Costco Hearing Aids: Review, Prices, and Alternatives
Costco touts itself as the world’s largest retailer of choice consumer goods. With iconic warehouses that would make Sam Walton blush, the retail giant hasn’t slowed down in the digital age.
The mega-retailer has always excelled in value on day-to-day consumer categories like food and drink. But what about more “top-shelf” items?
Costco hearing aids have an entire category of their own. This article will explore their offerings, and provide alternatives for readers looking for more affordable, high-quality hearing aids.
Costco Hearing Aids: Why Are They Popular?
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders identified hearing loss in America as a major public health issue and a leading health concern.
The organization’s study in 2009 shows that 36 million Americans experienced hearing loss to some degree at the time, yet fewer than one in three used hearing aids. The biggest problem facing consumers is the high cost of hearing aids. According to a 2015 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report, consumers pay an average of $2,300 per hearing aid, with many people paying $4,600 for a pair.
Costco saw this opportunity and launched their own brand of hearing aids. Today the company is the largest private provider of hearing devices in the U.S., selling 11 percent of all hearing aids sold in the United States, according to HearingHealthMatters.org.
Costco Offers Free Hearing Screening
Costco built hearing aid centers with hearing aid specialists to screen and recommend hearing aids for patients. Costco may employ some audiologists, but most staff will likely be hearing aid specialists. They demonstrate different hearing aids and help patients choose the best option for their needs.
Costco also provides hearing tests, as well as free hearing aid cleaning, follow-up appointments, and check-ups. Additionally, patients receive free warranty periods and loss and damage coverage.
Comparing Options When Purchasing Hearing Aids–Direct, Costco, and from a Hearing Professional
Consumers can choose from a few options on where to purchase hearing aids, and the price can differ dramatically.
- Traditional Hearing Aid Providers
- Cost: $2,300 national average per hearing aid, $4,600 for a pair. Costs may go much higher
- Process: in-person hearing test and recommendation
- Costco hearing aids
- Cost: $1499.99 for a pair of Kirkland 9.0, less than the $4,600 national average.
- Process: in-person hearing test and recommendation
- Over the counter: Not available yet
- Direct to consumer
- MDHearingAid pioneered selling affordable hearing aids directly to consumers a decade ago. Founded by a doctor frustrated with the high price of hearing aids, MDHearingAid sells affordable, high-quality hearing aids directly to consumers.
- Cost: $399.92 per pair for the best-selling model, with more options for smaller or larger budgets.
|Cost per Pair||Steps to Buy|
|Traditional Hearing Aid Provider||
In-person hearing test and recommendation from the audiologist or hearing aid specialist
|Costco Hearing Aids||
In-person hearing test and recommendation from the Costco hearing aid specialist
|Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids||
Not available yet
Not available yet
Order online or over the phone and receive hearing aids in a few days. For the CORE model, use the included app to take a hearing assessment and personalize hearing aids to audiologist-level fitting. For more affordable options, take advantage of pre-programmed models that match the vast majority of hearing loss profiles.
Popular Costco Hearing Aids
Kirkland Signature is the house brand for Costco. The brand derives its name from Costco’s original headquarters: Kirkland, Washington.
Costco is a warehouse club, and they do not assemble or develop any of the products they sell. The popular Kirkland Signature models are the Kirkland 9.0 and Kirkland 8.0 hearing aids. Both offer consumers good quality, digital hearing aids. Costco initially contracted with GN ReSound and Rexton to manufacture the Kirkland signature 9.0 hearing aids and with Sivantos for the manufacture of Kirkland 8.0 hearing aids. Costco changes providers occasionally and now contracts with Sonova to produce their Signature line. Costco switching manufacturers may mean the specialist doing the fitting may be very familiar with the current Signature line but know much less about the models from a few years ago.
Although Kirkland is a house brand, Sonova, Sivantos, and ReSound are manufacturers known as reputable producers of hearing aids.
