OPN S1 vs OPN S2 Noise Reduction

I am currently trialing the S2. I’m very impressed as they are significantly better for me than the Marvel M70. I am wondering if the added 4db of noise reduction of 9db max in the S1 would provide a noticeable, real-world benefit for hearing in loud noise compared with S2. Obviously, the easiest way to know is to try both. I want to know if anyone has already done so and if s/he has any thoughts on this. Or, is it possible to answer this question simply based upon the research and the specs with consideration given to my individual hearing loss? I believe the premium price for the S1 is based largely on this difference in which case Oticon would be staking its reputation on the added benefit. So I’m guessing the difference is appreciable.

@donkramail , I’m currently wearing OPN-S1R. Prior to that, I had a long trial of first-generation OPN–both OPN1 and OPN2. I found the extra noise reduction in OPN1 vs OPN 2 to be appreciable–at least for me. I never tried OPNS-2, but I assume I would find the same difference I found with the previous generation. Yes, they highest level of OPN-S technology is more expensive, but try them both for yourself and see what you think. Good luck.

I think if you try out the most noisy places you’re usually in and you’re satisfied with the OPN S2 there then you probably won’t need the S1. But you think you can still get a little more help with speech there, then maybe the S1 can give you that edge.

Remember that the difference is in MAX noise reduction, not absolute noise reduction. For example, if you’re in a situation where your OPN only needs to exercise 5 dB noise reduction or less, then it makes no difference whether you have the 1 or the 2 because even the 1 still would only use 5dB and not use up the whole 9 dB of noise reduction, even though it can use up to 9 dB if necessary. In the scenario above, it’s not necessary to use more than 5 dB of noise reduction so it won’t.

An analogy is that car A can go up to 100 mph and car B can go up to 80 mph. But if the max speed limit is always going to be 80 mph, then car A can only go as fast as 80 mph like car B anyway. It’s only better if car A can be driven in places where the max speed limit can be 100 mph. But then even in those places, if car A is only driven slower, the then it’s not any faster than the other cars when actually being driven slower anyway.

Beside the max noise reduction, there are some other less quantifiable but so tangible differences between the levels as well, like balancing, spatial sounds, speech guard, etc.


I’m glad to hear you find the difference appreciable. I may have to pay up for the S1 before this is over. I read the White paper about Open Sound Navigator. According to that research a 4 dB change in SNR accounted for 30% increase in speech understanding. That’s a significant difference. I have often noticed that even when I cannot understand one word in an average size sentence, my understanding drops considerably. As such a conversation continues I suspect understanding worsens as you fall further behind what the speaker is saying and lose motivation. If you haven’t read the white paper it’s worth a quick look.

Perhaps the OPN noise reduction technology is better than ReSounds. But on paper, the highest level of Quattro 9’s supposedly has up to 10 dB of noise reduction (STRONG reduction setting). However, in an Audiology Online course, a senior ReSound audiologist actually advises that it’s better to go no higher than 7 to 8 dB reduction (CONSIDERABLE setting). The person says, yes, the noise will be reduced that much but you’ll begin to cut into the quality of speech. The ReSound smartphone app, you can actually try that advice out for yourself. I’ve twiddled the strength of the noise reduction setting and found the advice not to go too strong in noise reduction pretty good. At “CONSIDERABLE,” there’s a bit more noise but speech is usually clearer so I’ve been going for Volusiano’s advice for the OPN, training my brain to pick the clearer speech out of the reduced noise. ReSound’s max STRONG setting appears to be designed in program settings to kick in where there is just very loud noise but no speech when you look at the default settings that are applied to a First Fit in the fitting software (settings of MILD and MODERATE noise reduction, 3 dB to 5 dB are typically applied to SPEECH in MODERATE NOISE, and SPEECH in LOUD NOISE). Maybe the OPN fitting software for the original OPN 1 and the OPN 1S, if one of you has access to that or your audi could tell you, would show you at what setting Oticon thinks works best and choses as the default for noise reduction when speech is present vs. when noise alone is present. Or if you decide to trial the 1S, find yourself a reproducible source of speech in noise and see if either through the smartphone app settings or your audi/fitting software settings how speech is affected by max reduction vs. something more like moderate or considerable. I still like having the STRONG setting for the Quattro’s even though I don’t use it for speech in loud noise as if I am cooking and kick on the kitchen exhaust fan, the 10 dB noise reduction along with my occlusive fitting molds really makes standing next to a roaring exhaust fan more tolerable (and probably saves a bit of the hearing I have left).

