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

Asieh Haririan

Professional Member

20 May 2016 - 42.4K 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 14 August 2017
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!
Member 05 March 2019
What hearing aid is the BEST hearing aid one can get at Costco.  I currently have the Audeo B90-R, but have spent two years trying to get them adjusted to the test results administered and analyzed by a AudD at ENT Clinics in San Antonio TX.  I bought my hearing aids through the internet, knowing that I would have to find an audiologist to serve my needs.  The audiologist was given the results of the ENT Clinic testing.  So shouldn't he be able to match the adjustments NEEDED with the results of the audiometric report that shows him the REM.  I am no audiologist, but having read enough to know that the object of the report is to get the audiologist to adjust the hearing aids to match the REM given on the test result.  SOMEONE, PLEASE HELP ME TO END THIS HORRIBLE ADJUSTMENT JOURNEY (2 YRS) I AM CURRENTLY ON AND BEGIN TO LIVE FROM GOOD AND EFFECTIVE HEARING ADJUSTMENTS. 

Sara Carnevale Fearon, AuD

Doctor of Audiology in Cranston

13 May 2016 - 42.5K 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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Jennifer Waddell

Hearing Aid Specialist, Certified Tinnitus Care Provider in Simpsonville

12 May 2016 - 42.5K 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 11 January 2018
An Audiologist In Melbourne Australia works At Costco knew about the Deaf Kindergarten in Burwood Victoria Australia That I went to Ive been to other Private Audiologist thumbs down. So today Ive been happy with Costco's services mmmm
Member 10 September 2018
Absolutely not a true statement as I checked with Phonak and they said your statement was false. 
Member 24 November 2018

Thank you so much for your comment.

I am having molds done. It did cost me 2700 $.

I hope I will be satisfied. Phonak seems to have a good reputation


Karl G
Karl G 25 March 2017
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.
Member 24 April 2017 Replied to Karl G
Thanks for the information, I was not happy that the previous respondents where all private dealers.
Neilk 19 June 2017 Replied to Member
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.
Member 25 June 2018 Replied to Karl G
I am an engineer. I know Costco has good products, but even the televisions are slightly older versions. Now imagine a device made specifically to optimize listening for brain benefits. I think quality should be a priority. Costco's version of "premium" hearing aids is still old technology. The "features" that you are lining up side by side are just a marketing scheme for the lay person to understand. The ACTUAL technology you are buying (and yes services as well) are the analysis that they can not explain to you, plus its proprietary to each hearing aid company. The better computer the better analysis. Hearing aids ANALYZE your surroundings automatically every millisecond and make automatic changes for noise reduction and microphone clarity. It boils down to those two things in great technology. 1.microphones 2. noise reduction Everything else is bells and whistles and doesnt make or break the technology. Example. YOu are at a funeral service and sitting in the back. You might hear "ok" with Costco's hearing aids in the beginning in small groups, but you might struggle through the service because the speaker is too far away from where you are sitting. Premium heairng aids from private clinics "i.e. Audeo Belong 90" would fare much better in that environment because the analysis is better, all around better microchip, better microphones zooming farther and boosting the voice, and the noise reduction is smarter. Is it easier to ride a bike to work, or drive a car? But arent they both modes of transportation, dont you arrive at the same destination? Remember these hearing aids arent the same technology, just the same company. Ok Lets talk about the schematics of the employees. Costco will employ one audiologist doctor, and a million technicians. YOu might be seen by the doctor if you are lucky, but technicians can be extremely friendly (awesome!) but they do not have even close the qualifications of a doctorate. I read the reviews about their depth of knowledge. Great, the techs are around a lot of hearing aids, lets say they ARE knowledgable about the hearing aids, but they dont understand the foundation for hearing with the brain and why things are programmed a certain way. My ears are two different prescriptions, I know that 99% of technicians are going to fit me by the book (like 100% of my prescription in each ear). I went to an audiologist who said to me, hey youve been left ear dominant and hearing on your left side all of your life, lets make that one a stronger prescription and cut back your weaker ear. This makes sense~! I felt more balanced. It feels better to me, and thats because they used the understanding of how my brain percieves sound to implement their adjustments. They used Neurology with expert sound engineering, together. Sounds easy, but they have a stronger understanding to put into the programming, which Is HOW you will be hearing. The aids can sound like crap if the wrong person touches them. My comment on Karl-What is the point of a sentence test? To see how well you do in background noise? Doesnt everyone struggle in background noise, and shouldnt we assume everyone needs clarity in that arena. Im not impressed by people buttering me up. I want a great hearing aid that works well in background noise whether or not I do an extra unnecessary test. IMPRESSED: So I am impressed with the warranty and benefits you get the hearing aids at Costco. The weird thing is my grandmother got her hearing aids from there and they werent in warranty (2 years old) and needed fixed. They told her she had to buy a whole new pair! Cant they just fix them out of pocket? Not really sure the answer here. Every audiologist I have gone to in the private practice has been able to repair even 10 year old hearing aids, for a few hundred dollars. So all in all. If you do research, its a waste of time. YOu can not possibly understand the analysis the hearing aids do for you, they just water it down for a marketing tactic. Just know you get exactly what you pay for. You want cheaper hearing aids you get slightly cheaper quality, thats ok. They might not last as long and you might struggle certain places, expect that. Ive gone this route, its frustrating and I dont have the time or patience. If you want an medical expert and want to decrease your struggling, go with the best audiologist and see what they recommend. I always go to medical clinics, they have affordable prices and I see the ENT sometimes at the same appointment. Im already spending a couple grand, I spend a little more and get something that is technologically better and lasts longer.
Member 26 July 2018 Replied to Member
Well, you say pay “a little more”. My experience is that the Costco aids cost about 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost of the specialty clinic, most recently $2400 vs $6000. I know I’m not getting cutting edge technology but with the expensive ones, I felt I was getting “experimental” technology and unreliability. Both the clinic and costco had Dr.’s. As they say, “your mileage may vary”.
Professional Member
Professional Member 11 February 2019 Replied to Member
I'm so sorry some of your information is incorrect and you apparently had a poor experience with Costco. We strive daily to meet the needs of our members. However, ALL our hearing aids come with a 36 month warranty and at least 24 month loss and damage. This is in writing on ALL our Purchase Agreements. Additionally, Costco only dispenses 4 of the top 6 manufacturers, and then only their latest PREMIUM technology. I've been a Nationally Board Certified Hearing Insrument Specialist for over 20yrs and served on our state's Hearing Instrument Dealers Board for 9yrs. I have up private practice 8yrs ago because it is impossible to offer Costco membership benefits and hearing healthcare savings without a large group. Costco is now the number 1 dispenser of hearing aids in the United States. We would love to have you schedule an appointment and check out how we can benefit you 
Member 14 February 2019 Replied to Professional Member

