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!

Comments for Don't Buy Anything At Costco Hearing Aid Center

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 03, 2018
Rating
star
Misinformation NEW
by: Anonymous

Huh??? Confusing post with misinformation galore.
Costco has had rechargeable hearing aids since 2010. What's new is the type of rechargeable technology (now lithium ion). This is available from 3 different hearing aid mfrs. at Costco.
But whether or not a hearing aid is rechargeable has nothing to do with how it helps you hear. Costco has current, top level technology from major manufacturers. Period. Some of them have different names at Costco so competitors (including medical clinics) have the opportunity to claim they're inferior or old technology. Consumers would have no way to know whether or not this is true. It's not.
If you want to pay thousands more for the same thing from a private clinic, go for it.
One caveat about buying hearing aids anywhere, from any provider, is that experience matters. Chose somebody who has been dispensing for at least a few years.

Nov 02, 2018
Rating
starstar
Old aids NEW
by: Anonymous

Costco hearing aids are older aids they advertise under a new name.

If you noticed Costco has "rechargeable" hearing aids, but those same aids have been at the medical clinics for 3 years now.

If you want current technology, don't go to a sales center. Go to a medical clinic where they evaluate your ear comprehensively and rule out any other problems.

My friend couldn't hear out of her right ear. She went to Costco and they recommended one hearing aid. They asked her to go get a medical waiver signed by an ENT physician. He looked in her ear, saw a hole in the eardrum and patched it up in five minutes. NO HEARING AID NEEDED. Fixed her hearing and saved her thousands of dollars.

Be smart. Look at the technology options at a clinic versus a sales center.They seem similar companies but the computers are different.

Does suzuki make motorcycles? do they make cars? Costco has their bicycles and motorcycles... medical clinics have the cars. Which is more convenient to get to work in rainy conditions?

Nov 02, 2018
Rating
starstar
Regarding the know-it-all sound technician NEW
by: Anonymous

I read a comment about an audiologist and a dispenser, and someone putting down audiologist credentials- as a doctor.

Some guy considers himself a "sound expert" and so he gets on a high horse about how important his wife's doctorate is better than other doctorates. Does he or she know how to do an ABR, how to read brainwaves, how to perform VNG tests? Audiologists aren't pretending to be medical doctors, they have a specialization for a reason because its very specific information and theres a lot that goes into it that crosses into medical territory. There's a reason the field is accredited as a doctorate. Its not your job as a lay person to disagree with national curriculum that smart people have agreed on who know the field, its your job to talk about hearing aids on this portal. People can be so dumb.


Its a joke for anybody to put down a doctorate, in any field. Obviously it requires extensive research, many long hours in field and in classroom, and an expert understanding.

HEARING AIDS:
Do not spend 10k on hearing aids. That's dumb.
BELLTONE AND MIRACLE EAR ARE SALES PLACES.
They have older technology and have thehighest markup. Go to an ENT medical clinic.

GO TO AN ENT MEDICAL CLINIC!!!!!
They have medical doctors down the hall if theres a problem, they do a FULL examination, they have audiologists who do not make recommendations on "sales" but more on your ear's conditions. The hearing aids are the BEST technology, most current, and actually best value. If you spend 3-6k at the clinic, it is BRAND new computer chips in the hearing aids. The companies reserve their best products for medical conditions.

When it comes to hearign aids, yes there are different levels in hearing aids. Costcos products are older micropchip. Big box stores. Their products are great, but they are a few years behind, and your absolute best hearing will be with current technology. If you dont care in the older products, thats great! BUt remember, they don't last as long. 4 years, COSTCO makes you update your aids and buy a new set. The ENT CLINICS will keep repairing them forever.
here are also a lot of Costcos with ONLY dispensers. Yikes. They can do a great job and be super friendly, but no. They do not have expert knowledge for complicated issues.

When you go to a doctor, do you care about the appointment being seen by the nurse? In some basic situations, it doesnt matter, they both can take case history the same way. In a problematic situation, the doctor is much better suited for recommendations.

So provider is important, place is important. Dont go to a sales place, go to a medical clinic where they evaluate everything comprehensively, the right way.

Aug 14, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Very Happy Real Buyer NEW
by: aNN w

Almost one year for my Costco Hearing Aids and couldn't be happier. Great price, friendly and professional assistance, discount batteries, and easy maintenance/cleaning.They have made a eal difference, especially in family conversation.
Very satisfied with my purchase and would recommend to friends.


May 27, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
i love my Phonak hearing aids from Costco NEW
by: Anonymous

This guys comments sound like a total dumb ass. I went to two local audiologist and got quotes and to baptist Hospital and got a quote and to Duke for evaluation...prices ranged from $10,000 for a pair of Miracle Ear as the highest quoted down to $5000 for a pair at Baptist to $3200 for ONE aid at a local Bell Tone dealer. I bought ONE Phonak from Costco for $1289 plus my membership card $60. I hear fine with it...I am deaf in one ear and there was no reason to try and sell me two hearing aids. The second one in mt deaf ear just made hearing worse, not better. Costco was up front and only tried to sell me one for my better ear. (40% hearing in it) They suggested the Phonak and said this is more of work horse and not with all the fancy stuff. They said this will be the best for your major hearing loss. They were exactly right. I would buy from them again. saved me all kinds of money. Honest folks.

Apr 28, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
competent specialists NEW
by: Anonymous

I have the Kirkland 5 hearing aids. They just plain work. These are my third set of hearing aids and the best and cheapest.

A good trained hearing aid specialist, not working on commission, is all that's needed to get good hearing at a reasonable price. I have complete confidence in the one who I go to at Costco. Paying a premium price for a white coated audiologist in a fancy office is like going to an orthodontist for a tooth extraction, no need for the fancy stuff. I know because I was once a hearing aid salesman and expensive hearing aids are a racket.

Having said that, there is one disadvantage. Techs cannot take out ear wax legally in most states. The audiologists and doctors have that area covered.

Costco has a good product. If unhappy, change techs as the secret is a good tech.

Apr 20, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Quality of hearing aid specialist NEW
by: Allan Feldt

Over the past 35 years I have talked with and used over a dozen hearing aid specialists, with and without degrees in Audiology. As a retired professor, I don't place much trust in the degree a person holds. What matters is how much they know and want to help plus how much time they are allowed to spend with each client.

So if you find someone who gives you minimal attention and won't listen to your problems the only real solution is to find someone who both knows and cares. And you can only tell that by hearing what others say about them and what your own experience is. No amount of training or number of degrees helps if they don't care or can't give you the time. Some of my best experience has been with Costco trained hearing specialists.

Feb 17, 2018
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
quality depends on the technicians NEW
by: Anonymous

I have hearing aids from costco. In order to have a great experience ayou need to go to a store with very well trained technicians . Call around you area ask about how long they have worked with the products. If at first you don't have a good experience go to another costco. It all depends on the quality of the service people.

It's a great product and prices are soooooo much better than private audiologists for the same quality of product .


Dec 16, 2017
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Disagree
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
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
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Batteries
by: Anonymous

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

Dec 26, 2015
Rating
starstarstar
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.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Costco Hearing Aids Reviews.