New OPN S 1's first impressions

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#1

I’m an OPN1 user and have been trying the OPN S 1 MiniRite’s for 10 days now. Here are some first impressions.

The form factor is unchanged from the OPNs. I’m still using the 85 receivers, which provides good results for my loss on speech even though I have severe-profound loss on the high end. I’m still able to handle normal conversations as well as use the phone.

I was happy that my audiogram hadn’t changed much at all in the last 3 years since the last test. That sort of gives me one less variable when comparing the two HA’s since the programming is the same.

My job requires me to be on the phone most of the time and I’m happy to report that the MIFI integration with my iPhone X running IOS 12.2 is as good as it was with the OPN’s. No annoying clicking reported, as it was often the case with earlier versions of IOS. IOS still cant’s handoff control from the iPhone to the iPad as Apple advertises but that is another story.

With respect to sound quality, my first impression is that there was a subtle but noticeable quality to the sound on the OPN S’s that made them feel sharper… almost better defined speech sound. Only time will tell if this is just placebo-effect or if that will help me understand speech better over the long haul.

I did visit two noisy restaurants over the weekend and tried out the Open Sound Booster. At the beginning I didn’t understand how it’s supposed to work and couldn’t work out what is supposed to do, as I didn’t notice any significant improvement. After seeing one of the videos posted here and now realize that they mute out sounds in the sides and back and help focus on what is in front so the use-case is specific to having a conversation with someone in front. I tried that on the second restaurant and it still wasn’t a material improvement but there seemed to be something there. Will need more time to make up my mind (after trying the OPNs in the same situation).

With respect to feedback issues, I use vented solid micro molds and under normal use, feedback wasn’t a big issue unless I tried to put something next to my ears. I am, however, very conscious and avoid hugging or getting to close to people in any way. I am happy to report that there is a significant improvement in this area. Feedback is all gone and I can actually cup my ears with my hand and any initial brief feedback disappears completely. In fact, I can put on my regular noise-cancelling headset over my ears (which I use on the train to work in order to quiet the ride) without having to mute the hearing aids first. Not sure I would normally do this but it is a good indication in my mind that there is significant improvement here.

I should say that there is nothing wrong with my OPN’s. I am just fortunate that my insurance covers approx. 2/3 of the cost for these every two years so my rationale is to take advantage while I can. My audi also advised that the price was likely to go up and that drove the decision to try them out.

One side benefit here is that the new OPN S have corrected the issues I had with the volume up/down functionality using the HA buttons. My Audi said they had tracked this down on the OPN’s to the Genie software they were using to roll out firmware 6. The OPN S are programmed with the newer release of Genie and whether that fixed it or if it was fixed with V7 of the firmware which the OPN S run is anyone’s guess. The fact is I can now control the volume again using the HA buttons.

I suspect that Oticon is going to release additional features if, in fact, they increased the amount of memory on the device and that might be needed for the upcoming Kaizn features. I’m only speculating here.

In summary, I hear a significant improvement on feedback management. I also hear a subtle improvement on speech recognition but much less so (10% as advertised might be right but not sure yet)

I normally don’t post reviews but given how much value I’ve gotten out of this forum, figured i try to contribute.

YMMY

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#2

Thanks for posting your review of the OPN S. I assume that you still have the OPN 1 so that you’re able to do A/B comparison on the spot if necessary and no need to remember how it sounded from a while ago.

One interesting thing you may want to try for fun is to swap out your custom molds with open domes just for the heck of it to see if the feedback reappears. I’m guessing it will reappear, but I’m still curious to see maybe it won’t.depending on how effective the OSO is.

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#3

Yes indeed. Haven’t done this yet but will do later in the week for a couple of challenging situations.

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#4

Just as a follow up, I swapped out my custom molds with some old open domes I had at home. Sound quality became unusable (not enough amplification) because my HAs are programmed for the micro molds, however feedback was minimal and only when putting my hand close to the HAs. I don’t think that was a good test as output would probably need to be increased significantly to make them work for my loss in order to compensate for the leakage out of the open domes.

Unvented closed domes worked better but surprisingly generated far more feedback. Again, probably not a good test since I didn’t have the feedback management tool run against the new configuration.

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#5

Luga, thank you for the review. Like you, I wear Opn 1 and my insurance provides a benefit this year. I was disappointed to hear that you experienced only a little better speech recognition with the Opn S compared to the Opn 1.
Are you going to try out any other brands before you buy? Or are you set on the Opn S? I hope to try Phonak Marvel and the newest Widex. I would love to hear your reviews if you are going to try out other brands.

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#6

@ziploc I once had Phonaks which worked well, however, I’m not looking to change back to the Phonak system because of the single device pairing restrictions that the Marvels seem to have. I haven’t considered the Widex to be honest (maybe i should). I spend 90% of my working day on the phone and go back and forth between Skype on a MAC using the ConnectClip and my iPhone. I also use the iPad and TV Adapter at night. It’s fairly seamless once you get the hang of it. Pairing/unpairing every time i want to change device would be unworkable for me. I’m pretty satisfied and somewhat invested in the OPN ecosystem right now.

I will try the OPN against the OPN S at a restaurant this weekend to really be able to tell if there is a material difference and report back.

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#7

I agree with you completely about the relative ease use of the Opns relative to the Marvels for switching between devices and also with skype. I found the Marvels to be completely unusable due to the single pairing limitation. I also found they disconnected frequently with skype.

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#8

Thanks for the review… are you trying the rechargeable versions of the S or regular? Also, that’s great insurance coverage… can you share what insurance company? I’ve been trying to find listing of comparison of various insurance companies for hearing aid coverage but can’t find anything … TIA

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#9

AJust an update 15 days after getting the OPN S 1’s to try.

Things seem as normal with the OPN S’ as they did with the regular OPN’s.

I have the non-rechargeable MiniRITE models. Battery life is the normal 5 days with heavy streaming. I chose to stay away from the rechargeable model out of fear of finding myself in a situation where the battery is out and i can’t swap it out. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need HA to be functional and the idea of having to wait to recharge them if the battery runs low for me is not worth the “benefit” especially since I get a free supply of batteries from the audi. I get that Li-ion battery should last over 24 hours and the risk is very small but still want to play it safe.

Went to a restaurant last night with both sets of HA’s. The restaurant was not particularly noisy but there was a lot going on… kids crying, folks on the next table speaking, etc. Swapped the HA’s twice and tried the OpenSound Booster.

Results were consistent with what I previously reported. The OPN S added a bit of clarity to the dialogue including the table next to us. Things seemed a little bit more crisp. Sounds in general were a little more “present”. I could hear the kid screaming in the booth across in a more defined way (although for a while I thought he was behind me).

I also tried the OpenSound Booster. Results here are not as noticeable. I guess i could say that some of the surrounding sounds were somewhat muted but i was left with the desire to see if this feature can be adjusted. I somehow expected a more dramatic change (like muting the background). Not so. I would be glad to hear other’s experience with the OpenSound Booster. Maybe i don’t have this feature setup correctly and will ask when i go back for a checkup.

The bottom line so far is that the OPN S are not a dramatic improvement but, then again, i wasn’t complaining about the OPNs either and I don’t particularly struggle with understanding speech in noisy situations using the OPNs. The best analogy I have is that it felt similar to when you are in a room and someone turns up the lights just a little bit more.

Having said that, while at the restaurant, i felt i wanted to go back to the OPN S after trying the old OPNs so that must mean something.

One difference between the OPN S and the OPN is that I’ve sometimes heard a reverberation of some sounds, including my own voice, which wasn’t there with the OPN. I will also ask about this at my next fitting. Not a huge deal.

@nedunla With respect to the insurance, this is more a function of my employer who partly funds the plan after my healthy contribution :slight_smile: .

I’m happy with the OPN S so far. I should also say that if I wasn’t able to offset the cost, i would find it more difficult to justify the upgrade.

Anyone else out there with a similar or different experience?

Thanks for reading.

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#10

Just spent my first week with OPN-S1’s coming from a failing Starkey Halos’s. The difference for me is wow. I can hear again. But I did feel that way when I first got my Halo 2’s 3 years ago. I do have some issues when my wife is working in kitchen 30 feet away and i am watching TV her clanging pots and pans is just as loud as TV but I can hear TV again on a lower volume than my wife likes. I can also hear her 30 feet away in Kitchen even if she whispers without the pan clanging competing of course. She actually asked me to turn TV up the other night. A first in a long time so not complaining yet. I only have one program set for general use and volume control but I believe when I or my audiologist reprograms using the sound manager we will be able to fine tune the background noises. in different situations. Similar situation happened in the nosiest restaurant I have been in long time. Max noise but not once did I not hear my wife but she had hard time hearing me.I did hear everyone else though which made for a lot of other unwanted conversations that night. We did discuss that just maybe that is what a normal person hears in that kind of environment and I believe I could have heard better than a normal person if the hearing aids could tone down the background noise which a normal hearing person can not do. Again though they are not fine tuned for this situation yet and I believe If I had a restaurant mode programed in like my Halo 2’s had I could have lowered the background conversations a lot more without lowering the total volume. My audiologist is adjusting this week and I am In trail for a month on these and very optimistic so far.

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#11

Thanks for the information…Since my insurance (BCBS Federal) only pays $2500 every 3 years I’ll probably hang on to the OPN1s for another year and then see how OPN S is working,etc… sounds promising - esp in noisy situations… that’s where I’m struggling with OPN1s and even though I have the “noise cancelling” (or whatever they call it) program - when I use it, my ears just feel too plugged up (like on airplane before ears pop) and it’s uncomfortable …fortunately (I guess) I don’t go to crowded,noisy places that much but would like to be able to hear a bit better in church , for example…

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#12

ps … I have rechargeable OPN1s and have struggled with getting right combination of charger, batteries,etc … I have come to learn that if I have the aids in for more than 12 hours, with some TV streaming, I know the batteries will die soon …

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#13

@Luga, I’m almost 2 weeks into my trial of the OPN-S1R. I agree on a lot of the points you made. I will preface my comments by saying that I don’t think I’m in hearing aid nirvana yet with my adjustments, so it may take some more time for me to give a complete assessment.

My first impression is that my OPN-S devices are louder, although background environmental noise seems a little less loud with OPN-S vs first-generation OPN. With OPN1, I had lots of feedback issues. The feedback has been nearly eliminated with OPN-S1, but I think it has been accomplished at the expense of my mid and high-range frequency hearing. I will need further adjustments for speech clarity, and I wonder if adjustments to those mid/high frequencies will make the feedback return? I had very good speech clarity with OPN1, but lots of feedback. Now it’s the opposite. But again, I will be able to tell more after more adjustments are made.

I agree with you about the reverb effect of my our own voices with OPN-S1. I’m not sure why it is more prominent than it was with OPN1. I hope that will stop after adjustments too. I call it the Daffy Duck effect.

I haven’t heard much benefit from the Open Sound Booster yet either. I’m hoping that Dr Cliff Olson will do a video on OPN-S and this new feature soon. As I understand it, Open Sound Booster is supposed to focus the hearing even more toward speech and increase noise reduction when it’s turned on, but I don’t detect any difference when I turn it on. Maybe need more adjustments there as well.

I do like the new Oticon charger, it is a big improvement over ZPower. I went with the LI-rechargable OPN-S1, even though it is slightly larger than the OPN1 312, mainly because I’ve been reading that getting any kind of humidity or moisture in both generations of OPNs with battery doors may be problematic. The LI battery is sealed in the device, and it is replaceable right in the audiologist’s office. It doesn’t give me the flexibility of using a 312 battery during a power outage, but I’m hoping that Oticon will come out with a portable power pack charger, like Phonak has. Otherwise, does anyone know if it’s possible or safe to plug the OPN-S charger into a cell phone power pack if an outlet isn’t available?

I don’t have insurance coverage for hearing aids, so this has been an expensive learning process. But my audiologist has let me try out more than one brand, and, so far, Oticon OPN seems to be the best for me.

Looking forward to reading about others’ experiences with OPN-S. Thanks to all for sharing.

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#14

Do you know if your HCP had to run the feedback analyzer and enabled the feedback manager on your S at all? Or was the OpenSound Optimizer enough to eliminate your feedback issues without having to turn on the feedback manager?

Do you use Speech Rescue on both the OPN and the S?

Also, a useful set up for me is to put the DSL Adult rationally in one program and the NAL-NL1 in another program. I find the DSL Adult program particularly helpful for me in understanding speech better. But the default VAC+ rationale is still the most natural sounding to me.

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#15

I have the domes on my opn s 1 and have zero feedback.

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#16

@Volusiano, My AuD ran the feedback analyzer with and without OpenSound Optimizer. I do not use Speech Rescue. This OPN-S fitting was done with the proprietary Oticon software, and my previous fittings (with first-generation OPN) were done with NAL. An Oticon rep was assisting with my fitting because of my history of feedback. Like I said, the feedback is gone, but I’ve lost some clarity in speech. We will continue to tweak, and maybe go back to NAL and see if there is any difference. My AuD and the Oticon rep wanted to see if the proprietary fitting software made any difference for me. I still had REM to verify that my targets were being met. I’m a bit of a difficult fit. I’m sure this will all get worked out over time. Thanks.

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#17

The reason I asked about whether you’re using the OpenSound Optimizer only, or whether you’re using it with the feedback manager as well, is to see where the loss of sound clarity might have come from.

If the latter (because you’re a difficult fit when it comes to feedback), then maybe the feedback manager might have put some gain restrictions on your mids and highs, thereby making you lose some of that clarity in those ranges.

You can restore some of it back by way of using the Speech Rescue feature, if you haven’t used it already.

Another way to restore it back is perhaps try the DSL Adult or NAL NL1 rationales in a couple of spare programs because my personal experience is that they’re more aggressive with the mid and highs than the VAC+ rationale. It doesn’t take away anything to try them out except a couple of programs if you have one or two to spare. I would still keep the VAC+ on the main program for now.

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#18

I think you’re right on this, @Volusiano. My AuD hasn’t activated Speech Rescue yet, but I know it’s an option.

I like your idea of trying different fitting approaches and saving them to various programs to compare. I’ll see if my AuD is open to that. Thanks for the suggestions. :slight_smile:

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#19

I’ve had OPN S 1-R for a little over 2 weeks… I mostly like them so far. Previously had Unitron moxi 12 in 2011, Phonak audeo M70 in 2014, now these. Sure seems like a lot of bells and whistles which I am gamely attempting to learn how to use. I have Samsung Note 5 phone. In the morning I remove them from the charger, put them in my ears then check out the ON AP on my phone. Both aids start connecting. Sometime in the afternoon, the right one disconnects and I can’t make it reconnect. Friday, 4-19, I went in for the first adjustment plus REM. Every day since, I have had this issue. The Audi said she would call the rep about it. Meanwhile, I would like to know if anyone has had the same problem. Thank you.

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#20

@Blue_Girl, Yes, I’ve noticed disconnections while using the Oticon On app too. This also happened when I used first-generation OPN1. It seems to act up after hearing aid adjustments are made, and I’m thinking it might be related to the audiologist connecting the aids to the Genie software. Try “forgetting” the devices on your phone and “re-pairing” them in Bluetooth. Then “reset” your aids in the app. If you use the ConnectClip, delete that from Bluetooth and re-pair it too. See if that helps. Otherwise, I will be interested in learning what your audiologist learns from Oticon about the random disconnects, so please post if you get an answer.

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