Costco Hearing Aids
Costco’s hearing aid centers have been one of the biggest success stories in the hearing aid industry over the past decade. According to a 2017 report from Bernstein Research, sales at Costco hearing centers have grown at approximately 20% per year since 2011, with Costco expected to account for 19 percent of all units sold in the U.S. retail market by 2021.
In addition to offering the convenience of buying your hearing aids and having them serviced at a store you visit frequently, Costco uses its volume buying and distribution clout to offer lower prices for hearing aids than many private hearing aid practices. But remember, you have to join as a regular Costco Wholesale warehouse club member to buy and get service from its hearing aid centers. Memberships start at $60 per year.
And there are some trade-offs that come along with lower prices. Costco doesn’t always carry the latest and greatest (and most expensive) versions of name-brand hearing aids, because manufacturers usually provide them first to private audiology practices. And while the big box store generally gets decent grades for dependable service, it’s less likely you’ll have your hearing aids fitted by a doctor of audiology than by a state-licensed hearing aid dispenser with fewer years of schooling.
Name-brand hearing aids
But the digital programmable hearing aids you receive at Costco are from top name brands. In addition to its own Kirkland Signature brand of hearing aids, Costco sells models from leading global brands Rexton, Phonak, Philips, and as of 2021, Jabra.
In 2022, a Consumer Reports survey rated Costco’s Kirkland Hearing aids first among readers, who appreciated getting premium-brand hearing aids at comparatively low cost:
More than 6 in 10 members said they were completely or very satisfied with their hearing aids. But the survey reveals some differences from brand to brand … Costco’s in-house brand of hearing aids, Kirkland, landed at the top of the ratings, with an Overall Satisfaction score of 78 (out of 100), followed closely by the Phillips, Oticon, and Phonak brands, all at 75.Consumer Reports Magazine
Costco hearing aids come in all form factors, including open-fit behind-the-ear (BTE), custom BTE, receiver-in-the-canal (RIC), and custom in-the-ear (ITE). They also come with a range of up-to-date features, including rechargeability, advanced directional noise suppression, and Bluetooth connectivity (enabling wireless audio streaming). Wireless accessories are also available, like the popular audio transmitters that broadcast audio directly to your hearing aids (for assistance hearing in background noise).
You can make an appointment to schedule a free hearing test at one of Costco’s fully-equipped hearing centers, typically staffed by a state-licensed hearing aid dispenser or audiologist. If you’re worried that your test will be compromised by the din of shoppers in Costco’s large warehouse space, don’t be. Each hearing center has a sound-proof booth designed to provide the optimal conditions for hearing tests.
After filling out a four-page intake form describing your general health, your self-perceived hearing status, and your previous experience with hearing aids (if any), you’ll take a one-hour hearing test in the sound booth. Your provider will administer the test and recommend the hearing aids that best suit your hearing needs.
The hearing test is free (you can take a copy of the test home with you) — and you only pay when you place an order for new hearing aids. And if you need to be fitted with a custom earmold or in-the-ear style hearing aid, the provider will take molds of your ears using earmold impression material. These will be used to manufacture your hearing aids.
When your hearing aids are ready, you’ll return for a follow-up appointment, where your new hearing aids will be programmed to your personal hearing-loss profile using real-ear measurements. Costco offers extended free follow-up appointments for the lifetime of the hearing aids, free hearing-aid cleanings, free check-ups, and free programming adjustments.
The purchase price of all hearing aids includes a standard three-year Costco warranty covering any repairs that may be required, including replacement of your hearing aid if necessary. And it offers a two-year loss-and-damage warranty, with no deductible cost, to replace up to one hearing aid per ear during the warranty period.
Finally, because your provider works on salary, not commission, you won’t have to worry much about a high-pressure sales pitch.
