There's nothing srong with taking acid reducers permanently. I took them for 25 years and was reasonably happy. I only had the surgery after a bad wreck that pushed my stomach into my chest where it got stuck (paraesophageal hernia).
A small hiatal hernia is par for the course. Most people get it at some time or other. For most people they never cause a problem. It's only the really large ones or the paraesophageal type that need surgery.
I controlled my reflux by figuring out what was causing it, which in my case was food intolerances/allergies/sensitivities. My allergist had me keep a food log and write down my symptoms when I had reflux. Then I broke down the foods and even the ingredients in the foods. My acid was controlled by meds. It was just the refluxing that was giving me trouble. Acid is not the cause of reflux by itself. It doesn't make your stomach jump and squeeze and hurt. An
open LES can allow the stomach contents to come up, but if there is no acid it is silent and doesn't hurt. I had this type of reflux, no pain, no acid while on the meds. I just wanted to find out the cause of the refluxing and I did, and it stopped when I stopped eating my problem foods. I still needed the acid reducers because I had a bad valve though. Had it not been for the wreck I would not have had the surgery.