Sonic Enchant 100 vs Oticon OPN 1

Hello, what are the differences between Sonic Enchant 100 BTE 105 and Oticon OPN 1 BTE 13 PP (105)?
How to spot these differences during a trial wearing? mentions that they are comparable, the numbers in specifications look very similar, but feature names are completely different.
From a development point of view, they should have the same processing hardware (it’s too costly to perform completely parallel development within one holding). But certain capabilities can be turned off by the manufacturer for marketing purposes.

My granny (with no HA experience) will be trialing Sonic for a week, at the end of the week, she is going to compare it with Oticon (no trial for Oticon, just one fitting session) and decide what fits her best. Knowing the differences will help during the comparison.

Age: 86. Audiogram:

125 250 500 1000 2000 4000 8000
L 40 40 45 45 55 60 65
R 30 35 35 40 60 65 75

Oticon OPN miniRITE Features
Sonic Enchant miniRITE Features

Oticon OPN BTE 13 PP FeaturesOticon OPN BTE 13 PP Instructions for use

Sonic Enchant BTE Features
Sonic Enchant BTE User Guide

Unless she wants to try out different hearing aids, I’d just try sticking with the Sonics. Hearing aids take awhile to get used to, especially in this case where she’s going from no hearing aids to very powerful hearing aids. Just encourage her to use them. If she won’t wear them or complains and the audiologist can’t adjust them to her satisfaction, then consider trialing other aids. Trying to pick the “best” hearing aid is a fruitless endeavor.

You say she will try one for a week and the other in the office… An absolute waste of time!

Thanks for comments MDB, Doc Jake.
If she won’t be able to compare, is there any other criteria I can consider to make the right choice?

PS: local Sonic sellers provide one week trial only, Oticon sellers don’t offer any trial.

Where are you located Art? Here (US) I don’t know of a clinic that won’t do at least thirty days; although they may also have a “restocking” fee which goes to them and not the manufacturer. Costco give 180 days free.

The thing is there is a period of getting use to the new amplification. That can take a month and even more. So, what Jakey was really saying is that a week is way to short to know what you’re really getting.

What the trial in your location tells us is that they really don’t want an informed patient/customer. That is just too greedy.

I’m going to start off with a couple of assumptions. 1st) I’m assuming that the reason you’re involved instead of your Grandma is that she is not very independent and 2nd)that her needs are pretty straightforward. You’d basically like her to be able to understand you without yelling at her. She’s not out in public a lot where there’s a lot of background noise interfering. If these assumptions are wrong, then what follows is wrong too. Any powerful aid should help her (I don’t have her audiogram, but since you’re talking 105 receivers, I suspect her loss is pretty severe. She doesn’t need an advanced level hearing aid. Any basic aid from a major manufacturer should be a noticeable improvement. There’s a really good chance she won’t like it initially. Things will be a lot noisier and she may have grown to appreciate quiet so it’s going to take awhile to get used to them. I think we sometimes mean different things by “trial period.” For some, it’s getting to try them out without putting any money up. For others, it’s how long do you have to return them and get a full (or mostly full) refund. You should get at least 30 days (preferably longer) of the latter kind of trial. Anyway, I wouldn’t worry about picking the right hearing aid, more like the right hearing aid person. I don’t know what options are open to you or where you live.

To Art: according to the audiogram you posted in the first post of your grandma, she doesn’t need the 105dB receivers. A regular 85dB receiver will do. Heck, even a 65dB receiver may also be adequate but that’s pushing it a little, so there’s no reason not to pick the 85dB receiver over the 65dB one.

There is no way to make any good decision on the OPN with just one fitting and no trial at all. It’d be just a waste of time.

She should be able to trial the Sonic Enchant 100 for more than a week. A week is just way too short, 30 days should be the minimum trial period. Look for other providers who offer at least 30 day trials.

The Sonic Enchant 100, while cheaper than the OPN 3 (based on pricing), is still considered a premium hearing aid. If money is no object then OK. Otherwise, I think trying out the KS7 from Costco with 180 days trial policy is probably a better option and a better value at $1700.

As for your question about the differences between the Sonic Enchant and the OPN 1, I would not necessarily believe everything BuyHear says about the Enchant being the same HA as the OPN line. Like you said, I’ve also reviewed the feature names and also read through some presentations as well as some white papers on the Sonic, and the more I read, the more I’m inclined to believe that they’re not really related and they don’t necessarily share the same platform. Yes, Sonic and Oticon and Bernafon are all sister companies of William Demant, but they’re still independent and separate companies and maybe they’re kept that way for a reason, to come up with their own new and independent platforms. Another way to look at it is why would William Demant undercut their most current OPN line with a lower priced Sonic Enchant line that’s even lower priced than the most crippled OPN 3? The OPN technology is still too new to waterfall down yet.

