ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON — This week Costco officially rolled out the latest iteration of its “Kirkland Signature” branded hearing aids in stores across the United States. The Kirkland Signature 8.0 (KS 8) is the latest generation of the company’s popular private-label devices. Sivantos, currently in Costco under its Rexton label and the supplier of the KS 7 hearing aids, was chosen to produce the new devices.

Costco’s Kirkland Signature label has always been the value brand for many products found at Costco, both inside and outside the hearing aid department. Over the past several years, however, the prominence of the Kirkland brand in its hearing centers has grown significantly–making it perhaps the most dispensed brand at the hearing centers today. This is particularly significant, considering Costco is estimated to hold more than 11% market share of all hearing aids sold in the US, with continued growth rates of its hearing aid centers frequently exceeding 20% year-over-year.

 

Kirkland Signature Hearing Aid Prices Reduced Further

 

Kirkland Signature hearing aids are considered premium-level technology, but are offered at a much lower price than the company’s typical premium aids.

 

Kirkland Signature 8 pricing

 

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)

 

The pricing strategy of Costco’s KS brand is consistent with recent calls for the hearing industry to lower pricing to increase access and affordability to amplification, most notably from the NAS and PCAST report.

 

kirkland signature hearing aid prices

Costco has continued to lower its overall price for the Kirkland aids by $100/pair since at least 2012.

 

 

 

What’s New in Kirkland Signature 8.0 Hearing Aids, Besides Lower Price? 

 

kirkland signature hearing aid user manualAccording to the company, the KS 8.0 includes the following features:

  • Receiver In Canal (RIC) available with 312 or 13 battery
  • 48 channels, 20 gain handles, and 6 programs
  • Optional model with telecoil
  • Made for iPhone (MFi)
  • 50% faster processing speed
  • Enhanced music listening
  •  Motion sensing
  • Smart Direct App
  • IP 68 rated against dirt and moisture

 

Click here for a review of hearing aids available at Costco. For detailed specifications of the KS 8, interested readers can refer to the datasheet and materials recently published at Hearing Tracker

 

Source: Costco

 

 

 

Phonak and Advanced Bionics announced a new microphone technology this week that is said to help people with hearing aids and cochlear implants hear better, especially in noisy environments. Called MultiBeam Technology, the new approach could soon be applied in future advanced wireless microphones. The initial study results with patients have show significant improvements in speech recognition.    

In spite of the many advancements in hearing aid and cochlear implant technology, people with hearing loss still encounter many challenges in noisy restaurants, meetings and other large social gatherings. In such environments its estimated approximately 31% of people with hearing aids still encounter difficulties following conversations, which can lead to social isolation.

According to the announcement, a task force of more than 10 digital signal processing and acoustic engineers have been working on the development of MultiBeam Technology since 2009. By utilizing multiple microphones in six directions, speech from 360 degrees is then calculated and compared. The direction with the best signal-to-noise ratio is automatically selected.

 

The technological processing complexity is almost ten times higher than the previous technology generation from Phonak. Further, the power consumption was reduced by more than one third.

 

Hearing Aid Research: MultiBeam Microphone Technology

 

An investigation conducted at the University of Texas in Dallas (UTD) in a group of 10 patients with hearing aids were tested in a situation which resembled a noisy restaurant, or very noisy meeting with three conversation partners (Figure 1). Speech understanding was found to be improved by up to 61% in this group conversation in the presence of 75 dBA of background noise, compared to using hearing aids alone.1

 

Figure 1: Illustration of MultiBeam Technology being used in a group of people in a noisy background

“The Multibeam Technology will allow persons with hearing challenges who have resigned from attending social functions, family gatherings and business meetings to experience significant improvements in speech recognition. This could ultimately lead to improved quality of life as they confidently reconnect with others using discreet, convenient and highly versatile technology.” –Professor Linda Thibodeau, Lead Study Researcher

 

According to Hans Mülder, senior audiologist and director marketing at Phonak, “We are extremely happy to have achieved this milestone. It underlines the unwavering commitment of our finest engineers to never be satisfied with existing solutions but to continue to push the envelope of technology, so that more people can enjoy  their lives to the fullest. We are now working hard to embed the new technology in coming solutions.” 

 

References

  1. Based on preliminary data. Peer-reviewed article and Field Study News in preparation, available end of 2018 at www.phonakpro.com/evidence.