As an audiologist, I have worked with countless hearing aid users, searching for the perfect hearing aids that cater to their needs. Two of the most popular hearing aid brands are Phonak and Signia.
Both are global manufacturers of hearing aids designed to provide users with exceptional sound quality, comfort, and convenience. And both can be great choices. So you're probably wondering which you should pick.
In this article, we will be putting Phonak and Signia hearing aids head to head in different categories to help you choose the best one for you.
Round One: Styles - Shapes, sizes, and design.
When it comes to hearing aids, functionality is just one aspect of the equation. Style and comfort are equally important. Phonak offers a wide range of styles, including behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), in-the-ear (ITE), and invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids. The Phonak Lumity is the latest RIC hearing aid from Phonak and has a rounded appearance with a pushbutton toggle.
On the other hand, Signia also offers a variety of hearing aids, including BTE, RIC, ITE, in-the-canal (ITC), and CIC hearing aids. Signia offers a range of hearing aid styles with the same excellent internal processing, as in you can get the sound quality you like in the hearing aid style you prefer. The Charge & Go RIC device resembles the Lumity, with a slightly raised portion on either end of the toggle switch.
Now, if you're looking for a slim RIC, Signia and Phonak both have this stylish option. I recently tried the Phonak Slim hearing aid, which you can read about here. While both are good, the Signia Styletto is more appealing for its slimmer, sleeker profile and convenient charger.
When it comes to the best discrete hearing aid options, Phonak is the winner. However, if you're looking for the best super slim RIC, Signia leads the charge.
This one's a tie.
Round Two: Bluetooth Connection - Phone calls, podcasts, Favorite Songs.
Both Phonak and Signia hearing aids come with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows users to stream audio directly to their hearing aids. Phonak hearing aids come with Bluetooth pairing capability for all devices with Bluetooth (yes, even that flip phone from 2005). Bluetooth capability is excellent for users who want to stream music, phone calls, and podcasts.
And if you really like to be connected, let's say to multiple devices at once, Phonak has you covered there as well. Android? iPhone? No problem. iPads and laptops with Bluetooth work too. And those who prefer hands-free calling can use their Android or iPhone to take calls hands-free.
Signia, on the other hand, connects with iPhones and compatible Android phones (check here if your device is compatible). While their list of Android devices is vast, not every device out there is compatible, so you'll want to check their updated list. Are you looking for hands-free call capability? Signia hearing aids offer hands-free calls for iPhone.
Phonak wins this round.
Round Three | App Controls
In terms of app control, both Phonak and Signia provide users with their respective apps that can be downloaded for free. The Phonak app allows users to adjust the volume, change programs, create your own programs, and even count your steps. It also provides users with various customizable sound profiles designed to suit their needs, such as "comfort" or "clarity." The app is relatively user-friendly. However, one downside to the Phonak app is that any custom programs you create will disappear after your hearing aids are connected to the fitting software. That means if you have a custom program you like, you'll want to take note of the settings so you can recreate them after your hearing aid appointment.
On the other hand, the Signia app provides users with powerful hearing aid control. It is equipped with features such as sound balance, volume control, and directional hearing to enhance the listening experience. Patients really like the directional hearing feature, which allows you to focus the microphones in the direction you want to hear while cutting down the background noise. One of my favorite Signia app features is their AI Assistant. This feature is like your personal fine-tuner that you can access anytime. The app will ask you what you want to adjust and then offer customized changes to your preferences.
Signia has the edge in this round.
Round Four | Special Features
Let's start with what they have in common. Phonak and Signia offer unique features that set them apart from their competitors. Both brands have CROS hearing aid options, travel charger options, and a comprehensive portfolio of hearing aids. Active individuals have great options with either brand: the Phonak Lumity Life or a Signia Dry&Clean charger work well for outdoor enthusiasts or humid climates.
Phonak has the widest variety when it comes to color. Looking for hearing aids in precious pink or Caribbean pirate? They've got you covered. While these fun colors are intended for their pediatric hearing aid options, I've definitely fit some adults in fun colors. You do you! Phonak has the smallest hearing aid options (i.e., Lyric hearing aids or their Titanium IICs). Are you struggling in noise?
A Phonak remote microphone, the Roger ON, gives you an additional boost in background noise. However, one point of difference between Phonak and Signia is with rechargeable custom hearing aids. Phonak's custom hearing aids use disposable batteries only.
There's a lot to like with Signia. For example, their Own Voice Processing (OVP) processes the user's own voice to provide a more natural and comfortable listening experience, which is helpful to ease the adjustment process. I like the dexterity-friendly ITEs in rechargeable for patients needing a custom hearing aid that is easy to manage.
Signia's ready-to-wear Silk X CICs are an excellent option for patients looking to wear a discrete hearing aid without having to wait several weeks for a custom device after an ear impression. With their fun colors, a wide range of styles (including pediatric), and Roger ON...
Phonak is the winner here.
Round Five | Sound Quality
Ultimately, the sound quality of hearing aids is pretty essential. Both Phonak and Signia use the latest technology to provide users with exceptional sound quality. This one can be hard to pinpoint, and sometimes listening provides the most insight. Feel free to use the Live Listen feature to get a sense of the sound quality for yourself.
Signia hearing aids have a crisp, sharp sound quality. Speech sounded clear with a bit of a "bite" to it. When I wore the Signia Styletto, I was highly aware of my surrounding environment: next to me, to the left, right, and even further away. Music sounds clear with good fidelity.
Phonak's sound is sharp and percussive, with smooth adjustments to the environment. I liked how Phonak hearing aids shifted programs automatically if I changed from a quiet to a louder environment. Music listening felt more "hollow" sounding but still reasonably good.
It's close, but Phonak narrowly wins this round.
Choosing the right hearing aid is a personal decision that should be based on individual preferences and needs. After putting Phonak and Signia hearing aids head to head, we can conclude that both brands offer exceptional hearing aids with unique features.
While Phonak came out as the winner here, each brand has its strengths with options that may appeal more to some than others.