Oticon Opn Review: Is The Hype Worth It?
Oticon became the third major hearing aid manufacturer to develop and release a Made for iPhone (MFI) hearing aid, first out in 2016. At that time, this technology was only available in the top tier (premiere level) of hearing aid, but has since been released at lower price points with varying levels of technology. This makes MFI amplification accessible to a variety of patients, but that doesn’t mean the OPN will work for everyone!
First things first: hearing aid users should not make a decision on amplification based SOLELY on direct streaming capabilities. Taking into account the primary reason for obtaining amplification (documented, diagnosed hearing loss, duh), the Oticon OPN offers excellent processing of speech in a variety of environments. The OPN is hailed as one of the most effective hearing aids for making speech clear to a listener in noise, and reduces listening effort compared to other comparable devices. Patient report has been EXCELLENT in our clinic, and feedback from users indicates to me that Oticon is not overstating their claims. It really is a solid choice for amplification, particularly to address speech in noise concerns.
Now, on to why you clicked here. The OPN has been the MFI hearing aid I have been fitting most often ending 2016 and beginning 2017. I won’t lie: this aid is SLICK. It has a sleek, modern, low-profile style that appeals to many in younger generations and the working population. It allows direct streaming of both phone calls and music/podcasts/audiobooks. Patient feedback has been very positive, and my patients have been extremely happy with the sound quality of both speech on the phone and music. Keep in mind, battery life varies based on how much you stream! Plus, the app can control your hearing aids in addition to communicating with other internet-controlled devices. Want to stream your Smart TV? Know your alarm is set at home? You can do that, and hear it all from your OPN devices.
However, the OPN is not for everyone. Are you suffering from tinnitus? Guess what-the OPN does not offer a tinnitus sound generator or any masking techniques. If amplification for your hearing loss does not offer relief from your tinnitus, and you are still bothered by it constantly, the OPN is NOT the MFI hearing aid for you. We cannot program tinnitus therapy in any level of the OPN. Additionally, you cannot add the widely known t-coil function in the OPN. Want to directly stream LaLa Land from the big screen at the theater to your aids? Can’t do it. This functionality is not a turn-off for everyone, and by not offering this, Oticon can keep the sleek, compact style the OPN has become known for. Just providing information here!
Last but not least, only one manufacturer currently offers firmware upgrades through their own app. Oticon is not that manufacturer. This means that when you upgrade your phone’s iOS software and there is an upgrade in the firmware in the hearing aids, a visit to your audiologist is required to ensure proper upgrading and pairing of devices.
THE QUICK AND DIRTY**:
Pros: sleek style, offered in multiple tier/technology levels, excellent direct iPhone streaming quality for phone calls and music.
Cons: incapable of programming tinnitus management, no t-coil, in-office visits for firmware upgrades.
While there are some limitations to what can be programmed in the OPN, the sound quality Oticon provides for both everyday amplification and through direct iPhone streaming is excellent. Overall, I give this product 4 out of 5 ears.
REVIEWS of MFiPHONE HEARING AIDS:
**Disclaimer: there are other hearing aids on the market that will also connect directly to an Apple device. However, our clinic fits the newest platform of chip from the six major manufacturers, and we do not make it practice to provide technology that is rebranded, outdated, or defeatured.
The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin specializes in hearing related disorders including tinnitus and hearing loss, neurophysiological disorders as well as dizziness/balance disorders. Currently accepting new adult and pediatric audiology patients. The Hearing & Balance Center of Austin is the hearing and balance division of Great Hills ENT and serves the greater Austin area including the Arboretum, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Jonestown, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Spicewood and Point Venture. We are proud to provide excellent care to our patients for general Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) services, hearing loss, hearing aids, tinnitus, dizziness/vertigo and sleep disorders