A Brief Bluetooth History
In 1994 Jaap Haartsen and his colleagues set out to connect two nearby devices without a cord. It seems simple now, but they had no idea how to make it work.
Eventually, they devised a plan to send low-power electrical signals through the air using what they initially called "short link" radio.
They later named the technology Bluetooth and published a protocol that turned the invention into a global standard.
Over the next several years, Bluetooth spread to phones, headphones, and radios. In 2004 Starkey released the first Bluetooth hearing aid using a clunky design plugged into the bottom of a hearing device.
Nearly 20 years later, Bluetooth hearing aids have reached the mainstream. Almost every major manufacturer offers Bluetooth in their newest devices. Some leaders like Phonak have turned hearing aids into a fully featured Airpod alternative with hands-free calling and tap controls.
Someone buy Jaap a drink. 🍺
5 Best Bluetooth Hearing Aids In 2023
Review Process For This Guide
Our team physically reviews all of the top hearing aids on the market. Our team of hearing aid wearers and audiologists test the devices in ear, record sound for comparison using a binaural microphone and analyze user reviews.
- 50+ Hours Research Conducted Each Month
- 3 Licensed Audiologists Consulted
- 32 Total Brands Reviewed
- 1,000+ Customer Reviews Considered
Ok, enough history. Let's talk talk about hearing aids in 2023.
If you are looking for hearing aids that can go toe-to-toe with AirPods, this guide is for you.
Over the last few years Bluetooth has become ubiquitous in premium level hearing aids.
There actually isn’t a single leading behind-the-ear style prescription hearing aid on the market that doesn’t come with built in Bluetooth.
So basically you will get Bluetooth in almost any quality hearing aid with two major exceptions.
#1. Many OTC hearing aids do not include Bluetooth.
My guess is that this will change over the next few years but we aren’t there yet. For now, you have to spend some time looking for OTC devices that also have streaming capabilities.
#2. Invisible style hearing aids are less likely to include Bluetooth.
The smaller a device gets and the further it sits inside your ear, the harder it is to sustain a solid audio stream. Starkey currently has the smallest Bluetooth streaming hearing aid. This graphic shows the smallest Bluetooth device in their lineup.
So let’s assume you’ve found a hearing aid that does have Bluetooth streaming. How do you know if that streaming capability is good?
We built the list below off of a few criteria.
1. Phone and device compatibility. We tested products to see what phones they successfully connect to. In general, leading Bluetooth phones can stream from both Android and iPhone but they are only enabled for two-way phone calls (picks up your voice) for iPhone.
Phonak Lumity is the one notable exception which makes that device the overall leader in Bluetooth.
2. Consistent connection. We also looked for devices that hold a steady connection with your phone as you move around your home or life.
3. We looked for outliers. Lucid Engage is one of the only OTC hearing aids that enables Bluetooth streaming and Starkey Evolv AI is the smallest Bluetooth hearing aid.
4. We also chose for variety. Everyone has different needs and preferences. We looked for hearing aids with a variety of price points and form factors.
Here are the best Bluetooth hearing aids in 2023 so far. 👇
Prefer to watch?
Watch below for a quick breakdown of the best Bluetooth options available.
Phonak Audeo Lumity
Phonak Audeo Lumity
Audeo Lumity is the brand new offering from the world’s most popular hearing aid brand. The device is made by the world's #1 manufacturer Sonova and is widely seen as the most connected Bluetooth hearing aid on the market.
The new Lumity operating system offers several improvements from the older Phonak Paradise hearing aid most notably, an enhanced ability to hear in background noise.
Phonak hearing aids offer all of the modern features you might expect including the most stable Bluetooth streaming connection in the industry, rechargeable batteries (or disposable for those who prefer them) and a waterproof option.
The devices have lots of intelligent listening tech onboard, including a motion sensor that focuses your field of sound when you are sitting and opens it back up when you are walking around.
Top of the line customization, Bluetooth connection and rechargeable batteries
Enhanced background noise reduction
Waterproof option available for active lifestyles
Audeo Lumity is a premium product with an average price of $3,198 - $7,000 per pair
Phonak manages sound quality in a way that can lead to a "closed off" feeling compared to Oticon or ReSound's more open sound quality
Starkey Evolv AI Custom
Starkey Evolv AI Custom
Starkey is a U.S.-based manufacturer with a full line of hearing aids that includes behind the ear and in-the-ear styles. Starkey is known for intelligent features like fitness tracking, a virtual assistant, and the smallest Bluetooth hearing aid on the market.
They make the list for their elite status in custom molded (nearly invisible products). If you can afford to pay medical-grade prices and want an invisible style, you won’t be disappointed by Starkey.
Starkey custom-hearing aids are not rechargeable at the smallest invisible (IIC) size but are available with rechargeable batteries in the larger in-the-ear (ITE) models.
Overall Notes: Starkey Evolv AI is broadly considered the best for custom mold hearing aids. If you want a custom mold, and lead an active lifestyle, this product is a great choice.
Price: Starting at $2,998 through Zip Hearing (walk-in prices $5K-$8K)
Features: Full range of styles and features including Bluetooth, rechargeability, and fitness tracking.
What audiologists say: “Starkey has been making the smallest and best custom hearing aids for decades. Evolv AI is currently the smallest custom device on the market with Bluetooth streaming capabilities.” - Ramsay Poindexter, AuD
Smallest models are almost entirely invisible
Starkey is a leader in comfortable custom molded products
Larger sizes come with Bluetooth streaming and rechargeable batteries
This is a premium device which costs $3,000-$7,000 per pair
Custom molds require additional lead time and replacement time
The smallest versions of Starkey Evolv AI customs are not Bluetooth enabled or rechargeable
Jabra Enhance Select
Jabra Enhance Select
Jabra Enhance Select hearing aids are built by the world's 4th largest hearing aid manufacturer (ReSound). Jabra Enhance (originally called Lively) made a name for itself by recreating the full-service audiology service online.
Instead of requiring you to come into their office, Jabra reduces the cost by programming remotely and shipping to your home.
All Jabra products come with a 100-day return policy and 3 years of unlimited remote care. You can find the same product for sale at a local clinic for around $4,500.
Overall notes: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, are on a budget, and want a hearing professional to program your hearing aids to match your hearing loss, this is one of the most compelling products on the market.
Price: $1,195 for a pair of battery-powered - $1,595 for a pair of rechargeable, $1,995 for enhanced sound quality
Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (not hands-free), Behind The Ear Style
What audiologists say: “Their audiologists can personalize and program Jabra hearing aids in real-time; highlighting the benefits of telehealth and competent professionals.” - Garrett Thompson, AuD
One of the most affordable and convenient ways to purchase online while maintaining professional care
Comes with a 100 day free-return period
Offers rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth streaming
Remote care requires users to be somewhat tech savvy
Jabra only offers styles that sit behind the ear
Oticon Real was released in February 2023 and is positioned to become one of the most popular hearing aids in the world. This hearing aid is rechargeable offers hands-free calling via iPhone and audio streaming via Android. What makes the Oticon special is the way the hearing aids handle sound.
While most hearing aids suppress background noises and prioritize only voice, Oticon Real gives the brain a more natural, full sound landscape. Oticon used a 360 spherical microphone to capture sounds from 12 million real-life situations to achieve this new approach.
Their new Oticon Real model also has some built-in features to increase listening comfort in the presence of intrusive sounds like dog barking or doorbells ringing.
Overall notes: Oticon Real is an undisputed leader among top-tier hearing aids. If you are attracted to the idea of hearing more of the sounds around you vs. solely focusing on voices, this product is a great choice.
Price: The national average price for Oticon Real is $6,330 per pair. You can save 25%-40% by working with ZipHearing to get care through a local clinic or Yes Hearing to get care from a professional who comes to your home.
