Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Oticon connects hearing aid to internet

Steve Rogerson
June 29, 2016



Danish company Oticon has launched what it claims is the world's first internet connected hearing aid that opens up a world of possibilities for IoT devices.
 
Called Opn, it includes the TwinLink dual communications system to combine binaural processing with streamer-free, internet connectivity, without compromising battery life or physical size.
 
The listening device is compatible with the web-based service IFTTT (If This Then That), unlocking potential for connected device communications.
 
The Velox sound processing system allows users to follow multiple conversations more naturally in noisy environments without using traditional directionality.
 
With Opn, it is now possible to programme hearing aids to talk directly with door bells, smoke detectors and baby alarms. Opn is said to be the first hearing aid that connects to and interacts with the internet.
 
"With Opn we've taken a giant leap forward, for both hearing aids and the internet of things," said Soren Nielsen, president of Oticon. "The potential of IoT is vast, but on a consumer level we've largely seen devices that focus on convenience. With Opn, the internet of things starts to matter; you could say that this will change people's lives."
 
Alongside the connectivity, Oticon has made strides with Opn's core function as a listening device. Powered by the Velox platform, it overcomes a difficulty that even the most advanced products can't solve – the ability to handle noisy environments with multiple speakers. Through the use of precise sound analysis performed over 100 times a second, important sound such as speech can be located from any direction, with background noise deemphasised for optimum clarity.
 
"Oticon has always been about audiology and technology working in harmony, and with Opn we're introducing new and ground-breaking technology to address real issues that affect those with hearing loss," said Nielsen. "Opn opens up a whole new world of sound, allowing users to manage multiple speakers in difficult situations such as dinner conversations, and to benefit from technological advances that were previously out of reach. Opn can make a real difference to the lives of people, young and old, who suffer from hearing loss."
 
Headquartered out of Denmark, Oticon is a global company and part of the William Demant Holding Group with more than 11,000 employees and revenues of over DKK10bn.