Sonova announced today, in an email message to US hearing professionals, that the company has decided to cease offering Phonak branded hearing aids “in certain large retail chains”. Costco had already pulled their Kirkland Signature 10.0 devices from company shelves several weeks ago, in a blow to Sonova who had held the contract to provide the popular KS model of hearing aids to Costco members.
The KS model has historically been the highest selling model in Costco, which had been selling its store branded devices alongside Rexton, Phillips, Jabra and Phonak. However, the Phonak brand has already been removed from Costco’s website.
Costco Will No Longer Offer Phonak Hearing Aids
The exit of Phonak from the Costco market marks just less than 10 years with the retailer. The company made headlines across the industry when announcing they had reached an agreement to sell hearing aids in Costco in 2014.
A letter by Sandy Brandmeier, President of Hearing Instruments Wholesale for Sonova USA, was sent to US hearing professionals on November, 21 (text below):
For more than 75 years, we have invested in bringing the most innovative products and solutions to our customers and patients with our Phonak brand. As we continue to evaluate our strategy to drive market leadership in hearing instruments, we are actively looking at our brand positioning, channel, and retail mix.
Based on our recent assessments, we have made the decision to focus the distribution of our Phonak brand with strategic channels and eliminate our offering in certain large retail chains.
We are also ensuring that customers who want to engage in omni-channel models adhere to a new Phonak brand standards agreement for our prescription devices.
Finally, as part of our brand and channel assessment, we can confirm that the Phonak brand will not be offering an over the counter (OTC) solution.
The Phonak brand stands for leading-edge innovation and deep partnerships with hearing care professionals. We want to continue to partner with those who understand how to convey the powerful technology behind the Phonak brand to improve the lives of people with hearing loss.
We thank you for your partnership and are looking forward to continuing to serve you and your patients in the years to come.
No additional comment could be obtained from Sonova or Costco at the time of this writing.