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Starkey hearing aids, reviewed by audiologists

Starkey offers hearing aid options for its users to help keep them active and engaged with the world around them.

A pair of Starkey BTE and a pair of in-ear Starkey hearing aids.

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Hearing loss is a serious medical problem that can lead to poor physical, mental, and emotional health and is one of the top risk factors for dementia. Despite hearing loss being treatable, it is estimated that only 1 in 5 Americans who need hearing aids use them. With so many hearing aids on the market, it can be difficult for consumers to decide what manufacturer and product is best for them.

Starkey Hearing Technologies makes prescription hearing aids that use advances in AI technology and  Bluetooth connectivity to help the user hear better and maintain an active lifestyle. Since Starkey offers a wide variety of products, there is bound to be a product for nearly everyone.

Our board of audiologists conducted this Starkey hearing aids review based on key factors, including price, ease of use, app technology, additional features, customization options, and customer support.

Our review of Starkey hearing aid models

Starkey currently offers three different hearing aid platforms, each with multiple styles and performance levels. The actual model and performance level that is best for you will depend on several factors, such as your type of hearing loss, your budget, your communication goals, and even how easily you can use your hands.

Your audiologist will help you narrow down your choices. If you need to find an audiologist near you, check out our directory.

Starkey Genesis AI

Starkey Genesis AI
The Starkey Genesis AI

The Genesis AI platform is available in 6 different models: two receiver-in-canal (RIC) styles and four in-the-ear (ITE) styles.

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The Starkey Genesis AI is available in 6 different models: two receiver-in-canal (RIC) styles and four in-the-ear (ITE) styles. The Genesis AI platform was launched with a new processor, making it capable of adapting to different environments faster to help users hear better in noise.

The Genesis AI platform also incorporates Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and many Android devices, activity sensors, and the option to use their new My Starkey app. All styles are offered in four performance levels except the IIC NW, which is available in three.

  • Style: RIC and ITE models
  • Cost: $2500-$6500/pair
  • Warranty: Varies depending on the performance level, usually anywhere from 1-4 years.
  • Rechargeable batteries? Yes, in the RIC RT, mRIC R, ITE R, and ITC/HS R models.
  • Bluetooth capabilities? Yes, in the RIC RT, mRIC R, ITE R, and ITC/HS R models. The CIC and IIC NW are not capable of streaming.
  • Customization options: As prescription hearing aids, all parts of the fitting process are customized to the user’s needs. Users can select from many different colors and styles. There are also different chargers offered for rechargeable hearing aids.


Pros and cons of the Starkey Genesis AI

Pros Cons
Comfortable, discreet physical design No behind-the-ear option is available for cases of profound hearing loss at the time of writing.
Custom ear molds are available for a perfect fit Cutting-edge technology comes at a higher cost than usual
Top-of-the-line sound quality powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and deep neural networks (DNN) AI listening feature may cause sound to cut in and out .
Comprehensive features including health and fitness tracking, fall detection, language translation and transcription. No hands-free calling with Android smartphones and general Bluetooth connectivity issues
51 hours of battery life for standard models Requires an in-person visit to a licensed audiologist for testing and fitting


Who are Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids ideal for?

Starkey Genesis AI hearing aids are ideal for anyone with mild to severe hearing loss looking to improve their overall quality of life and make listening easier. They would be most suitable for users interested in taking advantage of better rechargeability, Bluetooth streaming of music and audio calls, and having some control over their experience through the My Starkey app.

The app is a great tool for tech-savvy users that allows them to adjust volume and other sound settings, track health goals, and even translate foreign languages. Even if patients are not tech-driven, these hearing aids are a good option for users whose family wants to check in on their overall well-being.

Starkey’s app can even share health data with selected family or friends and also alert them if the user has fallen.

Starkey Evolv AI

starkey evolve AI
The Starkey Evolv AI

The Evolv AI platform also uses AI to help enhance speech and reduce noise. Evolv AI has the largest number of style choices, as it has been around for about 2 years.

