Oticon OPN 1 new user questions

After having a Widex Beyond 440 on trial I’m four weeks into Oticon OPN 1 now (100 dB speakers with power domes). At the beginning I still had to get used at them. After my audi manually increased the lower- and mid tones to enhance speech recognition and I upped the volume by two clicks with the app (4 dB in total) I’m starting to like the OPN’s. Though I still have some issues and I’m wondering whether people had similar experiences.

Noise cracking
Sometimes the sound randomly starts to cracking. Like putting a speaker on it’s very max, I find it very hard to describe. I cannot reproduce this effect since it occurs very randomly in both one on one conversations and in restaurants. The only thing I noticed that it is far more common when I put my volume two clicks higher (through the app) instead of default. I mentioned this to my Audi and he told me this might be the Transient Noise Management which we’ll try to put on low next meeting. I was wondering if anyone else had the same experience or might know what this could be.

Hard/medium/soft noises?
I’ve noticed in Genie 2 there is not only a (horizontal) classification in low- mid and high tones. But also a (vertical) classification in hard- medium and soft noises. It is not clear for me what the difference should be. I was thinking this might has an effect on the noise cracking or am I wrong?

Wind noise
Whenever I’m on my bike and it’s windy my HA’s gets very noisy. I can’t hear anything else at all and sometimes I’m even wondering whether Wind Noise Reduction is on. Are people have similar experiences? Or is this just how HA perform and Wind Noise Reduction works only to a certain level of wind?

The OPN philosophy is that you hear everything around you. Yet I’m having the impression I understand people in front of me way beter then people next or behind me. Is there still some level of directionality included in OPN? And yes, the HA’s are set on the “open setting”.

Bluetooth calling vs regular calling
Though music is streaming flawless I sometimes prefer regular calling instead of bluetooth calling. This due the fact voices through bluetooth calling are not constant and sometimes less “calm” then regular calling. Is this something which is due the microphone quality of the caller? I’m going to try to experiment on this with different phones. Are people having the same preferences?

Currently I am using power domes, they are very comfortable though I sometimes have to readjust them. I’m wondering about PowerMoulds, are there any advantages of having a PowerMould besides a better fit? Does this improve overall sound?

I’m hoping that people out here with OPN’s are willing to share their experiences on these topics :slight_smile: I’m also considering to trial Resound LINX 3D’s since I’m worrying about the noise cracking and bluetooth calling issue. But so far I prefer the OPN’s way above the Beyond 440’s.

  1. The noise cracking is most likely due to saturation by the receiver not being able to amplify further, causing the signal to be clipped at the max on louder passages, resulting in distortion in the form of a crackling noise. I’ve seen that happen on the high frequency range for me because that’s where my loss is greatest and the receiver just doesn’t have enough power to amplify some of the loud sounds in that range for me. To fix it, I had to turn down the gain in that particular frequency region (6KHz and 4KHz) and the cracks went away for me. In my case it’s obvious where to turn down the gain because my ski slope loss makes it obvious. In your case, it may be harder to tell but I’d start in notching down the gain in the 6KHz area where you have a notch of worst loss there. This guess of mine is consistent with your observation that it happens more when you turn up the volume by 2 clicks. I don’t think the transient noise management is the culprit. That should compress the sudden loud sound and if anything, it should prevent the crackling from happening. I think putting it on low may actually result in more crackling than not. I’d rather have it on high.

Another option to prevent crackling is to go for the 105dB instead of the 100dB for some additional power. This will require you to have custom molds made, though, instead of being able to avoid it by using the power domes.

  1. I’m assuming that you’re talking about the Fine Tuning section in Genie 2. That’s to adjust the gain based on the frequencies (what you call the horizontal classification). But it’s also grouped into 3 volume ranges for louder and moderate and softe input volumes. This allows you to have finer adjustments of the volume ranges. When I suggested notching down on the 6KHz in question 1 above, I’m saying to go into the Fine Tuning section and reduce the gain by one or two dB at 6KHz in the Loud vertical section. That way you still have increased gain across the board when you turn up the volume, but the receiver won’t be driven so hard at 6KHz as to cause crackling. I’m only guessing that the crackling happens at 6KHz because that’s where you have the most loss. But it may be elsewhere as well. But it’s a good place to start.

