TVs and computers are not the only types of technology one can find at Costco. Many Costco centers around the country sell quality hearing aids at affordable prices. In fact, hearing aids are the company’s second largest money maker behind wine. Before you grab your membership card and rush out to your nearest Costco to purchase hearing devices, it is important to first understand the pros and cons of Costco hearing aids.
Pros of Costco Hearing Aids
Costco is one of the single largest purchasers of hearing aids in the entire industry. Because they purchase such a huge quantity of hearing aids from manufacturers, they are able to drive the prices down significantly, and then pass those savings along to their members.
Kirkland brand premium hearing aids are good quality hearing devices that will cost you about $1600 per pair, which is about half the price you can expect to pay for name-brand hearing aids you can also purchase at Costco such as Rexton, Phonak or ReSound.
Costco hearing aids are made by reputable manufacturers, and the quality is pretty good. When reviewing feature comparison charts, you can see that premium Kirkland hearing aid technology is quite comparable to the technology found in other premium aids.
Hearing Healthcare Professionals (at select locations)
Some Costco centers choose to hire certified hearing healthcare professionals such as audiologists or hearing instrument specialists. Having your hearing aid fitted and programmed by a skilled professional is imperative to having them work well for you. In fact, getting appropriate fittings from professionals who use real ear measures is more important than the actual hearing aid or its features.
If you choose to purchase hearing aids from Costco, please ensure you choose a location that hires a hearing healthcare professional!
Cons of Costco Hearing Aids
Low Number of Repeat Customers
Independent and credible industry sources report that only about 20-25% of first-time hearing aid users purchase a second set of hearing aids from Costco. This means that about 75-80% of first-time users either decide to quit using hearing aids or purchase them elsewhere. This could be explained one of two ways. Either most Costco locations are not using best practices such as real ear measures, or they are not offering a very positive patient experience. Either way, a return customer rate this low definitely triggers a red flag.
Some Aids are Locked
Some of the hearing aids sold by Costco are “locked”. A locked hearing aid prevents the wearer from taking the hearing aids anywhere other than Costco for adjustments, fittings, or repair. If you move to a new city that does not have a Costco or you find you want to look into other clinics for any reason, you will not be able to do so with a pair of hearing aids that have been locked by Costco.
Hearing Aids are De-Featured
While feature comparisons between Costco hearing aids and those purchased in audiology clinics are similar, some of Costco hearing aids may be de-featured. Representatives from manufacturers have disclosed that the hearing aids they sell to Costco have had some of their advanced features removed. If you struggle in some environments with your Costco hearing aids, the issue may not be with you. It may be that your hearing aids are missing the feature that would best help you in that particular situation.
Long Wait Times
Some Costco customers have reported very long wait times for an appointment to get hearing aids in some areas. We often have patients come to our clinic who decided against Costco hearing aids because they did not want to wait a month or more for their devices. These customers are also nervous that if something ever goes wrong with their aids, there might be another long wait time before they can get into a Costco to get their issue resolved.
Costco sells quality hearing aids at affordable prices; however, it is not right for everyone. Once you understand the pros and cons of purchasing your hearing aids through a big box retailer such as Costco, you can make an informed decision on whether or not it is right for you.