Complete Online Hearing Aid Guide

and Dr. Christina Callahan

Last updated: April 10, 2023
Section 1

The basics

What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are small electronic devices worn in the ear that help people who are experiencing hearing loss live their lives to the fullest. Today's hearing aids are not the same bulky, unattractive devices you may remember from the past. Most hearing aids now are digital, discreet, and can be easily controlled by using advanced technology such as mobile apps. Our Jabra Enhance Select smartphone app is one example of this newer, customer-friendly tech.

What are OTC hearing aids and does Jabra Enhance offer them?

In October 2022, the FDA implemented a new category of "over the counter" hearing aids which could be sold directly to consumers without the required involvement of a licensed professional, paving the way for hearing aids to become more easily and widely available to the general public.

At Jabra Enhance, we offer the best of both worlds: high-quality over-the-counter hearing aids with optional professional care depending on your budget, choice, and needs. Our Premium Package is designed to best serve the goals of each customer through personalized care from a real, licensed hearing professional.

It's important to understand, however, that over the counter hearing aids are only intended for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. We will get into why that is, but there are a variety of ways to determine if you fall into that category, including some basic factors described by the FDA.

What are the differences between hearing aids and PSAPs?

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that by 2050, 700 million people worldwide will have hearing loss that requires rehabilitation. So, the recent changes in American regulation making hearing aids more accessible and available over-the-counter (OTC) could not have come at a better time! Naturally, customers are more curious than ever about the distinctions between various devices on the market. Some important facts to consider:

PSAPs: (Personal Sound Amplification Products) are available for purchase online and in many retail stores and are typically designed for people with normal hearing to amplify all sounds in specific listening situations. Many people use these recreationally for activities like hunting or birdwatching. Because these are classified by the US government as consumer electronics and not medical devices, the quality of these products is more variable than hearing aids, which are regulated by the FDA.

Hearing Aids: Unlike amplifiers, hearing aids are designed specifically for people with hearing impairment and amplify the frequencies that are needed for each person based on their hearing loss. They reduce unwanted background noise and prioritize speech, helping you hear better in places like loud restaurants and outdoor spaces. At Jabra Enhance, we offer real, Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids - the same kind of technology you would receive from a brick-and-mortar hearing clinic. 
See this FDA page for more information about the differences between hearing aids and amplifiers.

How do hearing aids work?

So, how do hearing aids work? No matter how modern, hearing aids still have four basic components:

  • a microphone
  • a processor
  • an amplifier
  • a receiver/speaker

All components work together to analyze and amplify specific sounds so you can better hear them. The microphone will receive incoming sounds, which are then processed digitally and converted into electronic signals by the processor. These signals are then shaped and amplified (if custom programmed, to your specific needs), and delivered to your ear through the receiver/speaker.

Recent advances

The most substantial and impactful development in hearing aid technology over the past decade is that they have become digitized — and, as a result, more user-friendly, attractive and high-quality.

Digitization has allowed hearing aids to connect to smartphones via Bluetooth technology, providing customers the flexibility to adjust their hearing devices in real-time, right from their phones. For example, if you are in a crowded restaurant, you can use the Jabra Enhance Select app to instantly change the setting on your hearing aids to reduce background noise and focus on speech. The same connectivity also makes it possible for Jabra Enhance hearing aids to be adjusted remotely by the licensed providers on our hearing care team.

The growth of telehealth is another factor that has broadened access to hearing aids and has fueled the advancement of hearing aid technology.

Jabra Enhance's licensed providers guide our Premium customers through their journey using telehealth in order to make hearing as easy as possible.

Through telehealth, Jabra Enhance customers with the Premium Package are able to connect with an audiologist or hearing specialist virtually. Similar to in person care, customers are able to receive expert advice, assistance, and troubleshooting - all from the comfort of their own home!

Can a hearing aid restore hearing?

Hearing aids don't "cure" your hearing loss. But, while they can't restore the full functioning of your auditory system, properly fitted hearing aids can significantly improve your hearing, your connection to others, and your connection to the world around you. As it turns out, the research is conclusive: treating your hearing loss with hearing aids promotes a higher quality of life due to significant improvements in your mental health and relationships. And, importantly, treating your hearing loss also reduces your risk of hearing-loss related comorbidities.

How do digital hearing aids work?

There has been a major shift over the past few decades from analog hearing aids to digital hearing aids. Unlike what you may remember from your parents' generation of hearing aids, almost all hearing aids today utilize digital technology. This increases the overall quality of the sound and function of the hearing aid and offers more user-friendly benefits for consumers.

Digital hearing aids work by converting the sound waves picked up by the device into numerical code.

Digital hearing aids work by converting the sound waves picked up by the device into numerical code.

