First Hearing test at Costco

So I went into Costco to my much needed hearing exam, I knew the results were not going to be good. I went in planning on getting the K7 model from Costco after lots of reading about them but the ear specialist pushed the newly released today (to them) Resound Forte by Linx strongly. Anyone familiar with the “new” Forte aids? I tested both sets in the store, the K7 aids had more back ground noise but the voices seems crispier, clearier. The Forte aids had very little background noise but the voices seemed muffled. I’m new to all this but I know it will probably take more time to judge them than a walk around the store. On the price, $1700 for the K7 and $2800 for the Forte, big difference. Any suggestions on picking one? Thank you.

I chose the KS7 for my first aids and struggling to justify the much higher cost of the others. But maybe the ear specialist thought you’d be better off with the new ones they’re selling for your kind of hearing loss.

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Thanks for the tip, didn’t even pay attention to my info on there.

I know it would be easy to write off the recommendation of the Forte as these ARE the more expensive model of the two. I simply don’t know if Costco dispensers get any kind of promo “bennie” from selling new units.

The most important criteria is SOUND. Granted, no pair of aids is going to be “good to go” right out the door with them programmed to a single audiogram. The audiogram is no more than a guidepost to possible models and benchmark settings on the aids.

It takes about 3-4 follow-on visits to actually get the aids just about where you want them. Yes, it helps to walk around Costco for an hour, but there is SO MUCH MORE to test out when it comes to aids, and which ones would work best for your listening preferences: airports, restaurants, the car, concerts, your home, hiking, biking, the mall, just an infinite variety of acoustical environments that will make it easier or more challenging to HEAR.

All that said, and given your own priorities (loves music, the great outdoors, is social, whatever), SPEECH is pretty much the final determinator for aids. It’s communication (in person, groups, on the phone) that is driving you to explore aids in the first place.

Be sure to try your aids with all devices before the trial period runs out: does it stream to phone, TV, etc. Try it ALL! Good luck in your decision.

Being pretty new to HA’s myself…1Bluejay is right on. I went in thinking yeah yeah speech of course but how will the music sound? I quickly came to realize that yeah it’s all about the speech. That second to last paragraph is perfect.

The Forte is Resounds current model. That’s unusual for Costco. The Bernafon is also current tech. The Costco fitters are well versed in Resound software; it having been used with their previous 2 private label offerings. They know the software and fitter well versed in the software are likely to promote such products.

If you have an iPhone, it will directly link with it. That’s a nice plus. Your word recognition is on the weak side and indicates you’ve been having problems for a while.

The KS7 is a well thought of aid here. It is a generation older than those above. The price is a big attraction.

The walk-around should have given you a rough idea of the capability. Soft voices are an area where you might see a difference. Sit down with a friend in the snack area to see which seems more understandable with background chatter. You are testing in a cement barn which will be more of a challenge than your normal day to day use.

Time will improve either and that’s what is missing. It takes a month or more to adopt to first aids.

Things I would consider if I were in your situation: How important is smart phone use to you? If it’s important, and you have an Apple iPhone, there’s a good case to be made for either the Resound or the Bernafon. Do you spend much time in noisy situations that make it impossible to hear conversations? If so, that might shift my leanings toward the Resound, as it has a reputation for being very good in noisy situations. If not, and particularly if money is an issue, I’d go with the KS7s. You’d have 180 days to try them out. If you weren’t satisfied, you could return them and try something else.

Test drive both… Don’t cost nothing


For what it’s worth, I recently replaced 3 year old KS-5’s with KS-7’s and my hearing loss is worse than yours. I definitely hear better with the new aids although there are still issues.

I found walking around the store did not provide a good test of the aids. For one thing they had not been setup with a “real ear test” which is not done until you make the purchase. Also, my wife did not come with me so I could not test how well I heard her. And meetings are one of the more challenging environments for me.

To interface with my iPhone, I bought a Smart Connect device. However, I hear pretty well with just the aids so I rarely use it. Also, with the Smart Connect the phone’s speaker is disabled so my wife cannot hear the phone with me when we are talking to our kids. I bought a blue tooth transmitter to use with the Smart Connect but have barely tried it so far.

Bottom line: I’m pretty well satisfied with the KS-7’s. I’d also considered the ReSound Cala 8 but they did not seem to work as well for me and they cost more (although my insurance would cover either).