Close to despair after months of audiologists (note: PLURAL!) attempting recovery of music and speech

Actually I value their experience. Likely, in their experience, that is the brand they believe they could program the best in your particular situation.

I prefer avoiding any professional who with ignores my input or fails to discuss recommendations.

My audiologist Saud there are certain things he can help with but he will never be able to understand a person’s loss or what that person is dealing with unless the patient explains the problem to him. Based on that input he can then try and adjust the aids further. But he’ll never know exactly what the patient is dealing with without imput. Hearing loss is individual. I have a profound loss which my audiologist admits he doesn’t have a lot of patients with that kind of loss. One thing about hearing loss. Nothing is the same. But at the same time I should just shut up like I said I would and move on

@prodigyplace: i believe this is the case with my audiologist (in whom I have trust). But he’ll always qualify his opinion by saying “this is the best hearing aid for your loss and for your preferred hearing experiemce.

I don’t trust a categorical statement like
“Oticon is the best HA make … period.*”


Yep no hearing aids will ever give me my hearing back, and I am doubtful that I ever had that great of hearing. I have to admin that my More1 aids are the best so far with giving me speech understanding, but I still struggle a lot of times. I have come to accept the fact that no hearing aids are going to really give me my hearing back


@cvkemp: I have come to believe that satisfied HA users are those who have tempered their expectations to take into account the limitations of their devices. There’s no theoretical optimum: there’s only what is the best for us … (This is just my opinion. It’s only an opinion).

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I had one recent audiology grad who knew everything and would not consider my input. Of course those Phonak aids did not work well and were returned after the trial. No REM either.

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Hi, all, and thanks for engaging.

Left ear infection. Thanksgiving 2021 infection, closed from before 2022; don’t have exact date.

Unfortunately the previous aids were taken in trade; long story omitted but they were no longer serviced. Offices changed, new audiologist (currently on the FL hearing folks’ association board of directors, previous 25 years independent) doesn’t have the prior data to attempt duplication. In any case, it’s likely, as there were only group-speak (like a restaurant) and windy settings (we lived on a boat for 15 years), the current program wouldn’t be able to copy those settings in today’s electronic wizardry environment.

I did, indeed, rely - for volume, the acuity issue being solved as earlier noted - on a remote mic my wife would wear in the cockpit, where she essentially whispered (compared to belowdecks where her ordinary speech level, after that miraculous - well, for me, after years of not hearing her clearly - last adjustment on the antiques) - by using the MyPalPro microphone.

I essentially can’t hear music nor speech at any normal volume due to my acuity loss (as illustrated in the - count’em - 9 audiograms above). However, what made me certain that my issue wasn’t neurological (as presumed by the factory rep who was equally bumfuzzled with my challenges) was the clarity of both bluetooth phone calls and over-the-ear headphones (which, with the included mike, is now how I do my various zoom equivalent conferences), listening to a piano piece, wherein every note was accurate.

I suspect it’s all the whizbangs designed for non-musicians (listeners rather than performers) which caused that distortion, as seen in a different thread/series of discussions referred to me earlier (Chasin, et. al.).

My personal opinion after, now, 5 different providers, is that the gear, presumed to be current state of the art, is irrelevant, whereas the audiologist (and maybe the programs associated with the hardware) is the key, as witnessed by the frustrated audiologist who successively tried the top ones from Widex, Phonak and Starkey - I’d misremembered the 3rd, but saw the notation on the paperwork this morning), IMHO (and also uneducated O), is the real answer.

Having a software which has lots of ways to shape the sound coming out the receiver likely is critical, and maybe an app on a phone or other bluetooth device can help the user after the adjustments, but if you don’t get really close to as-desired, before mucking around in a bluetooth program, I suspect that most of us not trained on the software would perhaps do more harm than good.

I’m down to 3 - the Imagine 17s from Beltone, Phonak Audeo L70s, and whatever the Lucid/Liberty/Sam’s state-of-the-art is (SIE A128WL). We get close, and then overshoot (yesterday I had the Phonaks reverted to the previous setting, e.g., due to issues with the couple-of-days-ago adjustments; it’s my second revert over the 10 weeks we’ve been hacking on it). We finally, on the Beltone, after repeated massaging by the company rep, and when he went missing, the ex-independent now-Beltone employee, got to nowhere, we started over with the most recent Vero ENT settings and are chipping away at full function. We’re close; eliminating all compression from (all of) the music program(s) has largely fixed the piano accuracy, but I’m still not quite there on my ability to hear and reproduce sung tones (an ‘own voice’ issue, mostly).