I need to upgrade my Resound hearing Aides that AI bought from Costco two years ago. I recently went to my ENT whose audiologist wanted to sell me Evoke Beyond 440 hearing aides for $6500. 

I spoke with our local Costco in Houston and he has Phonak Brio 3RC for $2500.

Is there a big difference?

I like the ability to Sinc to my Iphone etc. 


David Wolf, 

Member 10 April 2019 Replied to Professional Member
Thanks for clarifying,  my husband  has Costco  Brio3, they are working great for him, I am getting ready to be tested at Costco.  I went to a competitor and didn't feel I got a good exam, it wasn't a sound proof room.  I am not able to pay 5500$. I know they have overhead but they are grossly overpriced.
Member 31 August 2019 Replied to Professional Member
Which 4 manufacturers do you offer?
Member 05 August 2018 Replied to Member
There are a few independent hearing aid repair labs that you can send your hearing aids to directly for repair. Some don’t do programming. So I would question any practice that says they can’t repair them. I found one place that only charges $ 199.95.
Member 26 October 2018 Replied to Member
$199.95? Where?
Member 22 October 2018 Replied to Member
While there is validity to some of your comments, the cost factor is extremely important to MOST people!   If a am getting 1 generation older technology for 1/3 the price AND if that technology meets MY needs, I am HAPPY! 
Member 04 February 2019 Replied to Member
I have Phonak's from Costco. I can't compare them to others but I can comment on how Costco has handled problems. Mine were in warranty for three years. I'm now in my 4th year. I visited Costco today with some minor issues. They did a thorough cleaning on site which seemed to help. They said that if it does not help they could be sent back to the manufacturer for an overhaul for $135 - no need to purchase new ones. I was also told that the overhaul usually resulted in receiving a new pair - not sure how I would ever know this.  But the point is that there is no need to buy a new pair. When I asked how I know when it's time to buy new hearing aids, their answer was, when I want to upgrade to newer technology. They were not trying to convince me that the ones I have will go bad.
Member 22 October 2018 Replied to Karl G
Thank you for your honest comments.
Member 27 April 2017
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.
Member 11 June 2017 Replied to Member
Amen. Costco helped me when private, much more expensive, PhD audiologists did not. More tests, more service.
Member 25 August 2018 Replied to Member
Thanks for your review. There certainly are some very slanted & varying opinions on this!  I compared the Phonak Brio 3 to the Kirkland's KS8.0 (both at Costco). I'd planned on getting the KS for $1600 & it would have been very adequate.  I was surprised at the difference with the Phonak; very noticeable!  And this was just with the demo models. Phonak, for me, had a more natural sound, was a little more user friendly, especially with its volume controls. It uses larger battery (13) which last up to twice as long, but the case is actually a little more compact than the KS, which uses a smaller battery (312). And not that I needed a few of the bells & whistles but it has some I will actually use. They are $2400, & at first I said "no way", but as I tried them out in the store & I was impressed with the difference.  Can hardly wait to get them!  Also at the private store I had to pay almost $5000 for the "best" in order to get a 3 year warranty, then with each decreasing model, the warranty dropped to 2, then only 1 year.  And of course with Costco, I can take them to any other Costco.
Wong F
Wong F 12 July 2017
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!
Member 22 July 2017
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
John V
John V 29 January 2019 Replied to Member
I am at the exact same place. The only different, Jan 2019 the cost for the B is higher.What did you do, how did it work out? thank you
Member 20 September 2017
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.
Member 28 September 2017