Hearing aid brands sold by Costco
Costco Kirkland Signature hearing aids
Costco is not a manufacturer but rather a retailer. So it offers a range of hearing aids manufactured by others. Its own top-of-the-line Kirkland Signature 10.0 (KS 10) hearing aids are manufactured for Costco by Sonova, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer (which also manufactures Phonak, Unitron and Hansaton hearing aids). They are available now for $1,399.99 per pair at all U.S. Costco Hearing Aid Centers—and the product bundle includes a portable charger.
Kirkland Signature 10.0 - What comes in the box.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the KS 10 is Sonova’s industry-leading Made For All (MFA) universal Bluetooth streaming technology, which enables audio streaming and hands-free control of the hearing aids by your smartphone. Other features include:
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) form factor with rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
- 20 fine-tuning channels, 9 automatic programs, 4 manual programs.
- Premium-level classification of environmental sounds and streamed media with automatic program adjustments for changing listening situations.
- Binaural signal processing, with wireless ear-to-ear coordination between two hearing aids.
- Directional microphones with binaural beamforming for better understanding of speech in noisy environments.
- Direct connectivity to any Bluetooth audio device, with audio streaming to both ears.
- Simultaneous connections to two Bluetooth devices
- Hands-free phone calls with built-in microphones.
- Onboard telecoils to pick up landline calls and hearing loop broadcast audio
In addition, the new KS10 hearing aids offer Sonova’s new motion-sensing technology, also found in the Sonova’s flagship Phonak Audéo Paradise hearing aids. The motion sensors help improve speech understanding when walking and talking, and also enable onboard tap controls that allow the user to answer phone calls, pause/resume streaming, and activate voice assistants.
The new KS10 hearing aids are compatible with the following accessories:
- EasyLine RemoteControl - Features 3 large buttons for changing volume and programs.
- EasyLine Partner Mic - Lapel-worn microphone to pick up the voice of a conversation partner
- EasyLine Power Pack - Offers multiple charges while on the go
- myPhonak app - Provides remote control functionality, access to remote care, personalized noise cancellation, tinnitus relief control, and more
- RogerDirect capability - However, Costco apparently does not sell Roger devices
- TV Connector - Accessory for wireless audio streaming to hearing aids.
The KS 10 hearing aid also comes with a plugin hard-shell charging case, soft carrying case, and cleaning tools.
KS10 alternatives for non-Costco members
If you’re not a Costco member, or don’t live near a Costco, consider test-driving the Phonak Audéo Paradise (P). The technology is similar to what you’ll find in KS10, and you’ll be able to purchase Audéo P at thousands of independent hearing clinics nationwide. If you’re on a tight budget sure to check out the P30 level of Paradise, as the pricing will be closer to what you’d expect to pay at Costco.
Jabra hearing aids from Costco
As of June 2021, Costco now sells Jabra-branded hearing aids starting at $1,799.99 a pair. Jabra is better known for producing wireless earbuds and office headsets, but parent company GN Store Nord A/S (based in Denmark) is now testing the brand name in the hearing health space with the new Jabra Enhance Pro hearing aids, offered exclusively to Costco members.
To anyone familiar with the industry, Jabra Enhance Pro hearing aids look a lot like the latest flagship models from ReSound (also owned by GN)—ReSound One. Enhance Pro and One both offer ReSound’s latest Microphone & Receiver-In-Ear ("M&RIE") technology to provide more natural sound, offer rechargeable form factors, and provide the same suite of apps and wireless accessories.
Jabra Enhance Pro Hearing Aids and Standard Charger
Jabra Elite Pro is currently available in three receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) models, the 61, 61 Rechargable, and 62. The 61 and 62 both use disposable size 312 batteries, while the 61 Rechargeable contains build-in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries (and comes with a charger). The 62 includes a dedicated volume rocker switch and telecoil, while the 61 offers a push button and no telecoil.
All three models offer ReSound popular Made-for-iPhone and Android ASHA wireless audio streaming technology that lets you use your hearing aids like stereo headphones with compatible iOS® and Android™ devices.
They feature advanced sound processing with directional microphones for better understanding of speech in noise, and automatic adjustment optimizing program settings for changes in the sound environment. And the Enhance Pro app allows you to control the hearing aids from your Samsung Galaxy phone, your iPhone, or even your Apple Watch.
