Hearing Aids at Costco: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

costco hearing aids good bad ugly
Hearing Health & Technology Matters
January 23, 2019

by Cliff Olson, AuD

Multiple times a week I am asked, “are Costco hearing aids any good?”.  After all, it is natural to question whether or not buying a medical device at a big box store it a smart idea.  Depending on who you ask, it seems as though individuals who purchased their hearing aids at Costco either LOVE them or HATE them.  

How is this possible?  

The hearing aid technology offered at Costco, including ReSound, Rexton, Phonak and Philips hearing aids, are similar to what you might find in private audiology clinic and they are even required to use Real Ear Measurement when programming the devices inside of a Costco Hearing Center.  


Are People Satisfied with the Hearing Aids They Receive at Costco?


Why do some people love their hearing aid purchasing experience while others do not? How could there be so much variability in the level of satisfaction by Costco hearing aid wearers?

To find out, check out my video:



Clifford Olson is a Doctor of Audiology and Founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem, Arizona.  He served as a Marine Corps Scout Sniper during his time in the military which introduced him to the profession of Audiology.  He also posts informational videos on his YouTube Channel – DrCliffAuD – to educate consumers on hearing healthcare.


*featured image Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

birdsong hearing benefits
  1. Nice work, Cliff. It’s particularly nice to see that you are “not” using the REUG in your REM hearing aid assessments. The REUG, after all, is not a part of the original hearing assessment (unless soundfield thresholds are used) nor part of the aided sound that reaches the eardrum. Even with open fittings, the effect of the REUG is automatically contained within the REAG. I’m hoping that the above consideration has actually become part of the “best practice” procedures, as the concept’s introduction (such as by this writer) was certainly controversial.*

    *Early REM theoretical considerations (e.g., https://www.etymotic.com/media/publications/erl-0091-1993.pdf.) recommended inclusion of the REUG in REM assessment. But later thinking showed that the individual REUG was contraindicated for REMs in hearing aid assessment (see, for example, the Appendix, “Rationale for Pseudo-REIG: Using the Average-Ear REUG in Insertion-Gain Applications” – p. 120, in http://www.thieme.com/media/samples/pubid1013629716/pdf/chapter03.pdf).

    Good to see, at least, that Costco is mandating REMs, even if a subsequent visit to a clinic for re-programming may be required.

    It was fun reading and viewing your post.

    (PS – As an aside, what caught me eye about the title of your post is that I have long argued against using the term “the hearing impaired” – which is still often used – instead of “people with impaired hearing”, or some such. I used to quip, “The good, the bad, the ugly, and the hearing impaired….” I mean, one never encounters “the normal hearing”…!)

  2. really nice job; thanks for the captions!
    I have a question:
    what do you think of the “simulated” RE measurements? My Audiologist did them today, and made some tweaks to my aids. But how does that technique compare to the in-the-canal RE measurements?

    Oh, and one more:
    Can a customer insist that Costco not lock the aids? Is the locking fully disclosed (like, not in tiny print at the bottom of a “Terms and Conditions” document? That really bugs me, like the MFi aids. DGMS (Don’t Get Me Started)

  3. The main problem is that the NAL-NL2 prescriptive formula sets up excessive hi frequency gain settings that create more cognitive distress, and accelerated decline in cognition due to neurotransmitter leaks through the axons in the hippocampus due to mylination caused by t excessive ionic pressures. I have advised COSTCO HAD’s to first find targets and then drop them by 3-4db SPL, and also do the same for MPO’s. It provides easier hearing which is the key to improved cognition, and faster brain responses. Easier hearing leads to better localization, and better focus into language. Clifford needs to understand much more about what settings are good and what are not so good. Excessive amplification causes interference in inhibitive and excitation actions at the inferior colliculus. Learn !

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