Costco US have been selling their Kirkland 10 hearing aid for a super-cheap price of $1399 for a few months now, Costco UK has now followed suit and is selling the same for £1149. The Kirkland 10 appears on the face of it to be very similar to Phonak Paradise. Sonova says that the Kirkland 10 is a bespoke Sonova solution for Costco which is based on the same chip as Paradise. It is even programmed with the same Phonak Target software. Geoff has detailed the instruments and the similarities between them here.
The Paradise is the newest hearing aid from Phonak, a company with a long history of making fantastic hearing aids, Geoff reviewed it here.
Why are they so cheap?
In my opinion, this isn't cheap, this is the price hearing aids should be, I argued in this article that hearing aids are no different from iPhones and tablets and should be priced the same, well here we have it at long last. Having said that, this is an absolute bargain price at current rates. A set of Phonak Paradise 90 would be around £4000 for a pair.
There are many reasons why private clinics are charging around £3000 more than Costco, which I'm not going into in this article. But be sure of one thing: you are getting pretty much the same hearing aids for £1149 at Costco as you would anywhere else.
You might think that they are cheap so they must be sub-standard? No. We have been conditioned over years to think that hearing aids are expensive items, that is changing now.
Could I buy a better hearing aid?
The Paradise is the latest technology and a superb device, and so is the Kirkland 10. All of the top manufacturers have new devices out in 2021, many of which we have reviewed and they all allow me to hear really well. In my view, you can't go wrong if you buy a top-of-the-line model from Phonak, GN ReSound, Oticon, Widex, Unitron or Signia.
All of these are producing great hardware for your ears, of course, there are some differences between them and some are better than others at certain things, but generally speaking, they are all excellent. So should you spend more to get another device? To be honest, this price is so good I can't see why anyone would not try it out. In my opinion, the Paradise performance at £1149 cannot be beaten by any device at £4000.
Could I get a better service elsewhere?
A hearing aid is only as good as the person who fits it. You can buy the latest models and hear nothing if it's not correctly programmed for your hearing loss. You could buy a cheaper/older hearing aid and hear superbly if the fit is perfect for you.
So would you hear better with Paradise if you paid £4000 to have them fitted in a clinic instead of Costco? Maybe......and maybe not. Some clinics will do a gold-standard job of fitting your aids and others will bung them in your ear and that's your lot. It's not a given that paying £4000 will allow you to hear better.
Can you justify a £3000 price increase for the same product? I couldn't.
Try Costco, badger the dispenser to re-programme your aids if they don't sound perfect for you, they should do as the aid itself can do it, don't accept a poor sound.
Are they unlocked?
Some hearing aids are locked by the company that sold them, which means you have to go back to that company to get them re-programmed. Word from the US is that Costco over there is not locking them, I don't know for sure if the UK is doing the same. It's worth checking and if I find out I will update this article.
Unlocked means that you can buy from Costco and then visit another clinic for programming if you need to. You could also use the remote-fitting service to FaceTime a hearing aid dispenser and have them change your aids remotely for you.
Try these, for all our sakes!
Hearing aids have been very expensive items for a very long time, prices are set at what the market will bear, if we keep paying £5000 for them then that is what the price will stay at. Do yourself a favour, and everyone else, and try these superb and sensibly-priced aids - and if you do, please drop us a line at hearingaidknow.com and let us know how you got on.