While a “list” approach seems like a good idea, I’m not sure how practical it is because you don’t get to cherry pick the features you want and leave out those you don’t want. It’s kinda like buying a car where you get all the features that come with package 1 or all that come with package 2, etc. You don’t get to build up a customized list.
You still can do it, but at a much coarser level, like whether you care about wireless streaming or not. But if you want wireless streaming, you’re probably going to get most of the streaming features, like from TV, from smart phone, with stereo, etc.
Then you gotta be aware of the brand and model of aids you’re looking at and what it can do or wants to do for you. For example, background noise filtering on the Oticon OPN. Their marketing claims they have it but I didn’t see any obvious evidence of it when I first wore it. Only after considerable research on my end to understand this claim did I realize that they indeed do noise reduction/filtering, but they do it in a very radically new and different way compared to how most other brands do it (or even compared to how THEY themselves did it in their previous models). So the question is what kind of noise filtering do YOU expect? Being a first time HA wearer, you probably wouldn’t even know what to expect yourself because you never had any experience with HA before.
I think Ken P’s advice to find a good audi and use their expertise to help you find an HA that’s suitable to your budget and your requirements is probably the best approach. You can probably try to find the right one for yourself, but also take your audi’s recommendation into consideration. The only issue is how do you know if you have a good audi in the first place…
I’m lucky that I found an audi who happens to HAs herself (just by chance). So not only is she the expert in the field, she actually has first hand experience with many different brands and models because the mfgs always try to get her to try out their HAs for herself because they knew that she’s also a patient on top of being a dispenser. So when she very excitedly recommended the Oticon OPN to me to try out because she’s wearing them herself, I assumed that she must have been onto something good worth trying out for myself.