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. I did not get an instruction book for this feature.
Member 11 October 2017 Replied to Member
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.
Member 16 December 2017
I have Costco Phonak (BTE) with com pilot hearing aids which I purchased in Australia about 4 years ago. I moved to New Zealand where there is no Costco. I saw an advert for free hearing test so went along, I needed the hearing aids adjusted as my hearing had changed. They adjusted the hearing aid and made a fitted moulded dome rather than the costco soft dome. cost about $90 each) They also updated the software on the com pilot so that I can change sound to 5 different tupes depending where I am. I am so happy with Phonak from Costco. By the way the audiologist said that the model I had was the same as their Phonak. When ever I need a replacement I will fly to Australia and bring it back to NZ and get it programed here.
Member 27 February 2018
I am a customer that is about to get a Costco Phonak Brio 3 BTE hearing aid. I have done extensive searches on the Bolero B and the Brio 3. The Phonak website says the Bolero B is the latest technology. The Phonak website also lists the feature of both the Bolero B90 and the Breo 3. In comparing these features the wording is exactly the same for all but a couple of the features. The Brio 3 does not have the streaming capability that the Bolero has. But I don't want that and would not use it if I had it. The features are not listed in the same order so you have to rearrange them and put the same wording next to each other. Since both have most of the same features it would appear that both probably have the same circuit technology. Costco probably requested that the streaming part be left out to keep the price down. I will get my hearing aids this Friday and will update this when I have tried them for a while. I also like that the Bolero B90 and the Brio 3 have regular non-rechargeable batteries. If I can't get to a charger within 24 hours I want to have a battery that will last a week and I can carry some in my pocket if I need them.
Member 25 April 2018
what are the feature included in Brio 3 phonak hearing aids?
Member 08 August 2018 Replied to Member
Member 25 April 2018
what are the features included in Brio 3 hearing aid phonak?
Member 08 June 2018
What are the differences between Brio 3 R-10, R 312T and R-13 models?
Member 13 December 2018 Replied to Member

Physical dimensions and battery.  Generally, functionally equivalent.  The 10 doesn't have Telecoil; the 10 and 312 don't have volume control button.

See my next post for where to find details.

Member 13 December 2018

The validity of any answer will depend on how much time has lapsed since it was entered and when you are reading it, given that the models available at Costco generally lag 6 months to a year behind their counterparts in the retail environment.  

I have been comparing the Costco RIC models of the Phonak Brio 3 line with the 'retail' Audeo B line.  As of the date of this posting, my short answer would be:

The Brio 3 R line is essentially equivalent to the top end of the Audeo B line.  I believe the hardware is equivalent and the software is virtually equivalent.

I assume this would hold true for Brio 3 B and Brio 3 I compared to the comparable retail models as well. 

I am basing this on a comparison of the following documents I found on line:

There is a statement in the last document listed that states, "Any Belong™ supporting evidence can be applied to Brio 3 due to equivalencies in function."  As far as I know the Audeo B are still based on the Belong platform.  (Note that this is not the latest Phonak platform. They have just (fall/winter 2018) released the Marvel platform for the RIC models. Who knows when and if this will get to Costco. Fingers crossed...)

Comparing programs and features reveals the Brio and Audeo to be virtually equivalent.  The only significant difference I have been able to determine is that the Brio line lacks the Tinnitus Balance adjustment.  I understand that there may also be some differences in the programming used by the audiologist/technician in a clinical/retail environment vs. Costco.

With that said, the current (as of now) Costco models line up with the Audeo models as follows:

  • Brio 3 R-10 = Audeo B-10 B90.
  • Brio 3 R-312T = Audeo B-312T B90.
  • Brio 3 R-13 = Audeo B-13 B90.
  • Brio 3 R-C = Audeo B Direct (I am assuming B90).
  • Brio 3 R-R = Audeo B R-R (I am assuming B90).

Hope this helps...

Member 06 January 2019 Replied to Member

I am deaf in one ear, due to tinnitus.  So, I'm looking at the CROS technology for my bad ear.  These look like hearing aids, but only have a microphone, not the hearing aid functions.  They go in your bad or very weak ear, and transmit the sounds on your weak side to the hearing aid in your better ear.  

Costco doesn't carry any CROS devices, including the Phonak CROS hearing devices.  I don't know if the CROS will help me, or if I will be better off with just one hearing aid for my better ear.  But, I don't even have the option of trying it at Costco.  Also, my local Costco doesn't have an audiologist, and I don't want someone with significantly less knowledge to program my hearing aids.  I don't have "typical" hearing loss (I don't think anyone does), so I want the best professional I can get.  

After extensive searching, and research on the Internet, I found  They have great reviews, and they are authorized dealers for Phonak and Widex (I called the companies to verify).  They referred me to a local hearing specialist who has two audiologists, both with many years of experience, and licensed support staff.  Everyone who needs a license has one (I verified this with my state licensing board).  The top-of-the-line prices for both Phonak and Widex were $2,249 for one hearing aid, compared to my audiologist, who wanted $3,200 for one (after my insurance discount).  For the CROS, ZipHearing is $1,299, compared to my audiologist's price of $2,000.  ZipHearing's prices aren't as good as at Costco, but I do believe in "you get what you pay for", and I think the ZipHearing program is a good compromise.  For me, I would be saving about $1,700 compared to my audiologist's prices.  And, if the CROS can help me, Costco doesn't have that technology.  

Hopefully, I'll be very happy with my $900 to $1,700 savings, whether I end up with a CROS or just the one hearing aid with all the bells and whistles, including direct connection to my Android phone (very unusual, except in the very newest models.)

Best of luck to everyone looking for hearing aids, and Happy New Year!

Member 11 February 2019 Replied to Member

If the Brio 3R-312T is equal to the Audeo B-312T B90, then Costco is offering a great buy.  The Phonak Brio 3 that is available at Cosco's Hearing Center only shows the Brio 3 B, Brio 3 R, and Brio 3 I and doesn't mention Phonak's different capability identifications, best to worse, B90, B70, B50, and B30.  At the Cosco's in New Orleans a pair of the Brio 3R sell for $3,000.  ZipHearing, which discounts the Phonak Audeo B complete with a local audiologist to adjust the hearing aid several times during the trial period, lists a pair of the different aids as: B90 - $4,598, B70 - $3,498, B50 - $2,698, and B30 - $2,298.  So, if everything else is the same, Cosco is offering a good deal if their aid is a B90 or B70, but you can get a better deal from ZipHearing if it's a B50 or B30.

Member 19 April 2019 Replied to Member
Thank you for this concise synopsis!!  You have saved me a ton of time and while I have already done a good amount of investigation between the Phonak aids available at Costco vs my audiologist, your comments clarified this so much better. Thank you!!!!!!
Member 10 February 2019

I bought a Starkey Halo iQ hearing aid from Zip Hearing in February 2018 for $3,900, then after the 45 day trial period I replaced it with a Phonak Audeo B70R for $3,598, which I also turned back in after the second 45 day trial period.  A month later I bought a Sam's Engage 32 for $2,868 and once again turned it back after Sams 90 day trial period.  All three hearing aids were adjusted by a professional audiologist several times during the trial periods.  Since then I have been doing without a hearing aid.

The main reason I returned these three hearing aids is that none of them reduced background noise liked their advertisements promised.  I could stand 15 feet away from a single sound source and rotate around and not notice any sound level change as I rotated.  I could sit across from my friend in a crowded restaurant and my understanding of her words was the same with the hearing aid turned on or off.  The first audiologist told me that these hearing aids don't really reduce conversation noise in a restaurant and the second audiologist said that my friend should sit with her back against the wall.

Also, the Sam's hearing aid had feedback when it got close to my hand, car door, or any close object.

So, does Cosco sell any hearing aids that really reduce this type of background noise?

Abram Bailey, AuD
Abram Bailey, AuD 10 February 2019 Replied to Member

You should look into remote microphones. Dr Cliff talks about it in this video

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