Hearing aids can significantly improve the lives of millions with hearing loss—so why don’t more people wear them? One of the biggest reasons is the cost. Most insurance plans don’t cover hearing aids, and the average pair can set you back $4,600.
New affordable hearing aid brands are popping up every year to meet this massive demand. However, it can be hard to know who to trust. MDHearing sells direct-to-consumer hearing devices at a fraction of what you would pay for traditional hearing aids. This guide breaks down everything you need to know, including reviews, models, features, and more.
MDHearing: Bringing Affordable Hearing Aids to the Masses
MDHearing was founded in Chicago in 2009 by Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, a board-certified ENT physician who wanted to make hearing aids more accessible to the public. MDHearing was among the earliest companies to sell direct-to-consumer hearing aids. MDHearing hearing aids have a solid reputation for balancing quality with affordability.
All MDHearing hearing aids are FDA-registered Class 1 medical devices assembled in an ISO-certified facility in Southfield, Michigan. More than 750,000 Americans have chosen MDHearing as their hearing loss solution.
MDHearing Reviews: Pros and Cons
What we like:
- Affordable: A pair of the most expensive MDHearing aids costs nearly $4,000 less than the average price of conventional hearing aids. MDHearing also offers regular sales and by-one-get-one discounts for greater savings.
- Medical-grade hearing aids: MDHearing offers FDA-registered medical-grade devices that work best for mild and moderate hearing loss.
- Convenient: MDHearing lets you purchase hearing aids online and deliver them to your door quickly.
- Feature-rich: MDHearing hearing aids include most of the bells and whistles you’d expect from medical-grade hearing aids, including feedback cancellation and noise reduction.
- Low-risk: Every MDHearing device includes a 45-day trial period. If your MDHearing hearing aids don’t meet your expectations, you can return them for a full refund within 45 days.
- High reputation: Unlike some fly-by-night companies in the affordable hearing aid space, MDHearing was founded by a board-certified otolaryngologist, and it has been in the business for more than a decade. The company’s headquarters, factory, and customer service are all located in the United States.
|MDHearing NEO||MDHearing AIR||MDHearing VOLT||MDHearing VOLT MAX|
|Cost per pair||$299||$299||$399||$699|
|Type of hearing aid||ITC||BTE||BTE||BTE|
|Bluetooth streaming capability||No||No||No||Yes|
MdHearing has been providing high-quality hearing aids direct to consumers for 14 years.
MdHearingAid currently offers three different models and are designed to work with the most common levels of hearing loss. Compared to Starkey, Phonak, or Oticon, you can save thousands of dollars.
What we don’t like:
- Not custom-programmed or fitted: MDHearing cuts costs with a self-service approach, allowing customers to adjust their devices themselves and fit them with a range of ear pieces.
- No live chat: If online live chat is your preferred method of customer support, you should know that MDHearing doesn’t offer it. However, you can contact customer support via email 24/7 and US-based phone support during business hours, Monday through Friday.
- Restricted Bluetooth capabilities: The VOLT is the only model with Bluetooth enabled, and this feature can only be used to connect to the MDHearing app. You cannot use Bluetooth to stream TV or mobile calls.
MDHearingAid: Affordable Solutions for Different Levels of Hearing Loss
MdHearingAid currently offers three different models designed to work with the most common levels of hearing loss. Compared to Starkey, Phonak, or Oticon, you can save thousands of dollars.
|Behind-the-ear (BTE)||The VOLT model is a BTE device, which sits on the outer ear with a thin tube connecting to an earpiece in the ear canal. This design allows for maximum amplification of sound, making it an excellent choice for those with more severe hearing loss.|
|Behind-the-ear (BTE)||Like the VOLT, the AIR model is a BTE device that sits on the outer ear with a thin tube connecting to an earpiece in the ear canal. It’s designed to be comfortable and discreet while still providing excellent sound quality.|
|In-the-ear (ITE)||The NEO model features a less-conspicuous in-the-ear (ITE) design. This type of device sits entirely within the ear canal, making it almost invisible. It’s a great option for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who want a more discreet device.|
Two models—the VOLT and the AIR—are behind-the-ear (BTE), the most common type of hearing aid sold today. The bulk of a BTE device sits on the outer ear with a thin tube connecting to an earpiece in the ear canal.
