There are 6 major hearing aid brands available in the United States: Oticon, Widex, Starkey, ReSound, Signia (Siemens), and Sonova (Phonak and Unitron). Some clinics will sell private label hearing aids in addition to or instead of these major brands.
What Are Private Label Hearing Aids?
Larger hearing aid practices and franchises will sometimes partner with a hearing aid manufacturer to sell private label hearing aids. These hearing aids will look similar and have similar features and technology to the name-brand version of the hearing aid. The main difference is the private label devices will be labeled with a different name and have a proprietary computer chip inside.
Common Private Labels
- Kirkland – Costco’s hearing aids are made by Sonova.
- Beltone – Their hearing aids are manufactured by ReSound.
- Miracle Ear – Their hearing aids appear to be made by Signia.
Pros & Cons of Private Label Hearing Aids
- Cost – Sometimes purchasing the private label version of a hearing aid will save the consumer money. This is especially true for Costco’s Kirkland brand. However, in some cases, private label devices are more expensive than their name-brand counterparts. Private labeling can make it more difficult for consumers to compare costs.
- Insurance Coverage – Some insurance plans have exclusive coverage for specific, private label hearing aids. This means that for some patients, the only way to use their insurance benefits is to purchase approved private labelled devices.
- Limited Device Selection – Clinics that sell private label hearing aids will often only have contracts with one hearing aid manufacturer. This will severely limit the choice of devices for patients.
- Limited Provider Selection – Private label devices typically have proprietary computer chips inside. These chips make the hearing aids “locked” so that only the original seller can provide service for the hearing aids. This means that the purchaser is stuck with the original provider for the lifetime of the hearing aids. This can cause problems if the patient moves and there isn’t a location near their new home. On the other hand, name-brand hearing aids can be serviced at any clinic that has a contract with the hearing aid manufacturer.
- Limited Technology Selection – Private label aids are very similar to their name-brand counterparts, but often lack certain features or technology. For example, the private label devices may not be available in the newest technology from the manufacturer. So by purchasing private label, you may be purchasing devices that are one or more generations old.
- Cost Comparison Difficulties – Hearing aids are expensive, and many patients want to compare costs before deciding on their purchase. Since private label devices can only be sold by the specific company, it becomes difficult to figure out how to compare them to their name-brand counterparts.
Does Merit Hearing sell Private label Hearing Aids?
No. At Merit Hearing we only sell unlocked, name-brand hearing aids. We want our patients to choose us for our transparency, honesty, and service; not because they are locked-in to our company. All of our hearing aid prices can be found right on our website, and we believe they are the most competitive prices you will find. Our company is independent and clinician-owned, so you can trust that the recommendations you receive from our audiologists are not influenced by any outside interests.