This code includes important information about the sounds, such as pitch, volume, and sound direction. Depending on the environment and your general hearing needs, the small chip inside a digital hearing aid then uses that information along with other sophisticated algorithms to, for example, identify unwanted noise, reduce the likelihood of feedback (a high-pitched squeal), reduce the discomfort of loud sounds and adjust the way that frequencies are amplified before they're sent to your ear. Simple as that, right?! Hearing aids are doing a lot of work in a tiny, little package.

Benefits of hearing aids

Hearing loss can impact so many aspects of your life, from your emotional well-being, to your relationships, work-life, and even your physical health. You might not realize the extent that hearing aids will improve the quality of your life until you try them and see how many aspects of your life are touched and enriched by being able to hear the world around you.

There are numerous benefits to using a hearing aid. The biggest one, of course, is being able to hear others more clearly — and not continually asking them to repeat themselves! You'll hear the television and other media more clearly, and your communication and engagement with friends, loved ones, and the rest of the world should dramatically improve.

Additionally, there are less obvious, but equally important, benefits when treating your hearing loss. The field of audiology is constantly working to understand the intricate relationship between hearing, one of our primary senses, and the rest of our health. So far, there has been research that suggests that treating your hearing loss with a hearing aid can lead to:

  • Memory improvement
  • Decreased risk of falls
  • Decreased risk of hospitalization
  • Mood improvement
  • Decrease in anxiety and depression
  • An increase in brain processing speed
  • Reduction in risk of dementia
  • Increased earning potential

In our opinion, an improvement in any one of the above would be well worth investing in your hearing.

Our optional hearing test takes 5 minutes
Section 2

Choosing a hearing aid

Common types & styles

Hearing aids come in many different types and styles. You'll need to consider which type of hearing aid will work best for you based on the extent of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, how comfortable you are with new technology, and your budget. Optional online hearing tests, though not diagnostic, are a great starting point to explore your hearing ability. You can also visit our FAQ for more information about hearing loss symptoms you may be experiencing.

Currently, the most popular style is a receiver-in-ear style (RIE), where the receiver is placed in the ear canal and the processing component is placed behind the ear.

Currently, the most popular style is a receiver-in-ear style (RIE), where the receiver is placed in the ear canal and the processing component is placed behind the ear.

Other style options include behind-the-ear, where all electronic components are housed behind the ear; in-the-canal hearing aids, where the hearing aid sits discreetly in the ear canal; and in-the-ear aids, which are a slightly larger version of custom hearing aids that fill up the outer ear.

Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids

Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids are one of the most convenient developments in the hearing technology space. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids work exactly like any other Bluetooth device, where the hearing aids are "paired" with another device such as an iPhone or Android smartphone.

Bluetooth allows hearing professionals to remotely adjust your device, and also allows customers to adjust their hearing aid settings through their smartphone or other smart devices, usually through an app. Some Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, like our Enhance Select hearing aids, also allow customers with compatible devices to listen to cell phone calls or stream their favorite music or television shows directly to their hearing aids, which can increase the quality of sound as well as minimizing background noise and distractions.

Enhance Select hearing aids connect to your phone with Bluetooth, allowing you to adjust the settings through an app.

Which hearing devices are best?

There are no "best" hearing aids, but there are some that work best for you and your unique needs. Determining the best hearing aid for you depends on several factors including:

1. The degree of hearing loss you have

Adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss are able to use a wider variety of hearing aids, including the newly available over-the-counter options. OTC devices are more accessible as they do not require a hearing test or intervention from a licensed hearing professional. People with more significant hearing loss have more to consider and should be evaluated by a licensed professional since they may require higher outputs than OTC devices can offer and would need more customization to meet their hearing needs.

See if you are experiencing the kinds of symptoms that the FDA has indicated could be helped with hearing aids like ours or try our quick, optional hearing test.

2. Your preferences and comfort with technology

Every customer is different when it comes to their expectation for care and service. Some questions to help you decide on your preferred care model would be:

  • How do you feel about going to an audiologist's office for an initial hearing test followed by the hearing aid fitting and follow-up visits? 
  • What is your comfort level with using technology — such as a smartphone — to communicate with your licensed hearing professional and adjust your hearing aids?
  • What is your comfort level with cleaning and taking care of your hearing aids? Would you like hands-on help or just guidance when you need it?
  • Are you comfortable adjusting your own hearing aid settings without the guidance of a licensed hearing professional? Would you like the opportunity to have guidance when needed?

For example, If you prefer not to go to an audiologist office or hearing aid clinic regularly (or do not have easy access to one) and are comfortable managing your hearing aids on your own, OTC is likely a great option. Even if you prefer not to go to an office but want customization and some guidance on managing your hearing aids, OTC along with professional service like that offered by Jabra Enhance may also be a great option to meet your needs. It is really based on the severity of your hearing loss, your needs, and your personal preferences!

