Background noise bothersome and self programming

My hearing aid is nearly 5 years old. It is an Starkey Z series i30. I paid £1500. And it is not even top of the range. Only second above the most basic model. At the time, the top of the range; the high street were asking nearly 3.5k! Hearing aids are very expensive in the UK privately. I been living with these settings for nearly 5 years until last month I started self programming. I did have an trial with Signia Silk 7nx which was top of the range with an better processor than my aid. It had automatic features such as reducing noise in car or the fridges at work. Sadly I could not afford it but it made me realise the limitations of my current aid. You are right about technology and better processors.

Right. But you “must” amplify (a lot) to hear normal speech in your ear.

Conceptually, you could have a Volume Knob, keep your hand on it, constantly turning-down when sounds get loud. We could enslave a tiny demon to do this; no, these days they must have a Union and Work Rules and Tea Breaks. It is moderately easy to wire a loudness meter to an electronic gain control. But whether electronic or demon, we must “tell” our system how to turn-down.

I strongly recommend this article: Dynamic range compression

In the idle state we normally add some gain. When sound level rises to a point we call “Knee”, as the sound goes louder we turn-down more. (And after sound decreases, restore idle gain.)

There are two instructive extremes:

  1. set a high knee and control to never exceed that point
  2. set a low limit and turn-down gently, to fit a wide range of sound into a lesser span.

“Hard” limiting, >20:1 CR, is quite unnatural for most speech. Wide-Range compression is a good thing, especially with recruitment.

For more “fun”, your software allows different compression slope for different loudness. If loud sounds bother you, I think you want to change the Medium-Loud ratio by lowering the SPL80 gain.

But it is hard to judge the effect of compression without a lot of experience with the sounds which bother you. Yet you can’t take your programmer into machinery rooms.

And yes, you want to figure out if high middle or low tones bother you most. I can still take any amount of bass, but I’m tender around 3kHz. What bathers your ear?

Actually this is a good starting point from a HA fitters point of view, most people would get the benefit of reading this, it’s strange actually because quite a few people in self programming say they hate compression!,_Ignite,_X_Series,_S_Series_IQ,_S_Series,_and_E_Series_Products.htm

Well after taking in all the viewpoints of the knowledgeable people from this forum, I have made the following changes.

I have noticed I can hear the radio in the car a lot clearer and even managed to pick some words. This is something I have not done before.

Also have noticed ambient noise in the street is much quieter.

Have not been to work yet or in a noisy place to really test these settings.

Is 2.1 and 3 too much compression for the high frequencies? I would prefer speech and music to be natural as possible.


After and before the programming:

In studio and radio work, 3:1 on the LOUDEST part of the program is common.

I was playing talk-radio LOUD in the car, noticed that even the caller’s voice levels were all in a 2dB zone, where you expect real people’s speech to vary 15dB. The station was using maybe 10:1 compression (limiting) for all medium to loud sound. And yes, it was un-natural, but perfectly intelligible. Most TV commercials are squashed hard. Most AM radio is squashed pretty hard (and with very complex algorithms).

It is hard to predict from numbers what it will sound like for average listeners. I’m finding it VERY hard to estimate the effect of compression combined with recruitment, and with skislope.

You may have try it. It would be Real Good to have “programs” so if a CR experiment does not work out you can quickly switch to a less experimental setting and finish your shift.

Thanks again Paul for your input.

I think I have an flat hearing loss in the high frequencies. If I have no hearing in HF’s, I am not sure if too much compression will help there. Would compression of 1.4 or 1.7 be enough for the high frequencies even I have the gain not so high?