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The best hearing aids for severe hearing loss, according to audiologists

Here are the features audiologists say to look for, and what brands and models represent them best.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jessica Hinson

Writtenm by

Dr. Jessica Hinson


April 26, 2024

Child in a yellow shirt holding a hearing aid. Child in a yellow shirt holding a hearing aid.

Severe hearing loss profoundly impacts the quality of everyday life.

Conversations in the coffee shop or music in the grocery store may sound like a faint whisper or confused gibberish to you, but loud and clear to others around you. While hearing aids can’t restore your hearing 100%, they can significantly improve it by amplifying sounds.

The best hearing aids for severe hearing loss, reviewed

Here are our best picks for hearing aids for severe hearing loss, according to our researchers and audiologists:

Model Price per pair Battery type Battery life Full charge time Bluetooth Warranty
Starkey Evolv AI BTE $3,600-$6,000 Rechargeable or disposable 24 hours 3.5 hours Yes Limited lifetime warranty
ReSound Nexia RIE $3,5000-$7,000 Disposable 312- or 13-size batteries or rechargeable 20-24 hours disposable; 24-30 hours rechargeable 3 hours Yes 2-4 years
Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP $1,400-$6,000 Disposable 675 battery 16 hours N/A Yes 1-3 years
Starkey Genesis AI ITE $2,400-$6,500 Rechargeable or disposable 51 hours 3.5 hours Yes Limited lifetime


Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE $1,500-$6,000 Rechargeable 61 hours 4 hours Yes 1-3 years


Superb quality paired with a long battery life makes the best combination for hearing aids built to compensate for severe hearing loss. Our list is based on factors like battery life, technology features, and ease of use.

Let’s dive into each review.

Starkey Evolv AI BTE: Best overall

Why we picked the Starkey Evolv AI BTE

While many hearing aids accommodate mild to moderate hearing loss, most are not equipped to tackle severe to profound levels of hearing damage. The Starkey Evolv AI BTE is one of the brand’s only hearing aid models that can help treat profound hearing loss.

The Evolv series was released in August 2021, following Starkey’s first AI-powered hearing aid, Livio, which premiered in 2018. Their debut was revolutionary because it used inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors to track movement.

Artificial intelligence enhances the entire function of these hearing aids by masking excessively loud sounds, recognizing your voice, and reducing tinnitus. The Evolv model furthers this idea with a bonus feature: fall protection. These hearing aids are able to be programmed to call your set emergency contacts if you fall, creating peace of mind when you’re home alone.

Through the Thrive app, you can set fitness goals, adjust the volume, and stream from virtually any Bluetooth-enabled device. However, the hands-free 2-way calling feature is only available for Apple devices, and some users note that the Thrive app experiences lots of technical difficulties.

These rechargeable hearing aids last for about 24 hours on a single charge, which takes about 3.5 hours to complete. This charging time is average for hearing aids powerful enough to compensate for severe hearing loss, as the higher power requires more battery output.

However, the higher battery power sacrifices discretion; the Starkey Evolv AI is one of the largest BTE models.

Criteria Starkey Evolv AI BTE
Style Behind-the-ear
Battery Rechargeable
Battery life 24 hours
Bluetooth Yes
App Thrive

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Pros of the Starkey Evolv AI BTE

  • Hearing aid sensor tracks movement and detects falls
  • Artificial intelligence detects your voice and masks loud ambient sounds
  • Rechargeable battery lasts 24 hours on a single charge
  • Thrive app makes it easy to set fitness goals
  • Universal Bluetooth connectivity


Cons of the Starkey Evolv AI BTE

  • 2-way calling is only supported for Apple devices
  • App isn’t easy to use
  • Larger than some BTE models


What our audiologists say about the Starkey Evolv AI BTE

“These rechargeable hearing aids are the best you will get,” Dr. Jessica Hinson, AuD says. “Starkey has an amazing custom department that will give you a good seal with the ear mold to trap as much sound in the ear as possible. Paired with the long battery life and rechargeable option, The Evolv BTE is best for profound hearing loss.”

