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Are the new Oticon Opn hearing aids really that much better in background noise? I am considering upgrading from Alta2.

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Sheri Gostomelsky, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Deerfield
We have only fit a handful of patients so far. But, so far the feedback (no pun intended) has been great for hearing in noise! We all have different abilities to hear in noise and from my standpoint, this is a key factor in personalizing any solution.
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Alexandra Tarvin, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Greenville

From the feedback I have received thus far, I would have to say YES. My patients have all been thrilled with their Oticon Opn devices. They have a variety of experiences with hearing aids and a variety of hearing losses and all have been very happy. One patient wore them while at Tijuana Flats during lunch time, returned 2 hours later and purchased them.

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Andrea Pernick, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in South Miami

Alta 2 Pro's are great hearing aids.  I have a long term user patient who was going  to buy Alta2 Pros but after trying the OPN felt it was that much better and bought these aids.  Its a no brainer for iPhone patients.  This same patient, who could never use the streamer to hear on the phone now says she is thrilled to finally hear on her phone.  Everyone we've had have been very happy.

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Andrew Puttick, AuD - Doctor of Audiology in Pittsfield

The OPN instruments were developed based on an entirely new theory on how hearing instruments should be processing sound. For example, upgrading from the Alta Pro to the Alta2 Pro may only provide a slight improvement in overall speech understanding because it was still using the same "computer chip" with a few tweaks and upgrades. Typically, when manufacturers launch an entirely new product on a new "platform" (computer chip), more improvement in overall sound quality is expected. As Christopher stated, I would have a hard time justifying a new purchase if you've only had your Alta 2 instruments for a year or two. Another variable to consider is that if you have an iPhone, you can now stream phone calls and music from your phone direct to the OPN instruments without needing a streamer.

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Christopher S. Frink, MS - Hearing Healthcare Provider in Salem
I have a different take on this compared to the previous two answers (but still gave them "Thumbs Up" votes for their good answers!). To me, it depends on how long you've had the Alta2 devices, which could have been for too long since they just came out Spring of 2015. If you're in a trial period with the Alta2's and they are still returnable with no penalty, then by all means upgrade. The OPN devices might be slightly more expensive that the Alta2's, but are probably worth it considering you'll have the most up-to-date tech available. If however, you purchased the Alta2's last year and would have to pay full price all over again, I would seriously consider waiting. The Alta2's were Oticon's previous top-of-the-line product, and I've found that most patients when they try a new release not too long after they just purchased aids notice a slight improvement, but not enough to justify a completely new purchase. When the Alta2's came out, they were a "10" on a 1 to 10 scale. Now they might be a "9". They're not so much worse than the OPN that you have to upgrade now, so you seriously should consider the cost to benefit ratio before taking that step. Unless, however, you have plenty of money to throw around. Few of my patients do (but a some do exist!). Most hearing aids last 5 - 10 years if they are given good maintenance and the original technology purchase was appropriate for the patient's lifestyle. I've felt that if you originally purchased top level technology, it takes 2-3 generations of new tech (about 5 years) before you'll notice enough of a difference to justify spending another $6,000 or more for the latest and greatest. One possibility would be if you upgraded and your provider was willing to offer you a substantial trade-in allowance on the Alta2's against the OPNs. I would happily do this. Consider that most providers bundle the cost of service with the cost of the devices. If we switch models during the product lifespan, you've already paid me to service your needs for a specified time frame, so that difference might just be for the aids. If the previous aids are still in warranty, I'll typically offer about 40% of what the patient previously paid as the trade-in allowance. Why so little if the aids might only be a year or two old? Because then I end up with a pair of used instruments that few other patients will be willing to purchase (as used). So, unlike cars, we can't do a lot with trade-ins.
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