Costco vs. Allison Audiology—What’s the Difference?

by | May 20, 2023 | News, Patient Resources

Costco is the biggest provider of hearing aids in the US, introducing its hearing services in 1989 across 543 stores.

They regularly come up in conversations with patients who are exploring their options and running price-by-price comparisons.

That’s why we’ve created this article to help you understand the key differences between choosing a locally owned and operated group of hearing care professionals like Allison Audiology & Hearing Aid Center and choosing Costco.

But before we share the side-by-side comparisons, the most important thing to note is that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Costco fundamentally has built a business model that is based on cost-efficiency and membership exclusivity. Selling budget-friendly hearing aids.

Allison Audiology, which is the highest-rated audiology center in Houston and is trusted by local physicians, has built a business model on delivering comprehensive hearing care, following the highest audiological standards, and staying at the forefront with the latest technology.

Comprehensive Hearing Test

You could compare it to dentistry. You could buy a teeth-whitening kit and get results, or you could work with a highly-trained dentist who will ensure you get the best possible results.

Venturing Deeper: Comprehensive Hearing Assessments vs. Basic Hearing Tests

With that said, let’s share some of the key side-by-side comparisons.


The first thing that you’ll notice is the comprehensive hearing assessment that Allison Audiology offers. These assessments are tailored to account for individual needs and budgets. On the contrary, Costco does not offer such an assessment. Instead, Costco’s website says that they offer “free hearing tests to determine if you could be helped by a hearing aid.”

The difference is vast.

Whereas a hearing test that helps to determine if you could be helped by hearing aids will explore your general level of hearing and if you need some amplification, our comprehensive hearing assessments go through multiple steps to check all areas of your hearing health, ensuring that there are no more serious medical conditions.

Testing then takes place in a sound booth to eliminate any risk of outside factors interfering with your results, and we follow many industry best practices to gain an accurate test result.

Unparalleled Convenience: Traditional vs. Virtual Appointments

The second big difference is the level of convenience.

While Costco is open evenings and weekends, by partnering with Allison Audiology you can access our virtual appointments and live assistance that allow you to receive care, support, and adjustments remotely from anywhere in the world. Furthermore, we have two beautiful locations in Houston for those who prefer in-person appointments.

On top of that, you’ll be able to visit us at any time for repairs, support, and help, receiving our award-winning service.

In-person Benefits: Partnering With a Local Provider

Receiving in-person care with a local provider means that you have access to benefits such as same-day repairs, complimentary batteries, and replacement hearing aids at no cost while yours are in for repair.

On top of that, you have a local office that you can visit for annual comprehensive retesting and programming and to speak to the same doctor of audiology who will support you throughout your entire journey.

Understanding Pricing: Affordable Solutions vs. Low-Cost Technology

Thirdly comes the price, with Costco offering hearing devices from as low as $1,599.99

Although Allison Audiology fundamentally offers a different service, we do have low-cost technology available, as well as payment plans available for those who do not want to invest the full sum out of pocket.

Navigating Insurance: In-house Experts vs. Self-Management

We also have a fully managed insurance specialist on our team, which means that we can check, manage, and maximize your insurance benefits on your behalf (reducing or completely removing your out-of-pocket expense).

Technical Considerations: Choice of Hearing Aid Suppliers

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Costco works with three hearing aid suppliers, no longer including Phonak Brio, while Allison Audiology is part of the HearingUp network, dedicated to delivering audiological best practices.

Furthermore, the hearing aids available at Costco aren’t specifically programmable for different levels of hearing loss in different ears. This is a significant aspect to consider when choosing your hearing aid provider.

Making an Informed Choice

Overall, we would much rather that you take action and achieve better hearing through any means possible rather than doing nothing at all—but if you’re exploring your options and considering who is right for you, we sincerely hope that this article helps.

Costco is a great option that is right for many people, but if you’re looking for personalized, in-person hearing care, then you may want to explore working with a local provider like us.

If you have any questions regarding this article, then you can contact us today at (713) 827-1767.

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Jana Emola-Austin, Au.D.

Raised in Bryan, Texas, Jana completed her undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University before attending the University of North Texas with an ambition to earn her master’s degree in speech pathology. However, a required audiology class soon set her on a new career path. She became enthralled with the subject and says audiology resonated with her because it involved everything she enjoys – helping people to improve their lives and relationships with others and using technology to make positive impacts. Following this revelation, Jana went on to graduate with her Doctor of Audiology degree. After many years of assisting patients in the clinic on a daily basis, Jana’s main responsibilities at Allison Audiology have shifted to a management role. She now works behind the scenes focusing on administrative, management, and marketing responsibilities.