Good Costco Experience getting KS10’s (long)

Yesterday I got a set of Kirkland Signature 10.0’s (KS10’s) at Costco. First hearing aids ever for me. I was wary of using Costco given some bad (and mixed good) reports from others, including the Dr. Cliff videos. But I ended up having a really good hearing test and really good fitting.

Some random observations about the Costco process:
• The hearing test was much more thorough than the one I paid a private Audiologist to do a few weeks ago (did two tests because I wanted two opinions). Audiologist did tone and word recognition tests only, and skipped a lot of the others (bone conductivity, uncomfortable level tests, others). FYI the two audiograms matched exactly.
• I was served by an HIS (Hearing Instrument Specialist) with 16 years experience. Really liked her.
• When I first called and made the testing appointment, I told them I knew I wanted a KS10, so they let me combine my testing appointment with a fitting appointment back to back, and they made sure to hold a KS10 for me in the desired color.
• After testing stage, the HIS said no reason for her to recommend another model and proceeded fitting the KS10. So I had a testing and fitting in one 2-hour appointment, walked out with the KS10’s.
• After the initial settings were auto set, she took a lot of time fine-tuning during the REM session, maybe 10 minutes studying the curves and making changes. Glad for that because whatever she did seems to have worked very well.
• Right after, I immediately liked the KS10’s when I was walking around the store. I could hear conversations 30 feet away if I wanted, right in a busy/noisy store. Drove home with all windows open on car but negligible wind noise in the aids. Got home to my partner/girlfriend and found I could finally hear her quite clearly—remarkable to me (I guess she wan’t mumbling after all!) I have not yet tested them in a busy restaurant, though, so I will report more after more wearing.
• If interested, my audiogram is posted; but in general, I have normal to mild low loss, sloping to severe high loss.
• In Dr Cliff’s secret shopper bad experience with Costco, he said the Costco HIS skipped the hearing-aid testing/testbox stage. Mine skipped it too, so I asked about it (the box was on her desk) and she said Costco uses the test box when the units first arrive, well before the fitting, and that these had been tested earlier.
• She did all the things I’ve seen listed on any fitting checklist, including feedback test, and more. So overall a really good experience, and none of Dr. Cliff’s secret shopper negatives. Obviously, this might all depend on the store and the fitter. But I asked her about that, and she said Costco has a rigid checklist that all stores and fitters, nationwide, are supposed to follow. (Of course maybe some follow it better than others).
• She set up bluetooth for me with my phone before I left.
• I was easily able to schedule the followup visit 2 weeks later (and it took only two weeks to get in for the first appointment).

Other details on the KS10’s:
• Bluetooth phone calls, music streaming, audiobook streaming, etc, are all good for me, no issues.
• Battery is at 60% after 10 hours use. Reaching 16 or more should be no problem.
• I asked HIS if the KS10’s were locked, and despite what many have said online, she said these were locked and only adjustable by Costco fitters. She said they could be unlocked with a code in case they needed emergency fitting somewhere else. I know others have said KS10’s came unlocked, so thought I’d mention that here. Maybe they really are unlocked, or the code is easy to find?
• The HIS said that the MyPhonak app will work with KS10 except for remote service for which the Easy Line app must be used. And she said nothing extra is gained from the MyPhonak app. Again, I know others have said MyPhonak will not work with KS10. I have not tested this.
• The HIS recommended I turn off double-tap option since too many of her clients were hanging up on callers when the client put on/off eyeglasses during a call in progress (she noticed I wore glasses). Not using it is fine by me; top button does it all. But interesting she said that. I may turn it on later to test. Or set it up to only start/stop streaming.
• She said the only feature missing on the KS10 compared to Phonak Paradise was tinnitus masking. I know others have said tinnitus masking can be turned on, on the KS10. (Not a concern to me.)
• I ended up with a closed/vented dome (on a medium receiver.) I thought with my near-normal readings for low frequency on audiogram she’d have given me an open dome. But she said her KS10 clients have had better experience with a closed/vented dome for blocking background noise (compared to an open dome). These KS10’s sound fine with the dome she gave me. No occlusion, no feeling of missing anything.

So over all pretty good. The one possible negative with the Costco experience could have been this: They scheduled only one hour for the fitting stage. That was enough time for me because I had pre-studied hearing aid features a ton in general as I was shopping in the last month, and studied the KS10 extensively once I chose it, all before I came in. So I knew and understood all the features of the KS10 already, had read the manual already, etc. Result was she didn’t need to teach/show me much at all—as she got to each feature I said I already understood it. But even with only a few questions from me during the fitting, it still took a full hour to do the fitting/hand off. I’d say that for a hearing aid newbee client, there is no way an hour would have been enough. I’ve heard that many audiologists schedule at least 2 hours for fittings, and I can see that’d be needed for a client new to hearing aids. But again, the one-hour worked out fine for me.

After I’ve been wearing these KS10’s a while, I will post a full review at bottom of the www.hearingtracker.com KS10 article.

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KS10s are not locked to my knowledge. I got mine yesterday and was able to program them in Target 7.1 without any problems straight away.

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Agreed: I was able to update the firmware and change some settings on my KS10.0T aids using the Target 7.19 software.

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Thank you for posting another positive costco experience. I have had nothing but good things to say about them except for wait time, and that is probably due to being the only ones who have lower prices on top of the line aids.

