Pros & Cons Of Costco Hearing Aids


– In this video, I’m gonna
tell you everything you need to know about buying hearing
aids from Costco, comin up. (upbeat contemporary music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, Doctor
of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions
in Anthem, Arizona. And on this channel, I cover a bunch of hearing
related information to help make you a
better informed consumer. So if you’re into that, consider hitting the subscribe button. Costco is one of the
single largest purchasers of hearing aids in the entire industry. And because they purchase
so many hearing aids from these manufacturers, they’re generally able
to drive the price down and pass that savings on to you. But hearing aids are also the
second biggest money maker for Costco right behind wine. So before you jump off your
couch and go throw some of your hard earned money at them, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying hearing aids from Costco. Pro number one is that their
hearing aids are cheap. And I don’t mean cheap as
in they’re a crappy product, I mean cheap as in you get a good product for a really low price. In fact, the premium Kirkland
Signature brand will only cost you $1600 for a pair which
is about half of the amount that you’ll spend on a
name brand Rexton, Phonak, Burnafon, or Resound hearing aid that you can also get at Costco. Pro number two is that their hearing aids are actually pretty good. In fact, their hearing aids are made by reputable manufacturers. And when you look at
product comparison charts, you can see the the premium
level Costco technology is very comparable to
premium level technology that you would get inside
of a hearing clinic. Pro number three is that
some Costcos have experienced audiologists and hearing
instrument specialists. Having a well trained and experienced hearing care professional
is extremely important. In fact, it’s even more
important than the hearing aids that you buy. Fitting a pair of hearing
aids very well is more than just hitting the auto program button in the computer software. Fortunately, there are some
good hearing care professionals that work at Costco. You just have to make
sure that you find one. All right, that’s it for the pros. Let’s go ahead and get into the cons. Con number one, only
20 to 25% of first time hearing aid users purchase a second set of hearing aids from Costco. These low numbers are from
credible industry sources. And the way I see it, there
are only two possible reasons for these numbers being so low. Either Costcos are not
following best practices which include real ear measurement, or these Costcos are not providing a very good patient experience. Either way, such a low
percentage of returning customers is definitely a red flag. Con number two is that
some of the hearing aids Costco sell are locked. When Costco locks their hearing aids, it effectively prevents you
from taking those hearing aids to anywhere else other
than another Costco. And so, if you move to a
completely different city that does not have access to a Costco, then you are essentially
out of luck if you need to get those hearing aids reprogrammed. Now if you’re okay with this, then this may not be a con for you. Con number three, is that
hearing aids that you buy from Costco do have some
features removed from them. While Costco hearing aids
are still good and their product comparison charts
look comparable to other types of technology that
you get outside of Costco, manufacture representatives
tell me that the hearing aids that they give to Costco are de-featured. This means that if you
go into a particular listening environments and
you are still struggling, it might not be you, it
might be the hearing aids. Con number four is long
potential wait times. It is not a secret that Costco
sells low cost technology and there are a lot of people
who don’t want to spend a lot of money on hearing aids. And this ends up creating
really long wait times in some areas. In fact, some patients have
actually come into my clinic and told me they didn’t want
to get hearing aids from Costco because they didn’t want
to wait up to a month to get those hearing aids. And that they were nervous
that if something went wrong with their hearing aids, they
would have to wait a long time before they could get back
in to get them serviced. Overall, Costco is known for
selling good hearing aids at really low prices. But Costco isn’t right for everybody. As long as you understand
the pros and cons of getting your hearing healthcare
from a big box retailer, then you should be able to
make an educated decision on if Costco is right for you. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. And if you want to see more
videos just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. I’ll see you next time.

60 thoughts on “Pros & Cons Of Costco Hearing Aids

  1. I just bought a pair of KS8 (Kirkland Signature 8.0; $1600) hearing aids from Costco, but returned them because the bluetooth connection with my iPhone had a lot of static (episodic rhythmic clicking). Even though the hearing aid technician called the manufacturer (Rexton), the answer was that this was a common problem with no solution. Since I would be using them for streaming podcasts for 1-2 hours per day, I could not keep them. The name brand aids they carry are priced about the same as I can get from an independent practice using my insurance plan discount ($2500-$3000 a pair). So, I will probably not purchase from Costco. They do use Real Ear measurements and I was told this is company policy. There was minimal wait for an appointment and the store brand was in stock.

