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 - 26718 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 - about 1 year 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 - 26757 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

Hearing Healthcare Provider in Simpsonville

12 May 2016 - 26764 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 Member - 7 months ago
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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

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Member Karl G. - over 1 year 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 - over 1 year 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 - about 1 year 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 - about 2 months ago
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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.

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Member Member - 19 days ago
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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”.

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Member Member - 9 days ago
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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.

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Member Member - over 1 year 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 - about 1 year 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. - about 1 year ago
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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 - about 1 year 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 - 11 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 - 11 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 - 10 months 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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Member Member - 8 months ago
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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.

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Member Member - 6 months ago
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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.

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Member Member - 4 months ago
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what are the feature included in Brio 3 phonak hearing aids?

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Member Member - 6 days ago
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hmills8867@aol.com

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Member Member - 4 months ago
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what are the features included in Brio 3 hearing aid phonak?

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Member Member - 2 months ago
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What are the differences between Brio 3 R-10, R 312T and R-13 models?

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