Published on 02/03/2020
We understand how challenging it can be to find a hearing aid especially if you've never worn a hearing aid or even if you have and are looking to upgrade. Before you embark on this journey it is important for you to spend some time researching hearing loss, your local audiologist, hearing care services, the different hearing aids available and familiarising yourself with the hearing aid brands in the industry. But, what are the best hearing aid brands? What is their history? Let's take a look...
In this article, we focus on the main hearing aid brands in the audiology industry, a little bit about their history, the technology they provide and how they compare to each other. You may be wondering why researching hearing aid brands are an important part of your hearing loss journey and hearing aid process. The simple answer to this is that each hearing aid brand displays technical innovation in different ways. What one hearing aid brand has to offer in terms of technology, style, hearing experience, connectivity and features - might not include the right hearing aid for you and your hearing loss.
When researching hearing aids - looking at both the hearing aid brand and the devices they offer is crucial to narrowing down the list of potential hearing solutions. However, after your hearing test, your audiologist will look at your results from your audiogram and advise what hearing aids will benefit you the most. This will be determined by the level of hearing loss, amplification needed, your lifestyle, expectations, connectivity required and what features you might need.
At a glance, here are the hearing aid brands in the industry:
This hearing aid brand was founded in Switzerland in 1947 and belongs to the Sonova Group, who also own Unitron. Another interesting fact - Sonova also owns the majority shareholding of Boots Hearingcare. Currently, Phonak are the biggest manufacturers of hearing aids worldwide.
Phonak's company mission has always been to create hearing devices that improve the quality of life and reduce the limitations of hearing loss. Phonak pride themselves in offering innovation, a variety of models, style and advanced hearing aids for children. Therefore, offering a choice of makes, models for all ages, all levels of hearing loss and individual preferences.
Phonak are also the first hearing aid brand to launch the world's first Bluetooth streaming hearing aid from any Bluetooth device directly without the need for a go-between streamer accessory. Previously, it was only iPhone users that could access this connectivity. Praise was given to Phonak for this, as over 80% of the world own Android smartphones. Therefore, those with hearing loss who had an Android phone missed out on this beneficial connectivity.
The hearing aid technology levels are named 90, 70, 50 and 30. The higher the number, the higher the technology level and the more expensive.
Each model in the Phonak ranges has different names. These are Nano (invisible in the ear), Virto (in the ear), Audeo (tiny behind the ear), Bolero (behind the ear) and Naida (the power behind the ear).
This hearing aid brand is owned by Danish company Demant A/S - who also own Bernafon and hearing aid retailer Hidden Hearing. Oticon is one of the world's leaders in hearing aid innovation and was founded in 1904 by one man's dedication to improving his wife's hearing loss. Ever since then their motto has always been 'people first'.
Their most praised hearing aid would be the Opn S - which builds on the already brilliant model, the Opn.
The technical specification for each range is labelled as 1, 2 and 3 - with 1 being the highest level.
This Danish hearing aid brand is part of the GN Group (Great Nordic) who used to trade as GN Resound. They were the original innovators of the first open fitting hearing aids and 'made for iPhone' hearing aids. Resound have consistently lead the industry in terms of technology, which is mainly due to them having over 147 years experience in the audiology world. Their main focus continues to bring consumers a natural and realistic experience, along with the connectivity that is expected in this modern, fast-paced world.
This hearing aid brand has six technology levels. These being 9, 7, 5, 4, 3 and 2. The higher the number the greater the technology.
Widex are a Danish hearing aid brand founded in 1956 by Christian Topholm and Erik Westermann, as a family business. In 2019 they merged with Sivantos and together they are known as WS Audiology. However, they still remain separate, as both manufacturers have different philosophies and offer unique products to consumers.
They remain one of the industry's leaders in hearing aid innovation and now manufacture hearing aids in over 100 countries. Widex's main focus is providing those with hearing loss the ability to differentiate between background noise and conversation easily, in all challenging environments.
Widex label their hearing aid technology levels as 440, 330, 220 and 110. 440 being the highest technical specification.
Signia's hearing aid brand legacy started as Siemens in 1978 by Werner Von Siemens. He designed an enhanced telephone receiver for people who have hearing loss to better understand conversations on the phone.
Siemens was purchased by the Sivanto Group in 2015 and chose to rebrand Siemen's as Signia. Before this, Siemens was renowned for making average hearing aids, but now with this collaboration - they are creating better hearing aids and more advanced technology for their consumers.
Signia's technology levels in all their ranges are named 7, 5 and 3 - 7 being the greater technology.
Bernafon was founded by Hans Gfeller in Switzerland in 1946. This hearing aid brand is currently sold in 70 countries worldwide and is a part of the Demant Group - who also own hearing aid brands Oticon and Sonic. Their hearing devices are famous for providing natural sound to the wearer without great expense.
9, 7, 5, 3 and 1 - the higher the number the greater the technical specification.
This hearing aid brand is the only American one, as three out of the six big come from Denmark - their HQ is based in Minnesota, USA. They are also privately owned by the Texan billionaire, Bill Austin. In recent years, Starkey has established themselves as one of the hearing aid brands that have shown great innovation in both technology and design.
The story of Starkey began in 1963 when Harold Starkey first opened his workshop before Bill Austin bought the brand in 1967. They are also famous for their charitable work - establishing their Starkey Hearing Foundation in 1984 to support those with hearing loss and providing over 1 million people around the world with hearing aids.
1000, 1200, 1600, 2000 and 2400 being the highest specification.
This hearing aid brand founded in 1964, is owned by the Swiss company - Sonova and based in Canada's 'Silicone Valley' in Ontario. Sonova also owns Phonak and the majority shareholding of Boots Hearingcare. In effect, Unitron is the cheaper alternative to Phonak hearing aids, as they are a part of the same company. Very similar to Volkswagen and Audi. Unitron has always worked closely with health professionals and academics to better understand what hearing experience consumers want and need.
800, 700, 600, 500 and 9, 7, 5 and 3. The higher the number, the greater the technology.
Founded in 1977, the Lohne-based hearing aid brand's focused has always been to service orientation and provide innovation to its consumers. Audio Service was also the first hearing aid brand to produce custom hearing in Germany.
We always publish our hearing aid prices of all our hearing aid brands we offer. You can also see what rating each hearing aid has been awarded for reference, which you might find useful. View our full hearing aid price list here.
You can find some of the latest reviews on hearing aid brands and products within our customer reviews here.
Read Next: Hearing Aid Types
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.