Inexpensive vs. Expensive Hearing aids

I bought hearing aids from Costco a couple years ago and after the trial period and two adjustments I still really couldn’t hear much better so I returned them. About a year ago I tried some of the MD hearing aids.All Both sets seem to do is make things louder…I still can’t understand words any better. FYI I’m 68 years old. I can hear some people perfectly and others I can’t understand hardly at all. I can watch old movies, old tv reruns on tv and pretty much hear everything well. I can also hear everything newscasters say, people on game shows, etc. but can’t understand people on the newer tv series or new movies hardly at all… I turn on the closed caption to hear those. Any suggestions? Are the very expensive hearing aids better than the ones Costco sells? What is a realistic expectation for someone with moderate hearing loss? Are there any hearing aids that don’t make things sound “Tinny”?

Sharing your audiogram with us would help us help you.

Sure sounds like background noise affects your speech recognition. The newer TV Shows have so much background noise I can’t understand much either.


As Raudrive suggested it is hard to suggest much without seeing your audiogram. If you post that, you will get more helpful suggestions.

Costco sells premium hearing aids but at lower prices. They don’t carry all the variations and options and if you have some special needs they may not have what you need. If your loss is just “moderate” then standard aids should do just fine.

Hearing aids cannot fully restore your hearing and there is likely to be some side effects. However for most especially with moderate loss, the tradeoff should be quite positive.

Correctly fitted hearing aids should not sound tinny. However, you have to keep in mind that if you have had high frequency hearing loss for a long time your brain will have adjusted to sound without the highs, and if your high frequency loss is somewhat corrected, it may sound tinny to you until your brain adapts to it again.


Thanks for the replys… I don’t have my audiogram handy…not sure where I put it!!! I’ll see if I can find it and san it…

If you click on your “P” icon in the top right of the screen, and then on the gear icon for Preferences, there should be some way to enter the audiogram points for each ear. Then, anyone can click on your P icon and see your audiogram.

I have been using Costco hearing aids for 9 years. For the last year they did nothing to improve voice clarity. All the Audi did was raise the level. I then decided to go with Phonak Marvels70. Background noise is problematic. Phonak just upgraded their software which was installed by my new Audi. WOW, what a difference. There are many difference adjustments I can do without the Audi. Depending on the environment I’m in I fine tune the aids to be more comfortable. I highly recommend them. I got them through who recommended the Audi. Price was right at under $4000 for the rechargeable.

Thanks…I might have to sell my wife to come up with $4,000 but I think she’s worth about that… :slight_smile:


I have had several sets of hearing aids from Costco and they have all been excellent in their time, and each set has new technology that improves or maintains my speech recognition in spite of the slow decline in my audiogram.

I think that much of your problem is the new programming. I hear quite well in all of the key real world environments, but I often have a terrible time withTV programs and movies. And its been going on for at least a decade. I remember a Batman movie that I took the grandkids to, and all I heard was mumbles and background noise. Later I read that messing with sound clarity was a new Hollywood thing, trying to get people to pay closer attention or somesuch. I believe that there is something to this, as sound technology/control is so refined these days that the entertainment industry can give you just about anything that they want. I have a home theater setup that has incredibly clear sounds whizzing everywhere, and the movie theaters are even more impressive. Am I to believe that they can do all of this, yet cannot make speech reasonable discernable? Umm, no. For whatever the reasons, they are doing what they want to do with speech clarity.

So, I don’t think that it is neccessarily you. It is just the way it is. We have stopped going to a lot of movies these days, and this is one of the reasons. We mostly just wait until we can stream them at home and turn on subtitles. Most of our TV viewing is either live sports or documentaries. For the former it’s normally better without the babbling announcers anyway, grin. For the latter the only real problem is accents, and normally there are subtitles available. I tried a couple of the new streaming series, and they were mostly terrible from an audio standpoint. So, I find the TV sound environment highly variable and just try to adapt to the specific listening situation as I find it.

