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Otofonix Reviews: Do these affordable hearing aids deliver quality?

Find out whether Otofonix provides a good value in its comparably low-priced hearing aids

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Otofonix reviews

Hearing loss is widespread, and it can be debilitating. It affects relationships, communication, and enjoyment. Overall, 15% of adults age 18 and over have some trouble hearing, and 25% of people ages 65-74 have disabling hearing loss. Meanwhile, getting fitted with hearing aids is notoriously expensive. Most new models cost well over $1,000 per ear before adding the cost of the initial audiogram, diagnosis, and early follow-ups.

Otofonix Hearing Solutions seeks to provide a simpler and more affordable alternative, offering a range of pre-programmed hearing aids that can be shipped straight to your home for less than half the price of traditional hearing aids. For those with uncomplicated, mild to moderate hearing loss, this can be good enough to rejoin the conversation at a busy cocktail party.

So does this trade-off work for everyone? Will you be better served by Otofonix’s budget-conscious offers? We’ve evaluated the company’s array of products and will give you our breakdown of cost, functionality, and comfort.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Sharply cheaper than traditional hearing aids
  • The devices are resilient despite being very small and discreet
  • Offers a good selection of FDA-approved devices and accessories
  • Free delivery across the continental U.S.
  • 45-day risk-free trial
  • Lifetime remote assistance
  • Limited time: Save 50% on your order

Cons

  • The sound output can be a bit metallic
  • Only available in BTE (behind the ear) models
  • Devices do not address severe, profound, or low-frequency-only hearing loss

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a way to recover hearing functionality but are short on cash or insurance coverage, Otofonix’s hearing aids deserve your consideration. These devices won’t provide you with quite the same experience as top-of-the-line hearing aids, and they don’t address unique hearing issues, but they can give enough of a boost to greatly help many customers. If your goals are simply to enjoy yourself at dinner parties or spare your relatives from having to speak up, there’s a good chance that these hearing aids will work for you.

Our Top Picks

Otofonix

Looking for affordable, quality hearing aids? Otofonix gives you a convenient way to purchase them from home.

While not the fanciest hearing aids available, Otofonix’s regular prices can save up to half of what you’d spend on hearing aids in the traditional, office-based process. During frequent sales, Otofonix gives you price savings that are unmatched.

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally this review of Otofonix, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

What is Otofonix?

Otofonix is an American company specializing in selling hearing aids directly to the consumer. Dr. Luke Ancerewitz founded the company after spending over 25 years treating people with degenerative hearing problems. Throughout his career, he observed countless patients endure the isolation caused by progressive hearing loss, as they could not afford the expensive hearing aids available at the time.

In 2009, a circuit court decision legalized the sale of hearing aids as over-the-counter devices, opening up the market for direct-to-consumer audiology products and spurring Dr. Ancerewitz into action. He founded Otofonix a year later in North Carolina and set out to design a device that could address as many hearing loss cases as possible, for a price that most patients could still afford.

Otofonix’s hearing aids come in various models, each providing different noise reduction levels, sound processing, and volume-boosting effects. Most importantly, Otofonix devices cost less than half the price of traditional hearing aids and are delivered right to your door. These are among the most affordable hearing aids you can find.

How does it work?

Unlike traditional hearing aids, which an audiologist calibrates to each individual’s hearing needs, Otofonix’s devices enhance the volume and detectability of all sounds. The hearing aids come with a set of profiles meant to match certain environmental conditions, such as quiet or loud environments. Dr. Ancerewitz’s research found that the devices provide a considerable boost for up to 85% of all people with progressive or age-related hearing loss.

