Are you willing to buy a “locked” hearing aid? Costco hearing aids are “locked.” Let me explain. There are only six major hearing aid manufacturers in the world. All of the major hearing aid manufacturers offer effective, high quality products with leading edge technologies. Beyond these six, there are a myriad of other brands and private labeled (Costco included) hearing aids available. The six major hearing aid manufacturer brands for the USA are:Many large retail sales organizations, like Costco, “Private Label” or “Rebrand” hearing aids manufactured by the Big Six. Private labeling employs a similar retail concept to grocery stores and the National Name Brands verses generic Supermarket Brands. Supermarket products may be similar in use and the differences from the National Brand may be negligible. In the hearing aid world, large retail sales chains such as Costco (Kirkland), Beltone, Miracle Ear, Audibel are all Private Labels or developed separate brands, but still made by one of the Big Six hearing aid manufacturers. Below I list some of the more common Private Label or Rebranded hearing aids and their manufacturer. Private Label / Retail Sales Chain Name / National Brand manufacturer:
- HearO / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
- Arris / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
- BluLink / Avada mfg’d by Oticon
- AGX / Audigy Group mfg’d by Oticon & Starkey
- Audibel mfg’d by Starkey
- Sonus mfg’d by Most of the Big Six
- Kirkland / Costco mfg’d by Sivantos
- Future / Costco mfg’d by GN/ReSound
- Miracle Ear mfg’d by Sivantos
- Beltone mfg’d by GN/ReSound
Primary reasons for the Private Labeling of hearing aids:
- A unique brand name makes comparing features and prices difficult.
- Locked programming software only allows consumer to be serviced by the specific Private Label vendor.