As an audiologist, I know that fitting the right hearing aid to each individual's needs and lifestyle is crucial. After all, treating hearing loss is about more than just hearing loss. Each patient has their own unique lifestyle, technology preferences, and other needs to consider when selecting the right hearing technology.
I recently had the opportunity to trial Oticon RIC Hearing Aids, which gave me a deeper insight into this product. For years, I've fit my patients with the top hearing manufacturers, including Oticon products. I'm happy to share my insights with my combined clinical and personal experiences from trying these hearing aids. In this review, I will break down some of the more notable features of Oticon hearing aids and discuss my personal experience with them.
About the Brand
Oticon was founded in 1904 by Hans Demant, whose wife had hearing loss. Today, Demant is one of the leaders in hearing technology and innovation. With headquarters in Denmark, Demant is the second-largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world. In addition to Oticon, the company also makes Bernafon, Sonic, and Philips devices. While some of these hearing aids are available in Costco locations, Oticon is Demant's premium hearing aid brand.
In 2021, Oticon hearing aid technology was the first hearing aid to incorporate AI technology through a deep neural network and 12 million sound samples. According to the company, the deep neural network learns through examples, like the brain does, to categorize sounds based on experience. For instance, through multiple different examples of noise, the hearing aids can better recognize unwanted background noise and adjust accordingly to help reduce it. Oticon’s latest hearing aids, called Oticon Real are known for their BrainHearing technology.
- Simple, intuitive app
- Dexterity friendly charger
- Find My Hearing Aids in the app
- Ability to change out batteries in the office
- Mellow sound quality
- CROS compatible option
The Oticon RIC hearing aids have several distinctive features. To sum it up, Oticon technology offers simplicity and convenience. For example, their Oticon Companion app allows you to adjust the volume or make program changes easily on the main screen.
The app contains the basic features but feels manageable, which is an excellent option for those who like to keep things simple. The Oticon app is simple and intuitive, making it a friendly choice for those who prefer simplicity or are less tech-savvy. But in the background, the app keeps tabs on your hearing aids, so if you lose them, you can access the "Find My Hearing Aids" feature to track them down.
The rechargeable batteries in Oticon hearing aids can also be replaced in the office, which is very convenient for hearing aid users. However, if you've worn hearing aids before, you may have experienced a wait time while your devices are sent out for repair. Thankfully, if the problem is with the rechargeable batteries, this saves you that wait time.
Oticon has hearing aid models and accessory options to meet a variety of patient needs. For example, their desktop charger is dexterity friendly, with another option for a portable SmartCharger. Do you have single-sided deafness or asymmetric hearing loss? Oticon has a CROS hearing aid, available in rechargeable or disposable battery options. Their remote microphone, TV streamer, and phone clip work seamlessly with their technology. For those looking for a manual push button, Oticon offers that option as well.
And finally, let's talk about sound quality. I describe Oticon hearing aids as having a mellow, smooth sound quality. In the clinic, musicians and patients with sound sensitivity like Oticon more than other brands. One of the remarks I often hear is that Oticon's sound quality emphasizes naturalness.
Other Form Factors
Apart from the RIC hearing aids, Oticon offers several other types of hearing aids. For example, Oticon Real hearing aids are also available in BTE for those with more severe hearing loss. RIC and BTE come in rechargeable and disposable battery options. The Oticon Xceed is one of the most powerful hearing aids for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
Additionally, their line of OWN custom hearing aids features the same excellent sound quality as their Real hearing aids. Of note, their custom hearing aids are only available in disposable battery options and don't have the option for rechargeable ITE devices. For those with single-sided deafness, Oticon also makes a compatible CROS device. With Oticon's product portfolio, there are plenty of options for a wide range of hearing aids appropriate for mild to profound hearing loss.
Personal Listening Notes And Observations From Wearing
Now that we reviewed some of the critical features of Oticon hearing aids, I'll dive into my personal experiences wearing the devices.
I found wearing these devices physically comfortable and easy to wear. The standard receivers and dome tips didn't cause any discomfort in my ears. In addition, the lightweight RIC fits discreetly behind the ear.
I found the sound quality of the Oticon hearing aids to be relatively smooth. It does sound overall mellow and relaxed, without percussive sounds. Though while cooking in the kitchen, I did hear a background sound like rumbled distortion. Every hearing aid handles background noise differently but it could have been more pleasant in this situation.
Additionally, when wearing Oticon hearing aids, I found the sound of hair and handling noise on the microphones quite distracting. Fortunately, the newer Oticon Real hearing aids reduce handling and wind noise to reduce or nearly eliminate these sounds.
On the Phone
Sound quality for hands-free phone calls delivered good sound quality through the hearing aids. However, the listener on the other end sometimes reported difficulty picking up my voice, and the sound quality seemed distorted. To remedy this, on the new Oticon Real, you can toggle the hands-free feature off and speak into the phone while still hearing the speaker through your hearing aids.
Additionally, they delivered clear sound without any muffling or distortion, which was great for listening to music. I appreciated the sound quality, even with open domes. I found it even better when I slightly increased the bass and treble in the app.
- Type: Local provider or hybrid Telehealth care
Sound Quality Notes 🎵
- Overall: Oticon hearing aids have a smooth, mellow sound quality
- Music: excellent music fidelity
- Size: small RIC hearing aid with slightly rounded edges (not as boxy as Widex, less rounded than Phonak)
- Colors: chroma beige, silver grey, silver, terracotta, chestnut brown, steel grey, diamond black, olive green, and hear pink.
- Type: Rechargeable or disposable
- Length: 16 to 22 hours on a 3-hour charge. The 30-minute quick charge provides 6 hours.
- Charger type: inductive charging with magnetic connection. SmartCharger is fully charged in 4 hours and holds up to 3 full charges.
- Bluetooth: Made for iPhone, compatible Android models
- Hands-free: for iPhone 11 and higher
- Multiple devices: N
- Tap control: N
- Telecoil: Y - with disposable battery option
- Small parts: medium (charger is suitable for those with low dexterity)
- Push buttons available: double push-button
Waterproof level 💦
- IP rating: IP68
- What that means: This hearing aid can be submerged in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.
App features 📲
- Remote care: included in the new Oticon Companion app
- Customization: volume, program change, streaming sound quality (treble/bass), SpeechBooster
- Tinnitus masking: your hearing care provider can create a tinnitus masking program
- Find my hearing aid: available in the app
- Health tracking: not available
- Remote control: Y
- Wearable mic: Y
- TV streamer: Y
Overall Oticon delivers good sound quality, convenience, and simplicity. It is a great choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-use device to help them manage their hearing needs. The Oticon companion app also allows you to customize the sound quality and access Remote Care or locate a lost hearing aid. Oticon offers hearing solutions for a range of hearing loss, including unilateral or asymmetric hearing loss. If you're looking for more resources to help you decide which hearing aid is best for your needs, explore the other Soundly resources, including our Live Listen sound samples.