Fitting Protocol -Mfg. Proprietary, NAL1, NAL2, DSL, wing it?

I got my first hearing aids in Nov. 2016. Based on insurance availability I bought Oticon OPN1’s with little tryout of others (Siemens Pure 7px for a week). I got a package thru TruHearing which my insurance would accept. It included 5? visits with an audiologist. Pay as you go afterwards. I also decided to become programming capable, so I also got Genie 2 software, MiniPro, and cables/strips.

Have been using Genie2 with Oticon VAC+ fitting protocol because I assumed it was best and customized for the OPNs. My Audi is not real familiar with Oticon but is willing to work with me, knowing that I now have my own programming ability. My aids were programmed to the target provided by the VAC+ software but it did not seem I was hearing as well as I believed I could. My Audi ran a Real Ear Test recently and it showed 4K to 8k was considerably under amplified (even though it matched the VAC+ target), and suggested I start increasing a couple of clicks in the highs and evaluate. My problem is that after losing hearing, and getting used to it, it is not always easy knowing if you are hearing everything you could. For the first time, I explored a different fitting protocol that Oticon also offers (NL1 and NL2). Each of those fitting protocols indicated notably higher targets than the VAC+ fitting protocol. I am currently evaluating a couple of different NL2 based calibrations. Now getting close to feedback limit on left side with open dome, but feel overall hearing is much improved.

i know even with the same audiogram, different people may prefer different calibrations, but I was curious how other self programmers (both new and old timers) prefer to calibrate. I know hearing well is the first priority, but I also like the idea of using objective measures to confirm or validate. Please share your approaches, as I obviously have much to learn.

Don’t know if you’ve seen this thread that talks about different fitting rationales or not, but I thought it’s an interesting read. Maybe you can search for more similar thread on the forum, or on google.

The thread that Volusiano shared is a good one and basically agrees with what I’ve researched online. In short, if one is looking for an easy to accept, more “natural” sounding fitting, go with the manufacturer’s. If you want maximum ability to understand speech, go with NAL-2 and ideally get it verified with REM. Allow plenty of time to adjust and tweek as needed.

Thanks for the comments and link. I had read that link which I think I found with Google. So far I like the NL2 targets and calibrations better. I plan to try to plug in the same gains/compression ratios from my NL2 calibration into a VAC+ program(if I can), since it appears Oticon may limit the use of some of their proprietary features when using NL2. If I still like the NL2 better I will just stay with it. I spent Jan. and Feb. playing with noise control instead of amplification only to decide that with my hearing and open domes, most of the offensive noise bypasses the aids. Now with more high freq. amplification my speech recognition seems better in quiet as well as noisy. I think with better amplification my “Brain Hearing” (as Oticon refers to it), is managing the speech in noise pretty well. I have pretty much decided that the VAC+ “targets” are to insure happy customers on first fittings, and then your Audi is supposed to “fine tune” a more appropriate long term calibration. Would still be interested in others experiences.

Oddly enough, my NL2 cals also sound “natural” after a few days. I know I got used to not hearing a lot of things which at first is annoyiing, but I like being able to hear them again. After a few days, my brain just starts ignoring most of the sounds I’m not interested in, but I know I’m still able to hear them. I think the Oticon " open hearing" concept seems less desirable (at least at first), if longer term hearing aid users have become used to very directional hearing patterns.