Oticon Intent user review

I’ve had the Oticon Intent 1’s for a few weeks now after wearing the Real 1’s. A few things that stand out to me:

Pro’s: (1) It is a significant improvement in noisy situations (think crowded restaurants), over the Reals. I’ll give this example: sitting at a table in a sports bar talking to the person across the table. Person next to me begins to chime in and as I turn my head towards her, the Intent focuses on her voice and it becomes clearer and louder. Exactly the challenge I had with the Reals and it has been solved, all while keeping the open paradigm that I love. (2) Wind noise reduction is exceptional, I live on the Great Plains and winds are strong & persistent daily this time of year - Intent works superbly. (3) Battery life = this is no longer an issue, I work long days, stream all the time and have yet to run the batteries down. (4) whatever they have done with the new wires are an upgrade - much better fit and feeling. Much.

Cons: (1) Biggest single “Con” is the Bluetooth connection to my iPhone 15 - still just as bad as the Real. I cannot for the life of me understand how I own a $5k set of HA’s and a $1,200 iPhone and I can’t walk more than 10 feet away with out signal problems - blows my mind. Still have problems connecting, problem with one side connecting and not the other, signal goes in and out even with the phone in hand. One day Apple will make hearing aids that will disappear in your ear and all the AI / processing / microphones will be on your phone and there will never be a discussion of Bluetooth problems.
One day…

Other than that, couldn’t be happier, and a hearing upgrade from the Real 1’s

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Thanks for sharing your experience on the Intent.

As for the connection issue with the iPhone, it’s kinda weird that previous version of Oticon aids using previous versions of iPhone (like me using the OPN 1 on my iPhone 12) has almost no (or very little) connectivity issue using the iOS MFI so far. So why would newer Oticon aids and newer iPhone models start having issues? I doubt that Oticon would change anything with their MFI interface to cause the problem. I think it’s more believable that Apple does something different with the iOS updates that would affect this MFI connectivity, rather than Oticon making changes to their MFI connectivity unnecessarily.

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Different iPhones use different hardware and therefore different drivers, even though IOS looks common, it isn’t at the back end. Communication chips differ, some use more advanced, less stable protocols.

I guess it’s price of using bleeding edge technology. I always remind users that the connectivity features are a secondary function of hearing aids. However I’ve recently been favouring the Unitron Vivante for people who ‘need’ a fixed connection.

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Sounds like there may need to be a firmware update to the Intent to improve Bluetooth connectivity. Did iPhone 15 have Bluetooth issues or was that only the 15 Pros?

Is the focusing adjustment you describe noticeable or seamless and nearly instant? Can you notice it if someone is speaking behind you and then you turn while they continue speaking? Does the system get confused at times or focus incorrectly? What happens if you don’t turn to listen?

Is the shorter wider hearing aid profile an issue for you?

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Not for people who spend much of their workday on the phone or in video conferences. I’ll also add retired folks who place great importance on phone conversations with relatives.

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Agree. I have profound hearing loss, and I have better hearing in most situations only with wireless accessories.

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Just as a contrast, I have noticed that using the Oticon Intent 1’s with a Samsung S23 using LE Audio has resulted in a vastly better bluetooth connection than what I used to have with Oticon More 1’s and a Samsung S22 using ASHA. Before I would regularly have dropouts - streaming working in one ear then the other then neither. It has gone from about 40% reliability to about 95%.

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The focus was smooth, not abrupt at all, I would say very natural. Noticeable because the sound improved but natural. I did not lose attention to the other noises or discussions surrounding the table. The shorter / wider devices actually fit me better than the Reals but that may be unique to my ear shape & size.

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My Intents will get their “speech in noise” workout over the next three days. I have the same observation about the BT, occasional crackling, though I’ve not gone too far from my phone as yet.

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I’m not saying in your case they are secondary. I’m saying that’s how hearing aids are made.

Hearing sounds in speech first then connectivity.

For some people I’d agree that having aids that work with your phone first is possibly more essential, but that’s why I mentioned the Vivante above.

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The Oticon Intent 1 makes a big improvement in noisy situations, handles wind noise well, and has a long battery life, but has issues with Bluetooth pairing with the iPhone.

