Oticon Real 1 vs Philips Hearlink 9040 (huge price difference)

Maybe yours is newer? The one I saw didn’t have Costco/Kirkland included at all. Phillips, Oticon, and Phonak were all 75.

This states it’s from Winter of 2021. Also said differences of less than 6 points are not meaningful.

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You have to read CR or any other reviewer pretty closely. They may value things you don’t. They may value things that shouldn’t be valued.

CR once caused the sale of many cameras because they recommended a camera based on its flexibility and wide choice of accessories. The camera turned out not to be durable, so readers bought the (expensive) camera and 2 years later had to buy another one. One well-financed review site looked at coffee makers and rated automation higher than the taste of the coffee. CR rated cell phones based on the proposition that they all worked well as phones, when I know damn well that I could hear calls better through some phones than through others.

I did not find the CR review of HAs very useful.

HAs success seems to be individual. I liked the Philips 9010 better than the other Costc offerings back in 2019. I found the 9030 to be better than the 9010, but the Jabra Pro 10 better still. Others prefer the 9030 to the Pro 10s. Still others rave about Phonak. Some musicians like Widex; some like Oticon.

The problem is that we don’t know what will work best for us. It takes time to get used to an aid, and most of us simply can’t try everything.

I think the best approach available to the vast majority of us is to try out an aid and decide if the improvement is worth the cost. If so, buy; if not, try another aid.

There will always be something out there that someone raves about. That person might be correct - maybe they did find the single best solution for them. The problem is that person A’s best solution isn’t necessarily going to be person B’s.

So my advice is to try an aid. If the improvement is worth the cost, buy; if not, try another aid.

I don’t think 5 days is enough time. If you’re US-based, governments have generally mandated certain trial periods. I think IL, for example, requires a minimum 30 day trial.

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Can you explain major difference between Real 1 and Philips 9040? I was told they are the same so am curious about differences. Thanks

I don’t know exact differences. Jabra sells resound aids with their label, so they are the same aids. Philips and Oticon are two separate companies under the same umbrella. I believe they share some technology but I haven’t seen anywhere that they are the same devices.

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The Philips HearLink 9030 and 9040 uses AI to train itself to do better noise reduction from noisy speech. Below is an illustration of how it does that. It feeds a noisy speech input sample through the AI engine (one at a time) and observes the (cleaned up speech) output result and compare it against the same speech sample that does not have any noise in it. If the comparison is not a good match, the AI engine tweaks itself (by mathematically adjusting its coefficients inside the engine to help reduce/minimize the discrepancies) so that hopefully in the next training cycle, with another noisy speech sample set of data, it’ll do better. The training went through hundreds of thousands of these samples until the AI engine is deemed effective enough for cleaning up the noisy speech.

The Oticon More and Real uses AI as well, and particularly it uses a subset of AI called DNN (Deep Neural Network) to train itself. But instead of training itself on noisy speech samples (with clean no-noise speech samples as reference to compare against the AI engine’s outputs), the scope of the Oticon DNN is much broader. It’s not just about the noisy speech samples anymore like with the Philips HearLink, but it’s now processing a whole sound scene at a time.

Below is an illustration of the Oticon DNN with various sound scenes as an input. Each vertical line represent a neural phase, each circle a neuron, with the first phase breaking down the sound scene into various sound components, then transform and combine these sound components into more grouping at the next level, then more grouping at the next level, and so on (not necessarily just only 3 levels as shown here for simplicity), until the whole sound scene that was originally read in get reproduced again at its output. This is the forward propagation phase. Then it compares the resulting reproduced sound scene against the original sound scene to see how well they match. If they don’t match well, it does backward propagation to tweak the relationship between each neuron (by tweaking the mathematical coefficient values representing the lines connecting circular representation here) to help minimize the discrepancies between the final output and the referenced sound scene. Then the next sound scene is pushed through the DNN and more tweaking occurs for each sound scene to make the DNN better and better (more accurate) over time as more sound scenes are used to train the DNN. In the end, a total 12 million sound scenes were used to train the Oticon DNN.

Note that both the Philips and Oticon AI training took place up front in the labs (which is a form of supervised learning). They don’t do unsupervised continuous learning with real live information presented to the real users of the aids in real time.

So the main difference here is their core AI technologies → Oticon trained their DNN at the sound scene level (using 12 million sound scenes), but Philips train their AI at the noisy speech sample level (using hundreds of thousands of speech samples). We can deduce here that Philips is particularly interested in using the AI power to focus primarily on reducing noise in speech. If this means that the surrounding sounds get removed/attenuated just to get better/clear speech, then so be it.

And indeed so, because a forum member who wore the Oticon OPN tried out the HearLink 9030, liked it a lot for its great speech in noise clarity, but then switched over to the More because he prefers and is used to the open paradigm from his OPN, because with the HearLink, he feels that he doesn’t get to hear everything he wants to hear in noisy places, although he can hear speech very well in noisy places. You can search for the Philips 9030 threads here on this forum and will find this particular one I mentioned.