3. Your budget and expected value

Budget is an inevitable part of your decision. At Jabra Enhance, we know that you are your own expert on this topic, and we're also here to answer any questions you have.

Considering all of the factors above will help you decide which hearing aid is best for you. At Jabra Enhance, we've had conversations with tens of thousands of people who have hearing loss, which leads us to recommend our Premium Care & Protection package that has everything you'll need for better hearing and can be personalized to meet your needs.  But for those on a tighter budget or who want to try hearing aids without professional support, we also offer a Basic package.

How do Enhance Select hearing aids work?

Enhance Select hearing aids are for adults (18 and older) with mild to moderate hearing loss. They are a receiver-in-ear model with a small, discreet receiver placed inside your ear canal. All the features, including volume and the selection of different settings that make it easier to hear in different environments, are operated through the Jabra Enhance Select app on your smartphone, so you can make adjustments with the swipe of a finger. The app allows you to customize the settings to suit your hearing needs, and when you need extra support in various listening environments. However, if you are unable to use your smartphone to access your app in certain settings, such as at work or during a social gathering, our hearing aids also feature onboard controls. Using the button on the body of the hearing aid, you have access to basic features such as volume control and your preset listening programs.

Once you've placed your order, your hearing aids should arrive within 5-7 days. In some specific cases, it may take a few more days for our Premium Package customers, depending on the status of your custom programming. Your email receipt will include shipping and tracking information.

On the day of delivery, you'll be able to immediately explore our Get Started Guide for help setting up your hearing aids so you can start using them right away. All of our customers will have access to our customer support team for further assistance, or for any questions you may have. Our Premium Package customers will also have direct access to our licensed providers.

With our Premium Package:

If you purchase the Premium Package, which includes access to our licensed providers, and take our online hearing test or supply an audiogram prior to purchase, your hearing aids will typically arrive custom-programmed for your unique hearing profile.  After that, as soon as the week of delivery, we will schedule your first video call with your Jabra Enhance provider, who will get to know your hearing history, discuss your goals and the benefit you are seeking from hearing aids, and help you get there and understand if anything else is needed. Follow-up appointments with your licensed provider are available 7 days a week for three years, included in the price of your Premium Package purchase.

What to expect from your hearing aids once you begin wearing them:

Hearing sounds from the world around us is the first step to improved communication with the ones we care about most! Over time, our ears and brain learn how to take in all the information and allow us to focus on what we feel is most important! During the early stages of the acclimatization period, some common sounds that typically begin to stand out include:

  • Hearing your own voice
  • Hearing footsteps
  • Hearing the flick of a light switch
  • Hearing the brushing of your hair past the microphone over the ear

With consistent use of hearing aids, these additional sounds will become part of your everyday listening and accompany the soft speech sounds that help us distinguish words from one another.

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Section 3

Paying for hearing aids

Are hearing aids covered by insurance/Medicaid/FSA?

Most of the time, hearing aids are not covered by insurance (check with your insurance provider), although some insurance companies will cover a portion or percentage of the cost. Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, however there are many Medicare Advantage Plans that do cover them, either completely or partially. Many federal employees, in particular, may have plans which include hearing aid benefits. However, most plans which do provide some level of coverage for hearing aids have not yet clarified if it includes the new category of OTC hearing aids.  You should check with your specific plan to find out the details of your coverage.

Jabra Enhance is considered an out-of-network provider. But if your plan does cover all or part of your OTC hearing aid purchase, our team can walk you through the process — give us a call at (800) 854-2772.

Here are some questions you should ask your insurance or benefits provider prior to starting the process with Jabra Enhance:

  1. Do I have a hearing aid benefit?
  2. Am I eligible for the benefit?
  3. What is my coverage amount per hearing aid?
  4. Does my coverage include over-the-counter hearing aids?
  5. What codes do I need on a claim from a hearing aid vendor in order to provide me with my maximum reimbursement?
  6. Does my insurance cover telehealth services?

You may, additionally, be able to use your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to cover some of the costs. You should always check with your individual plan to discuss coverage options for hearing aid insurance.

How much do Enhance Select hearing aids cost?

The price of a pair of Enhance Select hearing aids start at $995 for our Basic Package and $1,195 for our Premium Package — for both ears together. You can pay at once, or choose a convenient and flexible payment plan for as little as $33 per month*, depending on your plan. When you buy from Jabra Enhance, you aren't just getting a hearing aid. Our Basic Package includes pre-programmed hearing aids for common types of hearing loss, an easy-to-use app, one year of warranty and loss & damage coverage (subject to deductible - see details) and friendly support available 7 days a week. Our Premium Package includes:

  • Initial fitting and consultation with a licensed hearing professional
  • Three years of follow-up appointments/remote support
  • Mobile app that allows you to change your settings on the fly
  • 3-year warranty
  • 3-year loss & damage protection (subject to deductible - see details)

Besides using your FSA/HSA for the purchase, or considering a payment plan, you do have several options for making the cost work for your budget.

