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Thread: Thoughts on the OPN Philosophy

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Um bongo View Post
    'This isn't the magic you seek....' The mental plasticity and the desire to deal with multiple sound sources is a determining factor here. The ability to focus on several conversations at once in amongst several noise sources appears to provide a better outcome for some people than others. While other people seem to work better with the forward focus on fewer people talking. That doesn't mean you neatly fall into one type or another - hence destination based aids which mix the optimum performance to maintain the best signal ratio. However, pattern matching your listening needs my be a better way of determining the type of aid that suits you over the basic audiogram.
    All of these comments ring true. I likely would find myself on the destination end of the spectrum as that fits my need to focus closely in mathematics. I suspect I would fail a plasticity test. I can't say I feel guilty about that. I do appreciate all the informed comments.

  2. #12
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    Can you clarify what you mean by "destination based aids?" I think what you're saying overall is that if you really like the idea of trying to keep track of multiple conversations, giving the OPNs a try is reasonable. However if you struggle with dealing with one conversation with the person in front of you, perhaps you are better off sticking with directional aids?

    Quote Originally Posted by Um bongo View Post
    'This isn't the magic you seek....'

    The mental plasticity and the desire to deal with multiple sound sources is a determining factor here. The ability to focus on several conversations at once in amongst several noise sources appears to provide a better outcome for some people than others. While other people seem to work better with the forward focus on fewer people talking.

    That doesn't mean you neatly fall into one type or another - hence destination based aids which mix the optimum performance to maintain the best signal ratio. However, pattern matching your listening needs my be a better way of determining the type of aid that suits you over the basic audiogram.
    .25 .5 1 1.5 2 3.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDB View Post
    Can you clarify what you mean by "destination based aids?" I think what you're saying overall is that if you really like the idea of trying to keep track of multiple conversations, giving the OPNs a try is reasonable. However if you struggle with dealing with one conversation with the person in front of you, perhaps you are better off sticking with directional aids?
    I'm curious myself what it means by "destination based aids". I'm assuming it means aids that can change to an appropriate program (either automatically or by the wearer) when arriving at a new listening environment. But I can be wrong.

    I would take your other question one step further and ask: If you struggle with dealing with one conversation with the person in front of you,

    1) and if wearing directional aids to help block out the surrounding sounds adequately help you understand the person in front of you most of the times, then should you stick with directional aids? Probably yes, if it works why change, right?

    2) but if wearing directional aids to help block out the surrounding sounds still does NOT help you understand the person in front of you most of the times, then should you still stick with directional aids? Probably not, if this is important to you and it's not working then you may want to try something else, right?

    The reason I dissected this question further is because the question implies a generalization that the OPN is only good for hearing from multiple sources and nothing else. It overlooks the other second important aspect that the OPN does do noise removal, although a different kind of noise removal, the kind that doesn't help with scenario 1 but helps with scenario 2. Actually the OPN does have a directional mode available, so it can do the kind of noise removal that directional aids do for scenario 1 if you so desire as well. The only thing you'd give up there is being able to hear from multiple sound sources.

    If the OPN is only good for hearing from mulitple sources and nothing else, I bet you it would not have sold well so far. People will just say "No big deal, the OPN is just like using my existing aids in music mode."

    The reason the OPN has sold well so far in my opinion is because people notice that even with multiple sound sources present, they can still achieve the speech clarity they're looking for in noisy environment.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 05-10-2017 at 10:56 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  4. #14

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    Wait wait wait. Oticon's Brain Hearing marketting campaing was never meant to imply that the Opn forces your brain to learn in a way other hearing aids don't, or that your brain needs to learn to use it, or that it promotes brain plasticity, or ANYTHING like that. That's the message getting garbled.

    Oticon's choice of "Brain Hearing" was reflective of them trying to look at how the brain naturally processes sound and how they can support/recreate that with their sound processing to compensate for the damaged ear in a way that the brain will more easily interpret. The Opn doesn't do something special to your brain, it just reduces the signal to noise ratio in a new and clever way.

    And I know that this is semantics, but the opn IS a directional hearing aid. It just does directionality a bit differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neville View Post
    Wait wait wait. Oticon's Brain Hearing marketting campaing was never meant to imply that the Opn forces your brain to learn in a way other hearing aids don't, or that your brain needs to learn to use it, or that it promotes brain plasticity, or ANYTHING like that. That's the message getting garbled.

    Oticon's choice of "Brain Hearing" was reflective of them trying to look at how the brain naturally processes sound and how they can support/recreate that with their sound processing to compensate for the damaged ear in a way that the brain will more easily interpret. The Opn doesn't do something special to your brain, it just reduces the signal to noise ratio in a new and clever way.

    And I know that this is semantics, but the opn IS a directional hearing aid. It just does directionality a bit differently.
    I think both your points here are very well put, Neville. I agree that Oticon designs the OPN around how it understands the brain should process sound and it optimizes the OPN to take advantage of this brain hearing power synergistically. I full heartedly agree that it doesn't do anything special to your brain except present all sounds to your brain.

