Choosing the right hearing aid brand

There have been several comments on here about people struggling to make MacBook Pro work with Phonak Paradise.

Yeah, I think a “lifetime” hearing aid purchase is unrealistic unless one has a short expected lifetime!


@jim_lewis As far as I understand all brands I am considering have support for BT LE as well as my laptop, iPad, iPhone so I think I am already on edge of technology for now. It is quite possible that my audiologist has a very good reason to prefer Resound, but wanted to get some personal experience from some who compared several devices. And I understand my results might be different.

@MDB I also had problem to keep the BT connection with MacBook Pro even using regular BT headsets, but once I got the new model (last year) all problems disappeared. I am currently using AirPods Pro and the connection stable (may be a couple of glitches rarely). I think new BT with LE support makes the difference.

That kind of assumption will get you into trouble. Murphy’s Law is very much in effect with hearing aids. I don’t think there are ANY devices that currently support LE Audio and the LC3 Codec.


BT LE or BLE is not “BT LE Audio.” BLE starts with BT 4.x. BT LE Audio requires BT 5.2 and the LC3 codec for all its features (may work with lesser features with BT 5.0, someone claimed).

Check out the threads in the links below if you think that you’re going to be on the cutting edge of technology with currently available HA’s. Especially if you’re into all Apple gear, Apple has yet to produce its take on BT LE Audio and how it will integrate with MFi hearing aids (Apple, besides creating the MFi protocol with ReSound initially, is one of the BT SIG members for BT LE Audio, as are most of the other major HA manufacturers except for Phonak, notably). The BT SIG group for BT LE Audio naturallly toots their horn loudly for their baby, proclaiming its the future of BT for the next 20 years or something like that. Remains to be seen how fast and how widely its adapted but if their claim has any merit, the HA’s today, rather than being cutting edge technology, might end up on the cutting room floor…

Not saying any premium HA available now won’t do a great basic job of helping you hear better but if being current with the latest technology is important as far as connectivity goes, you might miss out on a bit there unless you’re willing to upgrade as time goes by or just wait now to see what happens in the coming months with the next iPhone, WWDC 2021 starts June 7th! - maybe some hints there?!

P.S. I’m potentially interested in new HA’s, particularly if suddenly we have a bunch with both BT LE Audio and, for the iPhone, with bidirectional hands-free calling, FaceTiming, Zooming, or whatever. But if some HA’s like that do come along soon, I plan to also wait and see what Phonak’s response to that is. If Phonak just continues along the classic BT route, it’ll be Oticon, ReSound, or something else for me, most likely. What would be great would be if Phonak could offer the option in one HA of using either a classic BT connection or BT LE Audio, etc. When one is as ignorant about BT as I am, one can always hope for the impossible!

It depends on your hearing loss and what you want from a hearing aid besides good hearing. Make a list and decide what hearing aid fit your life needs and wants. Then match the list to the hearing aids your audiologist gives you. That where I would start. There are a lot of choices good luck with your choice.

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@jim_lewis Thanks for education, really appreciated. When I mentioned “edge”, I actually meant that my Apple devices are more or less latest what is available now. I understand that the industry may see technology breakthrough relatively soon with the standard provided major brands will jump the train immediately. I am hesitating if I should wait or order now what is available and plan upgrade in several years (nobody talked about “lifelong” purchase).

My hesitation between three brands is just due to the lack of previous experience with any of them. I am interested to hear about strategy of trying them if audiologist can order only one at a time and fitting process may take time. I need to make the decision to stay with the device or switch to something else during 45 days. I am looking for advice how to understand more or less quickly if device is working for me. I understand it might be very subjective but still would be interested to get some clues.

I think best approach is to purchase/trial with the intent of it working. If it does everything you want, stick with it. If not, talk to audiologist and share your concerns. They can either come up with a recommendation or tell you you’re being unrealistic.


I am using Resound aids and have been quite satisfied with them. The only issue I have with Resound is the fact Resound doesn’t have complete connectivity / control with Android phones, only iPhones. Any aids I purchase in the future will probably be from a manufacturer more current and cognizant of their customer’s needs. I am forced to purchase auxiliary accessories to gain the user features (with my Android phones) that are enjoyed (as is) by iPhone users.

I used “lifetime” in quotes as a bit of sarcasm as you basically said that you wanted to get more HA than you really needed now in the expectation that would stand you in good stead quite a while into the future (like the decades old idea “buying more personal computer than you really need”). In my reply, I just wanted to suggest that some changes were known to be coming along that might quickly give you buyer’s remorse on not having waited just a few months, possibly, to see what develops. When you use a word in quotes, it tends to mean that you are riffing on its true meaning, which is what my intention was.

@jim_lewis No worried, I got your sarcasm :). On a serious note, I do try to buy things that may exceed my requirements now if I can extrapolate that my requirements will grow soon. For example, I installed the solar panels with production slightly more than I need now but I know that the panels output will decrease over the years. Here is the same: based on my hearing tests I had with a difference of 2 years, I do see some decline (mild, but noticeable), and again extrapolating can predict that for 3-4 years timespan I may need some adjustments. I am afraid that during trial during max 45 days I will not be able to try all sound environments I can find myself (including during current restrictions). So options for high granular tuning might be useful (hopefully, I will not need UP models). Also, I saw on this forum a suggestion to buy the highest model I can afford. Am I wrong?