*Amounts financed range from $50.00 to $10,000.00. Availability of terms may vary based on purchase price and/or product. Down payment may be required. Subject to approval of credit application. Rates range from 0% to 29.99% APR, resulting in, for example, 36 monthly payments of $32.26 at 9.99% APR, per $1,000 borrowed. APRs will vary depending on credit qualifications, loan amount, and term. Bread Pay™ loans are made by Comenity Capital Bank, a Bread Financial™ company.

Ready to get started?

Let's get started with a few questions from our team of hearing experts to see if Enhance Select hearing aids are right for you.

You can take our optional online hearing test in the comfort of your home in only 5 minutes.

Section 4

Learn about Jabra Enhance

About Jabra Enhance

Jabra Enhance is on a mission to empower people with hearing loss to connect with their world through effortless technology and delightful care.

We offer powerful, nearly-invisible hearing aids and at-home hearing care, all for less than 50% of the national average price for hearing aids. Enhance Select hearing aids can be purchased from your home, making initial set-up, and optional professional consultation and follow-up appointments, a snap.

To put it simply: Jabra Enhance is one of the most convenient and budget-friendly ways to purchase hearing aids. We offer two Care & Protection Packages for our Enhance Select hearing aids, our Basic Package and Premium Package.

The Basic Package includes our Enhance Select hearing aids which come pre-programmed for common types of hearing loss. Choose from 3 preset hearing profiles to fit, set up, and manage yourself. Here's what's included:

  • Our quick start guide and library of instructional videos to fit, set up, and manage your hearing aids
  • 1-year loss & damage protection and 1-year warranty details
  • Customer service, technical support, and troubleshooting from our Customer Support Team, 7 days a week 
  • Mobile app to control your hearing aid settings, stream music, and take calls (see compatibility)

The Premium Package is our complete package to maximize the benefits of your hearing aids. Your hearing aids will be custom-programmed to your personal hearing ability based on online hearing test results or your audiogram. Here's what's included:

  • A 3-year virtual care plan from our Audiology Team who will:
    • Make ongoing adjustments & fine-tune hearing aids based on sound quality and your feedback
    • Reassess and reprogram hearing aids based on your hearing needs
    • Demonstrate how to use and maintain your hearing aids via remote video call (device parts, batteries, charging case, cleaning, etc.)
    • Video call you to walk you through setup step-by-step to ensure hearing aid wires and domes fit comfortably
    • Counsel you on your specific hearing needs and set realistic expectations for your success with hearing aids
  • 3-year loss & damage protection and warranty details
  • Customer service, technical support, and troubleshooting from our Customer - Support Team, 7 days a week 
  • Mobile app to control your own hearing aid settings, stream music, and take calls (see compatibility)
Am I a candidate?

Get started with our Premium Package

We recommend the purchase of our Premium Package, which includes custom programming, licensed provider support, and extended warranty and loss & damage protection.  We believe this will help you get the most benefit out of your new hearing aids.

Your first step with our Premium Package will be to either upload a hearing test from an in-person professional or take our free online hearing test. The Jabra Enhance online hearing test takes approximately 5 minutes.

You are likely a good candidate for Enhance Select hearing aids if your test suggests that you have mild to moderate hearing loss. If you determine that you are a good candidate, but you are unsure if you are ready to purchase from Jabra Enhance, you can easily contact us to discuss your options and concerns — give us a call at (800) 854-2772

Get started

What Enhance Select Premium customers are saying

We selected some reviews from enthusiastic customers to help you find your best fit. Read them here!

Great Audiologist

My Audiologist is fantastic. Very helpful and knowledgeable. Got me set up and answered all my questions. Prompt, on time for the video meeting. Made some adjustments. Impressed how smooth everything went.

Steve, New York
Hearing new things

They are terrific. They fit well. I use the app on my Samsung phone to adjust when necessary. I have had 2 online meetings with my Jabra Enhance audiologist to have all my questions answered. I cannot imagine a better way to buy a hearing aid.

Richard, New York

All reviews come from customers who purchased our Premium Package or equivalent, and completed an orientation within 30 days of purchase.

Company and model names have been updated to reflect our transition to Jabra Enhance and Enhance Select models.

Ready to get started?

Let's get started with a few questions from our team of hearing experts to see if Enhance Select hearing aids are right for you.

You can take our optional online hearing test in the comfort of your home in only 5 minutes.