As an audiologist who's worked with the latest and greatest in hearing technology, I have seen firsthand how much hearing aids have evolved over the years. Two of the most popular brands on the market today are ReSound and Starkey.
Both offer a wide range of features and benefits to help improve the quality of life for those dealing with hearing loss. However, when it comes to choosing between the two, it can be tough to determine which one is best for you. In this article, I'll be putting these hearing aid heavyweights to the test in a head-to-head matchup.
In the right corner, we have the American hearing aid titan, Starkey. Known for their innovation and high-quality sound, Starkey has been at the forefront of hearing technology for years. They offer a comprehensive range of products suited to different types of hearing loss, ensuring that each user receives personalized care.
In the left corner, we have GN ReSound, hailing all the way from Denmark. They have established themselves as trailblazers in the industry with their cutting-edge hearing aids that seamlessly blend design and technology.
We'll weigh their features, performance, and customer reviews, in an attempt to determine which brand emerges victorious in serving the needs of those with hearing impairment.
Round One - Style
ReSound Style Notes
ReSound brings variation and subtlety to the table with their hearing aid styles. Their latest innovation, the NEXIA micro RIE, is 25% smaller than their previous standard RIE. This remarkably small and discreet hearing aid can provide powerful support without drawing unwanted attention, making it a perfect choice for individuals who value discretion.
The pushbutton on this device also enables manual control for those who prefer it. ReSound's product portfolio caters to all, providing solutions for mild to profound hearing loss. Whether you're looking for a custom hearing aid, powerful BTE, or a discrete micro RIE, ReSound has something for everyone. They've also released a CROS, specifically designed to treat single-sided deafness. This diversity in their product offerings gives ReSound an edge in the style round.
Starkey Style Notes
Starkey, on the other hand, is not far behind in the style arena. Their Genesis hearing aid adds a futuristic twist to hearing aid design with their smooth, rounded RIC (Receiver-in-Canal), which is not only comfortable but also aesthetically pleasing. Starkey is also known for their comprehensive range of discreet, custom hearing aids, ranging from IIC (Invisible-In-Canal) to ITE (In-The-Ear). These hearing aids are customized for a perfect fit, ensuring maximum comfort and sound quality.
Whether you're looking for a discrete device in the ear canal, or a powerful device that sits comfortably behind the ear, Starkey provides a wide range of options. This blend of style and personalization makes Starkey a strong contender in this round.
The Style Winner...
After careful consideration and analysis, the winner of this round is ReSound. Their commitment to design diversity, attention to the user needs, and their innovative solutions such as the NEXIA micro RIE and the CROS system for single-sided deafness, give them the upper hand in this round. While Starkey brought vigorous competition with their stylish and personalized offerings, it is ReSound's broader range and innovative approach that edges them forward in this category.
Round Two - Bluetooth
ReSound Bluetooth Notes
Entering the Bluetooth round, ReSound kicks off. Their latest hearing aid, the NEXIA, is fully Auracast-ready - an exciting advancement for the future. ReSound leads the pack when it comes to iPhone Bluetooth connectivity, as they were the first to implement the Made for iPhone (MFi) technology. If you own an iPhone 11 or later, your ReSound hearing aids can effectively function as a hands-free headset. The hearing aids will capture your voice, allowing you to keep your phone tucked away in your pocket! ReSound also extends compatibility to specific Android devices, using the ASHA protocol. However, it's crucial to ensure your phone model is on the list of compatible devices.
Unfortunately, the hands-free feature does not extend to Android phones without the use of an external accessory.
Thankfully, ReSound's Bluetooth accessory options, such as their Mini Mic and TV Streamer, are top-of-the-line and some of the best assistive devices available in the industry. The Multi Mic+ stands out as a favorite amongst my patients, providing substantial assistance in noisy environments like restaurants. For patients with a Cochlear Americas implant in the other ear, ReSound is undeniably the best option.
Starkey Bluetooth Notes
Starkey, not to be outdone, also offers seamless Bluetooth connection through MFi technology, ensuring a smooth connection with iPhone devices. This enables iPhone users to enjoy hands-free calling, stream music, and listen to their favorite podcasts directly through their hearing aids without needing a separate device. The hands-free feature is available across Starkey's product range, including their Receiver-in-Canal (RIC), In-The-Ear (ITE), and In-The-Canal (ITC) devices.