I have had all three in my trail periods at different times and they are all good hearing aids. Phonak, Oticon, and Resound are all good. Phonak Paradise is really nice due to its Bluetooth and ability to have two Bluetooth connect devices at the same time. Up to 8 paired. It also has the ability to have truly hands free calling. Oticon more is great for it opn format and AI setup. Resound I can’t say much about them Had them for a short time. There was a lot of reason for the Resound not working out. Having gone through this process of picking a hearing I try to keep in mind on how is the device helping me or in this case you to hear in the settings You use it in? All the bells and whistles are of no use if the device doesn’t help you hear better in your everyday situations. Due to my hearing loss and needs I choose a different set after trying these. It did a better job to improve my hearing in the settings where I use it. The paradise was a very close second to what I choose. It had great sound and programming ability through the app. I could modify the program and save them as needed to share with my Audiologist to improve the overall program. As for oticon loved them for there opn concept but it was too much for me to filter out and figure out what was being said. Resound just didn’t work from the start for me. I hope this helps you out and good luck.

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Some audis recommend the premium model hearing aids. Other audis suggest a mid-level hearing aid paired with an assistive listening device. They feel that combination can provide superior performance, especially in difficult listening environments. It depends on the hearing loss and personal preference. Our brains have astounding plasticity to adjust to hearing aids. It’s the same with cochlear implants, which may sound mechanical at first. Later, users report hearing sounds that seem more normal. I can’t comment on bluetooth, since I use an assistive listening device to couple my hearing aids to other devices. But one thing I found useful was a volume adjustment on the hearing aids. Many aids have a rocker switch that controls volume up or down. That may be useful when switching between devices. You would need to try it to know for sure. Good luck with your decision, all those aids are good and there isn’t a bad choice. There are just preferences, such as having an aid that can compensate for increasing loss as you mentioned you might want.


I have Resound Linx 3D custom hearing aids and they are great. I have had Starkey in the past but chose Resound for the direct to iPhone streaming in custom HA. I think sound quality and speech comprehension should be first on the list and then iphone connectivity, streaming, etc should be next on the list. What good is a HA that can stream audio well but give you poor speech comprehension. The reality is the the top HA manufacturers(Phonak, Resound, Oticon, Widex, Signia,Starkey, etc) make good HA’s. It is a matter of getting the one that will optimize your remaining hearing along with the chosen bells and whistles. And as many have said on this forum, a good Audi is key to success to wearing HA. If your Audi suggests trying Resound first that is OK. The Resound Quattro and Resound one is the latest technology from Resound.


In reading through this forum and the discussions about different brands, features, pricing, and all the other factors folks use, I’ve found that selection of brand falls to prior experience and brand loyalty. The one thing that stands out for me is the appearance that the “voice”, or particular quality of sound drives selections as much as, if not more, than features and capabilities.

It appears almost like that if selecting higher end speakers for audio. There are many brands that produce quality speakers, yet each retains their own distinctive quality that appeal to some (who stuck with that speaker brand) and those who find the same speakers harsh or tiring or just not enjoyable.

I believe the comparison is pretty fair in that in the cases of both HAs and stereo music, the original sounds may be manipulated, but ultimately the subjective voice of the HA drives individual selections. Which isn’t so out there as at the end of the day, both end up processing what was once analog sound into digital by electronics (old tube amplifiers to modern solid state hardware) and then back to analog so we can hear it. That makes the final step, the analog presentation of the sound/music kinda the same. Whether the speaker is in ear (all in ear or canal or receiver in canal( or BTE) it’s the “voice” of that speaker/ receiver we hear, and it falls to the manufacturer’s design philosophy that influences whether what we hear is acceptable and comfortable all day or a struggle to “like” what you have.

Sure, unlike stereo speaker the goal is not musical enjoyment but the ability to hear speech and daily sounds that matters. But I think maybe we overlook how that final analog receiver influences perceptions and clarity. I wonder what would happen if you could say swap the RIC from Phonak with one made by ReSound or Oticon(or the little receivers for the ITE models)? If the signals being sent are equal (same dsp driving the receivers) and within the tolerance required between receivers is even, how much if what we gain is receiver related vs processor relation.

I do not have the experience or knowledge to answer that stuff, and may well be barking up the wrong tree, but it’s hard to fathom how the receiver itself is not a significant factor in satisfaction in the sound quality. Maybe those far more knowledge here can either give insights in that area, or flush this post down the toilet.

I think you’re correct that a lot of people’s hearing aid preference is based on what “flavor” of sound they prefer. That’s why my typical advice if somebody has been happy with their old hearing aid is to stick with that brand unless trying to solve some specific issue.
You raise an interesting point–is that the processing (preamp and amp) or is it the receiver (speaker) My impression (and that’s all it is) is that the processing is more important. I don’t think receivers are very sophisticated. I think mainly consisting of an armature.

Pssst! @MDB: Raytheon makes a military-grade, balanced armature receiver with a low-signature kevlar membrane for most HAs.

[Price? … oh, that! About $9k. Each. You’re welcome.]

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Reminds me of some fiber optic carbon fiber “tin cans and string.” :smile:

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But making a quality balanced armature isn’t so easy. Some time ago, a pretty long time when I think about it, I bought a pair of IEMs from Etymotic. I can’t remember the model, but I used to wear it with a triple ear flange for noise isolation. It had wax guards that are pretty much the same as on a RIC (and which I was regularly replacing). They were known just for their ability to manufacture such a quality armature. The sound with music was amazing, no false coloring, neutral but not really clinical, did roll off at the bottom but with the sealed flanges it wasn’t a real issue.

They’re still in business and still known for their IEMs. At the time my one issue was if I did wear them out and waking there was cable noise. Otherwise it was a wonderful example of what could be made fir the form factor. They weren’t cheap but not outrageous, especially compared to what high end buds sell for these days.