Hearing aid specialists

by Mary Turowski
(Camarillo, CA, USA)

I feel it is important to be tested by an audiologist, and while I love so many things about Costco, I don't see that any of the stores have an actual audiologist on staff. This is disappointment for me.


I am new to purchasing a hearing aid and am doing a lot of research and I just don't feel I can get the best experience (read best accommodations) by someone who is not trained and licensed in this field.

I would appreciate your input.


maryturowski@gmail.com

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Jul 11, 2017
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Hearing aids from Costco NEW
by: Anonymous

Costco does NOT have audiologist -= they have hearing aid sales people in their hearing centers who get on the job or 90 days training. Some do get some training at a vocational school (w a GED)
An AUDIOLOGIST - Au.D has a degree (4 to 8 years training like a physician)and they work at a medical facility

Aug 13, 2016
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My Costco has a licensed audiologist.
by: Dick

I had my first hearing test from a local hearing center. Their cost for Resound is $7,000. I took their test to Costco and had them test me. I compared the two results and they were almost identical. I purchased my Resound HA from Costco for $2,500.

May 11, 2016
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Appointments at Costco
by: Warren

I was in to the Baxter, Minnesota store towards the end of April....asked them how long to have an appointment. She told me it would be August before I could get an appointment! Do they call that service?? Over 4 months to get an appointment is crazy...I will go to a hearing aid center instead. At least they have service!

Apr 14, 2016
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Batteries Last 4 hours
by: Alden

My husband bought Phonak hearing aids from Costco two years ago. They use batteries constantly. I mean they last 30 minutes to a maximum of 5 hours.

We visited an audiologist who cleaned the aids and gave him complimentary Rayovac batteries. The aids signaled low battery after 4 hours, then went out completely.

HOWEVER, the battery tester showed 99% power remaining. He has returned these aids several times, but at no time has the battery life improved.

The Costco representative keeps saying they test the aids and they are working perfectly. Something is wrong here! Now I need aids and am very hesitant to buy from Costco, given his bad experience.

Apr 01, 2016
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Lic. audiologist at Costco?
by: Anonymous

No they are not licensed audiologist's in Oregon. And if you mention that they get offended easily.

They will give you a spiel about all the training or years they have but there is a big difference between an audiologist and a guy(or gal) with a little training.I just had a bad experience with the Costco guy and will not go back.

Mar 31, 2016
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Phonak hearing aids battery life
by: Anonymous

This post is to address concerns of Phonak hearing aids battery life. I'm a hearing aid dispenser and I use Phonak hearing aids. My hearing aids are newer generation-Venture.

I use 312 batteries and it lasts about 10 days even though I use them for about 12 hours every day. The life of the battery is determined by how long the batteries were on the shelf, whether or not it expired ( I noticed that some of the batteries in drugstores are past expiration date), and size of the batteries.

If you're using the smallest, yellow batteries, then they'll last about 5-7 days. The next size up, brown 312, last 10-14 days. The thicker, orange 13 lasts about 14-21 days, and the largest blue 675, which is used for super power hearing aids over three weeks.

Also, remember to open the battery door when you're not using your hearing aids. If you peel off the sticker and later stick it back on the battery, it will still run the battery because it's activated by air.

Also, if you're streaming a lot using comPilot for example, then it will use up battery a little faster. If you're doing all the things that I listed and still have trouble, then ask Costco to send it back for repair. Good luck!

Mar 04, 2016
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Question for Costco employee
by: jcworks@bellsouth.net

I'm replying to Anonymous that wrote this post: Aug 30, 2015 Licensed Audiologists by:Anonymous

I have profound hearing loss I think from 2k-8k cycles. I have visited Costco. I seemed to hear well with the ones they let me wear in the store while shopping. However, I've read so much online you don't know what to believe. One said Kirkland's brand stripped out 3 features, some kind of echo feature, a tinnitus feature,and one other I can't recall - CMOS or something like that.

My main problem is in noisy rooms hearing people talk, but really anywhere a lot of background noise. Phone conversations with young women is also a problem. TV is another. I would like to buy from Costco but how will I know if some feature I need is included? Can you, or someone that knows,email me direct? jcworks@bellsouth.net

Feb 21, 2016
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Costco customer
by: Wayne

I bought my first hearing aids three years ago. A friend who has worn hearing aids for many years, recommended two places to check out. He said he had heard good things about Costco also.

I checked out all of them and got quite an education, one was very business like but not very personable, one was very personable and knowledgeable but was going to retire and said he was only going to be open sporadic and recommended I try Costco.

My experience at Costco was great, the fellow was licensed, I joined just to get hearing aids. They recommended I stop by whenever I was in the store or at least every two months for cleaning.

I forgot I was wearing them and took a shower, a week later one of them quit working and they replaced it. They retested my hearing a couple of times and turned up the volume once. My battery's used to last 5 or 6 days, after volume adjustment they last about 4 or 5 days.

These are the first hearing aids I have had but they seem to work well, service has been excellent, and they answer the questions I'm not smart enough to ask. I have profound hearing loss.

Feb 20, 2016
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Disgruntled Independent Dispensers? Maybe? Maybe Not?
by: Ron Allander NBC-HIS

Tom,

Thanks for your post. You may be right. There may be some disgruntled independent dispensers that post here. I also know that there are some Costco employees promoting their hearing aids as well on this site. (maybe you are one of them)

This site is intended for hearing aid users to post reviews about their hearing aids that they wear. It is intended for them to tell their stories (good or bad) about their experiences with any manufacturer.

However, I let everyone, even if they are a Costco employee or independent dispenser, post here. I think most people are smart enough to figure out which is which.

Costco employee posts read like an advertisement for Costco. Real hearing aid users tell about their experiences (again, good or bad). They don't talk about features and benefits. So...it's kinda obvious. :)

And for the record I am an an independent Beltone Hearing Dispenser in Central Pennsylvania. We have a few Costcos in our area.

To say that the independent dispensers are disgruntled by Costco or other big box retailers dispensing hearing aids is not totally true.

We have been around since 1940 and have seen other big box retailers get in and get out of the hearing aid business over the years. It's not really that new. For big box stores, it's all about the revenue per square foot. As soon as something better comes along that generates a higher per square foot revenue, the lower producing products are out the door.

Personally, I love what I do and we have seen tremendous growth. I have nine locations and we are continuing to expand. My practice grew by more than 120% last year. In fact I have an ex-Costco hearing instrument specialist that now works for me.

We have several hearing instruments that are comparable or even better for less money than Costco. Our warranties range from 2 to 5 years, add in our followup service and I can't imagine why anyone would go any where else.

I'm not trying to knock Costco because I think they have a decent product for the price. I'm sure some people even like the convenience of grabbing a 48 pack of toilet paper and a bite of sushi when they get their hearing aids serviced. But many times it really does come down to the service of the the individual practitioner.

There are a lot of excellent choices today for patients to get quality care. Let's not try to be so cocky to think that we always have the best solution at the best price. Let the patient decide what is most important to them.

Feb 19, 2016
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Be careful of what you read
by: Tom

I took my 89 y/o father in law to Costco for a new hearing aid. After seven visits I gave up since due to his severe dementia he just didn't get it. This was of no fault of Costco and frankly I am surprised they spent the time they did on him. We got a full refund.

I suspect that some of the comments in these reviews are being written by disgruntled and threatened independent dealers whose prices are being undercut by Costco. As such those seeking hearing aids and in particular Costco hearing aids have to take with a grain of salt the frequent negative reviews I have seen regarding Costco and its service. I do know Costco uses licensed audiologists which as everyone also knows is not the case at many other places. i.e. Miracle Ear.

Dec 31, 2015
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Phonak Brio and energy management
by: Bill

I'm fortunate to get four days from batteries in my Brio aids, which are just over 1 year old. I recently had several consecutive incidents where batteries lasted only 2-3 hours.

I bought some Rayovac batteries (5 times as expensive as CostCo batteries). The first pair of Rayovac batteries did last a few days. I also bought a 40-pack of batteries from Sams Club a few days after buying the Rayovacs (Sams Club batteries were a dollar cheaper than Costco). They also worked similarly to the Rayovacs.

However, I've had some quick discharge events in the couple of weeks since these other battery experiments. The quick discharge seems to be independent of brand. I plan to send my Brios back for adjustment/repair soon.

Fortunately, my old Bernafon set is still workable, although not as effective.

When I first got my Brios, I was given a card of CostCo batteries which didn't last more than a day, each. The card was under printed with "Costco Complimentary Batteries" or similar. I put that down to a defective lot of batteries. I had better luck with Costco purchased batteries (4-5 days), and didn't think much about it.

My Brios work pretty well, although I will never have "good" hearing again. My main frustration other than battery life, is that switching from one streaming source to another is slow (4-5 seconds), and there is no channel lock to prevent "smart" switching to Bluetooth or TV Link, when having a conversation.

Dec 30, 2015
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Costco Phonak Brio Hearing Aids
by: Bill (Australia)

We are in Australia and both my wife and I went to Costco in Sydney having some five years ago buying from a Private audiologist and Siemens top hearing aids for over AUD 8,500 for the pair.

My wife had one of the Siemens fail this year and one the three settings of mine did not work thus we were in the market for new aids.

We joined Costco, made appointments, were tested and settled for the Phonak which were said to be the best.

In Australia, all audiologists must have degrees and be licensed so was surprised to read that in other countries that may not be the case, (see earlier claims).

We have had the aids for 3 months and have been back to Costco for adjustments three times, each time suggested by them.

The only issue we have is that the Phonak hearing aids are heavy users of batteries and do not appear to have rechargeable batteries that we were used to with the earlier Siemens ones. The normal Kirkland batteries, whilst cheap, only last a few days. I am not sure if it is the Kirkland batteries or intrinsic in the Phonak aids.


Nov 19, 2015
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I think It's as as good as you're going to get!
by: Jim Darlington

Remember it's helps you hear better it's not a cure! I've been wearing hearing ads over 20 years I have purchase their brand 3 times. Any time I had any problem they took care of it.

Washington has a law that if you are unhappy with them they have to refund all your money. I have tried other brands , I paid almost $6000. Used them for 29 days and returned them because they're no better than the ones for under $2000.

Nov 06, 2015
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Discouraged by Costco Hearing Aid Specialist
by: Anonymous

When I went to be tested at Costco, the audiologist or specialist said that the quality of hearing aids they sell are not up-to-par and I will not be happy with them because I am accustomed to better.

This was before being tested and without knowing what hearing aids I had been wearing for the last four years. I walked away in shock! I do not know why she discouraged me. Please explain?

Oct 07, 2015
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Disappointed
by: Anonymous

I went to an audiologist. He said I had severe hearing loss. I told him I had Tinnitus as well.

At times, 3-4 days in a row: and then a quiet day. He recommended The Siemens Orion S. I've returned every 2 weeks. I tell him this model is not working for me.

They charged 3200.00 for the pair. Last time I went, I suggested I needed something else. He mentioned the Carat...the price $3990.

The website says $3188. This is for an upgraded hearing aid. I paid 3200.00 for a lesser hearing aid. Quite a racket. Taking these back to them and will find another place to go. I can't have a viable relationship, with people I can't trust. What has happened to simple care? I trusted that my individual needs, would be met. Sighs

Aug 30, 2015
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Follow-up visits are encouraged
by: Anonymous

Ron, as a licensed audiologist in two states and employee at Costco, I can tell you that follow-up visits are very much encouraged! And they are at no charge for the life of the hearing aids that you purchase there.

Aug 30, 2015
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Licensed Audiologists
by: Anonymous

I wrote you a private email, and didn't realize I could respond directly here.

All hearing aid personnel employed by Costco are licensed. That is the law! There is a mix of audiologists and licensed hearing instrument specialists, but all are trained and licensed by their respective states and must follow Costco's rigorous protocol.

Aug 24, 2015
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by: Ron Allander NBC-HIS

Thanks for your comments John. You are obviously very passionate about Costco hearing aids based on your comments and number of submissions to this website. I was curious as to why you submitted the last post as anonymous though?

You never say whether you actually wear hearing aids from Costco. I would be interested to know.

Anyway, in regards to my comments about follow up service for Costco, I know many hearing aid fitters that work for Costco. I think most of them do a great job at Costco and Costco offers a decent product.

My comment states that they do not have a protocol in place for followup service. You can go back as often as you like but they do not proactively set followup appointments. Some customers of Costco take advantage of this and many more do not.

I own eight hearing aid offices and we see many Costco customers that have never returned to Costco for followup service unfortunately and are not aware of that they can go back. We see Costco customers regularly that haven't had the best experience with followup care. We encourage them to go back to Costco since Costco distributes their own brand of hearing aids and we are unable to make adjustments for them.

In my practice we require the patient to come back on a regular basis. The patient always leaves with a followup appointment. Followup care is just as important or maybe even more important than the the hearing instrument. There is so much more care and counseling that is required for a successful fitting.

As far as price, Costco is known as the lost cost provider. However, we are very competitive with Costco and I know our service is second to none. We also offer a full line of custom fit hearing instruments.

I think it's great that Costco and other retailers offer hearing instruments. There are just so many people that can benefit from better hearing. Our common goal should be to help people with their hearing. And more importantly give them a better quality of life.

Aug 23, 2015
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Lies about Costco.
by: Anonymous

Ron is either confused or lying. Costco offers unlimited return visits. In fact they encourage you to return is you have any problems. They also give a 90 day money back return policy and a 3 year unlimited warranty.

Beware of these people bad mouthing Costco. Their price is better than anyone else and their service is outstanding.

I have no Costco affiliation other than as a customer.

Aug 23, 2015
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Costco Hearing Aids
by: John Dendy

I am amazed at the number of obvious hearing aid dealers that are bad mouthing Costco.

Costco only employs certified hearing specialists. Anyone saying otherwise is a disgruntled competitor or a con man and should be avoided like the plaque.

Jul 03, 2015
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Licensed Audiologists
by: Donald_S

I have just purchased hearing aids at Costco, and they do have licensed audiologists there. Check with your Costco hearing center and ask that direct question.

May 24, 2015
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by: Ron Allander NBC-HIS

Mary,

I understand your concern about making sure that you are tested by an audiologist. I think you have to look at the total picture before excluding a particular professional.

I have seen excellent audiologists and I have seen some pretty bad audiologists over the years. I have also seen excellent hearing instrument specialists and bad hearing instrument specialists as well.

I know many hearing instrument specialists that have worked in other fields before becoming a hearing care practitioner such as nurses, engineers, computer programmers, etc. etc. I think their diverse background and training as a hearing instrument fitter many times makes them a better choice.

I would recommend at least visiting a few hearing instrument specialists and audiologists before you make a final decision. Remember that you will be seeing the practitioner many times for followup visits for hearing aid maintenance and yearly hearing tests. So you want to work with someone that you are comfortable with.

Also, I would ask what followup services they provide. Make sure they have a protocol in place for followup care. Many hearing aid dispensers such as Costco and Walmart don't encourage followup visits after your fitting.

Ron Allander

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