The Kirkland 9.0
The Kirkland 9.0 utilizes the Sonova Sword Chip to facilitate communication
- 20 fine-tuning channels
- Three manual programs and nine automatic programs
- Binaural signal processing
- Binaural beamforming
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 4 receiver power levels
- 312 battery
- TV connector
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) technology
A pair of Kirkland 9.0 hearing aids costs $1499.99
Kirkland 9.0 Pros
- Price may be lower than high-end, name brand hearing aids bought from a hearing clinic
- TV and audio streaming
- Bluetooth allows it to connect to any Bluetooth enabled device directly
- Allows hands-free phone calls
Kirkland 9.0 Cons
- Not rechargeable
- Does not have a telecoil to deliver customized sound to the patient’s ear in crowded places
- No tinnitus features inside
- Not programmable remotely, so the wearer must go to the hearing specialist for all programming needs
Who is the Kirkland 9.0 best for?
This model offers good value for cost-conscious patients who don’t mind paying over $1,000 for a pair of hearing aids. They cost nearly $1,100 more than MDHearingAid’s pair of hearing aids for $399, but offer quality hearing aids for less than buying them from a hearing center.
Costco recently added Philips hearing aids to their lineup. Traditionally a powerhouse in consumer electronics, Philips-branded hearing aids have been on the market since April 2019.
The brand offers a full range of products and accessories, with the 9010 model being the most popular. Costco only carries two options of the hearing aid, which are behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) styles.
The Philips HearLink 9010
This model uses Demant’s Oticon Open hardware
- Multichannel directionality
- Binaural noise management
- SoundMap noise control
- SoundMap feedback canceller
- Speech guard
- Phoneme and envelope focus
- iPhone friendly
The price is $1249.99 per hearing aid, the top-of-the-line option.
Philips HearLink 9010 Pros
- Offers direct connectivity to Apple products
- Allows streaming TV and radio for an additional cost, patients need to buy separate equipment to stream TV or radio
- Can be used with smart devices in the home
Philips HearLink 9010 Cons
- Doesn’t connect automatically to Android devices
- Cost is higher than Costco’s Kirkland brands
- No tinnitus features
Who is the Philips HearLink best for?
This model is for patients who don’t mind spending $2,550 for a pair of hearing aids and like to spend more for a strong brand and good quality.
The Phillips HearLink is a powerhouse, and likely overkill for most people – but for those with more severe hearing losses or those in demanding acoustic environments, it presents a good option.
The hearing company Sivantos manufactures Rexton hearing aids. Sivantos has been in existence since 1878. In March of 2019, they joined forces with WS Audiology, working together on expanding their hearing aid product offerings.
Their popular hearing aid model at Costco is the Adore iX hearing aid.
The Adore iX
This product uses the MyCore platform
- Six programs
- 20 fine-tuning channels
- Automatic voice detection
- Reverb reducer
- One power level
- One mic directional
- ITE model
The price ranges from $1249.99 to $1499.99 depending on the state.
The Adore iX Pros
- Discreet (In-the-Ear) ITE design
- Allows audio streaming
- Can be used with smart devices in the home
- Silicone tip for a comfortable fit
The Adore iX Cons
- Has one power level compared with other Rexton options like the Adore Li with four power levels
- Battery is not rechargeable
- iPhone friendly, but limited in interaction with Android devices
Who is the Adore iX best for?
This model provides a good fit for patients on the very mild end of hearing loss. The discreet design offers value to those who don’t want to show others they wear a hearing aid – for instance, younger professionals who don’t want to draw attention to their hearing loss.
Since their foundation in Switzerland in 1947, Phonak has built a brand reputation for high-quality, reliable products.
In 2018, Phonak launched their Belong family of hearing aids which cater to both young and old wearers. In 2019, they also added the Phonak Marvel family of aids, but even with all the bells and whistles of these newer lines, the original Phonak Brio 3.0 remains a popular model at Costco.
The Phonak Brio 3.0
This product uses the AutoSense operating system
- Binaural voice stream technology
- Roger wireless
- AutoSense OS
- Bluetooth capability
- Four different receivers
The price starts at $1,400 per hearing aid and goes up from there, making it one of the most expensive options in Costco.
The Phonak Brio 3.0 Pros
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Has a remote app on both Android and iOS to facilitate remote programming
- Enables hands-free calls
- Allows audio and TV streaming
- It is compatible with Bluetooth enabled devices
The Phonak Brio 3.0 Cons
- It is expensive
- Non-rechargeable battery
Who is the Phonak Brio 3.0 best for?
