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Starkey Genesis AI 20 Review

Prices, Sound Recordings, Models
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.

Blake Cadwell
Blake Cadwell

Blake Cadwell is a hearing aid wearer and co-founder at Soundly. He regularly tests and reviews hearing technology to share his experience with Soundly’s readers. Blake's research and perspectives have been featured in the The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, AARP and FastCompany.

Updated
January 24, 2024
Methodology
i

Soundly is an independently owned hearing health research tool. Our reviews are conducted by hearing aid wearers and audiologists. We physically review the leading hearing aids on the market for sound quality, comfort, durability, and more. Our review process starts with hands-on unboxing and days, weeks, or months of wear. We also record live sound demos using a calibrated binaural microphone (read more here). We experiment with backend fitting software for prescription products and use test box measures to measure prescriptive accuracy and flexibility. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Read more about our story here.

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Behind the Ear
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
PROFESSIONAL FITTING

Starkey released a brand new family of hearing aids in late February of 2023. Starkey Genesis AI replaces Starkey's Evolv AI lineup which was intruduced just a year earlier. Genesis is re-built from the ground up in a home-makeover-style transformation.

Before we dig into what changed, here’s what stays the same.

  • Starkey Genesis AI still comes with optional disposable or rechargeable batteries (now with longer life).
  • Starkey Genesis AI is; still Bluetooth enabled for iPhone and Android devices with hands-free calling for iPhone. You will need to keep your phone close if you use an Android to pick up your voice. No changes here.  
  • Starkey Genesis AI will keep some important underlying technology, including the deep neural network that manages background noise and the incredibly popular edge mode. The deep neural network is now more powerful with the capability to make 80M adjustments per hour (mostly imperceptible of course).

So what is new with Starkey Genesis AI? 

We’ll start with the new form factor.

The Genesis AI hearing aids have a completely new design compared to their predecessors, including both receiver and canal and custom models.

The receiver in canal version has a smoother exterior that I prefer to the ridges and corners in previous generations.

Genesis should also be smaller than previous generations due to the smaller components throughout. Overall, the exterior updates seem like a win.

Another major hardware update in Genesis is the battery life.

Genesis now boasts the longest-lasting rechargeable battery on the market, with up to 51 hours on a single charge.

The smaller Genesis mini RIC cuts down on battery size and still maintains 41 hours. Most people are fine with 20 hours, but this extra battery life could mean a weekend camping trip without a charge. That’s new.

Starkey’s larger in-the-ear devices are also available in rechargeable styles. Their in-the-ear style hearing boasts an impressive 36 hours as well.

At the moment, Starkey just took the lead in the battery department.

Let’s take a look under the hood. Starkey updated the chip inside their new hearing aids and made some big improvements to speed and capacity.

The Genesis AI hearing aids feature the smallest and fastest processor that Starkey has ever made, with 6X more transistors than past models.

This processor is critical to handling the AI inside Starkey devices. Starkey’s new Edge Mode+ cleans up audio in real-time with more advanced compression to reduce listening effort.

The powerful processor also enabled even more intelligent features within health tracking and the Starkey personal assistant.

If Tony Stark were picking a hearing aid, it seems like he would probably pick this one (and not just for the name).

Let’s talk about apps.

Starkey has sometimes been criticized for overly complex app controls. It appears they are starting fresh with a brand new Starkey App that puts the most-used features front and center.

The new app will also have new abilities to update hearing aid firmware and some helpful how-to videos. All welcome changes in my book.

Overall Notes

If you are looking for top-of-the-line hearing aids, Starkey is a safe choice. They are the 5th largest maker of hearing aids globally and the only major U.S.-based maker of hearing aids. Of course, their new Genesis hearing aids won't be for everyone.

Some customers are overwhelmed by Starkey's additional features like fitness tracking and personal assistant.

Pros 👍
  • All-around premium hearing aid with Bluetooth connectivity, strong customization and quality sound.
  • Genesis now boasts the longest-lasting batteries on the market.
  • New faster processing and increased memory means Starkey can add in extra features like fitness tracking and transcription.
  • Available in a full family of products from invisible to receiver in canal. Appropriate for mild to severe hearing loss.

