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Oticon Vs. Starkey Hearing Aids | Head to Head

October 2, 2023
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Written by
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A
Amy Sarow, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Amy Sarow is a practicing clinical audiologist and serves as Audiology Lead for Soundly. Her expertise and experience span topics including tinnitus, cochlear implants, hearing aid technology, and hearing testing. She holds a doctoral degree in audiology from the University of Iowa. During her residency at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Sarow was inspired by the three-tiered, patient-centered approach, incorporating clinical work, teaching and research.

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Oticon vs. Starkey head-to-head

Oticon vs. Starkey Hearing Aids | Head-to-Head

As an audiologist, I've seen the latest in hearing aid technology, and I love helping people find the best option for them. Nowadays, there are so many good options to choose from. Two brands that I get questions about are Oticon and Starkey. Both brands offer advanced technology with a Deep Neural Network and innovative features, but how do they compare side by side? In this article, I will compare Oticon and Starkey hearing aids head to head. We will examine each brand's styles, Bluetooth connections, app controls, special features, and sound quality to determine which one comes out on top.

But to keep it interesting, they'll be matched up in an head-to-head match-up. So, let's dive into the comparison of Oticon vs. Starkey hearing aids and see who comes out on top!

Oticon vs. Starkey hearing aid styles

Round One – Styles

When it comes to hearing aid styles, Oticon and Starkey offer similar options.

Oticon stands out with its flagship Intent hearing aids, bringing a touch of aesthetic appeal to the world of hearing aids with a smooth, rounded design. These devices aren't just about looks. They come equipped with a double pushbutton, a feature that enhances user ease and functionality. But the options don't stop there. Oticon offers a wide plethora of designs tailored to individual needs. Their portfolio extends from the smallest Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) models, perfect for those seeking discretion, to more dexterity-friendly designs ITE that prioritizes ease of use and comfort. Their battery-powered custom hearing aids provide the amplification you need with the style you want. With Oticon, style, and functionality come hand in hand.  

On the other side of the ring, we have Starkey, a sturdy contestant with a flair for innovation. Starkey breaks the mold with its futuristic, rounded design that not only brings a contemporary touch to hearing aids but also enhances ease of use with a practical push button feature. This sleek design is not purely for show; it's meant to seamlessly blend into the user's lifestyle, making it a stylish companion. Starkey's portfolio offers a broad range of rechargeable custom hearing aids tailored to every hearing loss need. Starkey has got you covered whether you're looking for a discreet, virtually invisible device or a custom hearing aid with hands-free capability.

And the winner for this round is... Starkey! While Oticon makes a strong case with its range of options and user-friendliness, Starkey has the edge in this round with its invisible styles and sleek RIC design. Stay tuned for the next round, where we will go head to head on 'Bluetooth connections' – will Oticon make a comeback? Let's find out!

Oticon vs. Starkey Bluetooth

Round Two – Bluetooth Connection

Stepping into the ring for the second round, Oticon has impressive Bluetooth connection capabilities. Oticon leverages Made for iPhone (MFi) technology to provide seamless connectivity with iPhone devices. This allows iPhone users to enjoy hands-free calling, stream music directly into their hearing aids, and even tune into their favorite podcast or audiobook effortlessly - without needing an additional device.

For Android users, Oticon deploys Android Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) technology, offering compatibility with a range of Android devices. And now, Oticon Intent even offers hands free calling for compatible Android users.

But let's not forget the most exciting detail: Oticon Intent is Bluetooth LE compatible. That means that Oticon's products are future-proofed and ready for Auracast. Thus, Oticon provides a practical and versatile solution for iPhone and Android users, enabling them to integrate their hearing aids into their digital lifestyle effortlessly.

Now, let's pivot to Starkey's corner. Like Oticon, Starkey offers Bluetooth connection through MFi technology for an effortless connection with iPhone devices. This means iPhone users can enjoy hands-free calling, stream music, and listen to their favorite podcasts directly through their hearing aids without needing an additional device. And the fun doesn't stop there - Starkey's Receiver-in-Canal (RIC), In-The-Ear (ITE), and In-The-Canal (ITC) devices all offer this hands-free call feature, proving that Starkey is not pulling any punches when it comes to connectivity across its range.

But let's not forget about Android users! Starkey also works with ASHA technology to enable compatibility with a variety of Android devices. This flexibility demonstrates Starkey's commitment to providing all users with a seamless, user-friendly experience, irrespective of their Smartphone preferences. Not only that - the Starkey Genesis has a new wireless antenna to boost its Bluetooth connection range.

Both Oticon and Starkey demonstrate a strong commitment to seamless integration with users' digital lifestyles. However, it's Oticon's Bluetooth LE feature that makes it a real heavyweight in this category. So, for this round, the winner is... Oticon!

Oticon vs. Starkey app controls

Round Three – App Controls

Stepping up for round three, Oticon packs a punch with its innovative Companion app. This application plays the role of personal remote control for your hearing aids, allowing you to adjust your hearing aids' volume, switch programs, and adjust streaming treble/bass - all from the palm of your hand. The Companion app's user-friendly interface ensures a hassle-free experience, allowing you to tailor the sound to your specific needs and preferences.

