS50+ is great for phone calls on my iPhone, but for most people a little Nerdy in how it looks. But at 77 I gave up on trying to look cool a long time ago. I am an electrical engineer which may tell you something. My wife has some more expensive ones from Costco, but screwing around with tiny batteries and cleaning them all the time is not for me. The CS50+ has a big rechargeable battery that goes behind the ear and is held on with magnets, very cool. That battery and it’s spare magnetically snap onto its charger every night. The battery last about 12-14 hours, so you rarely need the second one. I love going for walks and listening to books being read to me or in the car while driving. It is a little fragile, remove before you pull your T-shirt over you head, but the gel type of super repairs. Or you can mail to SoundWorld.

On rare occasions I use the other one, in my other ear, like watching a movie with foreign accents. It’s a little more money cause they, SoundWorld, got the hearing aid certification for it. Can’t use for phone calls but okay for listening to books. Have fun. ;-))

Marlyse15388   August 14, 2017
I bought prescription hearing aids at Costco (in Australia). The professional services offered by their audiology centre are second to none. Apparently the devices sold under their Kirkland brand name are high-end Siemens ones. But they retail about 70% cheaper than at independent audiologists. Well worth becoming a Costco member, if you're in the market for a hearing aid.

Diana16305   December 27, 2017
Good to know! Thanks!

Virginia15386   August 13, 2017
If you have had difficulties finding a hearing aid that works for you, it's important to distinguish between hearing aid sales people and audiologists. Some sales people are very capable. Others are not. A state license doesn't ensure that an individual knows anything.
An audiologist has either a Masters degree or a Doctorate in audiology. You may want to check with your Primary care MD for a referral or if you have had to see an ENT MD, they may work with an audiologist they can refer you to. Good Luck!!

Carl15275   July 7, 2017
I am a 92 year old classical clarinetist the plays the entire clarinet family including the basset horn. When my hearing needed assistance I consulted with other clarinetists and found that the in the ear aids pick up bone vibration created by the reed/mouthpiece and I need an on the outer ear aid. I found the MDHearigAid AIR the best. It has four different settings for different hearing situations and the volume levels can be adjusted for each at a cost of $350 for one or $600 for a pair and $700 for a pair and a year’s supply of tube tips , batteries and a Protection Plans.

Beverly15270   July 6, 2017
Are the prices in the comparison chart for a pair or for a single hearing aid?
When my hearing diminished 10 years ago I purchased prescription hearing aids (both ears) for about $3000. They did not work for me. The loud sound dampening wasn't quick enough to prevent painfully loud sounds (babies screaming, plates dropped in a restaurant, etc.). I also could not hear phone conversations well with them (better without them). Because of the expense, I wasn't willing to try other hearing aids. It's great to know that the PSAP's are much less expensive as well as possibly effective.   July 6, 2017
Hi Beverly -- The prices are for single aids.

Lynne15257   July 5, 2017
I believe there are two sources of problems, the ear and the brain. Hearing aids can help the first but not the second. I paid $6000 for two Audiology hearing aids and hear only slightly better because my hearing loss is brain centered.

Shelley15250   July 5, 2017
Your stated limitation to this study, that it "was a controlled environment which may not represent all real-life auditory settings" is a big deal. My mom tells me over and over that while she's in the audiologists office wearing her hearing aids she can hear fine. Once she's out in the real world her very expensive hearing aids are often not useful in many situations. She cannot hear well in crowded noisy rooms, or if a person is not directly facing her in a quiet room, or in other uncontrolled situations where noises come from many directions, or where volume is not the problem. In her apartment on the 16th floor, the sound of sirens from below is excrutiating. It's clarity not volume that she lacks. She has tried several brands of hearing aids and all have those same problems.

Mildred15269   July 6, 2017
I went back weekly until the settings were right for me. I have 3 programs on mine all I have to do is hold down the little "TRIGGER" on one of them and it changes both. The brand is Liberty Hearing Aids from Sams Club and the audiologist is great. Any time I have a problem or just questions I go in and they take care of me.

