Costco Kirkland Signature Hearing Aids DISCONTINUED due to Reliability Issues

Audiologist Cliff Olson discusses the recent developments in Costco Hearing Aid Centers, where they have reportedly discontinued their Kirkland Signature hearing aids.

Costco Kirkland Signature Hearing Aids DISCONTINUED due to Reliability Issues

Video transcript

Video transcript

Hi guys. Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology, and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. And in this video I'm talking about Costco discontinuing their Kirkland Signature hearing aids due to suspected reliability issues coming up.

All right, here we go with a little more Costco hearing aid drama. And this time I'm not even talking about the questionable quality of care that you received from Costco Hearing Centers. I'm actually talking about their Costco Kirkland Signature hearing aids that were removed from the shelves due to suspected reliability issues. For years now, I've been pointing out issues related to Costco's hearing aid delivery model. Now, this has not had anything to do with the quality of the hearing aid technology that they dispense. It mostly has to do with the lack of consistency when it comes to quality of care given by their hearing aid centers. Now, to be fair, not every Costco has issues with the quality of care that you receive from their hearing care professionals. Some of their hearing care professionals are actually pretty good, even though they do not follow comprehensive Best Practices because they just don't have time to, The one thing that I have not criticized Costco about is the quality of their hearing aid technology that seems to be pretty good inside of their hearing centers, inside of their warehouses, except for, of course, when they decided to lock their Kirkland signature hearing aids back in the day.

In most cases, the majority of features that you find inside of a Costco hearing aid are going to be very similar in name brand hearing aids that you see out on the market. However, while Costco has not made a formal announcement about this yet, it does appear as though they have removed the Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids off of the shelves, meaning they are no longer dispensing them anymore and you cannot even find them on their website anymore. But before I share my thoughts on this surprising turn of events for Costco, if you could do me a huge favor and click the like button, it really helps out my channel because it gets these videos in front of a bigger audience. And while you're at it, if you have not yet hit that subscribe button with notification Bell, go ahead and do that as well, because that ensures that you never missed my newly released videos, and I release multiple new videos every single week.

With that out of the way, I really appreciate it. Now let's go ahead and take a look at what's going on with Costco. All right, let me go ahead and give you a little bit of a background here. So the Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids are actually manufactured by a company called Sonova that also manufactures phone act hearing aids units on hearing aids, hanon hearing aids. There are a number of hearing aid companies that have manufactured Kirkland Signature brand hearing aids over the recent years. For instance, the Kirkland Signature 5.0 and 6.0 were manufactured by ReSound. The 7.0 and 8.0 were manufactured by Signia and the 9.0 and 10.0 were manufactured by Sonova. There are a number of name brands that you can still find inside of a Costco hearing center. You have Jabra, you have Philips, you have Rexton, and you have Phonak

But all of these name brands are gonna cost you more than what the Kirkland Signature brand will cost you. Historically, the hearing aids sold in Costco have been de featured, but this has changed in the recent years. And when you start looking at name brand hearing aids versus Costco brand hearing aids, a lot of the features start lining up to where you almost can't even tell a difference. However, where things started to get a little bit fishy is a couple weeks ago I was looking online and I started hearing reports of individuals not being able to get a Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aid anymore. And what they were being told is it was due to the reliability issues with those particular devices. Now, I figured that this just might be an isolated incident, but over the past couple of weeks, we've started to see more and more reports come out saying that these particular hearing aids had significant issues with rechargeability.

The thing that is surprising about all of this is that the KS 10.0 is very similar to the Phonak Audeo Paradise RT hearing aids and the Paradise RT hearing aids have not had issues with rechargeability, at least not any more than you would normally see inside of any rechargeable device that's currently out there on the market. Now, if these reports are in fact true that there are significant reliability issues with the KS 10's and again, these reports are not coming from Costco, they are coming from Costco employees as well as members of Costco who are going through the hearing aid centers, then it is pretty shocking because these devices we're supposed to be very similar. And from what I can tell now, it does not appear that they are that similar at all when it comes to reliability. Most private practice clinics have enough staff as well as backup loaner devices that you can use in the interim while you're getting your hearing aids repaired.

But the problem for Costco is, is that they are significantly understaffed in most of their hearing aids centers, and they don't have any loaners to give you meaning that it was likely a necessity for Costco to remove the KS 10 s from being offered inside of their traditional product lineup because it was likely going to be a significant administrative burden on their hearing centers. And let's face it, Costco is primarily a retail model. They want to fit you with these hearing aids, get you out the door, and hopefully you don't have to come back very often because they just do not have the staffing to handle that. Now, if the issue really is reliability, then the biggest question that I have is what was Costco doing for the past 18 months actually dispensing these hearing aids? If there were reliability issues with this particular model, they would've identified it over a year ago, most likely.

So the fact that they now have a bunch of individuals using the KS 10 hearing aids with bad rechargeability, I just have no idea what they're gonna do to rectify the situation. On top of that, if the rechargeability really is bad enough to pull these hearing aids from the market, they must have been really bad because Costco did dispense hearing aids that used the ZPower rechargeable batteries, and those were basically the worst batteries in the history of hearing aids. Those were actually on their burn upon branded hearing aids that they sold several years ago. And the crazy thing is, is that they never actually pulled the bernon hearing aids off of the market, at least not to my knowledge. What would be really nice is to see Costco issue a formal response explaining why they decided to discontinue the Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids, because if I am wrong about this, I would really like to know about it directly from them.

I would also like to see guidance to their members who have already purchased these Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids to see what they would have them do if these devices are in fact defective. In the meantime, if you were having issues with your Kirkland Signature 10.0 hearing aids, I highly recommend that you take them in to see your local Costco Hearing Center as soon as possible to make sure that you get those issues fixed. Of course, I will make sure to stay on top of this development over the next several weeks and or months, so make sure that you are subscribed to the channel with notifications turned on so you don't miss any important updates. That's it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. And if you wanna see other videos just like this, we'll go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Also, feel free to check out my website, HearingUp.com.

Further reading:

Locked Hearing Aids - What do Costco, Miracle-Ear and Beltone have in common?

The Pros and Cons of Costco Hearing Aids

Costco Hearing Aids - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

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