Oticon electronic hearing aids have been around since the very beginning… literally. Oticon produced the world’s very first electronic hearing aid in 1904 and they have been at the forefront of hearing aid technology ever since. Oticon is part of a larger company, Demant A/S, which is the second largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world behind only Sonova. Oticon is known for a wide range of high performing hearing aids that are innovative with a focus on high processing speeds.
The Ruby is Oticon’s budget-friendly, easy-to-use, Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aid. While it does not have all of the features and technology that some of the higher priced models do, it does provide the hearer with modern speech processing, a rechargeable battery option, and good connectivity features at a really good price point. One of the main barriers to a hearing aid for most people is the substantial cost of the device. Most insurance plans do not cover hearing aids, not to mention the trip to an audiologist, after care, and consistent maintenance needed to make the device work at an optimal level. The Oticon Ruby is an attempt to overcome that barrier and offer the quality and durability of an Oticon device at a great price. The following is a review of the Ruby hearing aid that we hope will help you know if it is the right device for you.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Oticon is known for quality, and you get that quality in the Ruby line of hearing aids just at a lower cost. The Oticon Ruby is a made for iPhone device with really good connectivity features even if you are not using an iPhone. There are 5 different BTE options and they are all sleek and stylish while maintaining a small and discreet profile. There is an Oticon Ruby 1 and Oticon Ruby 2 which represent similar devices with different technology levels. The Ruby 1 devices are more expensive with more sophisticated technology while the Ruby 2 devices are the lower end both in terms of technology and price.
To purchase the Oticon Ruby, you should find a local audiologist and schedule an appointment so that they can walk you through the process from start to finish including after care for years after you make the purchase. Even at the lower price, you still get some of Oticon’s major features like their superb sound quality, connectivity features, speech rescue LX, BrainHearing, and Bluetooth low energy technology. While some of the higher end technology offered in other Oticon hearing aids is missing, the simplicity and ease-of-use of the Ruby is one of the reasons that people really like the device. We would suggest giving it a try and comparing it to some of the higher end devices so that you hear the quality of the Oticon Ruby.
- A really good hearing aid for a really good price.
- Rechargeable options.
- Good connectivity options via Bluetooth so that you can watch movies, listen to music, take phone calls, and more.
- Uses Oticon’s Velox S platform, the same platform used by the Xceed and More as well as Oticon’s other topline devices.
- A Made for iPhone hearing aid.
- BrainHearing, Speech Rescue, Wind Noise Management, Tinnitus Relief, and others are all features you will find with the Ruby hearing aid.
- Options that address mild to profound hearing loss depending on your need.
- Multiple choices for children.
- A 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- 30-day trials available.
- A great selection of styles, colors, accessories, and features.
- The biggest selling point is the cost, but you can find much less expensive models online.
- No ITE models available.
- Some of the streaming and connectivity features that come standard in other devices require an accessory to be used with the Ruby device.
- Some Android devices are not directly compatible.
Features & Benefits
Design/type of hearing aid
All of the Ruby hearing aids are BTE devices. Three of them are Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) devices while the other two are traditional BTE hearing aids. The RITE hearing aids have an added level of directionality and personalized hearing as the microphone that is placed in your ear uses the shape of your ear to aid hearing and also helps to triangulate sound by working with the other microphones on the device. It is a new technology in general, but more and more hearing aids are moving to a third microphone in the ear canal for those reasons. The BTE hearing aids are small, stylish, and discreet, but unfortunately there are no ITE options available. If you are specifically looking for ITE options, however, Oticon does offer the Siya ITE devices that are smaller and virtually undetectable.
Oticon Ruby hearing aids have options for all age groups and every level of hearing loss from mild to profound. Oticon does make a device, the Xceed, specifically for profound hearing loss, but if the cost of that device is too much, the Ruby options work well. It is important that you match your level of hearing loss with both the features and the strength of the hearing aids you purchase so that you get optimal results.
Fit and Wearability
- Custom fit options
The BTE and BTE PP models use either ear domes or custom made earpieces so that it sits in your ear just right.
