Costco hearing aids vs other hearing aids

I had the Costco Rexton Quintra device for a year and a half. I was basically happy but I had difficulties in restaurants, live theater and other public areas. After going back to the Costco audiologist, he told me a simple fact that resonated with me. He said Costco hearing aid is the entry level device compared with the premium level device sold by outside audiologist. He recommended another audiologist in my city and I have demoed the Resound LiNX² for a couple of weeks and I can tell the difference.

In other words, if the Costco entry level device is good for you, congratulations, you can save money.

On the other hand, if you have more complex needs or you can afford it, buy the top model. Hearing well is an important component of the quality of life and I have decided to spend more on the best device.

I only wanted iPhone ready devices with T-coil circuits and direct to device TV streamers. I ruled out the Oticon Opn because it had no T-coil circuit and I ruled out the Starkey Halo 2 because it had no compatible transmitter.

Finally, I pulled the trigger and bought the Resound LiNX² 9 and a couple of TV Streamer 2 transmitters. Quality of life is very important to me even at my age of 70.

Quality of life is important. Let us know how the Linx2 is doing for you.

Something not right about that guy at Costco. They are NOT entry level aids. The Costco aids have the same features – sans tinnitus – as the premium aid. You can see that by comparing fact sheets. The fact that he referred you to an outside shop makes him look like he’s bird dogging for a cut. The aid you are getting and the Cala share features. You were lied to and will end up spending about $3K more.

I have had HA’s most of my life and the Carla’s are not entry level.

Are you saying that you compared the Rextron aids to the Resound Linx2? The thing to do is to compare the Resound Linx2 9 to the Resound Cala8 at Costco. I don’t know much about other brands, but I do know you are comparing apples to oranges.

One thing I liked about Costco is that there is a 6 month trial period and if I don’t like the Resound Cala8, I can return them for a full refund during that time and try another brand. Most Costco audiologists are pretty good from reports I’ve read here, and certainly the audi at my Costco is one of the better audis in town (rated in the top two by a man who knows a lot about this). Sounds like the audi at your Costco doesn’t know their products very well. If my local Costco did not have a good audi, I’d try the next closest one (about a 40 minute drive).

I do agree that getting good quality hearing aids and a good audi is important. But if it works to go to Costco, I’m very happy to do that.

Hi the Cost co guy is wrong. Their aids are not entry level far from it. They do have some features omitted such as tinnitus masking but otherwise they are not entry level. They are usually a model / software version behind the manufacturers branded model

Look at the Trax 42 (K7) its a Siemens tweaked version and in most cases performs as good if not better (in my trials) than the Linx1. The new Cala 8 at costco is actually a tweaked version of the Linx 2/9. Now is a very good time to buy at Costco. They have both on sale for far less than the manufacturers branded version. Im in the uk where we pay £3500 sterling for those aids.

It all depends if you need the facilities that have been removed on the costco version. They have a 180 day no quibble returns policy for full refund (without penalties).

Im not saying your wrong to go else-ware (i did) but they have given you the wrong impression. They do have some very knowable and very good audiologists.

regards Ian

Bear in mind that I haven’t got a horse in this race, but I’ll telly you why the Costco model isn’t as refined as the Linx2.

If you go into the menu for the advanced features for controlling individual functions like the strength of the DFS/Directionality and background noise management, you’ll see that there are several feature sub-menus. Both devices will claim to have access to these feature but the amount of adjustment over the functionality differs between the 2, 5, 7, 9 models - which ultimately yields a difference in refinement between the products.
So reading the specifications will tell you that the aid has DFS, Expansion etc, but NOT the degree to which they can be adjusted for any given sub-part of a program - there’s a similar issue with telling the Linx2 7 and 9 apart It’s especially evident with the extra sliders for noise vs. speech over 8-12 fader controls that are submenued within the noise management.

So, yes, you have ALL the features on both aids, but are they the same? No.

Costco needs to give this guy the boot… load of crap. The OP sounds like maybe he did get the boot from Costco. In a blind test I challenge anyone to hear the difference between the ks7, bx7 or the px7

That’s interesting, Um bongo. Is the Cala 8 is halfway between the Linx2 7 and the 9? Background noise management is one of my priorities for work, not to mention social settings. (I care little about tinnitus masking).

I really wish the industry would give us these kinds of details up front. I went to a private audi before going to Costco. He was highly recommended by someone I trust. I think he is quite competent, BUT. . . I indicated I was interested in the top of the line HA’s. He steered me toward the second from the top in either of two different brands. When I tried to find out why, he just said the premiums would not help me. I asked some technical questions, and he was friendly but also non-communicative about this. So it seemed like the Costco aids made sense, especially since the Costco audi was also at the top of the recommended list.

Perhaps not everyone wants to know this level of detail, but for those of us who do, it should be out there. When I buy a computer or software, I want to know various things about what it will do. Like, if I want to buy a desktop computer for processing RAW files in photography, I need to know about the processor, RAM, etc. Also, I need to know the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop and how they are alike and different. Not everyone buying a computer or hearing aids wants this kind of detail but some do.

Regarding the level of detail - Jake has it about right, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the objective difference between most middle and higher aids in the same manufacturer range fitted to the same levels.

