If people come to your house and ask you to turn the TV down, then it may be time to start thinking about hearing aids. Your friends and family will appreciate not having to repeat themselves all the time and you will start to feel included in the conversation again!
Even more, it’s hard for a loved one to admit that it may finally be time to try hearing aids. Fewer than one in three individuals who experience hearing loss wear hearing aids. The great news is that hearing aids are now more affordable than ever.
As a bonus, most hearing aids come equipped with the technology to not only eliminate noise exposure, but also assist with hearing the television and hearing conversations on the phone.
As hearing aids become more widely available, you may have seen them for sale at the ubiquitous warehouse shopping center, Costco, as part of their commitment to bringing customers a one-stop shopping experience. In addition to bulk groceries and office supplies, Costco also provides health services such as optometry, pharmacy, and hearing aids with hearing tests and follow-up hearing aid care.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Who makes Costco hearing aids?
- Are Costco hearing aids any good?
- What is Costco’s best hearing aid?
- How much do Costco hearing aids cost?
- Does Costco use audiologists?
- Costco hearing aid warranty
- Costco hearing aid reviews
- Costco hearing aid alternatives
Who makes Costco hearing aids?
Costco carries hearing aids from major suppliers, including Kirkland Signature, the same company that distributes clothing, health and beauty, groceries, hardware, and office supplies. Other manufacturers that Costco carries include Rexton, ReSound, Phonak, and Philips.
Options range from open fit and behind-the-ear to in-the-ear and canal for mild to severe hearing loss. The Costco Hearing Aid Center staff helps to select the type of hearing aids most closely matched to a person’s hearing loss, the anatomy of your ear, and your lifestyle. Certainly, not everyone needs the smallest hearing aids or the loudest ones, though those options do exist.
Are Costco Hearing Aids any good?
There is substantial demand for affordable hearing aids because most are not covered by health insurance. Costco leverages its bulk buying power to offer trusted hearing aid brands with convenient in-store service at an affordable price. The biggest downfall, however, is that not every Costco has a Hearing Aid Center in-store.
Costco has been selling hearing aids for more than 25 years and along with the Veterans Affairs department, they are one of the largest hearing aid buyers in the U.S.
What is Costco’s best hearing aid?
The Kirkland Signature 9.0 Premium Digital Hearing Aid Instruments Kit comes with Bluetooth connectivity to smartphones and some TVs. Phone calls can be answered from the click of a button on the hearing aid, and volume can be adjusted from a smartphone app. The hearing aids are supposed to automatically adjust to the user’s environment and are designed to optimize speech in “difficult” conditions.
How much do Costco hearing aids cost?
Costco hearing aid prices range depending on the model, starting at $899 up to $1,499, significant, but still less than the national average of $2,300. Each device sale includes free hearing aid loss and damage insurance, plus cleanings and checkups. The use of the Hearing Aid Center is a benefit to Costco members as well.
Most kits include two hearing aids, cleaning cloth and brush, 10 zinc batteries, travel pouch and hard-cover case, plus five colors to choose from.
Does Costco use audiologists?
Since the tests that Costco runs are to determine hearing improvements, not diagnose a specific condition that is causing someone’s hearing loss, audiologists are not required for a hearing test at Costco. Costco's hearing aid staff will walk you through the process of getting your hearing checked in a private sound booth.
The Costco Hearing Aid Center offers Costco-value pricing for premium technology. Remote services are offered on select hearing aids, plus free product demonstrations, hearing tests, follow-up appointments, hearing aid cleanings and checkups, loss and damage coverage, and warranty periods.
Costco Hearing Aid reviews
A 2019 Consumer Reports survey rated Costco’s Kirkland Hearing aids first among readers. “Costco’s in-house brand of hearing aids, Kirkland, landed at the top of the ratings, with a reader score for Overall Satisfaction of 76 (out of 100),” the report states. “Costco's Kirkland brand was the only brand to receive top marks from members for value, which we defined as satisfaction with a hearing aid’s performance vs. its cost.”
Consumer Affairs doesn’t test all hearing aids, choosing only select models for their testing. They gave Costco three out of five stars for their hearing aid options based on nearly 70 customer reviews. Pros included Bluetooth-compatibility, 180-day return policy, free testing and fitting, and warranties on all hearing aids, while cons were that you must be a Costco member and no monthly payment options are available, which can be a big bill and a turn-off for those without health care coverage.
