With Costco just a 10-minute drive away from my office here in Lacey, I regularly receive phone calls asking me the difference between the hearing aids I supply my patients and the hearing aids available at Costco.
So … do you choose to buy your hearing aids from Costco or South Sound Audiology?
I’ve put together my thoughts how to answer this question, giving both the positives and negatives of each. My first thought, however, is that I’ll never treat you as a dollar sign but as a valuable person with long-term hearing needs we can walk through together.
8 Differences Between Costco And South Sound Audiology
1. Convenience Store vs. Hearing Clinic In Lacey, Washington
It can be very convenient to walk into a Costco and pick out a hearing aid based on a free hearing test. But the hearing test doesn’t cover everything a test done by an audiologist would do, which means your exact type of hearing loss based on tone, pitch, and background noise won’t be treated with a properly adjusted hearing aid.
A Costco hearing test also won’t find the cause of your hearing loss, possibly missing a crucial, even life-saving, medical issue an audiologist would have found.
2. Qualified Audiologists
A qualified audiologist has many years of education while a hearing dispenser only has to pass a state test after three months of study. While Costco does employ some audiologists, they usually aren’t the person you see for your hearing assessment.
South Sound Audiology can also treat hearing-related symptoms, such as tinnitus and balance issues, and advise on a cochlear implant should the need arise.
3. Comprehensive Hearing Test
You have to be a Costco member to have your hearing tested.
A hearing test at Costco is fairly basic while a hearing test at South Sound Audiology covers both the physical and medical checks necessary to ensure good hearing health and treat it. It’s quick, and you get your hearing test results immediately.
If your hearing loss is found to be caused by a medical issue, I’ll clean out your ears or refer you to an ENT doctor to ensure you get the medical care you need ASAP. A hearing test at Costco won’t cover this.
4. The Investment
Costco hearing aid prices start at $1,400 for a pair of Kirkland Signature 10.0 rechargeable aids, with custom earmolds costing extra. This price doesn’t include the cost of ongoing check-ups through the next five years though.
Costco only works with four major hearing aid suppliers while I can offer a choice from all the major brands, ensuring you get the perfect hearing aid for your lifestyle and hearing needs.
Also, Costco often locks its hearing aids so that no other provider can adjust the settings.
At South Sound Audiology, my prices don’t start at $1,400 because I can’t possibly hand someone a pair of hearing aids and tell them to go figure out the rest on their own. It’s simply bad hearing care practice.
My prices cover a full hearing package that lasts for three to five years or until your next upgrade.
5. Cleaning, Warranties, And Repairs
Both Costco and South Sound Audiology have good loss and damage warranties.
Costco includes loss and damage coverage, and their warranty periods vary by model. However, you have to mail or bring your hearing aid to Costco whenever a repair is needed whereas I can do most repairs in-office.
South Sound Audiology has a quick turnaround time on repairs, but we also have a loaner program if you will be without your device for an extended period of time. Costco doesn’t loan hearing aids.
Semi-annual cleaning and checks are included in my hearing packages. Costco offers none.
6. Convenience And Remote Visits
I have a hearing health hotline available for all patients, a home delivery service for all supplies, remote care protocols to provide counseling and adjustments, and masked curbside appointments. I can also adjust any hearing aids that allow for it remotely.
Costco only offers remote services on select hearing aids.
7. Long-Term Care
I care about our hearing care partnership, not a financial transaction, and I’ll do as many hearing aid fittings and programming adjustments you need to be comfortable and hearing well.
Follow-up care with South Sound Audiology is ongoing and includes support and encouragement as you adjust to your device as your hearing care needs change, along with cleanings and free batteries.
8. Locally Owned
Only a local audiologist will care about your community’s hearing needs. We serve Lacey and the Greater Olympia area and are always raising greater awareness of hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance issues through activities such as our “clean and check” and Lacey Rotary Club events.
There’s no comparison between an audiologist who knows your name and is happy to see you compared to a Costco employee.
Schedule A Hearing Consultation With A Professional In Lacey
If you or a loved one is experiencing a hearing loss, the first step is to book a hearing assessment with an audiologist. This will ensure you have your hearing loss diagnosed and treated professionally.
Only a professional audiologist can treat your hearing loss accurately and support you on your hearing journey long term. I use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and the most innovative digital hearing aid technology available to do just this.
I look forward to supporting you on your hearing journey.