When it comes to investing in better hearing, there are a number of options available, and it can be difficult to know where to go, who to trust, and who will deliver the best solution.
With a Costco store not too far from our office, we are occasionally asked,
“What’s the difference between buying hearing aids from North Houston Hearing Solutions compared to buying them from Costco?”
With many important differences, from service to repair warranty, levels of service, and different technology options, this article will share the key differences to help you make an informed decision on the right option for you.
The objective is to be as transparent, fair, and non-biased as possible, as both options differ greatly. As you’ll soon understand, some people may naturally prefer one option and others will prefer the other option.
But before we jump into the comparison, there is one key thing to understand:
Starting Point: Hearing Aids vs. Hearing Care
It’s important to understand that there’s a big difference between hearing aids and hearing care.
There, unfortunately, remains a narrative that the solution to a hearing loss is a hearing aid, yet that’s simply not true. Many people need a combination of great hearing technology and a great hearing care professional to receive long-term results.
Whereas there’s no shortage of places to buy a set of hearing aids, the key thing that you should be looking for, especially if you’ve never worn hearing aids before, is a trusted expert that can help you on your journey to get the best performance from your hearing aids.
This is where there is a significant difference between working with somebody like Costco versus working with a trusted independent hearing care professional, such as the team at North Houston Hearing Solutions.
A good comparison could be the difference between driving to a location in a Bentley versus a Hyundai – the pleasure and joy of the journey will be very different.
To help you understand the key differences, we have developed a comparison chart to outline the benefits of choosing both Costco and North Houston Hearing Solutions.
The above is a comprehensive side-by-side comparison that shares a transparent overview of your options.
As you can see, the differences are vast.
Let’s explore them in more detail.
The first thing that stands out is the difference in hearing assessments. While Costco offers free hearing tests to determine if you could be helped by a hearing aid, North Houston Hearing Solutions offers a comprehensive hearing assessment.
A comprehensive hearing assessment reviews all areas of your hearing health to allow us to pinpoint the exact cause of your hearing loss, ensuring we can pick up any major signs of serious medical conditions. This involves a non-invasive process where we take an in-depth look at both of your eardrums via video otoscopy and tympanometry, includes Real Ear Measurement, and an array of advanced hearing tests to assess your overall hearing health.
On the other hand, the free hearing test that is available in many big box stores is much more simplistic and instead conducts a pure-tone test to see if you would benefit from hearing aids.
This is something that we have warned many patients against, as without physically looking into your ears, it runs the risk that your hearing challenges may be as a result of something other than a hearing loss.
For example, we have had situations in the past where a buildup of earwax has resulted in people struggling to hear, which we promptly removed. Yet if they would have had a hearing test at a big box store such as Costco, then it’s likely that they would have failed the hearing test and been recommended hearing aids.
A second big difference is the warranty and support that you receive.
Your warranty gives you peace of mind that if your devices are lost, broken, or damaged, you will be covered by the manufacturer to deliver a replacement or repair.
At North Houston Hearing Solutions, we offer up to four years of warranty, and in the situation that you do end up losing or breaking your devices, you are quickly fitted with what we call a “loaner,” which is like having a hire/courtesy car if your car needs repair work.
On the other hand, with Costco, you’re typically covered for three years for Repair Warranty and two years for Loss & Damage Replacement Insurance, and in the situation that you have a challenge, you can submit a warranty claim yourself and often be without any replacement devices in the interim.
A third big difference is the ongoing service.
Having helped thousands of people to achieve better hearing, we understand that this is a journey, not a destination. This means that regular appointments, visits, adjustments, and support are key to achieving better hearing. This is why we like to see you at least every six months to continually help you to care for your hearing devices and regularly reassess your hearing to make any required adjustments.
At the likes of Costco, they’ll be on hand to support you if you have any questions/queries but typically in a less proactive way.
What about the investment?
When it comes to price, Costco has built a reputation for passing trade prices on to their customers, and their Kirkland-branded hearing devices are naturally competitive, and in many cases, cost less than most of the hearing care packages available through independent clinics like North Houston Hearing Solutions.
A key thing to understand is that this is not an apples vs. apples comparison, and if your only motivation is the price, then Costco is likely the right option for you. However, if you value the expertise of a doctor of audiology, the high levels of care, and a VIP experience, which will naturally result in a better outcome, then we’re your best option.
However, although Costco’s prices are typically lower, they do come with a compromise – more times than not, your hearing aids will be locked, which means that no other provider can make any adjustments to them. You will only be able to make any adjustments by visiting a Costco store.
To conclude, whether you decide to start your journey with North Houston Hearing Solutions or Costco, taking the first step toward getting help is the most important part of addressing your hearing challenges.
Hearing loss is complicated and there is a range of factors that contribute toward its severity dependent on person to person. Your individual challenges and requirements are unique to you, and only you can know what to do next.
We strongly believe that our track record of helping people to achieve better hearing proves that the most effective approach to a hearing challenge is working with a team of hearing care experts and not just buying a set of hearing aids.
Our hope is that this article has helped you to understand the key differences and make the best decision for you or a loved one.
Thank you for your time.