Opn Bluetooh and Android

This horse may have been beaten to death but I can’t get it to search for “opn”… If there’s already a huge discussion of this, please point me there…

I had a hearing loss a number of years ago, but wasn’t bothered enough to get hearing aids. Then, I had a sudden massive hearing loss in my left ear earlier this year. A series of trans-tympanic injections restored most of the hearing in the left ear, but both left and right are deficient, dropping off quickly as frequency increases. BUT, my doctor said that now that COMPREHENSION had been restored to the left ear, aids could help with volume…

SO, after some discussions with the doctor, other hearing aid people, and audiologists, we decided Oticon would be a good fit for my problems and goals.

I started with a pair of Oticon Nera II aids and wore them for a couple weeks. I then switched to the Alta II and found them to be extraordinary. I wore those for about a month until the Opn(s) became available. One of the things I liked about the Altas was the program we put in to really damp down white noise and extraneous noise in noisy environments so I could hear close conversations better.

Once the Opn was available a switched to those and really like the way the provide so much information with really good spatial orientation. I miss the program I had on the Alta - a discussion with Oticon brought out that even though you may set a program, it doesn’t work as the Alta did, so it won’t provide the same dramatic result.

My ONLY problem with the Opn is that I’m NOT an Apple person… No ipad, no iphone, no ipod… I like to ride my bike on the many paved trails here in MN, and like to listen to audio books when doing so. Currently, I"m using a pair of bluetooth headphones connected to my Samsung GS5, which works OK, and provides the ability to listen to the book AND get phone calls as needed. BUT, of course, volume and comprehension is compromised since I can’t wear the hearing aids when using the headphones.

I THOUGHT about buying an ipod to get the direct bluetooth to the Opn, but that doesn’t solve the problem of phone calls…

I can SEE the headphones from my Android phone, but it won’t connect… Does ANYONE have a clue when Oticon will get this whole bluetooth thing working with Android?

The bad news is that it won’t be until next year, based on what I’ve heard; it will also require an accessory (cost unknown).

Why can’t you use the headphones while wearing the Opns; I do this 3+ hours a day (meetings, music, phone calls, etc.)? Maybe it has to do with your hearing loss; hard to know since you haven’t included your audiogram in your signature.

Marc

Apple’s approach is proprietary. It is a variant of BT Le. I wouldn’t look for direct android soon but who knows for sure. You can pick up a iPhone 5s on eBay for around $175 used. I did and am happy with the 32GB variant at $187.

Also, could be worth exploring moving to an iOS phone, as annoying as that might be. I currently carry an S7 (phone) and an iPod Touch (for music).

Thanks for the replies… I thought about using the aids with the headphones, but they’re not “fer real” headphones. They’re those little things that go in the ear? Earbuds? It’s a thing that goes around your neck with the ear parts coming off that. I thought about finding some “over the ear” head phones to try, but haven’t yet…

I also thought about going to an iPhone. Unfortunately, we’re on Verizon and I haven’t investigated that option yet…

I was just curious when (or if) we’d ever have this working 'cause I figure if the phone can SEE the hearing aids, and a $15 bluetooth headset can talk to the phone (gets audio book AND lets me use it like a regular bluetooth thing for phone calls) it sure SEEMS lika a $6000 pair of hearing aids oughta be able to… But, I have no idea what the problems are - I figure if it WAS easy, or even reasonably doable, Oticon would have done it already.

Anyhow, thanks.

I was told (it could possibly be true) that the issue is getting your voice to the phone without violating apple patents.

Gracie, I just got my OPNs and one of the reasons I made that decision was the promise of an Android version of the Oticon ON app. Just after getting the aids I received an invitation to be a beta tester for the Android version. I have been trialing the app for a few days now. First, Oticon advises that there are a lot of issues with bluetooth and Android that cause connection problems between the aids and the app. I have found that to be true. I lose connection from time to time, and usually need to restart the phone to restore (I think you can also try opening and closing the aids to restore connection). Right now the app doesn’t do much other than allow you control volume, and program selection (although I only have the master program since the OPNs do a great job of adjusting to different environments.) The app does have a “find my aids” feature, that seems to work, at least when the aids are in close proximity to the phone. I haven’t tried leaving them somewhere to see how well that might work. No streaming capability right now for the android version, but I am told that may be coming in early 2017. As a bit of a geek myself, I love playing with the app, but its usefulness is limited.

