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.