Costco? for hearing aids for first timer? Or? Where to start?

I’m a newbie at this. I recognized I might have a hearing issue and have seen an audiologist and ENT . I have been researching and reading on hearingtracker. There was barely any consultation or time for asking questions at the appt. However I did leave with an audiology report and a long list of Hearing centers / audiologists. I’m actually not sure where to start. Based on my research I was thinking Costco might be a good bet for me as the hearing loss was said to be moderate. But do I need real-ear measurement? or speech in noise tests? other tests? if so there is only one place near me that offers the real-ear measurement and they are not rated as highly as others by Hearingtracker. And no one near me appears to offer the speech-in-noise test. Maybe I am overthinking all of this and don’t need to go into too much depth

I was going to upload my audiology report, but new users are not allowed to do so. So I will give a shot at sharing the report:

The left and right ear seem pretty close to each other in the report. Although I would have said I hear better with my left ear.

** 7/27/22 CORRECTED EAR TEST RESULTS ***

The left ear test at:
250 Hz, 15 dB HL
500 Hz, 20 dB HL
750 Hz, 25 dB HL
1000 Hz, 35 dB HL
… no X’s between 1000 Hz and 2000 Hz
2000 Hz, 45 dB HL
3000 Hz, 50 dB HL
4000 Hz, 45 dB HL
6000 Hz, 55 dB HL
8000 Hz, 50 dB HL

The right ear tested at:
250 Hz, 20 dB HL
500 Hz, 30 dB HL
750 Hz, 40 dB HL
1000 Hz, 40 dB HL
1500 HZ, 35 DB HL
2000 Hz, 55 dB HL
3000 Hz, 55 dB HL
4000 Hz, 55 dB HL
6000 Hz, 45 dB HL
8000 Hz, 50 dB HL

Word List Test:

Left ear: 96% NU-6LIST 2A dB HL = 70
Right ear: 100% NU-6LIST 2A dB HL = 70

Do I need the other tests mentioned above? Does Costco seem to be a realistic place to start? Suggestions and thoughts appreciated.

REM is done after fitting you with a hearing aid. A small tube is inserted into the canal beyond where the dome or mold ends to detect the sound levels provided by the HA are various frequencies. The goal is to make sure the output matches what the fitter intended. There are different things that can make it go wrong, but it doesn’t happen often. My audiologist did a REM on my first fitting, and it was nearly exactly what she had intended. She made a tiny tweak.

Costco is supposed to (by company policy) do REM when you get HAs from them.

Hope this helps you, welcome!

WH

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Thank you WhiteHat and Zebras. I was unsure if was wise to go to Costgo vs an independent - especially as I’ve never had hearing aides before. I appreciate the information!

I got my first hearing aids from a traditional audiologist, and three years later from COSTCO. The COSTCO experience was better in every way from my first pair of aids. You do get REM and speech in noise testing at COSTCO (at least I did).

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Keep in mind that you will get positive and negative reviews for both audiologists and for costco here. Neither is perfect and both experiences can be vastly different. Also rem is something that is wide spread throughout the industry. It not being used is not necessarily an indication of good or bad service

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If you haven’t already, perhaps look at some Dr Cliff youtube videos on the subject.
Costco sells aids that are from the major manufacturer. They are the largest reseller of hearing aids. They are able to purchase at substantial discount over what a private audiologist buys the aids for. The aids are nearly identical but rebranded. The KS10 aids costco sells are nearly identical to the Phonak Paradise P90s. Costco $1400 and P90s from an audiologist is (from what people have posted) usually around $5-7k for the pair or higher. Depending on the “bundled” services you get along with the aids.

No, I didnt buy through costco. I paid the high end price from a crappy audiologist and regretted it after I learned about the costco option on here.

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Some of the frequencies you show in your audiogram are unusual. Are you sure you copied them correctly? Looks good up to 2000 Hz, but after that it’s usually 3000 Hz, 4000 Hz, 6000 Hz and 8000 Hz. Costco would be a fine place to start.

