I think you mixed in responses from me and from Blackmamba together in the post above. The last 3 paragraphs were from Blackmamba, not from me.
Yes, the latest firmware update includes the Speech Rescue LX feature which is frequency transposition. Since you don’t post your own audiogram in your signature, it’s hard to know whether this feature will be helpful for you or not, however. For people with heavy hearing loss in the low and mid range, frequency transposition/lowering may not help.
Your audiogram shows severe loss pretty much flat across the board, with a very slight downward slope.
The idea of frequency transposition/lowering is to move the sounds in the high frequency range where the loss is worse to the low/mid frequency ranges where the loss is not as bad. Basically moving sounds from the harder to hear range (high freq) down to easier to hear range (low freq) so that the harder to hear sounds become easier to hear (without having to resort to so much amplification). But this will only work for people with that typical kind of loss, where they can hear better in the low range but have worse hearing loss in the high range. In your case unfortunately, you have almost the same loss across the board, so moving sounds from high to low frequencies is not going to help you because you can’t hear any better at the low range anyway. So you probably won’t be able to benefit from the Speech Rescue/frequency lowering feature. Sorry.
If the Widex Beyond are an option open to you I would give them a try . Definitely an OPN competitor . I started testing a pair today .
First thoughts are very pleasing . The Widex Beyond app is definitely a cut above the OPN . It has an effectively working equalizer , full control over mic direction and volume controls . It is a superior sounding musical hearing aid than the OPN. The outside of the Beyonds look more expensive / durable cosmetically . The OPN look stripped down . I never inquired about price yet so there could be reasons .
Other than that I’m not ready to commit to any thoughts on which pair is better hearing wise . I’ve not had them long enough to make those kinds of observations . Whatever it is I don’t expect any knockout punches separating the two in the area of hearing .
Thank you for sharing. I suspect the same that Oticon launched the OPN early to market without extras like the polished phone app, Connect Clip, remote microphone, etc. These are all that we take things for granted today, thanks to competition like Widex
Do you know if the Widex Beyond model has 105db powered receivers?
I’m not sure why you’d need an equalizer on the phone app because your HA (whichever it is, OPN or Beyond or anything else) already equalizes the sound based on your hearing loss. I do find the OPN app lacking the left/right balance control, however. If you have an iPhone you can set left/right volume independently in their Hearing Aids settings, but for an Android phone, you can only access the OPN through the OPN Android app and it doesn’t have balance control. Otherwise, I’m not sure what other kind of control you need for the OPN because the mic direction control doesn’t apply to the OPN “open” paradigm anyway. You’re not supposed to be using directional mic setting in the first place, although you can if you want to via a program setting, which you can switch to that program on the OPN app. I find myself almost never ever needing to use the OPN app for anything because the whole point of the OPN “open” paradigm is that you only need one default program setting and it’s suitable for all modes. So the need for controlling anything via a phone app is really kept to a minimal, therefore you don’t need the phone app to be fancy with all kinds of controls, because that defeats the purpose for its simplicity by design in the first place. I currently only have 1 single default program setting on my OPN for any kind of environment, and the ONLY thing I ever fudge around with on my OPN is either the volume button (which I don’t need to use an app for), or switch to the TV program (one button push on my OPN). I can’t even remember when the last time I even opened up the OPN app on my iPhone. I would only touch it if I ever use the IoT feature it has, which I don’t. So to me, the simple OPN app without lots of controls and bells and whistles is actually a positive and not a negative. The way I see it is I don’t need to actively interfere and participate and control anything, because the OPN already does it automatically for me. And the simplicity by design here is only possible because of the “open” paradigm that it’s designed around.
But I do agree that the ConnectClip delayed availability to end of 2017 is really a huge disappointment. My solution is to switch from my Android phone to an iPhone. I want to have the direct streaming capability anyway and not have to wear a ConnectClip around me all the times, so it’s actually a good justification for me to switch to an iPhone anyway. Not an excuse for the ConnectClip delayed availability, however -> still a very big miss here for Oticon in my opinion.
The remote microphone would be nice to have but I think it’s such a small niche of people who want that so I don’t blame Oticon for not trying to have a solution available for that, soon.
