Update: the best hearing aids 2022 edition is now available.
I want to start off with a disclaimer: I don’t really think there is one best hearing amplifier in 2020. The best hearing amplifier depends on your needs. Sure, there is a hearing amplifier that ranks highest on a lot of features (spoiler alert: it’s the Otofonix Helix). But that doesn’t mean everyone needs to buy it.
Because the best hearing amplifier depends on specific circumstances, I have organized this blog post as if I’m awarding the Academy Awards. There is not one best hearing amplifier in 2020 on this website. Instead, there are five categories that each have their own best hearing amplifier. That way, I’m sure you will find one that suits you. Although I have tried my best to reflect the most accurate price, prices can fluctuate on a daily basis.
I have divided the best hearing amplifiers in 2020 into the following categories:
- Best all-round hearing amplifier
- Best hearing amplifier – editor’s pick
- Best budget hearing amplifier
- Best overall hearing amplifier
- Best hearing amplifier for watching TV
Another disclaimer: links in this blog post referring to other websites might be affiliate links. If you buy anything from those websites, I could receive a commission. This does not affect my review or the price of the product.
Best buy hearing amplifier in 2020: LAIWEN LP-01
As this category already implies, the LAIWEN isn’t necessarily the world’s greatest hearing amplifier. Instead, it’s the best-buy option. This model ticks off all the boxes of features you need and is available at a great price point (around $150, or $300 for a pair). Don’t expect miracles here; this is the equivalent of buying a three-year old basic model Toyota Corolla – a choice so decent, it borderlines boring.
Buying the LAIWEN gives you good sound quality through 12 bands and 6 channels, at 8 different volume levels. It features noise reduction technology, fits either ear, has a common battery size, and is pretty small and sleek. As I said, it has everything you need, and nothing extra.
Best hearing amplifier in 2020 – editor’s pick: ZVOX VB-20
To me, the ZVOX VB-20 is essentially tied with the Laiwen. In fact, I like the ZVOX a little better, but it has some extras that come with a cost increase. It offers roughly the same sound quality as the Laiwen, but also features dual microphones for a more natural listening experience, an app that lets you customize your volume and listening program without fiddling with tiny buttons, and it’s made in America.
These are all great extras, but whether or not they are worth the price increase is entirely up to you. The price for the ZVOX is notoriously volatile, and can range anywhere from $150 to $300 per device (double that for a pair). If you spot it for $150, it’s definitely the better option compared to the LAIWEN.
Best budget hearing amplifier in 2020: Banglijian BLJ-109
The Banglijian BLJ-109 is another one of my favorites. Again, not the world’s greatest hearing amplifier, but it far outshines every other model that’s available under $100. For around $70 per device, you get digital noise cancelling features, 3 listening programs, 6 volume settings, and a rechargeable battery that gives you up to 60 hours of listening time for 2 hours of charging.
Sure, it lacks some of the features you find in higher-priced models, but if you’re looking for a steal, this is it.
Best overall hearing amplifier in 2020: Otofonix Helix
This is the big change in the July update. Previously, the best overall hearing amplifier for 2020 was the Eargo NEO. It’s neat. It’s a great hearing amplifier, but its pricing and unfavorable warranty conditions mean that it’s no longer the overall best.
That honor is now bestowed on the Otofonix Helix. This sleek pair of hearing amplifiers comes in at under $700, has all the bells and whistles, and even features a telecoil function.
Performance-wise, the Otofonix Helix sets the bar. It boasts a great sound quality and the latest digital processing features that allow you to hear more of what you want, and less of what you don’t want.
Best hearing amplifier for watching TV: Britzgo 220
Maybe you don’t need noise reduction, listening programs, and all that jazz. If you’re looking for a simple amplifier so your spouse doesn’t have to suffer through the TV blasting at rock concert volume, there’s a fine hearing amplifier for that, too.
The Britzgo 220 is a bit older, and it shows. The sound quality isn’t all that, the listening programs are a bit behind, and it doesn’t hold up in the complexity of the real world. But for watching TV, none of that matters. In that case, the Britzgo 220 is a great choice, and available for around $50 per device.
I’ve picked five categories with as many winners. But because some other hearing amplifiers are also worth mentioning, I’m taking on this category. These hearing amplifiers might not make the best in 2020, but they’re good buys, and they might just give you what you’re looking for.
Neosonic Mini Ric
The Neosonic Mini RIC is the best receiver-in-ear model you’ll find. It’s small, modern, has good features, and comes from a reputable company. Especially if you’re interested in buying a RIC model (read more about different types of hearing amplifiers here), this should be your first choice. Available for around $300.
The Otofonix Encore is second only after the Eargo NEO when it comes to best hearing amplifier. It has all the bells and whistles, all the necessary features, dual microphones, a telecoil function, and a good warranty. Maybe it doesn’t bridge the gap between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers, but it’s sure king of hearing amplifiers. Available for around $400.
The Banglijian Ziv-201 is another favorite on this website. Its problem is the all-round performance. It doesn’t really stand out in one way or another. Aside from that, there really is no reason not to buy one. It works well, is available in different styles, and has a rechargeable battery. The Banglijian Ziv-201 costs around $125.
What to expect from hearing amplifiers in 2020
After President Trump signed a law in 2017, over-the-counter (OTC) hearing amplifiers are expected to really take off in 2020. Where the market for these hearing amplifiers was mostly fragmented and served by smaller brands that before didn’t even exist, this new law got more reputable brands involved. Most notably, the company Bose has already been selling its version of an over-the-counter hearing amplifier. In 2020, you can expect more of these brands launching their own over-the-counter hearing amplifier.
Another trend you can expect in 2020 follows the Eargo NEO’s model: the advantages of hearing aids taken to the market for hearing amplifiers. Especially as BlueTooth technology becomes more available, apps will add more functionality to your hearing amplifiers. A good example of this is the Neosonic SF.
When hearing amplifiers first came on the market, they were clunky, stripped-down versions of hearing aids. Technology improvements, now coupled with a new law, will take hearing amplifiers to a whole new level. As companies keep improving and upgrading their models, getting a hearing amplifier becomes a better and better decision.
The 3 best-read articles of 2019
If you’re looking to get more information on hearing amplifiers, make sure you come back. We regularly publish articles that explore the world of hearing amplifiers and hearing loss. Aside from our expert reviews for new models, these articles gives you a better understanding of what to expect from a hearing amplifier, and how to get the most out of your device. Over the last year, these were the most popular articles:
- The best hearing amplifier for less than $200
- The difference between hearing aids and hearing amplifiers
- Why it’s a bad idea to rely on Amazon reviews to buy a hearing amplifier
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