So far I have only tried the Oticon Alta 2 Pro Ti and the Widex Unique 440
You are trialing the 440 now. But remember I read your thread on the Alta2 and what your audiologist did and gave you can hardly be called a trial. Be very careful and very patient in all of this. Use the whole trial period to have things adjusted so that you know you’re getting the most out of the instrument because it takes a skilled audiologist or HIS who knows their way around the instrument and its software to make the most of it. You don’t just import the audiology report, program it using the recommended settings and be done with it. That is just a starting point. Minor adjustments and little tweaks can make big differences in the way they perform. You need to do your homework up front so you have some idea what to expect from each of the instruments. Go to the pro pages of their websites and read there. Get a feel for their philosophy of hearing and how they approach things—not because you will know which one is better but because it will make you better suited to ask about adjustments and changes.
I had a terrific audiologist. I asked her about preferences and I was told that hers were Oticon, Phonak and Siemens and that I should pick one based on personal preference i.e. which sound I preferred because “I will make it work.” I asked about the Unique but since she had not fit one yet she wouldn’t comment. She did say she believed the Dream was a notch below the three mentioned above except for their tinnitus program which she thought better than the other three. Also said that the Unique looked great on paper.
You also need to read enough to get a good understanding of what aids can and can’t do. There are some that think a speech in noise program should tune out ambient noise like a sound proof booth and pipe in what you want to hear like a set of Senheisers. NOT!
I had already make up my mind about the Oticon before I went in to purchase. Several months of research told me that is the one I wanted. And because it can take anywhere from two to four months to really settle in with aids I decided to get them and work with the audiologist until they performed as good as they can. And after 2 months I can say that they do everything they are supposed to do including enabling me to hear in obnoxiously noisy surroundings. If I’m having trouble hearing then those with normal hearing are having a problem as well. At my last trip there she did a QuickSIN to test my speech in noise ability. In automatic I placed just hair under the dividing line between normal and mild. With the speech in noise program activated I was in the lower end of normal. And that was after four visits (3 after my initial fitting) and all of them close to 2 hours long all the time tweaking and tuning and asking me questions.
Now if there is anything to be learned in this its in this sentence above: “pick one based on personal preference i.e. which sound I preferred because I will make it work.” You can get some good results from any of the major brands but it takes a skilled audiologist or HIS to personalize them and make them work the way they should for you. Technology being equal the programmer is far more important than the aid.