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Essentially, Costco KS9s are Phonak Marvels. For $1499/pair.

Many movie theaters have captioning devices you can check out - one has an arm that fits in the cup holder, or the Sony smart glasses.

Good points and I agree. Oddly enough, I can usually understand people with accents better than those without an accent. I’m like you…a rarely go to a movie theater… I just wait until it comes on tv so I can use the subtitles… Trying to understand the lyrics in songs these days is nearly impossible, and that’s not just my poor hearing. I’ve asked my kids about the lyrics in some of the songs they listen to and they also say they are nearly impossible to understand.

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Well, another problem I have with going through Costco is that the closest one from me is in Billings, which is about 230 miles from me… It’s tough when you have to go back a few times for adjustments, etc… Everything is 200 miles from everywhere here in Montana. :slight_smile:


But, think of that $1.50 hot dog and pop! The drive is all worth it.

Seriously I have a friend that drives that far, and he thinks it is worth it. But I understand it could get tiresome. I can walk to our Costco if I needed to. There is the initial appointment for the audiogram, then a week or two wait assuming they have to order your aids, and then the first fitting appointment. I say first because it would be highly unusual for them to have it set up perfectly on the first try. My suggestion would be that after you pick the hearing aids then come here for advice from other users of it on what needs to be set up. Some stuff is basic, and others more advanced. Depending on the fitter they may only do the basic stuff unless you ask for the full meal deal. Costco is very good however about doing the full diagnostic tests and audiogram, and their standards call for a REM test and adjustment after each change in fitting.

Unless you live in Billings. :wink:

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I understand. My own frustration with Costco is the wait. Yesterday I picked up Philips HearLink aids. My fitting appt Sunday was cancelled, so I took the first available, which was yesterday. 45 minutes for a fitting. In the store they sounded “OK” with a little bit of peak in the 2k range. But as I got out and started listening to stuff, they were unusable - like knitting needles being shoved in my ears. The earliest follow up is two weeks away. I will call today and make sure I get enough time for another initial fitting. In the meantime, my KS9s are fine. Not sure WHY I got such a bad result with the Philips, which sounded (I think) fine at the first test before ordering them. But it’s the long wait to get things under control that is the problem. Anyway, there are six months to get it all resolved. We’ll see what happens in the second fitting.

Song lyrics, for sure. But, as you say, that’s not just about hearing loss - I am personally convinced that no human, with or without hearing loss, ever understood what Stevie Nicks was saying.


I use the Phonak TV connector with my Brio’s from Costco and it’s really the one thing I enjoy most about my hearing aids!



Seriously, though, there are multiple threads on how awful these things are. Give it a search if you’re interested. CraptiView and the rest. There was even an instructional little video about CraptiView. Oh! Found it…

It is very true in my case that the “tinny” sound you describe is something that your brain will adjust to and in time you’ll have much better hearing with the modern pricier hearing aids. I wore the Costco Hearing aids for several years and then upgraded to the Oticon OPN 1 devices (approx $5600.00). When I exited the clinic I almost turned around and went back in to reject them. I could hear the roadway out front and it sounded like a very digitized mechanical buzz-saw. Then we went to Mexico and the ocean sounded weird and “mechanical”. I couldn’t understand my grandchildren or my wife while we were anywhere with background sounds.
But… After about 6-8 weeks your brain just clicks in a and sorts it all out. Ah Ha!! Now, I get it!. Everything now sounds natural and real. I would never go back to cheaper sets, and I really do not understand people who resist digital hearing aids. The Oticon (and other devices) do an excellent job of sorting out random background sounds.
Just need to give it more time.

And… so many modern TV shows will have that almost constant loud sound-track tunes playing during the gripping parts of the plot. The music is louder than the dialog? Greys Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, Scandal or any Shondra Rhimes shows I have to leave the room it’s so annoying. I won’t even use subtitles it’s that irritating.
Wife loves all those idiotic shows :slight_smile:

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