When I went in for the reversion, my audiologist at Phonak created two new categories: Ladies (our Friday afternoons with a retirement facility residents) and Music 1 (a separate music program tweaked for my specifics, rather than the music function on the app). Tomorrow’s church service will reveal if the “Music 1” hits the mark. It didn’t, when I did a rehearsal CD (me singing with a part-specific track), yesterday; going to the standard “Music” setting was better (but not particularly good). On the other hand, the old ladies were brilliant. That setting will keep me able to hear their responses to the trivia questions I pose (baby steps; one problem at a time :relaxed:)

As to an audiologist recommending a specific brand, of course, my Beltone guy sells and services Beltone. But he’s been at this for 25 years, was an independent up until just before I bought the current aids, and knows where the bodies are buried, so to speak. He doesn’t wear Beltones - but what he has is from when he was an independent, more than any deficiency in the Beltone gear. He DID have some opinion on what was the good stuff and otherwise; his opinion is that the Sam’s are awful, and the Phonaks not nearly as good as several others. But, see above about the audiologist. Consolidation among manufacturers further muddies the waters, but I suspect that none of that is at issue here.

Thanks again for the engagement. I keep a pretty detailed log about my experiences, in order to guide the tweakers at the 3 remaining companies. LMK if that level of detail might be useful here; I’m happy to provide…

Here’s just one example, of the Phonak just before I did the reversion:
Thu 30th
0600 Insertion uneventful
1030 Fair sound/speech
1145 Tweaks, “Music 1” program created (enhanced Bass for own voice, no-compression continued)
1900 Cantata rehearsal…
1910 “Music 1” has very strange speech
1915 Piano and other-voices tonality seems accurate
1920 Own voice only fair but VERY boomy sound overall in “Music 1”
1930 Swapped around between “Automatic” and “Music” and “Music 1” – difficulty with ‘own voice’ and hearing piano and/or voices next to me all settings

Fri 31st
1000 Quick appointment to revert current setting (upcoming Sunday service)
1430 Quickie fix to “Music 1” and added “Ladies” program as well
1630 Women/Trivia pretty good with “Ladies” although a bit loud; didn’t stop to fix cuz noisy otherwise as well.
1645 Back to “Automatic”
1800 Tried all 3 (Music, Music 1 and Automatic) and had best results singing on rehearsal CD from speakers with “Music;” don’t recall what made that better but it was notably better than the other two
1850 TV on Automatic good for speech but subtitles may give rose colored glasses effect?

I presume the immediately above is TMI but let me know if further specifics might help…

I think I really knew from my first set of aids that I would never be able to hear the way a normal person does. But it hasn’t stopped me from trying to find the best i possibly could hear. I sometimes lost the connection between the best possible and perfect hearing.

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Did anyone notice the WR on the poorer ear?

I know I’ve previously slated the WR scoring as unhelpful for hearing aid comparisons, but 72% R and 44% L? That’s means something is going to be seriously off when the left ear is amplified.
Added to that there’s probably a bit of auditory deprivation going on due to the sudden change/worsening on the LHS.

It’s a complex loss to deal with effectively as the ear with the poorer resolution will inhibit the fix, at least until it all settles down a bit.


Yes, I’d wondered whether just taking the hearing aid out of the affected ear would help with the music problems. I’d suspect the new asymmetry would impact speech-in-noise function pretty significantly as well.

The music program does typically increase the lows and singing may need its own program. But hearing aids also aren’t prepared for the dynamic range of live music on the input side–you could try the old Marshall Chasin trick of layering 3 strips of scotch tape over the mics and turning up the hearing aid to compensate, to reduce the volume causing A/D converter distortion issues (streaming doesn’t suffer from this, nor recorded music at lower volumes). You could also turn the hearing aids off and keep them in your ears while singing to see if you’re running into acoustic coupling effects for your own voice.

But your most recent post sounds quite a bit more positive; hopefully you are further from despair.