The Oticon Ruby has both disposable and rechargeable options available. The disposable models use either the size 312 or size 13 batteries, both of which are easy to find and last a long time. The Oticon Ruby miniRITE R hearing aid features a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charger. The charging is done with inductive technology which means it is contact-free to ensure consistent charging every time. The Ruby only takes three hours to be fully charged and ready for the day or 30 minutes for power charging so that you can get five to six hours of use.
- Sound quality
The Oticon Ruby features multiband adaptive directionality so that it analyzes the sound environment up to 100 times per second. After each time, the focus of the microphones is changed to reflect the sound environment allowing the hearer to decide which sound/speech is most important and the hearing aid reacts to that.
Each Ruby hearing aid features three adjustable profiles that you can choose from to adapt the features and function of your hearing aid to your listening environment.
- Noise cancellation
Because of the processing power and speed of the Velox S platform, Oticon Ruby hearing aids can reduce and cancel even the noise that occurs in between words so that speech clarity is as high as possible.
- Automatic sound adjustment based on environment
While there are three different listening profiles that you can program into your Ruby hearing aids, there is also the possibility of having the sound and features adjusted automatically based on a reading of your environment.
Because Ruby hearing aids are made for iPhone devices, you will get your best streaming results with an iPhone. Ruby hearing aids also have powerful Bluetooth technology that allows you to connect to a wide array of Bluetooth devices and to stream directly from those devices into your hearing aids. There are also accessories available when your hearing aids cannot directly connect to a device like a television, smartphone, or other listening device.
Oticon Xceed hearing aids are iPhone compatible, but with the ConnectClip you can connect to any smartphone with Bluetooth capability.
- TV Adapter
Stream the audio from your television directly to your earpieces and you can even adjust your personal television volume without messing with anyone else.
- Hearing Aid Charger
There is a rechargeable option with the Ruby family of hearing aids, and the charger that comes with it uses inductive charging technology. That means that there are no “connections” that have to be contacted for the charging to happen, simply place the hearing aids on the charger and 3 hours later you have a full charge good for 20 hours of listening time or more.
- Remote Control
A remote control will connect directly to your hearing aids so that you can adjust volume, settings, etc. with a discreet handheld device.
Unique Perks and Features
- Bluetooth connectivity
These are iPhone ready devices that connect to an iPhone with Bluetooth technology. You can make hands-free calls, listen to streaming audio and video, and tap into any feature that the iPhone offers. You can also connect to many Android phones but some smartphones require either an accessory or an app to connect. Bluetooth is also a low energy technology so that you can stream music for hours and never lose charge.
- Oticon ON App
Ruby is compatible with the Oticon ON App and all of the features and usability that the app offers. The following is a description of how you can control your Oticon hearing aids with the app:
- Remote Control
The remote control is where you control your device. You can turn the volume up or down, or switch back and forth from different programs.
- Hearing Aids
This button on the app allows you to check the battery level of your hearing aids. By monitoring battery life through this app, you will avoid finding yourself in the situation where your hearing aid batteries die unexpectedly.
There is also a “find your hearing aids” option, similar to what many smartphones have. This can help you locate your hearing aids if you should lose them.
Oticon calls this aspect of your app “a fitness tracker for your ears.” It tracks your hearing, helps you to set goals, and gives advice on how to improve your hearing. In this area of the app, you can actually set goals for how long you want to use your hearing aids and then check back over weeks and months to see how close to your goals you have come.
- Internet of Things.
The Oticon On app actually opens up the “If This Then That” (IFTTT) internet-based service in certain Oticon hearing aids. Here are some examples of things that IFTTT can do:
- Turn your bedroom lights on every morning when you take your hearing aids out of their charger.
- Alert you every time your alarm system goes off or your doorbell rings.
- Send an email to your caregiver alerting them that your hearing aid’s battery is low.
- Have a signal sent to you if your refrigerator door is open or your timer is going off.
- Hearing Guide
This section of the app holds full guides that will help you make sure you are using all of the features that your hearing aid offers. Having these guides at your fingertip will allow you to go through and discover features and aspects of your Oticon hearing aids that you may be unaware of. The guides will teach you how to put these features to use.