A positive Costco hearing aid review from Oliver in California:
“My first experience with a Costco Hearing Center was horrible. Arrogant person would ignore my questions and complaints and insisted that the bad performance of the product was my fault. Turned out to be defective hearing aid. I returned the hearing aids since it was the return 180-day period. Later I went to a different Costco Hearing Center and it was like a different world. They listened to me about the issues I had had. They explained things in great detail, and were responsive to my needs in getting things done right. In the process of coming in several times to make small changes, so I could more easily adapt to the hearing aids. They changed receiver lengths and domes several times until they were most comfortable and fit best. Ended up with each side having different lengths and dome sizes.“
A negative Costo hearing aid review from Marvin of Florida:
“My first Kirkland hearing aids were 5.0. They were great for the 3 plus years I spent in Asia. Then they started to fail. My next set was Kirkland 9.0 and were manufactured by a different company. I needed an adjustment so they would stay in my ear canal. Immediately an employee yelled at me, "we are not giving you your money back"! I did not ask for that, just an adjustment. Two adjustments later I am told, "If this doesn't work we need to make ear molds at additional cost". I have to adjust the placement every 5-10 minutes. Isn't that special moving around with my fingers in my ears trying to fix a manufacture problem. Try to do that all day. Moral of the story - don't assume Kirkland replacement of Kirkland product will be the same experience. Also don't assume the hearing center at COSTCO, Wesley Chapel, Florida will help. You might get yelled at for a simple adjustment.”
Another negative Costco hearing aid review from Doug of Alberta, Canada:
“Bluetooth will not connect on hearing aids. Problem With these Kirkland hearing aids fs9 they do not connect with the iPhone 11. Contacted Phonak and Costco, nobody seems to be able to help and Apple says it is a manufacturer problem. They say it is an Apple problem.”
Costco Hearing Aids Alternative: ZVOX VoiceBuds
The options for hearing aids can feel seemingly endless. Luckily, Costco isn’t the only supplier of cost-conscious direct-to-consumer hearing aids. ZVOX, a leading audio innovator since 2004, came to market in 2018 with the first directional app-controlled hearing aids available for under $300. VoiceBud FDA-registered hearing aids use two microphones and the latest digital technology to help make speech more clear, minus the back-and-forth trips to an audiologist for adjustments.
Previously, in 2014, ZVOX also released the first TV sound system with hearing aid technology. AccuVoice dialogue-boosting speakers use patented hearing aid technology to lift voices out of background noises, making dialogue clear and easy to understand, even at low volumes. This was followed in 2019 with the release of the first headphones with AccuVoice technology for improved voice clarity.
The ZVOX VoiceBuds are crafted in the U.S. using American-made parts. Designed with help from one of the world’s leading audiologists, ZVOX VoiceBuds are FDA-registered hearing aids that are backed by a 60-day home trial. Like Costco’s hearing aids, VoiceBuds come at an affordable price tag without sacrificing quality or features.
ZVOX VoiceBuds make it especially easy to understand conversations in a crowded room or in big meetings and events, with the added benefit of clarifying voices in movies or on TV. The dual microphone system is designed to minimize background sounds while boosting the voices you want to hear, along with a smartphone app that makes adjustments easy.
The ZVOX VoiceBud VB20 easy-to-use features include:
- VoiceBud hearing aids use a two-microphone NoiseBlocker system designed to reduce volume levels of distracting background sounds.
- High quality, American-made electronics components.
- App lets you control VoiceBud hearing aids from your smartphone or tablet.
- Wide frequency range (more than 5.5 kHz) for natural, accurate sound.
- Six ear dome choices included so you can choose the size that fits your ear.
- Includes accessories to make a single VoiceBud usable for either ear.
- Available rechargeable design with portable charging case with built-in lithium ion battery for three full charges on the go.
- Optional UV Dryer keeps VoiceBuds clean and disinfected.
The options and features for available hearing aids can feel daunting, especially at an already-vulnerable time of admitting it’s time to get help. It can be hard to know where to start your search and which route to go. Luckily, you can be in the driver’s seat for what works best for your needs and budget by exploring custom hearing aids rather than some out-of-the-box solution. The days of making voices easier to understand and reducing distracting sounds are within reach. It all comes down to your level of comfort and trust in a brand.