Phonak hearing aids from Costco
Phonak, a subsidiary of industry leader Sonova, manufactures Phonak Brio hearing aids for Costco to sell. Brio hearing aids are available in a wide variety of behind-the-ear and in-the-ear models, with the newest Brio 5 models designed for those with severe-to-profound hearing loss. The previous generation Brio (Brio 4) hearing aids are intended to treat mild-to-severe hearing loss.
Phonak Brio 5
Brio 5 is comparable to Phonak’s latest Paradise technology, which is the same technology that powers the KS10. You’ll get the same wireless features, hands-free calling, and telecoils for accessing hearing loops. If you were considering the KS10, but needed a stronger hearing aid to meet your hearing needs, the Brio 5 is likely a great option for you—though it will set you back almost twice the price at $2499.99 for a pair. It’s available with an IP68 dust and water resistant rating, and a large size-675 battery to power extended operating time.
Costco's Phonak Brio 5 comes in four color options.
Brio 5 features Phonak’s sophisticated sound processing system that analyzes your sound environment and automatically adjusts program settings. In Costco lingo Phonak’s AutoSenseOS™ 4.0 is referred to as “Automatic 4.0 Premium”. Learn more about AutoSenseOS 4.0.
Phonak Brio 4
Brio 4, which has been compared to Phonak Marvel, starts at $1,249.99 per hearing aid for a standard behind-the-ear (BTE) model, and $1,349 per hearing aid for a custom in-the-ear (ITE) model. Brio 4 BTE models have often been compared to Phonak’s Bolero M models while the Brio 4 ITE models have been compared to the Virto M. The “M” indicates that the models are part of Phonak’s recent Marvel product family.
The Brio 4 lineup at Costco includes BTE and ITE models, and a series of new Phonak accessories.
You can download the myPhonak app for your smartphone as a remote controller for your Brio 4 hearing aids. The new app allows more granular control of the sound environment, with controls for volume, noise reduction, and “speech focus”. The app also allows you to select listening programs, and may in future facilitate remote hearing care services from Costco.
Brio 4 and 5 work with three wireless accessories from Phonak:
- PartnerMic Easy Line is a wireless accessory small enough to carry in your pocket or clip to your shirt collar, it streams audio directly to both hearing aids via Bluetooth from cell phones, MP3 players, tablets, laptops and computers.
- TV Connector is an accessory that enables direct audio streaming from your TV to your hearing aids, in Dolby sound.
- Remote Control Easy Line is a small, simple remote for volume and program adjustments.
Philips hearing aids from Costco
When top-five hearing aid manufacturer Demant forged a partnership with Philips in the spring of 2019 to produce HearLink hearing aids under the Philips brand, people wondered how the global consumer electronics giant would distribute the high-end products. They quickly got their answer when Costco started to sell the new Philips HearLink hearing aids in its hearing aid centers.
The 2nd generation of Costco's Philips HearLink hearing aids
Costco’s new HearLink hearing aids are priced at $1,799.99 per pair (including charger), and like the last generation, come in receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) and behind-the-ear (BTE) form factors. They are Made for iPhone, providing wireless audio streaming from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and now support direct Android audio streaming through Android ASHA. They also feature multichannel directional microphones, and active noise management responding to changes in your listening environment.
The SoundMap 2 sound processing software in Philips’ HearLink hearing aids benefits from Demant’s “AI sound” and “brain hearing” technologies, which allegedly improve your ability to understand speech in noisy settings. Philips claims that SoundMap 2 “removes noise efficiently” across 24 frequency bands to “create a superb sound quality.”
Costco offers a HearLink app that lets you use your smartphone to change listening programs, adjust volume, mute your hearing aids, activate streaming functions, and even locate your hearing aids when you can’t find them.