But that's not all! The Oticon Companion app also offers remote programming, which means your hearing care professional can fine-tune your hearing aids remotely. This feature provides convenience, combining all options into one app instead of the previous two separate apps. And, as if that wasn't enough, the app features a 'Find My Hearing Aid' option. Misplaced your hearing aid? No worries! You can now easily track and locate your device via the app. This functionality ends the stress of losing or misplacing your valuable hearing aids, providing peace of mind and security.

Starkey has its own app that serves as a control center for your hearing aids. This app lets you adjust the volume, tinker with the equalizer settings, and even detect falls - all from the convenience of your Smartphone.

But there's more to the Starkey app than just control. Like with Oticon, the 'Find My Hearing Aids' option can track and locate your hearing aids, eliminating the stress and worry associated with misplaced devices. This, coupled with the innovative fall detection feature, provides users with an added layer of security and peace of mind.

However, the feature that truly sets the Starkey app apart is the companion check-in functionality. This unique feature allows a caregiver or family member to monitor the user's hearing aid usage, including how many hours the hearing aids are worn and if and when any falls have occurred. This option offers a crucial lifeline for caregivers, ensuring they can keep tabs on the user's well-being and safety, providing unprecedented care and support.

Engaging, responsive, and innovative, Starkey's app controls demonstrate the brand's commitment to user convenience and safety while ensuring a seamless auditory experience. With these features, Starkey proves it's not just about hearing better; it's about living better, too. So it's no surprise that they won this round, too!

Oticon's Deep Neural Network vs. Starkey's Edge Mode

Round Four – Special Features

When it comes to special features, both brands offer unique options.

Oticon offers the ability for iPhone users to answer calls hands-free with just a push of a button on the hearing aid. This feature is a game changer for many users, delivering a seamless and intuitive experience that complements their digital lifestyle. But that's not all! Oticon also features innovative technologies, such as its Deep Neural Network (DNN) and 4D sensor to customize the user's experience. The DNN is designed to mimic the way our brains naturally process sounds. At the same time, the BrainHearing technology enhances the way the hearing aids communicate with the user's brain, leading to a more natural and effortless listening experience.

Starkey is packed with special features like Edge Mode, an app feature that strips out background noise in complex settings. The Edge Mode adapts to the user's environment, adjusting the sound parameters to provide optimum audibility in different listening situations. But if you think that's all Starkey has to offer in this round, think again! The Starkey Genesis brings another convenient feature - the ability to answer phone calls with a simple double tap. This feature enhances the user's ease of use and ensures seamless connectivity, reinforcing Starkey's commitment to integrating hearing aids into the user's digital lifestyle.

Starkey gets the edge (pun intended) in this round with its personalized tool, the Edge Mode. This feature, designed to fine-tune the sound to match each user's unique preferences, has demonstrated unprecedented personalization and adaptability. Therefore, the winner of this round is Starkey!

Oticon vs. Starkey sound quality

Round Five – Sound Quality

In the realm of sound quality, Oticon has a reputation for delivering a smooth, mellow sound that musicians particularly favor. The brand's superior sound quality is attributed mainly to its innovative Deep Neural Network (DNN) and open sound technologies. The DNN mimics the way our brains naturally process sounds. Paired with Oticon's open sound technology, users can experience a rich soundscape, capturing every nuance and detail of the surrounding auditory environment. This immersive hearing experience allows you to hear everything around you. By providing a harmonious blend of clarity, depth, and detail, Oticon sets a high standard in sound quality, embodying the perfect symphony of technology and nature.

On the other hand, Starkey delivers an exceptional sound quality through their re-built processing chip, equipped with a Deep Neural Network (DNN), enhances the overall sound quality, making it smoother and more pleasant to the ear. The advanced DNN significantly improves speech in noisy environments, filters out background noise, and efficiently focuses on direct speech. This, in turn, offers users an unparalleled auditory experience. Starkey's sound quality is designed to blend effortlessly with your environment, delivering crystal-clear sound that seems as natural as possible.

After careful consideration, we declare round five a tie. Both Oticon and Starkey have proven their mettle in delivering stellar sound quality.

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The Winner

Considering the entire array of features, from app control to special features and from sound quality to unique offerings, it is evident that both Starkey and Oticon have made significant strides in providing users with exceptional experiences. However, when it comes to delivering a well-rounded, personalized, and user-centric experience, Starkey clearly stands out in this competition.

The innovative features like the Edge Mode and the superior app control functionality paired with high-quality sound make Starkey a hard contender to beat. After a close match-up, we declare Starkey the winner of this head-to-head competition!

Conclusion

In conclusion, Starkey and Oticon bring lots of value to the hearing aid industry with their innovative technologies, unique features, and commitment to sound quality. Starkey wins this head-to-head comparison due to its exceptional user-centric design, advanced features, and app functionality. Starkey's commitment towards personalization and adaptability, evident from features like the Edge Mode and efficient app controls, sets it apart. While both brands offer innovative and effective solutions to improve the user experience, Starkey's dedication to providing a well-rounded, tailored, and user-friendly experience seals its victory. This assessment, however, in no way negates the impressive sound quality and features present in Oticon technology.

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