  2. Wind noise reduction is set to ON automatically, I don’t ever remember a place for it on Genie to be turned on or off. When on my bike it helps, but it doesn’t remove it completely. Wind noise tends to be at lower and mid frequencies, so gains in those areas will exacerbate the wind noise. And you did mention that you increased the low and mids to enhance speech recognition. So perhaps just create a new program for wind noise where you leave the lows and mids at default (or maybe even lower it a little bit more) to alleviate the wind noise but still let you hear something although it won’t help with speech, but you don’t expect speech to be important when biking anyway.

  3. Yes, the OPN has 3 modules. The Analyze module scans the soundscape, creates a noise model (which is sound in the back and on the sides) for the Balanced module and the Noise Removal module. The sound from the Analyze module gets sent to the Balance module first which uses a special directionality approach called MVDR (Minimum Variance Distortionless Response) to create nulls on well placed noise sources but preserves speech around you 360 degrees. The output of the Balanced module gets sent to the Noise Removal module which is a secondary cleaner that removes diffused noise that can’t be removed via the MVDR in the Balanced module. The Noise Removal module uses the Noise model from the Analyzer module to clean up diffused noise from speech in the front. If there is speech in the back or on the side, the Balance and Noise Removal is frozen by the Voice Activity Detector as to not remove speech that’s not in the front. But in doing so, speech on the side and on the back, while preserved by the Voice Activity Detector, don’t benefit from the Noise Removal module’s secondary cleaning like Speech in the front does, and that’s probably why you can understand speech in the front better than speech on the sides or in the back.

  4. I always use direct streaming for phone calls and I never experience fluctuation on the voice of the caller. If it happens to you, it’s on the other end from the caller, and regardless of whether you use direct streaming or regular listening for your calls, it shouldn’t sound different.

  5. If you’re comfortable with the power domes then there’s no need to do custom molds, which cost more money. But custom molds will give you the best fit, although they’re a lot more conspicuous than the domes, if that’s something that matters to you. Custom molds allow a small vent to help improve occlusion while the power mold doesn’t have any vent, and this small vent can be narrowed down and even closed up completely with different sized plugs if you want. If your power domes are already snug and there’s no feedback issue, the custom molds wouldn’t improve the overall sounds. But if you want to go with the 105dB receivers to help with your crackling/saturation issue due to the 100dB not having enough power in some situation, then the 105dB requires custom molds anyway so you don’t have a choice there. Between the 100 and 105dB receivers, usually it’s better to get the slightly bigger one for more power if one needed. But sometimes the 100dB power is prescribed to avoid having to have custom molds made.

1 Like

Thank you for your input! Your answers really clarified the issues.

  1. This was my assumption as well. However, in that case if I have some difficulties with interpreting this technical data sheet ( https://www.oticon.com/-/media/oticon-us/main/download-center/opn/product-information/179077us_td_opn1-2-3_minirite-minirite-t_100.pdf ). As you see on the first image on the first page these speakers should support up to 100 dB right? While I am nowhere close 100 dB with my loss. While on the second page it says the “full-on gain” is 66 dB on it’s peak and 56 dB at 1600 Hz (got no clue what HFA-FOG should be). Does this imply it’s maximum output is 66 dB? Then why are they called 100 dB speakers (according to the first image)?

At some point Hearingtracker even states that maximum gain is only 57 dB ( https://www.hearingtracker.com/hearing-aids/oticon-opn-1-minirite ). And the 105 dB speakers have a maximum gain of 64 dB, which is not sufficient because at some point I have a higher loss then 64 dB. I am really confused by now haha. What am I interpreting wrong?

  1. Strange things is that I do notice a difference between direct calling and bluetooth calling, but I think this problem can be traced back to my nosie cracking-issue.

Use the Search feature for Gain and stuff like that.

I’m just guessing at the data sheet here because I’m not a hearing professional. I’d invite any hearing professional to jump in to correct anything I interpret below incorrectly.

First off, the HFA-FOG is the High Frequency Average - Full On Gain. I guess the FOG varies at different frequencies so they give you 3 figures so you’d have an idea of the variation. The 3 data points are at the 1600Hz (kind of mid point on the frequency chart), at the peak (we don’t know what frequency this is at, and it may vary), and on the average at the high frequency gains.