    Let me address some of your points:

    1. The OPN doesn't force your brain to learn in a way other HAs don't, your brain doesn't need to learn to use the OPN -> while this is technically correct, the OPN presented me with more sound than my old HAs did in noisy environment. It's a different way of hearing, going from sheltered hearing (sheltered from noise) to exposed hearing (to more noise) again. It requires you to get adjusted again learning to deal with all the noise the traditional directional HAs have sheltered you from. It's not the OPN's doing. It's actually the traditional HA's doing (sheltering) that had to be undone.

    By the way, the thing I said about needing to train your brain for cognitive hearing skills was a response to someone else's comment that brain hearing is a farce/marketing ploy. I was just saying that Brain Hearing is real and not a farce. I wasn't saying that the OPN created or forces Brain Hearing.

    2. The OPN doesn't promote brain plasticity -> I don't think anybody said that it promotes brain plasticity. The way I read UmBongo's mention of brain plasticity is that people with good brain plasticity can make the adjustment to go from traditional HAs to the OPN faster and more easily, that's all.

    3. The OPN IS a directional hearing aid, it just does directionality a bit differently -> yes, this is true technically but since you said it's a matter of semantics, I think you recognize (like most of us here) that we only use the word directional here in a loose and general sense, to discuss the philosophy of using the HA to block out noise version using the brain to block out noise. I assume that people here already are aware the OPN does use directionality to create a noise model for noise removal. I also mentioned earlier that the OPN does offer a directional mode just the same as traditional HAs if so desired.

    4. The OPN just reduces the signal to noise ratio in a new and clever way -> I think you mean improves the signal to noise ratio, not reduce it. And I think it's more than just a clever trick because nobody else has been able to improve the signal to noise ratio like this before (as little as 5db, on the average 7db, and as much as 9db max noise reduction). The traditional directional noise reduction may be able to block out the noise to help focus on the speech, but that's only half the battle. The other half of the battle is to clean up this speech once you can focus on it, namely to improve its signal to noise ratio (as you put it) to help give it better clarity. I think this is BIG. I think this is the holy grail that everybody in the industry has been trying to achieve but not able to until now by Oticon on the OPN.

    In short, I think there are 2 significantly different things Oticon did with the OPN:

    a. The industry solved the speech focusing issue by implementing directional noise blocking to help focus on the speech. But this comes at a huge trade-off of blocking out other sounds that you may want to hear as well. To some folks this may not be a big deal because they consider surrounding sounds as noise anyway and they don't care to hear it. But to other folks this is a big trade off because they want to hear more, if not everything. So Oticon said why not, let the brain hear everything and let the brain do the picking and choosing and focusing. We'll design the OPN around this philosophy to support it 100%. While this is a significant change in philosophy, everybody in the industry can implement this easily technically as long as they also buy into the notion of the brain hearing power.

    b. But the second thing that Oticon has implemented with the OPN is much more significant and actually exclusive (for now) because nobody else in the industry has been able to do the same: it's this signal-to-noise improvement on the speech that we just talked about in (4) above. This is not just feasible because of a clever way of doing noise modeling, but it's also feasible only because a very fast and powerful new platform must be developed and made available to support and execute this noise modelling/removal strategy.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 05-11-2017 at 12:35 AM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDB View Post
    Can you clarify what you mean by "destination based aids?" I think what you're saying overall is that if you really like the idea of trying to keep track of multiple conversations, giving the OPNs a try is reasonable. However if you struggle with dealing with one conversation with the person in front of you, perhaps you are better off sticking with directional aids?
    Destination based would be hearing aids like Phonak/Unitron/Resound where there are definite profiles (Directional + Frequency + Noise Management) applied when the aid detects a particular environment: Speech In Noise, Quiet, Group Speech in Noise, Music, Speech in Quiet etc. The actual output may be a blended version of the results, but it's a derivative of the destination 'filters'. OPn doesn't use those sort of parameters.

    And the point about dealing with an immediate conversation over hearing your whole 'earscape' is highly valid. I was going to mark them as Male and Female approaches, but it's sexist and doesn't accurately tell the whole picture, plus the gender stereotype carries too many other implied values which aren't helpful to the discussion. 'Direct' vs 'Open' is probably better.
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  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Volusiano View Post
    ...It requires you to get adjusted again learning to deal with all the noise the traditional directional HAs have sheltered you from...

    ..I think you mean improves the signal to noise ratio, not reduce it...
    I did indeed mean improve, thanks.

    You weren't in directional hearing aids before though, is that right? You were in CICs? So the Opn is your first directional hearing aid?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neville View Post
    I did indeed mean improve, thanks.

    You weren't in directional hearing aids before though, is that right? You were in CICs? So the Opn is your first directional hearing aid?
    Yes, the Rexton Insite+ that I had before the OPNs were CICs. But before that, I was on another Rexton RIC pair that was also directional HAs. I forgot what that model name was, but it was actually branded as Kirkland Signature brand. I don't recall it had any particular number, but if I had to guess maybe it was the KS4 or KS5.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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