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Costco does a great job of saving you money for regular purchases like spaghetti sauce, toilet paper, and coffee beans. However, the same cannot be said for other services like hearing health.

Costco now offers hearing tests and hearing aids to their customers. So, if you’re already shopping at Costco, you may think you can save some money and time by using Costco’s Hearing Aid Center. 

The thing is, you will likely save money using Costco’s Hearing Aid Center rather than going to your local Houston audiologist, but at the same time, you will be receiving services whose quality matches their price: cheap.

If you are getting tested for hearing and spending a significant amount of money on a life-changing service, something that makes the difference between how well you can hear, you want to go with experts that understand the complexity of the subject and provide high-quality service. 

In this article, we will discuss why Costco hearing aids aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and why the Houston Hearing Center is your best option.

 

Is Costco really a better deal?

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that although Costco does provide great deals on bulk grocery items, that does not mean that their healthcare services that require ongoing patient care are just as great.

First, let’s look at what Costco’s Hearing Aid Centers offer according to their website:

  • Free hearing tests*
  • Costco value pricing
  • Complementary product demonstrations
  • No cost for follow up appointments
  • Premium technology
  • Free hearing aid checkups and cleanings 
  • Free warranty periods (warranty varies by model)
  • No cost and no deductible loss and damage coverage

The range of free tests, appointments, check-ups, and more can be very appealing to customers. Furthermore, they offer transparent pricing for their hearing aids, and their cheapest pair of hearing aids, Kirkland Signature, is listed at $1499.99 on their website. Most people have no qualms with Kirkland Signature when buying groceries, it’s true, it’s a great way to save money and you are receiving a decent product. However, treating hearing loss is much more complex than any standard grocery product.

 

Houston Hearing Center Audiologists Match Those Benefits

It’s hard to find an audiologist who has a list of all their hearing aids and services laid out like a catalog as Costco does because of the numerous services that are offered in specialized care available for each one of our patients. Our audiologists work with multiple major manufacturers, technology levels, hearing device styles, and provide a wide range of specialized testing and care for our many patients with hearing loss whose needs differ from each other. Bottom line: we offer competitive prices with Costco and a wider range of options.

 

Comprehensive Hearing Tests

All tests are not equal, especially when it comes to a complex field such as hearing loss. In the audiology office, you are provided with comprehensive testing, whereas Costco only offers a basic test to determine if you have a hearing problem or not. 

* Do you remember that asterisk next to “Free hearing tests*”, under what Costco offers? On their website, they explain that this hearing test is to determine if you could be helped by a hearing aid. 

This perfectly illustrates how Costco is not up to the bar of other audiologists. Testing for hearing isn’t as simple as whether you have a hearing problem or not. Some people can’t hear at all and others have fantastic hearing, but there is a huge range of people in between that need more comprehensive testing to determine what is best for them. With Costco’s hearing testing, you may be one of the people left out.

Hearing testing assessments are not one-size-fits-all. Missing this important detail could mean that patients are getting the right care.

 

Complexity in Hearing Loss

In order to treat hearing loss effectively, one has to be able to accurately pinpoint the degree to which a patient has hearing loss, making hearing loss treatment inherently complex. Furthermore, complicating factors like neurological disorders, tinnitus, or other problems are not uncommon and require another degree of expertise to properly diagnose and treat patients. Therefore, unlike many bulk sales where you can cut down on costs and still deliver a decent product or service, the same cannot be said for many healthcare services like hearing loss treatment.

 

Locked In and Little Customization

Costco provides many brands, but hearing aid options are locked to only seeing a provider at Costco. So, what if you want to change providers? What if you realize that Costco’s hearing loss services aren’t as good as you had hoped? Well, you’d be out of luck. No independent provider can service or reprogram your Costco hearing aids, meaning you are stuck with them or will have to buy another hearing aid elsewhere if you want different care. If this isn’t a red flag, we don’t know what is. 

In addition, Costco does not offer customizable hearing aids, like Houston Hearing Center. The majority of hearing aids go over the ear, but this should not be your only option. 

Instead, we provide customization to your specific needs. Our Audiologists find the right hearing aid for your specific needs/wants, unlike Costco’s one-size-fits-all mentality. Costco is a transactional model set on selling, whereas Houston Hearing Center is a patient-focused model set on customer satisfaction and top-of-the-line treatment.

 

Costco vs Houston Hearing Center

Financing

Like any healthcare service product, you should expect some form of patient insurance or financing options. However, if you use Costco, you will not receive any insurance or financing options. 

 This means that you will be purchasing your hearing aids at cost with no financial assistance. Even considering Costco’s affordable Kirkland Signature hearing aid, it might actually be more expensive than other options. On the other hand, Houston Hearing Center offers a flexible financing plan through CareCredit®. 

Breakdown of Services

If financing alone isn’t enough, then consider what we discussed earlier. Costco’s Hearing Center is not up to the standards of local audiologists. They don’t understand the complexities that come with diagnosing and treating hearing loss, and it shows. With Costco, you will not receive personalized care, you will just be another one of their countless patients looking to buy one of their products.

Below we’ve broken down some of the most important differences between the care we provide at the Houston Hearing Center and Costco.

What you get with the Houston Hearing Center and not necessarily with Costco:

  • Your own audiologist.
  • You're not just a number, but a valued person to us.
  • Consistency in care.
  • Comfortable setting, not a mill.

Ongoing Care with YOUR dedicated audiologist:

  • Post-fitting checkups.
  • Tuning your devices.
  • Guidance on any hearing loss progression.
  • Much more personal-focused care.

 

Comparison Breakdown:

Service

Costco

Houston Hearing Center

Good Warranty

Yes

Yes

Affordable Hearing Aid Options

Yes

Yes

Comprehensive Hearing Tests

No

Yes

Personalized Hearing Options

No

Yes

Membership Fee

Yes

No

Helps You Support Local Businesses

No

Yes

Ability to Trade in Existing Hearing Aids

No

Yes

   Financing Options

No

Yes

Patient-Centered Hearing Healthcare

No

Yes

Enables Patient to Build a Lasting Relationship with One Audiologist / Office 

No

Yes

 

Takeaway

Everything considered, Costco may be a great option for buying bulk items and cutting down on your grocery bill. But it is important to keep in mind that just because you’ve had great experiences with Costco’s grocery items, does not mean that you will have a great experience with their hearing center. 

Costco is so appealing to customers because they cut costs and save you money, but cutting costs on services and products like hearing loss treatment and hearing aids could actually cost patients in the long run. 

Instead, when looking for an audiologist, you want to be assured that you will be properly cared for, tested, and receive personalized care. In the end, this will mean that you receive the care and treatment you need and you will return for additional checkups with your own audiologist who is familiar with your specific case. 

At the Houston Hearing Center, we are a part of the community and treat every patient individually. We provide excellent care with audiologists that are familiar with the complexities and nuances of hearing loss. Plus, we can provide insurance and finance options for you so that you can actually receive the treatment, to begin with. 

Call Houston Hearing Center at 281-649-7215 for more information or to schedule an appointment.