I’m not sure if the look of any HA matters much to me because they’re supposed to be inconspicuous and out of sight anyway. The form factor (being small and sleek and slender) is more important to me and the OPN is small enough to be very inconspicuous behind my ear and that’s all that matters.
As far as music listening is concerned, I think the bottom line is the input dynamic range of the HA’s microphone, which translates to the ability to hear louder/transient attacks of live musical instruments without incurring clipping/distortion/compression, for a better listening experience. Both the Beyond and the OPN has 113 dB/SPL input dynamic range rating, so I’d expect them to both sound excellent when listening to live music. As to whether one sounds better than the other musically, it’s a personal opinion. But they both have the same (and excellent) input dynamic range spec.
In general, the frequency bands (OPN 16, Beyond 15) is the granularity in which you can adjust the volume in each frequency band to compensate your hearing loss. Obviously the more number of bands, the finer the adjustment can be. But if you look at a average audiogram, the testing is usually done at one around a dozen frequencies or less, so usually 12 channels is good enough to do 1 to 1 match with an audiogram, and 16 is more than enough unless somebody does a very detailed audiogram with is unlikely. And even if they did, you probably can’t tell the difference if more minute volume adjustments beyond 16 anyway.
The frequency channels are different (OPN has 65, Beyond has 16). This relates to how finely the signal processing can be done. There is some value in having a higher amount of frequency channels, as shown in Figure 2.a and 2.b of that article I referred to on the top of this post. In this case, the signal processing of interest is the wide dynamic range compression (WDRC). In WDRC, for soft sounds that you can’t hear well, you want to amplify them more, but for louder sounds that you can already hear well, you want to amplify them less. In the example of Figure 2.a and 2.b, it shows a time average frequency response of a classical musical piece. If you only have 3 channels as shown in Figure 2.a, you only get 3 amplification level which is very crude. But if you have 8 channels, you can get more finely tuned 8 amplification level, which would allow you to hear the softer musical passages in the 8th channel more clearly because WDRC would have been able to amplify this 8th channel more properly.
But the question is how many bands and how many channels are enough because at some point, things will sound just the same (just as good) to you even if there are more channels beyond that. So it’s really not clear whether you can really hear any improvement of the OPN’s 64 channels compared to the Beyond’s 16 channels or not. Many people are doubtful. For example, in video you’ve gone from 480p to 720p to 1028p to 4K by now. The question is where can your eyes not be able to tell a difference if you keep increasing the resolution? It’s like Apple’s branding called Retina Display, where the pixel cannot be visible to the naked eye anymore.
Thanks for the amazingly informative post. Like blackmamba, imo the best thing to do is to trial the hearing aids ourselves and see which one we prefer personally rather than resort to a spec war a la Retina displays or megapixels. Cheers.
Ok so here is my take. Again I’m not ready to commit to any speech hearing differences between the two. By the way my Oticon and Widex both have a Music Program installed. Widex recommends their Music Program as part and parcel of the Beyond system. i own some serious surround sound audio equipment along with a 4K tv and 4K DVD . My car has a Harmon Kardon sound system . Yep i like my music.
" I’m not sure why you’d need an equalizer on the phone app because your HA (whichever it is, OPN or Beyond or anything else) already equalizes the sound based on your hearing loss. " The assumption is incorrect as it does work. We could debate why but the truth of the matter is that with all arguments aside the result will still be the same . It completely works .
" I’m not sure what other kind of control you need for the OPN because the mic direction control doesn’t apply to the OPN “open” paradigm anyway. You’re not supposed to be using directional mic setting in the first place, although you can if you want to via a program setting, which you can switch to that program on the OPN app. I find myself almost never ever needing to use the OPN app for anything because the whole point of the OPN “open” paradigm is that you only need one default program setting and it’s suitable for all modes. " Oticon calls it " Open " Widex calls it " Universal ". i could go into the details of each of the Oticon and Widex one default programs but essentially they want and do achieve the same goal. They both do a great job of one stop programming. Essentially they both KISS .
" The simplicity by design here is only possible because of the “open” paradigm that it’s designed around. " Again Widex calls it " Universal " It’s all the same.
