Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Hearing aids allow you to go about your daily life normally despite hearing loss. With their modern and discreet designs and latest technologies, hearing aids are almost invisible to others and offer you a wide range of functions. Whether noise reduction, tinnitus cancelling or Bluetooth function, the in-the-ear and behind-the-ear hearing aids are suitable for all levels of hearing loss and compensate for your hearing loss.

In this hearing aid test 2023 you will find all the information and questions in one place. We want to help you find the right hearing aid for you, no matter how severe your hearing loss is. With our evaluation criteria and answers, you can compare the different hearing aid models and make your purchase decision easier.




The most important facts

  • Hearing aids can be used for all levels and types of hearing loss. From tinnitus to severe low-frequency hearing loss, you will find a suitable hearing aid on the market for every problem.
  • There are two types of hearing aids, in-the-ear models and behind-the-ear models. In-the-ear hearing aids are mainly suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. If you suffer from severe hearing loss, you should look at behind-the-ear hearing aids.
  • If your doctor prescribes a hearing aid, your health insurance fund is legally obliged to cover part or all of the cost of the hearing aid. You only have to pay the prescription fee. This means you can get your hearing aid for as little as 10 euros per ear.

The Best Hearing Aid in the United Kingdom: Our Picks

Criteria for buying and evaluating hearing aids

The different hearing aids on the market can be distinguished by various points. We have selected evaluation criteria for you to help you find the right model.

The criteria you can use to compare hearing aids include:

In the next sections you will find more information about the criteria listed.

Hearing loss

Hearing aids vary in function depending on the type and severity of hearing loss. Some models are made for mild hearing loss, while others are made for moderate to severe hearing loss.

For different types of hearing loss, there are specific hearing aids that compensate for this loss.

A distinction is often made between conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss and mixed hearing loss, which is a combination of the other two.

In conductive hearing loss, sound vibrations are no longer transmitted to the inner ear and speech is no longer clearly perceived. The hearing aid increases this sound pressure and thus remedies this form of hearing loss.

With sensorineural hearing loss, certain frequencies no longer reach the brain and speech comprehension is distorted because some sounds are lost. The right hearing aid can compensate for this loss of hearing function.

If you have both types of hearing loss, this is called combined hearing loss. Depending on the severity of the hearing loss, it can be treated with medication. In the case of moderate hearing loss, a suitable hearing aid can be used.

The different hearing aid models differ in function from the type of hearing loss. Therefore, when buying a hearing aid, make sure that you choose the right one for your problem and your level of hearing loss. It is best to consult a doctor or a specialist for detailed advice.

Usability

You can adjust the volume and other parameters of hearing aids to make them work for you. This is often done on the hearing aid itself, but there are models that come with a remote control or that you can connect to your smartphone.

With remote control hearing aids, you get a small and simple remote control device that allows you to adjust the volume and modes. You can block out ambient noise, adjust the volume of each hearing aid and in some cases even connect wirelessly to other devices. For example, you can connect your hearing aid to the TV or laptop.

You can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth to adjust the settings.

Modern hearing aids can also be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth and all settings can be adjusted via an app. This way you don’t need to carry a remote control with you all the time.

In the app, you will find different options for volume, activation of noise reduction or sound level data of the environment. This way you have all your useful information and functions in one place.

The different control options make it easier for you to use a hearing aid and give you the opportunity to easily adapt your hearing aid to your needs. When buying, choose the model with the preferred usability for you.

Noise reduction

With moderate to severe hearing loss, it is even more difficult to understand other people when the ambient noise is particularly strong. Hearing aids usually have noise cancelling features that reduce or eliminate this noise.

Some hearing aids have different modes that you can set depending on the environment you are in.

For example, you can “turn off” the wind in nature, minimise traffic noise in the city or reduce the noise level in large halls.

If you suffer from severe hearing loss, we recommend that you get a hearing aid that has several noise reduction options. This way, you can minimise the annoying noise in any situation so that you can focus on what is important.

