Expert Opinion: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ +
Oticon Opn is, as it claims to be, a complete paradigm shift in hearing technology. This product has significantly shifted my thinking on the power of Oticon technology.
Opn was released at the end of 2016 and is based on a new Velox chip that is 50X faster than the previous generation models. This additional speed and processing power allows Oticon to progress its concept of Brain Hearing with significantly improved performance in noise and sound quality. Of note, Opn is also the first internet connected hearing aids using IFTTT via your mobile phone.
For years, I personally have felt that Oticon, relative to its main competitors, is more of a technology marketing company than a hearing technology innovation company (all due respect). Please note that this is only my clinical opinion and that many clinicians would likely disagree. Oticon always present their technologies with snazzy marketing whilst the products themselves have previously fallen short of my expectations due to under-prescribed power and speech clarity, inferior feedback control and over-stated noise reduction features. But, read on...
However, the Opn is 50X faster, operating at a staggering 1.2 Billion operations per second! This is twice as fast as it's nearest rival (more here). When it comes to feature set, Opn is impressive. Two firsts include the TwinLink Wireless which offers two wireless systems, one to better co-ordinate features required in each listening environment and the second to better connect Bluetooth devices like your iPhone. The other first is an internet connection via your smartphone using IFTTT technology whereby you can have your Opn App alert you when your batteries are low, or for email and calendar alerts. Also, you can set wi-fi enabled lights, tv, music in your home to come on when your devices switch on and if you have wi-fi door bells or gateway alarms you can receive notifications to your devices. A bit snazzy if that's your thing! The shift in thinking for me has come about from witnessing the superior results that my clients have achieved using this product. In one recent situation, with a long-term and well-known client, we took the time to run back-to-back technically matched product comparisons between the Opn and its leading competitor. With all factors being equal as best we could, Opn was a clear winner in ease of use, naturalness, clarity and all round performance, especially in noisy settings with multiple people speaking at once. This experience may not carry forward for all clients, specifically, I do consider the clients individual tolerances for noise, but when this product is tailored and fitted well, I think it must be considered as a leading product option.
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