Regardless of the product category under discussion, Costco is a company to be reckoned with. As a Fortune 20 company with sales in excess of $100 billion, it also consistently ranks as one of that magazine’s “20 Most Admired Companies.”
Costco entered the hearing aid business in 1994 and is predicted to soon surpass the Veteran’s Administration as the single largest wholesale buyer of hearing aids in the USA. As of Sep 1, 2015, RICs from Sonova (Phonak flagship brand), GN (Costco’s in-house Kirkland brand), Sivantos (Rexton “B” brand) and William Demant (Bernafon “B” brand) are available at prices so low they are truly “wholesale to the public.”
Per our advice to only buy flagship brands that you can price compare, the Phonak Brio is the only RIC at Costco that can be compared heads up to the Phonak’s flagship Q90 RIC (see Appendix D, “Costco’s Deal to Sell Premium Phonak Circuits Jolts the Industry”). Until Costco decides to publish exact feature by feature comparisons of its Kirkland brand with GN’s current ReSound circuit, it’s not possible to say they are identical. The same holds true for the Rexton and Bernafon brands.
If there’s a Costco nearby, you must take a look at their hearing aid program, even if it’s just to further your education about Big Six RICs and where prices are heading.