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.

 

 

 

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61 Comments

  1. My mother, who is 95 needs hearing aids. The issues we have discovered from an ENT are: (1) 60% hearing loss in one ear and 40% in the other; primarily the losses are at the high frequencies. (2) She does not have the patience & dexterity to put batteries in and needs a “simple” rechargeable h/a (drop in/color coded, etc.). (3) The audiologist said she is getting intermittently feedback he called “recruitment”; it comes along, last VERY loud for a few seconds and goes away–even with the h/a we tried at the office. We are going to Costco this week to try theirs. Can Anyone give us complete H/A NOVICES some thoughts/recommendations on these issues. Very much appreciated.

  2. So I am just starting to consider hearing aids (probably a bit late). I realized last year when I was hospitalized and everyone around me was wearing masks that I have been lip reading – a lot. I also was a competitive shooter for years, and although I wore hearing protection, I have terrible and constant pulsing tinnitus in my ears. Can hearing aids really help with the tinnitus?

    1. Costco’s policy states that you can return a hearing aid up to 180 days from purchase. So, if you purchase something that is not working for you you can return and order something different. As far as I know, if you have been wearing HA’s for longer than the trial period and need to upgrade there is no way to “trade them in”.

  3. I am an experienced hearing aid user who had a less than satisfactory experience at Costco. In my experience, if your needs fit with the Costco technician’s recommendation then you will save a lot of money. In my case, I’ve worn Starkey CIC hearing aids for the past 6 years and was due for updated HA’s. I was tested and fitted at Costco with a trial pair of ReSound RIC’s, but could not adjust to having microphone’s behind the ear and a receiver in the canal (RIC). The wind noise and interference with reading or sun glasses was a deal breaker, so I ordered a pair of non custom fit Rexton in the ear hearing aids – also at Costco. Unfortunately, my hearing loss is too significant and these could not be adjusted enough to eliminate feedback. I returned these and was told that I never should have ordered them in the first place (probably true). Rather than suggesting a different solution I was given a trial pair of ReSound RIC aids even though I had already tried them and didn’t want them. This is clearly what they want to sell at my local Costco and it didn’t work for me. I ended up being referred by a friend to a local audiologist who fit me with a pair of Phonak Titanium Virto B-70 in canal hearing aids. The level of professionalism and desire to find a solution that worked for me was worth every penny. These hearing aids are by far the best that I have ever worn and I could not be happier with them. Bottom line is that a Costco technician doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge of a good experienced audiologist.

    1. Im sorry you had a less than satisfactory experience at your local Costco. Im a 26 year Costco employee and experience can vary just like it can vary outside of Costco. We do sell the Phonak brand at Costco and Ive had great success fitting Phonak custom hearing aids. ($2700 for a pair of premium customs) I’ve also sold a lot of Resound hearing aids over the years. However, one brand is not right for everyone. I hope you can give Costco a chance in the future. And have an experience that gives you the desired results. – Stacy in Oregon :)

  4. I have had the rexton 8.0 for almost 2 weeks. The sound of my voice sounded natural after one day. They work great, my hearing is fine for tv, talking and talking on the phone. My wife loves that I have them. Putting the plug into my ear canal has been difficult but I am getting used to it. I go for a tuneup in 3 days but I really don’t think I need it. But I will go. These are great and have increased the quality of my life tremendously.

    1. Laws vary by State. In Oregon someone under the age of 18 would be required to be tested by an Audiologist and have a written Rx from a physician to be fit at Costco.

  5. Avoid the Phonak option. They’re unreliable as a product and as a company. Surprised Costco deal with such a business.

  6. 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.

    1. The newest release by Phonak at Costco is compatible with both iPhone and Android phones.

    2. I work for Costco. I also use an Android. The KS8 android Ap gives you the same use of the Ap as a remote control. Just no direct BT streaming.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

    1. Are you using a sport lock for retention? If so, please go back to your provider and see if the dome size needs adjusting for better retention.

  9. 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?

