Oticon Opn - mad underwhelming

I am taking advantage of a 2-week free trial of an Oticon Opn.
It’s a Model 100 #1 (all features enabled, top performance level).
I’m around -85 dB average more or less flat hearing disability in my left ear, right ear doesn’t work.

So far I am mad underwhelmed:

  1. works more or less good with iPhone, kind of a minus that it does not pair Bluetooth with anything but Apple phones but this may change when more devices can talk BLE Bluetooth
  2. SUCKS with my work phone, and this is WITH autophone on, calls are distant-sounding, not loud enough, this is practically a dealbreaker, I am the customer, not Oticon :slight_smile:
  3. doesn’t seem a whole ton better than my 6-year old Epoq, Idk, I’ll wait some more on this
  4. probably will require a preset just for being in the car as a passenger b/c of the car noise, I will know for sure after this weekend (if I’m driving by myself I don’t waste time wearing/using the HA, what for??)
  5. Monday I will have the HA reviewed and perhaps adjusted but I do not feel huge confidence in the woman doing the fitting etc. SIGH
  6. Oticon ON app is a UI/UX piece of garbage, swipes are TOO imprecise for adjusting anything, same for the Apple/built-in control, really should have something more precise ‘push-button’ way to adjust volume via phone
  7. Hopefully I can have them turn off the horrible start sound!!

O yes – using a standard plastic dome, so somewhat more feedback than if a custom mold, but somewhat less than my Epoq with too-loose mold which I know should be replaced.

Any comments people have about phone quality adjustments would be appreciated.

Oticon has nothing on their website about the security of the hearing aid wrt the Internet, correct?? Just Ifttt crap so far as I can see.
Does anyone know how to put it into airplane mode and make it stay that way?? (persistent)

Yea I know this is a rant SIGH :slight_smile:

Thank you, Tom

Airplane mode - press the push button 7 times in a row. It automatically turns off when you open the battery door.

AUGH! I can totally relate to a LOT of Tom’s gripes here. Yes, I ultimately bought and am wearing my Oticon Opn miniRITEs, but it still boggles my mind that in 2017 we don’t have ROCKET SCIENCE in the area of hearing aids - which are so critical to safety, productivity, relationships, communication, enjoyment of life, and much more. That is the discouraging part.

I also second the LAME Apple-product devotion! Puleeeze! Many of us have other forms of cell phones and devices, and we should not have to pay $6K for something (as I did) that still has NO streaming capability for something other than “internet of things” or Apple. I have Autophone enabled, and it does make the sound louder on my Ooma and Samsung phones - remains to be seen how it would work outside my home, say when traveling, and having to use other phones & communication devices. It seems pathetic to me that I will have to travel with my 4-yr old Oticon Agil Pro aids and StreamerPro TFN, as I am absolutely not going to use any IOT protocol installed on my cell phone. I feel marginalized by Oticon’s current product marketing strategy.

Tom, you may want to post your audiogram here for folks to give more precise advice, but it could be you need to swap out the dome on your Oticon. SEAL is king! With a perfect seal, all sound is more natural, and the audio quality on phones far, FAR better. I have Widex power domes (size L) on my Oticon RIEs, and they are working pretty good. However - to niggle - my Agil Pros sound more natural and have just as much power! It’s just that they never had a working TV streamer. And I had other health reasons for ditching the Agil Pro ITCs for the RIEs.

I hope you will get some better advice here on how to proceed. Fittings are rocket science, because they are so dependent upon a single audiogram result, and do not take into account one’s listening preferences. I typically go back a dozen times in the months after purchase to keep tweaking and refining the frequency channels and gain; also adding and deleting programs as needed.

One final observation: you really SHOULD wear aids when driving - or any activity - especially ON YOUR OWN! It’s a huge safety issue. Without someone to hear for you, you could carom into another car, not hear an ambulance, or motorcycle approaching. What if you are stopped by an officer and can’t even HEAR? No, you gotta put those ears in.

Comment to Abarsanti: I thought one only held down the power button for 7 seconds (a LONG time) to put the aids in airplane mode? That’s how my Oticon Opns work.

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Let me see if I can address some of your issues:

  1. Oticon plans to come out with the ConnectClip which is a streaming device you wear around your neck that will interface between your OPN and regular Bluetooth devices (no need to have Bluetooth Low Energy). This is supposed to be coming out in Q1’17.