Starkey works with ASHA technology to enable compatibility with a range of Android devices, demonstrating their commitment to providing all users with a seamless, user-friendly experience, regardless of their smartphone preferences. Furthermore, the Starkey Genesis includes a new wireless antenna that enhances its Bluetooth connection range, showing that Starkey is not pulling any punches when it comes to connectivity.
The Bluetooth Winner…
After a thorough analysis, it's clear that ReSound holds the advantage in this round, securing another victory. Despite Starkey's robust offerings and commitment to seamless connectivity for both Android and iPhone users, it is ReSound's pioneering use of Bluetooth Low Energy technology, and their variety of high-quality Bluetooth accessories that make them stand out.
The inclusivity of the hand-free feature in their latest NEXIA hearing aid and compatibility with Cochlear Americas implants also provides an unparalleled user experience. Therefore, ReSound takes the win in the Bluetooth round.
Round Three - App Controls
ReSound App Notes
ReSound has one of the best rated apps in the industry. They offer an impressive array of in-app features, delivering a high degree of personalization that users find highly beneficial. Users can tailor programs, modify the noise filter, and adjust streaming settings, offering a level of flexibility that genuinely empowers and liberates them. ReSound's premium technology includes a 'Front Focus' program that your audiologist can set up for you, which proves highly advantageous in crowded, noisy environments such as restaurants.
This feature enables users to focus on conversations without strain. Additionally, for those new to the world of hearing aids, the 'Check My Fit' feature is a fantastic tool. It smoothly guides users through the process of adjusting to their new hearing aids. Let's not overlook the 'Find My Hearing Aid' feature, a practical and thoughtful addition for those prone to misplacing small items. It's clear that ReSound's commitment to user-friendly design and technology that responds to the needs of its users provides them with a significant edge in the fierce competition of the hearing aid market.
Starkey App Notes
Starkey's own app serves as a comprehensive control center for its range of hearing aids. It allows users to easily adjust the volume, fine-tune the equalizer settings, and even detect falls, all directly from their Smartphone. This functionality extends beyond mere control features. Starkey app includes the 'Find My Hearing Aids' function, which helps users track and locate their hearing aids, thus alleviating the stress and concern associated with misplaced devices.
Coupled with the innovative fall detection feature, this ensures an added layer of security and peace of mind for users. However, the feature that truly distinguishes the Starkey app is its companion check-in functionality. This unique function enables a caregiver or family member to monitor the user's hearing aid usage, including the number of hours worn and the occurrence of falls. This feature provides a vital lifeline for caregivers, enabling them to monitor the user's well-being and safety closely, thus offering an unprecedented level of care and support.
The App Winner Is…
While ReSound's app is impressive, Starkey takes the lead in this round, thanks to its truly holistic approach. Starkey's app features, such as the unique companion check-in functionality, provide not only control and customization but also safety and support for users.
It fosters an environment that extends beyond individual use to involve caregivers and family members, enhancing safety measures and ensuring uninterrupted support for users. The fall detection feature offers an added layer of security, and the 'Find My Hearing Aids' function provides practical assistance for users.
This comprehensive care and user-friendly approach set Starkey apart in the realm of app controls, making them the clear winner of this round.
Round Four - Special Features
ReSound Feature Notes
ReSound's hearing aids truly excel in the realm of special features due to the inclusion of their innovative M&RIE (Microphone & Receiver-In-Ear) technology. This unique feature significantly enhances the natural sound quality, providing users with a more authentic, immersive listening experience.
This technology is particularly effective in minimizing wind noise, a common challenge for many hearing aid users. In my personal experience, the sound quality provided by ReSound's M&RIE technology is noticeably superior, offering a crisp, clear, and well-rounded audio experience. However, it's important to note that this technology may not be the best fit for those with severe hearing loss, as its effectiveness decreases with the severity of the hearing impairment. Despite this, for those within its suitable range, M&RIE technology from ReSound is a game-changer in sound quality enhancement and environmental disruption reduction.
Starkey Feature Notes
Starkey is not to be outdone in the realm of special features either. Their hearing aids come packed with innovative functionality. A standout feature is Edge Mode, an exclusive feature integrated into the Starkey app, that works to filter out background noise in complex listening environments. This smart feature adapts and adjusts sound parameters based on the user's surroundings, ensuring optimum audibility in various situations. But the innovation doesn't stop there!