  2. Hey doc
    I got high blood pressure they got me on amlodipine besaylate 5mg tablets. I notice when i take it my tinnitus gets louder. I stopped taking it for like 8 days and tried a combination of natural remedies to control the blood pressure. I noticed the ringing in my ears got quieter. But just yesterday on Sunday night blood pressure went up to 149/100 and I didn’t have the tinnitus loud, once I ended up taking the amlodipine it did lower the BP but the tinnitus is still louder. Sucks. Any suggestions on what medication to control blood pressure is not ototoxic? So i can talk to the physician about it.. thanks

  3. Recently found your videos. I've gained some insight which will help in getting my second set of aids. (not Starkey) And I now know why my first ones (Starkey Z-series) don't help as much as I think they should. No REM test. Now to decide If I'm going to Costco or a medical center that is part of a major hospital. Thank You for providing the information

  4. Hi Dr. Olson. You do a good job of reviewing Costco hearing aids… I really like your videos! As a bit of a newbie to this industry, It's a bit suprising that only 25% of first time users purchase a 2nd set from Costco, but I would like to know what the industry average for purchasing a 2nd set is a) in general, and b) with the same professional that they first purchased. It would be more thorough to include these stats as well. As you say, finding the right professional is more important than the instrument itself.

  5. Do you think someone who is hard of hearing can be a surgeon? I didn’t have hearing loss until 18 years old. I wanted to join the army and be a medic for 20 years but my hearing loss didnt happen until around my enlistment time! Now I’m unable to serve 🙁 So I’ve been going through a crisis and recently I’ve thought about being a surgeon, I just don’t know if it would be possible. Probably not right? I could endanger lives of patients? 🙁 I don’t have an aid yet, I’ve been putting it off because I’m depressed over my hearing loss but I’m going to start the process of getting them. I’m just scared. Nobody really talks about the emotional implications of hearing loss.

  6. My audiologist says I need two hearing aids but I feel I hear perfectly well in one ear. Do I really need to get two? She says I have hearing loss in both ears more so in the right ear.

  7. Thanks for your informative videos. I've been wearing hearing aids all my life. I was born deaf in one ear and cant hear out of the other. 😉 Actually, I have a severe to moderate loss in the right ear. I currently use a Phonac in the ear bi-cros. Any idea when Phonac will upgrade the B Direct to be bi-cros and bluetooth compatible and also are there other brands that would suit me.

  8. I bought my hearing aids from CostCo over two years ago and have no complaints at all. I received my hearing aids in a very timely manner, like a few days not weeks. I live in northern Utah in the summer and southern Utah in the winter and CostCo is always available to me. I mean really , you would have to live on Mars not to have a CostCo somewhere in the proximity. There are 519 warehouses in 44 States and Puerto Rico, 98 in 9 Canadian provinces, 38 in Mexico in 18 Mexican states, 28 in the United Kingdom, 26 in Japan, 14 in Korea, 13 in Taiwan and , drum roll please!, 9 down under in 4 Australian states. AND Costco will check, clean and replace batteries FREE any time I go there. AND I would not hesitate to be part of that slimy 25% that would purchase again.

  9. As a Canadian travelling to Buffalo, what type of prescription do I need to bring to my chosen Costco store? I had bad experiences in the past trying to purchase eye-glasses. My Can script was not good enouogh as the optom. was not "licensed' in the State. (That was decades ago, admittedly.)

  10. My 90 year old Dad … just got tested… he needs TWO … I was shown different types of hearing aids for him they… are very expensive and complicated … I just found out today that Costco sells them … I have my dad's test results … DO I need to get him re-evaluated by Costco ?… and how what I know whether Costco is knowledgeable about this hearing test?…Need advise.😢on the best Costco for hearing aids in NEW YORK or NEW JERSEY.

  11. I had been thinking about Costco aids. I've been retired for 20 years, but now am finding myself more and more with the public, and sometimes it's a bit nerve-wracking to stay with the conversation in places with a lot of background noise. But I recently met someone with Costco hearing aids, and as a customer, he gave a compelling sales pitch. It's nice to have more information, though, so thanks for making this video.