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ReSound Nexia RIE: Best for tinnitus

Why we picked the ReSound Nexia RIE

Our audiologists recommend the ReSound Nexia RIE for its ability to mask distracting noises such as the wind and reduce tinnitus. With a battery life as long as a calendar day, the ReSound Nexia RIE powers you through your daily activities without having to stop to replace the batteries.

ReSound Nexie customers have a choice between two battery options:

  • Disposable option. These devices use size 312 or size 13 batteries and usually last between 4 to 7 days.
  • Rechargeable option. It lasts 24 to 30 hours on a single charge, which isn’t as long as some we reviewed. However, audiologists note that its performance surpasses many rechargeable models for severe hearing loss.

Launched in 2023, the ReSound Nexia line uses Auracast, which is a new wireless technology that mimics telecoil. In the future, Auracast may even replace telecoil in public places such as theaters and places of worship. Additionally, ReSound Nexia is equipped with Bluetooth and uses the ReSound Smart 3D app to make digital adjustments. However, the Bluetooth signal can be spotty.

The top-tier technology explains the high price point. Averaging between $3,500 and $7,000 per pair, the ReSound Nexia is the most expensive model we reviewed.

Criteria ReSound Nexia RIE
Style Receiver-in-ear
Battery Rechargeable or size-312 or size-13 disposable
Battery life 24 hours
Bluetooth Yes
App ReSound Smart 3D

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Pros of the ReSound Nexia RIE

  • Excels at reducing tinnitus
  • Uses Auracast technology
  • High-power performance with a decent battery life


Cons of the ReSound Nexia RIE

  • Expensive compared to other devices for severe hearing loss
  • Bluetooth can be spotty
  • Battery life isn’t as good as some


What our audiologists say about ReSound Nexia RIE:

“ReSound Nexia RIE is a great product for severe loss,” Dr. Hinson says. “It has a larger battery to ensure all-day battery life, even while pumping the power needed for severe loss.”

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Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP: Best reputation

Why we picked the Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

Ranging between $1,400-$6,000 per pair, the Phonak Naida Paradise P-UP is the most affordable hearing aid we reviewed for severe hearing loss.

Yet, the technology surpasses many comparable choices. For example, the motion detection feature alters the way these hearing aids amplify sounds depending on whether you’re moving or standing still. For example, if you’re walking, the hearing aids switch to detecting sounds around you rather than focusing directly ahead as they would with point-to-point conversations while sitting across from your partner at a restaurant.

Universal Bluetooth connectivity is also relatively rare, allowing you to pair up to eight devices at a time and switch between two simultaneously. Listening to a movie on your SmartTV when your brother calls your Android phone? No problem. The Phonak Naida Paradise P-UP allows you to seamlessly switch between the two just by tapping your hearing aid or pressing a button on your phone.

The only negative thing we have to say about this model is that there aren’t any rechargeable options, and the battery life isn’t very long. At 16 hours, these hearing aids have the shortest battery life of any models on our list.

Criteria Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP
Style Behind-the-ear
Battery Disposable 675
Battery life 16 hours
Bluetooth Yes
App myPhonak

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Pros of the Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

  • Motion detection
  • Universal Bluetooth connectivity
  • Supports hands-free calling
  • Most affordable option


Cons of the Phonak Naída Paradise P-UP

  • Shortest battery life
  • Only disposable battery options


What our audiologists say about Phonak Naida Paradise P-UP

Dr. Ruth Reisman, AuD recommends Phonak Naida, noting that it’s the longest-standing model and powerful enough to counteract severe hearing loss.

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Starkey Genesis AI ITE: Best rechargeable ITE option

Why we picked the Starkey Genesis AI ITE

Yielding 51 hours of battery life on a single charge, the Starkey Genesis AI ITE excels at providing long-lasting power that doesn’t compromise on quality.

This discreet ITE model is one of the only two on the market that are offered as a rechargeable option. While ITE models are always smaller than BTE options, audiologists note that the Starkey Genesis is a little larger than some ITE models and often doesn’t fit in small ear canals.