I will say that not all costco HIS are good, same as with private audis, so finding a good one is important…

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FWIW, I think that comparing Costco HIS’s & private Audi’s with “good & bad” in every group glosses over the fact that there is an enormous difference in training between the 2. Qualifications for HIS’s vary among the states, but typically their preparation is equivalent to an associate’s degree at a junior college. An audiologist typically holds a doctoral level degree these days. Hearing loss is a medical condition which is best treated by someone with the appropriate level of training and qualifications. Comparing an HIS with an audiologist is comparing apples & oranges, creating a false equivalence IMHO.

Just my 2 cents . . .

Are you attempting to start another debate about private audi vs costco again? There have been many of these with a lot of polarization. I was not making any comparison.

I think it makes lore sense to keep this thread on topic.

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Not this again. Please stop.

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Again? If this is directed at me, I’ve never started a debate about Costco or anything else. In fact, I posted about my positive experience at Costco within the past month.

In my experience, the key ingredient in treating hearing loss is the professional providing the treatment. The hearing aid is simply the vehicle by which that treatment is delivered in the case of hearing loss. The level of training which an HIS receives is far less than what someone who is generally considered a professional receives. I thought it was important to state that for the record. When you buy at Costco, you are buying a service delivery model, not just a device. The actual audiologists in the Costco service delivery model are few and far between in my personal experience.

No the again is not directed at you but the fact that there are many costco v private discussions that tend to devolve and accomplish very little.

This thread had nothing to do with that and you decided to move this topic towards that discussion. I was suggesting we keep it on topic.

On a side note - I realize looking at what I typed it could look like I meant you specifically and that is not the case so I apologize for the confusion…

I got a Jabra Enhance Pro with M&RIE at Costco. The fitter was an experienced audiologist who did all the tests and REM. I was given print outs of my audiogram and REM results. The only issue I had was too many of my questions were answered with: “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what’s best.” That didn’t work for me and we battled over the flow of information. I wasn’t told about the M&RIE option at the first session/initial fitting. I went home and read about it. When I went back for a follow up I asked about it. She told me that because I only had hearing in one ear it wouldn’t make a difference. I said that I was interested not in the directionality but in the other advantages provided by the M&RIE. I insisted on trying one. So one was ordered and it got swapped out. I have found a marked improvement in sound clarity and sounding natural. I bought a NoahLink Wireless and downloaded SmartFit so I don’t have to return to Costco unless there are maintenance issues. If I do I’ll go to a different location in another state.

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I agree that “Comparing an HIS with an audiologist is comparing apples & oranges, creating a false equivalence.” In my experience many HIS know more about hearing aids and fitting them than audiologists do. I would prefer an HIS, which is what I have at my Costco. I can also confirm that in New Jersey anyway, HIS have a two year college degree. It is very thorough and involves practicum.

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Well, I guess I have to ask then, what is your experience?

Hi billigem,

A few years ago, I went to a presentation at Robert Wood Johnson which is a major health facility here in New Jersey. The presenter was an audiologist and on staff there and was considered a hearing “expert.” Her knowledge of what hearing aids actually do was very limited. She made a few statements that were incorrect. I’m sorry that I can’t remember what they were - I’m 77 and my memory could be better.

I live at a Continuing Care Retirement Community and we have organized several programs on hearing and invited professionals to come and present. Again the audiologists had a limited knowledge of what hearing aids do other than amplify sound. None spoke about Real Ear Measurements for example, and most didn’t know anything about bluetooth integration.

I have dealt with four HIS technicians, two at Costco and two at other independent hearing aid outlets.They were all knowledgeable about hearing aids and how to fit them.

Additionally, my step-daughter completed a two year course at a local college to become certified as an HIS and her training was very thorough.

I may be prejudiced, since when I was working, I was an electronics technician and I often felt that I knew more about real world electronics that most electronics engineers. My point being that hands on experience is worth more than formal education in many instances.

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Thanks for the narrative. Being a grandparent myself, I completely understand your “bias”. Your priorities are where they should be IMO, having 13 grandkids of my own. Sorry that you’ve had such bad experiences with audiologists. After hearing your story, I see where you’re coming from.

Caution: Costco does not update Target as fast as a DIY user can. I DIY and recently my Target received a Phonak push to the latest version. Also my KS10’s were pushed a firmware upgrade that makes them compatible with the new active receiver.

Soon after I scheduled a Costco appt for a REM test to see how my hearing may have changed since I’ve been wearing my KS10’s for 6 months.

The Costco Target system couldn’t read my KS10’s. The error message basically said the Costco Target needed to be updated. I’ve been going to this store and this fitter for awhile and he is very good. He knows I DIY and often takes time to educate me on Target use. He said Costco’s quality testing usually means there is a few weeks until they update. He said my KS10s were now ahead of his and to just come back in a week or 2.

I can see why this happened, my current Target 7.19 has crashed a couple of times. A reboot and recover was easy and no harm done. I’m guessing we’ll see 7.20 pretty quick.

This is very well written and should be helpful to many!!

What is Target? I have been wearing hearing aids for four years now and have never heard of that.

It’s the name of the fitting software used to fit Phonak aids. ReSound refers to their current fitting software as Smart Fit, as another example.

Thanks, this is new to me, I prefer open domes at this point and do fine in resturants etc. but streamed music does suffer. As long as battery life is not affected very much I think I would try the active receiver.

any idea if the active vent receivers physically fit the KS10’s? I thought Dr. Cliff’s video said they wouldn’t…an extra pin present or something? And the Easy Line app would need to support them as well, correct? Man I hope they get official support.