The one difference you need to consider here is that there are probably 2 different approaches to adding new functionality. It seems like in the old days, the only way to get new functionality was to upgrade/migrate to a newer physical model, even if they reuse the same hardware platform as before. Unless the new technology is SO radically new and different that a brand new hardware platform must be developed to support it, like in the case of the OPN and its open paradigm which requires a brand new Velox platform.
But nowadays, the new approach to get new functionalities added, at least on the OPN, and I’m sure on several other new hearing aids now, is to add new functionalities into new firmware updates. I’ve been a long time hearing aid user and the OPN is the first generation I’ve seen that offers firmware updates. All the other models I’ve had before that requires the purchase of a newer set of hearing aids if you want to keep up with technology.
But with the OPN, every firmware update is like getting a new and improved hearing aid model. The most significant functionality, Speech Rescue, was added to the Firmware 3, along with new built-in programs. Then in Firmware 4, support for the ConnectClip, and restoration of the in-situ audiometry into Genie 2. So what I’m trying to say is that with the new way of adding new functionalities into a model, you’re no longer afraid of missing out on new functionalities anymore unless you have to buy a newer model every few years.
This makes the concern about obsolescence much less of a worry, unless a truly new HA generation comes along that’s SO advanced that you’d need to buy into a new set of hearing aid hardware built on a brand new platform. What I’m trying to say is that the firmware update approach to adding newer functionalities into the same set of hearing aid model may stretch out the generation of each hearing aid model much longer than before. I don’t know what it is, but I would guess before maybe each HA generation is about 3-4 years, but now with firmware updates, it’ll probably get stretched out to 6-8 years easily. The question is how long the physical hearing aids will last in service… After all, after 3 years of warranty, are they serviceable anymore once broken???