" So to me, the simple OPN app without lots of controls and bells and whistles is actually a positive and not a negative. " There is nothing complicated about either app. Certainly not full of " bells and whistles ". The Widex app i am currently testing has two programs installed . One called " Universal ( Oticon open ) " and the other called " Music ". I will give one example only and this is Not a Definitive yes for one or the other as being better. Widex : open app and then set program to Music , put some more bass / middle / treble if you want , turn on Steppenwolf Born to be Wild, listen to the hammond organ as it enters into your left channel . It’s Heaven ! I could not reproduce that with the Oticon . On some other music i noticed the toms were more out front where they should be. There appears to be an extra layer on the Widex . The Oticon more compressed ? Who knows the jury is still out on that one.
Got to run hope to talk more on this soon. GOT on tonight for all you fans. Going to have a few and let the games begin winter is coming.
Ah, OK, you were talking about playing back pre-recorded music here while I thought you were talking about live music. Nevertheless, the dynamic input range of both is very wide at 113 dB SPL so I doubt if compression would kick in on the OPN unless the input volume is > 113dB which would be unusual for listening to pre-recorded music.
One thing I wonder, and I’m not sure about, is whether maybe Widex is using a different Fitting Rationale for its music mode from the Fitting Rationale it uses for its Universal mode. This may contribute to a more pleasing music listening experience, if they have a Fitting Rationale that may favor music better. But I’m just making a wild guess here as to what may cause a difference, and I really don’t know why.
Are you trialing both in parallel and are able to do A/B comparison live and not have to rely on memory? That would be the ideal scenario, because I remember you were saying that you had the OPNs on loan while your Alta2 Pro were being repaired.
One other question I have is whether you’ve had a chance to try out the Speech Rescue LX feature on the OPN? And if yes, whether you find it helpful? And does the Beyond have a frequency lowering functionality as well and if you’ve also tried it out?
Are you talking about a model designed for severe or profound hearing losses? There’s a new OPN BTE13 PP model that just came out designed for people with this type of loss. This model is a new addition to the current OPN line up of OPN1, 2, and 3, I believe. The receiver for this model is not in the ear canal, but is inside the hearing aid itself.
OK, I understand what you’re saying now. Yes, originally there was only the size 65dB and 85dB receivers (they don’t call it speakers in the hearing aid world), then size 100dB became available next, which is what you say you have. Now they also have size 105dB for the OPN as well.
I’m not able to trial both the Beyond and OPN in parallel. I do have my Alta back in perfect order plus the Beyond . Honestly I was just not wowed with the OPN in the differences . By that I mean the Alta and OPN seemed to perform much the same in speach . The big differences are that the Alta’s are mono when listening to music from phone , the OPN’s are stereo and the OPN’s have simplified the Alta platform . I liked that a lot but not enough for me to jump and spend that kind of cash on a new pair at this point . My Alta’s work 100% .
Back to the Beyonds . I can and do compare them in parallel with the Alta . " Born to be Wild " was compared in parallel . I was listening to a live multi channel speaker system . The organ gets picked up as a powerful rush to your left ear using the Widex Beyonds in music program . The organ is there with the Alta but not with the same intensity. I could not reproduce that the Alta’s . With the Widex the Toms appeared to be more intense on various songs played and the sound stage appeared to have another layer . Again this is not definitive since I’ll certainly being trying things out for a while yet .
I’m checking the Widex out as a possible purchase but also as a favour to my audie . They would like to sell some but it’s tough when your clients are usually not tech savvy. Most have no idea how to use a data cell phone let alone connect that to a set of full blown digital hearing aids . They are looking for feed back from me . Hopefully something positive they can use .
Question from me is when Oticon makes statements like : " 20% less listening effort " ; " 20% more capacity to remember " ; " 30% better speech understanding " . What exactly is that being compared to ? Are they comparing to a previous model ?
Interesting point i just read was that mid life hearing loss could be responsible for 9% of the risk of dementia. It was the leading indicator of nine factors that contribute to the risk of dementia. Deny people a of cognitively rich environment and you have a high risk factor for dementia . Very important to have the very best hearing aids you can afford.