  2. Whether it works well with your work phone or not in Autophone mode depends on many things:
    a. where you’re holding your phone up on your ear, because remember that the HA is behind your ear, so you need to line up the phone’s speaker on the HA, not on your ear canal anymore.
    b. Your work phone needs to produce adequate volume.
    c. It has to have a magnet to trigger the OPN into the Autophone mode.
    You can work around this, however, by moving your OPN HA into the middle area of your ear right outside of your ear canal, see the pic in this link:

    This way, you can just hold your phone the normal way and the mics on the OPN will pick up the sound just fine. This is assuming that you already have your audi run the feedback program to remove any feedback from your OPN. And needless to say, when you’re done using the phone, you should put the OPN back to rest above your ear like normal.

  3. Your hearing loss is pretty severe at -85db flat on your left ear and your right ear doesn’t work, so it’s going to be a big challenge for any HA. Since you only have 2 weeks to try out the OPN, just try it out for the whole 2 weeks and decide at the end. Pay attention to see if you can hear more sounds around you compared to your old HAs or not. That’s OPN’s claim to fame, that they provide an open sound experience where you can hear all sounds around you better. Maybe you can’t hear a whole ton better than your Epoq, but can you hear more sounds with the OPN?

  4. Don’t expect the OPN to do much to reduce your car noise. This is not because the OPN can’t, more like it won’t, because it’s designed to let you hear everything, car noise included. But if you’re a passenger in a car, try to have a conversation with the driver and pay attention to see if you can understand what the driver says well enough or not, despite still hearing the car noise. The idea is that after you’re used to hearing everything through the OPN, your brain will eventually learn to tune out the noise and focus on the speech. But this will take some time for your brain to adjust. Although the OPN won’t reduce the car noise, it should help make speech in the noisy car environment easier for you to understand. So as long as you can hold a conversation and understand what the driver say to you well enough, the OPN will have done the job it’s designed to do.

  5. Sorry if you don’t have confidence in the lady doing the fitting. Fortunately the OPN is one of the HAs that doesn’t require a lot of skills in making programming adjustment. It really has only 1 default program and Oticon actually recommends using just the single default program, even though you can store up to 4 programs on it if you want. It will automatically make adjustments by itself as it transitions from simple to complex environment and back and forth from that single default program. You should not need to worry about manually switching from one program to another to match with the environment you’re in. The more important fitting your service provider needs to focus on the most is to fit you with the right dome to maximize the hearing potential for you. Programming wise, make sure that you have them running the feedback analyzer on your OPN to and set it to eliminate all feedbacks on the OPN for you. This will also allow you to put the OPN inside your ear well to help pick up the sound better when you use the phone.

  6. I use the ON app with my Android phone and it couldn’t be easier to control the volume for me. Swiping up and down anywhere on the app area to control volume is easy enough and doesn’t require any precision on my part to do so. So I’m not sure why you don’t like it.

  7. The start up sound is not bad at all to me but if you don’t like it I hope there’s a way to turn it off. I actually like hearing it a lot every time I put on my OPNs.

  8. If you’re just using the generic dome, I assume they’re fitting you with either the closed dome with no vent hole, which is basically the power dome to minimize feedback and avoid sound from escaping your ear canal? Your loss really should require a custom mold but I understand that you don’t want to make one just for a 2 week trial. But if you decide to keep it, for sure a custom mold will only make it would better and give you less feedback.

  9. You don’t have to use the IoT IFTTT at all, and if you don’t use it, there’s nothing to worry about internet security with it.

  10. Page 32 of the manual says you push and hold the OPN button for 7 seconds until you hear a chime to activate the airplane mode to avoid the OPN from emitting radio frequency signals. To deactivate the airplane mode, open and close the battery compartment to basically restart it again.

It’s not just Oticon alone, but NO other HA mfgs have been able to do direct streaming with non-Apple phone. It’s not because they’re only devoted to Apple. It’s actually because there is no Bluetooth Low Energy standard available, so without a standard, no HA mfgs can implement direct streaming even though they have the know-how to do direct streaming. Apple doesn’t use a standard protocol (because there’s none), but unlike Android phone mfgs, Apple has their own proprietary BLE protocol that the HA mfgs can follow and make use of, which they did.