Utilizing Philips’ SoundTie 2 technology, Costco also offers wireless accessories, including a Philips AudioClip that streams calls from your Bluetooth-enabled Android smartphone to your hearing aids; a Philips TV adapter that transmits wireless audio directly from the TV to your hearing aids; and a Philips Remote Control which can be used to control volume and program settings and is small enough to carry in your pocket or purse.
The Philips HearLink hearing aids have often been compared to Demant’s Bernafon Alpha hearing aids. Some have even speculated that the Alpha wasn’t released in the USA due to being rebranded as a Philips product. Interestingly, the Alpha has often been compared to Demant’s flagship Oticon More hearing aids.
Rexton hearing aids from Costco
Costo sells Rexton’s M-CORE line of premium hearing aids at prices starting at $899.99 per hearing aid. M-CORE hearing aids feature rechargeability and wireless technology including Made-for-iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth and Android phone connectivity through an optional accessory streamer, and wireless accessories. They also offer Rexton’s My Voice sound processing system, which recognizes the wearer’s individual voice and processes it differently than other voices and sounds to make it sound more natural.
The Costco web site shows prices for Rexton M-Core hearing aids starting at $899.99 per hearing aid, but a disclaimer indicates that “prices may vary by state.” Costco often also charges additional fees for custom molded products, like the Adore Customs, and custom molds for behind-the-ear devices. Accessories are purchased separately.
Rechargeable M-CORE SR, M-CORE IX instant fit, M-CORE 312, and the new REXTON app.
The Rexton M-CORE hearing aids come in a number of form factors, including slim receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) models, traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) models, and small instant-fit in-the-canal (IIC) models with a silicone tip:
- M-CORE SR — Rexton’s M-CORE SR hearing aids have the same form factor as the popular Styletto X hearing aids sold by Signia, a sister company to Rexton (also owned by WS Audiology). They are receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which last 19 hours and can be recharged completely in a three hours. They also come with a mobile charging case that provides four additional days of use. They are Made-for-iPhone hearing aids providing direct wireless connectivity to iPhones. They also provide wireless connectivity with TVs and other Bluetooth-enabled devices via Rexton’s Smart transmitter 2.4 and Smart Mic.
- M-CORE LI — The M-CORE LI hearing aids have a more traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) form factor and run on lithium-ion batteries that provide all-day power with an overnight charge. Like the M-CORE SR, they are Made-for-iPhone hearing aids providing direct wireless connectivity to iPhones, with wireless connectivity to TVs and other Bluetooth-enabled devices via Rexton’s Smart transmitter 2.4 and Smart Mic.
- M-CORE iX — A nearly invisible completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid, M-CORE iX features an “instant fit” design with a soft silicone one-size-fits-all eartip. It has directional microphones and can be controlled with a small remote-control accessory or with the associated smartphone app.
- Adore Custom — M-CORE customs are not currently available from Costco. However, the previous generation technology platform, Adore, offers a full family of custom in-the-ear (ITE) and in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids that exactly conform to the shape of your ear and ear canal. The Costco dispenser takes an impression of your ear and creates an earmold from which the hearing aids are made. The hearing aids provide wireless Made-for-iPhone connectivity as well as connection to TVs and other Bluetooth-enabled devices via the Rexton Smart transmitter 2.4 and Smart Mic.
Available wireless accessories include the Rexton Smart Transmitter 2.4, which streams TV wirelessly to both hearing aids, the Rexton Smart Mic, providing hands-free streaming of phone calls and media, and the Rexton Smart Key, a small remote control with tactile buttons that can be carried in your pocket.
The Rexton new Rexton App let you use your smartphone as a remote controller to adjust hearing aid volume and program settings, and to manage connections with Bluetooth devices.
ReSound hearing aids from Costco
Costco previously sold ReSound Preza and ReSound Vida hearing aid models. They were available in receiver-in-the-canal (RIC), custom behind-the-ear (BTE), and custom in-the-ear (ITE) form factors. ReSound Preza were often been compared to ReSound’s previous generation LiNX Quattro hearing aids. Like the LiNX Quattro, the Preza were capable of streaming audio directly from iOS and compatible Android smartphones.
