Are there any differences between normal Phonak hearing aids and the Phonak hearing aids sold at Costco, in terms of quality and performance?

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Asieh hariran
Asieh Haririan, BSc - Hearing Healthcare Provider in North Vancouver
20 May 2016 - 16494 Views

Audeo uses a newer chip built and introduced to the market at the beginning of 2015, whereas Brio uses an older chip built in 2012. A few benefits of the newer chip in Audeo 90 are: Automatic Auto sense, comfort in car, comfort in echo, and good quality of music.

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Member Member - 3 months ago
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I am a consumer who depends on my hearing aids to live a normal, fully functional life. I currently am fitted with 4 year old Phonak Bolero aids which I would like to replace with the newer Phonak V chip technology available in the Audeo aids. I just visited my local Costco hearing aid center and spoke with an assistant (not their Audiologist) who told me that their Brio 2 aids in fact incorporate recent technology that is comparable, if not identical, to the Audeo V-90 aids. I have also read actual consumer reviews from users who have been fitted with the Brio 2 aids who state categorically that the features and functionality of these devices do in fact closely correspond to those of the Audeo devices which you have described as newer and more advanced technology. I find it depressing and frustrating that there seems to be a huge discrepancy between the information given out by private Providers and that from Costco. I am led to believe that this discrepancy derives from competition for business; how else to account for it? And who is a consumer like myself to believe? This does a HUGE disservice to people like me and speaks very poorly to the professionalism or lack thereof of your profession. Very unfortunate!

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Sara Carnevale Fearon, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Cranston
13 May 2016 - 16533 Views
The Phoank Brio is the line available at Costco. The new Audeo models (Vs) run on a newer/faster computer chip and therefore give better sound quality. They have some other new features including a wind noise reducer (one of the biggest hearing aid complaints is wind noise). Basically, the Brio is an older version of Phonak's technology - depending on your personal needs it may work for you. It is important for you to know that hearing is not like vision. Everyone perceives sound differently. Hearing aids typically need at least a few personalized adjustments before you are hearing your best. Most of the economy lines of hearing aids can only be programmed at Costco. An audiologist in private practice is able to provide you a higher level of service - including as many programming/adjustment appointments as you need. Good luck!
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Jennpic
Jennifer Waddell, HIS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Simpsonville
12 May 2016 - 16540 Views

The Phonak Brio is a specially made product only sold at Costco warehouses.  It is not the exact same product and doesn't have the same exact features as the regular line we carry in our private hearing practices.  You will find that warehouses typically carry economy lines made by the major manufacturers.  Some of these lines can only be programmed by Costco.  Most economy lines are not the latest models or technology made by the manufacturer, which is why they are less expensive.  The products are not bad by any means, but there are factors to consider beyond price.  Programming hearing instruments is very technical and takes high skill to do correctly, especially with higher levels of hearing loss. The software to program normally is just a starting point, the skills of the hearing professional come into play in setting it correctly.  I find that there are more advanced options available and I don't want to be limited by offering just very limited and specific lines.  As a private practice I can provide more catering to specific needs and spend more time with my patients setting the aids correctly.  Many times the professionals in warehouses are starting out in the business and have limited programming skills or too many patients to maintain to spend a lot of time with you.  Ask lots of questions and find out why they are recommending a specific aid, see if it's the best fit for your hearing loss or is it just because that's one of the very few options available in their line of products.  The same can be said of franchises that offer just one brand.  If you aren't as concerned about a precise fitting, price is the biggest factor (you'll spend a little more at private practice) or you have more of a minor loss, then a warehouse setting may work for your needs. Thanks for the question and for taking the time to educate yourself!  Learning about the options and brands before making a huge investment is key, especially when it regards your hearing!  Best of luck to you.

