Costco Hearing Aids
Models, Features, Prices, and Reviews
23 February 2020
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, ReSound, Phonak, and Philips.
In 2019, a Consumer Reports survey rated Costco’s Kirkland Hearing aids first among readers, who appreciated getting premium-brand hearing aids at comparatively low cost:
Costco’s in-house brand of hearing aids, Kirkland, landed at the top of the ratings, with a reader score for Overall Satisfaction of 76 (out of 100)....Costco's Kirkland brand was the only brand to receive top marks from members for value, which we defined as satisfaction with a hearing aid’s performance vs. its cost.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 after you’ve been fitted with 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 9.0 (KS 9) hearing aids currently are manufactured for Costco by Sonova, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer (which also manufactures Phonak, Unitron and Hansaton hearing aids). Prices for the KS 9 start at $1,499 per pair.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the KS 9 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. However, Sonova has indicated that the KS 9 hearing aids are unique and not exactly equivalent to products from Sonova’s other brands. Other features include:
- Receiver-in-canal (RIC) form factor with 312 battery.
- 20 fine-tuning channels, 9 automatic programs, 3 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 phone with audio streaming to both ears.
- Hands-free phone calls with built-in microphones.
- TV Connector accessory for wireless audio streaming to hearing aids.
- Telecoil option is available upon request. Multiple unofficial sources have confirmed.
There is currently no rechargeable model and tinnitus therapy for the KS 9. The KS 9 is also not compatible with Sonova’s popular Roger remote-microphone system. For those options, the reader is encouraged to check out Sonova’s flagship Audéo Marvel hearing aids.
The KS 9 hearing aid also comes with a carrying case, cleaning tools, and ten free disposable hearing aid batteries to get you through the first several weeks of wear before you have to re-stock.
ReSound hearing aids from Costco
Costco sells ReSound Preza and ReSound Vida hearing aid models. They are available in receiver-in-the-canal (RIC), custom behind-the-ear (BTE), and custom in-the-ear (ITE) form factors. And they integrate ReSound’s popular Made-for-iPhone wireless audio streaming technology that lets you use your hearing aids like stereo headphones with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.
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 there are apps to control the hearing aids from your Samsung Galaxy phone, your iPhone, or even your Apple Watch.
ReSound Preza hearing aids come with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that offer 30 hours of uninterrupted power. They are Made-for-iPhone hearing aids and are priced starting at $1,249.99 each, with a portable charging case for an additional $199.99. They have often been compared to ReSound’s flagship LiNX Quattro hearing aids. Like the LiNX Quattro, the Preza are capable of streaming audio directly from Android smartphones, granted they are Android 10 and Bluetooth 5+ compatible.
ReSound Vida hearing aids, starting at $1,249.99 each, include a range of custom and BTE form factors. They are powered by disposable batteries, offer ReSound’s directional microphones and advanced sound processing, and provide smartphone connectivity and streaming through a ReSound Phone Clip+ accessory.
Costco’s ReSound Preza and ReSound Vida 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.
Phonak hearing aids from Costco
Phonak, a subsidiary of industry leader Sonova, manufactures Phonak Brio 3 hearing aids for Costco to sell. The Brio 3 hearing aids start at $1,249.99 per hearing aid for a standard behind-the-ear (BTE) model, and at $1,349 per hearing aid for a custom in-the-ear (ITE) model. The Brio 3 hearing aids have often been compared to Phonak’s Audéo B, Bolero B, and Virto B hearing aids.
They also feature Phonak’s sophisticated sound processing system that analyzes your sound environment and automatically adjusts program settings. You can also download the Phonak Remote app for your smartphone as a remote controller for your hearing aids.
The Brio 3 hearing aids also work with the Phonak ComPilot Air II clip-on streamer. 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.
The ComPilot Air II also works with the Phonak TVLink accessory to hear TV audio in both Brio hearing aids, and with the Phonak RemoteMic accessory for better understanding over distance.
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 Costco Philips HearLink hearing aids, priced at $1,249.99 per hearing aid, 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 directly to your hearing aids. They also feature multichannel directional microphones, and active noise management responding to changes in your listening environment.
The SoundMap sound processing software in Philips HearLink hearing aids benefits from Demant’s “brain hearing” technology, which improves your ability to understand speech in noisy settings. Costco promotes SoundMap’s “three sound processing pillars: effective noise control, advanced amplification, and groundbreaking feedback cancellation.”
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 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 Viron hearing aids. Some have even speculated that the Viron wasn’t released in the USA due to being rebranded as a Philips product. Interestingly, the Viron has often been compared to Demant’s flagship Oticon Opn S hearing aids.
Rexton hearing aids from Costco
Costo sells Rexton’s Adore line of premium hearing aids at prices ranging from $1,249.99 to $1,449.99 per hearing aid. The Rexton Adore hearing aids feature rechargeability and wireless technology including Made-for-iPhone connectivity, Bluetooth 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 Adore ranging from $1,249.99 to $1,449.99 per hearing aid. But (as of February 2020) it also has a fantastic special price of $1.799.99 for a pair of rechargeable Adore LI receiver-in-canal hearing aids along with the accessory overnight charger.
The Rexton Adore hearing aids come in four models, ranging from a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) with a slim form factor, an open-fit behind-the-ear (BTE) model, a small in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aid with a one-size-fits-all silicone tip, and custom in-the-ear (ITE) models:
- Adore Styline — Rexton is a subsidiary of WS Audiology, and its Adore Styline hearing aids that have the same form factor as the popular Styletto hearing aids from Signia, a sister company also owned by WS Audiology. They are receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and they come with a mobile charging case which, when can be charged overnight and then offers up to three full all-day charges of the hearing aids. 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.
- Adore LI — The Adore 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 Adore Skylines, 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.
- Adore iX — a nearly invisible completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid, Adore 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 — New Adore in-the-ear (ITE) and in-the-canal (ITC) custom hearing aids 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 Connexx Smart Direct App and Connexx Smart Remote 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.
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.