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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
Costco Hearing Aid Prices
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.
Kirkland Signature Hearing Aids
While 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)
Click here for information on the Kirkland Signature 8.0 hearing aids released in February 2018.
- 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.