This article has been audited and reviewed by Dr. Ben Thompson, an audiologist and tinnitus expert. For more information about Dr. Thompson, click his name or read his bio below the article!
Costco is mainly famous for two things: bulk and low prices (ok, also the rotisserie chickens and $1.25 hot dog & soda set too). While you most likely won’t need hearing aids in bulk, low priced hearing aids are definitely a highly desired item. So we’re here to ask: how much do hearing aids cost at Costco? Are they cheap and affordable?
How to Get Costco Hearing Aids
First, let’s ask why. Why does Costco now sell hearing aids?
In response to the need for affordable hearing aids, Costco launched its own brand of hearing aids back in the early 2000’s. The launch went well and the company is now the largest private provider of hearing devices in the United States. A staggering 11 percent of all hearing aids sold in the country are sold by Costco!
The process to get a hearing aid is simple. You’ll need to head to your local Costco warehouse and stop by one of their Costco Hearing Centers for a free hearing test. The process is quick and convenient: walk in, speak to an in-store specialist, take a free hearing test, and get clear advice as to the best affordable device for your hearing that they have in-store. You can even grab a hot dog on the way out!
Costco cites its ‘value pricing, premium technology, and remote services on select hearing aids’ as reasons to shop with them. Let’s take a look at their options.
The Kirkland 9.0: Costco’s Best Hearing Aid?
While Costco is a wholesale retailer who stocks many brands, their most famous might perhaps be their own! Costco’s in-house Kirkland signature brand is well known for high quality and low cost, and this definitely applies to their hearing aids as well.
A popular, good-quality Kirkland Signature hearing aid model is the Kirkland 9.0 (or Kirkland 8.0) digital hearing aids.
The Kirkland 9.0 utilizes the Sonova Sword Chip to facilitate communication, has 20 fine-tuning channels, three manual programs and nine automatic programs, binaural signal processing, binaural beamforming, Bluetooth connectivity for hands free calls, four receiver power levels, a 312 battery, a TV connector, and receiver-in-canal (RIC) technology.
For all that, a pair costs $1499.99!
As a reference, traditional hearing aid providers charge an average of $2,300 per hearing aid and $4,600 for a pair (plus hearing test fees) according to a 2015 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report.
There are still some disadvantages. For one, it’s not rechargeable. Also, it doesn’t have a telecoil to deliver customized sound to your ear in noisy environments, has no tinnitus features, and isn’t programmable remotely, so you’ll need to take a trip back to the hearing specialist for any reprogramming.
All in all, it’s a high-quality and cost-effective option as long as these disadvantages don’t bother you.
However, one important thing that most people don’t know is that the Kirkland Signature hearing aid brand changes regularly between different hearing aid manufacturers. Each hearing aid manufacturer bids for the contract to be the Kirkland Signature. Therefore, the Kirkland Signature hearing aid manufacturer from 2019 is likely different from the Kirkland Signature hearing aid from 2020.
Costco Hearing Aid Centers
For people with Costco memberships, Costco has built hearing aid centers within their stores that have their hearing aid specialists on hand. You’ll be able to get screened by them in a private sound booth, and they’ll recommend devices that will work for you and your needs.
You might get to speak to an audiologist as they do employ a few in certain stores, but you’ll probably just be speaking to a hearing aid specialist. While it’s important to note that these individuals are not audiologists (they have not had the same training or gained the relevant accredited qualifications) they can demonstrate the different hearing aids and guide you to some suitable options.
In addition, hearing tests, free hearing aid cleaning, follow-up appointments, and check-ups can be performed at these centers. Also, if you have any issues with loss or damages and need to chat about your warranty, you can go there directly for help. These services may cost extra at a traditional clinic, but with a Costco membership they become free!
So the question becomes not just “how much do hearing aids cost at Costco?”, but “How much do hearing aids and hearing aid services cost at Costco?”
Are OTC (Over The Counter) Hearing Aids Available at Costco?
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are a new category of hearing aids that will soon be available for purchase directly in store or from online retailers without visiting a hearing health professional.
These hearing aids aren’t quite available yet (although legislation drafting is underway), so in the meantime buying from Costco might be your best bet if you’re looking to get an effective hearing aid quickly, cheaply, and easily at a retail location.
For an overview and updates on this important legislation, check out our OTC hearing aids article.
Have a look to see if there is a Costco hearing center near you. If you’d like to book a hearing test with one of their hearing specialists, simply phone up your store and make an appointment. In preparation for your test, you are asked to print and complete a Patient Intake form and bring it in with you to your appointment.
To learn more about how hearing aids can help you manage your hearing loss, see our other blog articles.
Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist and tinnitus expert. Dr. Thompson is the founder of PureTinnitus.com. He decided to specialize in tinnitus management because of his interests in mindfulness, music and psychology. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology.
The information in this guide has been written using the following reliable sources: