Phonak P90 vs. Oticon More 1 vs. Costco Alternatives

I’m shopping for hearing aids at the moment and have a demo set of Phonak P70s and just bought a pair of KS10s from Costco to try. I have a pretty linear moderate hearing loss with some more roll off in the high end but am trying to get good speech understanding with good sound quality overall that sounds as natural as sound can be from a HA.

I had a couple of questions that I’m having a hard time find answers to that I’m hoping some of you may be able to shine some light on or point me to the correct resource.

A few points before my questions

  1. I like the Phonak paradise HAs in that I can hear speech clearly, even in noisy environments (wedding, restaurant, etc.). I don’t like that everything sounds overly exaggerated and loud noises such as my dog barking almost sound mechanical. This may be a fitting issue but coming from my Widex Beyonds, these sound much less natural though speech is clear

  2. I liked the KS10s for the same reason I liked the paradise and as expected, they sounded identical to me

  3. Im in my late 30s so still fairly young and just want the best overall sound solution while still being able to understand people well. Ideally, I would like the HAs to not color the sound around me but to just give a fairly accurate representation of what it really sounds like.

Now for my questions

  1. Is there any reason to purchase the phonaks over the KS10s? I was very happy with the tech at Costco, more so than any audi I’ve been to at this point, and have no reason to doubt that they could fit the HAs as well as a AuD

  2. Could someone explain to me the main differences between the More1 and the P90/KS10 from a practical point of view. I’ve read the white papers and all of the marketing but a lot of it is just marketing. If someone has tried both of these out and has good experience with the brands, I’d love to hear your take on the Oticons. They seem very interesting to me and *might be a better option for my goals?

  3. Is there a Costco option for the More1? Obviously the KS10 is well known to be just about 1:1 with the paradise p90 but I just can’t find any concrete information regarding the Oticon More and Costco. Following, is there any reason to not go with the Costco version of these (assuming there is one) with the assumption that I’m happy with the person fitting them?

  4. Any other observations, advice, brands I should be considering. I’ve read this forum a ton and gotten a LOT of great info but I’m always happy to learn more and consider other options and experiences.

Thank you all for your help. This forum has been invaluable to me since finding it a few weeks ago and I couldn’t have found a better group of informed people!

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This explains the difference between the P90 and the KS10.

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I don’t have personal experience with these HAs, but in general, if you don’t like to hear everything in a noisy environment and prefer to focus on the speech in front, the P90/KS10 will do a very good job with this. If you don’t like mechanical noises like the fan noise, HVAC noise, road noise, engine noise, refrigerator noise, humming motor sounds, etc., then the P90/KS10 will probably block these sounds out more aggressively than the More. But it’s not to say that you won’t hear anything else but speech. You can still hear a lot of the sounds if you want, depending on which program you choose.

It’s not because the More is not good at doing the blocking of these noises, it’s mostly because Oticon doesn’t choose to block out these noises aggressively on purpose, because it subscribes to the open paradigm that fits better with people who prefer to hear more of their surrounding sounds even in noisy places, but still be able to get help with speech when it’s noisy. The More does have a Booster mode that does more aggressive beam forming to block out more surrounding sounds and focus on sounds in the front more, to give you a closer experience like the P90/KS10. You just have to enable it manually, or program 1 of the 4 programs they have that way and select that program.

The Oticon marketing materials and whitepapers made this differentiation pretty clearly. It’s not “just marketing b.s.”, it’s a real and salient difference that they point out in their materials between how Oticon chooses to manage sounds through what it calls the open paradigm vs the traditional way.

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Geez, @Volusiano, I’m not sure that I can agree with you on this. One of the first thing I noticed when I got my More1s was how effective they were at recognizing and attenuating the sound of the HVAC fans above the entrance to the university where MrsSpudgunner works.

I find that the More’s DNN recognizes the sounds of “noise”, and attenuates them. It also recognizes the sounds of speech and enhances them.

There is a panoply of sounds in between that it doesn’t classify as either speech or noise (seagulls, crows, my beard trimmers, my dogs barking) and neither attenuates nor enhances these. I think these help define the Open Soundscape.

But my experience over the past 6 months is that Oticon has done a pretty thorough job of teaching their DNN to recognize what one would generally classify as “noise” and then to attenuate it.

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@SpudGunner Oh, don’t get me wrong, Jim, the Oticon OPN as well as the More both do try to attenuate well placed noise sources by using a directionality system that uses a beam former called MVDR to constantly mix the omnidirectional signals and the noise signals to create null directions and increase the SNR (see first screenshot below). This is done in the OPN Balance module (see second screenshot), or in the case of the More, it’s done in the Spatial Balancer (see second screenshot below). Then the OPN does further “diffused” noise removal from speech in front with the Noise Removal module, and in the case of the More, it does further discrete sounds rebalancing in the Neural Noise Suppression module.

So I’m not saying that the Oticon OPN and More don’t attenuate well placed noise sources AT ALL. They actually do, as explained above. But there’s blocking out well placed noise sources aggressively regardless, which is done by the traditional HAs like the P90/KS10, and there’s attenuation of well placed noise sources, but not as aggressively, like in the case of the OPN and the More.