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As with many things, what happens at Costco will, in part, depend on the person. My Costco had 3 fitters (this is pre-pandemic), and for me, one of them was much better than the other, so I switched my appointments to always be with that person. (I only ever worked with 2 of the 3).

IMO Costco is THE place to go for HAs. They offer 4 different brand names of HA, while most private audiologists only offer 2 (a few offer 3). Can’t beat the pricing. A good fitter is going to recommend the brand best suited to your audiogram needs.

I also suggest you watch a few of Dr Cliff’s videos, the ones for first time users are very helpful.

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Thank you all for the added information! Very helpful. I will follow-up with Dr. Cliff’s videos @Freedom and @richardsondc

Also, @MDB - yes, I was inaccurate when posting my test results. I have corrected above in initial post. One thing I didn’t post was that there are 2 additional symbols, other than X’s and O’s that indicated “masked” and “unmasked” however I’m not quite sure how to read those and/or what they mean. Symbols were: [ , >

And, I appreciate the added perspective on REM - thank you @hass5744

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Thanks. You have a pretty moderate loss. Improvement in hearing is likely to be subtle and you’re more likely to find some sounds way too loud initially. (Give it time) Mainly suggesting to temper one’s expectations.

Thank you @MDB for the reminder to temper expectations. But as improvement in hearing is likely to be subtle, I am wondering if it is worth my time to get a hearing aide at this point?

There’s a way to upload your actual audiogram to this website. I forget how, but others can help. I’m a big fan of Costco and agree with what has been said above. . . most will give you excellent service and product. Each clinic has a senior, or head, hearing technician. You could ask for an appointment with the ‘head’, if you are dubious about skill level. You can’t beat the 6-mo. return policy!! Good luck.

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Now is the time to try them. You still have good word recognition. If you wait, your brain will lose the ability to make sense of certain sounds.

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@4mulch

What @MDB says about your brain loosing the ability is very true. It happened to my Grandma.

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I just had an appointment with Costco yesterday and a few minutes ago I posted about them. To make a long story short, I found them to be very professional. Highly recommended.

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@MDB and @Zebras - thank you! Appt has been made.

@Jonathan - I appreciate your sharing and I read your post - impressive.

Hi @4mulch, welcome to the community!

I am green with envy over your hearing loss…I am so much worse!

In my humble opinion, go for the highest level of hearing aids that you can afford…and at the cheapest price possible.

I think that the Costco is the way to go and will let you achieve that goal.

You are starting on a long journey and will learn so much along the way. Improvement in ability to hear and discriminate between like-sounding words is not instantaneous. Initial fitting of aids to correct your hearing loss is rather startling when you try them.

I remember everything sounding like crystal breaking and suddenly I could hear keys and coins jangling and paper rustling when scrunched up. These were sounds that I had forgotten.

Stay the course…it takes a while to adapt and for the brain to relearn and adapt to the new sound environment that you will be hearing is as for those with normal hearing. The period of adaption is measured in weeks to months. And strongly depends on maximum wearing usage of the aids.

Wear them all waking hours, even if you are on your own. Good luck!

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Good post. I remember the first time flushing the toilet with new aids. Damn near jumped outta my shoes. And wow, turn signals in cars do still make a blinker sound. And the birds really are still chirping.

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I just want to re-emphasize that NOW is the time to start and you need to wear aids from the time you get up until you go to bed at night.
We actually HEAR with our BRAIN. Ears just “collect sound.” So when the brain “forgets” a sound because it has not heard it for some time, it can be very difficult if not impossible for it to interpret that sound correctly when you restore it.

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I’ll just add that although I agree that the aids don’t help if they’re not worn, don’t feel like you have to soldier on if you’re overwhelmed. It’s ok to work up gradually to wearing them all day. It’s also ok to turn them down some if things are just too loud.

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