The “settings” button allows you to configure the app to your personal preferences so that it can be more useful to you in the long run. This button also gives you access to the “instructions for use” for the On app.
There have been great improvements in the On app since its inception, but they have maintained a focus on simplicity and function throughout. No matter how robust and thorough an app is, if it is confusing or difficult to use, it will not be good to anyone. The On app is easy to use but it also has enough features to make it a great addition to Oticon hearing aids.
- Noise Reduction LX
Reduces background noises so that you can hear the things that you want to hear, specifically speech and those noises that are happening directly in front of you. The processing speed allows it to even reduce the noise that you can hear in-between words.
- Speech Rescue LX
Speech rescue, including a soft speech booster, shifts the frequencies of the speech around you to one that you are experiencing the lowest amount of hearing loss.
- Brain Hearing
BrainHearing is the basis for most Oticon hearing aids right now and was developed to help with speech clarity, reduced listening effort, and improved short-term recall. This new technology hinges on the idea that, “your ears collect sound, but it is your brain that understands it.” Oticon believes that when your brain does not receive enough sound information, you will not understand what people are saying or what is going on around you. BrainHearing technology takes into account the brain’s role in hearing while remaining focused on what the ear does as well.
One of the key pieces of technology that came from BrainHearing is called a deep neural network (DNN). A DNN is a type of machine learning that mimics the way the brain works, and Oticon was able to apply this to their hearing aids. Oticon hearing aid DNNs are trained with millions and millions of real-life sound scenes such as restaurants, sporting events, classroom lectures, train stations, etc. The DNN then attempted to identify and balance each sound in each sound scene, and through a system of trial and error, DNNs learned how to process sound correctly and to prioritize the most important sounds to you in a given environment.
- Wind Noise Management
Provides better listening in windy environments. This is important because all of the Ruby devices are BTE devices and these are the ones that pickup the most wind noise.
- Single Compression LX
Changes the frequencies of the sounds that come in that are out of your hearing range to frequencies within your hearing range.
- Feedback Shield LX
Suppresses feedback over time and some Ruby models also have SuperShield which prevents feedback from ever happening in the first place.
- Tinnitus Relief
Oticon Ruby hearing aids can mask tinnitus by balancing or canceling the ringing sound in your ear with a more pleasing soundscape such as ocean noises, music, relaxation guides, etc.
This is one of the major features and selling points of the Oticon Ruby hearing aids. You can expect to spend less than most of the major retail hearing aid brands and they will average around $2,800 for a good pair of Ruby hearing aids. This number definitely goes up or down depending on features, technology level, and even where you choose to purchase the device. Remember that service before, during, and after the sale from an audiologist is the largest determining factor of whether or not you will like your hearing aid purchase.
- When did Oticon Ruby come out?
The Oticon Ruby came out to run on the Velox S platform and to take over from the Siya as Oticon’s budget BTE hearing aid.
- What is Oticon Ruby?
The Ruby was created to be the most budget-friendly Oticon hearing aid option. While it is their lowest priced device, it still features much of the same technology as some of the higher end models and performs well in quality, speech clarity, and connectivity.
- Does the Oticon Ruby have Bluetooth?
The Oticon Ruby features 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® low energy technology which means you get great connectivity without using too much of your battery while you are connected. This Bluetooth technology keeps you connected to a wide range of devices.
- How much is the Oticon OPN?
The Oticon OPN is roughly twice the price of the Oticon Ruby. It does have more technology and features, but much of the sound quality, speech clarity, and connectivity is available in the less expensive Ruby hearing aid.
While the Ruby is known as the “budget friendly” option of the Oticon devices, that does not mean it is not a high quality hearing aid. As you may have noticed above, many of the features and much of the technology found in Oticon’s highly rated “OPN S” and “More” offerings are also available in Ruby. It is a simple, easy-to-use, attractive device that gives you a high quality listening experience from the time you put them in your ears. You still get Oticon’s BrainHearing, low-energy Bluetooth, and access to the popular ON app while maintaining high quality sound. When you are ready to purchase a new hearing device, talk to your audiologist and let them explain to you all of the benefits that the Ruby offers at a terrific price.