The Starkey Genesis introduces another user-friendly feature – the ability to answer phone calls with a simple double tap. This not only enhances the user's ease of use but also ensures seamless connectivity, further echoing Starkey's commitment to incorporating hearing aids into the user's digital lifestyle. These features demonstrate Starkey's dedication to continual innovation and their unwavering focus on user comfort and convenience.
Special Feature Winner…
Despite the robust features of Starkey, ReSound takes the trophy in this round. The distinct advantage lies in their M&RIE technology, which significantly improves sound quality and offers users an authentic, immersive listening experience. This one-of-a-kind feature sets the ReSound hearing aids apart, providing a solution to the common issue of wind noise that many hearing aid users encounter.
While it may not be the ideal solution for those with severe hearing loss, for those within its suitable range, the M&RIE technology truly revolutionizes their hearing experience. The natural, clear, and well-rounded audio provided by this technology makes ReSound the clear victor of this round.
Round Five - Sound Quality
ReSound Sound Quality Notes
The sound quality of ReSound hearing aids is simply exceptional. ReSound boasts a bright sound quality that leaves the listener with an enriching auditory experience. Its signature sound has a certain edge that transforms how users perceive sound, adding a whole new dimension to their listening experience.
This distinct audio quality sets ReSound devices apart from the rest. Moreover, music lovers will particularly appreciate the excellent streaming music fidelity that ReSound hearing aids offer. The devices deliver a vibrant and clear sound, staying true to the original tone, ensuring that users fully immerse themselves in the melodies. Whether you're listening to a soothing symphony or an energetic rock track, ReSound ensures that every note resonates beautifully. This impeccable audio fidelity paves the way for a more intimate connection with music, making ReSound hearing aids a stellar choice for music aficionados.
Starkey Sound Quality Notes
In contrast, Starkey delivers exceptional sound quality through its re-built processing chip, equipped with a Deep Neural Network (DNN). This advanced feature enhances the overall sound quality, making it smoother and more pleasant to the ear.
The DNN significantly improves speech understanding in noisy environments by effectively filtering out background noise and focusing on direct speech. This, in turn, provides users with an unparalleled auditory experience.
Starkey's sound quality is designed to blend effortlessly with your environment, delivering crystal-clear sound that is as natural as possible. Whether you're in a bustling city or a quiet countryside, Starkey ensures your listening experience is nothing short of perfection. With its advanced technology and commitment to delivering high-quality sound, Starkey establishes itself as a strong contender in the realm of sound quality.
Sound Quality Winner…
While we appreciate the advanced processing of sound that Starkey's hearing aids offer, it's crucial to remember that personal preference plays an integral role in deciding which hearing aid is the perfect fit for you. This is why we encourage you to take advantage of our Live Listen feature. Listen to ReSound here and Starkey here. Use the compare tab to compare them side-by-side.
Test drive both options and decide for yourself which one optimally caters to your specific hearing requirements. Ultimately, the choice between ReSound and Starkey is highly personal, and our Live Listen feature is designed to help you make that choice with confidence and clarity.
Drawing upon our comprehensive comparison and in-depth analysis, the winner is ReSound. This conclusion is based on ReSound's distinctive M&RIE technology, providing a unique and authentic sound experience that truly sets it apart.
While Starkey offers valuable features and impressive sound quality, it is the all-around performance and superior auditory experience delivered by ReSound that crowns it the victor in this comparison. However, it's important to remind our readers that hearing aids are highly personal.
What works best for one person may not be the best fit for another. Therefore, we encourage you to use our Live Listen feature to experience first-hand what each brand has to offer. Ultimately, the best hearing aid is the one that meets your specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle.
In summary, this article offers a comprehensive comparison and analysis of ReSound and Starkey hearing aids, focusing on different aspects such as features, sound quality, and user experience.
While both brands offer impressive features and sound quality, ReSound emerges as the overall winner, largely due to its unique M&RIE technology that provides an unparalleled and authentic sound experience.
However, it's essential to keep in mind that the choice of a hearing aid is highly personal and depends on one's specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Therefore, we encourage users to utilize our Live Listen feature, which allows them to experience the auditory capabilities of both brands first-hand, and make an informed decision. The ideal hearing aid is the one that seamlessly integrates into your life and meets your unique hearing requirements.