Is Costco a good place to buy hearing aids?

Melissa Wikoff, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

13 March 2018 - 7.89K Views

A big box store is definitely not a place for quality medical care. I shop at big box stores often for essentials like paper towels and soap.  I even use their butchers from time to time.  However, I would never consider entrusting my sense of hearing to them. Seek out a doctor of audiology who intensely trained to care for your hearing.

The best example I can give you is a patient of mine who found me because he was unhappy with his big box hearing aids and was seeking someone who could better program his devices. During his hearing exam, I noticed a few red flags. I asked him if he noticed a difference in hearing between his ears. He explained that the technician at Costco told him he had a “unique hearing loss” and he had been tested there for years. I referred him immediately to an Ear, Nose, and Throat physician and recommended an MRI based on his test results. He called me later to thank me for being so thorough, because it turned out he had an acoustic neuroma. Our ears can be a wi Dow to other health issues, so is important to consider who to trust with your health.

Many people purchase glasses at Costco and equate that to hearing aids. Hearing aids require much more long term care than glasses.  While glasses typically consist of just lenses and frames, hearing aids are far more complex.  They are like tiny computers that sit in your ear.  It’s also a common misconception that hearing aids just make everything louder.  These days they are actually far more sophisticated than that.  They have the ability to programmatically amplify only the frequencies and pitches that you need, adjust to different acoustic environments, help to lower background noise, and much more.  The capabilities are truly amazing.  But like any great piece of technology, they require long-term care. Hearing aids may require repairs, maintenance, reprogramming, and cleaning throughout their life.  This is just another reason why it’s so important to have a good continuous relationship with your audiologist.

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Audiologist in Phoenix

12 March 2018 - 7.97K Views

It depends.  If you can find a Costco with a good provider and you don't mind hearing aids that are mildly de-featured then Costco may be a good option.  If you can't find Costco with a good provider or you want hearing aids that are not de-featured at all then Costco may not be a good option for you.  You also have to consider cost.  Costco hearing aids are significantly cheaper than hearing aids purchased in a typical audiology clinic.  Just make sure they use best practices like Real Ear Measurement when you go for your fitting.

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C. Scott Mills, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

13 March 2018 - 7.89K Views

Costco uses good enough hearing aids. The question you should ask your specific dispenser is "How long have you been dispensing hearing aids?" If the answer is less than 5 years find another place. Like any other professional you hire, your hearing improvement will mostly depend on their experience and expertise. I had a contractor put siding on my house and it turned out awful while another, more experienced contractor reinstalled the exact same siding and it turned out perfectly. I wasn't buying siding as much as I was the expertise of the installer. Your hearing  improvement is exactly the same - the hearing aids are only as good as the dispenser and you need someone with experience. The second question is to ask whether they are a hearing aid specialist or an audiologist. There is a genuine difference in the knowledge base of these two; hearing instruments specialists learn primarily on the job while audiologists first have university training for several years followed by experience on the job. This knowledge difference can be critical to your success, or lack thereof, with hearing aids. 

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Patricia Jo Munson, AuD

Audiologist: Hearing Healthcare Provider

13 March 2018 - 7.9K Views

Similar to the other providers answers, choosing your healthcare professional involves trust, expertise, availability, consistency  as well as rapport!  You may select a Costco and have 3 different providers before you even walk out the door!  What I may suggest is consider a private practice.  Pricing and selection is very dependent upon the needs of each patient and no two patients are exactly alike.  The four pillars of decision making are: budget, audiogram, Hearing goals and cosmetics.   In private practice we are not tied to one manufacturer, our selection is based on achieving your goals!  If that is best hearing possible, wonderful.  If that is budget, wonderful.  Private practice providers have a totally wide open array of selections, much more than “retail” or often even hospital based clinics.   Do your research on the best provider in your area, your ears deserve it!

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Sheri Gostomelsky, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

12 March 2018 - 7.95K Views

It is important to understand that a hearing aid is only part of the solution in treating a hearing loss.  Most studies show that the care you receive has a significant impact on your success.  Where you choose to do business should be your choice.  Are you comfortable with Costco?   Does the provider know what is important to you?  Will the provider be there for you when you need help?  Does the provider use best practices and make evidence based decisions?  Are your hearing needs needs being met?   Remember that any device is only as good as the professional that handles it.  Best of luck.

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Dawn Sanchez

Board Certified and Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist

12 March 2018 - 7.95K Views

This depends on what you are looking for and what kind of service with instruments you require.  Although the price is less than Hearing Aid Practices and Audiology Clinics, you need to check on the quality and experience of the service provider.  A private practice is designed to assist your needs as an individual with whatever product or technology is best suited for your needs.  Most practices have available more than three or four choices from one manufacturer.  Also warranties and battery options should be something to look into.  I wish you well with your research!

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Patricia Jo Munson, AuD

Audiologist: Hearing Healthcare Provider

13 March 2018 - 7.9K Views

Similar to the other providers answers, choosing your healthcare professional involves trust, expertise, availability, consistency  as well as rapport!  You may select a Costco and have 3 different providers before you even walk out the door!  What I may suggest is consider a private practice.  Pricing and selection is very dependent upon the needs of each patient and no two patients are exactly alike.  The four pillars of decision making are: budget, audiogram, Hearing goals and cosmetics.   In private practice we are not tied to one manufacturer, our selection is based on achieving your goals!  If that is best hearing possible, wonderful.  If that is budget, wonderful.  Private practice providers have a totally wide open array of selections, much more than “retail” or often even hospital based clinics.   Do your research on the best provider in your area, your ears deserve it!

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Charles Noble Lednum, III, MA

Staff Audiologist/Owner

13 March 2018 - 7.9K Views

Seriously consider...

If you invest in hearing aids from Costco, not only are ALL of the above and below comments true, but you will be locked into receiving all of your hearing care from only Costco until you replace the aids you bought with new aids that are NOT Costco.  Costco hearing aids can only be programmed by Costco.  If you are having problems with the aids, only a Costco provider can program it.  If there is only 1 provider at Costco, and there is a problem, that is who you will have to see.  If you really like the Costco provider you buy from, and they leave Costco, you will only be able to see the replacement representative.  The best hearing aid in the world will not help if it isn't programmed well today and again when your hearing changes in the future as your hearing very well may change as you age.  Once you "hitch you wagon" to Costco you are with them until you replace your "wagon".  And this is true of all the big box stores selling hearing aids.  Price is important in the purchase, but if you don't receive good hearing for the duration you own the hearing aids (i.e.; follow-up care), have you invested wisely and additionally, really saved anything at all?

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Charles Balyozian, BC-HIS

Hearing Healthcare Provider

12 March 2018 - 7.95K Views

If price is the sole criteria for your choice of amplification, Costco is the place for you. The question you should be asking is “what is the level of commitment of Costco to help me with my hearing loss?” Only you can answer that question.

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