Behind the Ear and In the Ear
Fitting Styles: RIC, BTE, ITC, ITE, IIC, CIC, MC
March 2019 update - The Oticon Opn1 and the rest of the Opn range have been superseded by the OpnS range. The direct replacement for this aid is the Oticon OpnS 1. This only applies to the behind the ear models, for the custom in-ear models the original Opn 1 is still the current model.
October 2018 update – The range has been further expanded. The full range of custom in-ear form factors is now available. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for full details.
June 2017 update – The range has been expanded. There are now new rechargeable options, additional “Tinnitus SoundSupport” software as standard to help to relieve tinnitus and “power plus” models for the severe to profoundly deaf.
Oticon have, at time of writing (June 2016), what seems to be the most technically advanced hearing aid on the market. Once you get past the parts with a TM (trademark) after them, you know those scientific sounding, slightly made-up words the manufacturers use to describe their products, you find underneath an advanced hearing aid offering impressive results. So ignore the “Velox™” “BrainHearing™” and “OpenSound Navigator™”.
Compared to Oticon’s previous top hearing aids, the Alta2 Pro, the Opn make it 30% easier to understand what people are saying. This includes in noisy environments and it achieves this without deadening the background sounds.
Listening effort. That seems to be a tougher one to quantify. The Opn provides the brain with more accurate information about the environment you are in with less of the general background “mush” you can get with some hearing aids. It does this by scanning the environment over 100 times every second so all of the sounds you hear come through clearly and precisely and the sounds you are most likely to be interested in are made most prominent. This leads to;
This is connected to the reduced listening effort. The idea is that if aren’t being overwhelmed by the background noise in the restaurant you are eating in, you are more likely to be able to focus on what you want to say yourself rather than spending all of your time just trying to keep up with what others around you are talking about. It’s about joining in rather than being left out.
Oticon Opn is a Made for iPhone hearing aid. Directly connected to iPhone, the hearing aid doubles as a wireless headset – without the need for an intermediary device. The Bluetooth technology in Oticon Opn supports stereo streaming of music and produces sound with high fidelity and bandwidth. When making calls, the user’s voice is picked up by iPhone microphone. iPhone also doubles as a basic remote control for the hearing aids.
The Oticon Opn links to a cloud based system called the If This Then That (IFTTT) network. This allows users to connect to a range of useful devices. The hearing aids can for instance, notify users when an email arrives, or signal when someone is at your door.
TV Adapter 3.0 wirelessly transmits real-time stereo audio from a TV or home entertainment system directly to Oticon Opn hearing aids at a distance of up to 15 meters. Users can set the volume to their preferred level for a listening experience free from the distraction of surrounding noise. The TV Adapter is installed and placed at the TV. Practically any audio source can be connected to the TV Adapter including digital stereo (PCM) and Dolby.
Provides listening support by continuously analysing the environment, balancing sound sources so focus sound is clear and competing sounds are not too disturbing. Finally, it attenuates remaining noise to provide a more accessible sound environment.
This expands the dynamic range of the aids, processing sounds up to 113dB SPL, to preserve quality of sound at loud input levels.
For automatic user acclimatisation to their new hearing aid.
Discreetly adjusts hearing aid volume, switches between the programs and control connectivity sources with the remote Control or the mobile phone app (iPhone or Android).
This automatically activates the hearing aids phone program.
This can add bass to compensate for bass leakage in open fittings when streaming sound. This helps to reduce the tinnyness sometimes found in other aids when streaming audio.
Uses Near-Field Magnetic Induction to communicate between the two hearing aids with very low power consumption.
Employs an ultra-fast and effective feedback management system that prevents feedback without compromising sound quality or audibility.
Applies an individual amount of soft gain to increase soft speech understanding.
Uses binaural compression to provide precise spatial awareness that helps users identify where sounds are coming from.
Preserves the dynamics of speech by combining the benefits of linear and non-linear compression.
Protects against sudden loud sounds with fast recovery to preserve audibility; offers four different levels for fine tuning, including ‘off’.
Protects against the discomfort of wind noise.
The Oticon Opn range now has five different custom made in-ear options to chose from. Your audiologist will be able to guide you as to which are most suitable for your ear canal shape and hearing loss. The invisible in canal option is especially of interest as Oticon claim that they are suitable for eight out of ten patients.
