Which hearing aid brand is superior: Oticon or Starkey?

In the Netherlands, 26 hearing aid brands are available, each having its pros and cons. Not every hearing care professional will sell every brand, either as a result of a supplier agreement or because of a personal preference. Many Dutch chains sell two brands. And as the preferred brand changes every year, you can never be sure that the same brand will be available when you wish to replace your hearing aid. Online Hoortoestel and most independent hearing care professionals are not restricted to a limited range, but offer a choice of nearly all hearing aid brands. In this blog, we will be comparing two brands: Oticon, from Denmark, and Starkey, from the United States.

Sound quality/timbre of Oticon and Starkey hearing aids

Sound is highly subjective: one person’s idea of great sound may sound terrible to somebody else. That’s why we recommend indicating in advance if you are overly sensitive to certain sounds or perhaps a great music lover. That way, your hearing care professional will be able to provide you with advice that matches your preferences. The timbres of Starkey and Oticon hearing aids are similar: the sound is on the light side and has a touch of sharpness. As a result, users of these hearing aids experience a crisp sound, the sharpness making speech stand out well, especially in a noisy environment. Should the hearing aid provide sound that is too sharp, your hearing care professional can adjust this to a level that is comfortable to you.

Direct connectivity with your mobile phone

Oticon and Starkey are both brands working on improving use in combination with a smartphone. Both brands are MFi (‘made for iPhone’) and can also be directly linked to many Android phones. Note that not all Android phones are compatible, as the phone must be equipped with ASHA (Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids). The manufacturers’ websites list which phones are compatible with the hearing aids. Linking the hearing aids to your phone enables you to stream sound to them and adjust their settings using an app. Streaming sound to your hearing aids makes it possible to play music, podcasts or audiobooks on your hearing aids directly. When streaming, Oticon hearing aids offer a somewhat warmer and more full-bodied sound than Starkey hearing aids. The Starkey app offers more extensive functionality, not only enabling you to adjust the sounds more exactly, but also providing a translation function and fall detection. This extensive functionality in a very user-friendly app makes Starkey hearing aids a really useful tool!

Starkey and Oticon in-the-ear hearing aids

To most people with hearing loss the appearance of their hearing aid is important, making it essential that it is as small and invisible as possible. Small hearing aids worn behind the ear are available, but also hearing aids that are worn entirely inside the ear. These are made-to-measure hearing aids, for which an impression of the ear canal is made. The more space is available in the ear canal, the more efficiently and deeply the hearing aid can be inserted into the ear. Both Oticon and Starkey manufacture in-the-ear hearing aids, but of greatly differing quality. In the experience of our hearing care professionals, both brands produce beautiful small hearing aids, but Oticon is less good at getting the fit right. It can be very annoying if a hearing aid doesn’t fit properly, as a result of which you often have to push them back in or they start to whistle or squeak. So, if it’s an in-the-ear hearing aid that you are looking for, and this is suitable for your hearing loss, we recommend choosing a Starkey hearing aid.

Both brands have their advantages and disadvantages, but in our experience hearing aid users get more pleasure and profit from a Starkey hearing aid.

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By Yvan Karman