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Starkey is an international hearing aid brand that manufactures a range of hearing aid models with enhanced technology.

This article discusses the brand, its products and services, alternative brands, and the importance of hearing health.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Minnesota-based Starkey has been in business since 1967. The company began as a small hearing aid repair store but has since expanded to serve more than 100 countries.

Starkey has an average customer rating of 3 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. Of the 209 listed reviews, about 61% have awarded the company 5 stars, while approximately 15% have given it 1 star.

Positive reviews frequently mention product quality and customer service, whereas negative reviews often revolve around warranty length and shipping issues. It appears that Starkey replies to most reviews — including negative ones — and offers to help rectify any difficulties that people experience.

Starkey hearing aids may best suit those who would like a variety of hearing aid styles, as well as different connectivity options.

Starkey allows people to undergo an online hearing test on its website. The company also has a how-to video section covering hearing aid topics, including:

  • changing the batteries in specific models
  • connecting the devices to a smartphone
  • inserting and removing the device

The company also offers live chat and the ability to schedule a meeting with a local hearing healthcare professional.

Starkey sells three different types of hearing aid.

Starkey Livio AI

The Starkey Livio AI uses artificial intelligence and integrated sensors to enhance sound quality.

This hearing aid is available in the following styles:

  • behind-the-ear
  • receiver-in-canal
  • in-the-ear
  • in-the-canal

According to Starkey, its features include:

  • good sound quality
  • feedback management
  • wireless streaming
  • music enhancement
  • tinnitus technology
  • compatibility with Bluetooth accessories and smartphones
  • rechargeable battery options
  • brain and body tracking
  • transcribing audio to text

Starkey Livio Edge AI

The Livio Edge AI is Starkey’s newest model, which reportedly offers game-changing sound quality.

The Livio Edge AI is available in the following styles:

  • behind-the-ear
  • receiver-in-canal
  • in-the-ear
  • in-the-canal

Starkey claims that the Livio Edge is an enhanced version of the Livio AI, with upgraded versions of its features.

Additional functions include fall detection, fall alerts, and language translation. This model also works with the Thrive Care app, which allows a person to check in on people who wear the Livio Edge AI hearing aid.

Starkey Picasso

The Picasso model is a custom-fit hearing aid that is unique to a person’s ear shape.

This device is available in the following styles:

  • invisible
  • completely-in-canal
  • in-the-canal
  • in-the-ear

Starkey states that the Picasso has the following features:

  • superior sound quality
  • feedback management
  • wireless streaming
  • music enhancement
  • tinnitus technology
  • Bluetooth accessories

Starkey also offers customers the opportunity to purchase various apps and accessories, such as a wireless TV streamer, remote controls for the hearing aids, and a table microphone.

People cannot buy Starkey hearing aids directly from the company’s website. Instead, they need to purchase a hearing aid from one of the brand’s authorized hearing professionals.

Starkey’s website does not say whether a person needs a prescription to receive a hearing aid. However, the company does recommend seeing a hearing care professional for assistance with hearing aid services.

Some private health insurers may cover hearing tests and part of the cost of hearing aids. However, other insurers may not offer this coverage. An individual can check with their insurance plan to see whether it provides coverage.

Learn about Medicare coverage of hearing aids.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers assistance to veterans in need of hearing help. A person can locate a VA facility close to them using this location finder.

Returns policy, warranty, and refunds

Starkey offers worry-free warranty coverage on all hearing aids, which remains valid for as long as the aids are in good working condition. These warranties protect against failure, damage, and loss.

All of the company’s hearing aids should come with a minimum 30-day trial period. Typically, the hearing retailer that sold the product will handle returns and exchanges.

Before purchasing a Starkey hearing aid, people should carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of this company.

Advantages

  • Various hearing aid styles are available.
  • Worry-free warranty coverage is available on all hearing aids.
  • The company offers a minimum 30-day trial period.
  • People can choose from a range of available accessories.
  • Starkey features how-to videos on its website to help people with their hearing aids.

Disadvantages

  • People cannot purchase Starkey hearing aids online.
  • Returns and exchange policies may change depending on the hearing retailer.

People looking for a hearing aid may also wish to look at alternative retailers. The options include:

Alternatives to wearing hearing aids include:

  • cochlear implant surgery
  • speech therapy
  • sign language
  • aural rehabilitation

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people will have some degree of hearing loss.

A 2018 study suggests that those with mild to moderate hearing loss may be less aware of their difficulties and, therefore, less likely to explore using hearing aids. The research authors also say that cost may play a part in why people do not acquire hearing aids when they need them.

The WHO says that the following may cause hearing loss:

  • aging
  • genetics
  • birth complications
  • infectious diseases
  • chronic ear infections
  • use of particular drugs
  • excessive noise exposure

A 2015 systematic review found that occupational noise exposure causes some hearing loss in workers but that this number is decreasing in most industrialized counties. The research also showed that males are more likely to develop hearing problems than females.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that even a low level of hearing loss can adversely affect speech, communication, and social development. The organization explains that individuals can take the following steps to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss:

  • avoiding and limiting exposure to loud noises
  • keeping the volume of music systems at a low to moderate level
  • maintaining a distance from the source of loud noises when possible
  • using hearing protection when possible
  • speaking with a licensed audiologist or another healthcare professional about any concerns regarding hearing loss

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, individuals should consider contacting a doctor if they experience three or more specific symptoms, including:

  • difficulty hearing conversations
  • feeling frustrated when talking with family members due to being unable to hear them
  • feeling limited and unable to do their usual activities or noticing effects on their social life due to hearing concerns
  • experiencing difficulty understanding co-workers, clients, or customers
  • difficulty hearing friends, relatives, or neighbors
  • difficulty hearing when at the movies or in a theater
  • feeling tension with family members due to hearing difficulties
  • difficulty hearing the TV or radio at volume levels loud enough for others
  • experiencing difficulty hearing conversations in restaurants

Below are the answers to some common questions about Starkey.

Do health insurance companies cover Starkey hearing aids?

Some private health insurance companies offer coverage for hearing tests and hearing aids, but this may vary from state to state, company to company, and plan to plan. A person should check with their insurer to confirm coverage.

Alternatively, people could use their health savings account or explore finance options.

How do I choose the right Starkey hearing aid?

A person should think about the type and features they would like and then ask a hearing aid specialist or an otolaryngologist which of the available products will likely be most effective for them.

Starkey is a large international brand offering hearing aids and other apps and accessories.

A person should consult an audiologist to determine what kind of hearing aid would be best for them. They can also research different brands and their benefits.

Please note: Medical News Today does not imply warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or endorse any of these applications. Nobody at MNT has evaluated these apps for medical accuracy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them unless otherwise indicated.