Oticon is one of the most well-known hearing aid manufacturers in the world. In fact Oticon is a division of Demant A/S which is the second largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world behind only Sonova. It is a brand known for innovation and high-quality, durable products. Oticon is currently best known for their “BrainHearing” technology that focuses not only on the processing of sound by the hearing aid, but also helping the brain to process sound as well. Oticon offers many different types, styles, and lines of hearing aids, but the following is a review of their line of Xceed hearing aids.
Some hearing aids do their best to mimic natural hearing and sound. Some hearing aids focus on accessories, connectivity, and streaming, staying ahead of the game in technology. Some hearing aids focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and machine learning so that they learn and change with the wearer. The Oticon Xceed focuses on one thing over everything else: Power. The more severe and profound your hearing loss becomes, the more difficult it is to focus, converse, and be a part of other people’s conversations. The technology found in the Exceed hearing aids will allow wearers to isolate and hear human voices at the expense of other sounds and uses the powerful Velox S platform to process sounds quickly and amplify them enough for people with even the most profound hearing loss.
Things to Consider Before Buying
The Oticon Xceed family of hearing aids includes three different technology levels and two models all of which are Behind-the-Ear (BTE) style. All Xceed hearing aids come with a three-year warranty and are powered by the advanced Velox S platform. They are an iPhone compatible hearing aid so that you can do pretty much anything to them using you iPhone. The SP model provides 83dB of gain while the UP model gives you 87dB, the highest in the industry. These hearing aids were made really for one purpose: To help those with severe and profound hearing loss. The tag line Oticon uses is “open up your world to the people around you” and that is why they focused so much on power and processing speed. Many of the features, apps, and accessories will be detailed below, but here are some of the pros and cons of the Xceed hearing aids.
- The most powerful hearing aid on the market.
- The Velox S platform provides some of the fastest processing speeds on the market.
- 83dB and 87dB of gain are some of the highest you will see.
- Made for iPhones and also compatible with many Android devices.
- The OpenSound Optimizer cuts down on static and whistling, even preventing them from happening which is uncommon in the more powerful hearing aids.
- A great lineup of accessories.
- The push buttons provide easy control even if you do not have your app or remote handy.
- Equipped with a telecoil.
- Water resistant and dust resistant as well as easy to clean.
- An audiologist plays an important role in guiding you through an Xceed purchase, including fitting you with custom earmolds.
- BrainHearing adapts to speech by processing sound as quickly as your brain does and it can scan your surroundings 100 times per second so that you get better speech clarity and reduced listening effort while also improving short-term recall.
- The size 13 battery should last you at least 5-6 days if not more while the 675 will give you at least 2 days at a time.
- If you do not have severe or profound hearing loss, there are other hearing aids that will be a better fit for you.
- They are on the expensive side even for high end hearing aids.
- Because of its power, there are no real discreet options in terms of aesthetics.
- No rechargeable battery options.
Features & Benefits
The Oticon Xceed is marketed as the most powerful hearing aid on the market, and it was designed specifically for people with severe to profound hearing loss. Because of this fact, most of the features and benefits associated with the Xceed hearing aids deal specifically with helping people with the most severe hearing issues.
Design/type of hearing aid
The Oticon Xceed only comes in a BTE option because it needs more room for the power and technology it possesses. It is designed and made specifically for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
Fit and Wearability
The Xceed hearing aid looks and fits really well with the device sitting comfortably behind your ear. For its features, technology, and power, it is a pretty small device and is no more noticeable than most BTE hearing aids. It comes in 8 different colors and many of them blend in well with your skin and hair. The fit of the earpiece is customizable, and when you go to an audiologist to get fitted, they will take a custom earmold and have the hearing aid fit specifically for your ear.
Maybe the biggest downside to Oticon Xceed is that there is not yet a rechargeable option. You need either the size 13 or 675 battery off of the Oticon website and, while they are easy to change, they only last a few days each and you will have to constantly purchase new hearing aid batteries.
- Sound quality
Directionality is what allows the hearer to know the direction from which sounds come, and directionality features often allow you to pinpoint the direction of certain sounds while giving more emphasis to human speech and to the sounds that come from directly in front of you. Better hearing aids have multiple microphones that can, essentially, triangulate sound and help the hearer process sound by knowing where it originates. Oticon’s top directionality feature is their “360-degree Hearing” technology that will be discussed below.
The ON app helps you to adapt your hearing to different environments and sound levels. The Xceed hearing aid features different sound settings that give you optimal listening depending on the environment you are in. You can control these settings with your app or remote control.
- Noise cancellation
The OpenSound Navigator can remove sound from your environment, and especially feedback and other unwanted noise. It is described more thoroughly below, but even the lowest level of Xceed hearing aids includes noise cancellation.
- Automatic sound adjustment based on environment
BrainHearing technology, described below, is how Oticon Xceed hearing aids automatically adjust based on the environment you are in.
With a wide array of accessories, apps, and Bluetooth capability, you can stream audio from any other Bluetooth electronic. With your iPhone especially, the streaming capabilities of the Xceed devices is excellent. The sound quality is great and the Bluetooth technology allows for continuous streaming for as long as you want to do it. You can also stream from tablets, televisions, and anything that is compatible with telecoil.
People who use power hearing aids also rely heavily on accessories that can improve the signal-to-noise ratio. WIth Bluetooth technology, there are multiple accessories available for the Xceed hearing aids and many of them are listed below.
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.
- 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
There are quite a few features and perks associated with the Oticon Xceed hearing aids, but the first four listed below are the most important. The ON app powers the hearing aid and makes its features and usability accessible to the wearer.
- Oticon ON App
The Oticon On app is available with most of the Oticon hearing aids, including the Xceed family of devices, and can be paired with iPhones and Android devices. It is important to consistently update your app because Oticon makes continual improvements to give you the best listening experience possible.
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 Xceed hearing aids. This is a service that enables you to connect or integrate your hearing aids with products all around you such as lighting systems, appliances, your email, phones, etc. 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.
The internet of things is a relatively new and expanding technology, especially as it relates to hearing aids. The idea is that “things” can communicate with each other electronically, and Oticon remains at the forefront of this technology because of its potential importance to people who suffer from hearing loss.
- 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.
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.
- OpenSound Optimizer
Oticon’s “OpenSound Optimizer” prevents feedback and other annoying sounds from impacting your hearing experience. Most hearing aids have technology that automatically turns down the volume when these noises are present, but Oticon’s solution prevents these noises from even being picked up in the first place.
- 360-degree Hearing
Rather than blocking sounds from certain directions, or focusing one single microphone straight ahead of you, 360-degree hearing provides access to all speech and relevant sounds in your environment while also differentiating speech from other noise in the process. This feature gives the hearer some control over the sounds they focus on and the speech that they hear, and when paired with BrainHearing technology it leads to a more natural listening experience.
- Power Hearing
The most unique and best feature that the Xceed hearing aids have to offer is their power hearing capabilities. The Xceed UP is the most powerful hearing aid on the market.
- Tinnitus Relief
Oticon Xceed hearing aids can mask tinnitus by balancing or canceling the annoying sounds of tinnitus with a more pleasing soundscape such as ocean noises, music, relaxation guides, etc.
The cost of the Xceed depends both on the model that you choose and the technology level that you want. The Xceed 1 UP model would be the most powerful and most expensive while the Xceed 3 SP model would be the least expensive. The cost also goes up or down depending on where you purchase the device and the level of service you receive. In general you can expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $5000 or more.
- What is the difference between Oticon Xceed 1, 2, and 3?
The numbers from 1 to 3 represent different technology levels within the Xceed family of hearing aids with 1 being the top line.
- Is the Oticon Xceed rechargeable?
There are no rechargeable options for the Oticon Xceed family of hearing aids.
- Does Oticon Xceed have Bluetooth?
Any Oticon Xceed model will connect to any modern smartphone and many other electronic devices via Bluetooth technology.
- Is the Oticon Xceed a good hearing aid?
The Oticon Xceed is the most powerful hearing aid on the market, and is one of the best hearing aids for people with severe or profound hearing loss.
If you are experiencing severe or profound hearing loss, the Oticon Xceed hearing aid is one of the best hearing aids out there. It is the most powerful hearing aid on the market, but it does much more than simply amplify sound. All of the features mentioned above allow the wearer of these hearing aids to be a part of everyday conversations that previously seemed out of reach. The BrainHearing accounts for improved speech clarity, less listening effort, and better short-term recall as Oticon focused more on not just the function of the ears in hearing, but the function of the brain as well. The bottom line is that those with the most severe hearing loss receive access to speech and conversation regardless of their environment and that is important not only for hearing health but for your overall sense of well-being.