Only 6.5 million aids are sold globally each year.
Spread these across say 10 manufacturers and say 5 models, you end up with small production runs of the chips.
Must wafer labs won’t consider orders under say 1 million chips … … unless you pay more!
Add in research costs, marketing costs, repair networks, plastic moulding costs, software development and the aids start becoming expensive.
Now add in the time the dispenser spends with you - and the office overheads … you can see where this leads!
Yes, high prices!
Of course you can get low cost aids in European supermarkets or on the Web - I have no objection to that … but please be aware that you get what you pay for.
If you want a top end aid, with lots of hand holding & a super warranty … but then start saying that ''I could make that on my kitchen table with $27 of parts from Radio Shack", don’t be surprised to get a cool reception from the dispenser!
There is way more to a product that the raw cost of the plastic case and the bits inside.
If price is a key factor to you, then maybe the self-programming approach could work for you : less hand holding so lower prices.