Can Hearing Aids Cause Vocal Fry?


I am close to 100% certain that the left HA is the source of the vocal fry. When the battery in it went dead while watching TV, the fry went away. It was restored when I replaced the battery. I have not tried the headphones on my computer other than to do the threshold testing. Will have to give it a try.


If the fitter cannot solve the problem then I am going to have to consider just putting the left HA in the drawer and only use one. Or, I may have to look at the other HA’s that Costco carries. It does not seem reasonable to have to put up with this distortion effect. I would rather just correct my right ear and forget the left.


Only you can decide what’s acceptable. It might have an easy solution (perhaps a new receiver) or it might not.


I have found a bit of a work around to the issue. With the Connexx Smart app I have, you can set the microphone focus in the Universal program mode. When I set it to the very narrow front focus setting, the frog voice vocal fry effect is greatly reduced. I’m not sure what changes the narrow focus uses, but somehow it seems to reduce the vocal fry. I am starting to come to the conclusion that the left hearing aid may be defective.


It will take months for your brain to deal with distortion. The only way a fitter can solve it is by turning down those frequencies.


The very first thing you should do next time you go in is to ask them to replace the left receiver with a new one. That’s the most likely cause. If that doesn’t help, I’d ask for the next bigger size left receiver next.


I think that depends on the source of the distortion. If the distortion is in my brain, then perhaps things will improve. If the distortion is being created by a defective microphone, amplifier, or receiver, then it is not going to get better.


It’s possible it is defective equipment, and that can be tested, but think horses, not zebras. The REM worked and you are driving a 90 db loss on mature ears that have never been aided? My money’s on a horse.


Turning on the narrow front microphone focus on in the Universal program solves about 95% of the problem. However, it is a very closed down flat sound, almost like it is also applying some kind of high frequency filter. The non focused Universal program has better sound, but also brings back the gravel croaking voices. I tried them in the Recorded Music program today and at any volume level the sound in the left ear was intolerable at certain volumes and frequencies. My stereo normally fixes the location of instruments in the recording from left to right and in depth. The recording I played today had the piano back behind the speaker and over just a bit toward center of left. But when the certain frequencies were hit the piano would jump from back there to right in my left ear and all distorted. My next appointment is on the 14th. I guess about all I can do is keep using them and hope that things will get better.


It’s interesting that a piano triggered it. That might indicate it is something other than tones at 4k, since only the far right keys on a piano are close to that range. 4k is really high for everyday sounds.


Sierra, what recording were you listening to where you found the piano problems?


It was an old vinyl album I have called In Jazz Country by Max Morath. I don’t see it on iTunes, but it is very well recorded and features a ragtime piano. If I had to guess, I think the offending frequencies are in the 2-3 kHz range.


Thanks. I checked my Google Play Music subscription and I find 12 Max Morath albums listed, but no “In Jazz Country”. Darn.

There is a huge difference between listening to recorded music via Bluetooth and listening to live piano playing or listening to my stereo. So even if I found it, it would be an apples to oranges test anyway.

I do have a decent stereo system consisting of Threshold pre-amp, power amp, and Magnepan 3.7 speakers. The sound I’m hearing through my Marvel M90-R’s is magnificent. I’m hearing things I haven’t heard in decades!


Yes, I don’t blame the recording or my stereo equipment. I know if I took my HA’s off It would sound very good with solid locations of the stereo image, despite my hearing loss. I normally bias up the left speaker to compensate.

Having good equipment to play back recorded music is part of the hearing loss tragedy that is hard to accept. My turntable is a modified Rega 2 with a double thickness plinth. The tonearm is a Grace with a Fidelity Research FR-1 MK3 F silver moving coil cartridge connected to a Marcof PPA-1 MC amp. The pre-amp and power amp are David Hafler, and the speakers are B&W DM7 MKII, with a HSU subwoofer. Now with this left hearing aid it all sounds like poop!


I used a sound meter app today when listening to music. The distortion seems to occur when music levels hit 75 to 80 dB.


There’s a possibility that the input mic is defective and cannot handle the input sound at above a certain level.


While I am not ruling out some defect with the HA microphones, amplifier, or receiver, I am starting to wonder if my problem is recruitment and distortion at the higher amplitudes of the frequencies being affected by the non linear recruitment response. If so, I wonder if the fitter has some way to identify those offending frequencies? It seems from the research I have done, the standard way of dealing with that problem is to increase the compression of those specific frequencies without killing them all.


To test that theory I downloaded a tone generator app to my iPhone. I used Bluetooth to route the tones to my HA’s to take the microphones out of the equation. At the maximum volume level through the frequency range I cannot get the left HA to act badly. Volume drops off at higher frequencies, but I do not hear any significant noise or distortion to the tones… With only the right HA I can hear up to 7000 and there is a bit of noise, but I suspect not enough to be audible with normal volume levels at lower frequencies. Thoughts?


I’m not sure why you want to take the mics out of the equation for this test, since the hypothesis is that the mics may be defective in the first place.


It seems like if he gets distortion through the mics, but not through streaming, it suggests the issue is with the mics. At least to my unsophisticated understanding of the issue.