Background noise bothersome and self programming

Hi all,

I have very severe to profound loss in left ear. Right ear is profound. Without my aid, I can only hear loud low frequency sounds such as door slamming, loud hum of refrigerators at the supermarkets or the Royal Air Force military planes shooting past in the skies! I have no high frequencies nerves at all (I believe). My current aid since the past 4 years has been Starkey’s Z Series i30 CIC with am 70db receiver.

I get on very well in life due to excellent lip reading skills (was born hard of hearing) and one - to one speech I hardly misunderstand. In groups of people I do struggle, I mean I am hearing everything but speech understanding which I cannot do.

I have been self programming past few days and I got the bug! I am enjoying it and it has become a sort of an hobby but the wife is not happy! My aid sounds much more clearer and better than what the AuD had it set. The only problem I have is I find background environmental sounds too loud such as extractor fans, refrigerators at my work place (I work in a large supermarket), AC systems at certain places, traffic going past and background noise in the car such as air whishing around the faster you drive; had these issues even before self programming. I have no issues understanding soft speech now; my wife has such an soft speech and the settings before my own self programming were not right. I fixed it and now can hear her well. Can anyone offer any tips or pointers on how to resolve this the above issues?

The low frequencies are very compressed. But sounds very natural and comfortable. I cannot stand loud sounds or booming speech…I find speech clarity is enhanced if you keep the loud sounds in the 200khz and 500khz low.

Settings with Aud:

After self programming:

I increased overall gain in the 3k and 4k for better speech understanding and I have found it to be helping. In the lower frequencies I lowered 500k gain from 14 to 12 which also increased compression from 2.1 to 3. Much more mellow sound and increase of speech clarity. In the 200k slightly brought down the moderate from 16 to 15 and increased the soft gain from 22 to 24 which also changed compression from 1.4 to 2.1
I find my hearing via the aid is much better now than what the Aud had set on. And I had this aid for nearly 4 years.


The MPO’s are set 106 for 200k, 120 for 500k and 119 for 1k. Is this too high or just about right?

Hard to say without seeing your audiogram.

Unfortunately I do not have it. Will try to get a copy somehow

Here is my audiogram:

I want to hear soft and moderate speech as clear possible but do not want to make loud speech any more louder. I have very bad recruitment

It appears your current hearing aids do not have enough power for your hearing loss.

Frequency lowering might be good,for,you.

Lowering the loud level across the board usually helps me with clashing sounds.

So shall I lower the louds in the 200k 500k and 1kHz? But won’t that decrease compression?

The high frequencies are already maxed out. Do you mean the aid is not strong enough in the high frequencies? I know it only goes up to 4kHz. But if I do purchase an stronger aid say one which goes to 8kHz; do you think it will benefit my hearing?

Try lowering the loud level in all frequencies 2-4 dB.

When we talk about power of hearing aids is usually means gain, not frequency. You need hearing aids that will give you enough gain for your hearing loss.

You may benefit from frequency lowering technology. Phonak is probably the best at this technology. My hearing isn’t far from yours and I do well with frequency lowering.

+1 on Raudrive response.

Get BTE hearing aids in SP (super power) this will give you more headroom for any further loss, plus better overall clarity/fidelity in those higher frequencies, Phonak’s soundrecover 2 is quite popular with a lot of people, try them out for free at any audiology clinic and I’m sure you’ll “hear” the difference.

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I did try Starkey’s spectral iq frequency lowering. I disliked it due to the sssshhh sounds when it was shifting speech.

Power and in my case; increasing gain is not an option. My aid has plenty of power but due to my very small dynamic range overall loudness is too much too handle.

My loss is already enough :frowning: I have profound loss in right ear which has an cochlear implant which I do not use. Left ear was born hard of hearing and has not changed since then. I been told I can only hear loud low frequencies in left ear. Right ear was normal at birth but then started to get to inner ear infections which killed all hearing by the time I was 24. Only started using aids at 18. Before this age I never used an aid, even though I had one from the NHS for left ear. Never worn it as I could understand speech perfectly until 24. I then realised I can now only understand speech with lip-reading

I think I understand what you are saying.
The shhhhhh sound usually means the frequency lowering is set too aggressive but I am not familiar with Starkeys frequency lowering technology.

As mentioned, the newer Phonak aids with sound recover 2 has proven to help many people with profound high frequency loss.

I use less powerful aids than recommended for my loss. By using frequency lowering the aids don’t have to put out as much gain in the upper frequencies. I am deaf in my upper frequencies, no need to to put sound in those areas.

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Sometimes too much power is not good. I get on really well. Just find it difficult when I walk into loud places such as restaurants, at work (the ac and the fridges).

Can someone please be kind and show me how to decrease background noise? When driving, I find the noise too loud such as tyre and engine rumble. At work, I find the fridges too loud. At home I find the extractor fans in the bathroom too loud. Are my compression settings out of whack? The MPO’s are set quite low so they may not be the issue.

