Dr Cliff's new Costco video

I love Dr Cliff because he’s not worried about promoting his competitor and giving Costco the credit it deserves … He’s confident in his standard of care, and knows his expertise will continue to have value in spite of the competition.

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I was impressed. In the past, I’ve often seen him get something wrong about Costco that always seemed to be in the favor of private audiologists. The only thing that might be called an error in this is stating (or perhaps implying?) that Costco hearing aids could be programmed by non Costco audiologists. That is generally true, but I think it’s still the case that Costco Resound hearing aids are “locked” to Costco. Overall, a great video.

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That is true for my Costco ReSound Forte 8 / Linx 3D from fall 2019. If a DIY person can program Costco HAs I assume anyone can. I think I remember someone stating here that they were able to access that new Preza or Vida with a Noahlink, but I cannot find that post.

Are you saying that you can program your Costco Resound Forte 8s? If so, very cool. That is news to me for Resound, but I haven’t been following DIY like I used to.

No, I am stating they are “locked” to Costco. Some newer models may not be locked, but I have posts to support that idea.

If you can share a post that suggests they are not locked, that would be great. Thanks!

I thought I saw that newer Preza of Vida someone found not locked, but I searched and searched and find nothing.

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Have a good friend who just bought the Preza. If I were to get the software it would be easy enough to find out.

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I generally like Dr. Cliff’s video reviews, but, a couple of years ago, he reviewed Costco hearing aids and gave a more balanced pros vs cons review. I gotta wonder what makes him “love” Costco now. Maybe he bought some stock…LOL…who knows. :slight_smile:

I don’t have any Costco hearing aid shopping experience myself but while looking around for an answer to “Are the Prezas locked by Costco?” question, I came across this blog post by the head of ZipHearing. I think it’s intended to plant the seed of doubt in one’s mind as to whether Costco is absolutely the best place to go and doesn’t limit your options in some ways - as ZipHearing’s business model, I believe, is similar to TruHearing’s - sell devices online and hook you up with a local independent audiologist for limited service and a la carte after that.

One thing that I haven’t heard come up much here is limits in the type of testing Costco can do and also, in addition, the critique that most fitters are hearing care providers rather that audiologists-trying to sell the idea that it’s better to make sure that you get an audiologist. I have no opinion-just thought the ZipHearing prez’s attempt to cast a spin was interesting and relevant to Dr. Cliff’s views.

https://www.ziphearing.com/blog/costco-hearing-aids/

So there’s this from another members post, doesn’t look good.

That was more balanced than I expected. Although I agree that Costco won’t do more advanced testing, they also won’t hesitate to recommend that you see somebody else if you trigger any of their red flags.

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Am copying the reply that I also made in the DIY section.

I just called my local Costco Hearing Aid Center and was surprised to find a HCP answered the phone (I thought I’d get a message that it was closed due to coronavirus).

I asked the woman if ReSound Prezas were locked and she immediately and very straightforwardly said that they are. I asked if I were out somewhere in the West and needed a fix, would my only option be to go to a Costco and she said, “Yes. That would be so.”

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I used to go to an audiologist that I trust and highly respect. He is 2.5 h driving away and this became a problem. I went to Costco for a hearing test. The “degree” of testing done was a lot less than what my audiologist used to do. When I asked about it, I was told that since the Costco staff are not audiologists, thy are not allowed to do certain tests. After doing the test, the hearing specialist told me that she sees a growth in one my ears and that I should see an ENT. I made an appointment with the ENT and luckily he told me that all I had is ear wax, no growth…

I was quite upset because of the anxiety and expense this caused. The audiologist used to clean the wax and I am sure that he would have not put me through this… Somehow after this experience I feel that you get what you pay for at Costco… It might have been a “unique” experience, but but no means a good one… While it is very hard to find an audiologist that you can rely on, I am not sure that when one needs fitting and adjusting a hearing aid, Costco technicians can do the same as a good, qualified audiologist.

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One does not have to go to either Costco OR an audiologist, though, to have one’s ears cleaned and examined. I have had pretty waxy ears to the point that it has impaired my hearing at times in the past. My primary care physician upon examining me once during an annual physical referred me to a physician’s assistant who works in a nearby university health center ENT clinic. The PA has periodically cleaned my ears since and the expense (which seems pretty exorbitant) has been totally covered by Medicare and my supplemental Blue Cross-Blue Shield. The medical center has not demanded the uncovered co-pay, which according to my wife the M.D., is a condition imposed by the rules of getting reimbursed by Medicare.