JAMES15385   August 13, 2017
I, too, have the same problem with even the slightest background sounds. I think the term 'Hearing AID" means that they only AID in hearing. Far from replacing the lost hearing. I've had three different HA's over the past 9 years and they may add some new tricks like smartphone control but none are any better at solving my basic hearing loss- that is identifying the words.

Karen15249   July 5, 2017
I've used MDHearingAid for years and have been very satisfied with the cost and quality.
Karen S Johnson, MD

Louise15289   July 10, 2017
I am curious about the MD Hearing Aid and wonder what the reviews are on it,

Thank you,

Frank15246   July 5, 2017
David15245, what hearing aid did you buy that you got such satisfaction with? I cannot make a decision without input of satisfied consume r. Thank you for information. Frank

David15245   July 5, 2017
There is more to hearing aids than just amplification. In my case I diminished a variate of of sounds, including low high and treble tones. Without my prescription hearing aid, I feel like I'm sitting in a empty 50 gallon barrel. I had my hearing tested by a real ear MD and took my prescription to a number of hearing aid sellers for the best price and quality of sound.. There is jungle out there when it comes to buying hearing aids. Its the best thing I ever did for myself,everything sounds so natural, music sounds much better, the voices of other people sound so much better. I did try a sound amplification hearing device and all it did was just amply what I was already hearing, like sitting in a bigger 50 gallon barrel.

Jan15247   July 5, 2017
Thanks for such a good comment. Could you say what you ended up with that worked so well for you?

Regine15268   July 6, 2017
I can relate to David. Best thing I ever did. Phonak is a really good brand. The higher end hearing aid helps stream in situations where hearing is difficult (restaurants, group gatherings). As David said, there's a jungle out there. Important to find a good audiologist who can adapt your hearing aid to your needs.

Regarding finance, there is a medical credit card that you can apply for (Care Credit), which helps you pay back without interest for a year.

Good luck. I would be much more isolated without my hearing aids. I'm glad I didn't settle for cheapo ones.

Charlene 15248   July 5, 2017
I would be interested also with which hearing aids you ended up with?

Paul15251   July 5, 2017
I agree with the comments on being in a barrel even with costly hearing aides. David failed to tell us which hearing aide helped. Could he please tell us?

suzanne15253   July 5, 2017
I too would like to know what brand/model you went with. Thanks.

David15263   July 5, 2017
i have been quite pleased with a relatively low end Widex dream pair (that doesn't mean it was cheap, but our company's health insurance plan covered the set.) I have a moderate amount of high frequency hearing loss and the four frequency bands are sufficient for my needs. We're not in/among crowds so the problems with auditory discrimination in a environment with a mix of voices doesn't apply. But the effects are very noticeable in certain other settings: outdoors in the woods where much more of the "high end" natural sounds emerge - leaves rustling, some types of bird activity; also in movie theaters where it's quite interesting to turn the aids on and off and hear how much more is going on with the aids working.

Theresa15266   July 5, 2017
Where did you buy yours David?

Mary15258   July 5, 2017
Yes, please tell us what brand you use, David! Thanks!

David15283   July 9, 2017
The aids were Widex Dream 330s - i got them through the audiologist I'd been referred to. But though i'd probably have gotten them if I hadn't had good health insurance through my employer - it would have been an expensive purchase. Why "eyes/ears/teeth" aren't considered part of basic health care plans by default I don't know. You CAN get a small device that allows the user to alter settings via bluetooth - which i do not have; otherwise settings need to be changed by a provider.

Paul15244   July 5, 2017
Perhaps the best non-prescription hearing aid is the EARGO PLUS.
I own it and it is remarkable in several respects: most older people have high frequency loss. The Eargo sits in the ear canal suspended by fine plastic filaments. This allows low frequency sound to pass directly. Thus the amplifier need only amplify the high tones. This allows the hearing aid to be minutely small and fit entirely in the ear.

Theresa15267   July 5, 2017
Where did you buy your's Paul?
Tx. Terry

This CL Answer initially posted on 7/3/2017. Last updated 7/6/2017.

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