With AI technology and universal Bluetooth connectivity, the Starkey Genesis ITE brings a revolutionary new beginning to the world of hearing aids by enabling users to both connect more with their world and live independently.

The fall detection feature can alert saved emergency contacts in the event of an accident, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind when you’re home alone. However, while this model will connect to Android phones through the app, it unfortunately doesn’t support hands-free calling for Android devices.

Through the My Starkey app, you can adjust volume controls and set fitness goals. These devices are much more than hearing aids, allowing you to have more control and freedom over your daily activities through cutting-edge technology.

Criteria Starkey Genesis AI ITE
Style In-the-ear
Battery Rechargeable or disposable
Battery life 51 hours
Bluetooth Yes
App My Starkey

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Pros of the Starkey Genesis AI ITE

  • Incredibly long battery life
  • Bluetooth connects to Apple or Android devices
  • Fall detection feature alerts emergency contacts


Cons of the Starkey Genesis AI ITE

  • Hands-free calling not available on Android devices
  • More visible than other ITE models
  • Will not fit small ear canals


What our audiologists say about Starkey Genesis AI ITE:

“For those who are candidates for custom, in-the-ear devices, there are only two rechargeable prescription options,” Dr. Hinson, AuD says. “Starkey had the first rechargeable ITE device and seems to be the most consistent. Starkey has good sound quality, and their charger for customs is easy to use and intuitive vs the other manufacturer offering rechargeable ITE.”

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Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE: Longest rechargeable battery

Why we picked the Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE

Designed for severe to profound hearing loss, the Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE doesn’t disappoint. The AI digital assistant on the Signia Hearing Aid app allows you to customize sound presets and detects when you’re moving, relaying a more natural sound.

The rechargeable battery holds 61 hours of power on a single 4-hour charge, which is by far the best of any disposable or rechargeable option on our list. If you forget to charge your hearing aids, a quick 30-minute fast charge delivers up to 3 to 6 more hours of power, depending on use.

The contactless charger is convenient since you don’t have to worry about being precise; however, our audiologist notes that the connection might not be strong enough to use on the road.

Criteria Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE
Style Behind-the-ear
Battery Rechargeable
Battery life 61 hours
Bluetooth Yes
App Signia Hearing Aid 

View details


Pros of the Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE

  • Motion detection
  • 61-hour battery life
  • Fast charger delivers 3-6 more hours of battery in only 30 minutes
  • Customizable AI settings in the Signia Hearing Aid app


Cons of the Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE

  • Contactless charger may not be secure enough for on-the-road use


What our audiologists say about Signia Motion Charge&Go BTE

While our audiologists support this model and Signia as a whole, Dr. Hinson cautions that the on-the-go charger may not be the most substantial. She says, “Their charger doesn’t seem as secure to me, so if you are charging on the go, you may have difficulty maintaining a charge as it jostles around. For those leaving the charger on their nightstand, this won’t be an issue.”

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What is severe hearing loss?

If you can sense when your neighbor is mowing the grass but struggle to understand when he complains about your lawn, you might have severe hearing loss.

A level 3 out of 4 on the hearing loss scale, severe hearing loss refers to the inability to hear sounds lower than the 60- to 80-decibel range. This type of hearing loss brings serious impairment to daily activities; profound hearing loss is the only level higher and refers to an inability to hear 80+ decibels.

Severe hearing loss may occur rather suddenly or happen over time. Depending on the cause, it can progress into profound hearing loss. Sudden hearing loss always requires immediate medical treatment to try to stop or at least reverse the damage. However, gradual hearing loss is less likely to be fully resolved, even with treatment.

Hearing aids are usually the best solution to help treat severe hearing loss that occurs with aging.

