ISSAQUAH, WASHINGTON — This past week, Costco quietly rolled out the latest iteration of its “Kirkland Signature” branded hearing aids in stores across the United States. As reported by HHTM in August, to the surprise of many analysts and industry insiders, GN ReSound did not have its contract renewed to become the retail giant’s Kirkland Signature brand supplier–which it had been since 2013. Instead, confirming weeks of speculation, Sivantos (formerly Siemens) is the new Kirkland Signature 7.0 hearing aid supplier.
Furthermore, Costco has set the price at $1,699/pair, which is $100 less per pair than the previous generation of Kirkland hearing aids and well below the prevailing premium price at Costco for a pair hearing aids ($2,598/pair or $1,299 each for most premium tier devices).
Costco Kirkland Hearing Aid Price Cuts Continues
Price reduction for successive generations of Kirkland Signature hearing aids is an ongoing trend. The previous Kirkland hearing aids cost $1,799/pair — less than 3 years ago, they were $1,899/pair.
As the biggest hearing aid provider outside of the VA, Costco’s continued price reductions have influenced the US hearing aid market. Pricing pressure, in addition to calls to lower hearing aid prices from the NAS and PCAST report, has been felt across the industry in recent years, but most substantially by small independent clinics which rely heavily on revenues generated by hearing aid sales.
Additionally, industry insiders say that there is increasing concern among major hearing aid manufacturers about a perceived shift in focus at Costco’s hearing aid centers, with more emphasis now on Kirkland-branded devices than in prior years:
“Costco has changed the strategy with Kirkland, they lowered the end user price by another $200 for two instruments, so they are down now from $2,000 to $1,800 for two fully fitted instruments, and that’s a brutal low price” —Sonova CEO, Lukas Braunschweiler in May 2016 Reuters interview.
With the continued pressure on price, there appears to be a general sentiment of concern among the major hearing aid suppliers that the companies will have to sacrifice higher levels of support currently offered to hearing professionals using their products, both inside and outside of Costco.
What Do the Kirkland Hearing Aids Offer?
The latest generation of Kirkland aids claim a number of advanced features, including wireless capability and compatibility with smartphone Apps for Android and iPhone.
Whether the new Sivantos-made hearing aids are a variant of its current Rexton Trax 42 devices (currently available in Costco) or something different, is still unknown.
Considering the recent history and popularity of the Kirkland-branded hearing aids, it’s very likely, barring any major issues with the launch, that Sivantos will quickly overtake its competitors to become the largest hearing aid supplier to Costco within the next several months.
Post Update: February 9, 2018
HHTM has confirmed that Costco has released the Kirkland Signature 8.0 hearing aids at stores across the US this month, with Sivantos again chosen as the company’s supplier. The price of the new devices has also been lowered by an additional $100/pair–keeping with an ongoing trend at Costco since at least 2012. Click here for a review of hearing aids currently offered at Costco.
Readers can click here for more hearing aid reviews, brought by our sponsors, examining different devices and quality, affordable options.
We have updated our hearing aid industry map to reflect this announcement. The map is available to download here.
Thank you for sharing, Abram
Do these hearing aid have a much needed t-coil?
Some initial reports have suggested yes, however, Costco’s hearing aid website currently appears to be down and we therefore cannot provide confirmation.
I bought the Kirkland 6 hearing aids just before the 7’s were introduced which means that I can exchange mine for the newer ones if I want. Is there anything that the 7s offer that would warrant the exchange ?
This would be a question best addressed by your hearing care provider, as there may be certain advantages/disadvantages to changing models based on your individual needs.
Costco has been known to have a rather generous return policy on many things, including hearing aids. Their trial period, we have learned, was recently extended to 180 days.
Hope you’ve already made the right decision. I changed mine from K6 to K7 and it was the best move I’ve made. The later is a far more superior hearing aid that gives you more natural sound and unlike the K6, it doesn’t continuously hiss.
I just (Sept 2016) bought a pair of hearing aids from Costco. I am suffering from moderate to severe hearing loss and I am surprised that my Costco Phonak models at so very good. I am more satisfied that I have been with any other dealer, and the price was unbelievably low. I first wore hearing aids in 1978 and these are the best I have ever gotten. Just down the road from where I live, I was being asked to pay $6,150 for a pair but at Costco it cost less than $3,000 for similar or better.
Useful analysis – Apropos.
I just got my first hearing aids. The KS 7.0. They are wonderful. I hardly know I have them in and they sound great. TV volume greatly reduced, pleased wife and myself. I shopped around on price, anywhere from $1699 to $6000. These at $1699 are perfectly what I needed. Thanks.
Are the prices for hearing aids in the US or are they available in Canada?
These are prices in the US. However, Costco usually has a fairly consistent price across all of its stores, so we’d suspect the price in Canada is very similar, if not the same.