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I too have been very disappointed that I am no longer able to enjoy music with or without my Phonak P90’s. I have tried adjusting the Music Program in all possible ways, and it makes no difference. My audiologist said that in her experience, for a person with my level of hearing loss (moderate to severe), music is a lost cause. At least I can be thankful that the hearing aids have been great for restoring my ability to understand speech.


ramarvin, given that my life mostly involves my wife (my music issue is a few hours per week), I wish I could say the same.

All my prior notes included the not-yet-successful, in any gear, and/or in any adjustment per ‘type’ (all around, noise suppression, ‘music’ or other settings) attempts to reliably understand my wife’s speech without being in front of her, looking at her…

I think your audi is copping out on you.
Setting up a dedicated Music Program on you P90’s is not difficult for a knowledgeable fitter.

Dr. Marshall Chasin is an expert on the subject, and you can take notes to bring to your audi.

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Most recent (yesterday) Sam’s attempt, with the new hard molds, took us right at 2 hours of fine tuning. Can’t fault their efforts…

Unfortunately, the results in the real world weren’t stellar, to say the least. I’ll save you the gory log details, but speech is boomy, my wife’s speech clarity is still not there, the overall volume is WAY too high, and my one-generation-old (new ones have been out for a couple of months, and mine over a year) phone isn’t on their software-adapted list, so my app isn’t reliable, should I try to manipulate the sound shape.

Today’s my next Beltone appointment, so that’s what I’m wearing today, in order to better guide (last several weeks’ logs will be our map) the tweaking we’re continuing (and making some progress)…

Is that with the Phonaks?

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can’t speak to your particular experiences with the dispensers or audiologists you have worked with, but I can share what I tend to do with music programming/fitting, both for listeners and performers.

I will disable as many automatic features as I can, and make gain structure as linear as possible. From there, I will apply a cut-first approach to gain adjustments. Particularly, with your hearing loss, I would cut mids first as they can make things sound honky or nasally, and overamplification can infringe on high frequencies as well (for reference, “mids” refers to between 300-3000 Hz). In general, I would cut before I boost e.g. if you want more highs, try reducing lows and mids first.

Lastly, you mentioned elsewhere about earmolds. Although earmolds would be best at preventing feedback, they can be precarious for singers due to the occlusion effect i.e. build up of low-frequency sound in the ear canal via bone conduction. I would instead try a non-custom dome, either closed or power. That may be able to help alleviate the occlusion effect and still have serviceable feedback prevention.

Naturally I will leave the door open for fine tuning after the fact, and I think that remote adjustments may be really helpful. I could see you in a music setting and your audiologist could connect through your phone app and he/she could make adjustments in real time based on your environment and/or performance space.


PaulC (without duplication in this post!), thanks so much for the tips.

I’ll take these to my provider (recall he’s ex-independent, 25 years experience, FL HA pros Association board member) today.

My sole reliably non-feedback soft ears were from Miracle Ear (the earliest failure, but no cost due to a demo vs 5200 paid pair), oval in shape, and large enough to prevent sound leakage. Unfortunately I have not been able to find where to try to use those on my Beltones, which are SLOWLY coming into useful settings (e.g. my conversation with my wife this morning, eyes closed, got every word).

Said 25-yr-pro, while he has all the stuff he used to provide, hasn’t any of the size/type closed mushrooms (oval vs round) which worked for MiracleEar (which are click-lock and won’t go on my receivers); I’d rather that than either the hard mold (albeit NO feedback) from Sam’s, or their purloined, couldn’t-keep’the-receiver-seated, first set of soft molds, used on my Beltones now due to feedback with the closed-dome ones we used before (typical double-layer, right slightly smaller than left, round).

As to your tweaks, the tinny/boomy/echo-y stuff is present in both Phonak (less so) and Sam’s (UmB, the pair reported in this instance), but less so in the Beltones (which suggests we’ve not yet crossed the overdriven threshold yet).

I’m curious, as we approach the end game (current deadline 13/24April, Sam’s/Phonak), about the ‘tape over the mics’ trick/hack. As (Sam’s recent - WAY too loud - aside) much amplification as I need (or apparently so, with my metrics of ‘wife speech, accurate percussive piano intonation, clear own-voice while singing’ requiring that level currently), I can’t see diminishing source info/dynamics.

