Echo with Phonak Smart IX's

I recently got a set of Phonak Smart IX hearing aids and as suggested by many people on this forum have done the following to reduce echo which is problematic. The echo is both my own voice(primarily) but also external sounds. There is no fluid in the ears, and I do have narrow ear canals.

  1. I went back and had the audiologist run the Phonak Target program software specifically for the open domes that I use and then run the feedback test again.
  2. Decreased the low frequencies
  3. Had the occlusion control set up to the maximum

The echo did improve, but is still there and as I increase the volume on the aids with the remote control to the point I need, the echo gets worse. Keeping the volume low reduces the echo and it almost disappears but so does my ability to hear as well. I understand this is called ampclusion. Is there anything else I can do? Would another hearing aid be better for this or will it be the same thing and I just have to live with it. I have 2 more weeks on my trial.

   --250--500--1000--2000--4000--6000--8000

L -48—38----40----42----50----60-----65
R -45—45----50----45----50----47-----62

Thanks for any advice you can offer

I’d be interested in the replies for this. I had the same phenomenon when I first got fitted. My audi turned down the highs and it stopped it, but I think it cost me some functionality. Someone on another thread mentioned programming Speech-in-Calm with the same settings as Speech-in-Noise. Would that fix this issue?

No one else replied but I think I solved the problem. Despite all the programming changes I mentioned in my first post, the echo/reverberation with the smart 9’s really never resolved and was worse in many of the other remote control settings. I went back today and after fiddling with them some more and trying a new dome, my audi suggested we try another aid, the Oticon agil pro. Immediately I could tell a difference, with the sound much fuller. While there was still some mild occlusion echo, the amplification echo was pretty much gone. On the drive home the road noise was less and I could more clearly hear the radio, and at home I could hear the TV much better. Extraneous reverberant background noises that I was getting with the Phonaks were pretty much gone. So in the end I discovered that there is a major difference in how people can respond to hearing aides from difference manufacturers and that you may have to try a few to get the best sound for your ears. Despite the fact that the smart 9’s represent the pinnacle of current technology, they were not right for me.

You’re much better off describing the problem you’re having to the audiologist/specialist and letting them fix it rather than telling them the specific fix you want based on something you read online. The fix might not be appropriate to you personally or it may lose something in translation between the parties involved.

If the person you’re working with is truly stumped by the problem then it might make sense to take matters into your own hands, but then if that were the case an even better solution would be to find someone more capable to work with. Or more simply, if you’re having to research your own fixes then the audiologist/specialist really isn’t doing their job!

With that said (and to answer the question you originally asked), your problem lies in the amount of gain your aids are receiving in one of the (most likely higher frequency) bands. First determine if this is a problem in the left, right, or both aids (if one of the aids sounds good it should be left alone). Then have the audiologist/specialist try reducing the gain a few dB in each of the frequency ranges he has control over, see how things sound, and then restore the gain to where it was. This simple trial and error approach will quickly determine where the problem exists and allow you to only decrease the gain in the bands responsible for the effect.

Another point worth bringing up: Is the effect noticeable in at all ranges of volume (e.g. someone whispering to you VS someone yelling at you)? If it’s just at one of these ranges then it makes more sense to tinker with just the loud or soft gain settings rather than the overall gain settings.

It sounds like you’ve already resolve the problem by starting over with a different model, but this response should help others better understand what is going on.