If you look at the * (asterisk) comment for FOG, this is the gain at 70 dB SPL.input level. So I imagine that it would mean that the output is 70dB input plus 66 (peak FOG) dB equal 136 dB at the output. Your left hearing threshold is at 60dB at 500 Hz. So the OPN will probably apply 40 dB and the output will be at 70 dB, 10 dB above your threshold of 60 dB so you’l

You also notice that the OSPL90 peak is 132 dB. This is the output saturation point level for a 90 dB input (90dB is very loud, equivalent to a lawn mower or a crying baby). Saturation point level means that you’ll begin hearing distortion because it will be clipped at 132 dB.

Your question about how a 66dB FOG is adequate for your worst loss of 85 dB is interesting. Let’s walk it through some logic (again, I’m not a hearing professional, just guessing here just as much as you are). Let’s say there’s a soft sound at 30 dB, and for simplicity’s sake, let’s say this 30dB is across ALL frequencies (there’s really no such sound like that, but we’ll just assume this for the exercise). So for your left ear loss of 60dB at 500Hz, the HA will add a 40dB gain, and the output will give you 70dB, 10 dB above your 60dB threshold hearing level.

At 6KHz, however, your threshold is 85dB. So the HA may try to apply 65dB to give you 95dB at the output, 10 dB higher than your threshold at 6KHz.

But for someone with 100dB loss, I’m not sure if a 30dB input signal, with 66dB gain added (I’m assuming it’s the same FOG value at 30dB input compared to the spec’s FOG which is at 70dB input to simplify things, but the FOG at 30dB may not be 66dB but may be something else), resulting in 96dB, is adequate for that person to hear. But of course a 50dB signal (normal conversation), 50dB input plus 66dB gain will give that person 106dB at the output, so they’ll be able to hear something, although I’m not sure if the 6dB above their threshold of 100dB is noticeable to them enough or not. In quiet, maybe. In noise, probably not.

But again, remember that most person have 100dB losses usually at the high frequency, and their loss is not as bad at other lower frequencies, so they can still pickup something with the signal at the lower frequencies, just not as well in the high frequencies (like in my case). And that’s why they come out with frequency lowering technology like Speech Rescue to move those sounds down to the lower spectrum so there’s adequate amplification for them.

What is direct calling? You mean you apply the phone against your hearing aid that you wear on the ear on a phone call? I’m surprised you can hear in this mode better than direct streaming.

What is Bluetooth calling? Is that the direct streaming on a phone call?

How are they different? How is the direct streaming on a phone call worse that putting the phone on your hearing aid?

I’m still very confused about the problem statement you’re trying to explain here. You said direct streaming is not calm, not constant. I have no idea what that means…

Personally, almost EVERYONE prefers to use direct streaming to their HA for phone calls over putting the phone over their hearing aid and hoping the mic from the hearing aid will pick up the sound from the phone’s speaker well and clear enough, and without any feedback if you’re lucky. You’re the very first person that seems to have problems with direct streaming for phone calls and I still don’t understand what the problem is…

Count me as one who currently disables all low power Bluetooth streaming from phone (not just calls but music, too) to my OPNs. Why? Because, apparently neither Apple nor any hearing aid designer seems to think that anyone would ever use anything other than a cell signal to make a call or stream music. Even though Apple specifically advertises the ability to make WiFi calls with certain providers, the fact that some of us only have access to WiFi calling in our area (there is precisely no coverage either where I live or work), they’ve never taken WiFi calling or WiFi streaming into account when considering sources of interference. If I try to stream either music or calls to my OPNs while using WiFi (which, as noted above, is the only way I can do either) sound quality is, at best, bad and, at worst, I get blasted with horrible screeching noises that’s possibly further damaged my hearing. If I want to make calls, I either hold the phone to my ear and turn it up as loud as it goes (and hope that the person on the other end speaks loudly) or I plug in headphones w/mic. On the rare occasion when I’m in a location where I can use a cell signal to receive a call, it seems to work reasonably well assuming I’ve remembered to tun. I’ve never tried streaming music over a cell signal so couldn’t provide feedback there. I’d like to make use of the technology more frequently but can’t.