I changed settings. Pics attached:

Thank you

Sounds like your soft sounds are set too high? You need to change things and test it out. That’s what DIY programming is all about.

This is tough. What is the difference between speech and noise? Fans especially have a frequency spread very similar to speech. In the recording studio I might try a high-cut filter at 3kHz to reduce the annoyance of hiss and preserve some speech intelligibility. However you know that 4kHz and higher (and lower!) are all important when intelligibility is marginal.

The “smart” answer is processors which recognize the steady drone of most noise and the pace rhythm and frequency jumps of speech. You won’t find that in the basic response/gain settings.

Then yes a very high compression ratio above 65dB. “3” is already high for constant use, and squashes many dynamic clues out of speech. However in a music studio when a singer’s loud notes are way-loud we may use CR or 8 or more. Smash a 70dB-90dB range of loudness down to 70dB-74dB. Of course this mostly bashes the open-throat vowels, which are less important for intelligibility, and “it’s only lyrics”.

What you really want is a very knowledgeable HA fitter who knows the more advanced processing (mostly from the last 5 years) and how to set it to the user’s preference. (Or if there is a better HA model for the purpose.) But I fully understand that most fitters in everyday practice get little experience with the advanced processing options.

Paul - very nice input, thanks. As for determining what frequency the dreaded noise is, I use an Iphone app called Spectrum. It gives you realtime DB levels and frequency. At least then you know which frequency to tweak. Also, at least with Oticon OPN S 1 BTE model, the Speech Rescue has a Strength factor that you can apply. So it will enhance and prioritize the speech capture more if you want that. I tried full strength, but was happiest with one notch down from max. I was then able to lower the higher freq’s a little because it is already shifting speech out of (over 4k) higher range and shifting to lower.

I am not an audiologist, fitter, or any kind of doctor. And I have only worn an aid for 2 days.

Don’t listen to me.

I did do sound systems for 40+ years. In my experience, when the paying crowd likes the soft and medium sounds, but complains about the loud sounds, you apply compression between medium and loud. Low CR for S-M range, higher CR for M-L range.

Your numbers seem “wrong” for controlling LOUD sound discomfort.

If your recruitment is in the highs, they seem even more wrong.

I have a casual self-made graph of my “Equal Loudness” curves. Below 1kHz I hear soft-medium-loud in apparently correct proportion. Above 3kHz I hear s-m-l all inside a 12dB range.

The apparent “correction” would be to compress 42:12 or 3.5:1CR, only above 3kHz. Below 1kHz I need no compression, CR=1.0. And a smooth interpolation for the 1kHz-3kHz band. JW-hearing-MyCompression

It is easy to get “lost” messing with compression. Save a known-OK fitting you can go back to before you try changing compression.

Looking at your earlier programming screen, I think the trick is to reduce the Gains for LOUD, until the CR is above 2, and possibly 4. I would find 29dB gain at 2kHz on Loud sounds very painful. 22dB gain @ 2kHz may be too little. And it is a general rule (in sound systems as well as HAs) that you start with half the change you think you need, and get used to that, before any further change. You may find that 25dB@2kHz is more appropriate.

Further more old-sound-guy intuition: your CRs for Soft-Medium bobble 2.1-1.4-1.7. Without hearing impairment we like the same CR all over. With ski-slope recruitment we expect to want more CR in higher frequency. I’d aim for CR=2 all across. This will interact with the frequency response for soft/medium sounds. You may get smooth loudness and erratic pitches. Your hearing is quite smooth above 1.5kHz and I would expect to want smooth curves of both gain and compression.

I am not a doctor. But I have gone ‘deaf’ in part because of sound exposure. The risk of heavy compression on the loud parts is that the world can become ALL LOUD, which risks further hearing damage. As you say, “My loss is already enough”. MPO of 120dB seems high to ME, but my loss is less. However I know I have lost much hearing from sounds less than 120dB SPL. Be aware, be careful!

Paul I really appreciate the time and effort you have taken in your posts. I am greatly confused in ‘compression’. I though 2.1 of compression means for every 10 db there is a increase of 5db? The figure 1 means no compression? Obviously I do not want to increase loud sounds/speech. But I do want to hear soft and moderate speech perfectly.

I do have an massive issue with background ambient noise being loud such as in car, in shopping malls or in the supermarket. I work in retail during night time and the large fridges are horrible!

Weird I do not have no issues understanding speech when lip-reading and I understand high frequencies are needed to understand speech.

I have made the changes (created an new program so I can switch between my usual so no worries of losing settings) you suggested in the high’s (2,3 and 4k). Also in the 1k. The highest compression setting my aid offers is 3. Adding some additional compression of 3 won’t that make the high frequencies too sharp?

What would you suggest for the low frequencies keeping in mind I have some good low frequencies hearing but cannot stand loud background noise. Maybe the issue is the compression and gains in the lower end.

I have also changed the MPO’s from 110 to 106 in the 200k, 120 to 116 in 500k. The 1k is 119, is that safe?