OPN 1 and rechargeables

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#1

Oticon OPN aids bought in May of 2016. I later bought the rechargeable setup, with the most expensive battery charger I’ve ever owned, when it became available, and Oticon did the repair/replacement thing so the batteries would actually charge (initially they lasted about 4 hours).

Unfortunately, they’ve never made it through a full day. The aids go in my ears at 6 a.m. and come out when I go to bed, usually somewhere between 10:30 p.m. and midnight. Reliably, the hearing aid batteries crap out between 8 and 8:30 pm., consistently between 14 and 14 1/2 hours, though sometimes a little earlier. The only way they’ll get through bedtime is to pull them out and put them on the charger some time during the day for an hour or 2. Otherwise, guaranteed, they’ll quit in the middle of whatever meeting is happening in the evening.

I’ve never had a set of batteries make it through a year, which I’ve been told is because they’re good for about 300-350 charges, and having to charge in mid-day means by 8 - 9 months they’re shot and are good for about 8 - 9 hours. I presume frequently recharging from totally dead isn’t great for 'em either, but that’s a guess.

Most recently the batteries were replaced end of January, after 9 or 10 months. I’ve found that with this set, it makes a huge difference which battery goes in which ear… One of the batteries will fail in the left ear in about 9 hours. The other one is good for the 14 so it’s a crap shoot whether the left or right will go dead first. I finally marked the one that HAD to go in the left ear so when I can’t afford to have the things quit I can put regular batteries in and get the correct rechargeable back in the correct ear when I put them back in…

So, the rechargeables sort-of work, most of the time, but for the price, its not impressive.

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#2

You may find a lot more information on ZPower issues if you search for “ZPower” on this forum. You’ll find a very long thread labeled “ZPower problems” or something like that.

Your experience of the batteries not lasting a full year as advertised but only 8-9 months is consistent with a number of reports on this forum. You should consider yourself lucky because mine first set lasted only 1 months and my second set of batteries are starting to fail after only 2 months of use. “Failing” here means they don’t last a full day of use as advertised anymore.

So the ZPower sort-of-works, like you said, but NOT AS ADVERTISED for sure. Definitely unimpressive to me as well. That’s why Oticon has abandoned the ZPower OEM in their second generation OPN S line and replaced with Lithium-ion rechargeable option now.

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#3

Thanks for the reply. I’ll look again but I THINK I read through that odyssey last year. It’s nice that Oticon has switched and started using something that may actually work. Did they replace all the defective equipment and batteries for those people that believed Oticon when they were pushing the ZPower units?

I’ve gotta say, at this point, all things considered, I"m about as impressed with Oticon as I am with ZPower.

I"ll go look at the other thread again.

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#4

@GracieAllen, I have to agree with you about Oticon. Honestly, the few times that I contacted their “customer service,” it was a joke. It took them several days to answer my emails, and, when they did, the rep who answered had no clue about my actual problem and just pretty much wrote back a standard reply from a marketing script. The person had no technical knowledge at all and seemed not to want to put me in touch with anyone at Oticon would be able to help with technical issues. I’m assuming this is because Oticon’s engineers are in Denmark and they probably don’t staff their customer support lines in the US with anyone who is technically conversant.

I’ve heard that other hearing aid companies have much better customer support (I’ve read some good things about Phonak’s responsiveness, but maybe that’s because they’re based in the US?–who knows). Anyway, I’ve been as frustrated as you are with ZPower (in the past) and Oticon issues (ongoing), so you have my empathy and my best wishes that you get your issues resolved.

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#5

I’ve heard about a few isolated incidents on this forum where people with OPN/ZPower complained a lot and was able to get Oticon offer to replace their OPN/ZPower with the new OPN S (Lithium-ion) rechargeable just so that Oticon doesn’t have to continue to deal with ZPower issues for them.

As for Oticon replacing defective ZPower parts with newer ZPower parts, I think it did happen as well. BUT, I think the battery’s longevity is still an issue with many people, so I don’t believe ALL ZPower issues are solved, at least not the battery longevity.

I don’t think that Oticon is so customer oriented that they gave some folks the OPN S rechargeable to replace the OPN ZPower out of the goodness of their heart. It’s probably more like they’re so done with the ZPower association that they just would rather not have to deal with it anymore by replacing it with an OPN S R.

I, for one, am not very impressed with OPN support either, based on my limited personal experience with them. Mostly it was because their support and sales people didn’t seem to be very knowledgeable about their products in the first place.

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#6

My Opn 2’s were just replaced by Oticon with their Opn S2 R model. My Zpower experience was typical of others mentioned here. My HA were about 1 1/2 years old. The warranty starts over with the replacement HA. I thank my audi for pushing this with Oticon and getting the replacements.

It’s been less than a week, but I am very satisfied with my new Oticons.

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#7

An update - just stopping by to moan about Oticon…

OPN1s, turned out they were “in warranty” through July of this year (according to a check done in January by the provider).

