Hearing Aid Practitioner employed at Costco…Ask Me Anything!


Hey everyone,

I work at a Costco Hearing Centre as a hearing aid practitioner/dispenser.

To clarify, Costco’s provides hearing aids with the same technology made by the same manufacturers as other clinics Phonak, GN ReSound, Siemens and Bernafon. We employ audiologists and Hearing Instrument Specialists/Hearing Aid Dispensers/Hearing Aid Practitioners alike.

I have worked outside of Costco for over 10 years as well and have a good perspective of this industry. It is an industry full of people (but not ALL) driven by money, not hearing and communication healthcare.

That being said, I truly believe that Costco’s Hearing centers are the hearing aid dispensing industry’s saving grace. We follow standard protocols that are set at the top of the dispensing industry. I have seen life-changing experiences within the hearing centre, tons of satisfied people, and very few adjustment appointments. Simply said, we are doing things right, and hard of hearing consumers are finally realizing it. Gone are the days of $3000.00+ hearing aids with little to no verification and validation procedures.



I have Oticon HA and have had some issues with my Audi not listening…can you assist in adjusting? Also, what about custom molds is that something that you can purchase from Costco?


  1. Who do you choose to help us ? So nice of you !
  2. What is the best aid for tinnitus ?

Thanks man !



Thank you for being here! My question is: How can my audi make bernafon (carista, acriva,juna) hearing aids sound more analog/linear like?



I just took a job at a call center. My hearing aids feed back when I put on the headset and mic. What do you recommend for this situation? Behing the ear, behind the ear with molds, in the ear? Thanks-Jason



Will I win the PowerBall drawing on Wednesday?

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Who were you hanging around with? I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years, and I’ve got lots of colleagues who are honest and truly want to help people hear better.

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From what I have read on this forum, I agree with you 100%! I’m new to hearing aids and got my first ones (KS5) at Costco Canada 2 weeks ago. My hearing is better but I have no way of knowing what to expect from them. When I go back for my follow-up in a week, what should I be telling the audiologist? I’d like to make sure I get the best results. Do I need to ask for additional modes? (I only have one now). Higher frequencies sound somewhat tinny, e.g. paper rustling sounds quite loud and scratchy. Is that sort of thing normal? Thanks for your advice in advance.

Left & Right:



Wonderful to hear from you. I am just about to pick up the phone and make an appt. with Costco Hearing Aid Center. I’ve heard great things on this forum about Linx by Resound–it works without other accessories with iPhone and other bluetooth apple stuff, but I don’t think Linx is being carried by Costco. Do you have any idea if they will in near future? I am a refugee from a very expensive Audi ($150 for hearing test, $150 for fitting and adjusting and programming plus 6700 bucks for Bolero Q70). If Linx is not availab le from Costco, what is a similar model?



Sorry to hear that. You can suggest that your Audi complete Real Ear Measurements to ensure that your hearing aids are hitting prescriptive targets, however, from what I gather, it may be a good idea to just go elsewhere. How old are your hearing aids? Can you afford to spend around $3000? If the hearing aids are over 5yrs, and if you can swing it, just go visit a Costco hearing centre to ensure a proper fitting. You can bounce around different clinics hoping that they will perform Real Ear Measurements; if you do, and they are not performing Real Ear at the fitting, just politely get up and leave.



Here’s my 2 cents worth after 20+ years of buying/wearing/servicing hearings aids. I have worked with at least 10 different audiologists and dispensers in the last 21 years. This was due to both: 1) me moving several times around Illinois-Iowa-Missouri and also: 2) wanting to stay up to date with the latest and greatest technology. Of the 10 or 11 audiologists and dispensers I have worked with, only 1 could be described as …full of snake oil, lies, lack of integrity, manipulation… That does happen and those types are out there but my experience has not been of an industry full of these types.

It is a for profit industry and bad apples are out there. Caveat Emptor applies to hearing aids for sure but I don’t want people to think most people in the industry want to rip them off and provide poor service to boot. That is not true.


  1. Did you mean “why do you choose to help us?”

If so, the reason is that as a professional that is licensed to dispense hearing aids (a medical device), it just seems obvious to me that people should know that the majority of clinics out there are NOT dispensing them at user’s prescriptive targets. It is like getting a pair of glasses that are not set to your prescription…they may not work… Also, I have been a consumer in this industry since early childhood, and no one completed REM on my fittings, and lo and behold, I never found success with hearing aids until around 40 years of age. This is ridiculous and change needs to happen. I am hoping a governing body will step in and begin auditing clinics for REM/Prescription documentation.

  1. Hmm, tinnitus masking hearing aids are relatively new to the market and still haven’t really proven their worth. I have had some success with them, but have not worked with enough to give you a responsible answer. If tinnitus is impeding your daily life, put it in your list of priorities when determining success w/ hearing aids, if not, try and focus on speech understanding only, and if the hearing aids cover up the tinnitus, cherry on top. Try a regular set of hearing aids first, in some cases, tinnitus can be masked by environmental sounds (the brain focuses on the environment rather than the tinnitus). If the tinnitus remains an impedance on your daily life, tread carefully around to different clinics (Costco does not carry any Tinnitus Masking hearing aids at the moment) and try hearing aids that have a built in tinnitus masker (glorified name for sounds like waves/static/music, set to the frequency of your worst hearing threshold).

