Experience with Bernafon Chronos 9's

After doing a quite a bit of info gathering I finally went to Costco back in Nov 2012 and purchased a pair of Chronos 9’s. I thought I would post my impression:

This is my first set of HA’s. I briefly tried some Agil’s but didn’t want to spend $300 for a 30-day :rolleyes:…anyway, so I do not have anything else to compare these to. <O:p
I have the basic remote, which has worked fine for me.
<O:pThe initial programming was:
<O:p1) Multi Environment
<O:p2) TV/Music
<O:p3) Telephone
<O:p4) Live Music
<O:p
With the “canned” download computed from my audiogram, programs 2 and 4 were gained way too high so feed-back was a pain. Also, the Telephone setting was a waste since the HA’s worked just fine with my office land line and my mobile with the HA’s set to Multi. I had the gain issues sorted out on my first adjustment visit and also had the Telephone program replaced with a different one (I think Large Conference or something) so the HA’s are at least in the ball park now. <O:pThe first thing I noticed was the huge amount of compression in the Multi setting. It made riding/driving in a vehicle a very weird experience. Every time the vehicle hit a tar strip or some other highway imperfection that causes a thump (low frequency event), the gain across all frequencies was momentarily reduced. That made listening to music or having a conversation in a car impossible. Fix? The Live Music program has compression dialed way back so that is the one I use when driving and it works okay.

There a couple of annoyances that I don’t know if they are specific to digital HA’s in general, this model, or just programming:
<O:p

  1. While the gain in the 1-4khz region improves speech intelligibility, it seems to accentuate the noise more than the speech. For example, if I am talking to someone in the kitchen and the faucet is turned on, speech is entirely buried in the hash made by the running water. From all the reading I did on this forum I kind of expected this initially but I have been wearing these HA’s 10-12hrs/day for almost 90 days now so would think my brain would have had time to sort some of that out. I wonder sometimes if the HA’s are over processing the input signal in the attempt to make speak stand out.
    <O:p
  2. Something I notice in theatres and other settings where I am sitting in a group of people is that speech immediately behind me is clearer than speech directly to my right or left. Weird. I feel like I am eaves dropping. Lol. Sounds like possibly a mic directionality issue?
    <O:p
  3. I am a musician and am disappointed in the frequency response above 4k (virtually rolled off from the graft I saw when the units were being programmed) I asked the fitter about that and was told that the frequency response (little gain above 4k) was typical. Whether or not that is correct I do not know but I have resorted to using an EQ unit to pump the gain up in the 6-12khz range in my headphone amp to restore some of the detail up there.
    <O:p
    <O:pWhile my comments may seem a bit negative I know HA’s are a step in the right direction. When I take these off at night it is like someone pulled the plug on my audio world.</O:p

thanks for your comments.
New to hearing aids and Chronos 9’s or 7’s are my top pick right now.
The Costco rep recommended them and it’s nice to get opinions from
users.

ScudRunner, I just started wearing aids this past Monday and it’s set up just with my audiogram results for now. I go back on the 24th for my first adjustment.
What do you mean by compression and gain in just general terms, if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve been keeping notes on my experiences so far but don’t know proper terms I guess. You seem to have a very good grasp of how these things work. I’ve done research and have been reading on the forum before joining, but I don’t really understand some of the jargon. Thanks!

ScudRunner,

I was fit with a pair of Bernafon Chronos 9 Nano RITE (Receiver in the ear) hearing aids from Costco last April. I am very happy with them, and my Costco hearing instrument specialist has been professional, knowledgeable, and extremely patient with me!

I, too, am a musician. I only have a hearing loss at the very high frequencies (at 6k & 8k), while my other frequencies are in the “normal” range. Most folks with my type of loss probably wouldn’t even wear hearing aids, but, being a musician, I notice the high frequency loss. I appreciate crisp consonant sounds as well as the harmonic richness of music that high frequency amplification can provide. Being a musician yourself, I’m sure you understand what I’m saying!

I don’t know what model of the Chronos 9 that you have, but my Nano RITE offers a good amount of high frequency amplification. According to the Bernafon specification sheet, my aids can provide about 45db of gain at 6k and about 25 db of gain at 8k. The aids also even give me some gain all the way up to 10k, according to my real-ear measurement. I have the “M speaker unit” receiver, but the “P speaker unit” even provides more gain at the 6k & 8k frequencies. Perhaps the other models of the Chronos 9 differ.