Otofonix currently offers five different hearing aids, as well as supporting accessories:

  1. The Apex

  2. The Elite

  3. The Encore

  4. The Helix

  5. The Sona

Otofonix products

Otofonix Apex

Price: $248 per ear

The Apex is the most basic and affordable of all Otofonix products. It is a behind the ear (BTE) device with a small, earbud-protected receiver that goes inside the ear canal. As thin as a pencil and barely larger than a quarter, the Apex offers few extra frills but provides enough power to sharply increase your ability to understand soft speech or navigate chaotic environments. The Apex features:

  • Three preset programs (Normal, Noise, and Advance Treble)
  • Eight volume levels

Otofonix Elite

Price: $398 per ear

The Otofonix Elite offers several improvements over the Apex’s basic specs while remaining much more affordable than traditional hearing aids. It’s as small as the Apex, and it keeps mostly to the same structure while adding the following features:

  • Four customizable preset slots
  • Ten volume levels
  • Digital noise cancellation
  • Rocker switch controls

Otofonix Encore

Price: $598 per ear

Otofonix’s next tier of hearing aids is the Encore. This model looks quite similar to the Elite except slightly larger, with the same Rocker Switch Controls for navigating between four environmental presets. However, the Encore’s design adds a couple of extra options meant to cater to those with more moderate hearing loss. These include:

  • Advanced digital noise cancellation, which significantly reduces background noise
  • Stronger sound amplification with the Ear Hook Power Kit, which can add up to 53 dB to your hearing range
  • Dual directional microphones
  • Telecoil compatibility, which lets you tap directly into the sound feed at many cinemas, theaters, and places of worship

Otofonix Helix

Price: $649 per ear

As far as sound amplification goes, the Helix is very similar to the Elite: it offers the same amount of presets, volume levels, and digital noise cancellation. However, it replaces the size-312 disposable batteries for internal rechargeable batteries. Just charge them overnight in exchange for up to 20 hours of operation the next day. The Otofonix Helix also offers:

  • Telecoil compatibility
  • Stronger amplification for high-frequency sounds than any other model

Otofonix Sona

Price: $649 per ear

The Otofonix Sona is the company’s latest model and the only one to jump into the smartphone-controlled niche. This device has full Bluetooth functionality and can sync with your phone through its companion app. The app makes it a lot easier to switch between your different presets discreetly. It also simplifies the process of adjusting the customizable slots: the app includes an interactive hearing test that will suggest the best settings. While the Sona doesn’t include Telecoil compatibility, it does feature:

  • Directional microphones, which allow you to focus on a specific person or sound
  • Stronger digital noise cancellation
  • Two slots for size 13 batteries

Accessories and replacement parts

Existing customers can also get original replacements and accessories directly from the Otofonix website. These include:

Ear domes

These silicone domes are attached to the hearing aid’s receiver (the end that rests inside the ear canal). Otofonix recommends that clients replace them every three months or sooner if they become stiff. They can be closed or open and are available in three sizes. Ear domes cost $2.50 each, or $13 for a pack of six.

Sound tubes

These small silicone tubes connect the hearing aid behind the ear to the receiver inside the ear. You should replace these tubes whenever they become stiff or discolored. Sound tubes cost $12.95 each.

Replacement batteries

Although all Otofonix devices except Helix come with six batteries, you will eventually need more. Otofonix sells third-party mercury-free batteries manufactured by PowerOne. You can buy them directly from the website at $6 for a six-pack or $34.99 for a pack of 60.

EarHook Power Kit

This extra-thick tube is made for the Encore model and allows you to further increase the volume and sound range detected by your hearing aid. The EarHook Power Kit costs $15.95.

Purchase recommendations

Otofonix tries its best to provide affordable hearing aid alternatives and is pretty flexible with clients who need to stretch their dollar as much as possible. If you only have mild hearing loss, the company’s website won’t hesitate to send you straight to its Apex model. At $248 per ear, the savings offered by this device are close to unbeatable and will likely grant you a noticeable difference in your day-to-day interactions.

If your hearing loss is more profound, the decision can be significantly muddled. The Helix and Sona models have identical price tags and relatively similar specs. Our advice: take a good look at your routine and the places you frequent. If you don’t go to the movies a lot, or your local church or temple doesn’t offer a Telecoil signal, the Sona’s Bluetooth capabilities will likely serve you better.

