Pros & Cons Of Costco Hearing Aids

Pros & Cons Of Costco Hearing Aids

– In this video, I’m gonna
tell you everything you need to know about buying hearing
aids from Costco, comin up. (upbeat contemporary music) Hi guys, Cliff Olson, Doctor
of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions
in Anthem, Arizona. And on this channel, I cover a bunch of hearing
related information to help make you a
better informed consumer. So if you’re into that, consider hitting the subscribe button. Costco is one of the
single largest purchasers of hearing aids in the entire industry. And because they purchase
so many hearing aids from these manufacturers, they’re generally able
to drive the price down and pass that savings on to you. But hearing aids are also the
second biggest money maker for Costco right behind wine. So before you jump off your
couch and go throw some of your hard earned money at them, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying hearing aids from Costco. Pro number one is that their
hearing aids are cheap. And I don’t mean cheap as
in they’re a crappy product, I mean cheap as in you get a good product for a really low price. In fact, the premium Kirkland
Signature brand will only cost you $1600 for a pair which
is about half of the amount that you’ll spend on a
name brand Rexton, Phonak, Burnafon, or Resound hearing aid that you can also get at Costco. Pro number two is that their hearing aids are actually pretty good. In fact, their hearing aids are made by reputable manufacturers. And when you look at
product comparison charts, you can see the the premium
level Costco technology is very comparable to
premium level technology that you would get inside
of a hearing clinic. Pro number three is that
some Costcos have experienced audiologists and hearing
instrument specialists. Having a well trained and experienced hearing care professional
is extremely important. In fact, it’s even more
important than the hearing aids that you buy. Fitting a pair of hearing
aids very well is more than just hitting the auto program button in the computer software. Fortunately, there are some
good hearing care professionals that work at Costco. You just have to make
sure that you find one. All right, that’s it for the pros. Let’s go ahead and get into the cons. Con number one, only
20 to 25% of first time hearing aid users purchase a second set of hearing aids from Costco. These low numbers are from
credible industry sources. And the way I see it, there
are only two possible reasons for these numbers being so low. Either Costcos are not
following best practices which include real ear measurement, or these Costcos are not providing a very good patient experience. Either way, such a low
percentage of returning customers is definitely a red flag. Con number two is that
some of the hearing aids Costco sell are locked. When Costco locks their hearing aids, it effectively prevents you
from taking those hearing aids to anywhere else other
than another Costco. And so, if you move to a
completely different city that does not have access to a Costco, then you are essentially
out of luck if you need to get those hearing aids reprogrammed. Now if you’re okay with this, then this may not be a con for you. Con number three, is that
hearing aids that you buy from Costco do have some
features removed from them. While Costco hearing aids
are still good and their product comparison charts
look comparable to other types of technology that
you get outside of Costco, manufacture representatives
tell me that the hearing aids that they give to Costco are de-featured. This means that if you
go into a particular listening environments and
you are still struggling, it might not be you, it
might be the hearing aids. Con number four is long
potential wait times. It is not a secret that Costco
sells low cost technology and there are a lot of people
who don’t want to spend a lot of money on hearing aids. And this ends up creating
really long wait times in some areas. In fact, some patients have
actually come into my clinic and told me they didn’t want
to get hearing aids from Costco because they didn’t want
to wait up to a month to get those hearing aids. And that they were nervous
that if something went wrong with their hearing aids, they
would have to wait a long time before they could get back
in to get them serviced. Overall, Costco is known for
selling good hearing aids at really low prices. But Costco isn’t right for everybody. As long as you understand
the pros and cons of getting your hearing healthcare
from a big box retailer, then you should be able to
make an educated decision on if Costco is right for you. That’s it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. And if you want to see more
videos just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. I’ll see you next time.

10 thoughts on “Pros & Cons Of Costco Hearing Aids

  1. Wonderful experience with Costco today getting my Kirkland Premium 8.0 on special for 1700 dollars/pair. Dealt with an audiologist, not a rookie or a flunkie. Great price, service, and team. Thank you also for your great videos… you are helping a LOT of people like me.

