What is OPN3? I don’t even know… and OPN1
OPN1 is a top-quality Oticon aid, and OPN3 is an almost-as-good Oticon aid in the same Oticon model line that’s a little cheaper. Ken is suggesting that if you’re going to get one Oticon aid, you get the OPN3 because without a second OPN1, you wouldn’t benefit from paying the upcharge to get the additional features in an OPN1. I realize your ENT audiologist may be talking about a different Oticon model, but you didn’t say.
Personally I wouldn’t worry too much about 64 channels vs. 16 channels. I doubt you’d notice the difference. High tech companies like to throw specifications at customers (e.g. “channels” in a hearing aid) that in a real-world test, few would be able to perceive or, even if they did, feel the upcharge was worth it because the difference in performance would normally be small. It’s really more of a marketing thing than a significant performance benefit. If the Oticon audiologist suggests that the Oticon is four times as good as the Resound because it has four times the channels (or because on a per-aid basis, it’s almost four times as expensive), run away! Gains in performance can be very small or even not there whether you spend more or get more channels. It’s more important to try the aid(s) you’re considering and see if they help and are comfortable, and if not, can they be adjusted without too much hassle. Since this is your first foray into the world of hearing aids, I’ll tell you that while eyeglasses, if you already have those, can be pretty much plug ‘n’ play, hearing aids usually need adjustment, especially your first one(s).
I don’t know the Fortes, but Resounds and Costco generally get high marks from their customers, as do Oticons. Some of us like me are a little irritated with Oticon right now because they’ve been clamping down on people selling Oticon accessories and aids online, but as long as you’re going to go with a nearby audiologist that carries Oticon–a luxury some don’t have–this may not matter to you.