There’s nothing stopping you trying a pair of Costco Aids and evaluating the corresponding performance of another set. Bear in mind that a £20K car will get you to work just as well as a £50k one - you might ‘feel’ as though you appreciate the experience more in the £50k one, but they both practically do the same job…

I’ve been involved in a related discussion with Corona. Do you think very many audiologists use that fine level of control? Or do you think they pretty much leave the default settings.

I think that’s a really interesting question. I’m guessing that very few do go that deep.

I’d be inclined to say that some audiologists are probably gifted enough to get these settings right on the basis of one or a few appointments. However, I also get the impression that the technology changes so often, and the professionals are expected to fit so many different brands and models of aids, that it’s unlikely that they get the chance to become that familiar with the ultra-fine-tuning of one type of aid before it gets superseded by another.

These two know way more than I do, and I’m also guessing that in the large majority of clinical cases, the fitting and adjustment decisions are made on the basis of a very few sessions.

There’s also the huge (IMO) problem of simulating actual listening environments in the clinic. This question has been raised slightly elsewhere, but I think it’s more important than it gets credit for being. I’ve definitely been there – you have some problem in a real-world environment. You go for an appointment, the clinician plays an audio file, through speakers in the examination room (or whatever you call it), you say that’s great, and then leave and find out nothing’s changed much. There’s so much you can’t simulate this way – at the very least, sound in reverberant spaces, or sound from a source 20m away, or your boss’s voice.

So, maybe if the clinician knew the aid and its features inside-out, and had lots of direct experience with it; if the patient could come in as often, and for as long, as needed; if the patient could very accurately and completely describe her experience and needs; if the clinical environment allowed for simulation of the difficulties and possible solutions; and if everybody involved had the patience to stick with all of this – yeah maybe you could hear these things. Maybe.

I really believe – again, without any professional anything to back it up – that given at least similar technological possibilities, it’s the quality of the fitting and adjustment that makes the difference between an adequate hearing-aid experience and a fully satisfactory one. And this hand-wringing about insanely complicated, quasi-magical features and micro-tunings that only a few people could detect, in ideal situations, has more to do with marketing than anything else.

And in fairness, there is a thing called “pride of ownership.” You do have these things stuck to your body all day, and you do depend on them for your livelihood and your engagement with life. If you can afford it, and if it matters to you, then buy a Mercedes. Seriously: if I could afford it, I’d probably go for Oticon OPNs or something, even for that reason alone.

I worked in pro audio for decades. So I was working with – including designing and evaluating – equipment and systems that met the highest measurable technical standards. I’d have the most mystifying conversations with audiophiles, who would justify spending ten or twenty times more for a piece of gear than it would cost to buy the super-pro industry equivalent because they said they could hear things that I couldn’t hear, and that couldn’t be measured.

Another side to this professional experience was discovering that people really are not very discriminating in how they evaluate what they hear. A lot of it really is about unquantifiables like how the equipment looks, or how much it cost, or what a magazine said about it. Silly me – I ride the bus wearing a pair of Sony MDR7506 headphones.

I’ve been buying and using Costco HAs for years (4 pairs so far), and only recently did I go to a non-Costco HA service provider for my latest/current HAs. And only because my new insurance offers 95% coverage for in-network providers after deductible is met and I happened to have met my deductible this year.

Anyway, the impression I get is that if you go to Costco for HAs, you’re pretty much limited to their current offerings, which are not necessarily entry-level offerings, but whatever level it is that they have to offer. I’m guessing that most HA companies probably market and sell their top of the line, latest technology offerings through regular audi channels first. Simply because they can command a premium price at the places, because Costco is considered more of a “savers’” place and Costco doesn’t sell $6000 pairs of HAs. Then after they have successfully introduced their new brands/models through the regular audi providers, they eventually would repackage/rebrand these more mature models into Costo-specific brands. So what Costco offers are not entry level brands, but are probably just more mature and slightly older generation brands.

For example, I’m trialing the Oticon OPN right now, which just came out this summer and is not available through Costco for sure. I don’t think Costco carry the Oticon brand anyway. Costco also doesn’t carry Siemens (now Sivantos), but they carry Rexton which is a subsidiary of Siemens, from what I understand. So I think it’s basically a waterfall effect where new technologies get introduced and sold by the parent companies at a premium price through the regular audi channels, then eventually get waterfalled down to their subsidiaries and repackaged and sold at more affordable prices through more affordable places like Costco, and probably at regular audi channels as well.

There’s lots of commentary on here saying the KS7 is the latest technology, based on the Siemens/Signia px7 platform. The feature set is slightly reduced, but otherwise it’s the latest, in terms of processing power and other technical criteria.

Do the new 6c Rextons seem to have the same feature set as KS7 (with the exception of tinnitus)?

Responding to the ORIGINAL POST…in which the poster bought a pair of Resound LINX9’s because he wanted the TV Streamer transmitters and the T Coil Circuits. …and then we get some apples and oranges thrown in.

Well…I did buy the Resound Cala 8’s which have the T-Coil circuits and The TV Streamer available thru my IPhone EXACTLY the same as the Linx9 system employs. I don’t think you will find any significant differences when you compare apples with apples. I don’t have a problem with you spending more…but I don’t believe that your received more. Still…it’s America…and, if your happy, I’m happy.