This is an excellent product for someone who lives an active life, needs a versatile product to match their lifestyle, and doesn’t mind paying top dollar. The combination of the four different receivers and remote capabilities allows the wearer to travel or go on an adventure without worrying about programmability and the comfort of the hearing aid. It’s also a good fit for someone who is trendy and loves the colors that the device comes in to match their look – there’s certainly an accessorizing element to the Phonak brand.
GN ReSound offers their Forte and Vida hearing aids in Costco. The two hearing aid lines joined the other branded offerings in 2017. The popular model is the ReSound Vida LiNX Quattro 9. The Vida hearing aids come in different styles including RIC (Receiver-In-Canal), BTE (Behind-the-Ear), and custom but the Linx Quattro is a RIC device.
The ReSound Vida LiNX Quattro 9
This model uses the Premium Plus technology
- Binaural directionality
- Built-in lithium batteries
- Fine-tuning channels
- Resound Assist
- Allows streaming
- Receiver-in-canal technology
- Bluetooth capabilities
The ReSound LiNX Quattro 9 starts at $1249.99 per hearing aid and increases in price from there.
ReSound LiNX Quattro 9 Pros
- Saves power consumption by 20%
- Has a new chip to help control the functionality of the hearing aid
- Has a rechargeable lithium battery
- The hearing aids are small and discreet
ReSound LiNX Quattro 9 Cons
- They are expensive
Who is the ReSound LiNX Quattro 9 best for?
This is an ideal hearing aid for people like entrepreneurs or company executives with busy lifestyles that find them always on the move.
The portable charging case can hold three full charges, allowing the wearer of the hearing aid to charge their device while on the go. It’s an intelligent charger that can switch the hearing aids on and off. The hearing aids are also very discreet, drawing minimal attention to the wearer. Their robustness also makes them an excellent option for people who live in rural areas or those with limited mobility or access to a hearing loss specialist.
Costco offers good hearing at lower prices than the traditional channel, but still cost much more than affordable, high-quality alternatives like MDHearingAid offers.
Should I Buy One Hearing Aid or a Pair?
Scientific studies prove that wearing two hearing aids offers a better experience than wearing a single device. Additionally, it can help prevent future hearing loss and medical conditions like dementia.
Why? Using two hearing aids offers the following advantages.
Improved Ability to Tell Where Sounds are Coming From
Giving each ear the same ability to hear improves the brain’s ability to figure out where sounds come from. The brain uses the split-second differences when sounds hit each ear to help determine where that sound came from, this process is called “localization”. When one ear can’t hear as well as the other, the brain misses this signal. A 2014 study from The Hearing Review listed wearing two hearing aids as the top impacting method to improve localization.
Better Hearing in Background Noise
It can take a person’s brain weeks or even months to retrain itself when people first start wearing hearing aids after years of hearing loss. One thing the brain gets used to again is background noise. Wearing two hearing aids helps the brain cut through the background noise, enabling the user to hear more clearly without straining. To test this, go to a busy coffee shop and wear an earplug in one ear for a few minutes, then remove it. In which situation did you hear more, while straining less?
Can Prevent Further Ear Damage, Auditory Deprivation and Dementia
Wearing two hearing aids holds many health benefits. First, it can prevent “auditory deprivation”, or lack of stimulation to the auditory nerve and associated areas of the brain. Think of this as “use it or lose it.” If you only use one ear to hear, the other stops receiving stimulation, and it makes it more difficult for the brain to interpret sounds appropriately. Over time, the unaided ear will slowly lose the ability to understand speech clearly and accurately. Additionally, having two hearing aids increases the intensity of the signal by about 6 decibels making it easier to hear. Finally, using two hearing aids can prevent cognitive decline like dementia. A 2013 study proved that those with hearing loss significant enough to impact the ability to hear conversations were 24% more likely to experience cognitive decline.
MDHearingAid – An Affordable, High-Quality Alternative to Costco Hearing Aids
MDHearingAid offers affordable, high-quality hearing aids at a fraction of the price of Costco and traditional hearing centers. Founded by an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor in Chicago a decade ago, MDHearingAid’s mission is to provide high-quality, affordable hearing solutions to those that don’t want to pay thousands of dollars per hearing aid.
MDHearingAid’s hearing aids are FDA registered, and customers get their hearing aids delivered directly to their door a few days after ordering.
If questions pop up, customers can easily reach MDHearingAid’s US-based support team on the phone or in email. Each hearing aid comes with a 45-day risk-free trial, and 100% money-back guarantee.
