The Truly Open - Oticon Opn 1

Hi, this is Jordan with Pure Hearing, and today we're going to be discussing the Opn hearing aid from Oticon. Now when I went to the unveiling of the Opn, I thought to myself, "Well, this will be a pretty typical new hearing aid, just a few new features and no big deal really," but I was pleasantly surprised. With the Opn, Oticon went back to the drawing board to redefine how we hear in a noisy situation, which is the most challenging situation for anyone, especially if you have hearing loss. So traditionally, and with all other manufacturers on the planet right now, the hearing aids go into a directional mode. The microphones shut down on the sides and back and focus more in front and in the direction of the speech. Directionality has been the standard way of thinking for years and years and years. As new technology comes out, each manufacturer gets better and better at directionality. So when they introduced the Opn and said, "Hey, our hearing aids are not directional anymore," that is a completely new concept that is unique. I was very interested to see, "Okay, does this work? And why and how?" Let me first answer the why.

 

Why did Oticon go to more of an open idea or strategy rather than directional? Long story short, is that they believe that you need to hear all of the different cues and speech in the room so that the brain can sort it out, and it can be more natural. Now let me answer the question of how they do it. They're able to leave these hearing aids in an open configuration and still be able to pick out the voice signals because the processors inside the hearing aid are so much faster than anything Oticon has ever developed in the past. They're able to analyze every sound in the room at the same time, and pick out the speech in the environment in multiple different areas, and reduce the background noise using noise reduction technology, not microphone directionality but noise reduction, so that you can hear the speech above the noise signal in the room. They've never been able to do this before because the processors inside the hearing aids have not been fast enough. The real question is, does it work? And the answer to that is absolutely, yes. The sound quality is fantastic, you can hear in a noisy environment, and it is a more open feeling than the directional microphones that the other manufacturers have.

 

Now, is this hearing aid for everyone? And the answer is no. There isn't any one hearing aid on the market that is designed for everyone, but this is a great option for many people. One thing that we have found that is critical with the Opn hearing aids is the amount of noise reduction that's available to you. Because the hearing aids do not rely on directionality, the noise reduction is the only thing that allows you to hear speech clearly in a noisy situation. And that's one reason we do not offer the Opn 2 or the Opn 3 and have decided to only offer the Opn 1. The Opn 1 has 9 decibels of noise reduction, and what we've found is anything less than that is just not adequate. In addition to this new open sound processing, these hearing aids have great connectivity options for the iPhone that do not require any other device. I hope you found this interesting and educational, and if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to call or use that chat feature to talk to us. We're happy to help in any way we can. Have a great day.The Transcript will be posted shortly