Oticon Real 1 re-chargeable
My first pair of hearing aids were Oticon Opn 1s, which I bought in 2016. I chose them over the Phonaks because I thought that the Opns were the more natural sounding of the two.
I took me a while to get used to them. I remember having difficulty concentrating on the words of an individual speaker when others in the room were having their own conversations at the same time.
About the Oticon Reals, Oticon make this statement:
Helps your brain function at its best by giving you access to all the meaningful sounds around you in perfect balance.
Anything that helps my brain to function at its best is welcome.
Comfort and Fit
Oticon Real rechargeable aids are slightly larger than the 312-battery version. Some manufacturers are making their latest hearing aids smaller than their predecessors. The recently announced Resound Nexia is claimed to be 25% smaller than the previous model, the Omnia.
The advantage of the Real rechargeables over other brands is that the battery is replaceable.
The Real rechargeable is on the right.
When I first started wearing the Reals they did not feel as comfortable behind my ears as my 312-battery Opns. The straight side in contact with the back of my head did not quite follow the contour behind my ears. They were prone to making contact with the arms of my spectacles, making them noisy, particularly when I was chewing. I soon got used to wearing them and forgot that I had them on.
Charger and Charging
Two chargers are available, Desktop and Smart.
The Desktop charger is the standard charger supplied with the aids. The Smart charger is a high cost extra.
The desktop charger –
- is open, so the aids are exposed when they are charging. It has a green light on the front and the aids each have a green when they are charged. The lights aren’t very bright, but in the dark, they emit a green glow which can be distracting in a darkened bedroom.
- does not have a USB socket. It can’t be charged with any existing cables that I have on my bedside table. It has a captive power lead with a USB type A plug on the end. A charger is supplied.
- does not have an internal battery. An external power bank can be used for charging.
The smart charger –
- has a lid.
- has a USB C socket.
- has an internal power bank battery.
Ease of use
Full control of the aids is possible using the Oticon Companion app on a smartphone. It is easy to use and has a comprehensive set of functions, including program and volume change, a graphic equaliser, find my hearing aids, mute, speech booster and battery level.
Volume and program changes can be made using the buttons on the aids. The buttons are up/down rocker type, which I find fiddly to use. I prefer a single button on each aid, with right for up and left for down.
Notification of changes is made is by a series of beeps. The volume change beeps make a different sound to indicate the central position.
Program identification is made by remembering how many beeps are associated with each program, which can be confusing. Widex aids have a female voice announcing the name of each program instead of beeps.
The General program worked well. I used it most of the time. I also used the MyMusic program. Other programs are available including Speech in Noise, Lecture and Comfort.
The sound of the Real aids is very good. Sounds are bright and clear. Speech sounds natural, and other sounds such as cutlery chinking on a plate, or a toilet flushing, are as expected. Sounds such as a robin singing are natural and clear.
Speech remained clear in noisy environments, such as a busy supermarket or a restaurant.
The sound of my own voice was natural.
Background noise suppression is variable. The sound of my car engine, for instance, seems to be louder than it is with other aids that I have worn. The high-pitched sound of the parking sensors is warbled due to the effect of the feedback manager.
In the open, the sound of wind on the aids is well suppressed. The aids can be slow to react to gusts. I can hear the Wind Stabiliser cutting in and out with each gust.
The Feedback Manager is very effective. There was no feedback at all in normal listening situations.
Listening to music
I tried listening to music from two sources – a hi-fi system and a Sonos speaker. In each case I listened first using the General program on the aids and second with the MyMusic program. The results from the two sources were different.
Sonos speakers – Set to the General program the sound was good. With the aids set to Music, the sound was excellent. The treble was brighter, and the sound was more dynamic. I would be happy to use either program for listening to music on this type of speaker.
Hi-Fi system – I have never been happy with the sound of music from my hi-fi when I am wearing hearing aids. That is the main reason why I have tried so many different makes. The Oticon Reals are no different. With the aids set to the MyMusic program, music sounds strident. Higher notes sound a bit harsh and there is some smearing of the treble. Cymbals sound splashy. The effect is worse at higher volumes.
The only brand of hearing aids that I have worn that come close to delivering a good sound of music from a hi-fi system is Widex.
Oticon Real aids will stream from iPhones and Android phones. I paired the aids with my iPhone. The pairing was simple enough. There was a low level of background hiss when streaming.
Hands-free phone calls are possible with iPhones. Pressing one of the aids’ buttons takes an incoming call. The sound quality is good for phone calls.
The streaming feature was useful for taking calls, but I was particularly interested in how the aids would sound with streamed music. I listened to several high-resolution tracks using the Qobuz music streaming app.
The sound of streamed music was satisfactory. It lacked body, particularly in the bass, but it was listenable.
I connected the Real aids to a TV using the optical socket on a TV adapter 3. The sound quality was good. I tried listening in two ways, firstly with the TV speakers off and then with them on.
With the TV speakers off the sound and video synchronisation was good. It would be a useful feature if you wanted to watch TV by yourself without disturbing others.
With the TV speakers on, the two sound sources were slightly out of sync. There was an echo effect that I couldn’t entirely eliminate. I found that the best setting was to have the TV box quieter than the TV speakers
Oticon Real 1 rechargeables are excellent hearing aids. Their performance is as good as other brands in this sector of the market. It took me a few days to get used to them, but after a while, I forgot that I was wearing them. The longer I wore them, the more I liked them. I doubt that they helped my brain to function at its best.
I took me months to get used to wearing hearing aids. In the last few years, I have worn several brands and the performance of all of them is similar. I have preferences, but the differences between the brands are minor. The most important factor when purchasing hearing aids is to find a patient audiologist who is prepared to listen, establish what your needs are, and work with you to find a solution that you are happy with.
The Oticon Real 1 Rechargeable hearing aids were provided by Mr Robert Donnan, of RJD Hearing Care, Cleckheaton.