First of all, your audiogram looks kind of odd, because most of the times it’s rounded off to the nearest 5. But I’m guessing that you’re looking at your chart and visually eyeballed off of it so that’s why the numbers are not rounded off, which is fine.
Costco doesn’t carry the most current top of the line HAs like the regular audiologist channel or online channel do, but you do get very good pricing on their offering, very long trial period, and non-commissioned unlimited on-site service combined.
I doubt that HearUSA or HearingPlanet or Hear.com, etc, use their own exclusive local audi or HIS. They probably just sub out the job to local providers and take a cut from them, so there’s no need to compare their providers against the local providers because they’re usually the same anyway. For example, I went through Hear.com originally and they referred me to a local provider. And although it didn’t work out with Hear.com due to insurance coverage pricing, I continued to work directly with the same local provider anyway (independent from Hear.com afterward), and this provider worked directly with my insurance company to get me the Oticon OPN fitted. And it’s probably better for her to deal with me directly as well because she doesn’t have to pay Hear.com their cut.
If you want top of the line, most current HAs, but don’t want to pay a premium for it, then online places like BuyHear.com has the lowest prices compared to your local audiologists. The drawback there is that you’re a first time wearer, so you don’t know exactly what you want, and the online route is more efficient if you know what you want. But it doesn’t mean that online purchase won’t work for you, though. Many folks on this forum have bought from buyhear.com and reported very good experience with them. I haven’t heard much about any bad experience with buyhear.com on this forum so at least that’s also a good thing. On the other hand, paying a premium for a local audiologist/HIS service doesn’t always guarantee higher satisfaction either. There are enough share of posters on this forum who are not happy with their local audi as well.
I would say that if you decide to go the buyhear.com route, pick a top of the line HA (that’s why you go that route in the first place, right? to get the most advanced HAs not available at Costco, but for reasonable cost because you have no insurance coverage for HAs) that generally requires the least programming and adjustment effort, so that it will only take a few tries to get it right instead of taking several tries to get it right. For more experienced HA wearers, they know what they want so they can minimize the adjustment cycles using their experience to get the programming done right the first few times only. For a newbie like you who don’t really know what you want yet, a HA that’s more automated and requires the least amount of programming and decision making from you would probably work out better for you when you go the online route.
The long distance thing with Buyhear is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you can get things adjusted during your trial period which is still not bad at 60 days, although not as generous as the Costco 180 days. I believe if you need further adjustments during your trial period after the original adjustment (that they do for you before shipping you the HA out), they send you the programming device/kit and they remotely make further adjustments for you. This is actually better in my opinion because you get to do it at the comfort of your own home without having to drive to a local appointment. On top of that, you probably won’t have to wait too long between adjustments like with a busy local provider (Costco is really bad with appointments because they’re usually very busy) because BuyHear will probably want to take care of you quickly so they can get their programming kit returned to them asap. I’d imagine that with BuyHear, you can probably make several online adjustment appointments within a week time frame and be done with it and return the programming kit to them before you know it. With Costco or a local provider, you may need to wait a week or two before you can even get your next fitting appointment scheduled in. But on the other hand, having enough time in between adjustments to try out different listening environments is better than being rushed. You may want to ask Buyhear how long they’re willing to let you hang on to the programming kit so you can take your time trying things out between adjustments.
As far as the 3 options you mentioned (Phonak B90, Signia Primax 7 Cellion, and Oticon OPN1), it looks like you’re leaning toward wanting to try out the 3 top-of-the-line most recent technology HAs available on the market today, instead of going the Costco route which doesn’t have these offerings?
I can’t speak for the first 2, I can only speak for the OPN1 because that’s what I wear. I can’t say which is best for you, I can only say how I think the OPN1 can be good for you based on your situation:
The OPN1 actually only requires 1 program setting in general to work with all listening environments, although you can have up to 4 programs if you want. That’s because it’s designed to transition seamlessly from one listening environment to the next automatically. So you don’t need a program for restaurant, a program for music, a program for phone, a program for car, etc. and remember to manually switch programs yourself. This is not because it’s necessarily better than the other HAs, it’s just because it has a different strategy on hearing (what they call the “open” paradigm), so the single seamless program is just a natural extension of this strategy. This is good for you as a newbie because you don’t need to be an experienced HA wearer who knows that they want. So there’s a good chance that it may work for you right out of the box when you receive it in the mail already pre-programmed for your loss without further adjustments. And even if you need further adjustments, it may be minimal compared to other HAs. Another important aspect in getting successful programming adjustments is the skill of the audi/HIS. And I’m not even saying that the BuyHear audi has lower adjustment skill than the local ones. For all we know, the Buyhear audis can be very qualified, too. But the point here is that if the programming is designed to be easier to do in the first place, then dependence on a good/experienced audi to give you successful programming outcome can become a less important factor.
The second reason the OPN can be good for you is because as a first time HA wearer, your brain may adopt more easily to this “open” paradigm/strategy that the OPN is designed for, because your brain hearing is already functioning without the help from HAs before, so it’s used to processing sound in the unaided way. What I mean is that with people transitioning from a traditional HA to the OPN, they have to deal with hearing everything in noisy environment, and the extra noise can be overwhelming for their brain. The OPN expects their brain hearing to relearn to tune out the noise and focus on the speech. But your brain hearing probably is already used to managing noise, so the OPN will help you hear better without your brain being overwhelmed in a noisy environment from the get-go.
I think all 3 of these HAs can handle your hearing loss profile just fine. If you like to listen to live music (or loud music), which can have a very wide dynamic range, you want to pick out an HA that has very good input dynamic range to avoid clipping and distortion. I think the Signia Primax and the OPN have 114 db SPL input range. Not sure what the Phonak B90’s is (not obvious from their brochure).