Not sure 100% on this but, the streaming issue is a problem with the Android set-up using a different BLe (Low power bluetooth) implementation than Apple - which may or may not be patented down to the system firmware level. It may require new Android handsets capable of delivering this or another low energy standard. There is a workaround dongle in the pipeline due early 2017.

Having just tethered a set of Opns to my 6s, though the sound quality is excellent and the rep reckons they have the fastest Baud rate by miles.

For comparison the chip is meant to be 50x faster than the Alta 2 as well.

If you’re talking about riding a bicycle on the road with headphones thats bad business… at least you wont know what hit you.

Baud rate is pretty much a dead term. As far as I can tell, the BLe standard only support streaming in a single direction currently. Not sure about the chip Apple uses for BT but it is likely the same as used in other high end products. If that is true then a software upgrade to the BT driver would duplicate it. I don’t know what patent Apple did on this but it may require a license.

I’d guess a hard of hearing engineer at Apple sold them on doing it. With the success it has had, I would think the standards committee for BT will have a version which will introduce competing version and open the proverbial bag of worms.

Yes, it would be interesting to see the patents (and they must be public). And yes, what Apple’s done will all be in software; Android and iOS use the same BTLE standard. My guess is that Apple created a proprietary Bluetooth “profile” for this; they have also modified the standard BT software to circumvent a pairing key, automatically stream to the HA’s, forward audio from the mic, etc.

The article linked below explains a lot. The main point is bluetooth low energy (BLE), even when direct streaming to an iPhone (using their BLE/MFi audio protocol), has fairly poor audio (though we might not notice). But it is very convenient :). Anyway, it sounds like current BLE tech is limited by the compromises of power use, range, and audio quality. I can see possibilities for OPN to directly stream to some Android devices in time - the main issue with Android is lack of consistency in the devices, both hardware and software. Eventually the latest/greatest Android devices should have something equivalent to BLE/MFi built in, and these likely will be able stream directly to HA devices. All (recent) iPhones already have exactly the same BLE/MFi capabilities, which makes the HA manufactures job much easier. And even if Apple’s BLE/MFi audio streaming protocol is patented in some manner, it’s obvious devices like OPN have the other side of this built in via a chip that Apple does not make. I find it doubtful that this chip manufacturer and all the HA companies would allow Apple to lock them into something so exclusive. For one, it’s more likely that Apple agreed to support the chip manufacturer’s protocol (as the article below notes, almost all HA use more or less the same BLE chip). IOW the chip manufacturer likely owns a big part of this protocol. For another, the EU would not be so happy if Apple attempted to own or monopolize such an important feature of hearing aids, which are almost all made in Europe. So Apple suing to prevent Oticon or Resound from supporting audio streaming to Android or other non-Apple devices seems like a fight not worth fighting even if they could fight. Especially when Apple and the EU are already in a pretty big fight worth way more $$.

My thought is to get the Oticon OPN which works best for me, and if I really need some sort of direct audio streaming, buy a used iPod off ebay and wait until Android devices catch up / get supported if ever. Or perhaps the next Oticon streamer model will be much improved so I don’t mind using it (I haven’t actually tried the current around the neck streamer, but it does look a bit clunky).

https://mimi.io/blog/can-bluetooth-do-more-for-hearing-devices/

I thought that the article was a clearer explanation of what MFi is actually doing and what it is all about for the future. It has some interesting links to click on.

BLE (Smart) is only used to communicate a narrow data stream between aids and devices. (App controls)

Bluetooth is transmitted as with other BT devices. The aid then acts as a radio (receive only) device using the same chip.

That explains the need for a true BT device if you want to transmit your voice separate from the phone mic.

Looks like the next step, utilizing bi-directional sound between the device and aids, is a year or two away.

Is there a working link for the clearer explanation between MFi and Ble? The link seems to be dead.

Go to Wikipedia and search Bluetooth.

Gee… Would someone do my homework for me…

Gee Jakey, I don’t think any of us do potholders. Keep up the therapy though.

Kenji you off the wagon again?

I purchased my Oticon bluetooth last fall, had it paired to my Alta2 and my LG phone. I also wear wireless headphones to hear the television (not using the bluetooth); and if the phone rings, the interruption is obvious to the bluetooth, cutting out the television signal automatically. I presume that is the desired action. I may be in a different room than my phone and it has no lessened signal. I don’t listen to music on my phone, however.

Well, it’s now October of 2017, and I’m still not seeing anything trumpeting the streaming functionality from Oticon. Hopefully, I just haven’t found it, and they’ve actually done what they promised and made it available…

Anyone know the actual status?