Oticon OPN vs. Alta

I have been a wearer of Oticon Alta for 3+ years, and before that the Oticon Dual. Going from Dual to Alta was life-changing. Speech had never been clearer. I am now debating whether to invest the $1,000s needed to upgrade from the Alta to the OPN. Does anybody have experience with both? And is the technological leap going from Alta to OPN 1 as great as going from Dual to Alta seemed to be? Thank you!

We both wore Oticon Alta Pro’s. She switched to Oticon Opn 1’s and I will switch to Opn 1’s in the coming months. But we don’t pay thousands. We buy used and pay 100’s (generally around $500, but buying used is not for everyone).

I could not pry her away from the Opn 1’s even if I used a crow bar. It’s difficult for her to articulate why the Opn’s are better. She just hears everything better.

Oh, if you have not yet done so you might search for some of the detailed descriptions about Opn technology by @Volusiano, for example;


I also used Delta’s. Went to Intega’s they were better. Went to Alta 2 Pro’s they were better. Went to OPN and they were in a totally different category…I never expected to hear this well again! Huge improvement, for me.

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I’ve been wearing the OPN for several days now and am doing worse than I was with the Alta HAs. What exactly is it that you’ve noticed, that makes the OPN so much better than Alta? Is it the programs (eg, speech in noise, lecture settings) or is it the baseline function of the aids overall? The audiologist imported the program from my old Alta HAs but then changed all of the compression ratios because she said they were too high (>2.0) so I suspect this might be the issue.

Choose a second program to have the original installed and see.

I am not a professional but this seems odd? Maybe we are losing something-in-translation?

When I programmed my wife’s Opn 1’s there were no Alta settings that I wanted to use. Her Audiogram readings were the only information I was interested in carrying over to the Opn’s. Chose the correct receivers/acoustics-domes, then enter experience (short/long term), answer the five interview questions (see below) pertaining to comfort-or-clarity settings. After letting Genie 2 prescribe the initial settings and a little fine tuning she was happy with the settings.

I would say forget the old settings and set up the new hearing aids with the new hearing test. I had a pro set up new hearing aids one time from previous aids, and I know they mean well, but they never worked right, never worked as well as the old ones.

Ditto on this for me.

Thanks for all the feedback. So I’ve been using the OPNs now for a couple of weeks and I have noticed absolutely no difference between them and my old Altas. This includes the same difficulties hearing what people are saying around a large table in a boardroom like setting, and last night at a play I was sitting front row, the actors were essentially yelling, and yet even with the new hearing aids my speech recognition was probably ~50% and closer to 60% when I changed to “lecture” mode. I’m wondering if I were to see an audiologist would they do anything differently than my current audiologist. We are using the Genie software to fit them based on my latest audiogram. Also, when I connect to my phone my hearing aids are set to 64% maximal volume by default. Is that supposed to be the case? Am I not supposed to be using them at 100%? When I increase the vol. to 100%, and either change HA modes, or turn the HAs off and on, it goes back to the default setting of 64%. Thanks everyone and anyone for your help. It’s a little frustrating that I’m already $500 in the hole just for trying these out, and I don’t get the money back even if I decide not to keep them past the trial period.

The most I have heard charged for a trial is $200. Sounds like you signed a bad contract.

The 64% is what they set the aids to to acclimate you. You can run them up to 100% then ask that they be set to full prescription.

Next time out, I’d look for a different provider.

Ah, that seems more likely, as opposed to importing your old Alta settings. btw> You Audi is using Genie 2, not Genie. Now what about the Five Interview questions from Genie 2. How were those entered into Genie 2?


Actually if the default is at 64%, that is the level for your prescribed amplification. They set it to 64% so you have some room to increase your gain to be louder than prescribed if you need to, like to hear a soft voice or simply to hear things louder. Otherwise, if it’s already at 100%, then there’s no room to go up anymore.

How much headroom you have left between the prescribed level and 100% depends on the size of the receiver fitted for you. If the receiver size is borderline for your loss, there may not be much headroom left from your prescribed level. If it’s a much bigger receiver than you need, then there may be more headroom.

This is different from the acclimatization. I’m already at 100% acclimatization and my default volume level is still at 64%.

Assuming that your provider didn’t simply transfer your Alta settings over to the OPN settings, but they use Genie 2 (NOT Genie) from scratch and enter in your audiogram manually into Genie 2 to get a brand new prescription from Genie 2 and not your old prescription from the Alta, you may still not notice a difference, depending on what your hearing loss is.

Since you don’t post your audiogram, we don’t know if you would be a good candidate for the OPN or not. There is a forum member (@1Bluejay) who has pretty bad low frequency loss and the OPN didn’t help her much either and she had the Alta Pro like you. She eventually switched to the Phonak Audeo B Direct and she was much happier with those aids.

Please take a few minutes to post your audiogram in your profile as it may help a lot to understand if the OPN may work well for that loss or not.

As suggested by Volusiano, you may want to post an audiogram. I can tell you from my own experience, YES, I’ve worn the Oticon Alta for 5+ years (they are still my dependable backup aids) and trialed the Oticon OPNs for 9 months before throwing in the towel. My aud-guy is SUPER understanding, as I’ve been his patient for 10+ years. We both knew that I’d tried every tweak & fine-tune to get the OPNs to work for me, without success.

I found that compared to the much older Alta Pros, my OPN aids amplified a UNIVERSE of confusing sounds that overwhelmed the speech frequency. The aids were useless in malls, airports, restaurants, anywhere there was an HVAC system humming (or roaring) in the background. Pretty much 85% of the places I frequent.

I traded them in for Phonak Audeo B-Direct, and LOVE these aids, which I’ve now worn for just about a year. They are not perfect in noisy places, but I can live with them. They deliver a crispness of sound superior to my Altas, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the hands-free, device-free streaming with my Android phone.