That said, due to the massive overdrive of the most recent Sam’s adjustment, I had to drop my volume all the way to the bottom to not have yesterday’s brief TV episode be comfortable. BUT… I happened to be looking at the app, and not the screen (which has subtitles) at the time, and completely understood the particular phrase spoken at the time (I looked at the ST for confirmation). That represented a significant step forward for me, though I’d far rather have the Beltones working to my needs, and give back those 2 remaining sets of aids. However, reviewing my log for Sunday, the music portion has a long way to go (and our season ends with Easter, so I have one last shot with my appointment this afternoon)…

I really don’t want to do this again in the fall (with new suppliers, having burned 4, presuming that the Sam’s and Phonak get returned soon; if one of them DOES reach that Nirvana, I’m thrilled to pay for the privilege), but I’ll not have a realistic chance to duplicate the piano/other-accompaniment/many-voices-around-me situation needed to prove it working.


Friday was an adventure. None of it was good.

Early - he came in early for me - Phonak tweaks were disastrous; Good Friday service was awful on both music and speech. As I have a performance today (2x concerts Easter Cantata), I was fortunate to have a cancellation which allowed an emergency trip back to revert to the immediately previous setting. Unfortunately, it went back too far, and I lost the custom programs “Ladies” (for our assisted living trivia sessions) and “Music 1” (the custom, flat, program he’d made for my choral work, avoiding the compression-issue tonality bends). A new icon showed up in my app, however, which was labeled “Music” and had a “+” in the more-than-one-person icon; the original “music” icon remained. Post reversion trial at our rehearsals (Chancel and Cantata choirs, sequentially, for 3 hours!) revealed that the new Music+ was marginally effective; music was fair but speech poor.

The Sam’s/Lucid/Liberty, ironically, was the best of the three, other than that my last revision has the volume overall very much too high; I had to drop the volume nearly to the bottom of the slider in order to not be deafened standing next to two pro sopranos (BIIIG VOICES!!). And then, when “2” (against a base/auto-start of “5”) wasn’t sufficient damping, I dropped it to “1” (the bottom). That rendered the general experience “fair” but it was mostly muscle memory that I was able to hit my notes, as my own voice largely disappeared against the two pros.

Beltone was a distinct disappointment. I mucked around as much as I could without making visual distractions, but there was NO speech discrimination - and for that matter, little of anything - in the “Music” setting, supposedly flat (no compression, no enhancements). I tried boosting the treble (a trick which has helped my clarity with my wife’s speech). No joy. Music setting was equivalent to cotton in my ears (or maybe no aids at all?). The only thing I can imagine might be that the noise/ambient volume was sufficient to induce squelching - but the removal of the compression components should have dealt with that. Fiddling with the volume levels in the app (over-the-ear-push didn’t generate ANY audible difference I could discern) made no difference/improvements. There was ample non-percussive sound, overwhelming the effect of the grand piano at the front of the stage (later today those orchestra-enhanced performances - and the full-ensemble run-through beforehand - will further mask any piano percussiveness), so perhaps that induced squelch. So, I shifted to all-around, which was “better” - but only by comparison to the “Music” setting. But it’s SO marginal that I’m not trying these today (rehearsal with practice CD, run-through/dress rehearsal, or either concert).

I have follow-up appointments with all 3 providers on Tuesday. Sam’s has received authorization to extend my refund period. Phonak (Elite Hearing Centers) extension expires on the 24th (though I have no doubt that if I don’t outright give up, I’ll get another extension). Beltones are an 11-4-21 purchase and still under warranty, and I can’t give them back, anyway. So, I’m not fussing about potential expiration-of-trial, but paying close attention :relaxed:

None of the above is likely to be informative in a “fix this!” manner, but thought that watchers might like to see how the game plays out…

OK - late to the game here, but it would help a LOT user424 if you got your audiogram posted with your avatar. Try to get it easily accessible so folks can just click on your handle and see the audiogram.

That said, did you mention which model of Phonak aid you’re trialing (or wearing)? I have the Lumity Life aids and they are noticeably FAR superior to even the Phonak Marvel aids of 3 yrs ago.

In particular, the music program I have (no tweaks made to it at all!) are an amazing improvement over NOT having a dedicated music program and letting the aids adjust endlessly, killing the dynamic range.

Hearing is so unique to each individual that even folks with similar audiograms may have preferences and therefore choose one hearing aid brand over another. I’m thinking if your Phonak fitter is patient, stick with that if this is the Lumity Life model - it has excellent potential.

What I find amazing is that whether streaming music or just listening to ambient music in my Music program I can sing PITCH PERFECT with these aids in. I can belt out an opera with Maria Callas, sing along with Shirley Bassey, croon with Willie Nelson, chant with sufi singers, and even my hubs is amazed and encourages me to keep singing! It’s incredibly empowering to be able to HEAR the note as it should be heard. And look at my audiogram! I could pave a road with it.



I’m sure there’s a way to quote but have not yet deciphered it, so forgive me for asking you to refer to the post above, in the event it’s not clear:

I dunno how to post my audiogram with my profile, though all of them since mid 2021 are featured early on, and I’ll have another ENT version early next month.

My Phonaks are rechargeable Audeo L70s. The Sam’s/Lucid/Liberty are SIE A128WL (battery door). The Beltones are Imagine 17s. Phonak now soft mold, Sam’s hard mold, and Beltones an experiment with the original soft molds from Sam’s due to their failure to retain the Sam’s receivers (second soft set better but not sufficient, leading to the now-hard molds). Both Phonak and Sam’s no longer have any feedback even with a cupped hand…

My music issues seem to be compression related. Compression designed to protect my ears from percussive or particularly loud stuff has a delay built into the production of sound through the receiver, rendering the true tone flat, as noted in one of the Chasin threads with a concert pianist. Removing compression has had a beneficial effect when I’m participating on choral stuff. I virtually never listen to anything other than live music, and a fair amount of that is with piano accompaniment, which is percussive. However, the performances and rehearsals of our Easter Cantata, with pro voices literally next to me in the soprano section, were brutal. AND, in a duet of two of them, with a piano, and, later, on Easter itself, a solo, ditto piano, BOTH were discordant (pitch shifting to flat). During the performances of the choir, however, the orchestra masked the piano such that the piano percussive nature couldn’t penetrate, and once I convinced my brain to ignore the sopranos, was fair; singing loudly enough (as appropriate to the piece) gave me at least a clue as to my ‘own voice’ rendition.

As to the patience of the fitter, both Sam’s (2 hours the last time) and the Phonak audiologists have been very happy to work with me, as I provide detailed info on what’s not working (vs the equivalent of taking a howling dog to the vet: most clients wouldn’t know anything other than that they weren’t happy). Unfortunately, e.g., my last Beltone tweaks totally threw our previous work in the trash, as the “music” setting is as though I had earplugs in, and the “all-around” doesn’t provide clear speech, nor give me the tonality on music. The other two both still suffer deficiency in my three metrics of what I need from hearing aids, as noted in a letter to my provider today, in advance of tomorrow’s appointment:

“From the time of purchase to now, I have no confidence in my accurate perception of musical tone, I cannot reliably hear myself when I sing against whatever tones I DO hear, and I cannot reliably understand Lydia, all 3 of which metrics were met in the mismatched 7 and 14 channel pair I had when I came into the Beltone office in November (purchase date 11-4) of 2021.”

Sam’s original return period expires on the 13th; they’ve gotten an extension from management. Phonak’s (Elite Hearing) gotten successive extensions, and I expect I’ll have another before the 24th, which will be 3 months in both cases.

How I might isolate a totally flat program are not clear to me, and the Phonaks now have had 3 reversions (go back to the previous setting due to the most previous adjustment making it worse), the latest unfortunately (right after an adjustment, and immediately before our dress rehearsal, which was reverted before the event, but…) losing two custom programs the audiologist had made for 1) a trivia session we do weekly at an old-ladies’ home and 2) the “Music 1” flat-dynamics. #1 was brilliant the single time we got to use it; there was ambient noise but great clarity of the ladies’ voices. #2 was better but a long way from what I need. But I presume those are somewhere in his computer and can be recovered so we have a better starting point than we do now.

I have, as it happens, appointments with all 3 tomorrow; I’m hopeful, but a long way from confident.

Thanks for the chat…