Bought the ZPower rechargeable setup when it became available. For at least the last year when I’ve been wearing the aids all the time, they’ve NEVER made it through a full day. These hearing aids go into my ears at 6 a.m. and come out when I go to bed - usually somewhere between 10 pm and midnight. Unless I pull them out during the day and charge them for at least an hour (usually 90 minutes), the batteries, when new, reliably died at the 14 - 14 1/2 hour mark - about 8 pm.

And it’s gotten worse over the past 6 months, since the batteries were most recently replaced end of January… At this point they’ll sometimes make it 13 or so hours, but they also sometimes die sooner. In the last 2 weeks, one has died in less than 2 hours twice (this is new behavior). They SHOWED being fully charged in the charger, but a couple times 1 ear has gone dead within a couple hours.

While on the road a few weeks ago (where it’s difficult to stop and charge hearing aids in the middle of the day), I contacted my provider to see if there had been any improvements in the batteries or anything that could be done so the OPNs would be more reliable and useful. He contacted his Oticon rep since apparently Oticon has replaced “a few” customer’s units with more current models that I presume must last longer on a charge than mine.

It took several weeks to get word, but this afternoon my provider called to let me know Oticon had denied the request due to the hearing aids being older than 1 year. Which is odd since I don’t believe there WAS a rechargeable system within a year of when I bought the hearing aids. At least not that I recall.

It appears the only option I now have as far as using the rechargeable units is to get replacement batteries when mine start losing life.

I don’t know anything about the internals of these batteries but I’m curious whether or not the way I use them is a contributing factor. Approximately 1/3-1/2 of the time, the batteries get charged mid-day. Since (as I understand it) they’re only rated for some finite number of recharges (something under 300), does this shorten life? And, since they routinely die, they’re being recharged from totally dead at least 1/2-2/3 of the time. I don’t know whether or not that affects their life…

In any case, I’ll stop tomorrow and get yet another set of rechargeable batteries and go from there.

I’m disappointed, but given my interactions with Oticon I’d have been more surprised if they’d done anything. I don’t know if any of the other companies that sell hearing aids are more supportive of their customers, but being part of a large senior community, I’m regularly asked about my hearing aids by other members. This will provide another example of what prospective customers may encounter.

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#8

I love Oticon, and I am on my 3 set of oticon hearing aids, I am now wearing OPN1 ITE hearing aids, which use disposable batteries. I personally do not wish to use rechargable batteries.
The issues with z power rechargeable is more a z power issue than an Oticon issue in my book and that is why Oticon is not using z power in their news hearing aids. And you know that with your aids being z power you can use disposable batteries, and get multiple days our of a set of batteries.

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#9

Thanks for the reply… Yes, I know I can use disposables, and typically when traveling or going to an evening meeting I HAVE to do so since the rechargables are unreliable and deficient.

I presume this was a partnership between Oticon and ZPower, and ZPower was the chosen, authorized, sole supplier for Oticon of this equipment. As far as I’m concerned, if there’s a problem with ZPower’s products, Oticon should have been out front getting the problem be fixed for their customers.

But, these days that’s pretty old thinking.

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#10

I suspect the ZPower has a basic design problem. They are probably trying to squash a rechargeable battery type into a zinc-air battery form factor. In other words they just do not have enough volume. Zinc-air is very compact for the power it produces and the total energy it can hold.

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#11

@GracieAllen, Sorry to hear about your experience. At the very least, Oticon should have offered to replace your ZPower batteries. I think if you contact ZPower directly and explain the issues you’ve been having, they might replace them for you.

Part of the problem is that Oticon has abandoned the ZPower system and moved on to lithium-ion technology. Since OPN-S models are the newest technology from Oticon, and the first-generation OPNs are now considered “old” technology, it’s not likely that you get much support from Oticon. Their company motto is “people first,” but ya gotta wonder if that’s true by the way Oticon has not acknowledged that there are still problems with their first-generation OPN hearing aids and the ZPower system.

I’ve had my own share of troubles with Oticon products (posted in other threads), including with the first-generation OPN and the new OPN-S1R–so much so that I was granted a refund on the OPN-S1R’s because my problems with the hearing aids started within weeks of purchasing them, and it took me being supplied with 2 replacement pairs before Oticon admitted to my audiologist that there is a known feedback problem “for some people” with OPN-S, and the engineers have not figured out how to fix it yet. So now I am back to square one in terms of finding a hearing aid that works for me.

When I was in contact with ZPower back when I was wearing first-gneration OPNs, someone in authority at that company told me that Widex also uses the ZPower system, and that the ZPower system appears to be working well with that brand of hearing aids. So it makes me wonder if the problem lies with the ZPower integration with Oticon–maybe it’s something electronic or something in the design that is not working correctly. They supposedly “fixed” the problem months ago with redesigned battery doors and updated contact points… but did they?

I wish you luck in getting this resolved. Since your hearing aids are still under warrantly and aren’t working with the ZPower system that is designed to work with your OPNs, and because you bought both items in good faith, Otcion should stand behind your purchase and make this right. I would be on them until they do.

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#12

There is a Z Power thread that has lots of information. There is also Z Power representative that used to monitor this site.
Might be able to help.

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#13

I think I already shared this, but I contacted Zpower directly to let them know about my issue with their batteries, and I never hear back from them. Not even an acknowledgement that they read my email and deny my request. I think they should at least have a decency to do that, even if they make a determination to deny my request for a new battery set.

By the way, @richnfamus1, I never heard from that ZPower contact whom you tried to reach out on my behalf, even though I think she told you that she’d get in touch with me. Just goes to show that it’s a lot of lip service and little to show for it from ZPower. At this point I actually don’t much care for a replacement set of batteries from ZPower, because most likely they’ll start failing again soon after (like I and many others on this forum had experienced and reported back). What I’d rather see them do is investigate and fix the root problem with their batteries in the first place. Without licking whatever fundamental problem that’s plaguing their batteries, they’re pretty much a sinking ship without any lifeboat to bail them out.

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#14

Thanks for the replies…
My hearing aid provider will give me a new set of batteries tomorrow. I figure if I’m lucky they’ll last 6 months again.
As for the warranty, yes, all this got started while the hearing aids were in warranty, but Oticon show absolutely no interest in doing anything then, nor this time when my provider contacted his Oticon rep. Supposedly the rep went to bat for me but Oticon turned him/her down flat, saying the hearing aids were more than a year old…

I’m sure I could call ZPower and try to get them to do something but I suspect they’ll be about as responsive as Oticon.

I don’t know if there’s a rapidly increasing chunk of humanity that’s demanding hearing aids, and thus Oticon can afford to treat their existing customers as it appears they have been, but it seems to me that having a pool of dissatisfied people spreading the word would not be good for the bottom line.

These days it seems so surprising when a company takes responsibility for a problem and fixes it on the first contact that it’s noteworthy. It’s far more common to see the kind of service shown here…

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#15

I understand your frustration. I had the same issues and after much badgering Oticon is going to swap my zpower for opn 1SR (lithium ion) . My ZPowers are 2 years old so I don’t think their rationale for not replacing yours makes sense. I think it really depends on Oticon rep and audiologist. Guess I’m fortunate. Sadly I don’t think Oticon is very interested in supporting zpower users. I assume that you did have new doors put on the aids? There was a known issue with doors and Oticon was supposed to be replacing them on all zpower units although I didn’t see much improvement. Hope things work out for you.

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#16

In rereading your comments … I wonder if Oticon denied your request because the hearing aids are out of warranty - although just barely over the 3 year mark , but maybe you can talk to your audiologist and explain that the zpower system is only 2 years old (if I read your comments correctly) and you really are disappointed ,etc… I too had to give my zpowers a “boost” during the day or they wouldn’t last… Apparently Widex is the only major provider that is sticking with zpower… zpower has a “second generation” system/charger,etc and I tried to find out if Oticon zpowers would get any upgrades,etc but could not get an answer… I assume the answer is no because Oticon has moved on… it will be interesting to see if any Widex users have a better experience with the “second generation” zpower…

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#17

I’m sorry to hear this, @Volusiano. I don’t know what to say other that, like you, I am disappointed in the lack of response. I guess I was lucky with ZPower, because I did get a very helpful response from them when I had the problems with my system after I contacted them through their Web site. I don’t know where the fault lies with the short life of the batteries, but I do think Oticon has some responsibility to their customers to make things right as well. People bought into the ZPower system thinking it would work well with Oticon OPN hearing aids, and Oticon seems to have abandoned those who did.

The only other suggestion I have, and I don’t know the ins and outs of this legally–but maybe check with the attorney general in your state. Sometimes there are medical device lemon laws that help protect consumers from products that don’t perform as promised.

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#18

I don’t have any of the issues y’all are having, but was shocked to read that Oticon wouldn’t stand behind there product. I recently had to send in one of my Oticon altas Ite aids that got smashed to pieces by my 2 1/2 yr old grandson. The aid was about 6 months out of warranty, which even if it was in warranty, I wouldn’t expect much since it wasn’t there fault. Anyway, my Audi called when he received it back from Oticon, they replaced the shell, replaced the t coil, and charged me a whopping 35.00 which was for shipping. The ticket showed what all repairs were done, and at the bottom said no charge. I was expecting 6-700 charge

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#19

The issue here is that Oticon was betting on z power to stay by its end of the deal and it seems that z power has let everyone down

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#20

here is some information about “second gen” zpower… How is ZPower 2nd Generation for Widex Different? Meryl Epstein Batteries Hearing Aids - Adults 24809

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