However, the NEO, the latest addition to MDHearing’s lineup, features a less-conspicuous in-the-ear (ITE) design.
MDHearing AIR: Affordable, Digital Hearing Aid with Advanced Features and Customizable Audio Settings
MDHearing Air Review
MDHearing Air is a high-quality hearing aid designed to provide clear and natural sound at an affordable price point
Editors Rating: 8 /10
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
The MDHearing AIR is the company’s most affordable and popular unit. The AIR represents a step up technologically from the PRO, the company’s discontinued entry-level analog device. Unlike the PRO, the AIR is a digital hearing aid with advanced feedback cancellation and noise-reduction technology that filters background noise.
With four different audio settings to match your environment—including “quiet,” “social,” and “noisy environments”—the AIR is suitable for users with an active, on-the-go lifestyle. The AIR weighs the same as the PRO at 0.8 ounces but has a smaller frame, with dimensions of 1.00 x 0.25 x 0.50 inches.
While the other models are rechargeable, the AIR uses size-13 batteries. According to the company, the battery life ranges from 21-26 days. The batteries can be purchased through the website.
Bottom line: The MDHearing Aid AIR shares most of the core technologies with MDHearing’s other models, but it isn’t rechargeable and cannot connect with the MDHearing smartphone app. Still, it’s comparable in every other regard, with excellent sound quality and noise reduction.
MDHearing VOLT: A Rechargeable Hearing Aid with Enhanced Features
MdHearingaid Review VOLT
MDHearing VOLT is a powerful and versatile hearing aid that can help users to regain their hearing and enjoy a more fulfilling and connected life
Editors Rating: 8.5 /10
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
While the MDHearing VOLT hearing aid may look virtually identical to the AIR, the price is a little higher because it has more features. For starters, the VOLT is rechargeable, so you don’t have to change the batteries every few weeks. Just charge your hearing aids up overnight in the provided wireless carrying case for 20 hours of use.
Another benefit of rechargeable hearing aids: they won’t suddenly die on you when you’re out and about without having another battery on hand. While you may pay more initially for the VOLT, you’ll save money on batteries over the product’s life.
The VOLT includes similar digital technology features as the AIR, such as advanced noise reduction and four preset audio settings. It also offers better feedback cancellation than the AIR. Additional advanced features include a water-resistant (IP57) coating and two-directional microphones for clearer conversation in noisy environments.
The MDHearing VOLT is the only model that can be personalized and fine-tuned using the company’s smartphone app.
Bottom line: The MDHearing VOLT is similar in appearance and function to the AIR but includes some added enhancements that improve sound quality and user experience, such as directional microphones, improved feedback cancellation, and rechargeable batteries. It’s ideal for users who want a high-quality yet affordable rechargeable hearing aid.
MDHearing Review NEO: Inconspicuous In-Ear Hearing Aid with Impressive Sound Quality
MdHearing NEO Review
MDHearing Air IRC is a top-of-the-line hearing aid that provides crystal-clear sound and personalized amplification for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Editors Rating: 8.5/10
What We Like
What We Don’t Like
Bottom Line: The MDHearing NEO hearing aid delivers excellent sound quality in a nearly invisible device, but it lacks the ability to tweak and customize your listening experience as well as some of the additional features you get with the VOLT.
To appeal to consumers who are self-conscious about being seen wearing hearing aids, MDHearing developed the MDHearing NEO, the company’s first in-the-ear device.
It takes a sharp eye to notice the NEO, as the entire unit can fit inside the ear canal. The inconspicuous NEO features sound quality comparable to the AIR and VOLT, with feedback cancellation and noise reduction. Like the VOLT, the MDHearing NEO is rechargeable but has a slightly shorter use time on a full charge.
However, there are some trade-offs to consider. The NEO’s tiny 0.5”x 0.875” casing can’t accommodate as many advanced features as the VOLT’s, such as the dual directional microphones and a Bluetooth interface, so it can’t be adjusted via the MDHearing app.
You also need to work tiny buttons to control the volume on the NEO, whereas the AIR and VOLT have a much more accessible volume-control dial. While the AIR and VOLT offer four environmental settings, the NEO only has one.
