The Virtue 12 is wonderful, and I think they are one of the best aids out there. I’ve fitted many aids over the years, and this is one of my favorites. You might ask about the Virtue 16 which is actually a reasonable upgrade to the 12. It’s basically the 12 with a few enhancements. So I wouldn’t pay any more than 10% more for it.
Don’t worry about batteries. They are going to cost next to nothing. I’d say (depending on size) you should be spending no more than $80 per year on batteries.
The Virtue 12 is easily as good as the Oticon 8000. So it will be 10 years at least before the free batteries give you any kind of return.
I’m an Audibel dispenser myself, and I can tell you that a set of Virtue 12s for that price is a good deal.
I work in a market where there is a shortage of hearing professionals. I could probably find another dispensing job tomorrow if I wanted to. But I remain with Audibel because I firmly believe in what they make.
If it means anything to you Audibel is an all American brand, unlike Oticon who are Danish.
One final tip for you. If you like movies and home theater, go into the settings and increase the loudness of the center channel, or reduce all the others a little. This will help make speech easier to understand during movies, since the center channel is primarily for speech and the other channels are for those annoying environmental sounds that add dimension to the movie, but make dialog harder to follow if you are hard of hearing.