My review comes from the perspective of profound hearing loss in the highs, while keeping normal hearing in the lows. I’ve been wearing hearing for the last fifteen years, since my mid-thirties. I have also been self-programming my instruments.
For a couple of months, I have been comparing my OPN S to the More 1 (had those on a 1 month trial) and the KS 10.
More 1 vs OPN 1 S: honestly, the difference between the two is minor. I say this as someone who thought the OPN to OPN S was a big upgrade. This said, the More are slightly better. I would say that the floor noise is slightly lower, and that they are ever so slightly clearer. Those differences are small enough that they are hard to detect; in fact I did some blind ABA testing and I was not always correct as to which were the More 1. Where the More were definitely better was the quality of the streaming sound, and the music program (mine did not have the new MyMusic–old firmware). Those would be the true reasons to upgrade IMO, but not quite enough. I was ready to upgrade (and may still upgrade) but my feeling is that the next generation of Oticon More will be the one worth getting, as they hopefully implement real bluetooth connectivity like the Paradise/KS10.
More 1 vs KS 10 Soundscape: While the More 1 and OPN 1 S were so close that either could be used for comparison. I did the bulk of the comparison usage the More 1, however. The KS 10 are very different from the More 1. While the More are immersive, providing a vivid and complex soundscape that can be overwhelming at times, the KS 10 dampen the world around you to highlight voices. The KS 10 provide a more relaxed listening experience, but richness of details are missing. The More are vibrant in their render, but not artificially so. Everything was crisp and clear, without being harsh. This may be a matter of taste, but I prefer hearing as much as possible. The More (and OPN 1 S) let me hear the static coming from my Dyson fan, and the hum of my refrigerator. The KS 10 removed those sounds. I wondered if this was a matter of tuning, but even when turning noise reduction to a minimum, the KS 10 did not reveal any of these sounds. I even opted to overtune the KS 10, but they only got harsh without revealing more details to the soundscape. To use an analogy from photography, the More were like Fuji Velvia film, and the KS 10 like Kodak Chrome.
More 1 vs KS 10 Tech: One nice feature of the KS 10 is transferring sounds from my worse ear to my better ear; it also does that when using a landline, giving me binaural audio. On the other hand, the More 1 have better streaming sound quality by a big margin. This said, the bluetooth implementation is poor. They lack real multi-point two-way bluetooth, which means they are limited to MFI or ASHA devices, and require a separate microphone for two-way audio; this makes them a poor choice for calls. And if you are an Apple Watch user with a cellular plan, the inability to pair them to the watch is an additional drawback. Meanwhile my KS 10 provide two-way audio for calls on my watch, on my phone, and regular streaming from my desktop computer, things the More can’t do. The KS 10 also have motion sensors used to change programs, and to invoke a voice assistant among other things. It’s kind of cool and at times useful, but it has draw backs, such as hanging up on people when scratching your ear, or invoking Siri when taking a face mask off from behind your ear. The KS 10 have a more sophisticated app where you can do a modicum of tweaks. It is somewhat useful, but not really. That’s because it’s a pain to change settings—just the time it takes for them to connect to the app is enough to annoy me. I want my hearing aids to provide excellent hearing with minimal input. They should be mostly transparent, fit and forget. After the newness of setting hearings up, I bet most of us would rather not mess around in yet another app. In fact, wanting to make adjustments are often a sign of your hearing aids not working well for you. This is where the More shine: they are fit and forget. The KS 10 require me to make some changes—my main program does too much sound processing for music and leads to distortions, so I must swap program. With the More, the regular is fine for music, and the music makes it better.
Speech Discrimination: it’s very difficult to tell a difference here. It depends on circumstances, including how tired you are. At the end of a long day, the dampened sound of the KS 10 will likely be easier, if less engaging. They both are quite good, and sound pretty natural. The difference between Oticon’s transposition vs KS’s compression is a matter of taste. Some have told be compression is better for someone with my loss, but with transposition there are some sounds I can hear more clearly.
Wind Noise: The More are definitely superior in that domain. In fact, I wonder if wind noise management is the true difference between the KS 10 & the Phonak Paradise (everything else seems the same—including tinnitus support if you self-program and use Target) as the Paradise mics are placed elsewhere.
Fit & Finish: Oticon easily wins here. The More are smaller and are more stylish. I prefer the Oticon domes. And in my case, the Oticon pop into my ears most perfectly, the wire flush against my ear. The KS 10 are not as tightly fitted to my ear.
Ergonomics: Program changing using the instrument buttons is terrible on the KS10. You cannot go up or down between programs, but must cycle through them. (The Oticon handles this just fine, and is a no brainer feature that puts your two most used special programs one press away from access.) Additionally, the KS10 chimes are hard to differentiate, the long press confusing, and I end up in the wrong program. I’ve resorted to using the phone to switch programs, which also is terrible as it take too long to connect to HAs. And unlike Oticon, where you can triple press the phone button to change program at once, with the KS10 the triple press screen has not program change option. Since I have never had an issue with Oticon in this matter, I see this as a clear Phonak shortcoming.
Final Thoughts: I’m sure one’s type of loss and taste will play a factor in which to choose. For me, the ideal hearing aid would be the Oticon More with real bluetooth implementation. I think I will keep my OPN 1 S, and probably keep the KS 10 as they are cheap and come with a great warranty and loss replacement. The Oticon don’t do well with sweat. I’ve needed repairs already. I will be using the KS 10 for biking, etc.
A Question: Does anyone have advice on how to program the KS 10 to sound more like More? I like to hear everything, from the static of my TV to my bicycle chain squeaking when it needs lube.