2023 MDHearing Hearing Aid Prices
These are the standard retail prices listed on MDHearing’s website, but the company offers frequent sales, with discounts of up to 70% off on a full pair.
|Model||Single Hearing Aid||Two Hearing Aids|
MDHearing Hearing Test – Always Free Online Hearing Tests
The MDHearingAid hearing test is an free online hearing test that you can take from the comfort of your own home. The hearing test takes about 15 minutes to complete and is designed to evaluate the hearing loss in your ears.
To take the free hearing test, you’ll need a pair of headphones and a quiet room. You’ll be asked to listen to a series of tones played at different frequencies and volumes. Using the headphones, you’ll indicate which tones you can hear and which ones you can’t.
Once you’ve completed the hearing tests, you’ll receive a report that shows your hearing levels for both ears. This report can help you determine whether you have a hearing loss and, if so, how severe it is.
Are Online Hearing Tests Any Good?
There are several benefits to taking advantage of MDHearingAid’s free hearing test:
- It’s convenient: You can take the test from the comfort of your own home, without having to schedule an appointment with an hearing specialist or an audiologist.
- It’s quick: The test takes about 15 minutes to complete, so you can get your results quickly and easily.
- It’s free: The test is completely free, so you can get a better understanding of your hearing loss levels without spending any money.
- It’s informative: The test provides you with a report that shows your hearing loss for both ears.
How is MDHearing Different from Traditional Hearing Aids?
Buying hearing aids the old-fashioned way is a time-consuming and costly process that involves visits to a series of hearing professionals. It typically requires a trip to your primary physician or ENT doctor and a licensed audiologist for a professional hearing test to assess your level of hearing loss.
The audiologist refers customers to a brick-and-mortar hearing center to buy hearing aids, and a hearing aid specialist programs and fits them. Unfortunately, the customer pays a significant markup to cover the facility’s costs.
After buying hearing aids, you might need to return to the hearing center for adjustments and reprogramming. This whole process can often cost the customer between $2,500 and $5,000 on top of the device’s cost.
Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri made it easier to buy new hearing aids with an innovative direct-to-consumer business model. Instead of going through intermediaries like hearing centers and retailers, the company sells high-quality hearing devices directly to customers via the MdHearing website.
This helps the company provide hearing amplifiers at a significant discount to those purchasing hearing aids. Instead of booking an appointment with an audiologist, you can take a free online hearing test on the MDHearing website. The entire process takes less than eight minutes. In-house audiologists review your hearing test to see if MDHearing devices are right for you.
Of course, the company also recommends consulting an audiologist or other healthcare provider if you have questions or problems with your hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Accessories Offered by MdHearing
For the best experience, a variety of accessories can be purchased from the website, including:
- Hearing aid tubing, domes, and tips to improve fit in your ears
- Disposable batteries (AIR)
- ReCharger case (VOLT and NEO)
- Storage cases
- Ultraviolet clean & dry boxes
- Cleaning tools and dehumidifiers
Factory Warranty Extended to 1 Year of Coverage -MDShield Protection Plan
Affordable hearing aids are great, but are they made to last? The average lifespan of a hearing aid is roughly three to seven years, so you want to go with a company with a reputation for durability. Consumers buying online should ensure that their choice of provider can help them service any issues that crop up.
MDHearing devices come with a standard one-year warranty covering the repair or replacement of all products with manufacturer defects in parts, materials, and or quality.
For extended coverage beyond the first year, MDHearing customers can buy the MDShield protection plan, which covers all defects, malfunctions, accidental damage, water damage, and pet damage at no charge. However, you’ll still need to pay for postage and processing, and the plan doesn’t cover loss, theft, or unauthorized repairs.
The protection plans are subscription-based, and you can cancel at any time.
Period Risk-Free 45-Day Trial Period
As we’ve already mentioned, MDHearing lets customers try its hearing aids for 45 days risk-free. Since clinical studies show that it can take a few weeks for many people’s brains to adjust to hearing aids, MDhearing recommends wearing them for at least 21 days before requesting a refund
If you’re not satisfied, you can return the product before the end of the trial period for a full refund minus the costs of shipping, handling, and restocking.
Customer Support from Experienced Specialists at MDHearingAid
This is where MDHearing shines. If you encounter a problem with your aid at any time, you can connect via phone or email to an experienced hearing instrument specialist based in Chicago and Detroit. Please note that all customer support options are based in the USA, so phone is unavailable for customers on national holidays.
