When I walked out of the audiologist office the first comment I made to my daughter standing in the parking lot was..."how can these little things possibly be THAT expensive?" Ranged from $5600 down to $2500 for the crappy ones. This is when I started the research and I suggest strongly that you do the same.
The new rising category of affordable hearing aid devices called..."Hearables". (the FDA won't allow the term 'hearing aid' to be used unless they approve it.) The rules are changing with the 'Affordable Hearing Act' passed three years ago.
Apple has set a standard that has Audiologists shaking in their boots. The most disruptive part is the software that the user can control from the phone and eliminates the need for an audiologist. It's basically an adaptive EQ that fits an audiogram to each ear. No more fees associated with visits or phone calls to the audiologist. A little too much treble/brightness? No problem to tone it down or increase and decrease loudness levels. It's all on the App.
Apple isn't the only player in the space. Take a look at the Olive Pro. It looks like an Apple clone and appears to work with Android. Has a longer battery life than Apple and seems reasonably priced. (Apple battery lasts for 5 hours these are supposedly 18 hours?) Not sure about that.
Olive Union (Olive Pro) Take a look...http://https//www.youtube.com/watch?v=eijCP7WU2RE
I have a smart TV and my units connect quickly via Bluetooth. Phone calls and a built in microphone gives hands free operation. Noise cancellation mode also works extremely well in a noisy environment. Kids having a party in the house and I want to watch TV no problem.
I agree with your assessment. How could these Apple devices possibly outperform a much more expensive hearing aid? My opinion is the "expensive hearing aid" really isn't that expensive and Apple saw the opportunity opening up to offer affordable, state of the art hearing device to millions of people who couldn't afford these enormously inflated prices. Others will follow so keep an eye out for them.