^^^You’re singin’ my song here! I am not a techie person, and would simply not be comfortable buying top-of-the-line aids either OTC or having to adjust them myself (using custom software installed on a laptop, reading the manual, yada yada).
Nope. I have always gone the route of Audiologist “best practices”, and been very grateful for the knowledgeable, flexible, helpful aud-guys I’ve been to. Yes, I got a couple of turkeys over the past 30 years, but by and large, the audiologists I’ve depended on for setting up the aids, and more important, fine-tuning them to my listening preferences (as well as being there in times of emergency!), have MORE than paid for themselves.
When I lived in CA, and went to Cal Ear in Palo Alto, they charged me for every single office visit. My mother-in-law went the same route, and was really irked with how much money she was “throwing away” on follow-up visits. So much so, that she bought aids at Costco recently. However, that audiologist was simply never there for her! She returned the aids while they were on trial.
My current aud-guy NEVER charges a nickel for one single follow-up visit! I’m welcome to his office like an old family member, my needs are always addressed to the best of his ability. I go away satisfied, knowing that the $5-6K spent on my aids will carry me over to the next pair, and the one after, etc.
I wish there were more comprehensive studies done on HA wearers. Consumer Reports does an occasional piece, but for the most part, customer satisfaction surveys are SHALLOW and lack any useful data for me to make my next informed purchase decision. I have learned more about aids, their features, pros & cons right HERE. This site is a gold mine for us users and for any savvy marketer from HA manufacturing companies. And if they lurk here … well, they are invisible as far as I know! Missed opportunity for sure.