I’m guessing, Jim, that you can still hear the HVAC fans if you choose to listen to it, but it’s been attenuated enough so that it doesn’t bother you anymore (probably partly due to the attenuation, and partly due to your brain hearing now used to tuning it out). Plus if there’s speech going on around you, it’ll help you focus better on the speech due to the rebalancing of the sound scene as well. With my OPN, I personally still would hear the HVAC fan, but it’s been attenuated so it doesn’t bother me anymore, and also because my brain tunes it out as well. But if I want to hear it, I can find it there. Same with my refrigerator in the kitchen which is behind where I usually sit, for example.

If you look at Figure 4 of the first screenshot, you will see that the null directions (the attenuation as represented by the white area inside the omni directional circle) only applies to the 2 cars. But it’s not completely white. There’s still some gray area in the direction of both cars, so you still would hear them if you listen. So although not as loud, they’re not gone completely. They’re attenuated, but not blocked/removed. On the other hand, there is no null direction for the 2 speakers on the front right and the rear left; or for other sounds that are not well placed noise sources in the rest of the gray area inside the circle.

This is different than the front beam forming of the traditional HAs. The front beam forming would have shown pretty much all white on the sides and in the back, and gray in the front area only. So yeah, you probably almost don’t hear the noise from the 2 cars (at least not from the HAs, but maybe some from the vent if you have vented domes or molds), but you wouldn’t be able to hear the speaker from the rear left either. Of course, the autosense feature for the traditional HAs would not always be in a program with the front beam forming. It would only switch you to a front beam forming program automatically if you enter into a noisy/complex environment. So you don’t always have the “blinder” so to speak, unless your environment starts to get very noisy. In simpler environments, you can probably still hear lots more sounds around you.



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Yes, V - this is exactly right. Thanks for your great explanation. I understand now what you were saying in your comparison of the two aids.

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Could this be an effect of your Neural Noise Suppresion settings?
I know you and @Volusiano ascribe to the get More from your More rationale, that maxing out these settings is best practice for the More 1.

Yes, :zap:Flash:zap: , you’re correct - but (and I know that you understand what I’m about to say, but I’ll repeat the mantra, anyway:) the hearing aids only apply as much noise suppression as the situation warrants. All “maxing out” the setting does is to remove the arbitrary cap that Oticon places on the feature, for reasons known only to themselves.

You’ve received the engineering pov from @Volusiano,and @SpudGunner, but neither of them have actually tried both.
I admittedly have NOT tried the Paradise, but did spend 3 months wearing the predecessor, Phonak Marvel.
I had spent 3 years with the Oticon OPN, but my audi recommended the Marvel based on the fact they use bluetooth classic, and stream directly to android, which is my preference.
She did indicate the sound would be different, and from your description, this is exactly true.
We did achieve a fairly close sound as I was accustomed to from Oticon, however I could never adjust to the Phonak Autosense paradigm.
Supposedly the Paradise/KS10 have improved it, but I much prefer Oticon’s approach to letting you decide what you wish to focus on.
I’m currently wearing the Oticon More, and, at least for me, it is a much better fit.
There are many, many Phonak users on this forum, and most are very happy, so it is indeed a matter of personal preference.
Fortunately, the KS10 at Costco carries a 6 month trial period, which gives ample time to acclimate, and decide if you’re happy.

The answer to that is no.
To try the Oticon, you’d have to visit an authorized Oticon seller.

As you’ve discovered by perusing this forum, there are many options, and all the top brands are excellent.
The bottom line, is the fit.If you find a really good HCP who’ll take the time to set up any of the HA’s from the big 6, you should be well served.

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I know, I know, but go to the last post on @ubabopepton’s thread on "First Impression of Oticon More 1, you’ll get his perspective on the topic, which is why Oticon only applies what they “Think” you need.

The Audiology On-Line course of the More 1st fit details the fact the settings should be left at default, unless the user experiences difficulty, as Ubabopepton points out.
So…ya know?

I didn’t take that course because I had already been fitted and didn’t think there was anything to be gained. Obviously, I was wrong.

I won’t be able to discuss this intelligently until I take that course … could take me a day or so, as I’m busy tomorrow.

That done, I’ll be back in a proverbial :zap: Flash :zap:

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I think I’ll take that course, too, even though I don’t have the More right now. I’ve always been curious why Oticon sets up the max default for the Neural Noise Suppression to be lower to begin with, but on the other hand, their online Help menu boasts that the More knows how to apply just enough and not over do it. Something doesn’t add up to me to this day -> they’re saying one thing yet they’re doing a different thing. If they have good justification for it, that’s fine. I just don’t want to have to pay for the premium More 1 and leave it at the default which cripples it to the level of the More 2 or 3 if I can help it. If I’m happy with a lower default, I’d rather just pay less money for the More 2 or 3. So hopefully I can find that justification I’m looking for from the Audiology course on the More.