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Where are the metal charging contacts located? Is it at the bottom of the hearing aid, in contact with the skin? I don’t remember seeing another hearing aid with this design and I wonder if there would be durability issues this way with wearing down and rusting of the contacts from sweat. Would you also feel minor zaps on the skin?

The contacts are indeed at the bottom on the inside of the hearing aid, so depending on how you wear it, I think there’s a possibility of making contact with the skin. But I don’t think they’re energized or anything like that when not being charged, so I wouldn’t worry about the chance of being zapped by them. Whether they’re vulnerable to rust from sweat, they seem to be gold plated, so gold should not rust or tarnish at all from being in contact with water.

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Thanks for posting this. I have a pair of OPN 1s and they frequently drop Bluetooth connectivity to my iPhone. I’ve lost count of the number of times I complained to Oticon and they’ve never responded. Hearing about your experiences reinforces my decision that I’ll never buy an Oticon or Bernafon product.

I think the support model is that if you have an issue, you’re supposed to contact your HCP to work through it. If your HCP cannot help you resolve it, then they’ll pull Oticon into the loop to help. If you complained to Oticon and they never responded, perhaps that’s why, because you didn’t follow the intended support model. I remember my HCP has a direct line into Oticon support to get immediate help when I was in her office for a visit.

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She sent them back and I received a new pair. The shipping form said they couldn’t find anything wrong with the original pair, but shipped a new pair as a courtesy. I still have the problem with Bluetooth dropping in and out with one of the hearing aids or spontaneously rebooting a single hearing aid. I have BT drop out when the iPhone 13 is less than two feet from the hearing aids.

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Oh OK, thanks for the clarification. So they did respond through your HCP and sent you a new pair, although that didn’t solve your connection issue, unfortunately.

I’m fortunate enough to not have any connection issue between my OPN 1 and my iPhone 12, but if there’s an issue, it’s hard to conclude one way or another what the culprit is, the hearing aids, or the iPhone, or perhaps the local environment and whether there are a lot of interference signals in that area that might have cause the connection to drop inadvertently or not.

If they sent you a new pair of brand new replacement hearing aids and they still exhibit the same issue, then at least it should indicate that perhaps it’s something else in the environment or the setup, and it’s not due to a defect in the previous hearing aids that were sent back. Unless it’s the design of the Oticon OPN hearing aid that is a faulty design in the first place, which would be a very reproduceable problem with ALL Oticon aids, that would force Oticon to come up with a fix and firmware update.

Speaking of which, I assume that your HCP made sure to get your OPN aids updated with the latest firmware already as well.

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Let me preface this by stating that I’m NOT suggesting that any of it applies to Gebjeff. But I’ll speak as a devil’s advocate and state, manufacturers often get returns of perfectly fine devices that supposedly aren’t working. Of course they have no way of knowing the circumstances that made them not function in any one case–envirornment, user error, etc. Many HA users are older like me and not entirely adept with tech devices. So, it’s pretty good that Oticon sent a new HA “as a courtesy” even though they could find nothing wrong with the one sent in.
And no, I do not secretly work for a HA company nor have I ever. I HAVE however worked with public for many years. Let’s just say that one out of a hundred ‘difficult’ folks begin to add up when you’re serving thousands every month.
AGain, Gebjeff has a perfectly legitimate gripe that is very common among HA users. I read about it all the time. My Signia app fails about once a week and has to be re started by turning off my phone before it works again.

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The firmware is v 8.0.
I’m a beta tester for the new Companion software and I’m not impressed. For example, the Apple Watch complication only works on the Metropolitan watch face and isn’t supported on the modular watch face. I requested that they add support for the modular face and was told that product management has not prioritized supporting any other watch face and there’s a significant feature and fix backlog. I’ve also reported that beta keeps crashing while it’s running in background.

I was a director at two large multinational software companies and am knowledgeable wrt product management, engineering and agile development. Given the answers above, I’m not hopeful.

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There’s something weird about this info. The firmware I show on my OPN 1 is v6.1 and I don’t think they have any subsequent firmware versions for the OPN after this.

I believe you said that you have a pair of OPN 1s as well, right? You can verify your firmware version on the Companion app.