Battery type

Hearing aids can be powered either by batteries or rechargeable batteries. When choosing batteries, make sure you choose the right type for your hearing aid. Not every battery is the right size for every hearing aid. The different types of hearing aid batteries can be easily identified by a standardised colour scheme of the protective foil.

The batteries are identified by the colours yellow, brown, orange and blue (with ascending size).

How long the battery lasts depends on the size and power of the hearing aid and on individual use. Depending on the model, the battery can last as little as 5 days or up to 3 weeks with daily use.

Alternatively, you can choose a hearing aid with a rechargeable battery. These can be easily recharged. They often last a whole day and can be charged overnight on the charging station.

Connection to other devices

Hearing aids also have the option to connect to other devices. This is especially useful if you sit at the computer a lot, listen to music or watch TV. With the Bluetooth function, you can easily connect to other devices and use the hearing aid as an audio playback source.

Cinemas, theatres and public buildings sometimes have induction loop systems installed. These systems emit wireless sounds that can be received by the telecoil in your hearing aid. This allows you to connect your hearing aid and start the listening experience in these places as well.

Purchase an adapter to pair with Bluetooth-incompatible devices.

There is also a solution for devices without Bluetooth. Various adapters allow these devices, which were previously not Bluetooth-enabled, to connect to your Bluetooth hearing aids and transmit the audio.

If you want to be able to go about your daily life without restrictions, we recommend that you look for a hearing aid that has a Bluetooth function and allows you to connect to other devices. This way, you can go about your daily life undisturbed and find your way in any situation.

Decision: What types of hearing aids are there and which is right for you?

There are two types of hearing aids that are worn differently. In-the-ear hearing aids are very small plugs that can be inserted into the ear. With behind-the-ear hearing aids, the housing is placed behind the ear and the sound is conducted to the pinna through a tube.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
In-the-ear hearing aid Small and discreet
Individually fitted to the ear canal
Only for mild and moderate hearing loss
Only a few models with Bluetooth
Behind-the-ear hearing aid For all strengths of hearing loss
Bluetooth connection
Tube needs to be changed regularly
Slightly more noticeable than in-the-ear hearing aid

If you want to learn more about the two hearing aids, check out the next sections. We have summarised more information about the two types for you here.

Im-Ohr Hörgerät

In-the-ear hearing aid

In-the-ear hearing aids have all the electronics in a small shell that you can insert directly into your ear. Some models have a small tab that allows you to easily pull out the hearing aid. Such models are invisible to other people and add to your appearance. This type is also very suitable for people who wear glasses and for athletes.

This hearing aid comes in different styles, which vary in size, performance and fit. To ensure a perfect fit, an impression of your ear canal is taken and the hearing aid is individually fitted. This way you can be sure that the wearing comfort and the sound quality are at the highest level.

Such an in-the-ear hearing aid is suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss and cannot be used for all sizes and shapes of ear canal. In addition, only a few models have a Bluetooth function, most are controlled via a remote control.

Advantages
  • Small and discreet
  • Individually fitted
  • Suitable for athletes and spectacle wearers
Disadvantages
  • Only for mild and moderate hearing loss
  • Cannot be used in all ear canals
  • Usually no Bluetooth function

Conclusion: If you suffer from mild hearing loss and want a hearing aid that is small and (almost) invisible, then the in-the-ear hearing aid is the right choice for you.

Hinter-dem-Ohr Hörgerät

Behind-the-ear hearing aid

The behind-the-ear hearing aid has all its electronics in a tube that you place behind your ear. Through a small tube or cable, the sound is conducted into the outer ear. The model can be chosen in different colours so you can match it to your skin and hair colour. There are also water- and sweat-proof hearing aids, which are also very suitable for athletes.

This hearing aid can be used for all levels of hearing loss. There are also battery and rechargeable variants. Thanks to the wireless connection, you can control the hearing aid via your smartphone and also connect it to other devices. This connectivity makes your everyday life easier.