  12. Hi Dr Cliff, what are the implications of having hearing aids with tinnitus? Will the hearing aid increase volume such that it will cause my ears to ring worse? Does Costco offer a hearing aid that will clip loud noises such that it won't exacerbate my tinnitus?

  13. My husband bought hearing aids from Costco and he has not been happy with them. They have sent them back to their company and we got new ones only to have the same problem. We have tried to adjust to them for two years now and Costco has tried to help us all this time. I am sure they are just as tired of us going in as we are of going in to see them. He just went back in and they sent his left aid back in about 2 weeks ago and when we got it back he wore it one day and the right one quit working. We took it in and they sent it back and we just got it back Tuesday. They have completely replaced the first pair and they did warranty the second pair the same as the first pair but here we are still having problems. Back ground noise is driving us both crazy. He cannot tolerate all the back ground noise the hearing aids pick up. A restruant is just too noisy for us to go into and eat. Too noisy at Church, too noisy for family gatherings. They are suppose to be adjustable but so far it has not worked. The right hearing aid adjusts the loudness for both hearing aids and the left one lowers the sound for both hearing aids. Costco has tried to fix the problem but so far no success. They use up the batteries real fast. He has to take them out when working in the yard and at night he has to put them in a dryer. We are very unhappy with the quality of the hearing aids and I think Costco is unhappy to see us there so often. With so much money invested in our senior years while on a set income it makes it very difficult. Costco has been very nice and has dealt with us and has honored their warranty. It is the product, not Costco employees that are to blame. I have no idea now how many hearing aids they have replaced for us. They warranty them for 3 years but I do not think we will ever buy another pair from Costco even though they are cheaper than other places. What would you recommend in hearing aids at this point for my husband. Thank you.

  14. Me & my sister both wear hearing aid….she got them at Costco…i didn't….she loves hers i dont use mine because i hate them….i recently went to Costco & was tested more & in different ways then i ever have been…..i used there testers & understand way my sister loves hers …..i for the first time will be getting hearing aids that i will use & will work for me …..thank you Costco & to my sister 😀

  15. Dr. Cliff I enjoy the information you pass on to the consumer. Being a Costco hearing aid specialist, I would like to pass on to you that all Costco's having hearing aid centers have bench markets that are used for grading each month. Two of them are testing protocol and real ear measurements. Both have to be 100% each month to meet Costco's standard.

  16. I have hearing aids form Costco and could not be happier. Best thing about Costco is that the are open on the weekends. I searched lots of Doctors and Hearing Aid centers and NO ONE is open on Saturday. 9 to 5 only, gotta take off work, sorry bud, not our problem. Plus the prices are better and no matter where I go in the US I can always find a Costco if I need assistance.

  17. I've been living with them now for a few months and I might return them. They have feedback protection built into most of their programs that causes the sound to pulse. Remember when you were a kid and talked or sang into a fan? It sounds like that. It's subtle but it's still there. Drives me nuts! To recreate the effect, just whistle and hold that one note while wearing the hearing aids. Only the "Music" program has the feedback protection turned off and remedies the problem. This quick-pulsing anti-feedback effect feature reminds me of how anti-lock breaks pulse on a car. I'm a musician and maybe too picky about sound but still, it's annoying. The easy fix would be to put a feature in the app that allows the user to turn off feedback protection. However, are they worth it for the price and the average user? Probably so.

  18. My (Canada) Costco hearing aids are great, especially the phone/hearing aid Bluetooth experience! I get free visits back to the Costco hearing aid center for as long as I own them and those little extra pieces that get changed out (except batteries) are free. Your Con suppositions are just weak and unsupported. I've tried other ones that were twice the price and were no better. Finally, the hearing test and follow-up visits I had at Costco were longer, more detailed and personal than anything I've experienced anywhere else including our local hospitals.