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The Evolv AI platform also uses AI to help enhance speech and reduce noise. Evolv AI has the largest number of style choices, as it has been around for about 2 years. There are six RIC, three BTE, and five ITE styles, most of which are offered in four or more performance levels.

There is a mix of both rechargeable and disposable battery-operated devices as well.

  • Style: RIC, BTE, and ITE styles
  • Cost: $2000-$6000/pair
  • Warranty: Varies depending on the performance level, usually anywhere from 1-4 years.
  • Rechargeable batteries? Yes, in the RIC R, Ric R AP, BTE R, ITE R, and ITC/HS R models.
  • Bluetooth capabilities? Yes, in all styles except the IIC NW and CIC NW. Some Android phones may not support direct streaming and may require a Remote Microphone.
  • Customization options: Like the Genesis AI, there are different colors and case sizes. Hearing aids are programmed to the user’s hearing test and can be adjusted to their communication needs.


Pros and cons of the Starkey Evolv AI

Pros Cons
Real-time sound clarity optimization with Edge mode Limited app functionality depending on model/available internet connection
Wide selection of Bluetooth-compatible devices Steep learning curve for less tech-savvy patients
Great lifestyle features, including reminders, fitness tracking, fall detection, and language translation Not as durable as Genesis AI models (IP58 rating vs IP68)
Several different hearing aid styles are available, including BTE, RIC, ITC, and IIC Antennas on CIC models could be more discreet
Rechargeable and disposable battery options are available Accessory required for TV streaming


Who are Starkey Evolv AI hearing aids ideal for?

As with the Genesis AI platform, Evolv AI healing aids are excellent choices for anyone with mild to profound hearing loss with a desire to hear more effortlessly.

The Starkey Evolv AI platform has more style options, giving choices to users with more severe hearing losses, those looking for a more discreet option, and those who might prefer disposable batteries. The Evolv AI line also has app connectivity for active users.

The Thrive Hearing Control app allows users to track activity, use it as a remote control, and manage other sound features. It also has fall detection, which can send alerts to family or friends.

Starkey Picasso

Starkey Picasso
The Starkey Picasso

Picasso hearing aids are available in three styles: Completely-in-the-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC)/half shell (HS), and in-the-ear (ITE). Picasso hearing aids are available in many different performance levels.

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The Picasso platform is Starkey’s line of custom in-the-ear devices. Picasso hearing aids are available in three styles: Completely-in-the-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC)/half shell (HS), and in-the-ear (ITE). Picasso hearing aids are available in many different performance levels.

  • Style: CIC, ITC, HS, and ITE styles
  • Cost: $1500-$5000/pair
  • Warranty: Varies depending on the performance level, usually anywhere from 1-4 years.
  • Rechargeable batteries? No.
  • Bluetooth capabilities? Yes, but no direct streaming.
  • Customization options: All Picasso hearing aids are custom-made based on impressions of the user’s ears.


Pros and cons of the Starkey Picasso

Pros Cons
Easy-to-insert device that fits snugly in the ear No rechargeable options are available
Custom designs make handling easier for people with impaired vision or dexterity issues. Older model not carried by all audiologists
Small in-the-ear styles offer a discreet look No smartphone app for remote adjustments — in-person visits are required
Optional tinnitus therapy helps curb ringing in the ears SurfLink accessory required for Bluetooth streaming
Often more affordable than newer AI-powered models Not suitable for patients with profound hearing loss


Who are Starkey Picasso hearing aids ideal for?

Picasso hearing aids are perfect for someone looking for a simple option to hear better. Picasso can fit a range of mild to severe hearing losses.

If users would like to add-on Bluetooth streaming of their phone calls, music, or TV, they need to purchase Starkey SurfLink accessories separately.

Picasso is also a good choice for someone with dexterity issues who cannot easily manipulate a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid.