These invisible* hearing aids sit deep in the ear canal where people won’t be able to see them. It contains a small plastic removal string that is accessible but not noticeable, to allow for discreet and easy removal. Here are some quick key points:
* Invisible in the ear for 8 out of 10 people
These very discreet hearing aids sit completely inside the ear canal, and can be well hidden by selecting colours that match your skin. Only a thin plastic pull-string remains accessible, which you use to insert / pull the hearing aids out again. Here are some quick key points:
These hearing aids sit discreet in the ear canal. A small faceplate is visible in the lower part of the ear. They are easy to use and offer wireless connectivity or telecoil optionally. Here are some quick key points:
This type of hearing aid sits visibly in the ear itself. They are the optimal styles for clients with dexterity needs who prioritise an instrument that is easy to handle. Because they are larger than other types of hearing aids that fit inside your ear, they can accommodate longer-lasting batteries and larger manual control options. Wireless connectivity and telecoil is optional. • ITE HS is Made for iPhone®. Here are some quick key points:
This type of hearing aid fills out most of the visible part of the ear itself rather than just the ear canal. They are the optimal styles for clients with dexterity needs who prioritise an instrument that is easy to handle. Because they are larger than the other types of hearing aids that fit inside your ear, they can accommodate longer-lasting batteries and larger manual control options for easy handling. Wireless connectivity and telecoil is optional. Here are some quick key points:
Paul has been in the audiological industry for over 20 years. He studied audiology at Cambridge and has worked in both the manufacturing and retail sectors of the industry. He worked for one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers as Trainer, Product Manager and also Sales Director. He later became the National Sales Manager for one of the national hearing aid retailers. He has dispensed many hearing aids as a private audiologist and he sits on the Council of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
If you are looking at this page then it is likely that an audiologist has suggested that you purchase this particular hearing aid, so is this the best model for you?
In general, any audiologist will always be recommending to you the model that best suits your needs. Here is a useful check list to make sure that is the case.
If in doubt, feel free to give us a call. That's what we're here for.
If you have a significant hearing loss in both ears, you should be wearing two hearing aids. Here are the audiological reasons why:
Localisation. The brain decodes information from both ears and compares and contrasts them. By analysing the miniscule time delays as well as the difference in loudness of each sound reaching the ears, the person is able to accurately locate a sound source. Simply put, if you have better hearing on one side than the other, you can't accurately tell what direction sounds are coming from.
Less amplification required. A phenomena known as “binaural summation” means that the hearing aids can be set at a lower and more natural volume setting than than if you wore only one hearing aid.
Head shadow effect. High frequencies, the part of your hearing that gives clarity and meaning to speech sounds, cannot bend around your head. Only low frequencies can. Therefore if someone is talking on your unaided side you are likely to hear that they are speaking, but be unable to tell what they have said.
Noise reduction. The brain has it’s own built in noise reduction which is only really effective when it is receiving information from both ears. If only one ear is aided, even with the best hearing aid in the world, it will be difficult for you to hear in background noise as your brain is trying to retain all of the sounds (including background noise) rather than filtering it out.
Sound quality. We are designed to hear in stereo. Only hearing from one side sounds a lot less natural to us.
For most people, the main benefit of a rechargeable hearing aid is simple convenience. We are used to plugging in our phones and other devices overnight for them to charge up.
For anybody with poor dexterity or issues with their fingers, having a rechargeable aid makes a huge difference as normal hearing aid batteries are quite small and some people find them fiddly to change.
One downside is that if you forget to charge your hearing aid, then it is a problem that can't be instantly fixed. For most a 30 minute charge will get you at least two or three hours of hearing, but if you are the type of person who is likely to forget to plug them in regularly then you're probably better off with standard batteries.
Rechargeable aids are also a little bit bigger and are only available in behind the ear models.
Finally, just like with a mobile phone, the amount of charge you get on day one is not going to be the same as you get a few years down the line. Be sure to ask what the policy is with the manufacturer warranty when it comes to replacing the battery.
For most people, the answer is yes. But it's never that simple.
The majority of hearing problems affect the high frequencies a lot more than the low ones. Therefore open fitting hearing aids sound a lot more natural and ones that block your ears up can make your own voice sound like you are talking with your head in a bucket. Therefore in-ear aids tend to be less natural.
However the true answer is we can't tell until we have had a look in your ears to assess the size of your ear canal, and until we have tested your hearing to see which frequencies are being affected.
People with wider ear canals tend to have more flexibility, also there are open fitting modular CIC hearing aids now that do not block your ears.
There is also the age old rule to consider, that a hearing aid will not help you if it's sat in the drawer gathering dust. If the only hearing aid you would be happy wearing is one that people can't see, then that's what you should get.
Most people can adapt to any type of hearing aid, as long as they know what to expect. Have an honest conversation with your audiologist as to what your needs are.
Generally speaking, six or more. Unless it's none at all.
The number of channels a hearing aid has is often a simplistic way an audiologist will use to explain why one hearing aid is better than another, but channels are complex and it is really not that straightforward.
Hearing aids amplify sounds of different frequencies by different amounts. Most people have lost more high frequencies than low and therefore need more amplification in the high frequencies. The range of sounds you hear are split into frequency bands or channels and the hearing aids are set to provide the right amount of hearing at each frequency level.
Less than six channels and this cannot be done with much accuracy, so six is the magic number. However, a six channel aid is typically very basic with few other features and is suitable only for hearing a single speaker in a quiet room. The number of channels is not what you should be looking at, it's more the rest of the technology that comes with them.
As a final note, different manufacturers have different approaches. One method is not necessarily better than any other. For example some manufacturers have as many as 64 channels in their top aids. Most tend to have between 17 and 20. One manufacturer has no channels at all.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.