Long read, but I think I am a bit wiser on this subject now. Thanks! According to some screenshots I got it seems that my left ear has an additional gain of 35 dB ( https://image.ibb.co/ff7csm/left_ear.png ) which seems a little bit low. But besides from the saturation I am still hearing everything fine :slight_smile: I am meeting with my audi this afternoon and I ask how he thinks he could solve the saturation problem and whether I should opt for the 105 dB speaker.

Apologies for mixing up the terminology. In my case direct calling would be putting the phone against my ear and bluetooth calling direct streaming. I will stick to your terminology which is less confusing. Somehow I am able to understand people better when I apply the phone against my hearing aid since I am experiencing a lot of saturation/screeching (henche the my description of not being calm and constant) while calling through direct streaming. It seems to be less worse whenever I lower the volume and turn WiFi off. However streaming music is flawless, regardless volume or WiFi. That’s why it confuses me so much.

I’m not an audiologist either, but I doubt that 40 dB of gain get added for a 60 dB loss. I think I’ve heard that 1/3 gain is a good approximation for sensorineural losses and 1/2 gain for conductive losses, so maybe 20-30 dB. To not be guessing, one could run a simulation in the fitting software and look at gain and output.

Are you using wifi calling? I wonder if you’re getting terrible connection through wifi calling (especially if the wifi traffic is busy) and the direct streaming just lets you hear all the bad stuff that much better. But putting the phone against your ear (no more amplification), you just don’t hear all the terrible artifacts from wifi calling because your hearing loss filters all that out.

Wind Noise:
I concur that it seems like wind noise reduction is turned off on OPN. Prior to these I wore Oticon Altas Pros, and before that Oticon Epoqs. Both older versions managed wind noise much better. I am on a bike a lot and it is going to be problematic if I can’t get that resolved.


1 Like

Oticon wrote a white paper on Wind Noise Management for the Velox platform (the OPN) in 2016 that looks really good on paper. But I agree that in practice, it seems to leave a lot to be desired. It makes you almost wonder if the darn feature is turned on, like you said. But I’ve browsed through Genie 2 upside down and inside out and just don’t see any option to turn it on, so I must assume that it’s always on.

I can stream music or make phone calls using the WIFI at my gym very well with my OPNs. I wonder if the problem could lie in the quality of your WIFI signal?

Noise cracking. Had that too in the beginning, has gone away
Wind Noise: Oh yes, big issue I do not ride my bike with HAs at all. If it is windy, I have to remove them,
Bluetooth calling. Does not seem an issue to me

I am very happy with the Oticon OPN after 7 months of use.

Please follow through on the comparison with Resound. I have the LINX & am very happy with them, but would like the comparison with Oticon. Thanks.

Strong signal from a pretty standard TP-Link WiFi router at home … not sure what’s at work but, again, strong signal that I’ve never had a problem using with anything else. Other than that, I’m not sure what I would look at regarding quality. I test-drove a pair of Widex Beyond that behaved similarly and was told that the issue could be interference between low-power Bluetooth and WiFi. Widex literature even specifically mentioned the problem and suggested in the user info to turn off WiFi when making calls or streaming music which, obviously, doesn’t work for me. Vaguely recall hearing the same about the OPNs but can’t find that in the literature.

Your TP-Link defaults to auto channel selection and may be on a close frequency to the BT signal. You can tell it to use a specific channel that does bleed over. If you do, download a Frequency Scanner from the app store and try to select a lightly used channel that doesn’t interfere.

When I first tried Oticon OPN1’s for one week early this year, the poor wind noise management was the first thing I noticed and I hated it. The wind noise management of my Siemens 7px’s was far superior. So, I was so disappointed I discontinued the trial with the Oticons.

Subsequently, I went back to the Oticons because of the more natural sound and easier overall experience. But, their wind noise handling is still very poor…I just grin and bear it.

I have noticed that when the wind is in your face or from one side only the result is better than when the wind is from behind…in which case the noise management seems to be completely ineffective.

It is hard to believe that Oticon got it so wrong with the OPN’s and still hasn’t yet discovered their error either through normal technical testing or user feedback.

I look forward to the firmware or software update that will finally deliver the goods on the wind noise management promised in the research paper referred to above.

This might sound silly, but perhaps the crackling might be caused as a result of your hair ends rubbing over the aids’ microphones?