Costco Hearing Aid Review: Who Makes Costco Hearing Aids?

Outside of the Veteran’s Administration, Costco is the largest provider of hearing aids in the United States. Analysts have pegged Costco to currently hold more than 11% market share of all hearing aid sold in the US, with continued growth rates of its hearing aid centers over the past several years exceeding 20% year-over-year.

As Holly Hosford-Dunn, PhD, recently pointed out in her series on Costco’s Hearing Aid Center growth and business model, “As fast as Costco warehouses have multiplied, Costco Hearing Aid Centers have multiplied faster.”

 

costco hearing aid center growth
Annual growth of US Costco warehouses (blue) and Costco Hearing Aid Centers in US and Canada. (data from Costco Warehouse Annual Reports)

 

Understandably, hearing aid manufacturers have been watching this trend for years and have taken notice. Today, four of the “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers are selling their hearing aids in Costco warehouses across North America.

 

Reviewing Hearing Aids Available at Costco: An Overview

 

Hearing aid brands available for sale at Costco Hearing Aid Centers include: Phonak, Rexton, GN ReSound, and Bernafon.

 

GN ReSound

ReSound launched its Forte hearing aids in the fall of 2017 into Costco, which offers a full family of custom, Behind-the-Ear (BTE) and Reciever-In-Canal (RIC) styles.

 

gn resound forte costco hearing aids

ReSound’s Forte, like its Linx 3D devices outside of Costco, offer direct connection to iPhone and work with the company’s Smart 3D app. The aids are also compatible with various wireless accessories.

 

resound forte costco remote mic tv

 

Phonak

Phonak became the 4th vendor in Costco after launching its Brio hearing aids into Costco in 2014. The company’s most recent technology, the Brio 2, was released in 2017. The Brio 2 is offered as a full family of custom, Behind-the-Ear (BTE) and Reciever-In-Canal (RIC) styles. 

 

phonak brio 2 costco hearing aids

Phonak also offers a remote control app, as well as the ComPilot wireless streaming device and remote microphone options.

February, 2018, update: Phonak released the new Brio 3 into Costco this month, including the Brio 3 R set of Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) aids, with size 10, 312 and 13 battery. Based upon available information, it does not appear the Brio 3 family offers direct connect to iPhone or Android, like Phonak’s Audeo B-Direct which is currently available in the outside market.

 

Rexton

While GN ReSound and Phonak are familiar names, both inside and outside of Costco, Rexton is not as familiar. A sister company to Signia (formerly Siemens), Rexton aids can be found at Costco and CVS Hearing Centers. Their most current hearing aid family launched in 2017, Legato, includes a full line of custom, BTE and RIC styles. Among the styles offered, Rexton is the only manufacturer in Costco to offer a lithium-ion rechargeable device (Legato Li), as well as a nearly invisible standard fitting device (Legato iX) that fits in the ear canal without an impression.

 

rexton legato costco hearing aids

 

Rexton, like their other counterparts in Costco, offer wireless accessories and charging options. The company also happens to be the supplier of the Kirkland Signature 7.0, and now confirmed to be the supplier of next Kirkland Signature 8.0, which means the company almost certainly holds the largest market share in Costco today–perhaps 50% or more.

 

Bernafon

Part of the William Demant Group (which includes Oticon and Sonic), Bernafon has been in Costco for several years. Their most recent technology, Zerena, was launched in fall of 2017. The Zerena is available only in the RIC and BTE models, with the family of custom devices currently offered by the company remaining on the previous Juna platform.

 

bernafon zerena costco hearing aid

 

The Zerena aids do offer direct connectivity to iPhone, via the company’s EasyControl-A app, as well as direct streaming of television in digital stereo with a TV-A adapter device.

 

bernafon app costco hearing aids

 

Costco Hearing Aid Prices

(Updated: May 2018)

Unlike many hearing aid retailers, Costco is unique in that it maintains a set pricing structure1 and offers technology at 3 levels: Entry level ($499.99 each), Advanced ($899.99 each) and Premium ($1,299.99 to $1,499.99 each).

The most popular styles of hearing aids, such as the Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) or Completely-In-Canal (CIC), are not offered in the Basic level of technology.

