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The Best New Hearing Aids for 2024.

My name is Dr. Lisa Monardi and I’m an audiologist and owner of Marin Hearing Center in Corte Madera CA and San Francisco Hearing Center in San Francisco, CA. Our doctors of audiology have fit over 10,000 hearing aids. Unfortunately, the majority of health insurance companies don’t cover hearing aids. As a result most patients are paying out of pocket for their hearing devices and hearing aid services. At Marin Hearing Center, we guarantee our patients will be satisfied with a no questions asked 6 week 100% refund policy. We spend an average of 8-10 hours fitting hearing devices and providing follow-up care to all of our patients. You can be sure that we are highly motivated to ensure patients love their hearing aids. And more importantly, we want our patients to be well, to live life to the fullest and hear every moment. Because let’s face it, those special moments with loved ones are often what matters the most and gets us through the tough times.  We live in an area with a high population of Doctors, Engineers and Musicians, and well -educated people in general. You can be sure that many of them have done their own research and they know a lot about hearing aid technology and expect to be fit with the latest technology.

The benefit of being an independent audiologist owned private practice means we can choose from any hearing aid manufacturer. There are 6 major hearing aid manufacturers globally that sell over 95% of the hearing aids sold today and guess what, they are not owned by Microsoft, or amazon or Alphabet or even Samsung. The largest manufacturer of hearing aids today are Phonak, Oticon, Widex, Starkey and Resound. There are a bunch of other smaller companies, but most are either owned or affiliated with one of these companies. While we are talking about affiliates, most of these manufacturers own their own retail hearing aid clinics, which aren’t independent. Together they sell over 1.2 million hearing aids a year in the U.S. They spend an average of 400 million a year on research and development. Hearing aids keep getting better year after year. What are the best new hearing aids 2024? Let’s see

Our patients ask all the time, “what is the best hearing aid available right now.” Well, I always give them the same answer. The best hearing aid available is the device that works the best for your brain. That’s right, your brain, not your ears. Because hearing actually happens in the brain. Our ears are mainly responsible for funneling and sending sound along the auditory pathways to the brain. Our brains are pretty individuals so what might work well for one persons hearing sensitivity, it may not work as well for another person with a similar hearing sensitivity. With that said, we can make some generalizations and look closely at the most advanced hearing aid technology today as well as feedback from patients to determine which hearing aids are working the best for the vast majority of patients, their hearing sensitivity and the way their brains are processing sound.

The best new hearing aids 2024

Widex SmartRic. When Widex Moment came out, they pretty much revolutionized hearing aid sound processing with their Puresound technology. With puresound they created the FASTEST hearing aid processing ever. At 3 ms, they sped-up the digital sound processing by about 5 MS to up to 10 milliseconds compared to any other hearing aid manufacturer. Why does this matter? Well it matters if you have normal hearing at some frequencies. Because your ears process sound even faster, so if your hearing aid lags behind your normal hearing part of your hearing, then you may end up hearing an echo or tinny sound. Now if you have hearing loss across all frequencies this isn’t going to make much of a difference but frankly I feel that all things being equal, I’d rather have faster digital signal processing.

Fast-forward to 2024 and the latest hearing device breakthrough from Widex is pretty cool. They have completely changed the way the hearing aid looks and sits on your ears. It looks thin like an eyeglass temple and is L-shaped to sit higher on the ear making the directional microphones sit horizontally on TOP of the ear. This makes a huge difference in your ability to hear in noise, an average of 12% and up to 50% better than hearing aids with a traditional behind the ear design that sit slightly behind the top of the ear meaning the directional microphones are facing upwards or more vertically than horizontally. The other interesting feature for people who have worn hearing aids before, is the microphone housing which better protect it from wind-noise and hair rustling. If you are someone who walks outside a lot or lives in a windy place, this is going to be an important feature for you. This isn’t something most people list as the most important benefit of a hearing aid.

The Last improvement in the Widex SmartRic that really stands out from all the other hearing aid on the market is the rechargeable battery life. You get over 37 hours of battery life form one single charge. Wow, that’s incredible. Even more impressive, is the charging case. More than just a charger it is a super-charger! It feels sturdy is easy to close and looks a lot like an air pod case. The charger also serves as a protective case for your hearing aids and is portable for on-the-go charging. You can keep it with you and pop your hearing aids in for at least 2 hours and get 7 full days of charging before you need to plug in the case itself. There is no other hearing aid charger that even comes close to that. If you travel or are someone that hates having to remember to charge your hearing aids every night, you are going to love this charger.

Oticon Intent.  If you are someone who is intrigued by the benefits of artificial intelligence in sound processing, you are going to be fascinated by how Oticon’s new hearing aid is using AI to improve your ability to hear in noise. This could be a game changer for speech understanding in noise. Yes, I know I keep talking about hearing in noise, why, well this is the number one difficult situation for people with hearing loss to hear in. So any hearing aid that give filter out unwanted noise and only detect and enhance the sound you do want to hear is going to be more beneficial than another. Oticon also redesigned their case making it a bit shorter but also a big wider. For a few patients with close knit ear, this has been a bit of an issue. Battery life is pretty good….

Starkey Signature Series. Everyone wants the best hearing possible, but not everyone wants to wear a receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids. The best smallest invisible in the canal (IIC) manufacturer is Starkey. I haven’t figured out why the other manufacturers can’t make a tiny hearing aid, but Starkey does and boy are they tiny. The downside of IIC is that they are not rechargeable. Fortunately Starkey signature is available in a slighter larger, completely in the canal hearing aid that is rechargeable. And it has an impressive 38 hours of battery life and is waterproof up to 30 minutes. Do you need to hear and swim? You are going to love these hearing aids. The downside of completely in the canal hearing aids is that your own voice usually sounds a bit different. Think, talking with your finger in your ear.


Best New Hearing Aids 2024

Most Natural Sound Quality: Widex Smart Ric

Longest Battery Life: Widex SmartRic.

Best at Filtering Background Noise: Oticon Intent

Smallest: Starkey Signature Series