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Walmart Hearing Aid Reviews: Inexpensive over the counter devices?

Published On 13 Jun 2021

George Samuel Written by George Samuel

As more people move away from traditional audiologists, they are instead choosing retailers like Walmart for hearing aids.

That begs the question: does that decrease the chances for these people to improve their hearing as much as possible? Or more specifically: Which Walmart hearing aids are good and which should you rather stay away from?

In this article, we’ll review 5 Walmart hearing aids in detail, show you a whole category of devices to stay away from and introduce 2 alternative products we recommend - not surprisingly those are our own hearing aids.

Let’s jump in...

Walmart Hearing Aids and WonderEar Compared

Bottom Line

Pros

Cons

MDHearingAid Air

Bottom Line

Suitable for all except those with severe hearing loss, the Air is small and portable with digital settings to reduce background noise.

Pros

Replaceable batteries rather than using a charging station, a small size, and affordable price tag for environmental settings and feedback reduction.  45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons

Batteries can’t be recharged like with the MDHearingAid VOLT. No adaptive technology for transitioning between quiet and noisy environments.

Hearing Assist HA-302

Bottom Line

For people with mild to moderate hearing loss, a limited feature device with a low price point.

Pros

A full day's digital operation on a single charge with 4 sound environment settings. 60-day money-back return policy.

Cons

No extra features such as noise cancellation or reduction like the WonderMax. Feedback technology may not cancel background noise entirely.

Hearing Assist HA-1800

Bottom Line

Hearing Assist’s first completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid for mild to moderate hearing loss. Includes noise reduction and feedback suppression.

Pros

Offers advanced features to help control  noise and feedback. CIC format makes it small and discrete. 60-day money-back return policy.

Cons

Only available in black and cannot be recharged. Not suitable for people with severe hearing loss.

Most Affordable

WonderMax

Bottom Line

The completely-in-canal offering from WonderEar, the WonderMax is invisible, affordable and features clear sound as well as many of the noise suppression features of higher end products.

Pros

Discrete, two-directional microphones offer crisp sound with advanced feedback cancellation. Digital sound processing clarifies the sound before you hear it. 45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons

Noise reduction is improved over less expensive models but lacks the clarity of higher-end products, such as the WonderWave.

Best Value

WonderWave

Bottom Line

For the busy person who wants to transition easily from quiet environments to noisy ones. The WonderWave has many features to digitally enhance what you hear before you hear it.

Pros

Four environmental settings, smart feedback cancelling and adaptive technology on a single charge.  45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons

Dial adjustment for volume control may be hard for older people or those with Parkinson's to maneuver.

Image Source: mdhearingaid.com, walmart.com

Walmart Hearing Centers: What are they and locations

Before purchasing a hearing aid, you may want to get a hearing test at a Walmart Hearing Center.

In Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas, customers can visit Walmart Hearing Centers, a part of their Care Clinic, to schedule an appointment to address any hearing issues they may have with licensed professionals. This can include scheduling a hearing test or arranging for a custom fitting for a hearing aid.

Cheap Walmart Sound Amplifiers, as seen on their TV commercials

Before we look at the hearing aids Walmart sells, let’s talk about sound amplifiers.

While searching Walmart for a hearing aid, you may come across cheap sound amplifiers and think about purchasing them. They make claims about improving hearing and are often a fraction of the price of proper hearing aids.

Some examples of these ‘As Seen on TV’ devices are:

  • The MSA 30X Sound Amplifier
  • The MEDca Digital Personal Sound or Hearing Amplifier
  • Smaller & Discreet Digital Ear Amplification Device

These sound amplification devices are not medical-grade hearing aids!

These products have disclaimers saying they are not a substitute for a hearing aid because all hearing aids sold in the United States are medical devices, and as such, they must be FDA-approved. Some of these devices have even received FTC challenges on the claims made in their advertisements.

This device only makes a sound louder, regardless of the original frequency or volume, and is designed to amplify normal hearing sparingly. Using a sound amplifier when you have hearing loss could make your hearing loss worse. Instead, choose an inexpensive FDA-approved hearing aid that has the features you need.