 

costco discontinued hearing aid prices
As of Spring 2018, we have learned that Costco no longer offers pricing in 3 tiers of Basic, Advanced and Premium. Instead, they are “selling premium hearing aids at economy prices”.

Costco’s current lineup consists of the following premium devices:

  • Rexton Legato
  • Phonak Brio 3 (Phonak)
  • ReSound Forte (ReSound)
  • Bernafon Zerena 9 and Juna 9
  • Kirkland Signature 8.0

Prices vary somewhat by state, but range from $1299-$1499 each, with the exception of the Kirkland Signature 8.0 devices ($1599/pair) that are described below.

 

Kirkland Signature Hearing Aids

 

kirkland signature rexton hearing aid reviewWhile many people today know that Costco is a major supplier of hearing aids, many are unfamiliar with the company’s Kirkland Signature hearing aid brand, even though it is now one of the biggest sellers (if not the biggest) in warehouses across North America.

Kirkland hearing aids, historically, have only been produced by 2 companies: Rexton and GN ReSound (Interton, which was acquired by ReSound in 2005, produced the early Kirkland model).

Kirkland Signature hearing aids are considered premium-level technology, but are offered at a much lower price than the Costco’s typical premium aids (as noted above, which are typically $1299-$1499 USD per aid). With each successive generation of Kirkland Signature (KS) hearing aids over the past several years, the price for a pair of instruments has been lowered by $100/pair:

 

  • KS 4.0: $1,999/pair (manufactured by Rexton)
  • KS 5.0: $1,899/pair (manufactured by GN ReSound)
  • KS 6.0: $1,799/pair (manufactured by GN ReSound)
  • KS 7.0: $1,699/pair (manufactured by Rexton)
  • KS 8.0: $1,599/pair (manufactured by Rexton)

 

This pricing strategy of Costco’s KS brand is in line with recent calls for lower pricing to increase access and affordability to amplification, most notably from the NAS and PCAST reports.

Click here for information on the Kirkland Signature 8.0 hearing aids released in February 2018.

 

Source: Costco

 

 

  1.  While there is a set price structure for majority of states, California prices add an additional $50-100 to the unit price of hearing aids, due to “increased cost of business” in that state.

 

 

 

About HHTM

HHTM's mission is to bridge the knowledge gaps in treating hearing loss by providing timely information and lively insights to anyone who cares about hearing loss. Our contributors and readers are drawn from many sectors of the hearing field, including practitioners, researchers, manufacturers, educators, and, importantly, hearing-impaired consumers and those who love them.

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Elizabeth McGaffey

What does Costco have for us Android users? We have no intention of switching to i-phone so all these advertised apps are of no use to us. Please let me know if there is anything for Android that works as well as what Costco is advertising for i-Phones.

Paula Boulton

I have Signature 6 hearing aids. Loved the ability to bluetooth to y iphone using app ‘Choice’. I recently updated my iphone 6 and now it will not connect to my hearing aids. It shows they are there but won’t connect so I can’t pair them. Does anyone have any help for this. Costco says its not the hearing aids. Apple feels the upgrade is not compatible to the app. Is there an upgrade or new app I should use?

Ed Friedman

First hearing aid, KS8. Fantastic improvement in hearing, that’s most important. Part that slips into ear canal, likes to slip out. Is there a way to keep them in place. First for the hearing improvement but also potential of loss of the complete unit. And not so important, interface with iPhone for music has intolerable clicking noise, so I don’t do that. Works fine for phone calls.

Larry Covi

I want to compare the Kirkland Signature 8.0 with the TruHearing Flyte Premium which are made by ReSound. Does anyone have any pros/cons on these two brands?

Colin

I have had a disastrous experience with ReSound (the company and the product), to the point where I will not consider them for any future needs.

Tommy

I have the 8.0 Kirkland brand hearing aid but only getting 4 days out of the batteries. Anyone else experiencing this. My friends have different brands and getting 7 to 10 days of battery life. But I hear good!

Dawn Guentner

Make sure you leave the battery sticker off for 5 min to get a longer battery life. Also remember streaming will effect battery life.

Mike Cooper

What do you mean leave the sticker off battery for 5 min. I’m a newbie

AndrewA

The batteries are air-activated — the sticker prevents activation until it’s removed.