Costco’s ReSound Preza hearing aids work with ReSound’s popular wireless accessories, including its Micro Mic and Multi Mic remote microphones, its TV Streamer 2 for providing wireless audio to the the hearing aids from the TV, handheld Remote Control 2 for push-button control of your hearing aids, and Phone Clip+ for streaming phones calls to your hearing aids.
Questions to ask when you shop for Costco hearing aids
Buying hearing aids can be very confusing, especially if you’ve never worn them before. There will be plenty of options to consider, even after you’ve chosen a brand and general feature set that you’re comfortable with. Your overall costs will vary depending on which models, features, and accessories you buy. Here are a few things to ask about at Costco:
- Price: The Costco website lists “starting at” prices for most of its hearing aids, but pay close attention to the fine print. Most price listings have notes at the bottom of the page that say “Prices may vary by state.” And different model versions with varying optional features, such as rechargeable batteries, may also carry different prices. For instance, a custom hearing aid model requiring an ear mold impression usually costs about $100 more than the same hearing aid with an open-fit design. You will also pay extra for accessories.
- Warranties: Remember, the purchase price of all Costco hearing aids includes a standard three-year Costco warranty covering any repairs that may be required, including replacement of your hearing aid if necessary. They also come with a two-year loss-and-damage warranty, with no deductible cost, to replace up to one hearing aid per ear during the warranty period. Those warranties are as good as those offered by most name-brand hearing aid makers, if not better. Costco says the warranties are one of the benefits you get from your Costco Wholesale membership.
- Batteries: Disposable hearing aid batteries can cost a hundred dollars a year or more. Costco’s own Kirkland Signature 9.0 hearing aids come with 10 free disposable batteries. For the other brands, Costco will send you home with new batteries in your hearing aids, but no extras. However, you can buy a 40-pack of Varta zinc air disposable hearing aid batteries at Costco for $8.29, which is a great deal compared with what you pay for batteries at CVS or Walgreens.
- Accessories: Remote microphones, TV audio streamers, remote controllers and other accessories are available with most of the hearing aids Costco offers. Prices for the accessories can vary, so be sure to find out the total cost of your purchase including any options you may want.
- Smartphone apps: Most hearing aids now come with dedicated smartphone apps that can be downloaded for free from the manufacturers’ web site or from an app store. The apps can be used to change volume, switch program settings, manage accessory connections, and control the hearing aids in other ways. And if your hearing aids are Bluetooth-compatible, the apps will help you pair your hearing aids with compatible devices.
What’s the net when considering Costco for your hearing aids? Even with costs for extras, you can expect to pay less than at a private audiology practice. You can also expect to get ongoing service and support from licensed hearing aid professionals. And you can expect a good selection of high-performance products with plenty of accessories and connectivity options. But if you’re in the market for the latest and greatest premium models from the top hearing aid brands, or if you want personal attention from a doctor of audiology, you might want to also visit a private audiology practice to compare.
Pros and cons of buying hearing aids at Costco
According to Dr Cliff, the pros of buying at Costco include great hearing aids at a great price, fitted with REMs. The cons, according to Dr Cliff, include locked hearing aids and potentially questionable expertise when it comes to performing REMs testing. Another often mentioned con is long wait times for appointments at some Costcos. Costco also does not offer hearing aid loaners, so if your hearing aid needs to go to the repair facility, you may be without a hearing aid for a while.
Dr Cliff Olson, founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix Arizona, discusses a few reasons why he LOVES that Costco Sells Hearing Aids and a few reasons he doesn't. Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions clicking on the gear icon.
Are Costco hearing aids locked?
For the uninitiated, “locked” hearing aids are programmable only at the point of purchase, or within a closed seller network like Beltone or Miracle-Ear. In January 2022, Costco’s US Operations team told HearingTracker that all Costco hearing aids after the KS 6.0 (released in 2015) are unlocked. This means that you could take your Costco-purchased hearing aids to an independent audiologist, and have them programmed to your needs.