  19. What this brief video leaves out is the incredibly generous return policy Costco offers with all of the hearing aids they sell. Six months is unheard of, but that's their return policy. I returned mine after about 5 1/2 months and did they hassle me about it? Zero hassle. I have multiple hearing difficulties not just hearing loss, and previous attempts with hearing aids outside of Costco resulted in the same outcome, so I don't blame Costco. No one was surprised that they didn't work for me. The two women who helped me out were terrific and did their best. The Costco near me (Los Angeles area) is typically very crowded and yet my wait time for appointments was always reasonable – maybe not the same day or next day, but never a month. And I was taken in to my appointment on time nearly 100% of the time. Costco, in my opinion, is a great place to at least start your hearing aid journey.

  20. Do not go to Costco if you have Tinnitus or think you have Tinnitus. Their website says they can test for it but the local audiologists will say otherwise.

  21. I'm beginning to believe that going through Costco for hearing aids may be worth the risk as the same brand they sell was offered by an audiologist at double the price Costco was going to charge. For the price difference it's worth any risk.

  22. Did I hear you say that with tinnitus, the Kirkland doesn't suppress that? A similarly priced HA considered a premium brand has the technology…better for tinnitus? What is that brand and model? Thank you!

  23. Bought my first set from Costco. They did not work for me whatsoever. Wait times were terrible and if I don't have my hearing aids, I'm useless. Had to get fitted by private professional with a top brand (newest technology) to finally get the help I needed. Again, awesome video!

  24. As a Costco member, it was easy to choose them for my hearing aids. Simple question, is there a hearing aid (at any cost) that filters out any sound but voices? I work around machinery and I'd return my Costco aids and pay more for better HAs if they filter noise better.

  25. I have Costco hearing aids. The best part is their free loss replacement for the first year after purchase. I live in Alaska and lost both my hearing aids due to our recent earthquake. Costco replaced them. I have noticed that there is a definite difference in the skill of the technicians. If you are not happy with the hearing aids ask to see a different technician.

  26. I would also say that you have to take into account you have to pay your membership fee as well. At the clinic I work at a customer told me that he did not return to get his hearing aids adjusted yet because he had to renew his membership. In Australia it costs about $55 a year to be a member, and we have, very few Costco's here. So that is a definite con as well. 

    Thanks so much for your awesome info. I have lots of people ask about costco aids, and i say you might buy one pair, but most people don't go back. 
    Your info has given me stats to back that up. Love your channel so much. Thanks heaps from Jean from Down Under. xx

  27. I think this is a very fair review. I bought Kirkland hearing aids and had them fitted by a doctor or audiology on a fee for service basis as a result.

  28. I am a board-certified hearing instruments specialist with Costco. I appreciate your professional review of Costco hearing aids. It seems to be an ongoing battle to make sure that there are enough providers in each location to handle the demand. Our particular location has a two or three week lead time. Thank you for what you do!

  29. Dr Cliff I love your content and wished I lived in Arizona and not CT. Okay I’m a long term hearing aid wearer now 30 years. I just went to COSTCO and had a wonderful experience. My Starkey HALO’s mics crashed and although the Bluetooth still worked normal heating did not! I’m still employed full time in sales and hearing is critical and listening is the single most important aspect of selling! I’ve owned Beltone, Widex & Starkey but these new ReSounds are superior to all my previous models. Costco loaned me a pair for my next business trip and I pick mine up next week so they had great service and support! Incidentally I’ve never gone back to the same hearing aid provider for a second set because the service and repair costs pretty much was lousy for nearly all I’d used in the past.

  30. I buy a lot of "stuff" and do a lot of research when I do and I will say Dr. Cliff is the most fair and non-biased youtube reviewers, bar none. I've had the Kirkland 8.0 for a year now. I was the 3rd person to have the 8.0s delivered at my store. As a first time hearing aid user, prior to purchasing I tried the Kirklands, Rexton, Bernafon and Phonak top of the line demos in the store for about 20 minutes each walking through the store. I found no perceivable difference between the 4 brands, other than price, so I went with the Kirklands at less than half the price of the others. My initial fitting was conducted just as Dr Cliff advises and I've been happy ever since. I did purchase a pair of Signia Silk 7PX CIC aids a couple of months later that have similar, near identical technology but don't work quite as well as the Kirklands due to the occlusion of the CIC fiting vs BTE. 11 months after my initial fitting Costo called me to let me know it was time to come in for an annual hearing re-check, cleaning and adjustment of my 8.0s all free of charge. When my 3 year warranty is up I will certainly buy my next set of hearing aids from Costco.