Features: Rechargeable, Bluetooth (only hands-free with iPhone), Behind-The-Ear Style
What audiologists say: “Oticon is among the best. If you are looking for all-around, top-of-the-line technology, this is an excellent choice.” - Ramsay Poindexter, AuD
Open sound quality that many users prefer
Bluetooth streaming from Android and Apple devices
Offered with both rechargeable and disposable batteries
Oticon Real hearing aids start at $3,198 and can cost as much as $7,000 with walk in care
Oticon Real hearing aids require a visit to an in person audiologist and are not sold online
Jabra Enhance Plus
Jabra Enhance Plus
Jabra Enhance Plus is a relatively new product from GN Hearing (the parent company to ReSound). The earbud-style product is self-customized to your hearing loss and can alternate between amplifying the sounds around you, playing music and podcasts or both. Think of this product as a hearing aid/headphone hybrid. It won't fully replace the need for hearing aids but offers a great starting point for someone who isn’t ready to take the leap and needs support in specific situations.
Overall notes: Jabra Enhance Plus won't replace your all-day hearing aids but they can provide a boost to those with mild to moderate hearing loss that aren't ready to take the leap.
Price: $799 for a pair
Features: Self-fit, simple to get started, modern design, Bluetooth streaming and rechargeability
Modern headphone appearance
Fantastic music and podcast quality
Easy to use app
Not as comfortable as traditional hearing aids for all-day use
Picks up some wind noise
Engage From Lucid Hearing
Engage From Lucid Hearing
Lucid Hearing is best known as the manufacturer behind all of the Sam's Club hearing center hearing aids. The brand will join the OTC hearing aid market with two strong products. Engage is Lucid's rechargeable, Bluetooth enabled and self-fit hearing aid that sits behind the ear. The product comes in several colors and has one of the most stable Bluetooth connections due to a patented antenna.
Lucid's self-fit app was designed using 100K audiograms to find common hearing loss patterns. Once you download the app you can use the LucidShape screen to change amplified frequencies in real time.
Lucid is an under-the-radar brand in the OTC market but has some of the strongest technology and experience.
Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and Android
Packaging and recharge case are less sleek than Bose and Sony
That's all for now, folks.
We hope you enjoyed this guide to the best Bluetooth hearing aids available. We update this page regularly and will be back with new models as they come.
We created this site to make finding hearing products and care more accessible.
Use the shop tab to compare all the leading products on the market (with prices), or check your hearing with our 5-minute hearing test.
If you have questions, you can email our team at any time email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
Auracast is an exciting Bluetooth protocol that will likely replace standard Bluetooth over the next several years. Right now, there are no hearing aids that operate with Auracast. This is about infrastructure and it will take 2-5 years for phones, TVs, and public spaces to build in Auracast broadcast capability. You can read more about Auracasthere.
You can read some excellent research here, but the short answer is yes, hearing aids with Bluetooth are very safe. The power the devices emit is around one-thousandth as powerful as we receive when talking on the phone.
Most premium hearing aids allow you to connect to at least two devices (i.e., computer and Phone). Phonak Lumity allows a connection to up to four devices. Many people have trouble switching back and forth between devices, so you might consider a multi-mic accessory if you'll need to seamlessly move between devices throughout the day.
Note that if you have two pairs of hearing aids and use an iPhone, you'll need to "forget" one device under the accessibility settings section before you can pair a new device.
To use the Made for iPhone hearing devices, you need one of these models:
- iPhone 5 or later
- iPad Pro (all models)
- iPad Air (all models)
- iPad (4th generation) or later
- iPad mini (all models)
To use Android for Bluetooth streaming it is recommended that your phone use OS 11 or later. You can find out your version number through the following steps.
- Open your phone's Settings app.
- Near the bottom, tap About phone. Android version.
- Find your "Android version," "Android security update," and "Build number."
This is a great question. Streaming sound quality will rely less on your hearing aids and more on the style of dome or earmold that you wear. Sound is typically richer when your ear is fully sealed. Open-fit hearing aids (with a small rubber dome) typically sound clear but somewhat tinny. Streaming through custom earmolds will sound more like a pair of traditional headphones.