I think you have a decent plan, too. And I agree with MDB that your hearing loss profile shouldn’t be too hard to fit.
Beside BuyHear.com, I recently learned of another online source called FactoryDirectHearing.com that sells the Oticon OPN1 for $100 less than BuyHear.com. The poster who reported his experience with them seems very impressed with their service as well. So I’d definitely check them out, although it seems like more posters here have used BuyHear. If anything, you can ask if BuyHear would match the other guy’s price or not.
The OPN is supposed to have their Connect Clip (the streaming device for regular Bluetooth) come out in Q1’17 but I haven’t heard anything yet, so its schedule may be delayed. You’ll need this to stream to/from your Android phone. It’d be nicer than the Made For iPhone direct streaming in that you don’t have to hold the phone to speak to the phone’s mic because the Connect Clip has its own built in mic, you’d just probably need to clip it in your pocket near your mouth only, so it’d be total hands-free phone conversation. It most likely will be sold as an optional accessory to the OPN, however, and the cost is unknown at this point. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s at least $300 or north of that.
If listening to live music is important to you, this may be where some of the more premium HAs like the OPN will shine, because you’ll need an input with a pretty wide dynamic range. I think the OPN has 114 db SPL input range, which is not too shabby.
Local audis like to recommend the top of the line because there’s a lot of profit margin in it for them to push top of the line stuff. Also there’s a better chance of more customer satisfaction to push something that has had a good track record of success because they’re top of the line, regardless of the high cost. They’re not necessarily wrong in saying this is the best or that is the best, but I agree with you that they should be able to tell you why what they recommend is the best, and more importantly, why the best FOR YOU and your needs and constraints. After all, they’re the expert and if they want to earn their healthy profit margin, they need to do their homework to be able to succinctly lay everything out for you to support their recommendation or let you decide.
I would recommend you try the OPN1 along with the KS7 just because based on my own experience of having worn it, it’s very different than the more traditional HAs that I’ve worn. I won’t say it’s better or worse or worth the extra cost because that’s a very personal judgement that only you can decide. Note that I went with the OPN because I had insurance that covered 95% of its own. Otherwise, I would have done something similar to what you plan to do here, try out the KS7 at Costco and the OPN1 at an online source. But by trying out the KS7 vs the Opn1, you can compare many things and it should help you in your purchase decision.
- A great value budget HA that is very competent and can stand up to premium HAs (KS7 vs OPN1).
- An online/at-home fitting experience (Opn1 from BuyHear or FactoryDirectHearing) vs a local fitting experience (Costco).
- A new “open” paradigm (Opn1) vs the traditional beam forming directional paradigm (KS7).