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Member Karl G. - 8 months ago
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WHO I AM:
I am not a doctor or in the hearing profession. Nor am I associated at all with Costco - other than being a member.
PRODUCT:
I have been told that in Canada, Costco sells specially tailored 'premium' aids from the various manufacturers. Their Kirkland series may change at times, based on bids from various manufacturers. There has to be some difference (usually one or two missing features) in order to be fair to private dealers. In the Brio 2 line, this is the Tinitus masking feature. Currently (March 2017) their Brio 2 (newer than previous Brio line) has all the features mentioned above - auto programs, phone app etc, as much as any aid has to offer. It is obviously premium hearing aid, easily judged by doing your research.
QUALIFICATIONS:
Check the store, but the one I am dealing with has a Doctor of Audiology (who BTW was as thorough as any I've had, if not more so - I even had a sentence test there I did not have at my private Aud just weeks ago). You can also check the practitioners credentials. Ask for a business card, or just plain ask! I am sure experience is dependent on store and staff, but so far, Costco is in the running like any other - private or otherwise.
BENEFITS:
In Canada, you also get any follow-up appointment, adjustments and simple replacement parts, with your membership. As well, you may get up to 3 years warranty and one time loss or damage (i.e. Brio 2). Some aids (if bought in pairs) include an accessory of choice. However, these inclusions and pricing specials are all specific to the aid and brand.

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Member Member - 7 months ago
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Thanks for the information, I was not happy that the previous respondents where all private dealers.

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Member Member - 5 months ago
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My Costco guy was a repairman for a major hearing aid brand before moving on to Costco. He is quite adept and very thorough in setting up hearing aids. His exam was more thorough than any I had previously at HearX and at a private practice. He also did not rush me out the door, took his time, and gave me a complete demo in the noisy store, something the others did not do.

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Member Member - 7 months ago
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I have the Brio 2 and very happy with it. I have worn hearing aids for 38 years and have always used a private practice. I will now only go to costco, I get hearing aids at half the price, better service, better warranty and can use any costco in the nation. I hear great with the brio 2's actually better than the ones i returned to my private practice.

I can understand why a private practice would be against costco, being they charge double the amount and could put them out of business.

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Member Member - 5 months ago
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Amen. Costco helped me when private, much more expensive, PhD audiologists did not. More tests, more service.

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Member Wong F. - 4 months ago
Xds9x3a

I recently bought a Brio 2 ($1400) for my mum. After some research, Brio 2 is roughly equivalent to Phonak V90 in fuctionality (retail $2000++). According to a Costco audiologist, the chipset for Brio 2 is 30% faster than Brio. I would say Brio 2 is quite updated in terms of technology and is definitely not an "old model". Costco also provide consultations and all follow-ups for free, the only cost your are paying would be the headsets. Hope this helps!

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Member Member - 4 months ago
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I am using the Phonak Audeo B on a trial basis from aprivate audiologist the cost for both is 4200.00
I checked at Costco who has the Phonak Brio for half as much
I am totally confused

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Member Member - about 2 months ago
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I am a Costco Member. I have needed hearing aids for awhile. I started asking around and more and more people were telling me to go to Costco. That they had purchased the expensive ones and Costco's were the same or better! The technician that worked with me was very knowledgeable. He had work for two different companies before and and was very impressed with the quality of the Brio 2 and that it was identical to the Audeo B. I got mine last night. It has been awesome. I am not having any problems with them. I love that I have an 180 day trial period, 3 year manufactures warranty, 1 time each ear damage or loss replacement and lifetime cleanings and adjustments. I have mild to mostly moderate hearing loss. It is fun to hear the little things I have been missing. For the next few months I will be at 80%,,,,then a few months at 90% ....then 100%. I love that! Ease into getting used to the aids. Last night I went to a dinner with a group of ladies....I heard everything....It was very exciting not to keep missing things. I would recommend Costco Hearing aids to everyone.

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Member Member - about 2 months ago
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I just purchased the Phonak. brio 2 R-312T. It has a push button to make them louder and lower. Now I have them too low how do I raise the volume back up. pjabay35@yahoo.com. I did not get an instruction book for this feature.

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Member Member - about 1 month ago
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I'm sure you figured it out by now but the button on the right one turns them up...the button on the left one turns them down.

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