I’ve posted about this before, but finally got my latest audiogram I could post and tried a few more things.
Using an Oticon OPN RIC and experiencing a few issues:
With background noise (in a car, crowd noise while watching sports, overhead fan noise, I experiencing a sort of “whirring” noise. Instead of the sound being white noise, it takes on an almost cyclical/musical tone. What’s weird is that if there’s a primary sound (talking, sports announcers, etc.) that is louder than the background noise, the primary sound does not have this whirring and is crystal clear.
On tonal elements (microwave beep, music with tones) there is occasionally a warbling/flutter to the sound.
Here is what I have tried:
It was suggested to me that it was the feedback manager lowering the frequency of the tone so my audiologist ran the feedback manager with no noticable change to the above issues.
We reduced the high-frequency tones a notch below where the feedback manager suggested there would be peaks. Again, no change or improvement.
I tried a double-vented bass dome and that actually made it more noticable, likely because of the occlusion causing a perceptive increase in gain.
I am stuck. I’ve been looking at it as feedback and messing with the high frequencies, but maybe I’m looking at it all wrong? Could it be something to do with the lower frequencies? The soft sounds booster (which is set at the 2nd to lowest notch) or something else? They’re fairly minor issues, but are noticeable because it sounds “off”.
Audiogram Results: I apologize for formatting as I tried to upload an image, but my work PC blocked it.
The warbling / fluttering is probably due to one of the feedback manager strategies of shifting the frequency off by 10 Hz to help eliminate feedback. So if that’s the case and your audi enabled the feedback manager, you’ll actually notice it more than if the feedback manager is disabled.
Did your audi try to DISABLE the feedback manager to see if it helps?
I’m not sure if the first problem you listed is due to having the feedback manager enabled or not but it’s worth just trying to disable it (may be it can be selectively done in one program only with everything else the same) to see if you can tell the difference by switching around between the two modes.
Hard to tell from your description but I have experienced microphone noise/ internal noise from aids in similar situations - eg. In the car or with similar background noise. You could have good enough hearing in the low frequencies to hear that but your description of the sound is not classic. If it is then sometimes one gets used to hearing it and the brain blocks it but only if it isn’t too prominent too often. Ask your audiologist if it could be this and see what they think.
That is a good point. Up until the OPN I’ve been using double-vented custom molds so its possible there is something to do with my low frequency hearing ability + open domes that cause this.
It is also something I very well get used to over time, but as a musician I feel like my ears are fairly trained to notice something sounding “off” and this causes me to notice it and not be able to ignore it as much as I should.
Yeah if you must have the feedback manager enabled then the 10hz frequency shift will be enabled causing warbling sound in some situation ( like for single tone sounds).
The purpose of notching the feedback resonant frequencies manually would be to not have to use the feedback analyzer and still be able to minimize feedback, thereby eliminating the warbling. So even after your audi notch the resonant frequencies out but still leave the feedback manager on, then that wouldn’t eliminate the warbling.
Same case for trying out the closed domes. If the closed domes still require the feedback manager on then the warbling will continue.
I don’t think there’s an option to avoid the 10hz frequency shift and still enable the feedback manager because that’s built into the feedback strategy.
Did your audi try to disable the feedback manager while you were wearing the closed some AND had the frequency notches implemented?
No, I have not tried the closed domes + notched sound. I will attempt this next time I go in.
Is it normal that the fluttering/warble only happens when “background” nose is present. For example if I’m sitting in my office listening to music I don’t perceive the flutter even with tonal sounds + normal house noises going. It only seems to occur when there is a lot of background + tonal such as in my car or the microwave but only when the furnance is running loudly.
Probably still the feedback manager kicking in, but it seems interesting I can listen to music through speakers (not headphones) with no warble even though I would think music would encompass a larger dynamic sound scale than being in a car or the microwave + furnance noise.
I think the weirdest thing is just how specifically situational it is. Maybe I’m misunderstanding how the feedback manager works.
I don’t think that the feedback manager is kicking in and out constantly. I think that once you run the feedback analyzer and enable it, it’s on all the times for the particular programs you selected to have it enabled on.
As to why the noise situation exacerbates it on the noise, I think it’s just a coincidence that a certain kind of noise you hear is afflicted by the 10Hz frequency shift more than others hence more noticeable.
It also has to do with your particular hearing loss that’s somehow particularly sensitive to the warbling more than other people’s hearing loss. For example I have the feedback manager on all the times and I never hear any warbling and fluttering either in noisy situation or tonal sounds. But then my hearing loss is different than yours.
The Genie 2 software allows you to selectively enable the feedback manager on particular programs and not others. So you can have your audi pick a program that’s just like the default and not enable the feedback manager for that program. Then apply the resonant frequencies notching and wear the closed domes on top. Then try both the default program with the feedback manager enabled and whenever you hear the warbling, instantly switch to the other program that doesn’t have it enabled to see if it goes away or not. That’s the only way to know for sure if it’s even the feedback manager that’s the culprit or not. Right now it’s only a theory until proven otherwise.
I have one more silly question: I’m have an appointment with a different audi (one I used to go to), and I’m assuming that when my aid is connected to the Genie 2 software it will pull up all settings and programs enabled on the aid.
Is this correct? It would be my assumption, but I’m not 100% sure.
To add one more quirk to this puzzle, if I use over-the-ear headphones, I get an echo type sound that ebs and flows with the sound coming through the headphones.
My first thought was that it was feedback from the open domes, as I get some feedback if I place my hand above the aid. . . BUT if I use the closed vented domes I get 0 feedback with my hand by my ear, but the echo with headphones is actually louder.
My next thought was that it was my open-backed headphones letting in fan noise and causing an echo off of that, but when I try isolating headphones, the echo is still there.
Could it be noise from the aid itself that is being ampified? Like not feedback, but actual functioning of the aid? Weird because I never experienced this with my Alta 2 Pro, but I also didn’t have the settings up to my audiogram.
Yes, the audi should add new patient profile for you. When the aids are connected to Genie 2, it’ll ask if you want to use the settings from the aids, instead of the settings from the database. The audi should select the settings from the aids option, and everything will be loaded into Genie 2 from your aids. Then the audi should save these settings to the database of your new profile immediately to serve as a starting point before making any further changes to it.
The audiogram already built-into the aids’ settings should be shown on Genie 2 after this, so it’s not necessary to bring your audiogram with you. But it may be helpful to bring it anyway to do an eyeball comparison to confirm that the built-in audiogram looks the same as the printed audiogram.
You said echo here, but I wonder if you meant reverb? If I wear my headphones on my closed bass domes with single vent, with the feedback manager DISABLED, I get a reverb that ebbs and flows with the sounds but not an echo. If I enabled the feedback manager with the same setup, then the reverb is gone.
It sounds like you always have the feedback manager enabled, and with that and the open domes, the feedback manager is not able to completed remove the reverb due to the feedback for you with the hand over ear situation.
Apparently with the feedback manager enabled, and the help of the closed vented domes, the feedback is eliminated in the hand over ear situation for you (compared to the open domes). However, this is the simple case with no sounds introduced by the headphones.
Apparently with sounds introduced by the headphones, it becomes much more complicated than when there’s no sound, and even the enabled feedback manager cannot manage to handle the feedback from the headphones sounds anymore.
The question you have is why the feedback is worse in this case with the closed vented domes than with the open domes? My only guess is that with open domes, the headphones sound comes through in 2 places. First it comes through the aids’ mics and gets amplified. Secondly it comes through the open vents of the open domes. Maybe this second “venue” (coming through the open domes’ vents, is counteracting against the leaked (amplified) sound coming back out of the open domes’ vents. Somehow, perhaps this counteraction reduces the overall effect of the feedback.
As to why, with the closed vented domes in the same setup, the feedback is worse? This is a bit of a mystery.because the closed domes should have kept the amplified sound to leak out less. But apparently there’s still leakage of the amplified sound through the tinier vent, enough to cause feedback. But the closed domes eliminates this counteraction that happens as described above with the open domes. So maybe without this counteraction, the feedback is worse.
It would be great if Genie 2 lets you run different, separate feedback analysis for each of the four programs, although I don’t think it does. But if it does, then you could have one feedback analysis for the default program where you don’t wear the headphones. Then you can have a different feedback analysis done for P2, for example, where you would wear headphones in this situation. That way, you’d have one feedback manager setting optimized for regular non-headphones situations, and a different feedback manager setting optimized for headphone-use situation. It may be worth having the audi ask Oticon if this is possible, although my gut tells me that it is not.
I would agree with your idea that is is potentially reverb, but what’s interesting to me is that it is not caused at all by the sound coming out of the headphones. If I turn my music/etc off, so there’s no sound coming out of the headphones, the reverb sound is still there. It’s more the actually headphones over the ear.
To me it seems like it is taking external noise (fans, etc) and adding to that. It’s similar to my above post with the “whirring” background noise issue. It’s not that the background noise itself is the issue, but rather that the aid is adding a digital reverb/noise element to the background noise.
So I thought it was interesting that with closed domes I got no feedback with the hand test. and no feedback/noise overall other than the background whirring, but with headphones + closed domes it is more ampified than with open domes.
Thought I’d update this since I had an appointment with an different audiologist whom I actually trust:
My OPNs were set as if I was wearing a bass dome, even though I’ve been wearing open domes. I’m assuming this is because from wearing aids all of my 28 years of life, they’ve been set to have more low-end than my audiogram says I need, so this was to allow for more bass.
We switched to the open dome setup and it created a good 10-20 db of space between the aids target and actual lines and the “feedback” area. I might be incorrect on the “10-20 db” wording but there was significant white space in the chart.
I now am trying two different programs, 1 that is where we followed the Oticon blue line for output with the open domes and another where my audi manually adjusted values to meet the “targeted” grey line.
So far the program that meets the “targeted” area is very echo/hollow sounding, which I think may be attributed to setting the levels above what Oticon says can be output through a open dome? Not caring for the sound of this, though the volume levels are good.
The program that follows the Oticon recommended “blue” line is much quieter and sounds a bit bass-heavy, which is interesting as there’s no extra bass gain on this program. It is the first one that doesn’t give me feedback/reverb when wearing my over-the-ear headphones, but I’m wondering if that is because the overall gain is lower and I just can’t hear/notice the echo?
Overall I’m not super happy with the sound. I’m thinking of going back to see if we can hit a middle ground between the “bass dome” settings I had and the Oticon recommended open dome. I will likely try a double-vented bass dome again as apparently that is what the software recommends for my loss.
Not sure how this rationale would allow more bass. Wearing a bass dome doesn’t allow more bass amplification. It’s really just a closed dome with a tiny vent (or two). It would allow more bass “retention” and not “leak” it out. That’s why it’s called a bass dome.
If anything, I would venture to guess that if you wear a bass dome for real, the prescribed gain would ease up on the bass amplification because it’s not as necessary as if you had worn an open dome. So over all, you’d get good bass due to the retention nature of the bass dome, not due to more bass amplification from the OPN.
So here you are, fooling Genie 2 that you’re wearing a bass dome while you’re wearing open domes. So what happens is that Genie 2 actually probably eases up on the low end amplification. On top of that, your actual wearing of the open dome ends up leaking whatever little amplification there is from Genie 2 in the first place. So I would think that what you’re doing would result in much less bass and not allow for more bass.
Of course this is all a guess from me. Your experimentation may prove otherwise. But my general rule of thumb is never to fool Genie 2 into thinking that you’re wearing a different kind of dome than you really are. Unless they’re very closely related like bass dome with single vent vs double vent. But closed bad domes and open domes are very different.
If I recall correctly it had to do with the fact that I preferred an open dome due to occlusion (though this was my first time wearing domes and using a RIC when this was first done) but was used to more bass gain and settng it to a “bass dome” allowed for a higher gain output?
I’m not 100% sure on the exact rationale or what the software thought. It was a bit whirlwind fitting and I liked the sound so I didn’t really think to question it.
Edit: apparently my audiogram creates an issue as to 500 HZ my low frequency is good for open dome, but at 500 HZ it starts to drop and it’s in the in-between of where a bass dome would be good versus open dome.