Costco is an extremely popular chain of large, warehouse clubs spread across the U.S. that offer everything from produce to banking. The warehouse club boasts 98.5 million members and is famous for their low prices and bulk savings.
Membership at Costco, which starts at $60 per year, has several benefits. One of these benefits is access to their Hearing Aid Centers!
Costco’s Audiology Departments have increased revenue by approximately 20 percent per year since 2011. It’s expected that by 2021, Costco sales of hearing aids will account for nearly 20 percent of the hearing aid market. The convenience of having an audiologist located in a frequently visited store and the low prices of their hearing aids make them an attractive alternative to a private audiology practice.
Costco's Audiology Department
Costco’s Audiology Department offers several perks that may make purchasing a membership worth it to you. As mentioned earlier, they offer some of the best deals on hearing aids and accessories. They provide premium technology (although read more below for some caveats on that). On certain models of hearing aids that contain remote technology, Costco audiologists can service customers’ devices remotely. They also offer for free:
- Demonstrations of hearing aid models
- Hearing tests
- Follow-up appointments
- Hearing aid cleanings and check-ups
- Loss and damage coverage
- Hearing aid warranties
Something to consider is that although some Costco Audiology Departments do have licensed audiologists to serve you, most likely you’ll be seen by a hearing aid specialist. Hearing aid specialists are licensed by the state, but they do not possess a degree in audiology.
Does Costco Offer Free Hearing Tests?
The hearing test and demonstrations of different models is free; you only pay if you place an order for hearing aids. If you need to be fitted for custom earmolds, then impressions of your ears will be taken in order for the custom hearing aids to be built.
Hearing Aids and Hearing Aid Accessories
At most Costco Hearing Aid Centers throughout the country, you’ll have access to nine models from four major hearing aid manufacturers. The prices for these hearing aids are considerably lower than you’ll see elsewhere, often half of normal prices. The caveat is Costco doesn’t always have the latest versions of hearing aids, because private audiology clinics have access to newer models before big-box stores.
Costco hearing health professions will work with you to find the best type of hearing aid to fit your specific hearing loss, ear anatomy, and lifestyle. Costco Hearing Aid Centers stock many different styles of hearing aids including hardly visible in-the-canal, receiver-in-the-canal, and behind-the-ear models. Many models also come with up-to-date technologies, including rechargeability, noise suppression, directionality, and Bluetooth connectivity. Costco also offers several wireless accessories:
- Remote controls: these small remotes, that come as either pocket-sized handheld units or discreet pens, can control volume, turn your hearing on and off, answer your phone, and more.
- TV unit sound-transmitter: these small boxes are placed near your television and act as an intermediary device linking your TV and hearing aid. Once you come within range of the transmitter, audio from your TV is transmitted to your hearing aids, so you can adjust the volume independently of others who may be watching with you.
- Bluetooth connectivity: Using a small intermediary device that can be worn around your neck or slipped into a pocket, your hearing aids can be connected to your smartphone or tablet. This essentially transforms your hearing aid into a Bluetooth headset, allowing you to take calls and stream audio all through your hearing aid.
- Microphone: A small clip-on microphone can be used in noisy situations, where it may be hard to hear someone even with hearing aids. The microphone can be placed in the middle of a table, or the speaker can clip the discreet microphone to their clothing and the sound is transmitted directly to your hearing aids.
Is Costco Audiology Right For Me?
If you’re already a Costco member, then there’s little risk in checking out one of their Hearing Aid Centers. Just make an appointment for a free hearing test. You will fill out a four-page intake form, that includes information on your general health, how you perceive your current hearing, and your experience with hearing aids. The hearing test lasts one hour inside a sound-proof booth, after which a hearing specialist will discuss the results with you, and you’ll receive a copy of the test results. This test is designed to determine if hearing aids can help your specific hearing loss.
If you’re a candidate for hearing aids, they’ll discuss the pros and cons of the various models based on your needs and wants, to help you find the most suitable model. Costco hearing health providers are salaried, and don’t work on commission, so you won’t be pressured into a sale. One thing to note is that hearing aid models that Costco stocks are designed for those experiencing mild to moderate hearing loss. If your hearing loss is more severe, then it is recommended that you visit a licensed audiologist for further help to find the right solution for you.
When your hearing aids arrive at the Costco Hearing Aid Center, you’ll be called in for a free follow-up appointment. Your hearing specialist will fit your hearing aids and program them according to your specific hearing loss. If you ever have issues with your hearing aids or need them to be adjusted, you can make an appointment with the Hearing Aid Center at any time; follow-up appointments such as cleanings, check-ups and programming adjustments are free for the lifetime of the hearing aids.
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: