Oticon Opn 1

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Oticon-Logo-2  opn

 

Opn 1 – ‘made for iPhone’

From the manufacturer:
“– A whole new world to enjoy:
Traditional hearing aid technology delivers speech understanding in noise by focusing on one speaker,
while suppressing all other. With Oticon Opn, users can handle multiple speakers simultaneously –
even in complex environments, so they can focus on what is important and switch attention when desired.

Closing down sounds, closes down life:
Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of narrow directionality to make
speech coming from the front clear, while suppressing the rest of the sound environment.

OpenSound Navigator™ opens up life:
With the OpenSound Navigator, directionality as we know it is now a thing of the past. Oticon Opn
delivers the ultra-fast sound analysis and processing needed to provide hearing aid users with access
to the sounds in their lives.

A new kind of hearing aid powered by the new ultra-fast Velox™ platform, Oticon Opn:
Delivers a constantly open, balanced soundscape
Makes it possible to follow multiple speakers in complex listening environments
Improves speech understanding in noisy environments
Makes it easier on the brain by reducing listening effort
Provides seamless connectivity to iPhone®, smartphones and other audio devices”

 

MODEL REVIEWED: OPN 1 mini rite (Premium hearing aid – RIC style)

OUR VERDICT:

The best hearing aid you can buy: IF you like mellower sound production AND iPhone functionality. Will be preferred by music-lovers and musicians. In today’s competitive market, you should be able to negotiate a free trial on all hearing aids. Just ask.

Alternative: The Alta2 Pro design is smaller with no app capability.

Price: Around £3300 to £3600 for a pair from an established independent practice.

 


APPEARANCE AND FEEL:

(the weight, size, shape, how well it fits ergonomically to the ear; the thickness and flexibility of the wire; the shell construction, quality, finish, IP properties, construction of buttons / switches / battery compartment)

5 STARS

A slightly bulky but still pleasing-to-the-eye design. The button is very low-slung which is silly, but it doesn’t matter because you’ll have the app remote control anyway. The receiver wire is thicker which means it can sit firmly on the ear.

The size is ok compared to similar tech aids, like the LiNX Quattro and Halo IQ. The shell is very well made – i think it will last longer than others.

 


SOUND PRODUCTION:

(tested for how natural sounds are; how owner’s voice sounds; quality of classical and popular amplified music; naturalness of everyday quiet sounds such as indicator click, and loud sounds such as toilet flush, wind)

5 STARS

The Opn 1 has a pleasing ‘mellow’ sound which contrasts well when compared to PHONAK BELONG, GN RESOUND LiNX Quattro, SIVANTOS Signia. The feedback / whistling control seems better than previous versions.

I prefer this over the Alta 2 Pro AND the Phonak B90. The TV connectline 3 is way better than its predecessor.

 


BACKGROUND NOISE PERFORMANCE:

(how well the instrument appears to cope with the suppression of background noises, such as party speech babble, traffic noise, loud wind noise, car engine sound)

5 STARS

My fellow reviewer and I are of the opinion that this may be out-performing some competitors. It is being kept in droves by new users. I know of many successful fittings to ‘difficult and challenging’ hearing losses.

 


EASE OF PROGRAMMING:

(from the audiologist perspective – how easy and user-friendly the programming software is: this can affect the quality of the results for the end-user)

4 STARS

Wireless connection is excellent via a dongle. Programming is massively improved. Oticon should have created custom manual programmes – this is causing some problems, although the technical help staff are up to the job.

Some misunderstandings initially – the aids must be 4 inches away from the programming dongle up to the ‘fitting’ screen. And you need a ‘music / TV programme. The manually created ‘speech in noise’ programme is amazing.

 


MAINTENANCE & RUNNING COSTS:

(cost of out-of-warranty repairs, cost of shell repairs, spare parts, ease of procuring replacement parts, consumables such as domes, wax guards, receiver wires; shell integrity when put under stress)

2 STARS

Parts are too expensive, domes are still a clear colour which is a bad idea if one ever comes off loose in your ear, receiver wires are fitted by pushing in to place – rather imprecise.

I agree – the sports locks wear out quickly and are too dear. The grip tips discolour rapidly.

 


OTHER COMMENT:

The On app. is quite something. We are testing the usefulness of the IFTTT (If this, then that) app ‘recipes’…

The app is too simple – there should be choice for a more complex / flexible app screen.

 

5 STARS
H.A.R. Overall Score – in the Premium range
By AP (July 2018) and BL (Oct.2018)

 


REVIEW BY SENIOR TESTER ‘M.R’

30.11.2017

When I read about the new Oticon Opn hearing aid I was immediately interested in trying them. As an Apple Mac and iPhone user I had gone straight for the ReSound aids as they were designed for the iPhone. Despite desperately wanting to like them (trialling them parallel to a pair of Phonak V90s) I soon got irritated by the quirks of the ReSounds and found some features more nuisance than help. In the end I opted for the Phonaks in combination with the Compilot Air II.

I have been using the Phonaks for nearly two years now – not always without problems though. Both aids had to be replaced as they were faulty switching on and off for no apparent reason. I also realized that even the best aids do not cope with loud environments such as exhibitions, conferences or pubs and restaurants. Perhaps I am asking too much. I was resigned to the fact that some of my requirements were falling into a particular category that stretched the ability of current technology.

The Oticon Opn seemed to address my particular issues with their new technology and multi-directional microphones combined with iPhone usability. Off I went to see Robert to get my hands on a trial set. First impressions on design and size were not positive as the Oticons are using size 13 batteries and are therefore quite a bit larger and wider that the Phonaks. As a plus the receivers were more comfortable to the ear which cannot be said for the width of the aids pressing against the ear. One would assume 13 batteries would mean longer lasting power but I could not detect any great difference to the size 10 batteries for the V90s – both last for about 4 days max, falling well short of the claims made by both manufacturers.

The Oticons provide a completely different sound compared the Phonaks. First hearing impressions were of a rather muffled nature but got adjusted to a more pleasing sound. As always Robert said go and try them for a long as you need and let me know how you’re getting on.

I tried the Opns parallel with my V90s in all the various environments I encounter in my job and had to realize that despite the manufacturer’s claim of new groundbreaking microphone technology I still faced the same restrictions and limitations that I had with the V90s. No discernable difference in listening quality/clarity in noisy environments. The connection with my iPhone was also not stable, the aids picking up calls sometime but not all of the time. Calls were sometimes switched to mute in conversation of its own accord.

In the end I decided that the Oticons were not the solution to noisy environments and that I might as well stick with my V90s for the moment.

Having said that, not all was bad or the same as with the V90s. I could notice the difference in the microphone technology when moving from one particular environment to another, for example leaving a busy shop. Here the Oticons have a clear advantage as the technology allows for a more fluid change. The V90s carry on, on the same program for quite a while before switching which in retrospect I find quite annoying. After the initial sound difference I found the Oticon sound more pleasing and a bit softer.

In the end my decision to stick with the Phonaks was due to the fact that in noisy environments there was no real upside and the combination of V90s and Compilot Air provide much more flexibility with different technologies: laptop or desktop computer via Bluetooth allow for hands free conference calls over the internet and the Compilot Air works with both iPhone and Android. I can even use the Compilot for hands free calls with the mobile leaving the mobile in an area with maximum reception while I can be a few metres away.

Review Score:

4 STARS

Arrange a free trial at these practices:

The Nottingham Hearing Practice
The York Hearing Practice
RJD Hearing Care, West Yorkshire

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www.hearingaidreview.org.uk has been put together by me, Robert Donnan. I’m an independent private ‘hearing aid dispenser’ (HCPC registered). This is the protected name qualification required in the UK to be able to ‘sell’ or prescribe hearing aids. There is a general habit of ‘us’ describing ourselves as AUDIOLOGISTS. I am personally ok with this term, even though it is primarily used to describe an NHS trained person who measures hearing. It is not a protected term, and describes a person concerned with the measurement and understanding of hearing levels.

It is regrettable that the qualifications required are often over-stated.  So I am seeing terms such as consultant audiologist, cerumenologist and consultant which must be an attempt to overstate our qualifications?

The skill required to program a hearing aid is extremely minimal. The labour required to explain outcome expectations, the rehabilitation period, how to use hearing aids; and the servicing needed after purchase is where all the value is be gained. So my job is all to do with HARD WORK, PATIENCE, PERSEVERANCE and being part of an organised business that is capable of actually providing the long term package included in the price. I myself have worked a minimum six days a week for over 10 years in my attempt to uphold my duties.

It’s a tough job providing products that most people don’t want to face up to getting in the first place, and meeting people’s expectations of how they should hear in background noise, which are often, frankly, not met.

