I am constantly asked if Costco’s Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids are any good, considering they only cost $1600. I decided to compare the Kirkland private label brand with their original counterpart, the Signia 7 Nx. Since both of the manufacturers are owned by the same holding group, Sivantos, we should be able to find some similarities.
Full disclosure: I have not been able to get my hands on an actual physical set of Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids because the Costcos in my area have an insanely long waiting list, and I wasn’t willing to wait to review the devices until I could actually get a pair. However, I do have a lot of familiarity with Signia devices and I have the spec sheets for both types of hearing aids.
The Form Factor
The first thing to note when comparing these two devices is the form factor. Side by side, the Kirkland Signature 8.0 and Signia Pure 7Nx devices look very similar. They both use size 312 batteries. They have a rocker switch for program and volume adjustments, and they both use Receiver in the Canal technology. In fact, the receivers of each of these devices are interchangeable. You can also use custom ear molds on either device, if your hearing loss requires it.
The Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids obviously look nearly identical to the Signia devices, but how do they compare in terms of features? Let’s take a look at some of the core features with both of these devices. Both have the same amount of Processing Channels with 48. They both also have the same amount of Adjustment Handles inside of the software at 20, which allows the hearing care provider to customize it closely to your hearing loss prescription. And, they both have 6 available programs inside of the devices that you can choose.
Both devices can connect directly with an iPhone, which will allow you to do any kind of streaming from your iPhone directly into your hearing aids. You can also change programs and volume. If you have an Android phone, you can do all of the same things except you won’t be able to stream any audio directly from that phone into your devices. Both have own voice processing technology; they just call them different things. Signia calls it Own Voice Processing, while Kirkland Signature Hearing Aids calls it My Voice.
This is where the comparisons start to get a little confusing. We know that the Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids are defeatured versions of these Signia devices, but we’re not exactly sure which of these features are eliminated or which of these features are limited. For instance, how good is noise management? Signia devices have speech and noise management with seven adjustable steps. They also have SoundSmoothing and Directional speech enhancement which also gives you three adjustment steps for each one. In the Kirkland Signature 8.0s, it only indicates that noise management is available and that SoundSmoothing has three adjustment steps.
How about feedback cancellation? Signia has really good feedback cancellation, but is this the same feedback cancellation that is in the Kirkland hearing aids? The spec sheet tells us that it has feedback cancellation, but it’s impossible to know if it is as good or if it’s been defeatured from the original.
There is one thing that we see in the Signia spec sheets that we don’t see inside the Kirkland spec sheets – something that we call Input Dynamic Range. Input Dynamic Range is extremely important for hearing better in a background noise situation. It essentially allows more sound into the hearing aid, so the hearing aid has more sound to process. The higher number the better, and Signia’s devices are all the way up to 113. We just have no clue what the Kirkland devices are at.
Other Differences in the Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing aids
There are some things that we know are different between these devices. The first one is Tinnitus Features. Tinnitus Features inside of Signia devices include Noise Notched Therapy and Masking Therapy. Kirkland hearing aids, or any Costco hearing aids for that matter, do not have any kind of Tinnitus Features inside of their devices, so it’s something you need to take into consideration if that’s important to you.
The second thing that’s different is the Frequency Bandwidth. Signia Nx devices have a Frequency Bandwidth all the way up to 12,000 Hertz and the Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids only have a Bandwidth out to 10,000 Hertz. This may not seem like a big difference, but every little bit matters because high frequency is what gives you clarity to speech. In an ideal situation, you want as high frequency as you can get.
Choosing the Right Hearing Care Provider
Overall, the Costco Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids are good hearing aids considering their purchase price of $1600. They are not identical to the Signia 7 Nx line of devices, but they are pretty similar. Just remember, it does not matter how good your hearing aids are unless they have been fit and programmed correctly by your hearing care provider. This is true whether you go to Costco, an independent audiology clinic, or an ENT clinic. If that hearing care provider does not do their job well with extreme amounts of precision, you will not get the full amount of benefit out of those hearing devices. Before you decide to go anywhere, the first thing you should do is make sure that, that hearing care provider knows what they’re doing.