Comparing MDHearingAid’s hearing aids to Costco shows some differences, but both companies operate with a similar underlying purpose – providing affordable, high-quality hearing aids to those who need them the most.
MDHearingAid cuts out the middleman, dramatically lowering the cost of the hearing aids. Customers can buy a pair of MDHearingAid’s advanced hearing aids for $399, saving them more than $1,000 vs Costco hearing aids, and $4,000 vs buying hearing aids through normal channels.
After years of researching the ultra-expensive hearing aids and poring over hearing tests, MDHearingAid’s founder discovered that peoples’ hearing losses often follow a similar pattern. For that reason, MDHearingAid focuses on a narrow range of products that can assist over 94% of Americans with hearing loss. Buyers who are looking for tons of options and fancy extra features, and who don’t mind spending at least an extra $1,000 may prefer Costco or traditional hearing centers.
Advantages of Buying from Costco
- Costco offers many different options in technology and style
- They offer lower prices for the same products compared to other brick-and-mortar providers of hearing aids like ENT specialists or audiologists, but still at least $1,100 more expensive than MDHearingAid
- They offer services like hearing testing by professional hearing specialists
- Higher prices: Costco’s hearing aids cost much more than direct-to-consumer hearing aids like MDHearingAid’s. The cheapest pair of hearing aids at Costco cost $1,500, vs $399 with MDHearingAid.
- Convenience: Buying from Costco requires going to Costco in person and sitting for an appointment. Many people do not live near a Costco. Setting up an appointment and going to the appointment can take up a lot of time. Some Costco locations do not have hearing aid centers, making it hard for patients to find these services or to go back for adjustment appointments.
- Lock-in to Costco: Costco “locks” their software, meaning only Costco centers can program hearing aids bought at Costco. Customers can not take hearing aids bought at Costco to be fit at other hearing centers.
- Experience: Costco often employs hearing instrument specialists. These individuals may provide high quality care, but their licensing usually requires only 6 months of training with hearing aids. In comparison, audiologists and ENT doctors train for years and obtain doctoral level degree in hearing healthcare.
Advantages of Buying from MDHearingAid
- Lack of individualized programming on its more affordable models: Other than the CORE, MDHearingAid’s are not fit to each individual’s hearing loss, but instead focus on the two most prevalent types of hearing loss – flat mild losses and sloping mild to moderate losses. This eliminates the need for lengthy in-person programming visits.
- Cost: MDHearingAid’s hearing aids are extremely affordable, costing more than $1,000 less than Costco and thousands less than the national average of $4,600.
- Ease of use: Customers find MDHearingAid’s hearing aids easy to use. The hearing aids give the user control over the settings, eliminating the need for adjustment appointments at a clinic.
- Convenience: MDHearingAid delivers right to customers’ doors in just a few days after ordering. Every order includes free shipping.
- Lack of ultra high-end features: MDHearingAid’s hearing aids do not include things like TV streaming and the ability to answer phone calls. MDHearingAid focuses on providing excellent, high-quality features that all customers will use, vs. stuffing unneeded features in their hearing aids and charging hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Using hearing aids for TV streaming requires purchasing expensive base stations that require setup. Consumers with hearing loss may be better off using a TV-specific solution like TV Ears.
- No in-person consultation: MDHearingAid’s direct-to-consumer model cuts out the step of doing an in-person consultation with a hearing aid specialist. However, customers with hearing test results can upload their hearing test results and MDHearingAid’s staff audiologists will analyze the test results and recommend the best hearing aid for the customer.
Finding the right hearing aid can be challenging (in no small part because communication is already challenging for those with an impairment!). The best hearing aid service provider is one who meets the fundamental needs of the wearer of the device. Sometimes those needs are not deep feature-oriented but just practical functionality on an affordable budget and simple delivery.
Costco offers a high-quality, varied assortment of hearing aids from well-known vendors at a price point that starts at $1499 per pair of hearing aids – much less than the national average.
MDHearingAid also offers an assortment of high-quality hearing aids, but at a much more affordable price than even Costco. Consumers can buy a pair of high-quality, doctor-designed hearing aids for just $399 with MDHearingAid risk free, and enjoy a better quality of life for a fraction of the cost.
Interested in starting a completely risk-free trial with MDHearingAid? Check out our different models for yourself.
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