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What a goldmine of great information, Thanks for all 3 of the above comments, each of which added something important in response to my question.

I wish I could trial the S1 and S2 side by side. I’ll have to find out if that’s possible. As I mentioned before on a different thread, I’m a teacher in high school. Classrooms can be quite noisy with the push towards more of what they call cooperative learning as opposed to the old lecture/listen-style pedagogy. I’ve already said the OPN S2 is helping me more than Marvel. I’d like to find out if they can go even further in reducing noise. But when the “noise” is more speech, that is a challenging situation. It would be a lot easier if I told the students to shut the hell up. These aids do a good job of adding gain to the forward voices. I can’t quite tell if that is accomplished by lowering the other voices or something else. This is where doing the side by side would help. I know I hear better with these aids, but I’m not yet clear exactly how and why. I’m only one week into the trial and the first fitting was considerably below my target. The second one from 2 days ago hit the REM target at all frequencies. I can’t spend all my time focusing in on how I’m hearing because I have to teach the class at the same time. I have 5 more weeks to sort it out and tweak the settings. Many many thanks.

Volusiano, is it possible to identify dB levels of needed noise reduction based upon generic sound environments, i.e., classroom needs 3-5? And as Jim (corrected) Lewis pointed out about the speech loss at max of 9db with S1 do you think the same applies to the max 5 dB with the S2, meaning real world benefit may only be 4db? Jim?

Thursday the Audi added 3 manual programs, speech in loud noise, music and lecture and brought the aids up to ideal REM. Like I said above, I haven’t had time enough to evaluate thoroughly. I do find considerable improvement right out of the gate. I’m trying to gain information so I can communicate with the Audi in a more meaningful way. The Oticon literature employs a lot of hype that doesn’t really help me to understand.

Someone somewhere mentioned the speech rescue mode. I wonder how that fits into the equation. Anyway, I will report back to my friends at hearing tracker after a period of time. I wish you and everyone here the best as we make our way in the muted world. I have to say that’s a “function” I sometimes chosen voluntarily.

A reproducible test recording of speech in noise/other conversations might be helpful for testing settings. Maybe your Audi has such an MP3 to give you? (ReSound fitting software has such helpful recordings). Maybe a Roger Pen, if it could be used with an OPN, would be helpful for pointing at students you want to hear and hearing less of others? Perhaps because of the expense, you’d want to at least try a used one from Ebay first.

I can’t comment on the Resound Quattro noise reduction because I don’t know how it works. I can only comment on the OPN noise reduction because I understand their nose reduction technique better.

The max noise reduction settings in the OPN pertains more to reducing the diffused noise that is embedded inside the speech. This so far has been the most difficult part of the noise that’s VERY hard to separate from speech because there’s not enough intelligence in any hearing aid to know which part of that combined and diffused sound is speech and which part is noise.

The way Oticon solves this problem for the OPN is to create a noise model which is the collected soundscape of sounds from behind and the sides of the user. Then they subtract this noise model from the diffused sound in the front by inverting it and adding it to the diffused sound in front, in effect reducing/canceling the diffused surrounding noise from the other sounds sounds that only come from the front, which is presumably the speech.

But when speech is not detected in front, this noise reduction is not activated, because the OPN wants you to hear everything. So this noise reduction is applied ONLY in the presence of front speech solely to clean up the speech. As soon as speech is gone, the noise resumes, even a fraction of a second later.

The reason I explained this noise reduction strategy is to say that aggressive noise reduction value applied this way should not affect the quality of speech, like however the way the Quattro is implemented.