  2. How do you like your doctor? Well, he tells me he's good, but 80% of the people who see him never return for a second visit. Yep, 80% of people never return to Costco for a second set. That's a failed business model. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice…guess not many people are fooled twice.

  3. Also forgot to mention that Costco hearing aids only last 3 years, and that they don't offer extended warranties. Many of my clients keep their devices five years or longer. $3500 / 3 years = $1167 per year, vs $3500 for 5 years = $700 per year. Not such a good deal in the long run.

  4. I just ordered my first hearing aids from a private audiologist: $7490. My friend says Costco was something like $1700, not sure. Maybe I'm rationalizing, but my audiologist seemed very trustworthy and careful, and is about 15 minutes from me. I want convenience for adjustments, and to see the same person who I already trust. That she has to make some bucks off this is fine with me — her office is in an expensive building. At this stage of life I want nothing but the best for my health needs (of course I always did) and if I over pay and receive what I want, that's better than shopping around and taking a chance. Sorry to see Medicare doesn't cover any of this — what are hard of hearing people of limited means supposed to do? Hearing is not a luxury like aesthetic plastic surgery. I am glad that Costo offers a much cheaper alternative, but they are not convenient for me and I don't like waiting for appointments, etc.

  5. Costco hearing aids are not cheap. $1600 out of pocket may seem cheap to a Doctor of Audiology, but for the rest of us – no. What was not mentioned in the video is the price differential. It's not $100, or $1000. Its more along the lines of $4000. Keeping this money in your pocket makes the predicted wait time far more tolerable, and the wait time is not as long as mentioned.

    The audiology folks have had a long run and a profitable one on making hearing aids there own personal fiefdom. That time is rapidly coming to an end, and they don't like the thought of selling that second home and putting their kids in public school. They are fighting back. It's a losing battle.

    In 2020, when Apply and Samsung jump in the ring, you'll be adjusting your hearing aids yourself with IOS and Android.

    Now, lets break the grip on the casket market held by the funeral home industry.

  6. Got my hearing aids from Costco. A part was
    broke off leaving a sharp edge
    The guy selling me was no help. Didn't help with anything. When I returned they had double booked no problem however when the a audiologist came out her office. She didn't look at me looked down never said sorry for the mix up just took the other person
    I will never do business there again. I don't even want to go in the store. we

  7. The low rate of returning customers might be because many are elderly and some of those might have checked out…. and I don't mean at the cash

  8. Just wondering if they carry the nano type of hearing aids??

  9. Well done and informative video, thank you.

  10. So, regarding the low return customer number, I'm sensing a bias here, or at least a weak bullet point added for content. The big red flag is no industry wide comparison – you say nothing about their return customer numbers. And why is 25% a bad number? What percentage of hearing aid customers NEEDS to buy again? Sure, there's loss, breakage, failure, but these things are expensive and most people treat them carefully. Age changes hearing, but we're talking years here, and the newer programmable ones mean they can be adjusted. Next, what population subset is the most likely to be a:) Hearing Impaired, and b:) on a tight budget?? Retirees. Seasoned Citizens. Elderly. However you say it, these are the people who are more likely to choose CostCo over their local rip-off hearing aid center (rip-off refers to HUGE profit margins, not necessarily the service or quality). They're also the most likely to be resistant to getting new ones, as would anyone with a tight budget. So, 25% isn't that far from a decent repeat customer rate, is it? And since you don't state industry norms to compare it to… Bias.

    Another point is the quality of service – My wife has been hearing impaired since birth, so I've seen a several of these commercial hearing aid centers. Very few had a knowledgeable staff, but every single one had a sales person that rivals any car dealership. CostCo is not unique in hiring less knowledgeable staff.

  11. I took my elderly mom to Costco for hearing aids. She is very pleased. She has been a repeat customer, buying her second pair there. Overall it was a good experience.

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