  31. Dr. Cliff, can you do a video comparing the ReSound Linx 3 or Linx Quattro to the COSTCo version called the Vida 8 Z?
    I used the standard battery version for a week, and loved them, Ordered my new set with the rechargeable version, and I"m still in the learning curve mode.
    Love your channel and told the service provider to definitely check out your YouTube channel. Thanks for all your help!

  32. What a biased review filled with lots of qualifiers (might be, could be, etc) making none of the con statements actual factual statements. I’ve had several Costco hearing aids (I lost a couple when I first got them). There is no long wait to get an appointment and each hearing aid (I only use one), arrived in about a week, never “maybe up to a month” as the very qualified claim states. I was quoted anywhere from $2500 to over $4000 for one hearing aid after visiting several audiologists in the Phoenix area. I’m am very satisfied with the level of care and professionalism at Costco. $800 (again I only use one) vs. $2500 to $4000? Any idiot can make the right choice here. Go to Costco and skip all the hype from private audiologists who are charging up to 5 times more for the same or equal quality equipment.

  33. You need to let people know that the "reputable Manufacturer" of the Kirkland Signature hearing aids is not supporting the brand and you can't get parts. So I am wearing a small tube and tip on one side and a medium on the other. We have ordered the medium but don't hold out much hope that the order will ever be filled. One of the small tips came off and lodged in my ear canal….COSTO staff isn't allowed to get it out so I had to go to a DR. I just do not know what to do now. I cannot afford to replace my hearing aids after only 2 years.

  34. Not having insurance at the time, I chose costco for my hearing aids. $7000 phonaks cost me only $4000 cash at costco and the audiologist and testing was the best I have ever experienced. another advantage was the 3 year no questions replacement warranty which helped when I lost one of my hearing aids outside. I have amazing insurance now with a no limit no co-pay coverage for hearing aids so I'm getting the top of the line Oticon opn hearing aids through an actual ent clinic but so far costco seems much more knowledgeable and better equipped. I hope I'm not wasting an insurance claim on junk when I already know my Phonak brio have proven incredible in the past 3 years I have had them, but want to make sure I'm not missing out on potential improvements. Only reason I'm not buying from Costco again is they do not process insurance, and I dont want to come out of pocket and then try to submit the claim myself. I bet this is often the case.

  35. Could this Dr. Clifford just be tired of watching other audiologist's and hearing "clinics" get beat out by a Company with Fair and reasonable pricing liker COSTCO? Is what we're hearing here a case of " The losing competitor "? . Stop and think The electronics in these things could not cost more than 200.00 dollars a piece to manufacture so 400.00 a pair and knowing how cheap computer components are in places like Fry's electronics my estimate is probably way over estimated, So1500 dollars a Pair for Inner Canal hidden aids is more than a profit for clinics and Manufacturer's . And remember one thing Doctor's are all on the Buddy System right or wrong one hand washes the other in any kind of health care.

  36. Dr Cliff I wanted to take a moment to commend you for your plentiful and excellent responses to to your comment section. Kudos

  37. I love your videos! My first pair of hearing aids were Audibel (Starkey) and they worked very well. They cost me almost $5K in 2008. They lasted me 8 years which is pretty good. My budget didn't allow for a 2nd pair of $5K hearing aids so I turned to Costco. Overall I've been happy with hearing aids and the service at Costco. I do think that my Audibels were a better product but the Costco aids get the job done!

  38. I bought hearing aids from Costco five years ago and they never fit properly.  They gave me the inner ear one because they said based on my hearing test, it was the model I should have had.  Costco has a very generous return policy and will replace a hearing aid that is lost or damaged in a three year period at no extra cost.  It is one of the ways they entice people to buy their hearing aids.  They remolded my hearing aids twice as they were always falling out of my ear and I lost another one after the three year period.  Also, Costco does not have audiologists, which are MD's, they only have hearing technicians.  I am not returning to them – will go to my ear, nose and throat specialist.  It will cost me more but I think it will be better.

