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A pioneer of audiology and hearing aid technology, Oticon is aiming to redefine child-friendly hearing care with the launch of its new Oticon Opn Play hearing aid.

Oticon Opn Play is designed to enable children with hearing loss to benefit from Oticon’s BrainHearing technology. Providing access to 360° sound from the sound environment, Oticon Opn Play represents a new way for children to hear, improving the listening conditions that traditional paediatric hearing technologies provide to meet the developmental needs and day-to-day challenges of growing up with hearing loss.

Featuring the OpenSound Navigator, Oticon Opn Play is the first paediatric hearing aid to help children to effectively differentiate between speech and noise while providing 360° access to sound and helping to suppress disturbing noise.

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By giving children the support that they need to choose which sounds to pay attention to naturally, rather than providing unorganised access to all sounds whether relevant or not, or restricting access to sound and therefore opportunities to learn like traditional directional technology, Oticon Opn Play delivers better speech understanding and reduced listening effort, even in noisy environments.

Importantly, Oticon Opn Play allows children to access the incidental sounds that are vital for providing the stimulation that young minds need to develop and grow.

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Children are extremely active and their ears continuously grow, which increase the risk of feedback when wearing hearing aids. Feedback is also a challenge for hearing care professionals because it restricts their ability to provide an optimal fitting through prescribed gain, which can both compromise a child’s hearing care and comfort.

Oticon Opn Play breaks a law of physics, says the company, with the new OpenSound Optimizer from Oticon. Driven by fast detectors and featuring a patented feedback breaker signal, Oticon Opn Play includes the world’s first system to prevent audible feedback without sacrificing audibility. This enables a child to be fitted with up to 6dB more gain in an open fitting or more stable gain for closed fittings.

Furthermore, it provides up to 25 percent more speech cues to children’s brains, increasing their ability to make sense of sound and improve language development.

“We want to ensure that children have the best opportunity to learn, develop and thrive,” said Thomas Behrens, Chief Audiologist at Oticon. “Children with hearing loss are prone to delayed learning, often left behind by their peers, and unless a hearing loss is successfully addressed early this gap can increase.

“With Oticon Opn Play we are giving children the full benefit of the open sound experience, providing them 360° access to all relevant sounds, while supporting their brain to select and prioritise the sounds that are important.

“It is a breakthrough in paediatric hearing care to deliver this kind of support in the noisy situations that make up a day in school or day-care and we couldn’t be more pleased that we are able to offer young ears a hearing aid that can help them fulfill their potential.”

The Made for iPhone Oticon Opn Play offers children extensive connection capabilities, in and out of school. With 2.4GHz Bluetooth technology, Oticon Opn Play can connect with modern smartphones and tablets. With the optional ConnectClip accessory, Oticon Opn Play hearing aids can transform into a wireless headset, streaming high-quality audio for music, phone calls, and more to both ears.

ConnectClip is also a handy microphone which can be useful in challenging environments as it enhances communication where distance or noise are an issue. Oticon Opn Play is also compatible with FM receivers and many alternative classroom hearing solutions.

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The Oticon Opn Play series of hearing aids are available in a wide range of styles, speaker levels and colours to meet the needs of most children.

Notably, the new miniRITE R rechargeable lithium-ion solution provides three-hour charging time for a full day of power and features a quick recharge function for up to five hours of additional power in 30 minutes.

Oticon Opn Play will be made available in the UK the week commencing 11th March 2019.

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