Interestingly, when it comes to the pricing on their Kirkland hearing aids, it’s the same across the US, even in a state like California, where they normally charge $100 more per aid on all other hearing aids due to high cost of business in that state.
Please let us know if you encounter different pricing in Canada, we would be interested to find out what difference there might be and share it with our readers.
The price at Costco in Canada is $2,000 for the pair.
I should have specified that the price is in Canadian dollars. So, at CAN$2,000, the hearing aids are the same price in Canada as in the USA. (The exchange rate is CAN$1.30 per US dollar.)
I am currently trialling a pair of Oticon OPN Rite mini’s from a Canadian national clinic chain. During the first week they are, so far, quite an improvement over my five year old hearing aids from the same clinic. I have also had a hearing test with a Costco audiologist (excellent engaging, and well informed). I examined and discussed a comparable set of ReSound premium units at a fraction of the clinic’s price. My question is: how does the consumer know he/she is getting the same product? The literature given to review is inadequate to make a proper evaluation. When such a question is posed to the typical national clinic dispenser the answer is rather vague, i.e. “at this clinic you are getting a lexus product, while the wholesaler provider is offering you a “toyota”. Automobile metaphor aside, how does the consumer know if there is in fact any difference? The Costco provider tells me that the only difference is in the brand name – and thats all – but is essentially the same product. So, what is the truth, and how does one find out? My recent Consumer’s Magazine assessment gives both the Oticon premium and the ReSound premium a similar rating. I assume Consumers compares the technology between products. Can you offer any insight. I realize that ultimately I will have to trial both to make my final decision. Nevertheless, the issue of whether Costco carries “original” manufactured products (regardless of attributed proprietary brand – and with a huge price differential) is true or not.
What is plastic connected to 1 ear piece ?
Great American Hearing Aid company in Cottonwood AZ beats these prices with the same exact technology. Look us up!
Todd Faasse NBC-HIS, President
I’ll tell you what I’ve learned after working as a patient care coordinator/hearing instrument specialist in-training.
I should first begin by telling you a tad bit about myself. I have a clinical background (oddly enough for a reputable, world renowned, teaching hospital in Ophthalmology), where the patient comes first. I don’t have a stellar sales background, but the idea of being my own practitioner has always been appealing to me. I soon discovered this industry/profession is more concerned with their bottom dollar than serving the patient. Dispensing audiologists, hearing instrument specialists, and their patient care coordinators are essentially used care salesmen. This is a retail industry and less of a health industry and people need to understand this.
I believe in serving the patient first, honesty, integrity, kindness and being ‘transparent’ to the patient/client. I was let go for wanting to be more transparent and honest with the patient/client. I was told I was cut from the right cloth.
The hearing business I worked for straight out told me that they cannot compete with Costco. Costco manufacturers most of the hearing aids they dispense and train their hearing professionals from within when at all possible and their professionals do not work on commission. My advise is to get a membership at Costco and buy from there. Yes, many of their hearing aids are a generation or two older but just like with your phone, there is not a huge difference between a generation 6 or 7 iPhone. As far as I know, Costco won’t file your insurance for you. You will have to get an itemized receipt after paying in full and wait for reimbursement from your insurance company. There is a reason why Costco is the leader in the hearing industry!
Where I worked, we would call the patient’s insurance to see what kind of hearing aid benefits they had. If our business was out-of network, and they had NO out-of-network benefits BUT they had amazing in-network benefits, that information was kept secret from the patient, if at all possible. The patient was never made aware of these benefits and was simply told they didn’t have any hearing aid benefits (at our business). That wasn’t a lie but they weren’t being transparent either. The client ended up spending $6,000 for his hearing aids with us when he could have went to someone in-network and only paid $700 for the exact same pair of hearing aids. Talk about crooked and deceptive and taking advantage of an elderly patient that unfortunately didn’t do his homework..
This business was also named “Top Choice Hearing Business” for three consecutive years in a row!! Leading the public to believe it is a wonderful, reputable, affordable, honest company. In reality they only won because the owner had opened dozens of email addresses and had all the associates vote daily under all of these email addresses, for the entirety of the contest, to ensure they would win each year. Very crooked if you ask me.
There was a lot of other deception….. I could go on and on…. Telling patients we weren’t aware of any extended warranty through the manufacturers when it was clear we could offer that option to the patient, but our goal was not to sell an extended warranty but to sell them another set of hearing aids even if the patients pair was just beyond three years.
I couldn’t work under these conditions.
Anyone that is either an audiology student or thinking of becoming an audiologist that has the patient’s well being at heart should be aware of what this industry is really like because I’m sure they are not taught this in college. It’s all about deception, avoidance and sales for many of these retailers!