    1. 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.

  10. 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!

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

  11. 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?

    1. I can’t speak to the Rexon Hearing Aids because I have never worn them. However, I have worn hearing aids for over 30 years and would make the following statement regarding your comments. Regardless of which brand or type of hearing aids you wear, your hearing will never be the same as it once was. I have a top-of-the-line pair of Starkey Z series hearing aids which I keep as a backup in case I lose the new pair I just bought. The new ones are Resound GN’s from Costco. I also have a severe loss in one ear, and a profound loss in the other. No hearing aid, no matter how expensive, makes it easy to for me to hear in a crowded room. In fact, I have difficulty understanding what is being said by a speaker at a podium using a microphone. My hearing is simply too bad. However, I can hear very well in a one-on-one setting. I can’t really advise you with regard to what will work best for you, but I will say that I am very happy with my ReSound Aids from Costco, and they cost less than 1/2 as comparable aids from a traditional Audiology practice.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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

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

      2. Ding, ding, ding! You are correct the new Brio 3 R-C is rechargeable or the Brio3 -C will direct connect for blue tooth with Iphone AND Android! $2500 for the pair!

    2. 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.

  14. 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?

    1. 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

        1. 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.

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

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

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

  17. 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 ?

    1. 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.

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

  19. The audiologist at Costco believes i should get the more expensive Resound Forte 8 then the Kirkland 7.0 because of my high frequency loss and also said he would be able to raise the volume on the Resound Forte much higher then the Kirkland 7.0 if needed. Would it be worth the extra $1200 ?

    1. It wasn’t worth it for me to switchto Resound Forte 8. I had Resound Sola 8 aids for 3 years and on the advice of my Costco rep switched to the much more powerful Sola 8 aids. Terrible experience. I now suffer from almost continual head stoppage and the poor hearing that goes with it. I tried to get advice from Costco reps but was always greeted with blank silence. I could have and should have returned them within 90 days but did not (this was my 3rd pair from Costco and I had been lulled into believing that they were better than they are. No more.

      I now have a pair of over the ear aids that are so much better. I need to keep in mind that Costco is an agressive business firm not by doctor.

  20. Hearing aids like the Resound Forte are fairly advanced. The Costco 6 month trial is unheard of. It is hard to justify paying 2 to 3 Times more for a marginal difference in performance plus free cleaning and adjustments for the and they are an excellent entree level hearing aid with Smart phone connectivity.

  21. COSTCO hearing aids are not current generation in technology , and can be marketed in the used pricing category. For patients with complex hearing losses involving cognitive damage, I would recommend hearing aids that are more expensive and can actually help with cognitive improvements.

    1. anjan muhury, I know you would like to believe that, and have others believe it, but it’s just not true. COSTCO/Rexton hearing aids are as good as any and since when does the price of hearing aids have anything to do with cognitive improvement?
      I have to compete with COSTCO just like you do, and their ability to price way below what is typical is in fact changing our industry. You obviously resent them, but you need to be honest when you answer a question in this forum.

      1. I agree. I have 3 pairs of high priced aids purchase from Costco and one pair of Kirkland Signiture 8 aids. After 11 years of this, my conclusion is that my last pair–Kirkland Sig 8 aids were the best!

  22. Have they improved in last four years?

    I tried a pair 4 years ago when get H BTEs for the first time and was not impressed. I decided on Oticon through my local DR but man are they expensive!!

    1. Whether they are carried in Costco, or outside of Costco, hearing aids have definitely improved in the past 4 years. Like other electronics, the chip platforms digital hearing aids are built on have improved quite substantially even in the past 2 years. If you’re curious to compare, many clinics, including Costco, offering free demos.

  23. Costco’s model closely matches ours when we owned DigiCare Hearing Solutions, and has worked well in the many years we used it. It accommodates different levels of affordability and expectations, and brings consistent quality to hearing impaired consumers. Glad to see it still being used today. I understand that other firms are doing something similar–so, it’s a winning strategy that benefits everyone.

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