Comparing the Genesis AI, Evolv AI & Picasso models

Criteria Style Price (per pair) Battery type Sound quality Comfort Ease of use Durability Best for
Genesis AI RIC, ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC $2,365–$6,500 Rechargeable or disposable Excellent (12-24 processing channels) Lightweight design with FlexForm™ receiver cables Advanced features can be difficult for less tech-savvy wearers Water-resistant, IP68 rating Patients looking for a cutting-edge hearing aid that does it all
Evolv AI BTE, RIC, ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC $2,365–$6,500 Rechargeable or disposable Excellent (10-24 processing channels) Light and discreet styles for optimal usage Advanced features can be difficult for less tech-savvy wearers Water-resistant, IP58 rating Patients who want the quality of a Starkey hearing aid with lots of style options
Picasso ITE, ITC, CIC, IIC $2,598–$4,598 (varies by retailer) Disposable Excellent (10-24 processing channels) Snug-fitting, discreet ITE design Very easy Water-resistant Patients seeking a simple hearing aid solution

3 key takeaways

  • Starkey leads the industry with AI technology — They were the first company to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into hearing aids when they launched the Livio AI platform in 2018.
  • They have a large portfolio of hearing aids — Starkey has a wide variety of hearing aid styles, with products designed to fit all types and severities of hearing loss.
  • Starkey is a brand trusted by audiologists — Audiologists and other hearing care professionals have been fitting Starkey products since they created their first hearing aid in 1971. Read on to learn what our team of audiologists love about Starkey hearing aids.

Customer service

Starkey has friendly and helpful customer service representatives on staff; however, their job is typically to support the providers rather than the users themselves. Starkey has helplines available for technical support, and their website has many informational videos, troubleshooting tips, and literature available as well.

Users are encouraged to contact their hearing care provider directly if they need help beyond tech support (such as fit issues, broken devices, etc.).

Starkey hearing aid accessories

Starkey produces many accessories to maximize the functionality of their prescription hearing aids. These include:

  • Mini remote microphone. This tiny remote mic clips on the clothing of the person being spoken to by the hearing aid user (Genesis and Evolv only) for increased clarity. It can also be used as a TV streamer by placing it near the sound source.
  • Remote microphone+. This mic provides extra listening assistance to Genesis and Evolv users to help them hear one-on-one conversations in noisy environments.
  • Remote control 2.0. Another Genesis and Evolv exclusive, this remote control allows users to control memory and volume, mute their hearing aids, and turn other special features on and off without going through a smartphone.
  • Surflink mini mobile. This intermediary device allows Picasso users to stream calls and music to their hearing aids from any Bluetooth device, including cell phones.
  • SurfLink Media 2. Connect a TV, radio, or MP3 player to this accessory to have rich stereo sound streamed directly to your Picasso hearing aids.
  • Surflink remote. This remote allows users to adjust the volume and presets on their Picasso hearing aids without requiring a smartphone.
  • Surflink remote microphone. Clip this mic to the other person’s clothes next time you’re having a one-on-one conversation to have their voice streamed directly to your Picasso hearing aids.
  • Table microphone. This accessory comes equipped with eight built-in microphones, which it uses to hone in on a primary speaking voice and stream it directly to nearby Genesis and Evolv hearing aids.
  • TV streamer. This device streams audio directly from TVs and other electronic audio sources directly into a user’s Genesis or Evolv hearing aid.

Make adjustments with Starkey’s apps

My Starkey smartphone app

Several screenshots of the My Starkey app on an iPhone

Genesis AI wearers can use the My Starkey app to make adjustments to their devices wherever they are. Control the volume and equalization (EQ) and create custom presets for different listening settings.  You can also use the app to turn on Edge mode+, an AI program that automatically adjusts your hearing aid settings based on your environment.

Fall alert feature. There’s even a handy Fall Alert feature that sends out a text to a contact of your choice if your phone detects a fall.

Health tracking. Use the app for personal health tracking to keep an eye on your step count, standing time, and exercise time, or use the My Starkey app’s social health feature to see how often you’re interacting with others. Set goals for fitness and hearing to receive detailed insights into your activity and keep yourself on track.