So, there is a lot of hype and ‘sales’/ overly optimistic language used when discussing private hearing aids (see an example below). This is as a result of the high level of consumer scepticism and doubt, the NHS hearing aid availability, the difficulty in defining how well a person actually hears (it’s very individual and opinion-driven) and the low level of training required to become a private hearing aid dispenser.

You need to approach this subject with great CARE, DILIGENCE, SUPPORT from someone who’s opinion you value and in my humble opinion, you should demand an UNCONDITIONAL FREE TRIAL.

What’s a private hearing aid dispenser?

What’s the difference between NHS and private?

Who reviews hearing aids for us?
Our 3 testers are real hearing aid wearers.
Right now, by coincidence, all three are male.
All three are employed in the IT sector.
All have suffered from a long term or congenital complex hearing loss, ranging from mild-to-moderate, severe to profound.

They have all agreed to test new hearing products that come to market in return for receiving free hearing aids. Each model tested by all three persons is evaluated in short, easy-to-understand language that we can all understand.

So this is not your typical hearing aid review website
We are not including end-users who will typically bundle the service they have received together with the hearing aid sound quality.
We are not including audiologists’ views.
Nor are we listing manufacturers’ blurb.
Our idea is to get ‘into’ the products themselves, so in effect, this is a hearing aid product review website.

Which hearing aids are our 3 REVIEWERS wearing day-to-day?
BL is wearing OTICON OPN 1 with micro moulds.
AD is wearing SIGNIA NITRO power BTEs with Starkey E2108 ear moulds.
MR is wearing PHONAK AUDEO V90 10 with ComPilot Air II.

How do we decide which hearing aids to test?
We are influenced by world & European sales:
So we’d be more inclined to try hearing aids from the following:
Phonak
Oticon
Resound
Starkey
Widex
Signia
in that order.

Stars that rate hearing aids are often NOT REVIEWS
These are instead arbitrarily placed next to hearing aid models as an opinion by the author only. You can spot this straight away as older models / lower spec. models will be marked with less stars, and the most expensive models with 5 stars.

OCTOBER 2018

Best Overall Hearing Aid

  1. Oticon Opn 1

Best 5 Professional Hearing Aids

  1. Oticon Opn 1
  2. Phonak Audeo M90
  3. Phonak Audeo M90-R
  4. Phonak Audeo B90-10
  5. Resound LiNX Quattro 961

Best Mainstream Hearing Aids

  1. Phonak Audeo M50-R
  2. Resound LiNX Quattro 561
  3. Phonak Audeo M50-D
  4. Phonak Audeo V50-10
  5. Oticon Opn 3

Best Budget Hearing Aids

  1. Phonak Audeo V30-10
  2. Phonak Virto V30 CIC
  3. Phonak Virto Q30 CIC

MOST POPULAR QUESTIONS

Why are hearing aids so expensive?

  • High refund rates of High Street chains
  • Variability of hearing outcomes
  • Difficulty in assessing improvements
  • Labour intensive (fine tuning appointments)

What’s the Best Hearing Aid?

  • The one that you like the best
  • You can only discover this through a trial process
  • Oticon Opn 1 is the most technologically advanced hearing aid
  • However, some of our best reviews are from people that have not spent a lot of money (purchased budget hearing aids)

Where’s the best place to go?

  • We are biased – & believe Independents offer the best overall experience
  • Which? magazine agrees: in their last 3 surveys of end-users’ findings
  • Boots score well in second place, as the best large retailer
  • The Independent you visit should be well established, with good evidence of service (reviews)
  • It is advisable to deal with someone quite local to you

What do they cost?

  • Thanks to the internet, there is now a fairly clear understanding about what these cost
  • The most expensive products cost about £3000 per pair. If you seek out the better suppliers, you might have to pay £4000
  • Two-thirds of what you pay is for the after care (not the hearing aids)
  • Continuity of service is very important (so many dissatisfied users comment that the person they saw was different every time)

What makes a great hearing aid?
Primarily, it will be your willingness and diligence.
A trial before you pay anything always helps.
Pay some attention to world sales figures.
Oticon and Phonak are doing the best.

A 20% drop in prices over the course of 2018

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Increased competition in the private market will cause further price erosion this year. Start by viewing Specsavers prices as they introduce more manufacturers and lines. Other large providers have some offers, such as Amplifon with the Resound LiNX. Which? magazine suggest visiting a local Independent.
The message is: Do shop around and get at least 2 like-for-like quotes first.