The behind-the-ear hearing aid is slightly larger and therefore more noticeable than the in-the-ear device. Because it is attached to the outside of your ear, you may feel uncomfortable pressure when wearing glasses. Another disadvantage is that the small tube needs to be replaced regularly to maintain the quality.

Advantages
  • Can be used for all levels of hearing loss
  • Bluetooth function
  • Battery and rechargeable variants
  • Colour matching
Disadvantages
  • Larger and more conspicuous
  • Pressure sensation possible for spectacle wearers
  • Regular tube replacement

Conclusion: If you have a severe hearing loss but don’t want to let it stop you, the Behind-The-Ear hearing aid is right for you. The Bluetooth function allows you to connect all your devices to the hearing aid.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about hearing aids answered in detail

Before you buy a hearing aid, we have summarised and answered relevant questions for you. Take a look at this guide and decide which model is right for you.

Who is a hearing aid for?

Hearing aids are needed when the sense of hearing loses its function and the intelligibility of speech or the perception of sounds is limited. Hearing loss mainly occurs at an advanced age, but can also occur at a young age after accidents or due to illness.

Hörgerät-1

Hearing aids are suitable for younger and older people. Which hearing aid model suits you best depends on the severity of your hearing loss and the shape of your ear canal.
(Image source: JD Mason / unsplash)

There are hearing aid models for every age group, so even young children and teenagers can find a hearing aid that suits them. These vary less in function, but in size, which is adapted to the ear canal.

Hearing aids can be used for mild hearing loss, but also for severe hearing loss. Depending on the strength, the types of hearing aids vary. For example, in-the-ear hearing aids cannot be used for people who suffer from severe hearing loss.

For which diseases can a hearing aid be used?

Hearing aids can be used for most diseases or accidents that affect the sense of hearing. In the case of infections, we recommend that you buy a behind-the-ear hearing aid so that the ear is sufficiently ventilated and further infections can be prevented.

Some of the most common conditions are tinnitus, low and high frequency hearing loss, acoustic trauma and middle ear infections. We will tell you what these are and how the hearing aid is used in these cases in the next sections.

Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the unpleasant hissing or buzzing sound in the ear. Most people have had such an episode in their life, which lasts a few seconds and then stops. However, hearing loss, loud noise, circulatory problems, stress or misalignments of the cervical spine or jaw joint can regularly trigger this buzzing, so that it does not stop.

If you notice a hearing loss, you should have it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to prevent serious consequences.

If the tinnitus lasts longer than three months, it is classified as chronic. It has a major impact on the sense of hearing and leads to hearing loss. In such cases, it is advisable to buy a hearing aid with a tinnitus noiser, which counteracts this hissing and whistling and improves the sense of hearing.

Low and high frequency hearing loss

Low frequency hearing loss makes it difficult to hear low frequencies and sounds. This is noticeable in noisy environments and in group conversations where you may not fully understand the conversation. It can also be a sign of low frequency hearing loss if you cannot hear deep bass tones.

Hearing loss and hearing loss will be determined by your ear specialist by means of an audiogram.

The opposite is true for high-frequency hearing loss.

You hear low frequencies and conversations in the distance, but you do not hear the high tones.

For both types of hearing loss, there are special hearing aids that compensate for the loss. However, it may take several tries to find the right hearing aid for you that compensates for this type of hearing loss.

Bang trauma

Blast trauma is an acoustic trauma in which excessive sound pressure damages the inner ear. This sound usually lasts only a few milliseconds, but can have severe consequences. If the pressure wave severely damages the inner ear, then long-term tinnitus or high-frequency hearing loss can develop, among other things.

If you have persistent symptoms after a sound trauma, hearing aids can help you to compensate for the hearing loss. Hearing aids can help you hear high-pitched sounds again and reduce or even eliminate the unpleasant noise.