So the bottom line is not because the HA mfgs are devoted to or favor Apple. It’s just because Apple has something HA mfgs can use, while none of the Android phone mfgs has anything HA mfgs can use.

Of course almost all HA mfgs have indirect Bluetooth streaming capability using a streamer. It’s too bad the OPN doesn’t have one available YET, but hopefully soon in due time. It’s already in the work.

^^^Thanks for that explanation Volusiano! Yeah, I am not happy about the ongoing streamer issue … but patience is a virtue, and perhaps some time this year, that clip-on streamer will be released for the Opn. I’m just very fortunate that I have my Agil Pro and StreamerPro. Today, I had a long phone call and was SO glad I could just take off the Opns and put in the Agil Pros for hands-free streaming. A working cludge.

I’m no techie, but how, then does my TV streamer box work so beautifully with my Opns? Is the technology that much different that sound can stream from a 4 yr old TV, but not from a 2 yr old Samsung? Is the TV broadcast world just more standardized or something?

Ah. Consider that a rhetorical question - like counting sheep at night, it lulls me to sleep pondering it.

If you think of communication protocol as a high tech language, then Bluetooth is basically a universal wireless language that is adapted by most smart phones and modern wireless headphones/headsets, computers, tablets, etc. However, the problem with Bluetooth is that is requires the wireless device to have enough battery juice to talk to each other. However, HAs are too small with too little battery juice to talk in the Bluetooth language and have the HA battery last long enough. So HA mfgs have to come up with their own lower energy languages for their HAs to allow their batteries to not be drained too fast. And the neck streamer is like an interpreter. It talks to other Bluetooth devices in the Bluetooth language, and translates back to the HAs in their own private low energy language. However, the HA mfgs have their own low energy languages that are probably all different and not compatible with each other.

Ideally, if everybody is patient and can wait long enough, a new universal Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) language will be created and everyone will start adopting this, just like everyone has already adopted the regular Bluetooth language.

But HA mfgs couldn’t wait for the standard BLE to come out so they went ahead with their own LE language for their HAs and use a neck streamer to interpret between regular Bluetooth and their own LE language. Which is understandably so.

Apple didn’t want to wait either, so it came up with its own LE language as well and put it in their iPhones and iPads and iPods. Apple didn’t want to wait because they’re starting to come out with their own wireless earbuds now that use this language with their iPhones and iPads.

Because Apple went ahead with its own LE language, and because Apple is a big enough company that sells enough iPhones and iPads, many HA mfgs decided to go ahead and make their HAs support the Apple LE language as well.

Other Android phone mfgs don’t want to come up with their own LE languages, however. They’d rather wait until the new universal BLE come out then they’ll adopt this language in their phones. So HA mfgs will stick with the neck streamer Bluetooth to LE translator until the universal BLE comes out. By then, everyone, Apple included hopefully, will jump on this BLE bandwagon.

Back to why the Oticon TV Streamer (Adapter) 3.0 work with your Opn? That’s because it uses the Oticon Low Energy language to communicate with your Opn directly. The OPN basically is designed to understand the Oticon LE language and the Apple LE language for now. Oticon should also have a neck streamer for the Opn soon so it can speak with other regular Bluetooth devices soon. I just can’t believe that Oticon didn’t plan it out such that it’d be available at the same time at the release of the OPN.

The Oticon TV streamer will work with any TV regardless of how old or new the TV is, as long as it has RCA audio out connection or optical output connection to feed into the Oticon TV Streamer. So how old your TV is or what technology it uses doesn’t matter, the Oticon TV Streamer works the same for all of them.

Tom,
Where do you live? 35 states have a 30 day or longer trial period, so if you’ve only been given a 2 week trial and you live in a state with a 30 day or more trial, you’re being shortchanged. To get all the bells and whistles from the Opn you would need two HA’s but since you only have one ear that works, many of the features will be lost to you. Neither of my Oticon HA’s have worked well with Apple products because they continuously come “unconnected.” The “distance sounding not loud enough” with your phone at work may be something the audiologist may have to adjust for you.
The Oticon website used to be good, but they have really let the quality of the site slip over the last several years.
I would try and renegotiate a longer trial and if they won’t do it, walk away and try a different aid and audiologist.

