I’m an experienced HA user (10 years or so) with flattish (maybe mildly reverse-slope) progressive hearing loss (diagnosis was cochlear Meniere’s disease). I’ve worn KS9s (with power domes) for the past two years and went in three weeks ago for a new audiogram and to check out the KS10s and Jabra Enhance devices. I’ve been trialing the Jabras (with MRIE receivers and power domes) since then and occasionally switching back to the KS9s for comparison purposes. Also, while I was there, the HA fitter updated the programming on the KS9s to reflect the new audiogram. So, even the KS9s seem “louder”
than they did before. The fitter performed REM on the new Jabras and seemed to be doing quite a bit of adjusting of gain. No REM this time on the KS9s; he (same fitter) did that two years ago.
SO - immediate reaction to the Jabras: Voices seem shrill/tinny/harsh, almost to the point of making the speaker’s identity unrecognizable. Same with streaming. Audiobook “reader” was hard to recognize. Music is shrill. What I think of as “impulse” sounds seem startlingly loud (crackling of a candy wrapper; running over an acorn on my bike sounds like a gunshot), but maybe that’s the result of the updated audiogram. Went to a concert and thought “wow, this sound system sucks”. Switched out the Jabras for the KS9s and realized the sound system was fine. At a restaurant, the Jabra Restaurant program amplified the voices, but the harshness was hard to tolerate. On the other hand, noise reduction seems more effective, and they do seem to be better at handling reverberant rooms (which were a real problem for me with the KS9s). With the Jabras, I hear less of the soft ambient sounds (refrigerator running) than I do with the KS9s.
Anyway, I go back to Costco tomorrow for adjustments on the Jabras. I’ve been curious to understand how these two sets of devices, using the same audiogram, could sound so different. I bought a Noahlink off of ebay and (thanks to the generous assistance of forum participants) installed Target and Resound Smart Fit so I could look at the programming of the two sets of devices. It’s been really helpful to be able to be able to compare, rather than just read descriptions of the tools, but I’m very much a newbie in understanding what’s on the screen.
I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions.
First, here’s a screenshot of Target for the KS9s. Fitting formula was apparently NAL-NL2. The gain settings generally follow the contours of the fitting curve (boosted somewhat), except for the high frequencies of the left ear, where it seems (?) that gain is restricted below the fitting curve in order to avoid feedback. Sound in my left ear has always seemed “dull” compared to my right, and this could explain why. Wouldn’t this suggest I should have a mold rather than domes for the left ear? Both ears, actually?
Here’s a screenshot from Target’s Output view. Fitting formula is Audiogram+. Seems like output is fairly flat (right ear) from about 500 to 2500 Hz, and there’s a +10 db bump at 4K Hz. Outputs seem well below MPO for the receivers.
Here’s a screenshot from Smart Fit for the Jabras. One thing I notice is the “bump” of 10-15 db is from 2K to 4K Hz, and then output drops by 11 db at 1.5KHz, and declines further below that. Seems like this might explain why voices sound so different between the two aids. ? Also, the Jabra output gets much closer to MPO than did the KS9s. In the Restaurant program, it gets within 2 db. Could I be getting clipping/distortion in loud environments?
I’m very interested to see what changes the fitter makes based on feedback. I’m also going to demo the KS10s in two weeks.
(interesting observation about the KS9s and Jabras wrt bluetooth. My pixel 4a can pair with both simultaneously! I guess the KS9s use classic bluetooth, and the Jabras use bluetooth LE. Useful for fast switching between devices for a-b testing.)