But, having said that, there’s a forum member (chatteremail) who used to wear the OPN1 and switched over to try out the Sonic Enchant 100 and was equally impressed with it. See the link below on the posts discussing this. So I think the Enchant 100 will most likely be fine for your grandma. It’s highly likely that the KS7 will be adequate for your grandma as well, for half the price of the Sonic.

Volusiano, Thanks for pointing out audiogram. Don’t know how I missed it. I agree she doesn’t need 105s. Suspect she’ll complain it’s too loud even with smallest receiver.

I’m in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

This Sonic seller offers just 1w of trial wearing, no restocking option.
Another Sonic seller offers 1 month of trial, but not on this model, no restocking option, and they don’t work in my region.
Oticon seller doesn’t offer any trial/restocking options.
They said: “it’s a medical device”, “no one will wear used aids after you”, “we don’t work that way” …

You are right with the assumptions.
Added audiogram to the 1st message.

105 - because this is the only BTE option for Sonic Enchant and Oticon OPN.

She doesn’t need an advanced level hearing aid. Any basic aid from a major manufacturer should be a noticeable improvement.

I heard this from audiologists, but reviews on the Internet describe high-end aids as a better option. So I decided to buy good but expensive aids once and for ~4 years. Am I wrong?
She tried both aids in the office (with 4 months interval), and she liked the idea of wearing aids.

Haven’t found KS7 in Ukraine. Thanks for the link.

The Oticon seller isn’t being truthful. The manufacturers will take them back. He may be buying black market, though.

Which level depends on one’s lifestyle. In a quiet environment, all levels are very close to each other. If one discern speech fairly well in noisy environment, the intermediate level is a possible/reasonable choice. Premium helps in very difficult surrounding better but the intermediate can be relatively close for many with good word recognition scores.

My personal take (I’m a registered nurse, not an audiologist, so take it for what it’s worth) is that she wouldn’t get any additional benefit from a more advanced, expensive hearing aid. I’m from USA and know nothing about what you have available, but any current aid from Oticon, Sonic, Phonak, Unitron, Signia, Widex or Resound should be fine. Just some clarification. You mention BTE. BTE usually implies a bigger hearing aid with a tube to a fitted mold in the ear. Similar are RIC (receiver in canal) which are usually smaller and have a wire that goes to a receiver (actually a tiny speaker) in the ear. With her loss, I think a RIC would be a better fit, preferably with a smaller receiver than a 105. Something else to think about. How’s her dexterity and vision? Changing hearing aid batteries can be a bit challenging. If somebody’s around to help her once a week to change them, no big deal. If not, there are rechargeable ones available, but unless needed, don’t seem worth the cost.

MDB, KenP thanx for the suggestions.

She’s not out in public a lot where there’s a lot of background noise interfering.

Not a lot in general, but actually there are such cases (when she is out by herself or with relatives). And a lot from time to time (when relatives have a lot of spare time to go out with her).
Anyway, I don’t want her to be limited by HA. Are these enough reasons to choose high-end HA?

Audiologists recommended her BTE (with custom mold) because it is simpler in maintenance, more reliable and has better venting for an ear (according to their words). They discouraged us from miniRITE.
Her dexterity and vision are good enough to change size 13 battery, she did that at the audiologist office. (but tried the wrong side initially)

Brands you mentioned are available in the country, and I think at least half of them available in my city.

Not sure how the BTE is simpler in maintenance than the miniRITE because actually if the receiver goes bad in the miniRITE and the audi has a spare receiver, the audi can simply swap the bad receiver out and replace it with a good receiver back into the custom mold and you’re good to go again without any down time. That’s if the custom mold is designed for easy swapping (my latest custom mold for the OPN 105dB receiver is designed like that for easy swapping -> there’s a door to take the receiver out of the custom mold).

BTE more reliable? Maybe, if you think that the receiver in the canal for the miniRITE may be subjected to more moisture compared to the receiver insider BTE HA. But again, the ease of swapping out for a new receiver on the fly without any down time to send in for service negates this issue. The BTE receiver may be (big maybe) more reliable but there’s down time for service when it goes bad.

I don’t think the BTE plastic tubing and custom mold provides better venting than an encased miniRITE receiver in a custom mold that has a vent. A vent is a vent, if same size how can one be better? Unless they’re saying that the BTE mold vent can be made a lot bigger, a la open dome big. I don’t think your grandma hearing loss in the low end would allow her to be fitted with huge vent anyway.

Check out this thread where forum member bchearing tried out the OPN miniRITE with 105dB custom mold receivers vs the OPN BTE13 PP and he reported that the miniRITE 105dB receiver actually sounds louder than the BTE13 PP 105dB receivers. The seems to make sense because the miniRITE receiver sits right inside the ear canal while the BTE 105dB receiver sits way outside the ear canal, way back where the BTE HA sits. So the miniRITE receiver sittinng closer to the ear drum naturally should produce louder volume.

