Hearing tests can be expensive. A test by a licensed audiologist costs upwards of $250 without insurance. If you’re experiencing hearing problems, you may have heard that Costco Hearing Aid Centers offer hearing tests and wonder if it’s a good option for you.
This guide will give you all the facts about getting your hearing tested at Costco, including costs and how these tests stack up to professional audiological evaluations.
Can I Get a Free Hearing Test at Costco?
The cost of a hearing test at the Costco Hearing Aid Centers is free, but you must be a member. You will not have access to the hearing aid center without a Costco membership. Members can also demo various hearing aid models for free.
This is a no-obligation hearing test, so you don’t have to pay if you decide not to purchase hearing aids.
How Much Is a Costco Membership?
The annual fee for a basic Costco membership is $60 per year. On average, a clinical hearing exam costs about that much with insurance.
The membership gives you access to the Costco Hearing Aid Center and several exclusive Costco member benefits, including:
- Mortgage purchase and refinancing
- Auto and home insurance
- Pet insurance
- Discounts on gas, eyewear and car rentals.
Costco has three membership categories—business, executive and gold—that vary slightly in costs and benefits. Go to the Costco Membership page and pick a plan suitable for you.
What to Expect From a Costco Hearing Test
A Costco hearing test takes only 20 to 30 minutes. The tester will interpret the results and see if you would benefit from a hearing aid.
Hearing Aid Test vs. Audiology Exam
The tools used at Costco Hearing Aid Centers are similar to those you’ll find in an audiologist’s office, but the tests are not the same.
A Costco test determines if you would benefit from hearing aids and is administered by a state-licensed hearing aid specialist. An audiology test is a clinical exam by an accredited hearing health professional.
Also Read: What is an Audiologist?
Differences in Training
Hearing aid specialists dispense hearing aids and provide related services like hearing aid cleanings and fitting, but they are not qualified to diagnose hearing loss. You’ll need to consult an audiologist and possibly an ENT physician for a medical diagnosis.
Audiologists have doctorate degrees and the advanced training needed to diagnose hearing and balance disorders. They also have additional equipment to assess the type, severity, and underlying cause of hearing loss, including tools to objectively evaluate dysfunctions in different parts of the ear.
A Second Opinion
If your Costco test shows you have hearing loss, it might be a good idea to consult an audiologist or an ENT before buying hearing aids. Your condition may be reversible through surgery or other medical treatment. Some Costco hearing centers have audiologists on staff.
How to Get a Costco Hearing Test Appointment
If you’re an active Costco member, simply contact your local Costco Hearing Aid Center to schedule an appointment. You’ll need to fill out a patient intake form before your visit.
What Happens After the Hearing Test?
After administering the hearing test, Costco’s hearing care staff will let you know if a hearing aid might help you.
Hearing aids are suitable for people with mild or moderate hearing loss, but people with severe or profound hearing loss are typically beyond the capacity of most hearing aids.
Costco carries nine models of hearing aids from four hearing aid brands.
Each type of hearing aid is ideal for a certain degree of hearing loss. Not all individuals will benefit from a particular style of hearing aid.
The professional will consider your lifestyle and the extent of hearing loss before recommending hearing aids.
You might do fine with a bare-bones model or you could benefit from additional features like noise reduction and directional microphones. Some devices feature rechargeable batteries that you need to place on a dock nightly, while others have long-lasting disposable batteries that you replace periodically.
Programming and Fitting
Once you’ve selected a model that’s right for you, the specialist will help you customize the device for your needs. This includes adjusting your hearing aids to fit comfortably and custom-programming them based on your test results and lifestyle.
Did you know you could also test your hearing at home? Check out our honest review of the best online hearing tests you can trust.
Costco Hearing Aid Prices
Costco hearing aids are competitively priced. The store’s bulk buying model and massive distribution network give it a cost advantage that few retailers can beat.
A set of hearing aids will run you around $4,700 on average, but Costco’s devices cost only a fraction of that.
Costco’s Kirkland signature hearing aids cost retail for $1,399 a pair. These behind-the-ear hearing aids feature built-in Bluetooth connectivity, T-coil, rechargeable batteries and remote adjustment, so there’s no need to return to the store. The features and technology are comparable to the Phonak Paradise.
The store-brand KS10 model is the least expensive, but if you have a bigger budget and you want some extra bells and whistles, Costco carries some pricier name-brand hearing aids, including:
- Phonak Brio 4: starting at $1,250 per hearing aid
- Phillips HearLink: $1,800 per pair
- Rexton M-CORE: starting at $900 per hearing aid
- ReSound Preza: $1,250 per hearing aid
All Costco hearing aids include free follow-up appointments and a warranty that includes damage coverage.
If your insurance plan provides hearing care, your policy may cover hearing aids. Check with your provider before paying out of pocket.
What Other Services Do Costco Hearing Aid Centers Offer?
In addition to a free hearing tests, Costco Hearing Aid Centers provide several related services, including:
- Product demos
- Follow-up appointments
- Discount hearing aid accessories
- Free hearing aid cleanings and check-ups
Many people get their hearing aids at Costco. Its store-brand hearing aids offer advanced features at an affordable price, and the chain has a decent selection of devices from top brands. If you have a membership, it’s also a great place to get your hearing tested.
However, Costco does not perform a comprehensive hearing exam. The free test only determines if you would benefit from a hearing aid.
If you have hearing loss or experience other symptoms like balance issues, ear pain, or ringing in the ears, you should have your hearing health evaluated by a licensed audiologist.