Otitis media

If you have your middle ear infection treated early and in time, it will not cause any secondary damage. But if you wait too long, the infection can affect your hearing and you may develop hearing loss. In this case, only a hearing aid or an operation will help. You should get a behind-the-ear hearing aid so that the inner ear is well ventilated.

How much does a hearing aid cost?

Hearing aids can easily cost several thousand euros per ear. However, if the hearing aids are medically necessary, your health insurance will contribute to the cost, which means that your costs will be lower again. There are also hearing aids for free, where the statutory health insurance covers the entire cost. You then only have to pay a prescription fee of 10 euros per ear.

The higher the price category, the better the sound quality and the more additional functions the hearing aid has.

Hearing aids can usually be divided into price classes. The basic class includes hearing aids that have the important hearing functions, but no special additional features. These are suitable if you do not wear the hearing aid all day.

The higher price classes have all the additional functions and the hearing aids are produced for unrestricted everyday use. This means you can comfortably attend concerts or understand a conversation in large crowds without any problems.

In the following table you will find different hearing aid classes with their starting prices per ear.

Type Price per ear Suitable lifestyle
Basic class 0 to 500 Euro Quiet
One-to-one
Out and about a lot
Middle class 500 to 1,200 euros Normal
Restaurant visits
Meetings
Premium class 1,200 to 2,500 euros Active
Family celebrations
Concert visits

These prices are only guidelines for you to use. There are also much more expensive hearing aids and those that have a lower price but many additional features. Consult your doctor to find out which hearing aid suits your everyday life and talk to your health insurance company to find out which costs they would cover. This way you can benefit from an attractive price.

What additional features does a hearing aid have?

Hearing aids in the no-cost or basic class usually have simple programme settings that are suitable for occasional use. If you choose a model from a higher price range, additional functions are added to make everyday life easier.

More and more models have a Bluetooth function that allows you to connect to your smartphone and other devices. This allows you to control your hearing aid via an app, link the audio playback of your computer directly to your hearing aid and answer calls.

Hörgerät-2

With the Bluetooth function, you can connect your hearing aid to your smartphone. This allows you to control the hearing aid via the app, answer calls and switch additional functions on and off.
(Image source: Christian Wiediger / unsplash)

In addition, some hearing aids have noise cancelling, which you can adjust. Noise cancelling is designed to help you regulate and (almost) eliminate ambient noise in noisy environments or in public. This way, you have less difficulty understanding a conversation and are not disturbed by the unpleasant noise.

Similar to noise cancelling, there is also tinnitus cancelling. This is particularly suitable for users who have chronic tinnitus and want to counteract this noise or hissing. This can also be switched on at the hearing aid or via the app in the appropriate situation.

What alternatives are there to hearing aids?

Mild hearing difficulties can be treated with medication, but success is not guaranteed. Often, you have to use hearing aids for moderately severe hearing loss so that you can manage your everyday life without restrictions.

If you have severe hearing loss and hearing aids do not help, you can get a cochlear implant (CI). The implant transmits audio signals directly to the auditory nerves, allowing you to hear. This surgery is done under anaesthesia and in some cases with a local anaesthetic. As with any surgical procedure, it has its advantages as well as its disadvantages.

Advantages
  • Hear better than with a hearing aid
  • Feel more confident in everyday life
  • Can concentrate in noisy environments
  • Better sound quality
Disadvantages
  • Facial and taste nerves can be injured
  • Intolerance to the materials
  • Bleeding inside the skull
  • Patient may lose residual hearing

Cochlear implants are only used if the hearing aid is not enough and the patient still has severe hearing loss. In addition, doctors have to be sure that the part of the hearing that is being replaced is inadequate, because the implants can cause the patient to lose residual hearing.

When does health insurance cover the cost of hearing aids?

In principle, German health insurance companies are legally obliged to cover the costs of hearing aids if the doctor deems a hearing aid necessary. For this, a hearing test must be carried out and some criteria regarding hearing loss must be met. In the speech hearing test, your comprehension rate must be below 80 percent and your hearing frequency must be at least 30 decibels.

