Considering Costco KS 9.0 to replace 7 year old Oticon Ino

About seven or eight years ago, I purchased my first hearing aids at the age of 45 – Oticon Ino (not Pro, so no Bluetooth streaming). They’ve been great. I keep them in a Dry 'n Stor.

I’ve always been pretty happy with the HA provider, but after some recent experiences and having read some things here and watching some of Dr. Cliff’s videos, I’m not so sure.

The provider supplies lifetime batteries and lifetime free checkups, tuning, etc. As these are near end-of-life, they seem less interested in support. Sure, I get it from a cost perspective, but they’re probably going to lose a customer. First, my grips were worn/broken and they didn’t have any replacements and didn’t seem to be concerned about it. I ordered a couple on eBay and put them on myself. Now the left speaker seems bad, but they just readjusted slightly, which doesn’t really help. I’ve ordered a new speaker on eBay to install myself. Also, they only did Real Ear measurement this recent visit and once a couple of years ago, but not in the five years before that (I only learned about the importance of RE measurement from a Dr Cliff video the other day).

Frankly, I don’t even know what their credentials are (didn’t investigate it like I have now that I’m considering new ones).

Given the huge leap in technology and my mild/moderate hearing loss, I’m thinking that the Costco KS 9.0 is the way to go (also, I’m an Android user). I’ve heard that they’re required by Costco to use Real Ear measurement, so that’s a plus. To use my insurance, I need to go to an approved provider for the hearing test. I have a $3000 benefit (every 5 years). To get something comparable to the KS 9.0, I’d have to spend $5000 elsewhere, which would mean $2000 out of pocket. If I go to Costco, I’d be spending about $600 out of pocket and could get another pair later if necessary for some reason.

My only concern is fitting/programming, but after my experience with the hearing aid provider I got the Inos from (not bad, mind you, but now wondering if it’s not as great as I had thought), I’m wondering if there’s any way to tell really until afterwards anyway.

So, any thoughts or advice on this strategy? I figure replacing the receiver on the Ino won’t be wasted since it’s only $50 and I’ll have them for a backup or to wear in situations where I’d be worried about the better hearing aids.

You really have nothing to lose by trying Costco (except time and effort). Try out the KS9s and see what you think. Assuming you’re in the US, you’ve got 6 months to make up your mind.

I would suggest trying Costco to see if you like their service and the KS9. To meet your insurance requirements, you would have to get a hearing test at an approved place if Costco is not on their list. In any case Costco will do the test over, and don’t charge for it.

You have not posted an audiogram so it is hard to predict how well the KS9 may suit you, but it is certainly a premium RIC style hearing aid, and worth a try.

Costco will do as many follow up visits as is necessary, and you always have their return policy to fall back on.

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Thanks. I don’t have a copy of my audiogram to post – probably another case of my not approaching this best in the past. I do know that, generally speaking, most of my loss is in the higher frequencies, but it sounds like that fairly common.

I did notice that customer satisfaction with Costco (hearing aids and service) are rated high in Consumer Reports, but I figure YMMV from location to location like anything else.

Costco has standards they must follow. Those standards results in better consistent fittings for their clients. Those standards also bring more consistency with the fitters they hire.
I am very happy with them. With my hearing loss they found problems that audiologist and HIS professionals had not found before.

Yes, a lot of it comes down to the fitter you get. If you don’t like the fitter, ask for a different one, or go to another Costco. If you have a Costco that is quite busy, you may want to make your next appointment at each fitting. It is easier to cancel an appointment than to make one.

You may not get repair of any aids at 7 years old even at Costco. If you have a good tech at Costco and they have access to parts, they may be willing to help to the degree they can. But I’m told that they can’t get manufacturer service after about 3-4 years. An independent tech/repair person or service would be your best bet in that case. But, IMO, you will get a huge improvement with new aids after seven years. Particularly after the last seven years.

Yes, I wasn’t expecting free service, but it would have been nice for the person to identify the actual problem and then tell me that service isn’t available even for a price at that point. I’ve told them I’m thinking of new HAs and they know I have the benefit. Actually, they can sell me Oticon OPN 3s for $3800 (two ears), but comparing specs, I’m not so sure that’s as much of an upgrade as the KS 9.0s.

I took the hearing aid assessment on this site and the top recommendation was the Phonak Marvel M90s, but that’s just way to pricey for me.

Those KS9 aids are M90 aids, almost. Short of tinnitus and the new 2.0 update for all Marvels. They are serious bang for the buck.

Not sure there is much difference between the KS9’s and the M90’s.

I dug up my old audiogram from 2011. I guess it’s been more like 8 years. Anyway, I really don’t know much about what it says, other than some obvious lows in the high frequencies. Any thoughts on whether the KS 9.0 would be good for me based on that?

Not a professional, but in my opinion that loss, if it is still what you have, is a piece of cake for virtually any hearing aid on the market. Some might suggest that a hearing aid is not even necessary. Unless there has been a major change, the KS9 will work just fine for you.

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It has not changed much. I have trouble hearing people who speak softly when other people around me hear them just fine. They do help incredibly with that.

K9s an unbelievable hearing aid for the money. Returned 2 hearing aids to Costco under the 180 day return policy to get to the K9s. Success depends on the programming. Bluetooth is really neat but only 1 call at a time where Marvels can now do 2.