First time HA, Oticon opn3 or opn2? Anyone upgraded from the opn3 to opn2 or 1?


#1

OK, no doubt impossible for anyone to answer. I don’t know how to upload my hearing profile, didn’t get anything like that after my test. I’ve known I need HAs for some time. Left ear is worse than the right, but now the right has declined enough that I can’t count on it. I recently found I play the stereo in the car so that it is too loud for my wife. Hearing is not so bad that I’ve had trouble functioning or been obviously hard of hearing, but I do struggle sometimes. Sometimes in company I’m aware others are hearing something that I can’t in the conversation. The graph in the test is a slope, loss of high frequencies but still have bass and lower mid tones, especially in my left ear. So, time for HAs.
After chatting and asking a few questions, the audiologist quickly zoomed in on the Oticon opn3 as being good enough. She’s had good luck with them, and in my hearing test I did amazingly well at the part where I distinguish a voice among background noise – amazing considering I did more poorly on the tone hearing part of the test.
I work at home, socialize some, go out for live music some. At my desk I have stereo speakers, which I enjoy listening to at volume loud enough for me to hear. (even so I notice in recent years I can’t understand song lyrics as well as I used to).
In reading a bit after my appointment, I see that some of the features of the opn2 and opn1 might be subtle but maybe worth paying for. That’s my question, though I’m sure it’s hard to answer. I read one review of the opn3 by an opn1 owner, but probably few people have tried both. My concerns are the opn3 has an attenuated dynamic range of 95db, compared to 115db of the opn2. Also that the “Clear Dynamics” or whatever might make a subtle difference in clarity.
But the difference is about $600 greater per ear, no trivial matter for two ears.

I asked my audiologist, and she said why not try the opn3 for the trial period, and I can upgrade if I feel like it during the 30 days. She seems quite confident that the opn3 will be good enough for me, I guess partly knowing the extent of my hearing loss. The thing is that while the opn3 is very likely to be much better than my uncorrected hearing, and I’m guessing I will be pleased with it, but without trying the opn2 I don’t know how much better it might be.

I’m inclined to just go along with the cheaper and good enough solution, and I very much appreciate the audiologist’s lack of pushing an up-sell. But I also know it’s hard to know if the other one is better enough to be worth paying more for.

When I was young, I got a quite good pair of stereo speakers, which I enjoyed a lot. I could enjoy decent or OK speakers, but when I heard very good speakers I could appreciate they were better, and they were worth paying more for. The HAs will be my speakers for everything, not just some sofa-stereo time. These days I would not pay a lot for a pair of premium stereo speakers, of course – would be a waste.

I have until July 10 to decide if I want to go for the opn2 instead of the opn3 right out of the gate when I get fitted on July 24.

Opinions? Experience? Thanks!


#2

I’m the OPN 1 owner who wrote a review on the OPN 3 that I had on loan. I think your audi makes a lot of sense in recommending the OPN 3 for you. The main difference between the 3 and the 2 and/or 1 is stronger noise reduction in complex listening environment. The OPN 3 has only a max noise reduction of -3 dB, while the OPN 2 has max -5 dB, and the OPN 1 has max -9 dB. Also the balancing power is another noise reduction technology for well placed noise sources, and the OPN 3 has only 50% of the OPN 1 balancing effectiveness.

So what you should do is try out the OPN 3 in the most noisy environment that you frequent in. If you can still understand speech OK in this noisy environment then the 3 is probably good enough for you. Even if the most noisy environment gives you trouble understanding speech, if you’re not in that environment 95% of the times, then it’s probably not worth it to pay for the premium that only helps 5% of the times you need the difference between the 3 vs the 2 or 1.

As for the concern on the dynamic range of 95 dB vs 115 dB and the lack of the Clear Dynamics feature on the OPN 3, I see that you go out to live music some. So go out to a live music event wearing the OPN 3 and see if it’s good enough for you. If yes, then you don’t need the OPN 2. Again, this goes back to the question of how much/often you listen to live music. If only once in a while, is it worth paying for the OPN 2 premium if the OPN 3 is already adequate enough for you?

Another approach is to ask your audi to try out both, if she’s already not trying to up sell the OPN 1 or 2 to you, maybe she’ll be amenable to let you try out both. If you can, I would try out the 3 vs the 1 and not the 2, even though I know you only want to pay only for the 2. It’s so that you can tell a more clear difference between them (if you can). If not by much, then obviously the 3 is good enough for you. If you can tell a good amount difference, then you’ll know that the 2 is a good compromise between getting an incremental improvement and not having to pay as much for the 1. It’ll help make the choices easier for you based on the perceived value you’ll have between the 1 and the 3.


#3

Thank you so much for both that detailed review and your detailed and considerate reply! I’ve never had a HA in my ear, but still I feel I have a clear sense of what you are describing. I guess I will follow your advice as well as my audiologist and start out with the opn3.


#4

It’s been a week and a couple of days with the OPN3, and I’m pretty well adapted to them by now. It’s at the point where I feel normal with them in and handicapped without them. (Before I was used to my handicap and only sometimes really noticed how bad it was, sort of like with eyesight being able to read the blackboard with a lot of squinting, and being completely used to squinting.).
I’m really mixed, still, in whether I am happy enough with the opn3 or if I want more clarity and naturalness. I don’t really know what is possible. I guess in general I would say that I hear much much better and have not had any difficulty understanding people, but it’s enough to remind me of when I was young and had “golden ears,” and missing that. I also know that I’ll never have 20 year old ears back. I’ll go in for my first post-fitting appointment next week, and I guess I can talk to the audi about it…


#5

haven’t done it yet but I’ll see if I can go with the 1 or 2 when I need new hearing aids (my current marks 5 this October and 3 on my mom’s bday February 2nd


#6

ha11 did you keep the opn3 in the end, please let us know?
I AM TOWARDS THE END OF MY OPN3 TRIAL and am interested in your reply, i have mine tuned for tinnitus masking as well , i had free phonak digi aids anyway from nhs in UK but they had no tinnitus masking in, these oticons cost me £1700 EACH x 2 so have to decide soon if i want to keep them


#7

I’m going to trail the OPN2, which I pick up in two days. I do like the OPN3 enough that I’m wondering if I’m just wasting money. It will be interesting to see if I can tell the difference!

My audi didn’t give me a music program until after two weeks, and that made a huge difference for me. She did that on the same visit I ordered the OPN3, and then I got home and listened to music and thought, “Oh, this is good!” I’ll let you know in a few days or so if I can tell a difference…


#8

I forgot to mention: in my last visit I also mentioned to my audi that voices were sounding a bit more processed than I would like, sometimes. She said there was another tweak she could make, and whatever she did made a huge difference in the normal program, not just the music program. I’ve read a lot in these forums that the audi (or self programming) can make as much difference or more than the hardware. My audi is a keeper! So in a couple of days I’ll have the same audi setting up presumably better hardware (or at least firmware). We’ll see…


#9

Now you got me a little curious what your audi did to make the voices more natural sounding. I’m guessing an easy fix for it would be to simply change the Brightness Perception from Brighter to Fuller. See the screen shot below for an example.

Or maybe she fiddled around with the gains in the Fine Tuning section, which would alter the compression ratios. But this is probably a bit more involved and you have to know exactly what you’re doing and sometimes, even if you do know what you’re doing, there’s no telling how the patient may perceive it and different patients may perceive it differently.

I’d bet my money on the Brightness Perception tweak to a Fuller sound.


#10

I saw my audi yesterday. She said the tweak had something to do with “noise.” She said she also tried it with another patient, and they gave her feedback that it helped as well. So I still don’t know the details of what it was specifically. By the way, on her computer screen the graph looked quite a bit like the graph posted above, though with more difference between the two ears. My left ear is worse than my right.

In that fitting yesterday we moved me up from the OPN3 to OPN2. She said she set up the OPN2 the same way as the 3, and then she tweaked them with the little microphones inside my ears (this is called REM?) with a speaker right in front of me, as she had done with the OPN3 before. I learned, once again, that carrots are a reddish vegetable, from a female voice.

She said in the fitting that she liked doing the 2 because she had more frequencies to work with.

I felt like there was a subtle but noticeable difference right away, moving up to the 2. My sense is that the sound is more “natural.” I haven’t tried a restaurant yet, but I’ve done the grocery store and a few different voices in conversation. I’m listening to music on the stereo right now with the music program, and I feel much more like I have my younger ears and natural hearing. It sounds really good!

There was a $1100 cost to upgrade (which meant, with my insurance, a $1100 cost overall). I figure over 5 years this works out to $.60 per day.

I remember when I was first dating my wife and she was a bit miserable with pollen allergy one evening. I asked her why she hadn’t taken a claritin or allegra or something, and she said it was expensive, like $1 per day at that point. I made the case that $1 was trivial, a no-brainer, not to suffer through the day if she could afford it.

Moving up to the better hearing aid is a little different. I was getting by with the OPN3, mostly not saying “what?” in conversation, which by most measures was great success in hearing aid fitting and wearing. But I still felt like I was hearing through something, like sounds were coming through pretty good but not fantastic electronics, a lot of the time. I wasn’t suffering, not like an unmedicated pollen allergy.

Now it feels much more like I don’t have hearing aids in at all, just good hearing. I’m 60. I don’t know if I’ll live for 10 or 20 years more, how much more my hearing will decline in coming years. So this is kind of a nice luxury and with luck not a financial hardship we won’t be able to afford. I’m happy with the upgrade.


#11

I’m glad to hear that you like the OPN 2 better and can notice a difference. From the spec sheet, there are some key and significant differences between the 2 and the 3. I bet you’ll probably be hard pressed to notice as much difference between the 1 and the 2 as you do between the 2 and the 3.

What you described, the more natural sound, is exactly how I noticed when I switched between the 1 and the 3. And I had the luxury of having both of them to do A/B comparison right on the spot and not having to rely on memory.


#12

I didn’t peg her turning down on the noise reduction to make the choice more natural sounding because the OPN 3 has so little noise reduction in the first place.

But I guess she could have turned off the noise reduction for the simple environment to make it the most natural sounding voice there. But I never would have turned down the noise reduction for the complex environment seeing because that would be taking away the one thing that the OPN can do well in noisy places.

Me, I would rather have the noise reduction set to max values in both the simple and the complex listening environments because that’s where the money in the OPN is. Plus I never found the voices to sound not natural anyway even at max noise reduction values, so it doesn’t bother me.

But now I understand why the default setting doesn’t use max noise reduction values, because some folks (like yourself) can discern the difference in the voice when noise reduction is added in. Luckily, I can’t, so I’m OK with using the full blown noise reduction values.


#13

By the way, I don’t know what your hearing loss profile looks like, but if it’s a normal ski slope loss, I wonder if you’ve tried out the Speech Rescue feature, and if yes, how do you like it?


#14

I think that’s exactly what she did: turn down the noise reduction in simple environments. I remember now what I told her: I was outdoors and there were people on my porch. The (rural) environment sounded natural – a few crickets and such. And then when the people started talking, their voices sounded artificial and harder to understand than I expected.


#15

I’m over a week into my upgrade from the OPN3 to OPN2. I do find there is a difference (though as mentioned, the final tweak on the OPN3 did make a good difference there). I find music, especially live music, is a bit better. Overall, everything sounds quite a bit more natural. However, it’s now about 6 weeks into having hearing aids at all, so it might also be that my adaptation is continuing. I guess it’s hard to sort that out for a new user as well.
I went to another live music event last night, a jazz trio in a very small venue. It sounded fantastic through the music program. Just fantastic. Last time I went to a live jazz event was with the OPN3 in a different venue with much more ambient chaos (that one was a tavern, while this one was a bookstore/concert). I also didn’t have the music program yet for the OPN3 in the first venue, which made a big difference. The first one was clearly better with the OPN3 in than without any HAs, but I didn’t feel like it sounded really fantastic. I was still adapting at that point though, really quite new to HAs.
Again, hard to sort out adaptation from hardware, but with the OPN3 I had great success in understanding voices, but sometimes I thought they sounded “processed” and sometimes I had to struggle a bit. Lately I feel like I struggle less and voices sound more natural.

I’m also aware of the psychology that paying more for something can cause a perception of greater quality. So, maybe that is in there, muddling my judgement.

I guess I’d have to do blind A/B testing to really tell for sure, but generally I feel happy to have moved up to the OPN2.


#16

I just upgraded to OPN1 after trials of OPN 2 and Resound 3D Linx 9 and Phonak Audeo V-70. I do think that there is a bit more clarity with OPN1. It seems that sounds are processed more quickly. I still need some adjustments in background noise settings, but I do think there is a definite difference in the technology levels in terms of sound quality and speech in noise. Bottom line: hearing is different for all of us, so you have to try different brands and pick the devices that are best for you.


#17

I know that your post is over 6 months old, but I also wanted to thank you for your detailed opinions and suggestions. I’m new to the idea of getting HAs, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out which route to take (OPN 1,2,3). I appreciate your honesty and guidance.


#18

They just announced the OPN S, so if you can wait, maybe that will be a better option. I think they’ll have a 1, 2, 3 version for the S as well. Check out the thread on it on this forum.