Ken

I have a pair of Rexton hearing aids that I bought two years ago from Costco. They make everything louder but they only marginally help me hear conversations, especially in a noisy environment. I recently lost one and need to replace or buy new ones. The Costco representative recommended Kirkland brand which are made by Rexton. I rarely wore the Rexton hearing aids because of their poor performance. I have high frequency hearing loss. Am I expecting too much in that I thought hearing aids would bring my hearing back to near normal. Are there better hearing aids that Costco sells that would work better?

RS

I have the Kirkland 8.0 and they sound far superior the Kirkland 7.0. However, I believe these (8.0) were rushed to market. Playing audio or voice via the iPhone to the hearing aids results in a profound clicking sound – either using the Rexton iPhone (very buggy) application or using the Apple Accessibility MFi Hearing setting natively. Otherwise, the hearing aids are fantastic. I just wish they would have tested these more before releasing. I feel those who purchase now (February 2018) are beta testers, but you can’t beat the price, service and Costco warranty.

Greg

Do you happen to have an iPhone watch? If so, try putting in Airplane Mode to get rid of the clicking sound. I read elsewhere that the watch can cause interference, apparently due to some sort of Bluetooth interference.

Priscilla Cole

Do you carry the Phonak Naida V and can you make a custom mold?

W J Waitkoss

Do you have to be a Costco member to buy hearing aids there?

Susan

Yes. A membership is required for purchases at Costco.

Peter

It is not necessary to be a Costco member to purchase prescriptions there. Don’t know about hearing aids.

Sarah

To purchase hearing aids a membership is required.

Jean

It’s worth investing in a membership. Your savings on the hearing aids will more than cover the membership fee. Also, their batteries are very inexpensive.

Chris

Will there be a new Phonak in 2018, ie when will the Brio 2 be replaced by the Brio 3? Thanks if any one knows.

Anonymous

I’ve heard Phonak will be releasing something new in spring or summer 2018, not sure if Brio 3 but will either offer recharging or use the new SWORD chip that allows it to direct connect to all types of Bluetooth phones

Anonymous

I’m told that the new Brio 3 is not direct connect, like the SWORD chip is, and it is also not rechargeable either

Bruce

Just yesterday I was in the Costco in Jacksonville Florida. There was a shipping box labeled Phonak Brio 3. I was told that they just arrived but they knew absolutely nothing about them. I was told that a company Rep will be coming in ‘soon’ to train them.

Tanita Bird

I need to replace my nearly 10 year old Rextons and am faced with a dilemma. I want the latest technology but have a budget so I guess I am stuck with the KS 7 unless the KS 8 is coming out soon. Like by March or April. Does anyone have a good sense of when the new KS will arrive?

Bill

I think summer is more likely for the KS8 from what someone told me recently, but other companies have recently released new aids, like Bernafon and ReSound

Pati

THe KS8 is out as of Feb 6. I saw 1 and tried it.

HHTM

Thank you Pati. Yes, we are aware of the KS8’s release this week, but are awaiting the full details before providing an updated report.

mb

KS 8 is out. It’s made for iPhone.

Matt

Why doesn’t Costco work to get Starkey hearing aids in their stores? I’ve done alot of research and they are the best .

Anonymous

In the past Starkey has had a policy of not selling their aids to “Big Box” stores like Costco. Who knows if that will change, but in 2016 they said no:
http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearingnewswatch/2014/message-customers-starkey-takes-stand-making-hearing-aids-commodity/

Matt

Why doesn’t Costco work together Starkey hearing aids in their stores? I’ve done alit of research and they are the best .

dogbreath

Starkey has the worst customer service of any company. Maybe why Costco doesn’t deal with them

Edward

I have high frequency (moderate/severe) hearing loss. Are there any hearing aids offered by Costco (ponak/resound/bernafon) that you would recommend to try ?

Audiologist

High frequency loss is the most common kind of hearing loss. One would imagine that Costco would have several different options for your loss from each of the brands they carry.

Don

Are the Resound Forte (version 8?) hearing aids offered by Costco on Jan 2018 the same as Resound LiNX3D ?

Anonymous

That’s the rumor, but nothing confirmed as far as I’m aware.