Are Costco Hearing Aids Any Good?
The Phonak Brio is a specially made product only sold at Costco warehouses. It is not the exact same product and doesn’t have the same exact features as the regular line we carry in our private hearing practices. You will find that warehouses typically carry economy lines made by the major manufacturers. Most of these lines can only be programmed by Costco, so if you are not happy with your settings you cannot take them anywhere else to be adjusted.
Most economy lines are not the latest models or technology made by the manufacturer, which is why they are less expensive. The products are not bad by any means, but there are factors to consider beyond price. Programming hearing instruments is very technical and takes high skill to do correctly, especially with higher levels of hearing loss. The software to program normally is just a starting point, the skills of the hearing professional come into play in setting it correctly. I find that there are more advanced options available and I don’t want to be limited by offering just very limited and specific lines. As a private practice I can provide more catering to specific needs and spend more time with my patients setting the aids correctly. Many times the professionals in warehouses are starting out in the business and have limited programming skills or too many patients to spend a lot of time with you. Ask lots of questions and find out why they are recommending a specific aid, see if it’s the best fit for your hearing loss or is it just because that’s one of the very few options available in their line of products. The same can be said of franchises that offer just one brand.
What makes All About Hearing different from a hearing aid franchise?
Answer: All About Hearing is not tied to any one manufacturer. Most hearing aid franchises only provide one manufacturer that is tied to the business name, such as Audibel, Beltone, and Miracle Ear. We know that not only one type of technology can cover the entire 30 million individuals with hearing loss. Our patients deserve a choice, and can feel assured that we will always take the needs of our patients ahead of any hearing aid manufacturer. We are an independent audiology practice and you will work directly with the owner, a Doctor of Audiology. As a locally-owned audiology practice we can go the extra mile for our patients and make choices that provide quality care above all else.
Can you only get certain manufacturer’s products through their named franchises?
Answer: Absolutely not! At All About Hearing we offer the manufacturer’s products that include Audibel, Beltone, Miracle Ear and many others. If a patient prefers to stick with a technology they have used in the past we are able to meet those needs, usually at a more reasonable price.
Should a medical device be promoted with price, coupons, time sensitive promotions and free services?
Answer: Everyone has seen the franchise hearing aid ads in the newspapers and magazines. Consumers unwittingly race to take advantage of these rare deals and deeply discounted coupons, which are usually neither. Be wary of the franchises that use these marketing tactics to focus in on the inexperienced consumer suffering from hearing loss. The old adage still holds true, “If it looks too good to be true, it is!”
Are hearing aids covered by insurance?
Answer: Some insurance plans do cover the cost of hearing instruments while others may cover only partial cost or reimburse the patient with that amount. Medicare does not cover hearing aids or any services related to hearing aids. You should always check with your particular insurance plan to see if you have coverage for hearing aids. You should discuss payment options with your audiologist before services are rendered.
Does a hearing aid help with background noise?
Answer: Please be aware that there are no hearing instruments available that remove all background noise. The newest hearing aid technology contains 100% digital sound processing which measures and reduces noise-like sound with a series of mathematical computations. If you tried hearing aids years ago and could not adapt to the overwhelming amplification of background noise, you will find today’s digital hearing aids and directional microphone technology a major improvement.
What is an audiologist?
Answer: Audiologists are the only professionals university-trained, holding a Masters or Doctorate degree from an accredited university and licensed to identify, evaluate, diagnose and treat audiological disorders of hearing.