In the case of the no-cost models, the health insurance company will cover the full cost, and you only have to pay a prescription fee of 10 euros per ear. However, if you choose a higher price range, you will have to pay a larger share yourself. The maximum amount the health insurance will cover is 784.94 euros for a hearing aid. However, if you need a more expensive device for medical reasons that have also been determined by a doctor, the health insurance fund must also pay a higher amount.

The health insurance fund is also obliged to replace your hearing aid every 6 years if your hearing loss does not improve and the criteria are still met. Therefore, go to your doctor for regular check-ups and don’t forget to change your hearing aid after 6 years.

How do I clean my hearing aid?

You should check your hearing aid daily for dirt, because this is the only way the device can work properly. Whether it is an in-the-ear or behind-the-ear model, the hearing aid should not come into contact with water and the wrong cleaning agents, as this can damage the electronics. Here we tell you how to clean and dry your hearing aid properly.

Cleaning

In-the-ear hearing aid
  • Use a soft cloth or special cleaning cloths and wipe the hearing aid.
  • Use a small brush to clean out depressions and difficult spots.

Never put your hearing aid in water and do not use aggressive cleaning agents, alcohol or soaps.

Behind-the-ear hearing aid
  • Disconnect the earmould, earpiece and tubing from the hearing aid.
  • Wipe the case with a soft cloth.
  • Clean the separated parts with a suitable disinfectant (available from your acoustician).
  • Stubborn spots can be cleaned out with a special cleaning stick or soft toothbrush.

There are now special UV cleaning boxes on the market that you can buy. They clean your hearing aid quickly and efficiently and you can put it back on after 15 minutes.

The following video shows you how to properly clean in-the-ear and behind-the-ear hearing aids and what you should pay attention to.

Drying

It is very important that you allow your hearing aid to dry properly. The temperature and humidity inside the ear are very high, and the accumulated liquid can cause considerable damage to the electronics. Therefore, you should let your hearing aid dry overnight.

Your acoustician can provide you with special drying boxes, drying cases or drying cups in which you can store your hearing aid overnight. These dry your hearing aid properly and you can use it again in the morning.

How do I adjust my hearing aid correctly?

To make your hearing aid more comfortable to wear, you should make sure that your hearing aid fits properly in your ear. Otherwise, it can cause pressure points and whistling noises, which is very uncomfortable.

If you notice that your hearing aid whistles, it can be caused by three things: the device is dirty, the volume and frequencies are set incorrectly, the earmould is incorrectly fitted. Very rarely, it is due to a technical defect. So before you bring your hearing aid in for repair, you should check it for the above-mentioned points.

Earwax

Earwax can block the transmission of sounds, causing them to move back out. This is what causes the whistling sound. Make sure your hearing aid is always clean to avoid this whistling noise. If you suffer from an overproduction of earwax, you can have it removed regularly by your ear, nose and throat specialist.

Correct volume

The correct volume of the hearing aid determines whether you can hear speech properly. The higher the volume setting, the better the speech understanding, but the greater the tendency of the hearing aid to generate feedback, which then triggers the whistling.

Hearing aids usually have a so-called feedback suppressor, which can be activated by the acoustician in case of unwanted whistling.

The correct volume can be determined based on the severity of the hearing loss. To do this, talk to a specialist to determine your appropriate volume. This can be adjusted later, but you will be aware of what range will be unbearable for you.

Proper fit of the earmould

If your earmould does not fit properly or is too open, it can cause whistling. The whistling noise is caused by the sound that is supposed to stay in the ear canal coming back out and to the microphone because of the incorrect shape of the earmould.

If this happens, take your hearing aid to an acoustician so that he or she can adjust the earmould correctly. You should also have the earmould checked and adjusted regularly, as wearing it for a long time can deform it.

Image source: belchonock/ 123rf.com.

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