By the way, I think the Sonic Enchant 100 is a miniRITE in the first place. I’m not aware that there’s a BTE13 version of it (yet). Maybe down the line but not now. Only the OPN has recently come out with the BTE13 PP version. So if your grandma is trialing the Enchant 100 for a week, that’d be a miniRITE anyway.

If your grandma ends up with a miniRITE with 312 batteries, the OPN has a rechargeable option (they OEM the Z Power device) so she simply can insert the HA into the charging station every night without needing to have the dexterity to swap in/out 312 size batteries. I don’t think the Sonic has the rechargeable batteries option yet. But even if not, it seems like it’s a easily retrofiti-able option in the future. That’s what they did with the OPN ->let people swap the regular battery door with a rechargeable one later on.

Why is everyone hell bent for this guy to cheap out on granny? He obviously can afford them and evidently granny get’s around without much problem. Not sure about an AuD recommending her BTE instead of a RIC!

BuyHear would do a 60 day trial of one and THEN a 60 day trial of the other. I find it hard to believe that the Enchant 100’s wouldn’t be fine for her (I can’t tell much of a difference myself; I am wearing Enchant 100’s as we “speak”).

Regarding miniRITE speaker replacement, Oticon country distributor said that they might not have spare speakers, and waiting for the new one may take up to 2 weeks. Local sellers don’t store spare ones. They sell them for $80.

Regarding reliability, they said that BTE speaker almost never goes bad, but miniRITE speaker works about a year in average because of moisture in the ear.
Also, they said that miniRITE wire is at risk if used inaccurately (which may be the case with aged patients). On the other hand, BTE’s tube can’t be broken.

Regarding maintenance, they said that miniRITE needs wax guards to be replaced regularly. BTE needs regular tube replacement because of solidification.

Regarding vent, they said this - BTE vent can be made bigger than with miniRITE.

I asked 3 audiologists regarding miniRITE vs BTE, everybody recommended BTE and discouraged from miniRITE. One even convinced us to wait for 3 months for OPN BTE back in the spring, discouraged from miniRITE, proposed Oticon Alta2 Pro BTE. They said that they don’t offer miniRITE for aged patients. If facts from above aren’t enough then maybe it’s a local distortion with audiologists decision-making.

Does my grandma miss something wearing BTE instead of miniRITE?

There is actually Sonic Enchant 100 BTE 105, see links:
Sonic Enchant BTE Features
Sonic Enchant BTE User Guide

@Volusiano, the link to receiver comparison is wrong (OPN miniRITE 105dB vs the OPN BTE13 PP).

I find it hard to believe that the Enchant 100’s wouldn’t be fine for her

Sounds good! Actually, while fitting in the office she liked it on 100% adaptation level, more than on 80% or 90%.

Thank you all for the suggestions. As the direct comparison in our case is impossible, we won’t waste time on it and stick to Sonic. If one-week “trial wearing” goes well (without unresolvable issues) then we won’t return it.
Custom molds are ready (they’ve sent me a photo, attached), tomorrow they will arrive in our city and “trial wearing” will start.

BTW our local prices:
Oticon OPN 1 (pair) ~$5000
Oticon OPN 2 (pair) ~$3850
Sonic Enchant 100 (pair) + TV-A ~$3360
Sonic Enchant 80 (pair) ~$2600 (checked only one seller)
Sonic Enchant 60 (pair) ~$1860 (checked only one seller)

Great! Sounds like you’ve got a good plan. I’d accept that BTEs are more reliable. I expect the move towards in US towards RIC is prompted by cosmetic desirability of the smaller device and perhaps the audiologists like the idea of the customer needing to come in for routine maintenance? Thanks again for interesting posts and I wish you and your grandmother well.

Now that you’ve provided a lot more details on your reasoning (and the audis’ reasoning) for BTE and Sonic, it sounds like a good and informed decision. I agree with MDB that the miniRITE has great cosmetic desirability over the BTE, but your grandma probably wouldn’t be fussy about the cosmetic difference anyway at her age.

If availability of the miniRITE receiver is not good in Ukraine requiring a long wait for replacement, then there’s no more convenience of in-office swapping that would have been in the miniRITE favor.

As for reliability, I agree that the miniRITE is less reliable because I was only 8 months into using my 85dB receivers on the OPN1 and I already have had to replace one of them because it went bad. But most HAs have a 3 year warranty, so it’s more of a hassle to have to replace receivers more often and it’s not like it’d cost you more for the warranty replacements.

I think the local audis gave you good reasonings for going with BTE, not because your grandma needs that level of amplification, but mostly on account of her being an elderly patient. It’s also good that Sonic has a BTE option. I didn’t know and just assumed that they don’t because I didn’t see sell the BTE version of the Enchant 100. The Enchant 100 BTE + TV adapter pricing looks very reasonable. The OPN 1 pricing looks pretty high. It’s good that the lack of an adequate trial time on the OPN and the outrageous OPN 1 price makes the decision easier for you to pick the Enchant 100. I probably would have done the same thing if I were you.