Which Hearing Aid is Best for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients?

The link between Hearing Loss and Dementia

It has been widely reported that hearing loss can increase the risk of a person having dementia or Alzheimer’s. Hearing aids have the ability to reduce that risk.

Basically, the theory is that having hearing loss causes a person to withdraw from social situations, and withdrawing from a social situation is linked to Dementia. Hearing aids help people to reengage in social situations because they can communicate better.

Thus, anyone with hearing loss should use some sort of amplification and especially those who have a hearing loss and are diagnosed with dementia as they may help. See also tips for nursing home patients who wear hearing aids.

But the question I seek to answer is what type of hearing aid is best for a patient who already has dementia.

If a person has a beginning stage or mild dementia, they should get the best hearing aid available to them. I would highly recommend that they find a professional audiologist to get an accurate hearing exam and purchase the best hearing aid that they are able to afford. OTC aids are also an option for those on a hearing aid budget.

High-end hearing aids cost around $6,400 for the pair but these are the ones that work best in background noise and in most social situations. 

I would recommend you purchase the aid that carries a major hearing aid manufacturer’s name.

These include Starkey, Phonak, Oticon, Widex, Signia, Unitron, or GN Resound. But if you cannot afford or do not choose to select a premium level of the device, please still get a hearing aid. Any device is going to help you communicate better and hopefully reduce the risk of dementia advancing.

So, what is the best hearing aid for a patient with significant dementia or Alzheimer’s disease?

These patients have unique challenges mainly because they have a very difficult time learning new tasks and often lose items. A new hearing aid can be difficult to learn how to use.

Often people have a difficult time getting them correctly inserted into their ear canal, changing the batteries and wax filters. Hearing aids can often be too difficult for a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s to figure out on their own. 

A traditional hearing aid would require significant help from a caregiver to fully take care of the hearing aids.

Often these hearing aids also get lost. If a hearing aid already has been purchased and you are fearful of it getting lost, please read our recommendations on products to prevent hearing aids from getting lost.

My Recommendation on Hearing Devices for Those Who Have Advance Dementia

If you haven’t yet purchased a traditional hearing aid but are looking on behalf of someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, then I would recommend something completely different than a traditional hearing aid.

I would recommend what I consider to be a pocket talker. It is a simple handheld device that can be clipped onto a shirt and then has regular large headphones that go up to the ear canal.

I have seen this device used very successfully with many patients. The advantages are that it is a simple device that doesn’t require a lot of new teaching to be done. It turns on and off and has a volume wheel. The patients usually can get headphones onto their ears easily as they likely learned how to put headphones on decades ago.


  • Easy to use
  • Do not get lost easily
  • Easy for caregivers to know that it is working
  • Very few maintenance requirements
  • The battery is AAA and does not require frequent battery changes (can order a rechargeable device too)
  • A person can easily adjust to their preferred volume level
  • Inexpensive when compared to what a traditional hearing aid costs.

There are also disadvantages to this type of device. It does not have directional microphones or background noise reduction like a traditional hearing aid. Usually, a person with advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s does not have an active lifestyle and the person they want to communicate with is directly in front of them. This device is perfect for that situation.

Another disadvantage is that it is very visible and not cosmetically appealing. However, this is purposeful as it does not get lost often and anyone can tell if the device is working (by an indicator light.)

Jonathan Javid Au.D.

Jonathan Javid Au.D., a seasoned audiologist with an extensive background in the field of audiology. With over 11 years of invaluable clinical experience, Jonathan has dedicated his career to helping individuals enhance their hearing and improve their quality of life.

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