One of the questions that we are often asked is, “What is the difference between Beltone hearing aids and Starkey hearing aids?”
It’s a great question that signifies that you’re thoroughly researching your options to ensure that you make the best possible decision for your long-term hearing health.
In this article, we’re going to answer this question in plain English.
Although the internet is full of contradictory and confusing information that compares the number and type of features in different devices, the problem is that no two hearing aid manufacturer’s name their features by the same name. This leaves the patient wondering how to compare apples and apples, not apples to a school bus. – our aim is to give you a fuller and more detailed understanding about the differences between choosing a Beltone hearing aid and a Starkey hearing aid.
The differences start with the actual business models embraced by each company. And those differences can be found at the inception of each company:
Beltone was founded in the early 1940s by Sam and Faye Posen to help one of their dear friends who had trouble hearing. Mr. Posen himself created Beltone’s first hearing aid, repaired the hearing aid and worked directly with his friend to achieve the best possible results for his friend. This legacy, providing the devices and care, under one roof, has been Beltone’s model for over 80 years. To this day, Beltone Hearing Centers offer ONLY Beltone award winning products like the Achieve, Imagine, and Boost Ultra, and Beltone products are available ONLY at Beltone Hearing Centers.
Starkey’s history begins in the late 60s, when Bill Austin merged his multi-line hearing aid repair service company with Starkey Laboratories, which was known for manufacturing ear molds. Under Mr. Austin’s leadership, Starkey has grown in to one of the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturers with popular products such as the evolv AI and the Picasso. Starkey hearing aids are available through independent clinics, who sell many aids from many different manufacturers.
Plainly stated, the patient experience is a little like buying a car from a company dealership (manufacture, fit, service, lifetime partnership – Beltone) vs from an independent car lot (middleman purchases car from dealership, may or may not provide service on site – private clinic).
Beltone and Starkey both have products with similar technology features. See the chart below comparing each company’s latest products, Beltone’s Achieve and Imagine & Starkey’s evolv AI.
In the categories that matter most to consumers, rechargeable battery life, and service, Beltone appears to have the edge. While the Starkey evolv AI does have “AI technology,” this is Starkey’s all-encompassing term to include thing like translating foreign languages directly through your hearing aid. While this is a novel feature and may be beneficial to those who do a considerable amount of international travel, this is typically not a high priority for the most hearing aid users.
One seemingly small, but significant difference is that the Beltone Achieve produces up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge, while the evolv AI provides only 24. These 6 hours could be critical in situations where the charger is unavailable, or in a power outage.
Another key difference between Beltone and Starkey was mentioned previously: the convenience of purchasing and service.
With Beltone, you schedule your free hearing screening at any of our 60+ locations across Michigan and Ohio, and receive all your care, service and technology under one roof. If you travel, you can receive service at any of the 1500+ service centers across the United States. You benefit by us being both the manufacturer of the hearing aids and the group that delivers your hearing care because we need to be experts ONLY in OUR products (and not familiar with many different manufacturers like private practice clinics). Our 80 years of developing, manufacturing, and servicing our own hearing aids provides us with a foundation to provide excellence as your partner in your hearing health journey.
To purchase a Starkey aid, you must find a local, privately owned clinic. You will be asked to purchase one of their service plans, which may or may not be transferrable to other locations. If your hearing aid is broken or lost, you will be working through a 3rd party (the clinic, not the manufacturer) for a resolution.
The truth is that the technology is complicated and no matter the manufacturer, all hearing aid manufacturers want to help the patient hear better, thus improving the quality of their lives. And most hearing aid manufacturers, including Starkey, have products that will help you hear better. The Beltone Achieve does have an edge in technology and battery life; but you will find a world of difference in the level of service and experience at Beltone. We will take the time to find customized solutions to your hearing needs and will remain your partner in your hearing journey. To schedule an appointment, please contact us at 888-BELTONE, or online at www.beltonehearingaid.com .