Ah Volusiano! Your post is a “keeper” - makes total sense to me now. Thank you so much for putting this into plain English for us here. I guess this is why so many threads here are talking about the “new” BLE standard, and we’re now all wondering when it will come out. Having learned this, I can now actually appreciate how HA makers and Apple didn’t want to wait around, but rather, jumped on the issue of low energy Bluetooth in their own fashion.

Your post prompted me to surf up to the web and read more on Bluetooth. I was browsing this site on Bluetooth technology, and now I’m wondering: ultimately, if everyone adopts the standard, will we be forced into the IOT universe?! It just gives me the heebeejeebies to think of every little thing I do (phone, music, HRM, Skype, email, et al) being out there, hackable, snooped, recorded, twisted into use against me. I am not paranoid so much as I am IRKED. It seems that with the embrace of technology that is useful (e.g., BLE) we give up security & privacy.

Short term tho: I want that DAMN clip-on phone streamer for my Oticon Opn! <:-(0)

So far only the Oticon Opn is the first ever HA that has the IoT (IFTTT) option available, so I’ll discuss your concern specific to the OPN because I don’t know how other HA mfgs will implement their own IoT features if/when they come out with it for their own HAs. But for the OPN, Oticon develops an app for smart phones called the ON app that actually works on Android as well as iPhones. Which makes it a little confusing because we’re been saying that direct streaming on the OPN is ONLY available with iPhones using the Apple proprietary low energy language (communication protocol), and not available on Android phones, so why is there still an ON app for Android phones?

Well, apparently Oticon decided to create the ON app for Android phones as well, using the current regular Bluetooth connection for control, but not for audio streaming. The audio streaming is the part that sucks the most energy and requires the BLE protocol, but simple volume control and other mode controls don’t suck up too much battery juice because they’re short and simple commands, compared to constant streams of audio data. So using regular Bluetooth on Android phones for the ON app is OK as long as audio streaming is disabled, which it is.

The way the IoT functionality works on the OPN is that you’d have to first install the ON app (on either your Android or Apple phones), then connect the ON app to your OPN. Your OPN does not really have internet connection directly all by itself. So in order for your OPN to use IoT, it has to connect to your smart phone first (via the ON app) to utilize the internet connection of your smart phone. But being connected to the ON app doesn’t automatically connect the OPN to the internet, you have to also TURN ON / ENABLE the IoT check box in the ON app as well before the ON app allows your OPN to talk to the internet. So this is your ON/OFF switch right there, in the ON app, to allow the OPN to connect to the internet. It’s FULLY 100% under YOUR control, to allow that to happen or not. So if you don’t like it, leave the option turned off, then your HA will never be connected to the internet.

Using BLE (whenever it gets there) or the current Apple LE protocol, or the current Oticon proprietary LE protocol used by their TV adaptor 3.0 streamer, does not in anyway require or connect the OPN to the internet. That’s all private communication right there.

You may also wonder why Oticon can’t just make the OPN compatible with the old neck streamer (and the old 2.0 TV streamer as well). Why have to build a brand new neck streamer and make people wait for it? That’s because this new BLE standard is using a higher 2.4 GHz bandwidth, which is not compatible with the older wireless technology used by the old neck streamer and TV streamer. It’s the higher 2.4 GHz bandwidth that enables faster data transmission and longer range and ultimately lower energy usage.

well you say the ha sucks, then you say the fitter sucks… and with only one ear that is profound hearing loss… why don’t you go cochlear?

I purchased the Oticon OPN Minirite’s last October, top of the line and I went with them based on their advanced technology especially in noisy situations, BUT, also for the Bluetooth connectivity to my iOS devices since both my personal and work devices are iOS. For me this has been a total failure, the audio cuts in and out, constant static sound, overall the Bluetooth portion is so horrible I have had to disable them. Firmware updated and still nothing.

I emailed the provider since I am about a two months past the trial window and I am hoping there is something they can do to help, perhaps an exchange for a different model or a partial credit towards a different model would be nice. Given the cost of HA’s I simply cannot afford to just buy them again out of pocket.

I have a static issue as well. You should have a 3 year manuf warranty. Mine are in repair currently under warranty for the static issue.

