Much difference between OPN 1 vs OPN 2?

This is my first post and yes, I have to choose my first hearing aid :slight_smile:

I’ve trialled 3 hearing aids so far. As I’m living in Japan, the first choice was the local brand, RION. It wasn’t that bad, but the audi suggested I look at European brands as alternative, in case I need support while traveling or relocating.

One thing about customer service in Japan - no country comes close. After deep bowing she sent me on my way to one of her friend who carries foreign brands. Luckily, we’ve spent a whole afternoon fitting the RION and she gave me very detailed copies of all the tests and settings we tried out.

Another thing about Japan is that company and national health insurance don’t cover hearing aids, but local city governments do offer some amazing disability assistance that covers hearing aid costs up to about US$6,000, and as added benefit, you get a nice write-down against personal tax for the the entire purchase price - which makes it a double benefit for those who qualify.

Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for the disability benefit as I still have, according to the red-tape officers, good enough hearing to go about my normal day. But, i still get to claim back against tax.

Which brings me to my topic: I have trialled the Signia Primax 7 with M-reciever and Oticon Opn 1&2 with 85 receiver HAs. As a first time user, Oticon sounds more natural to my usual environment than the Signia. No doubt, Signia is amazing but it makes everything sounds muffled where as the Oticon sounds more natural - which means, Oticon OPN it is.

As I will be out of pocket with this one, I’d like to hear from Oticon users if you have experienced much difference between Opn 1 & 2. Also, am I correct in saying that Opn 1 is more suitable for hearing difficulties in noisy environments?

I work in a very large open plan office which is not too noisy. I have trouble following conversations in general, and at times, people behind me have to raise voices to attract my attention. During meetings I always make sure people are to my left so I can hear better, but still miss some of the conversation. The cafeteria is always noisy with a few hundred people munching and chatting along and I actually turned off my trial HAs, the amplified sound was just too painful (and I still understood most of the conversation). Love the theatre, and have found Opn series works like a charm at the opera. Restaurants are also now much more fun too.

I hope the background helps and will very much appreciate any feedback. Although not a problem to pay the million yen for a pair of Opn 1s up front, the Opn 2 is close to half the price and after going through all the technical materials I’m not sure if the higher-end model is a “must have” option for me. It is a difficult choice…


You’re correct in saying that the OPN 1 is more suitable for hearing difficulties in noisy environments. If you look at the comparison table below between the 3 models, the 4 parameters that I deem most important for speech understanding in noisy or complex environment are: Balancing power effect, Max noise removal value, Spatial Sound LX and Speech Guard LX. You can see how superior the OPN 1 is in these 4 parameters compared to the 2 and the 3.

The Balance power effect does noise reduction of well placed noise sources in between speech sources using a directionality system. See picture below that demonstrates this. The OPN 2 has only 50% effectiveness compared to the OPN 1 on this.


After the Balance module does its noise attenuation of well placed noise sources as seen above, the balanced signal is then fed into a secondary noise cleaner called the Noise Removal module which reduces the remaining residual noise that the Balance module could not clean up, like diffused noise or a noise source directly behind the target talker.

The picture below shows how the Noise Removal module detects and does its attenuation of the noise. Within that sentence spoken by the target talker “Pain the socket in the wall duti green”, the Noise Removal module has the ability to look in 16 separate frequency bands and compared the noise “model” against the speech quickly enough (10ms interval) inside each of the 16 frequency bands to “see” how the speech looks different than the noise model to know how to remove the noise and leave the speech alone. The amount of noise removal applied is how the OPN 1 is different than the OPN 2. In the table below, the amount of noise removal is represented by the black line on the top, the speech is the pink area, and the noise removed is the dark gray area. The light gray area around the pink speech is the remaining noise not removed While the OPN 1 can remove up to a maximum of 9dB (most of the dark grey noise illustrated here), the OPN 2 is limited to remove only up to 5dB maximum. So a lot (maybe half?) of the dark grey noise shown in the picture below still remains if the OPN 2 is used.


Speech Guard LX is basically the WDRC (Wide Dynamic Range Compression) strategy from Oticon that uses fast adaptive compression to help preserve sound quality and speech details in noisy complex environments. Compression is used to reign in large changes in sound levels to fit the more dynamic sounds well into the reduced listening dynamic range of the patient. The less effective WDRC is made out to be, the less clarity and less details of the speech it preserves, making it harder for the user to understand speech, especially in noise.

Spatial Sound LX: the OPN 1 here has 4 estimators while the OPN 2 has only 2 estimators. Spatial Sound LX basically helps provide a more precise spatial awareness to help users identify where sound is coming from. In the event of multiple speakers (like in a noise restaurant with tables/people around you), the listener will be presented with all speech information from these multiple speakers by the OPN. It’s actually better for speech understanding to have clear and precise and complete information from all speakers to help the brain hearing have an easier time recognize and differentiate the multiple speech cues to separate the target speaker out from other undesired speakers and focus on the target speaker only. The spatial arrangement of these speakers is one of the very important cues to help the brain hearing do a better job of separating them out. So in this situation, it’s not noise reduction done directly by the OPN per se, but it’s noise reduction done by the brain hearing instead, with the indirect assistance by the OPN by giving the brain hearing the best spatial arrangement of the speeches that it can deliver.

By the way, if you’re overwhelmed in the cafeteria, don’t turn of your trial OPNs. Just turn the volume down to a more comfortable level. And over time, turn it up slowly until you reach the default level. It may take you up to a month to become adjusted enough to it. That’s what happened to me on my first day with the OPN 1s at work in the cafeteria. I panicked and called my audi to set a new appointment to reduce the overall default volume level right away and she reminded me that I do have volume buttons on the OPNs and that they’re my best friends in those situations. There’s also an Automatic Adaptation Manager available where your audi can set you up with 3 steps of volume from low to higher to normal, and the duration of the steps can be adjusted to one month each or whatever is available. But I find it better just to use your volume buttons to achieve the same thing anyway. That way you can adjust at your own pace.

Normally I would suggest the OPN 1 over the 2 and 3 in light of their key differentiation being in the speech enhancement area, which is the holy grail of the hearing aid industry, and the main thing in my opinion that makes the OPN the premium and revolutionary aid that it is. BUT, if the price of the OPN 2 is almost half of the price of the OPN 1 in Japan like you said it is, that alone can be a huge justification in going with the OPN 2. You’ll just have to consider whether you are in noisy and complex listening environments often enough day in and day out that you really need the max performance of the OPN 1 or not and decide for yourself. I think the most effective thing, if possible, is to trial both of them for yourself. Only you can decide after trialing them in your own environments. Nobody else can tell you otherwise.



This is an amazing reply! Thank you so much for the very detailed reply. I didn’t expect this very high level of technical know-how, but it is great to “see” the behind-the-scene tech.

I’m not sure if I’m in a difficult hearing environment - I guess the cafeteria is one and the train the other, but I spend rather little time there. I’ll try out both for the next 2 weeks to compare, and will report back.

Again, thanks so much!


Hi Volusiano,

Just a quick update - I’ve been struggling with the Signia’s for the past week, especially with female voices. It also feels like I pull a sock over my head when I put them on and it does give me a terrible headache late in the afternoon. That said, I hear much clearer though, which is a blessing, and I don’t feel so exhausted as I used to after each day.

I’ll be fitting the Opn 2 this afternoon and will trial them for the next few days and then Opn 1. I have a funny feeling I’ll be going with the Opn 2 though, but will report back on the progress!

If the OPN 1 costs almost twice as much as the OPN 2 like you said in Japan, I’d most likely go with the OPN 2 myself.

Here in the US, the OPN 1 costs only about 20% more than the OPN 3, so it helps make the decision easier.

If you struggle with hearing soft female voices, make sure your provider sets the soft sound perception (as seen at the bottom of the picture below which is the Fine Tuning/Sounds Controls tab) to the right most value to give you the most detail. This is the Soft Speech Booster LX technology in the OPN that’s supposed to improve soft speech understanding by 20% (whatever that means).

I would have picked the OPN 1 for trial first, then the OPN 2 afterward. That’s because I’d want to get the best first impression first as the frame of reference, then see if the 2 can live up to this frame of reference or not. But that’s just a personal preference. The important thing is to try out both, and most importantly try them out in a lot of noisy situations with somebody who can carry a conversation with you. Having multiple people at your table talking would even be better. And remember that the volume buttons is your friend. If you feel overwhelmed, turn the volume down. If you need to hear someone talking better, try to turn up the volume a little instead of straining to hear.

But I must caution that trialing them out for only a few days may not be the most effective way because you haven’t had enough time to adjust to them yet. Just so you know because I realize that you may not be able to keep them for longer and there’s not much you may be able to do about it anyway.


I have settled on the OPN 2. Had a great experience the past 2 weeks trialling both, but since it’s so expensive here in Japan (Y1,000,000/$8,770 vs Y550,000/$4,820) the OPN 2 is the way to go. I have seen them much cheaper online, but just a bit worried buying online from the US might not offer the same support if I run into any trouble here. Also, unless I go the DIY route, it will be easier here to pop into a store to get them adjusted.

Thanks again for the help!

Congrats on getting the OPN 2! I totally get why you went with the 2 due to such a huge price difference. I would have done the same thing myself.

I gotta ask you, though. How do you find the 2 models compared to each other? Were you able to detect much differences between them at all? I would guess probably not unless you’re in a very noisy situation, and even then, if your brain hearing acuity is already sharp enough, the 5 dB noise reduction on the OPN 2 may still be good enough for you compared to the 9dB noise reduction on the OPN 1.

If you have some time, please do share with us your impression on both here.


To be completely honest, it was difficult to hear the difference in noisy situations, however, I do enjoy the richer sound of the Opn 1.

The Opn 1 has brighter high frequency sounds that are not so sharp. It is more rounder and richer making for a more natural sound experience. The Opn 2 has some feedback issues in my right ear, especially “s, sh” sounds, running water and paper crunching which I didn’t experience with the Opn 1. We’ve kept the setting the same as much as possible, but we’ll try fixing this playing with the gain numbers in the next few weeks. According to my audi, 48 vs 64 channels do make a difference, but I guess it this only offers more options for super fine tuning.

We’ve opted for the open domes as my low frequencies are still normal. I did try the bass domes but found them uncomfortable. Although the sound was more clear, I lost too much lower frequencies in the process.

For the programs, we picked the default setting with and without speech rescue. I’ve tried both programs in our super noisy cafeteria at work, but didn’t notice too much of difference, although Opn 1 was subtly more clearer in picking up voices and following conversations was easier. That said, both models made my life so much easier than before!

One big difference I’ve noticed is that I’m not so tired anymore in the afternoon. I didn’t know it took that much energy to hear!

Moving forward, we’ll try out different programs. Currently, I have 4 programs: default with speech rescue on, copy of default with speech rescue off, sound in noise and music. I’ve played with the music setting on the way back on the train, but it sounds dull. I’m thinking to change this to comfortable as I use high-end earphones for music most of the time.

In the end, it came down to price and how to justify the huge difference. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve picked the Opn 1s. I found them online in the US for about $4k but would have had to give up the 3 year warrantee offered in Japan, easy service, free follow-up visits to my audi and the tax credit for high-cost medical devices.

That said, the Opn 2 is only marginally crippled, but still offer the full spectrum of tech available on these amazing devices. I’m a 94% happy customer :slight_smile:

Thanks again for the help!


The feedback issue you have with your right ear can probably be prevented without having to run the feedback analyzer and enable feedback control if you wear the bass dome. If you don’t like the bass dome because of the occlusion, it’s something that you can learn to get used to, but that means that you’d have to try it out for a while before you can get used to it.

I have normal hearing in the low frequencies but I opted for the bass dome to avoid the feedback issue and avoid having to run the feedback analyzer and enable feedback control because it does take away some of the amplification headroom you have.

By using the open dome, you’d be introducing a lot of compromise to the quality of your hearing aids. For example, the open domes will let all the noise in and this will compromise and negate the effectiveness of the noise reduction applied to the HAs. So you paid premium for the high tech noise reduction of the OPN, only to let the noise the OPN tries to get rid of back into your ears again through the open vents of the open dome.

The other issue with the open dome is that when you do direct streaming from your iPhone or from the TV streamer, the quality of the music will suffer and sound more tinny because the open dome’s vent leaks out all the lows and probably a good chunk of the mid frequency sounds as well.

The 3 reasons I cited above (feedback issue, lower noise reduction effectiveness, and lower streaming sound quality) is justification enough to make it worth trying to get used to the bass dome. After all, you already have hearing loss as low as 1KHz, which makes the bass dome a better candidate for your kind of loss. I wouldn’t entertain open domes myself unless my hearing loss doesn’t drop off until after the 2KHz point. Just some food for thoughts here.


You do not give up the 3 year warranty.

I intend to buy Opn Oticon hearing aids. Please advise which one suits my case.
I have severe to profound loss in both the ears.

No one can tell you which one is best for you as everyone hear differently. You will have the find out for yourself which one you find better.

You may want to consider the BTE 13 PP version for your kind of loss. At the minimum get the 105dB version of the mini RITE.

As for the OPN 1 or 2 or 3, I think it depends on how often your life style is exposed to noisy environments. You just have to try them out.

Tried the OPN 1. Voice quality was much better than the Oticon Ino BTE. The price difference is huge. I dont wont to make a mistake by buying the Opn 1 and then realise later on that for my kind of loss the Oticon BTE 13 was the only choice. Getting only a one day trial for the OPN 1. Those who have a profound loss could you kindly help me out.

Are you in a location where you must buy before your decision? Normally, there is at least a 30 day trial with 60 being much better in making a decision. In that time you can return them – often with a fee but not always. You can always try to negotiate a better agreement.

Not all losses shown in an audiogram tell what is your best brand to purchase. It becomes subjective based on other things – including your WRS numbers which can indicate added problems.

Oticon includes more background and for some that a problem while others see it as a godsend. Just how that works for you isn’t something that is cut and dry. There have been reports here from some that they find the OPN2 as good as the OPN1. Again, that is quite subjective. Even the OPN3 is a viable alternative for many losses.

For a 21 year girl in a third world country getting a two month free trial is just a dream. The BTE version is bigger than the OPN 1 to 3. I would love to have the smaller version which are easier to hide but with my profound loss I want to be sure I am not making mistake at the cost of looking pretty.

With your loss, I think you will find BTE the most viable option. The UP with molds is an option that might come with a bit less success. You won’t be able to trial the UP because they need to have the mold produced for your ears. You could try the HP to get an idea.

As receivers produce more power they increase in size. Size helps eliminate some of the distortion introduced by such power. The BTE is larger because of this.

It is unfortunate you cannot have a reasonable trial.

I’ve heard from a member who tried both the OPN BTE 13 and the OPN mini -RITE with 105dB receivers and he said he could hear a little better with the 105dB version of the mini-RITE. But that’s him, and he’s not you.

However both versions use 105dB receivers and their specs are the same on paper, so it’s very plausible that they deliver the same power.

As for size and visibility, yes the BTE version is bigger but both of them go behind your ear so I’m not sure if people notice the difference in size or not.

The BTE uses the tube so that may be more conspicuous than the mini RITE wires. But be aware that the mini RITE 105dB version requires custom mold which has a stabilizer leg and everything sticks out a bit more compared to the 85dB receivers, but slightly less conspicuous than the BTE tubing.

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In your earlier message you talked about the use of the brain by this OPN technology. Since I have a very well developed speech vocabulary and can do lip reading well as my audiologist told me, Could this increase my chances of using the OPN3 instead of OPN 13?

It sounds like you need augmentation rather than a whole solution. For many of us, noise is a killer. But, it is also a less or infrequent occurrence while most of the time we gain satisfaction. Are you looking for a superior outcome all of the time or do you need to augment what is there now.

You have great loss. Yet, you seem to have adopted to that loss better than most. Try not to be pressed for a decision. Tell the clinic you want to work with them but you need to make the best solution for you. If the clinic is closed on weekends see if they will let you have demo units to use while they are closed. Offer a deposit/credit card to assure your return. Tell them if they work with you a bit they will have a sale. Try to make them see the benefit of working with you so you both come away happy with everything.

If that doesn’t happen, there’s Ebay. If you haven’t worn aids, it is a self education process. It incorporates learning to do it for yourself. Many here will tell you it is hardly an impossible task. If nothing else, it will teach you what is and isn’t possible for your situation. There is a lot of support in the DYI forum here. I am sure a PM to one someone like @pvc might help you gain the info needed.

You have gained my admiration. Persevere.