Costco Fitters - Not all the same!

If you go to Costco, I suspect in 90+% of the cases you will be well treated. They have fitting standards and with the exception of the odd rogue fitter, they are followed. Keep in mind that in your first audiogram session most of the time will be taken up doing the very thorough testing that they do; complete audiogram, bone conduction tests, speech in noise tests, and checking your eardrums for any damage. I may have forgotten a few things. You can make your decision at that appointment on which aids you want to buy, but there is not going to be a lot of time to try a few and see what you think.

If you want to test store demo units they will probably let you, but there will not be enough time in the first appointment to do it properly. If you want to compare different models they should really be REM fitted (a test to actually measure how much gain they are putting in your ear canals), and that takes time. You should also ask them to use the same fitting formula, like NAL-NL2 to be programmed in all the aids you test. Then you will be comparing apples to apples. Short story is that if you want to compare aids properly you will need to set up a second appointment. If you don’t want a long wait, it is better to book that now, rather than do it at the first appointment. They may even give you back to back appointment slots if they have them.

Once you select the ones you want they will order them, and that generally takes a week. When they arrive they will need to program them for your loss and do the REM testing again. Next you try them at home and it would be wise to make another appointment to do any further fine tuning. If anything is changed in the fittings, (open to closed, or vent size changed) then the REM should be done over again.

As for brands I’m not entirely sure how similar the Phillips HearLink aids are to Oticons. Others may be able to help you with that. The aids that are very hard to pass up at Costco are their Kirkland Signature KS9 aids which are basically Phonak Marvel M90 premium level aids. They are comparable to the Phillips aids and Oticon, but cost $1500 a pair.

Costco doesn’t really do trials where you get to take the trial aids home. You have to buy them to try them, but have a no questions asked return policy for 6 months. If economics are any concern, then I would just buy the KS9 aids and try them. If you don’t like them after they attempt to adjust them to take care of any concerns, then just return them and try a different pair.

Hope that helps some. I think it is highly unlikely you will get treated badly. The fitter I had may not have been bad at all. I should not have asked them to make an adjustment at my direction. She was not the type that took direction well from somebody she did not know. And that is another point, the relationship with the fitter is important. If you have a personality clash and don’t communicate well, then ask for another fitter. The manager of the department tends to be the most experienced one there. Ask for the manger.

Hope that helps some,

Yes, thank you very much. I don’t feel quite so lost now, though I don’t yet understand all the settings. For example, ‘NAL-NL2.’ It’ll be a good question for me to ask. Then if the person looks like I just spoke Martian I should probably find someone else…

This forum is a great place to learn about hearing loss and all the different hearing aids.
Everyone has opinions about how to go about getting hearing aids and how to set them up.
Reading and asking questions here on the forum will educate you to make better decisions about your hearing loss and hearing aids. But, telling the professional how to do their job can be counter productive. As an informed buyer you will know when to ask or mention something to your fitter. Your relationship with your fitter is very important, first impressions for both of you will help make the best hearing aid experience for you both.

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Depending on the aids you choose, there will typically be three fitting formulas that can be used. There are two industry standard “generic” ones (NAL-NL2 and DSL v5) and each manufacturer will have a proprietary formula. A good way to start a discussion with the fitter when you are not the expert (but you are the one paying for the aids), is to ask what fitting formula they recommend for your specific loss, and why. But, before you go, it would be good to get yourself up to speed on what a fitting formula is, and what the pros and cons are of each. It is probably best to go with what they recommend, as that puts the ball in their court to give you good results. However, if the results are not good, keep in mind that changing the fitting formula is more important than changing the brand of hearing aid. I would not hesitate to ask for a change.

The lesson is if you’re not getting what you want or have any doubts, leave.

I had my first hearing test at a Hearing Canada approved location, and the fitter there was amazing. We hit it off, and she had nothing bad to say about Costco fitters (her sister IS one!) The Hear Canada sales person tried to sell me on the “old technology” comment, but I also have contact with the supervisor of a Costco hearing center in another part of the country. She poo poo’d that old saw. Everyone can have a bad day, and we relate to different people differently. I hope that you have a good experience with your fitter, and all I can suggest is to do your research ahead of time, to walk in with the most knowledge you can. This forum and web site is a very good start!

99% of potential customers are quite ignorant. Probably 98% of fitters handle this well; they do it all day.

WHY are you even thinking about HAs? Can’t hear the birds? Can’t hear your coworkers? housemates? Can hear them talking but can’t get all the words? Which words?

Working from those tone-tests, the fitter will program a first-fit for your hearing loss. That may be plenty for a first visit. It will sound funny. You will get used to it, over the weeks and months of all-day wearing. Fine-tuning should mostly wait for a second session. “Prescriptive Formulas” are very advanced tuning (the HA companies already use their own blend of formulas) and are sure not a first-visit item for a first time user. (I an geek enough to have mentioned it on first visit but I still have no idea if any of them suit me.)

You do have “mechanical” choices. Behind the ear or in the ear? Minimum size or better battery life? Black purple silver or ‘flesh’? Milder losses can use a light airy earbud, severe losses may need an ear-mold to seal the hole.

Certain sound/word confusions are familiar to HoH people. We should make lists more often. But speech is hard to hear anyway, and there is a WHOLE world of mis-heard lyrics.

I recognize mis-hears like these from talking around the house. Yes, some are over-wrought or dirty-minded, and that’s realistic too.
Oh Canada, we stand on cars and freeze…
“We built this city on sausage rolls” = “We built this city on rock ‘n’ roll”.
We built this city on logs and coal
“These ants are my friends,” = “The answer my friend”
“I’ve got two chickens to paralyze” = “I’ve got two tickets to paradise”
“…since I broke my nose” = “…since I wrote my note” (this sure could happen here)
“We don’t need no sex vacation” = “We don’t need no education” (sadly not)
“…if we’re naked or not” = “…if we make it or not”
“The girl with colitis goes by” = “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes”
“What a nice surprise when your rabbi dies” = “What a nice surprise bring your alibis”
“Scuse me while I kiss this guy” = “Scuse me while I kiss the sky”
'Scuse me I’m a business guy.
Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove.
See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen
Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tangerine.
This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus, Asparagus
Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue…
Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her.

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OMG! Around my house, we are ready to start a collection of ridiculous things I thought I heard.

apparently you’ve already started yours!

I had a great appointment at the nisku Costco. As a result I ordered the Rexton Adore Li aids. I am excited to try them out when I get fitted in two weeks