On one of the recent cleanings the PA diagnosed me with a fungal infection in my left ear (perhaps from wearing occlusive molds for ~17 hours per day and, previously, sometimes not being too gentle inserting them in my ear). He prescribed an acetic acid treatment in a polyethylene glycol base. Since recovery, I’ve been putting a single dose of the medicine in my ears just once a week and when that runs out, will use a 1:1:1 home-brew concoction that the PA suggested I could continue if I thought it did any good, equal parts Heinz white vinegar (~5% acetic acid), 70% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol, and distilled water, kept in an eye-dropper bottle I bought on Amazon. The prescribed medicine with the polyethyle glycol base really has an ear cleaning effect - my audiologist in January remarked how clean (and infection-free) my ear canals looked. But medicines are prescribed to control and limit their use - the PA did not like the idea of extending my prescription to continue using. Since he didn’t have any qualms about me using the homebrew concoction, we’ll see how that works. Just offering the treatment as a possible means to limit the need to have one’s ears cleaned frequently.

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Sorry you were not happy. I went to a local audi who charges a hefty premium. Did a “free” hearing exam. I think that means he checked my credit card limit. He recommended $7000+ aids. I decided to drive the 2.5 hours to costco. She looked in my ear and found a huge wax buildup and recommended getting that fixed first. Dreading driving back again she recommended a local doctor and got me an appointment within the half hour. She then worked me in after that. I ordered ks9 at that appointment. When I picked them up she redid the testing just to be sure.

So I am sure there are good and bad stories on both sides. You need to check more than one source and go with what you feel will be best for you.

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That blanket statement is simply not true. Maybe in that particular Costco none of the staff in the hearing center are audiologists, but I’ve been seeing an audiologist at my Costco center for over 4 years now, and the testing is more complete than what I experienced in my single venture to a private practice audiologist - who like what don2 experienced, ended with trying to sell me $7,000 aids.

So sadly we all have to shop around and find what fits because there are good and bad and competent and incompetent in every field. I’ve experienced it in M.D.s. and I wish someone who knows would pipe up because I have a hard time believing hearing aid providers in Costco (as opposed to audiologists) do lesser testing. It’s not like hearing tests are invasive.

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I too am very satisfied with my local COSTCO. I previously bought three sets of HAs from private aud, one of which was a PHD, over the past 20 years. They all did a good job, but COSTCO had better equipment including REM equipment, which none of the others had done before I went to COSTCO.
My current set of Resound’s are three years old and I am considering going back to COSTCO this summer to evaluate the KS9’s or hopefully the Phonak Brio 4 if they come out with a RIC model.
IMHO COSTCO is very hard to beat with their premium HAs minus some features, which each one has to evaluate for themselves.

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After reading the comments here there seems to be two general opinions regarding Costco HAs. 1) Costco HA’s are great, they sell them at a good price and their fitters are second to none. 2) Costco HA’s are a good product for the price but their fitters are in a lot of cases terrible.

Regarding HA fitters in general, they are like any other group of skilled workers (professional or otherwise). If their abilities were graded on a large scale, they will fall into a typical bell shaped curve same as with other professions with regards to performance (ability). I suspect that Costco’s HA business plan emphasizes selling lots of their HAs (maximize profit) and keeping the service overhead as low (minimize expense) as possible. Not a bad business plan especially when you take into account that most of their HA customers probably know little or nothing about the product or how well or poorly they are fitted. So most likely a lot of customers are unable to have an informed opinion regarding the product or services they have just purchased. With this in mind, I would suggest that if we could see the bell curve for HA fitters, Costco’s fitters would fall mostly in the lower part of the performance curve. Having said this, I think if Costco was really concerned about the service they provide to their customers for their HAs they would put in place some sort of plan to evaluation how well a customer’s aids were fitted and also provide a financial incentive to reward their fitters based on their performance level relative to the curve.
This posting is no more than food for thought to relieve boredom while being in virus timeout. :wink:

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Costco does do what you say they should do. They have quality checklists they have to meet. Regarding the bell curve, I think Costco fitters are at least average and likely better than average. Like anything there is variety. They have some not so great fitters too. And even good fitters have bad days. I’m convinced if you picked a random Costco fitter you’d have a better chance of getting somebody decent than if picked somebody at random from a private audiology practice.

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