Costco, the American and global retailer does not only sell consumer goods but has branched out into other product categories, including affordable hearing aids. Besides their own brand known as the Kirkland, they also sell brands from other manufacturers.
At Costco Hearing Aid centers around the U.S., consumers can have hearing tests, fittings, and maintenance is carried out to devices. Their range of devices includes basic models and hearing aids with a variety of features.
Why are Costco hearing aids popular?
According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, of the 17% of Americans who suffer from hearing loss, only a third of them use a hearing aid. The reasons for this vary, but the most obvious is the prohibitive price of those available from specialists (anything over $2,500). Following close behind is the second reason which is dissatisfaction with the sound quality of previously owned pairs. Many also state that fit has been an ongoing problem for them, and they have given up trying to find a pair that fits perfectly.
Unfortunately, people with hearing loss have a reduced quality of life and often suffer psychological problems. They are also more prone to degenerative diseases of the brain, because of their decreased social contact.
With an 11% market share, Costco is one of the largest companies selling affordable hearing aids in America. Their availability and visibility in stores make them a popular choice among those with age-related hearing loss.
How can someone go about purchasing a Costco Hearing aid?
Local Costco hearing centers suggest that those wanting to buy devices should have a hearing test first. The screening is for free and is performed by an audiologist, or hearing aids specialist. This usually takes about an hour to complete and is carried out in a private area. These tests are unobtrusive and can be compared to having an eye test.
The results of the hearing tests are discussed and then several suggestions are made about which type of hearing device suits the hearing loss of the individual best. There are several options in-store and people can wear them to see if the fit and amplified sound is satisfactory.
What other hearing aid services does Costco offer?
Besides hearing tests and screening, Costco has a free cleaning service and people also attend follow-up appointments and check-ups to ensure that their hearing aid still covers their needs. Damage and loss coverage is important for hearing aid owners because the devices are small and easy to misplace or drop. Costco also offers free warranty periods.
Which are the most popular brands of hearing aids at Costco?
Costco carries quite a few brands of hearing aids. These include the Kirkland Signature (their house brand), Rexton, Resound, Phonak and Phillips. These cost less than half the price than hearing aids purchased from specialist hearing aid providers, but they are not available over the counter, or ordered online. Reading up about MD heading aids is also a good idea.
Kirkland Signature models (9.0 and 8.0)
These are both digital hearing aids and because Costco does not develop or assemble these, they are contracted from other reputable hearing aid manufacturers. Currently, Sonova produces the Kirkland Signature line for Costco.
The Kirkland 9.0
The Sonova Sword Chip drives the communication system of the Kirkland 9.0 and it has several features. These include 20 channels for fine-tuning, three manual and nine automatic programs, binaural signal processing and beamforming, Bluetooth connectivity, four power levels, a TV connector and receiver-in-canal technology.
The cost for a pair of these is at $1,499.99.
Pros and Cons of the Kirkland 9.0
Its pros are that it comes at a lower price than any hearing aids available from hearing specialists or clinics. The hearing aids allow TV and audio streaming, can connect to any Bluetooth device hands-free phone calls.
Their cons are that they work with a 312 battery and cannot be recharged; they cannot customize sounds in crowded places, have no tinnitus features and they can only be programmed by a specialist.
Philips hearing aids
A recent addition to the range held by Costco, the Philips branded hearing aids is also a new product for the consumer electronics conglomerate. The most popular model is the HearLink 9020 and Costco has two options, one is a behind-the-ear model, and the other a receiver-in-the-canal.
Philips HearLink 9010
The outer hardware is produced by Oticon OPN and the chip set comes from another company.
These hearing aids feature multichannel directionality, binaural noise management, SoundMap noise control, a feedback canceler, Phoneme and envelope focus. They are also iPhone friendly.
Their top-of-the-line model of this hearing aid costs $1,249.99 for one but are aimed at those with severe hearing loss or expect their hearing aids to perform in demanding situations.
Pros and cons of the Philips HearLink 9010
The pros of these hearing aids are that they are compatible to all Apple products. With separate equipment they allow users to stream TV or radio, and they can be used with other smart devices.
Pros include that they don’t connect to any Android devices, are pricier than the Kirkland, and have no tinnitus features.
The Adore iX
The Adore iX has a range of features and can be used with the MyCore platform.
It includes six programs, fine-tuning on 20 channels, automatic voice detection, a reverb reducer, one power level and mic directional and an ITE model.
The price depends on the state of the model and ranges from $1,249.99 to $1,499.99.
Pros and cons of the Adore iX
Its pros include that it is a discreet in-the-ear hearing aid that allows audio streaming and can be used with other smart devices. They have a comfortable tip because of their silicone tip.
Its pros include that it only has one power level, the battery is not rechargeable and even though it is iPhone friendly; it has limited functions for Android devices.
Even though this is a discreet hearing aid, it is best for people with mild hearing loss.
Phonak hearing aids
Phonak has been providing hearing aids since 1947, and the Swiss company has a reputation for its reliable and high-quality products.
