More than 36 million people in the U.S. say that they struggle with some form of hearing loss, from tinnitus and muffled speech to total deafness. The good news is that in a great deal of cases, hearing aids can help restore normal hearing levels for many activities.
Yet not all hearing aids are created equal, especially when it comes to online hearing aids. Some online hearing aid providers offer high-quality products, while others are more so fly-by-night operations looking to make a quick buck.
If you’ve ever run a search for hearing aids online, you may have come across a business called Nano Hearing Aids. The company claims that it is “America’s #1 selling hearing aid online” as well as “the #1 seller of hearing aids online” in general.
But do these claims hold up against closer scrutiny? Is Nano Hearing Aids a scam, or is it a legitimate hearing aid company?
This article will discuss everything you need to know about Nano Hearing Aids. How much does Nano cost? What do the reviews say? What are the best alternatives to Nano Hearing Aids? We’ll go over all of that and more below.
Nano Hearing Aids is an online hearing aid company founded in 2017 by Robert Carlson. He was inspired to found the company after speaking with his grandmother, who had lost one of her hearing aids and couldn’t afford to replace it.
On its website, Nano Hearing Aids claims to provide “hearing aids without the middleman.” Rather than speaking with an audiologist or hearing aid specialist, customers can purchase devices directly from the website. This allows the company to offer affordable hearing aids that are significantly cheaper than those obtained from a healthcare provider.
According to Nano Hearing Aids: “Nano’s technology allows you to pick different mode settings and volume settings so you can find the best combination of sound for your ears. You don’t need an audiogram (hearing test) to purchase Nano.”
Nano offers multiple products that claim to help people with mild, moderate, and severe hearing loss.
One of the most popular products is the Nano CIC, which stands for “completely in the canal”. The Nano CIC is a small device that fits neatly into the ear canal. The company claims that the Nano CIC works for 98.7 percent of people with hearing loss.
Thanks to its small size, the Nano CIC is more discreet than behind-the-ear hearing aids. However, CIC hearing aids like the Nano CIC also come with a few significant disadvantages and concerns:
The Nano CIC comes in two options: digital and rechargeable. The digital Nano CICs require users to replace the device’s battery themselves. Nano Hearing Aids includes a 6-month supply of batteries, a screwdriver, additional ear domes, a 45-day money-back guarantee, and a 12-month warranty for every digital Nano CIC order.
The rechargeable Nano CICs allow users to recharge the device by using the provided charging cases, charging plug, and USB cord. Rechargeable Nano CIC orders also include additional ear domes, a 45-day money-back guarantee, and a 12-month warranty. Customers can purchase the 1-year “Elite Protection Plan” that provides 100 percent coverage in the event the device is lost.
Another popular Nano product is the Nano X2, a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. The body of the X2 hearing aid rests behind the ear, while the earbud sits inside the ear canal, connected to the body via a thin plastic tube.
BTE models like the Nano X2 have several advantages due to their larger size: longer battery life, parts are easier to replace, and controls are easier to adjust. However, this also comes at the cost of being less discreet than CIC models.
According to the company, the Nano X2 includes the following features:
Like the Nano CIC, the Nano X2 comes in both digital and rechargeable versions. The rechargeable Nano X2 takes 3 hours to charge and provides 12 hours of use, and includes a free portable charging case. Meanwhile, the digital Nano X2 comes with a free 6-month supply of batteries.
How much do Nano Hearing Aids cost? The answer depends on which device you buy. As of November 2019, the prices on the company’s website are:
Note that the prices listed above are for a pair of devices, not for a single device.
When looking up hearing aid reviews, it’s always best to see what people who have direct experience are saying. So are user reviews for Nano Hearing Aids generally positive, or do customers have issues with Nano Hearing Aids products and services?
There are a number of concerning stories online about customer issues with Nano Hearing Aids. In September 2019, for example, the WDAF-TV station in Kansas City reported on the story of Dan Conninghton, a Nano Hearing Aids customer who was having serious difficulties getting a refund for the device.
According to Conninghton, his Nano device, which he purchased for $399, broke after just a month of use. He mailed the product back to Nano Hearing Aids for repairs, then waited for weeks without hearing from the company’s support team.
When Conninghton finally got in touch with a company representative, he was told that he would receive a replacement pair. However, Conninghton claims that his new device was actually refurbished and didn’t work, causing him to ask for a refund. To make matters worse, Conninghton claims that Nano Hearing Aids wanted to charge him a restocking fee before processing his refund.
By enlisting the help of WDAF-TV’s FOX4 Problem Solvers team, Conninghton was able to receive a partial refund for $317.60 after weeks of waiting. After contacting the company again, Connington finally received a second check for $79—enough for a full Nano Hearing Aids refund, minus postage fees.
Stories like Conninghton’s are not uncommon when reading Nano reviews. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) cites 236 complaints in the last 12 months.