Inexpensive OTC Hearing Aids (FDA-Approved)

When it comes to FDA-approved over-the-counter hearing aids, Walmart predominantly sells two popular brands: Hearing Assist and MDHearingAid.

Both are FDA-approved, and although they offer different features, they have a similar, inexpensive price point geared towards people who want to purchase their hearing aid over the counter at a big box store and who may not have a huge budget to spend.

Walmart hearing aid brands are similarly priced to WonderEar products and offer similar features and functionalities. So, we’ve put together this review to see how the Walmart brands compare to WonderEar brands.

Hearing Assist HA-302 (behind-the-ear and rechargeable)

One of the most popular OTC hearing aids sold through Walmart, the HA-302 by Hearing Assist has few features or fancy additions, but it comes with an affordable price point and batteries that will last a full day on a 3.5-hour charge.

As such, the Hearing Assist HA-302 can be a good starting point or a hold-over until you can purchase a more expensive hearing aid with more features.

Pros:

  • Four factory presets for noisy environments.
  • Single on/off button.
  • 60-day money-back return policy.

Cons:

  • Limited feedback cancellation for whistling noises and no noise reduction capabilities.
  • Volume dial rather than a button may be difficult for those with hand issues.
  • No customization.

Hearing Assist HA-802 (behind-the-ear and rechargeable)

The HA-802 is a midpoint in the Hearing Assist line. This model takes the features of the 302 and adds smartphone technology to it with Bluetooth connectivity and a magnetic charging station.

The key feature of the HA-802 that elevates it above the more limited HA-302 is how the hearing aid connects to your smartphone and the Hearing Assist app. After setup, you can complete a hearing test within the app, which then adjusts the hearing aid settings to have it better suit your hearing.

However, this hearing test is not official and may not be comprehensive to all types of hearing. The test results determine the settings of the hearing aid; you cannot independently fine tune the hearing aid to suit your specific needs. It also lacks adaptive technology like the WonderEar WonderWave possesses.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone for easier raising and lowering of volume and adjusting settings.
  • Four environmental settings.
  • Rechargeable: With a full day’s operation on a single charge.
  • Feedback suppression.
  • 60-day money-back return policy.

Cons:

  • Inability to adjust settings on the device itself, only controlled through the app and your smartphone.
  • Some users can experience a “plugged in” feeling as the hearing aid sits in the shell of your ear.
  • No customization and limited additional noise reduction features.

Hearing Assist HA-1800 (completely-in-canal)

The Hearing Assist HA-1800 is a universal fit hearing aid that can fit either a left or a right ear and is a discrete option suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

It offers the most features of Hearing Assist’s hearing aids, many of which are also available in MDHearingAid or WonderEar products. That being said, Hearing Assist sells each hearing aid separately rather than coming in a pair, so it may not be as cost-efficient as the other models if you require two hearing aids.

Pros:

  • It has an 8-channel digital signal processor, doubling it from the usual 2-channel.
  • Nearly invisible in the ear.
  • Ambient noise reduction, feedback suppression, and four present volume levels.
  • 60-day money-back return policy.

Cons:

  • Only available in black.
  • No adaptive technology for transitioning between quiet and noisy environments.
  • Not suitable for severe hearing loss.
  • Uses replaceable batteries which may be inconvenient to have on hand or change.

MDHearingAid VOLT (behind-the-ear)

MDHearingAid VOLT is ideal for people who have active lifestyles, travel, and are consistently on the go. One of the things that set the MDHearingAid VOLT apart from other rechargeable behind-the-ear hearing aids is its quick charge and charging case.

Unlike most hearing aids, the VOLT's charging case can hold three additional charges, and it doesn’t need to be plugged in for the hearing aid to benefit from one of the stored charges. Even if you did not get to recharge your hearing aid 100% the night before, the case should give you enough power to go through the day without compromising your hearing.

Newer versions of this model offer a water-resistant coating for up to 3 feet for thirty minutes. The coating also protects against moisture, dust, and dirt. When it comes to the digital features the MDHearingAid VOLT possesses, they include: dual microphones, feedback cancellation, and noise filter settings.

Pros:

  • Two directional microphones that work together to help block out ambient noise.
  • Feedback canceling technology.
  • Water-resistant coating.
  • Recharge overnight for 24+ hours of use.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Cost. The VOLT is more expensive than the AIR and other models MDHearingAid offers.
  • Similar functionality to the AIR without advanced features.
  • No adaptive technology for transitioning between quiet and noisy environments.

 

Image Source: SeniorLiving.org

MDHearingAid AIR (behind-the-ear)

The MDHearingAid AIR focuses on a small size and comes with an affordable price tag for a digital model.

The AIR is a small behind-the-ear hearing aid. It measures roughly the width of a pencil and only about an inch in height, so it sits easily and comfortably behind the ear.

Its lightweight design and replaceable batteries allow it to be priced lower than other MDHearingAid models. It's a cheaper option that still has noise reduction and filtering features, albeit within factory preset ranges.

Pros:

  • Replaceable batteries and a less than one-inch length make this one of the lightest and most portable hearing aids.
  • Four sound environment settings.
  • Digital sound processing.
  • Built-in feedback cancellation.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable.
  • It doesn’t offer customization for noise reduction outside of the factory presets.
  • It isn’t suitable for severe hearing loss.

WonderEar WonderMax (completely-in-canal)

The WonderMax is WonderEar’s most discrete and invisible hearing aid partnered with digital sound processing. It sits in the ear canal, which prevents it from interfering with eyeglasses, face masks, or other pressures that may sit on the ear.

Since - unlike with behind-the-ear hearing aids - most of the WonderMax is inaccessible, it offers fewer, more intuitive controls to allow you to increase volume or change settings for different environments with a button.

Pros:

  • Button operation makes it easy to change settings or volume levels.
  • Two directional microphones help to distinguish important sounds.
  • Reduces ambient noise to allow you to communicate confidently.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • The design of completely-in-canal hearing aids may require assistance. the first few times it is inserted into the ear.
  • No adaptive technology.
This is how the WonderEar WonderMax looks like

 

WonderEar WonderWave (behind-the-ear)

The WonderWave is the most advanced hearing aid offered by WonderEar when it comes to ensuring you hear precisely what you should.

It comes in a behind-the-ear format with two directional microphones and smart feedback cancellation so that you can focus on specific sounds and where they’re coming from to help reduce background noise.

Its smart noise reduction and adaptive technology means your hearing aid can switch from a noisy preset to a quieter one without you needing to press a button or change a dial. This intelligent adjustment means you can focus on what you’re doing, not on what you need to do to hear.

Pros:

  • Adaptive technology that adjusts from noisy to quiet settings automatically.
  • Overnight charging to last a full day's use without recharging.
  • Dual directional microphones help to distinguish important sounds.
  • 45-day money-back guarantee.

Cons:

  • Behind-the-ear format means it’s not as inconspicuous as a completely-in-canal hearing aid.
  • Dial adjustment for volume control may be hard for older people or those with Parkinson's to maneuver.
This is how the WonderEar WonderWave looks like

Conclusion: Walmart Hearing Aids or WonderEar?

In our opinion, the first thing you’d want to do when deciding on a specific hearing aid model is to figure out if you’d want to wear it behind your ears or inside your ear canal.

If you opt for the CIC option that sits inside the ear canal, the WonderMax offers more features than the Hearing Assist HA-1800, such as an advanced background noise reduction option and multiple settings for different environments. It also comes packaged in a more discreet appearance than the HA-1800, with a slightly better price point.

If instead you decide on behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids, MDHearingAid offers various sizes and shapes, and Hearing Assist has options for people who want slimmed-down devices with fewer features. If you want more hands-free operation, WonderEar’s digital models operate intelligently, adjusting to your environment as you live your life, so you don’t have to press buttons or turn dials except when you turn it off.

Did you know that you can try any of our hearing aids, risk-free, for 45 days?
Explore which WonderEar is right for you.

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