Starkey Genesis AI Custom 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
April 1, 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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In the Ear
Bluetooth
Rechargeable
PROFESSIONAL FITTING

If you are looking for a custom-molded, in-the-ear hearing aid, Starkey is the undisputed leader.  

Each new custom Starkey release quickly takes the lead, and Genesis AI is no exception.

The Starkey Genesis line of custom products was released in February 2023 and is already well reviewed by experts.

Four Sizes

Starkey offers four sizes of custom hearing aids, from their completely invisible hearing aid to a full shell product that comes with more power (more on that below).

Four Technology Levels‍

Once you've selected a hearing aid size you'll also be given the choice between four technology levels: 24, 20, 16, and 12. The top-end Starkey 24 technology level has all advertised features and 24 channels of customization while the budget option loses some features like Edge Mode and has only 12 channels. Read more about technology levels here.

About Starkey

Starkey is the 5th largest hearing aid manufacturer globally and the only major manufacturer based in the U.S. The Minnesota-based company has set itself apart by turning its hearing aids into full health tracking devices complete with fall detection, steps tracking, and an overall health score.

Think Fitbit meets hearing aids. Starkey hearing aids aren't just about health tracking, though; they also come with some of the industry's most powerful A.I. sound algorithms.

Pros πŸ‘
  • Proven track record in custom-mold technique
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  • Smallest Bluetooth hearing aid on the market
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  • Comfortable, invisible and out of the way

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Cons πŸ‘Ž
  • Invisible options lose some features like rechargeable batteries
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  • Ordering and repairs take longer for custom devices
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  • Requires multiple visits to a local doctor (compared to OTC and Telehealth)

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Soundly Scorecard
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Hearing Loss Level πŸ”Š
Mild - Severe
  • Regardless of size, Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids are fully customizable, prescription hearing aid appropriate for mild-severe hearing loss
  • If you have profound hearing loss, you may be a better fit for Starkey's BTE-style hearing aids
Care Type πŸ₯
Prescription
  • Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids are prescription devices fit and programmed by a professional
  • To create your custom hearing aids, a professional will take earmold impressions in a clinic or in your home. They will then send those impressions to the Starkey manufacturing facility where a one-of-one replica will be created for your hearing aids
  • After an initial fitting, you can connect with your care provider remotely through the Starkey app
Sound Quality πŸ”Š
Strong in Background Noise
  • Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids come with robust background noise management features including Starkey's deep neural network that makes up to 80M adjustments per hour to match your environment
Comfort 🦻
Somewhat Comfortable For All-Day Wear
  • Genesis AI custom-molded devices sit comfortably in the ear. Some users with better hearing in lower frequencies prefer an open-fit behind-the-ear style hearing aid that allows more natural sound to pass into the ear canal.

Learn more about the choice between in-the-ear vs. behind the ear styles here.

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Style  πŸ’«
In The Ear
  • Sit inside the ear
  • Available sizes include full-shell, half-shell, completely-in-the-canal, invisible-in-canal
  • Starkey offers 5 colors including black, pink, light brown, medium brown and dark brown
  • Starkey's IIC style is on our list of the best invisible hearing aids available
Battery πŸ”‹
Size-Dependent
  • Starkey's half-shell and full-shell models are rechargeable with up to 36 hours of battery life
  • Starkey's completely-in-canal and invisible-in-canal models use a size 10 disposable battery (lasts 5-7 days)
Connection πŸ“‘
Size-Dependent
  • Genesis AI offers Bluetooth streaming in full-shell and half-shell models
  • Genesis AI does not offer Bluetooth streaming for completely-in-canal (CIC) or invisible-in-canal (IIC) models
  • iPhone users can take calls hands-free, while Android users must keep their phones close to pick up outbound audio.
  • Genesis AI devices use Apple's MFI connection and Android's ASHA connection to stream content through Bluetooth
Dexterity Level 🀏
Average

The larger, rechargeable models of Genesis AI custom-molded hearing aids are reasonably easy to handle, while the smaller, disposable battery-powered models require more dexterity.

  • All models have a single piece that sits in the ear vs. RIC styles with a piece in and behind the ear
  • Larger sizes include a push button, while smaller sizes do not
  • Rechargeable models use port charging vs. conduction charging (slightly more challenging to handle)
  • The smallest sizes require regular battery changes (requires good dexterity)
Waterproof Level πŸ’¦
IP68
  • Starkey Genesis AI are 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 πŸ“±
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

Note that Starkey's CIC and IIC sizes do not come with connection to the Starkey app.

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 Size
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Starkey's custom hearing aids come in 4 sizes, from invisible to full-shell. The overall sound processing is the same throughout the line, but some technology like Bluetooth and rechargeable batteries is only available in larger sizes. 

Genesis AI Invisible Hearing Aid (only available at the 2400 tech level)

  • Tiny size makes it truly invisible, 
  • Uses a disposable size 10 battery
  • Best for mild to moderately-severe hearing loss
  • Does not allow Bluetooth streaming
  • Allows remote programming after your first in-person visit
  • Includes fitness tracking and personal assistant options  

Genesis AI Completely In Canal Hearing Aid (available at all tech levels)

  • Slightly larger than the entirely invisible style 
  • Uses a disposable size 10 or 312 battery
  • Best for mild to moderately-severe hearing loss
  • Smallest device on the market that allows Bluetooth streaming. Some people do not like the way the antenna looks sticking out of the ear. You can opt for the non, Bluetooth option if you prefer. 
  • Allows for two-way phone audio (like Airpods)
  • Allows remote programming after your first in-person visit 
  • Includes fitness tracking and personal assistant options  

Genesis AI Half Shell and Full Shell Hearing Aid (available at all tech levels)

  • The larger size that fills half of the ear or the full ear
  • Includes a rechargeable battery 
  • Best for mild to severe hearing loss
  • Allows Bluetooth streaming and two-way phone audio 
  • Allows remote programming after your first in-person visit 
  • Includes fitness tracking and personal assistant options  

Your care provider will assist you in making final decisions.  

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The breakdown

Starkey is a clear leader when it comes to custom-molded hearing aids. The products aren't cheap, but they have excellent quality and the best feature set in on the market.

Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids offer robust features, including daily steps tracking, conversation tracking, and fall detection. Starkey also allows live transcription of your conversations with opt-in so that you can review later. Each of Starkey's Genesis AI hearing aids allows remote program changes, so you don't need to go into the audiology office after your initial appointment.

Starkey app next to custom invisible hearing aids
Starkey technician creating custom hearing aids on a computerCustom mold Starkey hearing aid

The tech inside

Your Genesis AI hearing aids can make up to 80 million tiny adjustments per hour to make sure you hear what you want.

Genesis AI has Bluetooth streaming (included in CIC, full shell and half shell), rechargeable batteries (included in half shell and full shell), and the ability for an audiologist to make live remote adjustments (included in all sizes).

Starkey Genesis AI offers fitness tracking fall detection, an intuitive app that allows for on-the-fly adjustments and helps you find your hearing aids if they are ever lost. Starkey even offers live language translation and transcribes conversations.

Getting up close

Starkey custom hearing aids sit entirely inside the ears at various sizes based on your needs. 

Starkey Genesis AI custom hearing aids allow you to choose from 6 different shell and body colors including brown, light brown, pink and black.

Close up of Starkey invisible hearing aid

Overall notes:

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