Smart Assistant mode. “Smart Assistant” mode allows you to adjust settings, set reminders, and ask questions about your Starkey using nothing but your voice — no hands necessary. Misplace your hearing aids? Hop onto the app to track the location of your Starkey device in real time.

Translation tool. A built-in translation tool enables the app to translate 25 different languages. Start by selecting your native language and the language you’re attempting to translate — then press the microphone button to record your voice, and you’re all set. The app will automatically translate the speech it hears and display it on the screen.

TeleHear feature. The My Starkey app offers helpful tips, tools, and how-tos to familiarize users with its features. The app’s TeleHear feature allows you to make appointments with a licensed hearing care specialist whenever you need professional support. You can also find answers to tons of FAQs on the My Starkey app tutorial page.


Thrive app

Starkey Thrive app screenshots depicting health tracking and a feature to find hearing aids

Evolv AI devices are controlled on Thrive Hearing Control, also known as the Thrive app. Thrive is the predecessor of the new My Starkey app, offering users many of the same features, including hearing adjustments, health and wellness tracking, fall alerts, language translation, and TeleHear.

This app also includes an “Edge Mode,” though it is less advanced than the Edge Mode+ available through My Starkey.

The Thrive app includes the now-outdated “Mask Mode,” originally designed to help users hear other people through potential sound barriers like face masks. The new Edge mode+ automatically accounts for this with the help of a deep neural network (DNN),  so it’s no longer necessary as a standalone feature.

Quick facts about Starkey hearing aids

Starkey Hearing Technologies began in 1967, founded by Bill Austin. Now a global manufacturer of hearing technology, Starkey had humble beginnings: it started as a small earmold and hearing aid repair lab.

  1. Starkey is the only American-owned hearing aid manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
  2. They help people hear around the globe. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is a charitable organization that provides hearing aids and services to people in need worldwide.
  3. Starkey is an award-winning company. They have won numerous awards for their hearing aid designs, use of AI, and even workplace satisfaction.
  4. Founder Bill Austin purchased the company for $13,000. He retained the name Starkey, which was the name of the original lab created by Harold Starkey.

Are Starkey hearing aids for me?

As one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers worldwide, Starkey creates reliable, well-researched hearing aids that benefit nearly all hearing profiles. Our team of audiologists highly recommends Starkey hearing aids.

The pros of Starkey hearing aids

  • They can be as simple or advanced as you want. Whether you are looking for something no-frills or something with all of the available gadgets, Starkey has a product for you. Starkey hearing aids will help you hear better in various settings, regardless of whether or not you use extra features like Bluetooth connectivity and apps.
  • They make excellent custom hearing aids. Starkey began as an earmold lab, and they have remained true to their origins by producing well-fitting custom hearing aids- even for those with very small or narrow ear canals.
  • Starkey hearing aids help support a healthier you. Sensors built into the hearing aids can track activity, steps, and even how often you interact with others to give you a snapshot of your overall wellness.

The cons of Starkey hearing aids

  • Starkey only makes prescription hearing aids. That means you will need a recent hearing evaluation and a local audiologist to fit them to you.
  • Starkey hearing aids can be expensive. As with any prescription hearing aids, they come at a cost, which usually includes the devices, plus the professional services involved in fitting and adjusting them.
  • The apps can be confusing for some. The My Starkey app for the most recent line of hearing aids is noted to be redesigned and more user-friendly; however, the Thrive App for previous generations is rated to be more difficult to use and glitchy.

Starkey vs other hearing aid brands

Starkey hearing aids are more expensive than top over-the-counter offerings from brands like Jabra Enhance, but the price bump comes with a sizable jump in sound quality. Compared to similar AI devices from brands like Phonak and Oticon, Starkey hearing aids actually average about $600 less.

That being said, Starkey hearing aids still tend to rank lower in sound quality than products from other prescription hearing aid manufacturers, like Signia.

