For the past 3 years, Sivantos, who owns the Rexton and Signia brands, has been the manufacturer of Costco's Kirkland Signature 7.0 and 8.0 hearing aids, but not anymore! That baton has just been passed to Sanova who now is the manufacturer of the Kirkland Signature 9.0 hearing aid. You may be familiar with Sonova already because they manufacturer some well known brands such as Phonak, Unitron, and Hansaton.Based on what we know from the recent announcement, the core features of the Signature 9.0 will be similar to those found in Sonova's Phonak Audeo Marvel and Unitron's Moxi Jump hearing aids. So let's take a look at those features.
First, is the form factor. Like Signature generations before it, the 9.0 will be a Receiver In Canal (RIC) style hearing aid with 4 different receiver power levels and a 312 disposable battery.
Second, is the operating system. Similar to Phonak's AutoSense 3.0 and Unitron's SoundNav 3.0, the Signature 9.0 will be able to automatically identify your listening environment and make program adjustments for you. It will also allow the hearing aid to automatically classify Speech and Music media when Streaming audio from a Smart Device.
Third, is the programmability. With Phonak inspired programming software, and 20 fine tuning channels with similar digital features to Phonak hearing aids, the Signature 9.0 will have a lot of customizability if you have a hearing care provider who is up to the task.
Fourth, is the Bluetooth Capabilities. The Signature 9.0 will be Bluetooth compatible with nearly all phones that have Bluetooth. This includes old flip phones, Apple iPhones, and Android devices. Not only can you stream Music, Podcasts, Audiobooks, and YouTube videos, you will also be able to stream phone calls hands free through your cellular devices.
Aside from all the great features of the Signature 9.0 hearing aids, in my opinion, these are the most defeatured hearing aids that Costco has ever dispensed. While they aren't technically Phonak or Unitron hearing aids, they lack some of the BEST features of the Phonak Audeo Marvel, and Unitron Moxi Jump R hearing aids.
For instance, they are not rechargeable. Lithium rechargeability has proven to be extremely reliable and convenient, especially for individuals who have finger dexterity issues or vision issues. The Kirkland Signature 9.0 hearing aids will only be available to use disposable Size 312 batteries.
Much to the chagrin of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), the Signature 9.0 will not have a Telecoil either. This is unfortunate because the Telecoil is perhaps the most underrated hearing aid feature out there and can dramatically improve how well you hear in a public venue and on the telephone.Like other hearing aids sold in Costco, they will not have any Tinnitus features so they will not be ideal devices for Tinnitus sufferers. They will also not utilize Remote Programmability, which would allow for convenient hearing aid programming adjustments from the comfort of your own home. This would be an especially nice feature for individuals with mobility issues.
Finally, the Kirkland Signature 9.0 hearing aids will also not have integrated Roger Receivers, that are inside of all Phonak Audeo Marvel hearing aids. These embedded receivers, which allow you to directly connect to Roger Microphone Technology, would be able to dramatically improve how well you hear in a background noise situation.
Despite all of the features that you give up in the Kirkland Signature 9.0 hearing aids, they are still a solid hearing aid option, and for only $1,499 for a pair, there is still a lot of value there. Just remember, it does not matter how great your hearing aids are, or how many features they have, unless you have a hearing care professional who can program them correctly and follows Best Practices. If you don't know what Best Practices are, I highly recommend you watch this video: https://youtu.be/4F1pkDhb8ys