Hearing and soft speaking voices and health issues


I have moderate to severe hearing. I have worn Phonak Naid Q50 Ric for four years.

I’m wondering why I can’t hear soft speaking people even 2-3 ft away in a home setting. I have a program for this, but the background noises seem to override the speech.

I’m wondering if heath issues, such as allergies, fatigue, stress has caused me to not hear as well as when I’m feeling up to par.

Has anyone experienced this, if so do you recommend a particular aid for speech on noise, I do have a program for speech in noise and for the noise it works great, but the speech voices also are reduced so it doesn’t benefit me.

People have recommended OPN, what do you think?


@cjpines, Have you had a recent hearing test to make sure that you don’t need to upgrade the power of your receivers? Oticon OPN will give you a different experience of hearing all the sounds around you, and your brain will filter out what’s important. That’s how they differ from other brands. If you are used to hearing just what is in front of you, it may take some time to get used to OPN. You could ask for a trial and see what you think, but make sure you get real ear measurements to be sure any aids you get are meeting your hearing loss prescription. Wishing you better hearing. :slight_smile:


Yes, I’ve had a recent test and REM. I will check with Costco for the Oticon OPN or my audiologist. Thank you.


Your brain isn’t doing anything different using Opns than it is using any other hearing aids. The Opns are doing something slightly different.



Chill a bit, @Neville. I don’t think I implied that the brain doesn’t work with all types of hearing devices, maybe you just read it that way. No need to get so pet peeved. Thanks.


I didn’t think you implied that the brain doesn’t WORK with other hearing aids. It’s this idea of “brain hearing” with Oticon marketting that annoys me (so, not you that annoys me, Oticon marketting and how it is interpretted that annoys me). The Opn does not rely on your brain to fiter out background noise. It is engaged in some fairly sophisticated directional processing to assist a damaged auditory system. But there are still ideas floating around here about how the Opn requires a different sort of brain training, or that a music program on another hearing aid is similar to how the opn works (it’s not).


I agree with you, @Neville, there is some over hype with the way Oticon markets the OPN platform. But I do think their approach is a 360 hearing experience, which allows for a more natural hearing experience for some, whereas others need more focused and directional approach to hear better. The brain is involved, regardless of the approach or the device. Thanks for clarifying your pet peeve! :slight_smile:


I see it as the hearing aid software working to help the brain by hopefully providing more and better useable sounds.


Did you mean to say that only Oticon OPN wearers get a 360° hearing experience, while wearers of other brands hear directionally only? That’s how I read what you wrote. But that isn’t true. From my own experience I know that the two most recent ReSound RIC platforms present sounds from all around, while still giving priority to speech. Heck, today I walked into a noisy Wegmans Market Cafe and heard the friend I was there to meet call out to me from the pizza counter, which I was facing away from.

But if I want a directional experience (like in a restaurant, where only the person sitting across from me matters), I can choose it.


No, @x475aws, that’s not what I was implying. Everyone’s hearing experience is subjective. But Oticon markets the OPN as having an “open” hearing landscape. Compared to other brands I tried, with OPN, I don’t have to rely on or fiddle with a phone app to change directionality or programs unless I want to. In my experience, the general program can handle most environments. I trialed other brands and didn’t find the hearing landscape to be as “360” as I found with OPN. Again, just subjective opinion, shared here, on my part. I’m glad you like your ReSounds. To each his own.


Amen to that, @cvkemp! :slight_smile:


To all. My audiologist told me you hear with your brain. Well, still after 10 years I’m trying to get this to happen.


Good response, @cjpines! :grin:


Heh. You hear with your brain, but the part of your brain that hears is damaged and sometimes one needs other strategies to support it.


Cjpines, maybe try asking your audi to raise the volumes at the frequencies where that soft speech occurs. Also some HA adjustment software programs actually have a specific adjustment to increase comprehension (or at least the volume) of soft speech. I doubt it would be a magic bullet for you but you might realize some improvement. Hope this helps.


I told my wife that you hear with your brain. Well that explains why you’re deaf was her reply.


Hi @ziploc
I would guess that when the volume of high frequencies are ramped up, one will probably hear the soft speech with luck, but more likely he’ll find the background noise also go up as well…
the reality is that it’s the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that need to be increased rather than the volume of a particular frequency
Unfortunately I suspect the current level of HA technology can only come up with a certain level of SNR beyond which nothing can be done…sad…:disappointed:


This is problematic for every brand. When voices aren’t much above the ambient noise, then it’s a challenge. Honesty, I ask people to speak up and face me (when possible), otherwise I threaten to take away their wheelchair ramps when they get older. Sometimes we need to face that this is a disability and others need to do their part. Otherwise it’s discrimination. I don’t care if it’s closed captions or insulin, the remediation needs to be respected and utilized.


Speaking of soft speaking voices, I was just given an Amazon Echo Dot.

The Alexa voice using the internal speaker is sometimes difficult for me to interpret, even in a quiet room.


I think Oticon (and maybe Opn users?) are overselling the idea that the Opn is still the only one that allows you to hear all-around. My main ReSound Quattro program is entitled “All-Around” and as far as I can tell, I’m hearing all-around. If I want focused, directional hearing, I have to go to the “Restaurant” program, which gives me the ability to control the relative degree of forward focus. Perhaps the degree and type of processing in “all-around” mode is significantly different for Opn’s as opposed to anything else but I don’t think Oticon and Opn users can still claim that their HA’s are the only one’s that allow you to freely hear all around. I hear great with my Quattro’s, too.