Cons 👎
  • Starkey Genesis AI requires a visit with a local doctor (not available through Telehealth or OTC).
  • Genesis AI will cost an average of $6,500/pair (we've found the devices for as low as $4,598/pair).
  • Some customers are overwhelmed by Starkey's additional features like fitness tracking and personal assistant.
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Soundly Scorecard
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Hearing Loss Level 🔊
Mild - Severe
  • Starkey Genesis AI is a fully customizable, prescription hearing aid appropriate for mild-severe hearing loss
  • If you have severe hearing loss, your care provider may fit you with a custom earmold to reduce feedback
  • If you have profound hearing loss, you may be a better fit for a BTE style (currently available in Starkey's previous generation, Starkey Evolv AI)
Care Type 🏥
Prescription
  • Starkey Genesis is a prescription device fit and programmed by a professional
  • After an initial fitting, you can connect with your care provider remotely through the Starkey app
Sound Quality 🔊
Strong in Background Noise
  • Starkey Genesis uses a deep neural network to effectively manage background noise. Starkey's devices are capable of making 80M adjustments per hour to match your environment
Comfort 🦻
Very Comfortable For All-Day Wear
  • Genesis AI's receiver-in-canal models are very comfortable for all-day wear. Your care provider will help you choose an earmold style that promotes comfort and effectiveness
Style  💫
Behind The Ear
  • Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids sit behind the ear or inside-the-ear (read more on in-the-ear styles here)
  • Genesis AI has a brand new futuristic design with smoother edges than previous models
  • Choose between six faceplate colors: Brown, Chestnut, Medium Brown, Pink, Light Brown, and Black
Battery 🔋
Rechargeable Or Disposable
  • Starkey’s Genesis AI RIC RT is currently the industry’s longest-lasting lithium-ion rechargeable battery with up to 51 hours on a single charge (without streaming)
  • The battery life is shorter, but still impressive at up to 41 hours with their smaller mRIC R style
  • Starkey offers a disposable battery version of their devices with a 312 battery (changed every 7-10 days)
Connection 📡
Bluetooth Available
  • Genesis AI allows Bluetooth streaming, music listening, and phone calls across all models. iPhone users can take calls hands-free, while Android users must keep their phones close to pick up outbound audio.
  • Genesis AI uses Apple's MFI connection and Android's ASHA connection to stream content through Bluetooth
Dexterity Level 🤏
Average
  • Genesis is reasonably easy to handle but does require the wearer to place the hearing aid behind their ear and insert the receiver into the ear (consistent across all behind-the-ear styles)
  • Genesis recharging case uses a non-traditional configuration which may take some getting used to
Waterproof Level 💦
IP68
  • Genesis AI is water resistant with an IP rating of 68
  • This hearing aid can withstand dust and water submersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes
App features 📱
Has An App, Telehealth Capable, Find My Hearing Aids
  • Remote care: available through the app with care provider coordination
  • Customization: Edge Mode and adjustments in the app
  • Tinnitus masking: programs can be created by your hearing healthcare provider 
  • Find my hearing aid: yes
  • Health tracking: activity tracking
Pricing and Process
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Pricing

The national average price for Starkey Genesis AI 20 hearing aids is around $5,950 per pair.

Our research indicates that the best pricing and care packages are currently available through ZipHearing. ZipHearing offers a pair of Starkey Genesis AI 20 hearing aids with one year of unlimited care for $3,798 per pair.

Process

ZipHearing will match you with a local clinic near your zip code and pre-negotiate a lower price (typically 25% less than the national average).

Fill out the form on this page to get matched with a local clinic.

Our readers are consistently happy with ZipHearing's offering and give the company 97% 5-star ratings on Trustpilot.

How to Choose a Technology Level
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Starkey comes in four technology levels. Around 70% of people choose the top-of-the-line Genesis AI 24 while 20% choose Genesis AI 20. Here is a summary of differences in technology.

Genesis AI 24

  • Has 24 programming channels for more refined customization
  • Offers 35dB wind noise reduction
  • Offers 22 dB speech in noise reduction
  • Offers all special features like Edge Mode, fitness tracking, tap control, translation, assistant, and transcription

Genesis AI 20

  • Has 20 programming channels for customization
  • Offers 19dB wind noise reduction
  • Offers 12 dB speech in noise reduction
  • Does not offer tap control or translation but does offer Edge Mode, transcription and assistant

Genesis AI 16

  • Has 16 programming channels for customization
  • Offers 10 dB wind noise reduction
  • Offers 8 dB speech in noise reduction
  • Does not offer transcription, tap control or translation but does offer Edge Mode and assistant

Genesis AI 12 (big feature drop off)

  • Has 12 programming channels for customization
  • Offers 10 dB wind noise reduction
  • Offers 8 dB speech in noise reduction
  • Does not offer Edge Mode, assistant, transcription, translation or tap control

See the full feature breakdown from Starkey here.

Read our full guide to choosing a technology level here 👈

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