Don't Buy Anything At Costco Hearing Aid Center

by Jan
(Pembroke Pines, FL)

I went to Costco Hearing Aid department because my ENT wanted $4600 for hearing aids. I ended up buying the Kirkland Signature 5.0 hearing aids.

Overall, I think all the hearing aids at Costco are priced right and are very affordable but it was the technicians who can't figure out how to program the hearing aids.

My hearing problem is mild. I have a problem with hearing the TV and hearing soft spoken people. When I got the hearing aids for the first time, the technician did do a few tests.

Then she programmed the hearing aids and gave me a remote control with 3 different programs. She stated I should try to leave it on the basic program as the normal setting. Then switch the remote settings to Program 2 if I'm in a restaurant and don't want to hear background noises. Then switch to Program 3 when I am watching TV.

What she never did was put my hearing aids on me and then test me at a soft spoken level to ensure that the hearing aids worked. After having the hearing aids for 24 hours, I knew they were not working for my hearing loss.

I couldn't hear the TV any better and when I adjusted the program to Program 3, I just heard lots of hissing noise. When I was in a restaurant, I switched to Program 2 and then I couldn't hear the person I was eating with.

In one week, I went back 3 times for an adjustment and there was no improvement. Also, I asked the tech why I had to constantly switch to different settings? I have other friends that have hearing aids and they don't need any type of adjustment. The tech didn't know why I had to switch to different settings other than that was what she was taught.

Bottom line, Costco has great prices but the technicians are not trained to adjust the hearing aid to YOUR exact problem. They just use a general factory setting and send you on your way.

I did go to another place and got the Phonak Bolero 50 and they are fantastic. I do not have to adjust any of the settings. The audiologist at the new place spent 2 hours adjusting the hearing aids to my hearing problem and put me through many different tests.

Costco uses techs that are not trained. Most hearing places uses audiologists that have Ph.D or have Masters Degrees. Costco only has uneducated people with no college training. Pay a little more money and go somewhere good!

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Dec 16, 2017
Costco NEW
by: Groundhog

I have had hearing aids from Costco for two years. They are perfect. The technician was great and knowledgeable.

Nov 13, 2017
I'm sticking with Costco NEW
by: Anonymous

If you get an accurate hearing test to begin with the technician has sophisticated computer software that pretty much takes care of programming the hearing aids. My first hearing aids were from an audiologist and my last two pairs were from Costco.
They all use computer software to program your hearing aids.

Oct 05, 2017
I agree with others who pointed out NEW
by: Anonymous

that the results of hearing aid adjustments depend on the skill of the person who tests and adjusts your hearing.It may take several adjustments to get your hearing optimal and there are many facets of the testing including identification of the of robot spoken words, and much more. Try another Costco hearing aid center recommended by satisfied people you know.

Sep 25, 2017
Not that bad NEW
by: Anonymous

I have a set of Costco hearing aids and I don't have any problem with them. I was using another brand for 5 years and the technology changed so much the newer one are far superior.
I can't hear my phone without them. I have a new smart phone and can't hear anything without them.
I'm going in for another test just to see if my hearing has changed dramatically. Without the aids the television is on 60. With the aids the TV is on 40. And I wouldn't have that problem if they would stop playing music during the talking scenes. It is too much background noise for me. Now, maybe that isn't good enough for you but it is for me. And I couldn't have afforded anymore than I paid there. I think they were $1800 two years ago.
Nobody is the same. I'm not sure they are untrained to set them according to your particular case. They use a machine to test your haring then the machine set the aides. And they tested me with them on to make sure they were accurate. I live 100 miles away so it was nice to do it once and then come back every 3 months to have them checked and cleaned.

Aug 29, 2017
Great Hearing Aids NEW
by: Anonymous

Hearing aids are not like glasses. You just can't put them in and expect to hear normally. Even with the best audiologist you may never be able to hear normally. Like doctors, dentists and mechanics not all are capable for doing a good job. I've gotten Costco aids from two different stores, one in Atalanta and one in Memphis. Both had knowledgeable staff. Both sets of aids were very good and the few return trips to have them adjusted worked out great. A lot of how well the aids work for any individual is how willing that individual to learn to use them and what to expect.

BTW I have worn hearing aids since 1992 and have gone through several version of starkey and Phonak. The Respound I now were from Costco are by far superior to any prior that came through other hearing aid centers at far greater costs.

Jul 12, 2017
Costco audio technicians are excellent NEW
by: Anonymous

My experience at the Schaumburg Costco, where I bought hearing aids a year ago, is that the technicians are superb. They're highly trained and highly customer service oriented. And Costco prices beat the competition by a long shot.

Aug 14, 2016
by: Anonymous

Compare and contrast:

An AuD can do diagnostic testing, i.e., MORE than just a hearing test. It is worthwhile, since medical intervention may be required for Meniere's disease, sudden sensorineural hearing loss, disarticulation of the ossicular chain, etc.

A dispenser can only perform the hearing test. If you begin your foray into the world of hearing aids with a dispenser, he or she may refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if there are any red flags in your history or in your hearing test. But you will probably have to go to the AuD for diagnostics before you see the ENT, so you may as well start there.

Once you have medical clearance, you may choose a hearing aid dispenser or a dispensing audiologist. Some audiologists work in a clinical setting and do not dispense.

In the state of California, both the audiologist and dispenser must pass the exact same written AND practical exam to obtain a dispensing license. I am an examiner for the state and I have seen both poorly prepared audiologists and well prepared dispensers. Guess which one gets licensed? Let's say if you ain't got the basics, you ain't getting a license. Being an AuD is no guarantee of excellence in hearing aid dispensing.

I will say that an AuD freshly licensed will probably be a far sight better at it than the first year dispenser. However, as time goes on, skills improve, so that gap can narrow considerably.

My advice is, interview your audiologist/dispenser. How many years has he/she been dispensing? Can he/she discuss your choices intelligently? Does he/she understand your priorities?

Costco is now the largest provider of hearing aids in the US outside of the VA. The cost of hearing aids is much lower when bought in large quantities, and that gets passed along to the consumer. They sell major brands (Phonak, ReSound, Rexton--which is owned by the Siemens folks). Yes, there is some disparity in expertise between locations as they struggle to keep up with demand, but let me assure you -- most retailers of hearing aids struggle with trained personnel, as well.

Additionally, almost anywhere you go, your AuD or dispenser works on commission. Sometimes your best interests conflict with the interests of the person selling you the hearing aid. There is no commission at Costco.

And by the way, the gold standard in verification of the hearing aid fitting is called 'real ear.' Make sure your audiologist/dispenser performs this when you get your new aids. You can also request a sound field test, with and without the aids, to compare your results aided and unaided.

Apr 27, 2016
Audiologist vs. Hearing Instrument Specialist
by: Anonymous

Wrong on all accounts.

To be accepted into an AuD program, a person can have any B.S, correct; however, there are also two years of prerequisite undergrad requirements, so if the original bachelors degree is in an unrelated field, the person has to take an additional two years before they can enter the AuD program.

A traditional 4-year program requirements include all areas of hearing and sound. There are classes in physics and acoustics, anatomy and physiology, medical related treatments and diagnostics, and hearing aid programming and modifications, counseling, and much more. At the end of all that training, there is also a one year residency that students have to complete before they finally get their degree.

Comparing that to the Hearing Instrument specialist.

High school diploma. Download a workbook and study it. Take a test. There is no specialized training at all and anyone can dispense hearing aids in a matter of months.

So who do you want to be in control of your thousands of dollars investment?

Feb 04, 2016
by: Anonymous

I find the batteries have to be replaced every four days. My old hearing aids lasted one week.

Dec 26, 2015
Audiologist Training
by: Jim Brown

I'm an EE by training, retired from a career in professional audio. I'm a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, and a retired Member of Acoustical Society of America. Working as a sound system design consultant for 30 years, I did a lot of self study in acoustics and the human perception of sound, and consider myself an "expert" in that field.

Realizing that both my wife and I need hearing aids, I did enough research to learn that the "training" for a "Doctor of Audiology" is not nearly equivalent to a Master's degree, let alone a Doctor's degree.

To get into a Doctor of Audiology program, you need ONLY a BS degree in ANY field of study -- it does not require ANY technical courses at all. Looking at the courses in the Doctor of Audiology, I find them no more sophisticated than what I learned by serious self-study. My wife, a retired medical professional and a Ph.D, says the training is roughly equivalent to that of an Optometrist or Optician.

By contrast, an Ophthalmologist is an MD with a specialization in the human eye, corresponding to an MD with a specialization in Ear, Nose, and Throat. Bottom line -- an audiologist is a technician with a specialization in hearing.

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