Quality of Costco Hearing Test

I am glad I found this forum. I will try to post my hearing loss in my sig when I get it.

I did not find the answers to this question after a search so I appreciate any comments or suggestions based on your experiences.

  1. How is the quality of Costco’s hearing test as compared to an independent audiologist? Better, worse, the same or does it depend on the audioligist?

  2. Should I get another test to compare? If yes, how should I go about finding a qualified tester?

I should mention that I have already been tested at Costco and thought they did a good job. They did find some loss and have recommended their Signature aids at about $2,000 for the pair. I tried them on for 30 minutes while I shopped and they made a nice difference.

I don’t have much experience with CostCo personally, but there is no reason to think that their test is not going to be as good as anywhere else. It will really boil down to the competence of the hearing professional. Like many big companies I’m sure they have good ones and bad ones. Or to be more politically correct, they probably have varying degrees of competency.

I was wondering about that. So how can you tell a good tester from a bad one?

The test for me at Costco was really bad. First, the booth is not completely sound proof. I could hear some of the high frequency warehouse noise that is typical at Costco. My hearing loss is mild in the high frequencies and this could explain that. They do not use standard audi headphones. Instead, they use foam type inserts. I could not discern the sounds because of the background noise and my tinnitus. In a clinic type booth, my hearing tests are remarkably similar…for nearly 20 years. So, for me, I cannot trust Costco’s hearing test. Other than that, I like their model and think they are a good choice for some people.

I never had my hearing tested at Costco, so I can’t say. Costco’s vision doctor near me did a great job, however, compared to a private vision doc, every bit as good as far as I could tell. That was not a free test, however. Costco charges for vision tests but not for hearing tests. I too would imagine the sound test quality varies from one Costco audiologist and one Costco sound booth to another, just as it does outside Costco, as suggested above.

Costco will accept recent hearing aid test results from outside audiologists to prescribe Costco aids, and if there was any question, of course, about how good or recent that data was, they’d redo the other’s test for free just as they do otherwise.

I set off some negative comments in another thread when I suggested that free hearing tests weren’t worth the paper they were printed on, but I wasn’t thinking of Costco or of private audiologists when I said that. It seems there is some variation on this by locale as to whether private audiologists charge for hearing tests. Around me, most if not all private audiologists charge about $75-125 for a basic but thorough hearing test, which should run probably 15-30 minutes in a sound-resistant booth to administer. Costco is still free. What I was beefing about are the 5-minute “screenings” that some mall stores offer, not in a sound-resistant booth. These are not good. These are a come-on to either get you in the door to pay for a more thorough hearing test they will find you need, or the “consultant” may cut right to the chase and suggest hearing aids if they can get away with that in that state. You want a real hearing test in a sound-resistant booth administered by a certified audiologist who says you need aids before springing for them.

That’s a good question, and I wrote a whole post on it called A Good Hearing Test.

Hope that helps.

Do you have a link?

Very similar for me, but I would not say the test at Costco was bad, it was as good as it could be considering the environment. In my mind, that makes it not nearly as good as a dedicated audiologist office where I ended up purchasing my HA’s.

I also think it varies with the people involved but I trust my Costco hearing test more than the previous one I had with an ENT practice audiologist. At the ENT practice the equipment was old and the “booth” had a handmade look to it. At Costco the booth was an actual soundproof booth and the equipment was new looking. They used large headphones at both places. Also, at the ENT practice the audiologist spoke the words into a microphone and there was a noticeable difference in right and left headphone sound which I pointed out. She told me no, they are the same. At Costco the left and right actually were the same. They used a recorded voice so I would expect the exam to be the same every time.

I went to Costco because I was looking for a change and I’m satisfied with their service.

I was tested at Costco within 30 days of having a test done at my Audiologist (Ph. D) and 3 months of being tested at the ENT’s office. The Costco test was the equal of the testing by the Audiologist and better than that of the ENT. Where the dispenser at Costco excelled was in explaining my choices and the pros and cons of each. My previous aides (my first) came from the Audiologist; she never suggested that multiple visits would help optimize my hearing experience. After the first visit, I only saw her once and being a beginner I had no clue! At Costco I spent 2 months tweaking my aides to perfection; it was a great experience.

You, I am sure. are aware that the Costco corp. is a giant organization doing billions of dollars in business and operating in every state (USA). They have a superb reputation for running a highly ethical retail operation.

Therefore it should not be surprising that their hearing aid department is staffed mostly with competant dispensers and audioligists. I am sure that there are a few of their people that are not 100% as is true with any other large company.

I think they do the hard of hearing public a valuable service by injecting a highly competitive price structure into the marketplace.

In my opinion, in general, they provide an ethical useful service to those who have been to a medical doctor (ENT) and determined that they just have a mild to moderate uncomplicated high frequency loss, the majority of HOH.

But those with more severe or complicated types of losses, in my opinion will be best served by an experienced private practice audiologist. Just my opinion, Ed

My 2 cents re: Costco. I had an excellent test at my HMO. I could then take the test and go to the HMO HA dispensing center or go anywhere. (The test was covered by my plan.)
I went to Costco, got a test, (don’t know how it compared). It seemed only a little less thorough than the one at my HMO. Problem was he said I needed the type of HA that would require my ears to be totally blocked and would have to jump thru hoops to use any phone.
After reading this forum for years and from other sources, knew my type of loss would probasbly lend itself to an open fit design. Went to the HMO’s dispensing place and the excellent audi, who had already seen my test results did suggest an open fit Phonak model! It’s been about 3 months, have been back once since the original fitting and all is fine. I can even use my cell phone and the headset that I wear all day. I’m due to go back in a couple weeks for another follow up.
The main thing that bothers me about HA in general is your paying thousands for less than $250 or so in electronics. Add $100+ for an audi’s time - still comes to less than a 1/4 of the $4K price.
I am not sure the recommendation of a diff. type of HA by Costco was “malpractice” or a legit way of solving my problem. Before walking out I did ask him again if I had to use the type that would make using a phoone very difficult - and he said “yes”. He offered no other suggestions.