To me its all about process - - and, being technically guided by a real pro. Key, of course, is finding that pro and knowing you really have one.
I came to the same decision regarding suppliers - - Siemans top of line vs. Phonak. At this point I have decided on Phonak. I will not go into reasons for rejecting Siemans.
Regarding Phonak at first I planned to test drive only its top performance level IX but my audi talked me into first test driving the V, which is in process. She said this way I will learn to understand all the features and go slow in finding what each does - - before most likely moving to test out the IX.
She offered a test drive of each performance level - - and after deciding on one then a 45-day tryout, meeting in her office at least once per week - with unlimited visits to tweak thereafter.
As you know there is a ton of info out there, and many of the terms are not every day to a new user - - and much of the info is low tech sourced or from novices, such as me.
In the end here is the process I decided upon, and recommend for your consideration - - basically it is >
find the best professional audiologist you can to guide you - - as, after all, this is a technical product involving a medical issue (your hearing) - - and, having highly professional, dedicated and responsive after-sale support to me is a biggie >
Go to the web sites of each of the two firms you mentioned, read 100% several times to acquaint you with their products and features, so you gain a somewhat novice understanding - - then, find their ‘find a dealer’ section, type in your zip code to identify all audiologists within your range - - and then, arrange a visit with ear test at least 4 different audi offices for each named supplier.
Just in having them administer an ear test lets you find how they approach things technically, the quality of their equipment, thoroughness, etc. Watching how they program adds a lot. I was amazed at the variance between audiologists, even those with doctor diplomas - - even the variability in the completeness and accuracy of their hearing tests.
In the end, I think I have found one who stands heads and shoulders above all the others, and she has her PhD in the subject and thoroughly understands the technicals of each detail and feature. Just watching how she does a test, analyizes it, programs details, etc and checking her references. I feel very, very good indeed.
The technicals in hear aid products are changing rapidly in recent years, and all are not keeping up, and as you will find some are selling out - - and there is no way many, many hearing aid offices can keep up, considering their technical status. Just because one has been selling hearing aids for years does not, in my book, qualifly them in this hi-tech world of today.
That’s my suggestion. I hope others also respond to your post, the more good ideas the better.
Hope this helps. Good luck.<O:p</O:p