Oticon’s Opn are Made for iPhone hearing aids, which means they work seamlessly with Apple’s devices.
It takes about 30 seconds to connect and pair the hearing aids with an Apple device, from then on you can control them through the Apple Settings screen, you can change volume, programmes or switch them on/off through the same settings menus as if you were changing your WiFi settings, wallpaper or other standard Apple stuff.
Oticon has worked with Apple to integrate the Opn such that they feel just like a part of the phone, rather than something external you’ve connected.
Easy Set Up
To connect the aids to my iPad I opened the iPad’s Settings App, clicked into the Accessibility option, then clicked the Hearing Devices option. On this screen, the iPad immediately starts scanning for hearing aids it can connect to via Bluetooth. For two devices to connect to each other they need to both be in “pairing mode”, to get your Opn in pairing mode, open the battery door and then close it again, when it is first turned on the Opn is in pairing mode for a short while. The iPad pops up a “do you want to pair this device” message for each aid, say yes and you are done.
I was going to post some screenshots on here showing the steps for connecting the aids to the iPad but to be honest, it was so easy I didn’t see the point in adding pictures, it’s like falling off a bike, anyone can do it.
Just Works, No Faffing
Once that set up is done it “just works” – play some audio on the iPad through YouTube, Netflix or whatever and it plays through your hearing aids, get a phone call on your iPhone and it plays through your aids, as I said before, it just feels like a part of the Apple device, just another audio output, it is seamless.
The audio you get through your hearing aids is as you would expect from a Bluetooth device: smooth with no interference or delays, voices sound crisp and very easy to understand, I’m able to pick up the different accents of actors in a show. There is a good range, bass-heavy music sounds deep and vibrant but not distorted or over-powering, I tested the Opn out with an old favourite of mine.
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Another very important thing, nothing sounds too loud, low pitch and high pitch sounds are never unbalanced. If I’m watching, for example, a comedy show, the audio for the speaking parts is at a good volume and if there’s some laughter from the crowd it is also at a good volume, there is never any sounds that are too loud. This is a big thing, as people with hearing loss often also suffer from hyperacusis (being sensitive to certain sound frequencies and finding them overpowering and even painful) – but that was not a problem at all with the Oticon, everything was at just the right level.
When connected via Bluetooth you are still able to hear everything around you, the hearing aids balance the streaming audio with environmental sounds, so it is safe to listen to music whilst out and about as you will still be able to hear traffic and whatever else around you. This balance feels very natural, the noise around you fades into the background just enough for the streaming audio to be your main focus but it is still there when you need to hear it.
I didn’t used to think I was bothered about Bluetooth connectivity in my hearing aids but I realise now that was just because I didn’t know what I was missing. Connecting to my phone, iPad and other devices gives me access to TV shows without needing subtitles, makes phone calls a breeze and makes listening to music a pleasure.