What to look for in hearing aids

When comparing hearing aids for severe hearing loss, you’ll want to take your own lifestyle into account and consider these factors:

  • Battery life. Do you prefer a rechargeable pair with a shorter battery life? Or, would a hearing aid that takes a longer-lasting disposable battery work better for you?
  • Water-resistance. While hearing aids aren’t usually meant to be worn while showering or swimming, some models are slightly waterproof, making them a more durable option if you sweat a lot or get caught in the rain without an umbrella.
  • Bluetooth connectivity. Modern prescription hearing aids are typically equipped with Bluetooth, enabling you to stream from your iPhone. Some models even allow for a 2-way hands-free phone connection so that you can hear your loved ones better and talk to them without having to hold your phone.

While these features don’t directly impact the way hearing aids work, choosing a device that’s compatible with your lifestyle makes the adjustment period easier and increases the likelihood that they’ll be able to help you in the long run.

How we tested hearing aids for severe hearing loss

We consulted our audiologists to determine which hearing aids are best suited for severe hearing loss. Some models are better equipped to handle mild to moderate hearing loss, which won’t be as helpful for someone who needs a more aggressive solution.

We also investigated the reputation of the brands and particular models we reviewed based on factors such as quality, price, and features.

According to our board of audiologists, battery life is the most important consideration for hearing aids for severe hearing loss since they require more power than devices designed to counter mild to moderate hearing loss. Therefore, we prioritized models with a longer battery life over those that didn’t.

Hearing aids to avoid for severe hearing loss

While certain hearing aid models don’t make the cut because of factors specific to their brand or technology line, there are some common pitfalls you should look out for on the whole.

“Over-the-counter options are not suitable options for severe hearing loss,” Dr. Hinson says. While OTC devices are a great choice for someone experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss, typically, they’re not powerful enough to treat severe hearing loss.

Dr. Hinson also notes that completely-in-canal options that use size 10 batteries aren’t a good idea for severe hearing loss. This style, coupled with size 10 batteries, won’t last as long as other disposable options and will likely need to be charged daily.

Why trust

The writers, editors, and staff of appreciate the value of accurate, trustworthy information when it comes to hearing health. That’s why the content we create is reviewed, approved, and even written by licensed audiologists, guaranteeing that what you read is factual and science-based.

Frequently asked questions

What are the levels of hearing loss?

According to the National Institute of Health, hearing loss ranges from mild to profound, with set thresholds for each category:

  • Mild hearing loss starts at 20-40 decibels, which is similar to the decibel range of a quiet conversation.
  • Moderate hearing loss begins at between 40-60 decibels. If you struggle to hear traffic, you might have moderate hearing loss.
  • Severe hearing loss occurs in the vicinity of 60-80 decibels—around the same noise level as the vacuum cleaner.
  • Profound hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 80 decibels.

Do hearing aids work for severe hearing loss?

Certain types of hearing aids are manufactured, particularly for severe hearing loss. These can help you regain your ability to hear by amplifying sounds. However, they aren’t a 100% cure.

Can hearing aids correct my hearing 100% if I have severe hearing loss?

Hearing aids amplify sounds in order to counteract hearing loss. While they can be helpful, they aren’t a complete cure for hearing loss. If you have severe hearing loss, you might want to ask your audiologist if hearing aids or a cochlear implant would be a better fit.

This device bypasses damaged nerves in your middle ear to directly stimulate your auditory nerve, which then sends the signals to your brain for translation. A cochlear implant is more invasive than hearing aids, however, as it requires surgery and therapy to learn how to adapt.

What is the difference between severe and profound hearing loss?

Someone with severe hearing loss struggles to detect noises in the 60-80 decibel range, which is around a normal conversation or ambient noise from a crowded street. Profound hearing loss affects anyone who can’t hear lower than 80 decibels, which is around the same decibel level as a hair dryer.

How do you adjust to wearing hearing aids?

While better hearing sounds miraculous, suddenly being able to discern noises that were previously quiet or nonexistent can be confusing for a while. It can take a few months to fully adjust to wearing hearing aids. Most audiologists recommend wearing your hearing aids all day except when sleeping, showering, or in extremely noisy environments.

However, some medical professionals may suggest only wearing your hearing aids for a short period of time at first and gradually working yourself to keeping them in all day. Be sure to share your concerns with your audiologist to help them create the best adjustment plan for you.