I also had the same issues you had with the hearing aids compressing too much when driving across road imperfections. I think my hearing instrument specialist raised the MPO (maximum power output) levels at some or all frequencies, and that took care of the issue. (Note that there is a limit to how high an MPO can be set before damaging the ears! But part of the success of Bernafon’s “Live Music” program is that program typically has a higher MPO in order for music to sound more natural without being compressed. In fact, I use the Live Music program as my default program most of the time.) If you’re interested in reading more about hearing aids and music processing, do an internet search on the work of Marshall Chasin, who seems to be the expert in this field.

The Bernafon Chronos has three different possible microphone set-ups: Fixed omnidirectional, adaptive directional, and fixed directional. Perhaps your issue at the theater can be traced to the microphone setting.

One other thought about music: The Live Music program disables the feedback manager, because the feedback manager does weird things to steady musical tones (turning them into a vibrato of sorts. Some call this phenomenon “entrainment.”)

Although every hearing loss is unique, I hope some of this info might be of help.

Hi Diapason and ScudRunner,

I’ve had the Bernafon Verites for over 2 years and have been generally very happy – especially after struggling with the much more expensive Phonaks that felt like they were adjusting every second and driving me crazy.

What I love about the Verites are that they are strikingly clear. Voices are crisp. They do fairly well in noisy environments, the bane of all HAs, but I’m wondering if people are having more success in noisy environments with the Chronos. Would love any feedback on that.

One of the greatest features of the Bernafon’s is using the HAs with Soundgate and plugging the Soundgate patch cord into my audio on either my cell phone or my computer. Voices and sounds are then pipelined right into my HAs, the best and clearest sound. I now have a Softphone on my PC that I use for VoIP phone calls and by plugging the Soundgate into the PC’s audio port, I get incredible audio quality.

I also have the Nano RITE’s (meant to post that up front). I had read the spec sheet also so was surprised when I was told otherwise. I didn’t expect to recover all the high frequencies but even a 20-30 db gain in the 6 to 8k range would help. I will have to discuss this with the fitter.

I agree the Live Music setting seems to have the least processing and is perhaps the most natural sounding. I do use it a lot.

The fitter gave me several different domes to experiment with. Due to the assymetrical natural of my hearing loss, the fitting program called for a tulip dome in my left ear and and an 8mm open dome in the right. I got some strange sounds from the tulip when I ate food. Figured it was the “petals” sliding back and forth as my jaw moved. I tried the open domes in that ear but ran into feed back issues. So I took a pair of scissors and trimmed the petals of the tulip back a bit to create little or no overlap when inserted in my ear. That seems to have worked out OK.

There was a question earlier in this thread regarding gain and compression. My career background is in electronics and I did some audio engineering way back when I could still hear but I do not claim to be a professional in that field, so take this with a grain of salt: The professionals can jump in and correct as necessary…or you gain Google it.:slight_smile:

Gain - think of it as amplification, usually measured in db’s

Compression - reducing loud sounds and amplifiying quiet sounds so that the overall sound level is more uniform. This may also be used to just reduce the loudest sounds to a predetermined level.

Thanks for the responses, advice, and questions. I intend to keep looking for ways to improve my experience with HA’s. One thing for sure, my hearing loss will only get worse, so I had better learn how to make the best of what is out there, eh?

Thank you for the easy-to-understand description of those terms. That really helps! And good luck getting the most from your aids!

I also am trying a set of the Bernafon Chronos 9 RITEs that I got from Costco. I am having the following issues:
- Distortion in the left HA at low frequencies
- Ambient sound is much higher when speaking on the phone with the SoundGate<O:p></O:p>
- Sound is not very directional, (hearing people behind me more than in front)<O:p></O:p>
- Too much compression/limiting. When I ride over a bump in the car, the HAs literally shut the sound off

I came from a set of Oticon Agil RITE which in my opinion sounded better, but I am chalking this off to the inexperience of my HA Fitter in understanding and making adjustments to the product.

I have plenty of time in my trial, so I am going to give them a chance. I go back for my two week adjustment this Friday, but am not very confident that they can resolve some of the issues. Coming from an audio engineering background, I wish I could make the adjustments myself.