The Helix’s rechargeable batteries can save you money in the long term, although it may take a few years for that difference to become significant. If you shop around instead of buying batteries directly from Otofonix, you can find a pack of 60 for as little as $13.

If your hearing loss is close to the severe territory, then the Encore’s extra prowess with the Ear Hook Power Kit is advisable.

If you can’t afford two hearing aids, you can order just one. If you choose to do this, buy your device for the ear that hears best: having one ear as close as possible to 100% will significantly impact your daily life.

Getting started with Otofonix

Buying an Otofonix hearing aid is remarkably simple on the company’s website without needing a prescription. The site also frequently offers compelling sales with discounts of up to 50% off selected products.

  1. Test your hearing online. Otofonix’s free online hearing test is a convenient place to start. Enter your email address and name to begin the brief, 3-minute test using your computer speakers or headphones. This test will give you a basic idea of your hearing impairment level and which ear is affected most.

  2. Assess your hearing professionally. If you have already seen an audiologist to diagnose your hearing loss, they can help you decide if you fall within the 85% of patients that Otofonix can help. If you have not had your hearing assessed by a professional, select the “Find an Audiologist” link at the bottom of the main page. This link leads you to a list of hearing professionals in your area.

  3. Browse and compare. Once you have an idea of your hearing needs, browse Otofonix’s models to see which one suits you best.

  4. Proceed to checkout. Once you’ve made your selection, continue to the checkout. Otofonix accepts all major credit cards and PayPal. It also offers an option to apply for Affirm Monthly Payments.

  5. Await shipping. Otofonix offers free two-day shipping across the continental U.S. on hearing aids. There is a small shipping fee for any accessory.

  6. Open your package. When your package arrives, you’ll find a fully-assembled, pre-programmed hearing aid, a travel case, a cleaning kit, three extra silicon domes in assorted sizes, two spare tubes, and (except for the Helix) six extra batteries.

  7. Watch the video and read the enclosed instructions. Otofonix recommends watching the instructional video on its website for easy-to-follow, detailed instructions on adjusting volumes and wearing and cleaning the hearing aids. Each product includes written instructions, as well.

Returns and refunds

By default, any new hearing aids come with a 45-day risk-free trial and lifetime phone support. If you find that your Otofonix device isn’t enough to help you, contact the company to get a Return Merchandise Authorization code. Then, return the device to its original packaging and ship it back to Otofonix so they can process the refund.

Otofonix devices are also covered by a one-year factory warranty, which covers any problems caused by manufacturing. If this happens, Otofonix will replace any damaged parts or send you a new device for free. You can also get an additional protection plan that will cover accidental damages or improper use for $9.99 a month.

Insurance, HSA, FSA, and payment options

Otofonix has invested a lot in keeping its sticker price low for the average consumer. Unfortunately, its business model also relies on skipping intermediaries, prescriptions, and administrative fees. Because of this, the company’s devices cannot be covered by insurance, either directly or by filing a refund claim. The company doesn’t take payments with HSA or FSA debit cards either.

If you can’t afford a hearing aid upfront, you can opt-in for financing through Amazon Affirm. This option allows you to pay for your hearing aid in three to six monthly installments, but you will need to prequalify.

Alternatively, you can also buy a Certified Refurbished hearing aid directly from the company. This option is only available for the Apex, Encore, and Elite models. If you purchase a Certified Refurbished device, you will be ineligible for the additional protection plan. The cost of refurbished devices varies depending on availability, but it’s usually 40% to 60% lower than buying new.

Privacy concerns

Otofonix collects information from customers when providing services and from consumer reporting agencies and outside sources. The company may share this information with third parties for marketing purposes. All financial information submitted via the website is encrypted and secured.

How we evaluate health products and services

At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For health-related products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and product(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service and/or product high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?

User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?

Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?

Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?

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