So if the noise model has 5 dB of noise, then both the S1 and the S2 should only apply the same amount, a -5 dB noise reduction to the front diffused sound. If the noise model is -12db, then the S1 will apply all the way up to -9 dB, while the S2 can only apply all the way up to -5 dB. This is where the difference between the S1 vs S2 comes in in terms of better speech clarity to the S1 when the noise is very loud.

But again, because the OPN uses a noise model which has information on loudness, the noise reduction only removes the noise up to this loudness, so the noise reduction value is never really over-applied, to the point where it can compromise the integrity of the front speech, like the Quattro might have implied it would do if its noise reduction is set to be overly too aggressive.


I don’t know of any real way of identifying the real world noise level as it pertains to how much noise reduction the OPN will apply.

Sure, you can get some kind of dB meter to measure how loud an environment is. But how to correlate this back to how much noise reduction will be applied by the OPN is really an unknown.

That’s why I said the only way is to see if the S2 gives you enough speech clarity in your noisiest environment or not. If it leaves something to be desired then perhaps it’s ground to try the S1.

Noise level is not the only factor, either. Your level of hearing loss, and the sensitivity of your remaining hearing to sound level differences and nuances, the acuity of your brain hearing, which can change and improve over time as you adjust to the open paradigm, etc, all play a big part on whether the S2 is good enough for you, or whether you’re better off with the S1.

Speech Rescue fits into the equation for me exceptionally well, but only because I have the traditional ski slope loss, and especially because of how steep my slope is.

For you, Speech Rescue probably wouldn’t help much because your loss is fairly flat without the traditional ski slope loss.

Jim, sorry about getting your first name wrong. That’s a great idea. No better way to test aids than to have the exact same sound environment to compare, although recorded sound is subject to some variation off the real thing.

I am getting me some real education here. You just answered how and why. Thanks for that very detailed explanation. One has to admire the level of technology in an HA. I think I’ll check out a loud bar setting with a couple of drinks, strictly for research purposes, of course. After 2 drinks I think the signal to noise ratio is impaired.
I am truly humbled by the effort made to help out others.
By the way, Volusiano, your left headlight is out.

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The ReSound fitting software agreement says that no part of it is to be broken down and used for other purposes, etc. And I actually asked ReSound about using the speech in noise recording or making it available on their website but got no reply. Otherwise, I’d make the sound sample I’m thinking of available to everyone. Perhaps some OPN user knows if in the Oticon fitting software there are such sound samples. Then it might be worth loading the software and playing the recording that you feel works best for you. It certainly isn’t a real 3D speech environment. You can’t get the full advantage of any directionality in play but I think it offers you the ability in part in a reproducible way to test how much speech can be clarified under different HA’s or HA settings in a reproducible noise background. I found it very helpful in deciding how much occlusion I wanted in my dome/mold fittings for my receivers.


:joy:The motorcycle in your profile pic

Ah lol. Actually it’s by design. The right headlight is the normal headlight, and the left head light is the high beam headlight. Usually for day driving only the right headlight is on.


This has been interesting reading. I’m interested in replacing my Phonak 90s with Oticon S1R or S2R. Like everyone else, I’m wondering if I need to spend the considerable difference in price for what looks like more extreme noise reduction. I’m retired and the most noise I get is restaurants. In that case, all speech is not in front of you if out with a group. So does the e try reduction help 9f someone speaks and is 45 to 90 degrees to the side? Also, any impact on music? I’m hesitant to try S2 and the return during the trial period. Also, it seems the differences are software related so probably cost the same to produce, rendering this to a marketing division of models?

It really depends on your hearing loss, I too am retired, and I have the OPNS1 aids and also the OPN1 ITE aids. My hearing loss pretty much demands that I have the best noise reduction that I can get just so I can understand speech regardless of the environment. My aids are set to the highest level of noise reduction and also the the fastest transition times. At least that is what my Audi has told me. Now I will say this at times I feel the noise reduction is to strong, but then someone will say something to me and I realize why it is that level.

I tried these out. The major difference in the different levels are in the number of program channels and the ability to deal sound feedback. There are some videos on YouTube that do a great job in explaining the difference. I would look at these to get a little more information. It will add to the information you are getting in this forum. I hope this helps you have a great day.