Advocacy Opportunity: Ask Costco to Use Hearing Loops at their Hearing Aid Counters

By Carolyn Odio, HLAA-WA Trustee

Over the years I have written many letters to Costco executives about getting counter loops placed on the hearing aid counters at Costco stores in the USA. I want to have the hearing aid specialist’s voice come directly into my hearing aids. For that, I need to turn on my telecoil and stand in front of the counter loop. Otherwise, I have difficulty in hearing the Costco Hearing Department staff—especially with masks, plexiglass, and warehouse background noise!

A picture of a counter loop is below. It is about the size of a piece of paper and is placed on a countertop.

A counter loop like this one would help Costco customers test the telecoils in their hearing aids.

None of my letter writing produced “action” on this issue.

However, last year I discovered that submitting a question at the January 2021 Costco Annual Meeting was far more effective than anything else I’ve done. At the 2021 online Costco Annual Meeting, in the question box, I asked why Costco hearing aid counters did not have a counter loop available.

After that meeting, I was contacted by some folks from Costco. Although they did not agree to do this throughout the USA, they were willing to send a counter loop to the Costco hearing aid managers to use at the stores I shop at: Lacey, Washington and Tumwater, Washington.

The counter loops arrived. But they’re not widely used–and not everyone knows about them.

The counter loop not only would let customers hear better, but it also would allow the hearing aid specialists to educate their customers about how a telecoil works. The voice of the hearing aid specialist goes right into the customer’s hearing aid. The specialists could use the counter loop to show customers the “ah-ha!” moment of clear sound. It would help in educating customers about telecoil and what it can do. And technology education about Bluetooth and telecoils is a legal requirement in Washington State with the passage of SB 5210.

So, I just don’t understand the Costco management’s reluctance to promote the use of the counter loops.

I need your help. 

If you own at least one share of Costco stock, you may attend the Annual Meeting. Would you be willing to attend the 2022 Costco annual meeting and put a comment in the question box about this issue? If so, here are the details:  

DATE/TIME: Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 2 PM PST

Instructions for accessing the Costco Annual Meeting

○ Use this link: www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/COST2022

○ Shareholders who wish to ask questions or make comments must enter the 16-digit control number found on the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials or on the proxy card or voting instruction form provided to you with the Proxy Statement. 

Your hearing loss story is invaluable. You could say anything that would encourage the management to place counter loops at Costco’s hearing aid countertops in the USA. And, hopefully the managers will actually implement and market them.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions: carolyn@odio.com.

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