Meanwhile, Oticon, with their open paradigm in mind, is not just interested in speech alone, but also interested in all the surrounding sounds as well. So Oticon basically breaks down the whole sound scene into various sound components in that scene, and chooses to balance out all the components of that sound scene so that everything can be heard, but albeit “rebalanced” to prioritize on speech and give less priority (hence more attenuation, but not totally blocked out) to sound components that may be considered noise, like car traffic on the road, waves noise in the ocean, fan noise in an AC room, babbles of speaking voices in a restaurant.

The Real has added 2 new features from the More, 1) the sudden sound stabilizer and 2) the wind & handling stabilizer. The Philips 9040 added the same 2 features from the 9030, and they call the technology containing these 2 features the SoundProtect technology. So from the peripheral technologies perspective, the Oticon and Philips aids (starting with the OPN and 9030 respectively) are very similar. Nevertheless, their core technologies are still different and not the same.

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Thank you Volusiano for your excellent explanation. I appreciate you explaining that in terms I can understand.

How do you rate the Philips 9040 with the Real? It obviously does not have quite as high a sound quality. I am interested in improved hearing in noisy environments but my biggest issue is hearing people with low voices in meetings of 8 to 10 people. The Jabra Pro has improved that a lot. I am anxious to see how the 9040 does.

Since the Jabra Pro 10 (Omnia) is competitive with the Real, where does that leave the 9040 vs the Jabra Pro 10? I believe one of the strong points of the Jabra is handling background noise.

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I cannot rate any hearing aid that I don’t wear, and I currently wear the OPN 1, so I can’t tell you what I think about the Real and the 9040 because I don’t wear either of them. Even if I do wear either of them, my rating would be irrelevant to you because we have different hearing loss, and even if we have identical hearing loss, your experience can still be different than mine.

The Philips 9040 is only $1700 from Costco, and the Real is not available at Costco, and it can run anywhere between $3500 to $5K, depending on whom you buy it from. So if money is an issue, the 9040 has a big edge over the Real already. I would say that with the Jabra Pro 10 and the Philips 9040 being competitively priced, I think it’d make sense to try out these 2 and compare them and not bother with the Real, as long as either of them (the Jabra or the Philips) can meet your need already.

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This has been a very helpful discussion. Any comments about comparing the Rexton currently offered by Costco?

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Like you mean, how they are the same as the Signia AX.

Hello members,
What great responses & information for me to move forward with. I’ve returned the Oticon and have ordered the 9040 from Costco. Will give them a good trial.
Thank you all, glad I found this forum

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Are these prices (estimates) for one aid or the pair? Trying to get a handle on how prices are quoted in this forum…

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Yeah it’s one of the common things people want to know when they’ve been quoted 7 or 8k for premium models, it always for a pair on this forum, but you’ll find some online retailers trying to be a bit underhand with their prices and quoting for one to look like their the cheapest in town.

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Couple of questions. Sorry if slightly off topic. Is the 9040 specifically available as a BTE?

Also - if it is comparable with the Oticon Real - then it must be one of the strongest offerings Costco are doing currently. Does one need the connect clip for bluetooth streaming on android?

I would agree that if I didn’t have the money to buy the Oticon Real or More, I would go for the Philips 9040 at Costco for $1700 as a cousin model. I wouldn’t say that it’s comparable. I would say that it has a lot of similar technologies except when it comes down to the core. I would definitely not say that it’s the same, not like how the KS10 is the exactly the same as the Phonak Paradise down to the core, sans tinnitus.

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If my hearing would be noticable better with the Oticon Real over the Philips, I would pay the money and move on. I can read about the technology all day, which is cool, but which one performs and helps me hear in better in multiple situations? It’s difficult to try both of them because of the time involved and upfront money you have to pay. That’s why it’s useful to hear other’s experience who have a similar hearing loss. I’ve bought premium models in the past and they haven’t been any better than the CC models.

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The actual hardware is identical. Both built on the SBO DA_AU5_MNR_R – fcc id 2ACAHAU5MRTRC (assuming we’re talking about the rechargable variants). The software may make a difference, but I suspect it’ll be minor at best. Bigger difference will be whichever audiologist is able to spend more time with you and tweak them.

Interestingly, both the 9030 and More are also based on that same hardware platformm. Seems like it’s only software differentiating the two generations this time around. Makes me wonder if these things can be crossflashed with a little bit of ingenuity… but that’s not a rabbit hole I’m going down with devices that cost nearly 10% of my yearly income and are vital to my day to day functioning.

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The initial setup is based on your audiogram and REM. There shouldn’t be much difference between using Costco or any other HCP.

After wearing for a couple of weeks you may want to make tweaks. Here the experience of the HCP could make a difference, but another approach is to use DIY for tweaking. The software is surprisingly easy to use. This is the approach I am taking. I really like being able to make minor changes.

Can you share with us where you found this kind of information? Any public link? This is very interesting info to learn about some more. Thanks.

It’s here, lots of good information on bluetooth module as well.

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