  39. Dr Cliff,I want to thank you so much for helping us senior citizens sort through the maze of information by providing us with your sincere honest unbiased experiences, I appreciate your spending the time sharing, it has been my experiences in life that generally speaking, the people who
    are not afraid to share their knowledge, trulybare the ones that actually have the knowledge and experience, even if it costs them business. You do a great service to us all. I wish you a good life. Denny, Cape Cod

  40. Wonderful experience with Costco today getting my Kirkland Premium 8.0 on special for 1700 dollars/pair. Dealt with an audiologist, not a rookie or a flunkie. Great price, service, and team. Thank you also for your great videos… you are helping a LOT of people like me.

  41. How do you like your doctor? Well, he tells me he's good, but 80% of the people who see him never return for a second visit. Yep, 80% of people never return to Costco for a second set. That's a failed business model. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice…guess not many people are fooled twice.

  42. Also forgot to mention that Costco hearing aids only last 3 years, and that they don't offer extended warranties. Many of my clients keep their devices five years or longer. $3500 / 3 years = $1167 per year, vs $3500 for 5 years = $700 per year. Not such a good deal in the long run.

  43. I just ordered my first hearing aids from a private audiologist: $7490. My friend says Costco was something like $1700, not sure. Maybe I'm rationalizing, but my audiologist seemed very trustworthy and careful, and is about 15 minutes from me. I want convenience for adjustments, and to see the same person who I already trust. That she has to make some bucks off this is fine with me — her office is in an expensive building. At this stage of life I want nothing but the best for my health needs (of course I always did) and if I over pay and receive what I want, that's better than shopping around and taking a chance. Sorry to see Medicare doesn't cover any of this — what are hard of hearing people of limited means supposed to do? Hearing is not a luxury like aesthetic plastic surgery. I am glad that Costo offers a much cheaper alternative, but they are not convenient for me and I don't like waiting for appointments, etc.

  44. Costco hearing aids are not cheap. $1600 out of pocket may seem cheap to a Doctor of Audiology, but for the rest of us – no. What was not mentioned in the video is the price differential. It's not $100, or $1000. Its more along the lines of $4000. Keeping this money in your pocket makes the predicted wait time far more tolerable, and the wait time is not as long as mentioned.

    The audiology folks have had a long run and a profitable one on making hearing aids there own personal fiefdom. That time is rapidly coming to an end, and they don't like the thought of selling that second home and putting their kids in public school. They are fighting back. It's a losing battle.

    In 2020, when Apply and Samsung jump in the ring, you'll be adjusting your hearing aids yourself with IOS and Android.

    Now, lets break the grip on the casket market held by the funeral home industry.

  45. Got my hearing aids from Costco. A part was
    broke off leaving a sharp edge
    The guy selling me was no help. Didn't help with anything. When I returned they had double booked no problem however when the a audiologist came out her office. She didn't look at me looked down never said sorry for the mix up just took the other person
    I will never do business there again. I don't even want to go in the store. we

  46. The low rate of returning customers might be because many are elderly and some of those might have checked out…. and I don't mean at the cash
    register.

  47. So, regarding the low return customer number, I'm sensing a bias here, or at least a weak bullet point added for content. The big red flag is no industry wide comparison – you say nothing about their return customer numbers. And why is 25% a bad number? What percentage of hearing aid customers NEEDS to buy again? Sure, there's loss, breakage, failure, but these things are expensive and most people treat them carefully. Age changes hearing, but we're talking years here, and the newer programmable ones mean they can be adjusted. Next, what population subset is the most likely to be a:) Hearing Impaired, and b:) on a tight budget?? Retirees. Seasoned Citizens. Elderly. However you say it, these are the people who are more likely to choose CostCo over their local rip-off hearing aid center (rip-off refers to HUGE profit margins, not necessarily the service or quality). They're also the most likely to be resistant to getting new ones, as would anyone with a tight budget. So, 25% isn't that far from a decent repeat customer rate, is it? And since you don't state industry norms to compare it to… Bias.

    Another point is the quality of service – My wife has been hearing impaired since birth, so I've seen a several of these commercial hearing aid centers. Very few had a knowledgeable staff, but every single one had a sales person that rivals any car dealership. CostCo is not unique in hiring less knowledgeable staff.

  48. I took my elderly mom to Costco for hearing aids. She is very pleased. She has been a repeat customer, buying her second pair there. Overall it was a good experience.

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