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About 13 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 experience some form of hearing loss. Additionally, about 2 percent of adults between the ages of 45 and 54 have disabling hearing loss — and the percentage only increases for older age groups.
A hearing aid can help amplify sounds and allow people with hearing loss to follow conversations.
However, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders explains that few people who could benefit from hearing aid technology use a hearing aid — likely because of the barriers involved in getting one.
Most prescription hearing aids are ultra-expensive and aren’t fully covered by medical insurance.
Lively is a company that provides direct-access prescription quality hearing aids online. Their pricing is more affordable compared to similar devices on the market.
Below, we take an in-depth look at Lively and its hearing aid offerings.
Here are some of the pros and cons of Lively hearing aids.
- Affordable pricing. Lively hearing aids are less expensive than comparable devices on the market.
- Bonus support package. At no extra cost, buyers get a free virtual consultation with an expert and ongoing support for their device.
- Manual adjustments. In addition to adjustments by an expert on staff, you can also fine-tune your device’s settings via the iOS or Android app.
- No custom fittings. Because there’s no in-person exam, these devices are not custom-fitted for you.
- Not suitable for severe hearing loss. The hearing aids are designed to help with mild to moderate hearing loss. Not everyone will benefit from wearing this type of hearing aid.
Lively hearing aids are low cost, FDA-approved hearing aids that are available for purchase online. While Lively itself is relatively new to the online hearing aid market, its hearing aids are produced by a decades-old hearing aid manufacturer with a solid reputation called Resound.
The hearing aids aren’t suitable for everyone with hearing loss. However, taking Lively’s at-home hearing test and consulting with their audiologists can help you determine if they’re a good fit for your needs. The hearing aids are best for those with mild or moderate hearing loss.
The company recommends getting an in-person exam before shopping. This can rule out potential underlying medical causes for hearing loss. An exam can also determine whether a hearing aid will help you, since a hearing aid won’t benefit all people with hearing loss.
Hearing aids vs. PSAPs
Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are a type of over-the-counter (OTC) device that often cost way less than a regular hearing aid. But they aren’t useful for all types of hearing loss and can, in some cases, worsen hearing loss.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t currently allow PSAPs to be sold as hearing aids. Still, there’s a push to get these types of devices available to more people with mild hearing loss who might benefit from having an accessible, cost-effective option.
Whether you decide to opt for a hearing aid or a PSAP, it’s essential to get a hearing exam first. A hearing aid specialist or audiologist can help you figure out next steps and determine whether you need a customized, prescription hearing aid.
Lively offers two different hearing aid models. One is battery-operated, and the other is rechargeable. The rechargeable hearing aid option is the priciest of the two.
Both are behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids and Bluetooth enabled, so you can control them via the companion Apple or Android app.
Each hearing aid also features customizable programs suited to different environments and directional microphones to help amplify specific sounds like speech.
Both models are:
- equipped with noise-canceling technology
- able to stream music and calls from your device
- almost invisible and hidden behind the ear
- custom-programmed by a Lively audiologist
- adjustable via the smartphone app
Lively hearing aids are much more affordable than similar, custom, prescription hearing aids. A pair of rechargeable ones cost $2,400, while the lower cost battery-powered hearing aids cost $1,850.
Lively claims that because they don’t have brick-and-mortar locations and do all their business online, they can cut costs and pass the savings to the consumer.
Financing is also available for both models.
Buying a hearing aid online is easy and convenient, but it’s not a great option if you have profound hearing loss. If you have major hearing loss, you may not benefit from a hearing aid. You may also need more customization than an online provider can give you.
Whether you choose to buy online or directly from an audiologist, a hearing exam is a must. Getting an exam can pinpoint the cause of hearing loss and rule out any underlying causes that don’t have to do with your ears.
Lively is pretty new to the online hearing aid market but has a reasonably good reputation so far. The company is Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited and has an A rating.
Generally, people have positive things to say about Lively’s hearing aids.
However, because the hearing aids aren’t custom-fitted, some customers complain about fitting issues. There are also reviews from people who had programming and connection issues with the devices.
Customers do note that these hearing aids aren’t helpful for severe hearing loss, but they mention that the trial and returns process went smoothly.
Lively has a 100-day trial policy with a money-back guarantee. The company also covers shipping costs in their guarantee.
The hearing aids come with a 3-year warranty and 3 years of damage and loss protection.
To order a Lively hearing aid, you first have to take a hearing test on the website. Lively recommends doing the test in a quiet space with headphones for the best results.
The process tests hearing in both ears. You’ll listen to sounds at varying volumes and frequencies. At the end of the test, you need to provide your name, email, and phone number to see your results.
Your results will show you whether you have hearing loss in both ears or one and which frequencies are impacted. You can choose whether you want a battery-powered or rechargeable device, then select from various color options.
The next steps in the process include:
- a one-on-one virtual meeting with a doctor on staff
- remote adjustments by an audiologist
You can also talk to a Lively doctor at any point in time if you have questions.
Unfortunately, there’s no option to buy a single hearing aid, even if the impairment detected affects only a single ear.
Lively’s FDA-approved hearing aids are a more affordable option for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The online test can also give you an idea of whether you have hearing loss.
While we recommend getting an in-person exam before committing to any hearing aid purchase, Lively makes it easy to buy direct online.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer with chronic migraine who has a particular interest in health and wellness. When she’s not click-clacking away on her keyboard, she’s probably nose-deep in a good book.