Potential customers can also get buying advice from an in-house licensed audiologist based on the results of their free hearing test.
MDHearing Customer Reviews: How do they Sound?
Thus far, we’ve talked about how the direct-to-consumer business model works and the different hearing aid models and prices. But what do real people have to say about their hearing aids in real customer reviews?
Consumer Affairs gives MDHearing 4.0 out of 5 stars based on 193 ratings. Most MDHearing customers gave the hearing aids a four-star rating or higher. Only a handful rated the company’s hearing aids one or two stars. And roughly one-fifth gave MDHearing a middling three-star review.
It should be noted that the bulk of the negative reviews are several years old, which suggests MDHearing has improved its customer service and satisfaction.
Users like the affordability, convenience, and free online hearing test. Customers complained most about the lack of custom fitting.
Here are the most recent positive and negative reviews:
Jan. 4, 2023
Aids work and fit well. Great app that is used to control aids. Had a problem with one charging properly. It and the charger were immediately replaced. Great customer service. I highly recommend MD hearing aids (mine are Volt Max)!
Nov. 15, 2022
I received the hearing aids within days of ordering, and I have received excellent support via email and YouTube videos that explain everything. I am able to hear much better than before! They were uncomfortable for the first few days, but now I am able to wear them all day without discomfort.
Jan. 20, 2023
I never got a working pair after three tries with error-associated replacement mailings. Support requests were answered with generic videos. Long waits on telephone. No perceivable improvement of hearing in restaurant situation in my shortened trial.
Aug. 3, 2022
I bought the CORE hearing aid from MDHearingAid. It did not meet my needs. I returned it and ordered the VOLT MAX. The VOLT MAX is a great hearing aid. There is an app that one can download from the App Store onto your phone or iPad (IOS 10.0 or above). This allows you to personalize the hearing aids specifically for your hearing loss. It does this by providing tones at various volumes like a hearing test for one ear and then the other. You press a button each time you hear a tone. It then loads this information into the hearing aids to compensate for your particular hearing loss versus frequency. The VOLT MAX works as advertised and provides hearing almost as good as ones costing much more. I would recommend that you give them a try. They have a 45-day trial period in which you can return the hearing aid for a full refund.
MDHearing is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) hearing aid company that sells low-cost FDA-registered hearing aids online. MDHearing offers free online hearing tests that enable customers to skip the audiologist and order directly from the MDHearing website. The company’s hearing aids generally work for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The online hearing aid company sells devices with technology rivaling hearing aids that retail for thousands of dollars more. While styles are still limited, MDHearing began branching out this year with its newly released MDHearing NEO in-the-ear model. However, traditional hearing aids still have some advantages, like custom programming and fitting.
Can MDHearing Aids be used without professional assistance?
MDHearing Aids are designed to be easy to use and can be purchased directly online without a prescription. However, it is essential to note that hearing loss is a complex condition, and proper evaluation and treatment should always be sought from a qualified hearing healthcare professional.
What is the cost of MDHearing Aids?
MDHearing Aids are priced affordably, with prices ranging from around $200 to $800 per device. The cost will depend on the specific model and features selected. MDHearing also offers financing options to help make their hearing aids more accessible.
Are there any complaints about MDHearing Aids?
As with any product, there may be some complaints or negative reviews about MDHearing Aids. Some common complaints include issues with sound quality, fit and comfort, and battery life. However, many customers have also reported positive experiences with MDHearing Aids, citing improved hearing and ease of use.
How does the cost of MDHearing Aids compare to Eargo, Lexie, and Bose?
MDHearing Aids prices range from $200 to $800 per device which means it’s the cheapest of all the brands. Eargo and Lexie are also direct-to-consumer hearing aid companies but with higher prices $1,450 to $2,750 for a pair of devices. MdHearing aids lack features and provide a shorter warranty return policy than other OTC hearing aid companies.
What is the difference between analog hearing aids and digital hearing aids?
Analog hearing aids amplify all sounds, while digital hearing aids can selectively amplify specific frequencies. Digital hearing aids are also more customizable and can be programmed for different listening environments.
What causes hearing loss?
Hearing loss can be caused by various factors, including age, genetics, exposure to loud noise, certain medications, and medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.