Centers focus on member
care. To this end, Costco
hires licensed, experienced
(some have been in the business more than 30 years) and
highly trained hearing aid
dispensers who understand
the emotional and physical
needs of the user. All dispensers are Costco employees with no commissions,
selling bonuses or sales quotas, which means they are
free to fit the most appropriate hearing aid without worrying about making “quota.”
Costco Hearing Aid
Centers include the following free services.
■ Free hearing test to determine if your hearing may be
helped by hearing aids. It
includes a discussion of lifestyle hearing needs as well
as auditory testing in a private sound booth. Many other
■ Hearing aid test drive
around warehouse. Demo
hearing aids are programmed
to a member’s hearing loss
and the member may wear
the hearing aids around
■ Ninety-day trial period with
no restocking fee and 100
percent money-back guarantee. Some retailers only allow
30 days for a refund or
charge a restocking fee of
$100 or more.
■ Unlimited follow-up
appointments. Others may
charge or only offer one free
■ Hearing aid cleanings and
check-ups while shopping.
Hearing aids function better,
and more serious problems
are often prevented, with
periodic maintenance. Many
other retailers charge.
■ Warranty periods (two
We h(ear) you
“If you feel you have a
don’t put it off.
Get a hearing
Costco’s Hearing Centers
offer free hearing tests to
determine if you could be
helped by hearing aids.
cific sounds like the low-frequency background
noises of crowded restaurants,” says Christian
Anthis, a Costco hearing aid team member.
“Some hearing aids have a Bluetooth accessory
kit [available at Costco Hearing Aid Centers]
that allows you to connect to cellphones and
other Bluetooth-enabled devices like MP3
players. And many of these newer hearing aids
are so tiny they are hardly noticeable.”
Kirkland Signature chimes in
Costco’s private label Kirkland Signature™
premium digital open-fit hearing aids are
guaranteed to meet or exceed the quality standards of leading national brands. At the moment savings are up to 74 percent (including
service and warranties) over similar brands.
Leia shared a comparison of Kirkland
Signature versus five other similar leading
hearing aid brands conducted in the Reno/
Sparks, Nevada, area this past May.
The Kirkland Signature hearing aid stood
out. It has 12 channels (the more channels, the
more precise the tuning); the competition
featured 10 or fewer channels. The Kirkland
Signature provides four individualized lifestyle
memory options; one well-known brand has
The Kirkland Signature brand also includes
a three-year warranty; the rest offer one year or
none at all. The five competing brands sell for
$5,000 to $6,400 a pair; Kirkland Signature is
$1,999.99 a pair.
Stunned by the wide pricing gap, I learn
that prices are set by the retailer. Because
Costco doesn’t have the high overhead costs
or high margins, their pricing tends to be
significantly lower. Costco’s hearing aid
team has found hearing aid brands selling
years for advanced and three
years for premium models).
Many other retailers charge.
■ Loss and damage coverage
of one replacement per hearing aid with no deductible
during the first two years.
Most retailers charge
about $150 or more.
■ Hundreds of locations
able to serve members, even
when traveling. To find a
Costco Hearing Aid
Center, check the Specialty
Services grid on page 66, go
to Costco.com (click on “In
the Warehouse”) or call
Costco Hearing Aid
Centers are a benefit available to members 18 years
and older. As of August 1,
they are in 280 warehouses,
including Alaska and Hawaii.
With sales up more than 10
percent compared to the
industry, Costco is one of the
largest hearing aid retailers
in the country.
Payment options include
all American Express cards,
Flexible Spending Account
cards, debit cards, checks
and cash. Medicare doesn’t
cover the cost of hearing
aids, but it never hurts to
ask your insurance carrier
or tax accountant.—PV
Pricing for one
for $8,000 per pair at one of the biggest
retailers in the country, while at the same
time offered at Costco for $2,598 (slightly
higher in California).
Another sketchy pricing
area is hearing aid batteries.
Costco sells leading national brand Rayovac
zinc-air batteries for $9.39 for 30 batteries, or
about 31 cents apiece. A leading national
retailer sells the same batteries for about 94
cents each, which equals 30 for $28.11. Some
Costco hearing aids offer a greener option
with rechargeable batteries.
In-the-ear (custom) $499.99–$1,399.99 $999–$3,600
Use it or lose it
Leia adds an important footnote: “Over
time, an unaided hearing loss may result in
lower speech understanding—even once
aided. If you feel you have a hearing loss, don’t
put it off. Get a hearing test to determine if
you could be helped by hearing aids.”
Additionally, if your hearing aids are
more than three years old, they are most probably outdated. Stop by Costco Hearing Aid
Centers—to hear what you are missing. C