Phonak Brio 3.0 hearing aids
At Costco, this is a popular hearing aid that uses the AutoSense operating system.
The Phonak Brio 3.0 features binaural voice stream technology, roger wireless, AutoSense OS, four different receivers and Bluetooth capability.
Its price at $1,400 per hearing aid makes it an expensive option.
Pros and Cons of the Phonak Brio 3.0
The range comes in a variety of colors and has a remote app for Android and iOS use. Other pros include hands-free calls, audio and TV streaming, and their compatibility with Bluetooth devices.
Besides their high price, these hearing aids are not rechargeable.
Phonak has very trendy color choices and hearing aid wearers who live a very active lifestyle are offered many levels of programmability and comfort if they don’t mind the price.
GN ReSound hearing aids
Even though they carry several GN ReSound models and styles at Costco, their most popular hearing device is the ReSound Vida LiNX Quattro 9. The Quatro is a receiver-in-canal-device, and it uses the Premium Plus technology that ReSound is known for.
Features of the Quattro include binaural directionality, fine-tuning channels, ReSound assist, allows streaming, Bluetooth capabilities, and built-in lithium batteries.
The prices for the ReSound LiNX Quattro 9 start at $1249.99 for one hearing aid.
Pros and cons of the ReSound LiNX Quattro 9
Its biggest pro is that it has a 20% power consumption saving and it is rechargeable. The functionality of the hearing aid is controlled by its chip and it is both small and discreet. The charging case is portable and supports three full charges, making these hearing aids ideal for people who are always out and about.
On the other hand, these hearing aids are expensive. However, they are ideal for people who need hard-working hearing aids and those who live in inaccessible areas because they can adjust them easily.
What problems people encounter with Costco hearing aids?
Previously, Kirkland models were manufactured by GN ReSound, Rexton and Sivantos. Their new provider is Sonova and one drawback for owners of older models is that an in-store specialist may not be familiar with how these older models work.
People with hearing loss must first be seen by an audiologist at a Costco hearing center and if at any stage the hearing aids need adjustments, they must be taken to a Costco for these.
Even though Costco hearing aids are cheaper than those available from hearing specialists, they are not as affordable as the high-quality models available from Nano hearing aids.
What are people saying about Costco hearing aids?
It is relatively easy to choose from a variety of brands available in-store and Costco offers insurance for loss or damage. A bonus is the free maintenance and checks for devices bought from Costco.
People can have all their hearing needs taken care of in one stop, but they must be a Costco member and the company doesn’t offer payment plans. Costco has a 180-day return policy.
However, not all stores have Costco hearing centers and some stores don’t hold the full range of products. Appointments are needed for audio testing and consultations.
Is it necessary to buy a pair of hearing aids or is one enough?
Wearing one hearing device is not really an option if someone with hearing loss wants to hear sounds clearly. Localization is the process by which the brain determines where the sound has come from. The signal is missed if one ear is not picking up certain sounds and this can only be avoided by wearing two hearing aids.
Hearing loss affects how people react to social situations. It affects their social life which improves when they start to wear hearing aids. Hearing aids contribute to their well-being where other conditions of aging are concerned because hearing protects older people from degenerative brain diseases.
If hearing loss is left untreated, then it just deteriorates because the ear needs auditory stimulation. Once hearing is lost it cannot be reinstated. That’s why specialists insist that people wear two hearing aids, otherwise, the one ear will lose its ability to hear sounds.
People who wear two hearing aids can hear easier than those with one because sounds are increased by 6 decibels.
Which hearing aids are best for your hearing loss?
Hearing aid styles vary and depending on the lifestyle of their wearers. It is important that hearing aids cover the specific type of hearing loss for everyone. Some people prefer hearing aids that are easy to handle and adjust, especially changing the batteries. Rechargeable hearing aids are very practical as are those with additional features like noise reduction, directional microphones, wireless connectivity, environmental noise control, and direct audio input.
CIC (completely in canal) hearing aids are the smallest and fit completely inside the canal, making them discreet. However, even though they are the least visible and pick up the less wind noise, they use very small batteries giving them shorter life; they have fewer features, and may earwax clog up their speakers. These are best suited for those who have mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
ITC (in-the-canal) fits partly in the ear because it has been custom molded. They are less visible than behind the ear styles and may have more features than CIC aids, but can be difficult to adjust because of their tiny size. Their speakers are susceptible to clogging, but these hearing aids are suitable for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
ITE (In-the-ear) hearing aids have an outer shell that fits the outside of the ear. Some models cover the whole bowl-shaped area of the outer ear and the other only half. They may include features like volume controls and appear to be easier to handle. These models have bigger batteries, ensuring longer life, but may pick up wind noises. The speakers sometimes clog up with earwax. These are effective for mild to severe hearing loss.
BTE (behind the ear) the body of the hearing aid rests behind the ear, but it hooks over the top of the ear. The hearing aid has a tube that connects it to an earpiece that fits in the ear canal. These types of hearing aids have evolved and newer models are discreet and offer various amplification settings. They may be more susceptible to wind noise than most styles. BTE hearing aids are suited to all age groups with hearing problems and are effective for most types of hearing loss.
RIC (receiver in canal) hearing aids are almost like behind-the-ear models, but instead of tubing, they have a tiny wire that connecting the pieces. These have a more discreet portion that fits behind the ear but are susceptible to wax clogging of their speakers.
Open fit hearing aids are BTE hearing aids, but a very thin tube ensures that the ear canal remains open. This allows low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and the hearing aid only amplifies high-frequency sounds. Less visible, these hearing aids also allow you to hear your own voice more naturally. They may be more difficult to adjust and handle and are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Can all hearing loss be improved with a hearing aid?
If the damage is to the inner ear and is age-related or genetic, then hearing aids can correct the hearing loss, but not restore it. It is crucial that someone with hearing loss does not allow the problem to deteriorate to the point where the hearing is lost completely.
Are there alternative brands of affordable hearing aids?
Costco is not the only company offering quality hearing aids at a fraction of the cost of those prescribed by specialists.
Nano hearing aids are top-rated and remain a popular choice with consumers. People with hearing loss can choose from a variety of hearing aid types and models. Nano hearing aids are cost effective since they are sold directly from the manufacturer to consumers, cutting out the middleman completely. People with various levels of hearing loss are catered for with a range of BTE and ITE models, and there are also rechargeable options for both types. Depending on the model, Nano hearing aids offer all the latest features and the Nano Sigma is the most advanced model, developed for those who demand a hearing aid that has all the modern features, including Bluetooth. Nano hearing aids are all dispatched with a set of different earbuds to ensure that every user can adjust the fit.
Hearing Assist has one ITE model and two BTE models, of which one supports Bluetooth and can also run a hearing check for adjustments. They are all rechargeable.
Signia hearing aids has numerous models of which it most popular is the Pure 312. This is a small BTE device that can either be controlled with a discreet remote-controlled device or by a smartphone.
Widex hearing aids have adjustable settings for environmental control. Their hearing aid with smart technology is the Evoke but they have a range of models. Rechargeable models can also be used with zinc-air batteries.
Eargo hearing aids are more suited to people with mild-to-moderate hearing problems. They offer BTE models and their most advanced is the NEO.
What to be aware of when purchasing a hearing aid?
Customized hearing aid options are very expensive and many people cannot afford them. Alternative options are far more affordable and may offer just as high a quality of hearing assistance.
Consumers need to research their choices carefully before deciding on which hearing aids to buy and should be aware of the following:
Digital hearing aids offer more features than analog because of their advanced technology. Depending on the hearing loss and needs of the wearer, hearing aids should offer some extra features to allow for adjustments in comfort and for a better sound experience.
Quality is extremely important and people with hearing loss should avoid buying cheap imported devices that are often not even hearing aids but personal sound amplifiers that may do more harm to existing hearing problems.
Hearing aid purchases cannot be made in a rush and those buying them need the assurance of at least a 30-day trial period and a warranty on the hearing aids.
Why are Nano hearing aids a high-quality and affordable alternative to Costco Hearing aids?
Nano hearing aids was founded to help people with hearing loss. Many customers have previously had a bad experience with very expensive hearing aids. Nano hearing aid wearers are looking for high-quality sound from an affordable hearing aid. Even older people with hearing loss are now more tech-savvy and look for special features that allow them to adjust sounds according to their environment with a Bluetooth device.
How much do Nano hearing aids cost?
Nano hearing aids start from $379 for a pair of Nano RX2000 rechargeable hearing aids that are powerful and easy to use.
Nano CIC comes in two models that cost $499 and $597 a pair. They are both discreet and the pricier version is rechargeable and has Advanced DSP noise canceling.
Nano X2 sells for $697 and is discreet, easy to use, and powerful with a full set of features. The rechargeable model sells for $997.
Nano Sigma is a smart hearing aid that can be controlled by Bluetooth or mobile app. A hearing test can be taken from the wearer’s smartphone and the hearing aids automatically adjust to the results. The Nano Sigma also has noise reduction technology and sells for $797.
What are the advantages of buying Nano hearing aids?
- Affordable and easy to purchase online with a secure checkout system
- All models offer higher sound quality
- Money-back guarantee covers 45 days after purchase period
- The Nano Sigma is affordable yet packed with features including noise reduction, smartphone hearing test, and sound adjustments.
- A yearly protection plan in case hearing aids are accidentally damaged.
Conclusion on Costco hearing aids
People with hearing loss all have the same need, to hear well. Choosing the correct hearing aids often has more than one deciding factor. For most people it is budget measured against quality.
Costco carries an assortment of hearing aids with high-quality sound, but these are priced above the average most people can afford. Consumers need an in-house consultation before they purchase and any adjustments to the devices can only be made in-store.
Nano hearing aids are sold exclusively at NanoHearingAids.com at affordable prices. Each set includes earbuds in various sizes to ensure a snug fit.