I participated in the free trial of the Oticon Opn HA’s in December 2016. I started out with the Opn2 for a couple weeks and then switched to Opn1. The Opn1’s were a lot better for me than the Opn2’s. I hoped the Opn2 would perform as well as the Opn1 because of the big price difference. I purchased the Opn1’s in January. These are my first HA’s. I’ve had hearing loss since I was 7 and I’m now 60. I’m hearing sounds that I never have heard before. I couldn’t be more happy with the Opn1’s.

I talked to my audiologist and she said that most of her patients who had worn HA’s for a long time were not happy with the Opn. They complained about hearing too many distracting sounds that were not there with their previous HA’s. I had her set a profile in mine that makes the HA’s more directional. If I’m watching TV or if I’m talking to someone in a noisy room, I switch to the directional profile. My first day in my office with the HA’s, I picked up the phone and realized the receiver doesn’t work well when directly over the ear canal. I learned I have to hold the receiver above my ear where the mics are located on the HA’s. I have now figured out the best option for me is to forward my office phone to my iPhone. That works really well.

This is very true. As a long time HA wearer, I was not happy with the Opn initially because I expected it to block out distracting noise like my old HAs. But after I understood why the OPN doesn’t do that, I reset my expectation, and gradually my brain hearing learns to tune out the distracting noise anyway. I think Oticon and the audis need to do a much better job setting the right expectation with their clients so they won’t be dissatisfied with it in the first place because the OPN behaves very different in this regard.

Another option, if you don’t want to or can’t reroute your office phone to your iPhone, other than holding the receiver above your ear, is to temporarily move your HA from above your ear to the inside well of your ear, then hold the receiver like you normally would. For short calls I wouldn’t bother doing this. But for longer phone calls, it’d worth doing.

“temporarily move your HA from above your ear to the inside well of your ear, then hold the receiver like you normally would.” I tried this method, but got tremendous feedback. How do you avoid the feedback?

Usually most HAs have a feedback management control but the audi has to run it usually on the first fitting to get it set for the client. It also depends on the level of amplification and how much venting your HA has. I have a single vent dome on my Opn and I can put my hands over my HAs or lie on the side on the pillow or wear any kind of headphones without feedback after my feedback control has been ran and set for me. But if I switch to a double vent dome then I have a slight feedback if I have headphones on.

Yeah, so unless you can get the feedback on your HAs under control 100% somehow, my suggested method is not going to work.

EXACTLY what I experienced, too! Feedback stood my hair vertical. I simply don’t know how Volusiano does this, and he even posted a picture to SHOW that the entire BTE unit with mic is tucked nicely into his ear cup. I simply can’t do that. However, another tip he shared DOES work: have the audiologist enable AutoPhone. Now, this may not work for everyone, cuz you have to hold the phone like ROCK STEADY over that sweet spot above the mic behind your ear. But if your phone has a magnet, it will kick in, and boost the volume of the phone call. When mine kicks in, it works beautifully, but it does also wobble between AutoPhone and default programs if the magnet isn’t powerful enough, or the phone moves too far away from that sweet spot.

And that is why I wait patiently for the clip-on streamer that may SOME DAY be released for this Opn miniRITE. There’s simply no better way to hear on the phone than to have the sound streamed (hands-free!) into both ears.

So: when I put my hands over my ears, covering them completely, I DO get feedback! Maybe that’s why I can’t just tuck them into my ear cup. But I think that is as good as it gets for me. My aud-guy did run feedback mgt, and if I cover JUST the receiver unit in the ear, I get zero feedback, which tells me that my power domes have a good seal. I just don’t think I can ever get the mic unit to not screech when covered up with my hands.

I’m really surprised that with the power dome, which I think is supposedly completely sealed, that you still have feedback.

Feedback by definition is the amplified sound finding its way back to the mic, causing it to be amplified further, round and round in a loop, which gets really loud.

So maybe your power dome still has a vent somewhere? I would still ask your audi next time you see him to check the power domes for vent leaks and rerun the feedback management again. If I’m using a bass dome with a single vent and don’t get feedback, I’m not sure why a power dome would cause feedback. You should ask the audi to double check and rerun the feedback management test again. Maybe he thought he did but he didn’t… I’ve heard from other Oticon wearers and haven’t heard any of them complain about feedback issues until now.