It’s been 6 months since I uncovered what appeared to be tremendous value in buying Costco Kirkland Signature 8 hearing aids at Costco. But how would they hold up in real life testing? Here is the Cashflow Cookbook testing report. Click here to read the original review.
Hearing loss is a nasty problem that carries a stigma. Vision loss comes with glasses that are available in lots of cool styles and colours. As cheap as $10 at Home Depot for simple readers. Pop on a set and your vision is as restored to perfection. Not so with hearing loss. Nothing cool about hearing aids. And the aids don’t take you back to “factory” hearing. But still, the new aids have impressive features that solve a lot of issues.
What I like about my Costco Kirkland Signature 8 hearing aids:
- They work. I can understand people. I can make out speech, TV, movies and dialogue in plays. No need to ask what was said. Life is less stressful.
- Very cost effective. I routinely hear from others who paid 3 or even 4 times as much.
- They are nearly invisible. I worried about the “look” of having hearing aids. Reality? No one can see them. The most common comment is “Where are they? I don’t see them.” And that is after I point them out. Get them to match your hair colour and grow your locks out a bit.
- The auto routing is fantastic. In my car, phone calls go to the vehicle hands-free speakers. Outside the car they go straight into my brain. They even work with my iPad. Brilliant
- “Straight into brain” mode is my favourite. Crystal clear with voice in both sides. I speak into the phone mic, but the phone doesn’t need to be against my ears. I usually leave it on my desk when in my office. very liberating. And only I hear my phone ring. Great at movies and theatre. A bit puzzling to others when I quickly silence a phone that didn’t seem to have rung.
- No need for earbuds. I can stream music straight from my iPhone to my brain. Awesome at the gym, but only for not-too-sweaty workouts (see below).
- I take them out at night and my room gets quiet for sleeping. Lovely
- The free app is cool. Change the volume, change listening modes, even “point” the built in microphones to focus ahead, to the side or behind. which opens some good eavesdropping opportunities. Very fun. Kidding. But you could.
- The Costco service is great. The audiologists are empathetic, knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.
What takes some getting used to:
- Leaves rustling, streetcars, birds, waves and footsteps. And peeing. Surprisingly loud. Actually whole world is noisy. My car turn signal indicator makes a clicking sound. When did that start?
- They itch like I can’t even describe for the first hour of use. Like claw-your-ears-out-with-a-garden-rake-itch. Not kidding. After that they are fine, no sense that they are there.
- You need to remember to put them in before you leave home. Made that rookie move a few times. Makes for a peaceful and quiet but incomprehensible day.
- You need to switch them on after they go in. Easy to forget.
- With a lot of music streaming and phone yapping, battery life is diminished. I change them every 2 days, not every 3 as my Costco audiologist suggested. If the sound gets garbled or the phone streaming isn’t working, the batteries may be low.
- Regular maintenance – they need a quick clean daily and some simple parts replaced every month or so. The parts are free from Costco and the job is easy and takes 10 minutes.
- They need to come out before you shower. I have forgotten that a few times. So far they still work!
- You can do wet things (sweaty spin classes, saunas. hot tubs, running, swimming, sailing) or you can hear things. Sadly you can’t do both.
- Noisy restaurants and bars are still tricky. Even with the “Noisy” setting on. Work on your lip reading and meet people in quieter places. Or just do the thing that most couples do in restaurants anyway. Pull out your phone and don’t talk or look at your partner.
- The battery indicators on the iPhone app don’t seem to have any relationship to the actual battery status. And the audible battery low warning sounds when you have about 7 seconds of hearing left. A bit like a gas gauge that doesn’t warn you until you have 13 feet of driving left. On the highway.
- Booking appointments for support. You can’t just show up. Appointments must be booked in advance. About a week or so at the location I visit.
The bottom line
The bottom line? Hearing loss isn’t fun and it’s more complicated than glasses to restore vision. But if you struggle with hearing loss, don’t put off getting aids. They let you connect with the world again.
And no regrets on the Costco Kirkland Signature 8 hearing aids. Great performance for the first 6 months and incredible savings vs their competition. As always a little shopping around can save a lot of money. In this case about $4,000. Some nice cash to pay down debt or contribute to your TFSA, RSP, 401 (k) or IRA.
Do you have hearing loss? What have you found with hearing loss solutions? Ask your question in the comments section.
Photo credit Dabir Bernard from Unsplash
Disclosure: I receive no compensation of any kind for my product reviews.