If you’re new to hearing aids, you’ve probably received marketing about all types of hearing devices. 

You may have visited your local store and seen available hearing devices or spoke with a friend who recommended them to you and loves how cheap they are.  

Hearing aid products are on the rise, and many companies, such as Costco, are recognizing their importance.

With convenience an important priority for many people, it’s no surprise that we often receive calls from patients asking us about the difference between Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. and Costco. 

Just like any first-time buyer, they come to us confused about their options and wondering what the next steps are. 

While we love and praise Costco for the products they offer, when it comes to hearing technology, this isn’t something you should take shortcuts on. 

This article will explain everything you need to know to make your decision, including the key differences between Costco and an independent audiology clinic such as Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. 

Costco And Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. Are Two Separate Types Of Companies 

In case you haven’t noticed already, Costco is a retail business, and Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. is a hearing and balance healthcare clinic – they are incomparable. 

Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. is a clinic staffed by doctors of audiology with 8+ years of university training to diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders.

As doctors of audiology, we conduct a comprehensive hearing evaluation to determine appropriate medical and/or surgical treatment; one type of treatment can be hearing aids. 

Our comprehensive evaluation identifies treatable and/or life-threatening medical conditions. Costco, on the other hand, conducts hearing tests for the purpose of fitting hearing aids only. 

As a clinic, our main goal is to help people with hearing loss to hear better through improved technology and ongoing care. So while we do sell hearing aids, our main goal is driven by helping others.  

When Costco opened in 1994, it started as a wholesale corporation driven by getting customers to spend money. 

At Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc., our doctors chose their profession to improve your quality of life. 

We Provide A Thorough Comprehensive Diagnostic Hearing Evaluation 

Ask any doctor of audiology – the first step to better hearing is a comprehensive hearing evaluation.

A thorough diagnostic hearing evaluation helps us understand your type and degree of hearing loss, your listening preferences, your hearing wants and needs, and possibly uncover any medical conditions that may not currently present symptoms. 

We evaluate your individual requirements and rule out any medical issues which require further evaluation before discussing the different technologies available to make technology suggestions based on your lifestyle and occupation. 

While it may seem complex, it is beneficial for you to understand which hearing technology will be the most beneficial for your hearing loss concerns. 

According to Costco’s website, they offer a “free hearing test” to anyone that requires one.  

Although this is a great first step, it is nowhere near as accurate as the comprehensive diagnostic hearing evaluation performed by doctors of audiology, especially since Costco doesn’t have the additional equipment needed to perform all parts of a comprehensive hearing and balance evaluation. 

Furthermore, Costco hearing aid specialists are not licensed to conduct and bill for hearing and balance evaluations. 

There Is No One More Experienced Than An Audiologist 

Our doctors have been university trained for 8+ years to acquire the level of expertise and knowledge to serve our patients best. Each day, we monitor new technology updates for hearing care and apply our skills to ensure optimal hearing results. 

Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. has been recognized as a leading provider in Los Angeles, and we are known by many as a “National Center of Excellence for Audiology.”

While Costco may employ some “audiologists,” around nine times out of ten, you will be seen by a hearing aid specialist.  

If you’re new to hearing technology, do you want to risk obtaining a small improvement in hearing instead of an optimal improvement in hearing?

Hearing loss is not like vision. Most people with poor eyesight can obtain 100% normal vision by using a corrective lens or eyeglasses. 

However, although most people with hearing loss can obtain substantial improvement with properly fit hearing aids, it will not be 100% normal.  

Your outcome or degree of improvement will be based on the expertise of the doctor of audiology who fits you with hearing aids. It is the same with hip or knee surgery. 

You can have the best hip or knee in the world, but you won’t walk properly if the doctor doesn’t surgically attach it properly. 

If you don’t see a doctor of audiology for your hearing aid fitting and programming, you can have the best hearing aid in the world, but you’re not going to hear optimally. 

We’re Here For You Whenever You Need Us 

When you partner with us, we promise to support you throughout your journey, offering guidance wherever we can. 

With regular hearing aid check-ups and service visits, we can upgrade your technology whenever we believe it would be beneficial, ensuring you stay as up to date as possible. 

Costco does not schedule regular hearing aid clean and check-ups, earwax cleanings, and hearing evaluations, which are critical for optimal hearing aid performance. 

Whenever you have those moments of crisis, such as when your hearing aid stops working, we are here five days of the week and are only a phone call away. 

If you’re happy to be left to your own devices, then Costco would be a great option. However, you are eliminating the expertise and knowledge of a doctor of audiology medical professional. 

Limited Number Of Hearing Aid Brands Available   

Generally, Costco offers five main hearing aid brands: 

  1. Kirkland Signature
  2. Philips
  3. Phonak
  4. ReSound
  5. Rexton

Costco offers a cheap price for a pair of hearing aids for someone who is on a budget. However, when you purchase cheap, you pay the price later. 

Compared to our complete collection of hearing aids, we have all hearing aid manufacturers, styles, and sizes for all types of hearing loss. Whether you have a mild hearing loss or a profound hearing loss, we have a solution. 

Pacific Hearing & Balance, Inc. Is Here To Support You 

Our Motto:

We are not here to do hearing and balance tests. 

We are not here to sell hearing aids.

(Rather) we…

  1. Change the course of cognitive decline and dementia for patients 
  2. Improve thinking and memory for patients
  3. Reduce the risk of patients falling 
  4. Start a chain of events for a child with a hearing challenge that will promote reading, education, and employment 
  5. Prevent social isolation 
  6. In fact…we ensure social participation, which increases life expectancy.

With properly fit hearing aids, we (also)…

  1. Decrease depression and anxiety
  2. Decrease the likelihood of adverse events caused by an inability to hear warning signals
  3. Decrease hospitalization and readmissions 
  4. And…we can save the healthcare system over 3.3 billion dollars per year.

Whether you decide to purchase from Costco or elsewhere, it is of utmost importance that you achieve the best possible outcome for your individual requirements. 

If you or a loved one is having difficulty hearing, you may be considering all the options available. 

Whether you’d like some further clarity, guidance, or simply want to chat with one of our doctors of audiology, do not hesitate to contact us at (310) 909-0180. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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Carissa Bennett, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Carissa Bennett graduated with honors from UC Santa Barbara in Speech and Hearing Science in 1978, obtained a Masters in Audiology from the University of Washington in 1981, and an AuD in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2003. She was an Audiologist at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles from 1981-1986, with an emphasis on medical-legal audiology with Aram Glorig, MD, and conducted hearing aid research with James Sheehy, MD. She entered private practice in 1986 with Dr. Gregory Frazer and co-owned and operated Hearing Care Associates. Dr. Bennett is experienced in working with infants, children, and adults, and specializes in diagnostic audiological evaluations. Dr. Bennett is Board Certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.