Hearing and soft speaking voices and health issues


Hi @Mark_Chambers
In terms of personal preference I would agree there’ no point to argue which one is better than the other as the criteria for ‘best/better’ differ greatly from one individual to another.

Having said that I think technology excellence could be relatively less subjective especially when we make comparisons in terms of such variables like advance in platform (i.e. processing power), processing algorithm (with or lack of), diversity of connectivity (say connection to Android phones) etc… and last but not the least, the inclusion of AI in the HA…

In this context do we really have HA that are ‘technically a bit more advance’ than its peers?


What context would that be? A stand alone paper category called “Technological Excellence in Design” that can be examined independent of the purpose for which it’s intended? Perhaps a good name for the category might be “Wow It Looks Good on Paper”? if the particular device translates into a better hearing experience for a person the first name would work. If one is a techno geek fascinated by the science of it all maybe the second. But what of the person for whom it is less effective than one with fewer bells and whistles? They might put it in the “All That Glitters is Not Gold” category. You see the question is still “Does it work”.

That said I think Phonak deserves points for their direct connectivity, especially for all the Android users out there. And though I do use apple products it would be nice to connect to any blue tooth enabled device. But only if it also makes me hear better than the others.


The best hearing aids isn’t a case of which one is really designed better than the other. It is what is best for the person wearing them. And the key to that depends on the person doing the recommendation and the person doing the fitting…
You could buy the best of the best on paper but if they do not serve your needs or are not fitted correctly then they could well be the worse aids you ever had.


This is really tiresome. I don’t enjoy internet arguments, including pissing matches between brands. I only mention “my” brand because it’s the counterexample I can offer to claims of OPN uniqueness. I haven’t given up because I believe that user repetition of the marketing claims is harmful to those who come here for help, and are inclined to believe what other users write. Some of them will rule out lower-priced alternatives that might serve them well. Others will put up with poor speech comprehension for months while waiting for their brain to get retrained, though it seems that this doesn’t always happen.

Yes, I know that some of the text above was written by @jim_lewis but isn’t attributed to him. Sorry, but I wasn’t able to select the text properly to include the right attribution.


I, on the other hand, would not find any value in the forum if everybody tries to avoid having healthy discussions about differences between HA brands/models. People spend time browsing the forum trying to learn more about HAs to help them make a decision on what they should do, select, try out., etc. That’s why people are asking questions, and that’s why people are answering them. Then others counter in with their own opinion. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what the forum is for. It’s not internet argument. It’s healthy discussion as long people keep their discussion to a civil tone, and more layers of the onion get peeled as the thread progresses, because the whole purpose of the forum is exchange of information.

Once in a while, you do see somebody chime in and say that they enjoy the thread because they learn a lot from the information they’re able to gather from the discussions. That’s when it’s obvious that the thread is healthy and not toxic.

Of course everybody has different opinions relating to their own experiences with their own brands/models of HAs that they wear. To talk about or explain their understanding and their personal experience of those brands/model is not “user repetition of the marketing claims”. There maybe folks who don’t want to hear it, then there are folks who want to know to be better informed.

What I’ve found is the tendency tor people who don’t like seeing what they read to bunch it up as “marketing this, marketing that”. And for sure within the marketing information there’s always hype but there’s also useful information. It’s up to the readers and the forum members who come on the forum asking questions to read, ask, and filter out what’s useful information and what’s hype and make a better and informed decision for themselves.


I don’t think anyone else is doing what the Opn is doing, or they are doing it secretly as they are able to avoid patent issues.

The Opn IS clever. It offers a different method of speech-in-speech management than hearing aids have traditionally done, and as far as Mark’s “Wow It Looks Good on Paper” award the Opn certainly does. When it comes down to it, though, there is no independent evidence yet that the Opn works better. I think Signia tried to hire the NAC to do a head to head comparison and claimed that their way was still better, but the methodology of the study was inappropriate to the Opn function. I don’t know whether they had students designing it or what. I think Phonak has recently done their own comparison and are also claiming that the Opn doesn’t really work, but a) it’s a white paper so who cares and b) my guess is that is has the same design problems. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

If I had to guess, Opn is probably a better strategy for specific users in specific situations. The trick is figuring out what those are. Hopefully Oticon (or someone) will do more work on that in the future and then the hearing aid will switch in and out of Opn mode when appropriate.

In any case, I HOPE that other manufacturers are finding ways to implement clever opn idea (specifically, I mean declaring distant sound behind you to be the “noise” and deleting it from the front so as to reduce distant speech babble) into their stuff. IIRC, Resound has traditionally been all about adaptive directionality across different frequency channels with emphasis on maintaining a monitor ear that is less directional. But we haven’t had time to get our Quattro training in yet, so I don’t know what it’s doing.


I agree with you completely, what good is a forum if it doesn’t bring up a healthy debate. Also everyone is different and their needs are different, even two people with similar hearing loss more than likely will have different hearing needs due to different environments, and experiences


I would definitely second this. There are times when it’s nice to have the beam forming option handy if you wish to use it. I don’t see why they can’t have both. Their recent announcement of the new AI option suggests that maybe this is the direction they’re heading in the future.

OPN currently claims to have a directional bean forming mode but I don’t find it to be effective at all. It’s still just as open for some reason.


I leave mine on automatic 85% of the time. They recognize environments and handle most things well.

I also have a speech in noise program that has heavy duty noise reduction for extreme situations.

And then I also have a directional program for times when there is a lot of close conversation but i want to focus on one or two people. I use it rarely but it is very effective.

This is what works for me and I’m getting great results and I’m not missing anything in quiet conversations or loud environments.

My pro thought the Phonak approach might give me better results and she was correct.

There are 6 big hearing aid manufacturers. One or more of those will have an approach that works for you.


That all sounds great here, but it isn’t all you do in the forums. With no basis that I can tell, except maybe a conviction that no non-OPN hearing aid can possibly provide all-around sound and speech comprehension in noise, you describe what other people hear from their hearing aids, and how they cope with their aids’ presumed limitations. You state these things as if they’re facts.

Also, you contrast OPN’s with “traditional” hearing aids, which help with speech by blocking out surrounding noise. This is a strawman argument worthy of a marketer, because at least some of the competition at the OPN’s price point are not “traditional” aids, they’re more advanced than that.


Haha, I’m beginnings to sense that this thread is becoming toxic with a negatively singular focus toward me personally here. But that’s fine, I’m a big boy and I can take it.

You’re right that I do contrast the OPN to “traditional” HAs. To me this is a personal reality because that’s what I used to wear, traditional HAs, many versions of them, before the OPN. So I speak from personal experience, not from a marketing view point.

What I did that’s probably not right this time around, without being more careful, compared to most of the other times when I contrasted the OPN to, is that I replaced the word “traditional” with the word “non OPN.”. That does give a wrong generalization which is too “all inclusive” here and that might have rubbed people the wrong way, especially those who recently acquired more modern premium HAs that they feel can do just as effective in a the 360 environment like the OPN, or even better, like some had actually mentioned in this thread.

For that I do apologize, for replacing the word “traditional” with the word “non OPN” because that made it become too inclusive and now would encompass newer premium HAs, which is not my intention.

But I don’t apologize for explaining how the open paradigm and the OPN design is different in contrast to the traditional HAs that use beam forming for noise reduction. To me there’s no marketing in it because it’s not just explaining what I learned and understand about how the OPN works, but it’s also my personal anecdotal living and breathing experience with it (and hearing too, of course).


The only answer I can give you is try as many different aids as possible. 99 people could say you should wear one or the other and you would be the 1 in 100 that it doesn’t work for. We are all different with different needs, and different environments


From my perspective, they’re all “traditional” hearing aids. They all have similar parts and work basically the same way (as opposed to something like the Earlens) As Neville said, the OPN approach is clever, but lots of manufacturers have clever approaches to different hearing problems. What’s truly exceptional about Oticion and the OPN is their marketing. Just as I get tired of Robocalls, I do get tired of the repetitive marketing claims.


As someone that spend my whole working life in communications and software. There isn’t a lot more that can be done with hardware but still a lot that can be done with making the firmware smarter and faster.


We can nitpick what “traditional” means, but when traditional goes along with “directional beam forming for noise reduction”, it becomes pretty obvious what we’re talking about.

Not sure if Oticon really does great marketing like everybody “accuses” them to have done or not, or whether other mfgs just do a lousy job at marketing. But the only way we get to learn about how the new technologies are introduced is when mfgs explain to us not just what’s new, but how it’s done. I for one would never be tired of learning what new things HA mfgs have come up with and how they do it.

As for the repetitive part mentioned, if it’s something I’ve already seen rehashed again in another thread, I’d just skip it and not bother to read it and be tired of it.


All I know is that Oticon has been the clearest sounding hearing aids for me. Maybe there is something better that I haven’t tried. But I get my aids from the Veteran’s Administration and they have worked very good for me.


I’m not trying to nitpick, but the impression I get from you and Oticon marketing is that they’re truly revolutionary. You often mention the new paradigm. It comes off as almost magical. I know a lot of people love them, but a lot don’t. From everything I can tell, they’re truly good hearing aids, but they’re still very similar to everything else on the market. My gripe about their marketing is that they stretch the truth through implication. Their whole “brain hearing” approach implies that they are somehow better for your brain than other hearing aids.


There’s actually nothing magical about the open paradigm to me. It’s actually back to the basic, hearing everything like you’re supposed to hear originally.

I know many people don’t love them. That’s OK with me. It never irks me that it works for some people and not others. Not sure why it irks you that some people love them.

The whole brain hearing approach never implies that that OPN is better for your brain than other hearing aids. It simply reminds people that they have the ability to do filtering with their brain. Although hearing impaired people need hearing aid to help them with amplification and smart processing and speech clarification, they don’t really have to rely on hearing aids to do the noise filtering and speech focusing. The brain can do a much better job of that than any machine. That’s not singling down or putting down anyone wearing any kind of hearing aids. That’s simply reminding people of their natural ability to process what they hear, so that they shouldn’t be afraid to go back to the basic and try out the open paradigm if they want. But if they don’t want to and prefer to let the hearing aid filter out the noise for them, that’s fine too.


Everything I read on the Oticon site says to me that they are trying to give as much control back to our brains as possible. No magic there just returning the controls back to where they belong.


Again, the Opn hearing aid is doing this noise filtering and speech focussing FOR your brain. One of the biggest problems with hearing loss is that you LOSE this ability. If your brain could do a much better job than the hearing aids, then all anyone would need would be amplification and an omnidirectional microphone.