Did you know that you can purchase a range of different hearing aids at Costco? Here we explain why Costco could be the answer to your search for an affordable hearing aid.
Hearing loss is an extremely common health issue, but this doesn’t make it any less concerning.
Hearing loss frequently requires treatment with hearing aids. However, many people in the U.S. postpone purchasing a device or never buy one at all due to their steep cost. For lots of ordinary people, it simply isn’t feasible to spend thousands of dollars on a hearing aid when you're barely covering the bills. It's always tempting to think that this money should be put towards my child’s college tuition, fixing the boiler, or invested for a rainy day. In the midst of our chaotic day-to-day family lives, our own health can be the last thing on our minds.
The truth is, putting off purchasing a hearing aid can cost you your health, even if it does keep your bank balance looking healthy.
So what are your options if you can only afford a low-cost hearing aid?
How to Get Costco Hearing Aids
Well, in response to the need for affordable hearing aids, Costco has launched its own brand of hearing aids. The launch clearly went well, as the company is now the largest private provider of hearing devices in the United States, selling a staggering 11 percent of all hearing aids sold in the country.
If you’d like to buy a hearing aid from Costco, you’ll need an in-person hearing test and a recommendation from a Costco hearing aid specialist. Do note that you'll also need to be a Costco member to get a hearing test.
Finding the right hearing aid can be confusing. There are so many options on the market and when your hearing doesn’t require a high-tech device with fancy features, just practical functionality, sorting the wheat from the chaff can be a long and arduous process.
Shopping with Costco can be game-changing in these instances, as you’re able to walk in, speak to an in-store specialist, and get clear advice as to the best affordable device for your hearing that they have in-store.
You’re also able to check out what models they have stocked on their website before your visit, so you can get a rough idea of which devices you want to have a closer look at. They have a varied selection of different high-quality brands to choose from, so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice suitability for a low-cost device.
Costco cites its ‘value pricing, premium technology, and remote services on select hearing aids’ as reasons to shop with them. Let's take a look at their options.
Costco’s Own Brand of Hearing Aids
Kirkland Signature is Costco’s own 'home brand' of hearing aid. Popular, good-quality Kirkland Signature models are the Kirkland 9.0 and Kirkland 8.0 digital hearing aids.
It’s worth keeping in mind that Costco often changes manufacturers of their Kirkland Signature hearing aids (between reputable providers Sonova, Sivantos, and ReSound), meaning the specialist performing your fitting might be very knowledgeable about the current Signature line, but less equipped to deal with models from a few years ago.
The Kirkland 9.0 utilizes the Sonova Sword Chip to facilitate communication, has 20 fine-tuning channels, three manual programs and nine automatic programs, binaural signal processing, binaural beamforming, Bluetooth connectivity, four receiver power levels, a 312 battery, a TV connector, and receiver-in-canal (RIC) technology.
A pair costs $1499.99.
Benefits of the Kirkland 9.0 include its lower price than other name-brand hearing aids bought from a hearing clinic and its ability to allow hands-free phone calls.
It also has some disadvantages. For one, it’s not rechargeable. Also, it doesn’t have a telecoil to deliver customized sound to your ear in noisy environments, has no tinnitus features, and isn’t programmable remotely, so you’ll need to take a trip back to the hearing specialist for any reprogramming.
All in all, it's a high-quality and fairly cost-effective option as long as these disadvantages don’t bother you.
Costco Hearing Aid Centers
Hearing loss is a medical condition that needs to be treated with a level of expertise.
As they can't just sell you these devices over-the-counter, Costco has built hearing aid centers within their stores that have their hearing aid specialists on hand. You’ll be able to get screened by them in a private sound booth, and they’ll recommend devices that will work for you and your needs.
You might get to speak to an audiologist as they do employ a few in certain stores, but you’ll probably just be speaking to a hearing aid specialist. While it’s important to note that these individuals are not audiologists (they have not had the same training or gained the relevant accredited qualifications) they can demonstrate the different hearing aids and guide you to some suitable options.
Hearing tests, free hearing aid cleaning, follow-up appointments, and check-ups can be performed at these centers. Also, if you have any issues with loss or damages and need to chat about your warranty, you can go there directly for help.
Are Costco Hearing Aids Good?
When thinking about where to get your hearing aids, it might be useful to compare Costco to your other options.
While traditional hearing aid providers charge an average of $2,300 per hearing aid and $4,600 for a pair (plus hearing test fees) according to a 2015 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report, Costco hearing aids cost just $1499.99 for a pair of Kirkland 9.0 hearing aids. This is much less than the national average, and you’ll also be able to access some further benefits.
Costco’s Kirkland hearing aids are nothing to be sniffed at, boasting an impressive number of useful features at such a competitive price. Yes, $1499.99 is still a lot of money, but another thing to consider is that Costco throws in a few extra freebies which would be quite costly elsewhere.
According to their website, they provide free:
- product demonstrations
- hearing tests to see if you could be helped by a hearing aid
- follow up appointments
- hearing aid cleanings and check-ups
- loss and damage coverage (with no deductible)
- warranty periods (although warranty varies by device model)
Are Costco Hearing Aids Available Over the Counter?
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new category of hearing aids that will soon allow customers to buy directly in stores or online, without visiting a hearing health professional. These hearing aids aren’t quite available yet (although legislation drafting is underway), so buying from Costco might be your next best option if you’re looking to get an effective hearing aid quickly, cheaply, and easily at a retail location.
Have a look to see if there is a Costco hearing center near you. If you’d like to book a hearing test with one of their hearing specialists, simply phone up your store and make an appointment. In preparation for your test, you are asked to print and complete a Patient Intake form and bring it in with you to your appointment.
To learn more about how hearing aids can help you manage your hearing loss, see our other blog articles.
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: