Rexton "Finesse 18/2c" Hearing Aids From Costco
by Brent Hamilton
Before making such a large investment to improve my hearing, I first tried to greatly improve my chances of making a well-informed decision by spending a few weeks doing in-depth research on the many different brands, types, technology levels, guarantees, dealers and pricing (if provided) currently available in both the local and online markets.
The first thing I learned was that an inexperienced and uninformed newbie searching for good hearing aids is truly a fat chicken surrounded by a pack of hungry coyotes. After doing much research and reading hundreds of customer product reviews, I had pretty much decided that my active lifestyle and moderately severe hearing loss in both ears would be best served by a Rexton “Finesse 18/2c” BTE hearing aids (which uses the same top-tier Siemens “Life Micon” technology with 90% of the same desirable features at a lower cost).
I made an appointment with a nearby Siemens/Rexton dealership and had a hearing test/evaluation performed by their licensed audiologist; however, I was quickly frightened away by a price quote of $2,700 each. I found the same hearing aids offered by an online “discount provider” for $1,800 each, and I was scheduled for another hearing test by the licensed audiologist at a different hearing aid dealership that was affiliated with the online retailer to provide fitting and adjustment after the sale.
While trying to decide whether to go for the online “discount” deal or compromise with a cheaper model, I was delighted to read (on an internet hearing aid forum) that Costco offered the exact same Rexton “Finesse 18/2c” model for $1,299 each (complete with a 90-day trial period, 3-year unlimited repair warranty, 1-time loss/damage replacement for each hearing aid, and unlimited adjustment service).
Granted, I would have to pay the annual $55 Costco membership fee to purchase the hearing aids, but subtracting that from the $1,000 up-front savings over the cheapest online “discount” provider (for the exact same product) still left me with an unbeatable deal by far.
In spite of a few bad Costco reviews I've read on this site, the hearing examination I received at the Ft. Worth Costco store was more thorough and multi-faceted than either of the previous tests I received at the exclusive hearing aid dealerships.
Additionally, the previous two “licensed/certified audiologists” seemed more focused on pushing me toward more expensive models or technology levels by hyping minor differences and unnecessary or impractical features while the Costco “fitting technician” provided me with considerably more detailed, practical and comprehensive counseling on different brands/types of hearing aids offered by Costco, the pros/cons of each type and brand, the significant (and insignificant) differences in technology levels as they would apply to my described lifestyle, and what to realistically expect in the actual hearing improvement I should experience.
It is obvious that anyone will find a variance in both knowledge levels and programming skills among individual “audiologists” and “technicians” alike; but since most hearing aid “programmers” are not mind-reading psychics, their ability to fine tune any hearing instrument is going to be mostly contingent upon the user’s ability to precisely describe an existing problem, annoyance or deficiency.
All hearing aid programmers have highly detailed charts or software to help them identify and isolate the particular narrow band of audio frequencies (specific equalizer channel) that can usually be adjusted to correct or greatly improve almost any described noise problem, sound quality, amplitude level, or issues with particular word or letter identification that may exist or intermittently occur.
Therefore, the best chance for getting a good fine tune or problem resolution from Costco or anywhere else will be to present the programmer with a detailed written description of the problem(s) – and not by simply saying “they sound awful”.
No, my hearing aids (or any others) don’t let me hear everything in theater quality surround-sound like some manufacturers imply because there will always be a few very noticeable deficiencies and unnatural artifacts that arise when any normal, naturally complex analog sound envelope is intercepted by a pin-head size microphone, electronically digitized, split into numerous equalizer channels, each channel being individually amplified to extremely different levels, passed through numerous electronic filters and conditioners, converted back to a highly exaggerated analog signal package, and then dumped into a very defective ear by a microscopic speaker.
While I still have problems understanding a few words during a normal conversation with some people a little more often than those with “normal” hearing do, my decision to keep the hearing aids was a no-brainer because they do provide a very significant increase in my speech comprehension, have brought me back to considerably more enjoyable and comfortable conversation, allow me to again hear upper music ranges and other desirable high frequency sounds that I haven’t heard in years, and greatly decrease the instances of asking people to repeat themselves (or simply nod my head and pretend I understood what was said).
The best professional advice I received was to remember that I was purchasing a pair of hearing “aids” and not a hearing “cure” because $2,500 (or even $10,000) could never restore my hearing to the quality it was at 20-years of age any more than twice that amount spent on cosmetic surgery would restore my weathered old face to its former 20-year old appearance.
I am very pleased with the service I’ve received from Costco and the Rexton “Finesse 18/2c” hearing aids I purchased there at a considerable savings over all other available sources that I was able to find.
The hearing aids I purchased were more toward the top-tier in technology features that are preferable for anyone with an active lifestyle and remains employed in a position that requires frequent personal conversation in different environments and conditions; however, Costco also has lesser expensive sets that would work very well for those who don’t need quite as many lights and bells features.
I would highly recommend anyone contemplating the purchase of quality hearing aids to start at Costco instead of ending up there as I did. I would also trust a large reputable chain like Costco to maintain good, long-term customer service more than I would count on the same from some of the local hearing aid centers that I have seen come and go over the past few years.