Still not sure if Starkey hearing aids are right for you? Find a licensed audiologist near you to schedule an in-person appointment. They will help address any questions and concerns about your hearing and help determine if a Starkey device is a good fit for you.

Why trust

Our board of licensed audiologists reviewed Starkey hearing aids for key criteria including cost, available warranties, technology level and reliability, ease of use, battery life, customization options, and customer support. Criteria were selected in keeping with the most common questions patients have when shopping for a new device.

All products advertised and reviewed in this article are FDA-approved. Dr. Jessica Hinson reviewed this article for medical accuracy — she is a licensed audiologist in the state of Alabama.

What our audiologists say about Starkey hearing aids

Dr. Danielle Morgan
“As an audiologist myself, I consider Starkey to be a tried and true hearing aid manufacturer. The company makes a variety of hearing aids that would suit most hearing aid users. They are especially well-known for producing excellent custom hearing aids, even for ears with more difficult anatomy. Starkey is always advancing and creating products incorporating the latest technology to make the user’s listening experience easier.”

Dr. Jessica Hinson
“Starkey hearing aids focus on clarity of speech while also maintaining good background noise reduction. For tech-savvy users, the Thrive app allows for so many amazing features such as Fall Alert, Reminders, Activity and Engagement tracking, and even a Translator! The quality of custom in-the-ear devices is amazing, customer service is incredible, and fun fact: Starkey is the only American-owned hearing aid manufacturer!”

Dr. Ruth Reisman
“If you want the most for your buck, Starkey is definitely the way to go. In addition to improved hearing, you get a lot of additional tools, including tinnitus management, health tracking, falls alerts, and even language translations.”

What customers say about Starkey hearing aids

Starkey hearing aids currently have a 3.0 rating on TrustPilot based on 355 reviews. Customers love the responsive customer service and longevity of their Starkey hearing aids, but have some complaints about spotty Bluetooth connectivity and charging issues.

On the Better Business Bureau, Starkey holds an average rating of 1.1 stars based on 9 reviews. These reviews also point to connectivity and charging issues as key drawbacks. Others complain of accompanying accessories not working properly, including the Starkey TV Streamer.

Frequently asked questions

How much do Starkey hearing aids cost?

While the total cost of Starkey hearing aids differs depending on the state you live in and your insurance provider, you can generally expect to pay anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000 for a pair. Much of this cost includes custom fittings on-site at a professional clinic.

Are Starkey hearing aids covered by insurance?

Some private insurance companies cover part or all of the cost of prescription hearing aids, but your particular coverage depends on your insurance policy. Call your provider to learn more about what’s covered in your plan. Most state Medicaid programs cover part or all of the cost of hearing aids for those who qualify. Check on to see if you’re eligible for Medicaid coverage.

The company also operates the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to giving the gift of hearing to people in need. Anyone can make a donation online to sponsor another person’s hearing test and/or hearing aid fees.

What type of rechargeable batteries are used for rechargeable Starkey hearing aid models?

Starkey uses lithium-ion batteries, similar to other rechargeable hearing aids on the market. Lithium-ion batteries allow for long battery life, allowing you to wear them all day as well as connect to Bluetooth. They last about 30 hours on a single charge.

Can I connect my Android phone to Starkey hearing aids?

Yes, but it depends on the hearing aid and your phone model. Some phones will require an extra device as a go-between and will not allow direct streaming. However, all Bluetooth-enabled Starkey hearing aids directly connect to an iPhone.

Can my hearing aids be adjusted remotely?

If you are using a hearing aid that supports Bluetooth and can be connected to one of Starkey’s apps, then yes! However, you should always check with your audiologist to see if they offer remote adjustments.

How long will my Starkey hearing aids last?

The industry average lifespan is about 4 to 6 years. Your hearing aids could last longer, though, especially with routine care and maintenance.

What happens if I move away from my audiologist and need a new provider?

Since Starkey is a major brand used in clinics around the country, it is easy to find a new provider that supports their devices. You can ask your current provider for recommendations, or you can even search Starkey’s website to find a clinic based on location.