REMEMBER: Make sure they complete REM, if they don’t, politely leave and bk an apt elsewhere.

Let me know if you have more questions.



My pleasure! Well, the Audi will needs to be proficient in the hearing aid software, first and foremost. If you are getting the feeling that they are not, perhaps it is a good idea to visit another clinic. To achieve a more analog/linear like sound, the Audi will need to go into the software and change the setting of the hearing aids to Linear. They will then need to re-calculate the first fit (may be done automatically by the s/w). Then, they will need to complete real-ear measurements with the linear setting reflected in the REM system.

Let me know how it goes.



Hi Jason! Are you able to hear well on the telephone without the hearing aids?; turning up volume on the telephone can help. I take my hearing aids out on the telephone. Hearing aids and telephones/headsets have never been and still are rarely compatible, especially Behind the ear style HAs.

There is however, one compatible product on the market right now. GN ReSounds Remote Microphone custom hearing aids (available at all clinics w/ ReSound account, incl. Costco). Because of the hearing aid’s physical configuration (microphone sits in the anti-helix area), there is little to no feedback in most cases, even with an object placed next to or on the ear. This will depend on your audiogram (can you post it?). Even if you do not fall into the traditional candidate category for this hearing aid style, you may still do very well with it, especially since the phone/headset is not such a big part of your life. I will need to see your audiogram before I can give you concrete suggestions.



I am going to say yes! lol



I must be in a particularly bad jurisdiction…having been a consumer in the industry for over 35yrs and now a professional, it has been heart-breakingly awful thus far. I have amended my original post to remove the strong words, I was in a fit of rage at that moment lol.



Hey there! So basically, looking at your audiogram only, I would expect very good results from your hearing aids! Ignore the other sounds and think about your speech understanding, how much has it improved? Are you hearing at least 85% of conversation? What about people around you, have they noticed an improvement? If so, how much? Again, ignore the other sounds for now, your brain will learn how to put them back into your subconscious as the weeks roll by. Make sure you are wearing the hearing aids at least 8hrs per day, everyday. If there are sounds that are uncomfortable/intolerable, write them down and bring the list to your provider. Again, uncomfortable/intolerable, NOT annoying. Many sounds will be annoying for the first little while, but these will likely subside after 3months (again, your brain will put them back into your subconscious like it did when you had normal hearing). If after 3mos, there are still big issues with paper rustling, etc, suggest the provider lower the amplification from 4000Hz and onward; not a lot of speech info there, but there are lots of annoying sounds.



Hi! Yes, the LinX is great because of it’s direct bluetooth compatibility, sound quality and feedback management. I wore them for a few months, can’t wait to buy them when/if Costco gets them. I haven’t gotten any concrete answers about it, but it has been strongly suggested. Possibly later this year. In the meantime, you should do a trial with the KS5s (basically the same hearing aids made by ReSound, without the direct bluetooth). You can buy the PhoneClip (smaller than a garage door opener), which will fully replace the direct bluetooth that we have in the LinX. This way, you will hear the great sound quality and experience the bluetooth connectivity. As for the “expensive audi”, I apologize that you had to go through that, I’ve been there before (my family has spent 30K+ on hearing aids, Ugh). I suggest you follow your instincts.



Funny, I have given that title to the professionals (many different ones) that swindled my family out of thousands of dollars convincing us “their latest and greatest was our only option”, meanwhile, not one set of hearing aids was set to my prescriptive targets… Interesting that you have given that title it to me. Perhaps I live in a particularly bad jurisdiction for this industry. I have amended my original post to use softer words (I originally posted in a moment of heated emotions).

Let me know if you have any questions! :slight_smile:



I must be in a particularly bad jurisdiction…having been a consumer in the industry for over 35yrs and now a professional, it has been heart-breakingly awful thus far. I have amended my original post to remove the strong words, I was in a fit of rage at that moment lol.

That being said, there is no such thing as “latest and greatest technology” in the hearing aid industry anymore, there hasn’t been for a few years now. All manufacturers can hit prescriptive targets and all manufacturers have automatic microphones that will switch between fixed directional and omnidirectional. All manufacturers can identify speech VS noise and make automatic adjustments. Technology today is improving dramatically in the sense that you can incorporate hearing aids into other consumer electronics. Otherwise, technological improvements have plateaued; perhaps they are on a slight uphill trend if I am being generous. But this is OK, hearing aids a VERY effective today! There really is not much room for improvement as far as helping with speech understanding. One this that IS important…Real Ear Measurements to ensure that prescriptive targets are being met. If this is not completed, it is akin to taking home glasses with the incorrect prescription.

Let me know if you have any questions!