Nano Hearing Aids received a C+ rating from the BBB, indicating a number of issues in how the company interacts with its customers and responds to complaints. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau revoked Nano Hearing Aids’ BBB accreditation in October 2019 due to its failure to “establish and maintain a positive track record in the marketplace.” According to BBB reviewer Jill:
“Trying to return the product is an absolute nightmare! They offer the 100% money back guarantee, but they require you to have an “RMA” number in order to return, and getting this number is almost IMPOSSIBLE to receive from them. No one will answer the customer service line and emails aren’t returned either. When you do reach someone, they put you on hold forever, probably hoping you will hang up (or even better, they hang up on you!). I believe they are trying to get you past the 60-day time frame so that you miss the money back guarantee. No address listed on their website should’ve been my first clue that this company is sketchy!”
BBB reviewer Susan J. experienced problems with both Nano’s product quality and customer service, writing:
“I purchased a pair of CIC hearing aids on July 29, 2019. They arrived and I tried every earbud in the box, but these devices do not fit—they actually hurt. It was like wearing earplugs—no ambient noise could get through. No amount of adjustments leveled the audio, and they were either blaring or squealing. Wearing outside was not possible, because the air/wind rushing against my ears made a roaring noise and I couldn’t hear anything else. I kept using them for the three-week trial period and then decided they were never going to work. Getting a customer service representative on the phone is as difficult as getting a refund, which after returning them on August 28th, I am still waiting for. It is now September 19th. The refund was supposed to appear to my ‘original form of payment’ in 3 to 5 business days.”
The Facebook page Nano Hearing Aids Marketing Tactics Awareness has collected a number of reviews from dissatisfied customers. This page has documented what it believes to be a number of deceptive marketing practices on the part of Nano Hearing Aids. For example, the page claims that Nano Hearing Aids:
It’s clear that Nano users have reported a number of issues with the company, including customer service problems and defective products. But what do hearing aid experts have to say about the quality of Nano Hearing Aids?
Dr. Cliff Olson, audiologist and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem, Arizona, calls Nano Hearing Aids “one of the most deceptive online hearing aid companies” on his YouTube channel.
According to Dr. Olson, while browsing the Nano website, he noticed that the Nano CIC hearing aids looked almost identical to a “hearing amplifier” product that he had seen on the Chinese e-commerce website Alibaba. At the time of Dr. Olson’s video, the Alibaba hearing aids were available for a price of $18 to $20 on the Alibaba website.
In a head-to-head Nano Hearing Aids comparison with the Alibaba hearing aids, Dr. Olson has stated that the Alibaba product and the Nano CIC have the same or similar color, build quality, volume wheel, microphone, and even the same cleaning brush and volume adjustment screwdriver. The most noticeable distinction, according to Dr. Olson, was the different brand name written on the two devices.
Dr. Olson has also used an otometrics hearing instrument test box to assess the performance of the Nano CIC compared with the Alibaba device. He found that despite the presence of a volume wheel, the Nano Hearing Aids only have two actual volume settings: high volume and low volume. In addition, he discovered a “striking similarity” between the output of the Nano Hearing Aids and the Alibaba device—”almost as if I was testing the exact same device.”
Finally, Dr. Olson found that neither the Nano device, nor the Alibaba device, is capable of exactly matching the prescription for a normal sloping-to-moderate sensorineural hearing loss. According to Dr. Olson’s review, both the Nano CIC and the Alibaba device have an “equally horrific sound quality,” which makes them inappropriate for moderate hearing loss prescriptions.
Reviews of Nano Hearing Aids allege a number of serious problems with the product, such as the difficulties with customer service and the poor sound quality claimed by Dr. Olson. Given these issues, it’s understandable that hearing aid users would look for alternatives to Nano.
MDHearingAid is an affordable hearing aid provider that has helped more than 300,000 customers purchase hearing aids online. Unlike Nano Hearing Aids, MDHearingAid was founded by a medical professional, ENT doctor Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri.
MDHearingAid’s products have been designed by doctors, tested by audiologists, and registered with the FDA. MDHearingAid sources its microphones and receivers from Knowles and Sonion, the same manufacturers that high-end hearing aid companies use. In addition, the computer chips in MDHearingAid products are sourced from a U.S.-based manufacturer with decades of experience.
The MDHearingAid website makes it easy for hearing aid users to cut out the middleman and directly purchase the devices that best fit their needs and situation. All of MDHearingAid’s products arrive at your door assembled, ready for you to begin your 45-day free trial.
Unlike Nano Hearing Aids, MDHearingAid does not require a 21-day minimum trial period before allowing users to return the device. MDHearingAid also offers excellent, U.S.-based customer service if you have questions or concerns about your hearing aids.
MDHearingAid user Joan P. writes:
“The customer service has been outstanding, very helpful. They continue to help solve the problem and give solutions. Out of 5 stars, I would give them 6.”
Reviewer Jerry G. says:
“Great product. Every bit as good as, if not better than, my $4000 hearing aids that I had been using. One of these expensive aids was damaged, and rather than have it repaired or replaced I opted to try your MDHearingAid. I would recommend this product to anyone struggling to hear.”
Ready to get started? To find the device that best fits your needs and budget, check out MDHearingAid’s easy hearing aid comparison chart.