I’m generally not a fan of Internet sales, and neither are most of the major manufacturers. But I will say this. The Hearing Planet model, where they get a local hearing professional involved, has to be the best way to go. If you want to buy online. You get that personal touch, and less hassle when it comes to adjustments.
The other model you mentioned sounds awful. You have to send your aids back every time they need an adjustment? That’s awfully tedious, and expensive. Moreover, many of the modern hearing aids need to be calibrated when they are in your ear. If you don’t do that they will never function up to manufacturers specifications. In essence, you saved a bunch of money, but maybe your hearing is 25% lower quality because your skipped some important in ear calibrations.
So the only way that can be avoided is if you are willing to program the aids yourself, and can get some good software and a programming box. I just bought a new box, and it cost me $599. But I believe there are some cheaper ones out there.
There was a person on here recently writing about self programming, he had some very interesting observations. Perhaps on a mid range instrument that would be a reasonable option. Although I remain skeptical when it comes to top of the line.