Regarding @ubabopepton 's thread and that he thinks the max default at high value is taking out too much clarity for him, that was my read in the beginning as well, but then he kinda backed off from it a little bit and said he should experiment some more with the higher max values other than the default values and report back. So I’m hoping for more clarity from him after he’s had a chance to play with it some more.

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Hello,

I’m ubabopepton, the one who posted the impression on the other thread. First of all, I’m sorry that I made it a little bit confused. I was a little bit rush at that moment because of an urgent phone call.

Yes, you are right.
The more I increase the noise suppression, the more I lose the sharpness and clarity. However, the sound is comforting even though I can feel a little bit of ear-fullness when I stay in the quiet area.
That’s why I kept the default setting from the initial adjustment, which is ‘No Neural Noise Suppression’ on the easy environment and ‘Middle noise suppression(8db)’ on the difficult environment, for now.

When I adjust to the higher setting of the Virtual outer ear from “balanced” to “aware,” the high-frequency sounds have some noise a little bit but have better sharpness and clarity. However, the downside of the ‘aware’ setting is that the noise around the high frequency makes me a little bit less focused. Because suddenly, I feel like I catch too much emphasized the ‘sh’ sound from whole sentences. That’s why I’ve kept it as “balanced” because it’s the convenient and better compromising option for me to get the optimum directional sound.

For the sound enhancer, this is the part I had been working on to find my best setting. When I make a "detail’ sound enhancer with the highest noise reduction (10db), I can hear more comfortably in the mid-difficult surrounding, and there is no loss for the dialogue. However, when I expose to difficult surroundings such as lots of noise from all directions, even from the ceiling, it makes me feel overwhelmed. I can hear the sentence, but I am easily distracted due to the too much noise. But, when I set up middle noise reduction(8db) with a balanced-sound enhancer, I can hear and pay attention to the conversation without any distractions. Unfortunately, I lose the variety of sounds a little bit.

I’ve changed a bit of environment configuration along with the above setting again, but I can’t feel any difference. That’s why I do not play with environment configuration.

Therefore, depending on the hearing loss, I think noise reduction would be beneficial, I think. However, like me, who has hearing loss around high-frequency, clarity and sharpness are primary parts of having a better understanding.

I’ve attached the info from the OTICON-Study.

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Thanks for the update here, @ubabopepton ! Indeed personal preferences will vary between individuals.

An obvious solution, since one can have up to 4 programs, is to have the default program P1 to your most preferred settings, even if it uses less than the max Neural Noise Suppression value the premium of your More tier can handle, that’s still OK.

Then simply have another program that contains the most aggressive max Neural Noise Suppression value to match up with the Max your premium tier level can deliver. That way, when you’re in a very noisy place and wish you can get the max noise suppression your premium tier can handle, even at the expense of less clarity on other sounds, as long as you get the best speech understanding, then you can simply manually switch to this “aggressive” program.

So you can have it both ways and not have to compromise one way or another. You still get to tap into the highest capability that the tier of your premium level of the More has available if/when you need to, without really have it go to waste just because you want to settle for a lesser max Neural Noise Suppression value in your default P1 program.

I’m in the same boat as you, and I really don’t quite understand what “full feeling” in the ear means when describing sounds.

There are a couple of seminars on AO that I’ll take in later today. I hope they can defog my windshield!

But the day after Doctor Cliff posted his video I got a firmware update in my KS10.0T aids, which gave them the tap sensitivity adjustment feature too.

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That’s a very apropos concept @Volusiano.
@ubabopepton thanks for your insight. I haven’t even come colse to going as far as you with Genie, but my Mores seem to have some issues which will require returning them for replacement when I visit my audi on the 29th.
Meanwhile I reprogrammed my OPN S’s and have been enjoying the return to OPN sound.
Hopefully I can get the More’s up to speed in the coming weeks.

I can only find bits & pieces on the rationale for the Neural Noise Suppression settings, but from everything I read, Oticon seems to feel the Max value is only for extreme cases, and is one of the reasons to invest in the More 1 tier.
Seems for most average hearing loss users the More 2 would be fine, if that’s the case.
But the More 1 gives you the reserve, if and when you need it.

I see a few courses on the More there. Can you clarify which one you’re referring to here, @flashb1024?


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Well, I registered for the 3rd course from the screenshot in the post above (Genie 2 Fitting Focus Series: Customizing MoreSound Intelligence Settings). The screenshot below is the transcript of the lecturer about why/when to increase the Max value for Neural Noise Suppression in Difficult environment.

My take from this transcript is that there is still no reason or explanation given here on this course on why you can’t just set it to the Max that the tier level you have can afford. So my question remains unanswered.

My question is "Why not be able to just set it to the max value your tier HA can afford if your online help says that the More is smart enough to only judiciously apply the appropriate amount of suppression only as necessary, and not always apply the max value."

Below is the transcript focused on setting the Neural Noise Suppression max value for Difficult Environment. Note that if you have the More 1, it can be set to 10 dB max value but the default is only set to 8 dB max value.

So what is the trade-off between 8db and 10db?