Help with HINT testing and Phonak M90s

I only have the autosense and hearing in 360…plus my tinnitus setting. How is it you can manually change the directionality of the microphones by quadrant?

I am not sure the Marvels can do it. With my KS8s you can control the microphone focus with the Smart Direct App. Here is a brief video on how it works on a Signia, which is essentially the same.

Microphone Focus Control

I don’t believe you can set a quadrant on your aids. I do think you can direct them forward and then toward speech. I just don’t want to tell you wrong, I’m not positive. You will find out who the pros are by reading. They are a great asset to this forum. The rest of us members you need to take with a grain of salt. We are trying to help but not always right.
My understanding of the 360 is it looks for speech and directs a focus in that direction.

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Hi Terry,
I can share what worked for me and you can look at my audiogram–I hope this is helpful. My low frequency hearing is pretty normal but I’m deaf in the high frequencies. I use molds with 2mm vents when I go to business meetings where I need to hear well. At home, I have molds that are more open. If it’s really noisy, I need to plug the vents completely and then I have the best chance of understanding speech. I don’t know how this would affect direction-finding, others may have ideas. I’ve done some volunteering for hearing aid researchers at MIT and Boston University who study psychoacoustics. I carry a deafness gene so it’s a pretty good bet where my loss comes from and it’s nice for them to have a well-defined research subject. I am sure they would in turn be helpful if you want me to reach out to them for suggestions. I hope you get back on the road soon! Barb

Terry, I’m sure you saw Sierra’s post which has more information on vents than mine, and is very helpful. Barb

I wasn’t claiming that the method to set the actual quadrant focus of the microphone actually works, but you can certainly “set it”. I would say that on the “does it really work” front the most noticeable difference is when you set the narrow front focus. That does work for me, but I have pretty closed down fittings.

No problem…I understand.

Thanks to everyone so far with the input provided.

As I understand…these are custom molds?

Thanks for your help

Hi Terry,
Yes, mine are custom molds.
Barb

Terry, as I understand it you have to face two tests. One is the HINT or Hearing in Noise Test, where the speech you are to recognize comes from directly in front of you, and the noise from all around. And the second test is a localization where the short white noise sound comes from any of 12 directions around you and you have to identify the direction. Correct?

It sounds like this is a screening system set up by your law enforcement employer that you have to pass to stay in the service. The first question that comes to mind is the “rules of the game”. Are you allowed to switch the programs used and settings for each of these two tests? If you are, then it would seem to be easier to get better results. If you have to do it all with one program and setting, it would be harder. I see in your test results they seemed to be testing unaided, and then aided with two different programs. If you pass it with one of these programs is that good enough?

What I am getting at is that the ideal setup for each is probably not the same. I am only familiar with the KS8 (Signia) aid, and here is how I would set it to do each of these tests. And, it is probably a bit of trial and error to determine which way works best for each. I can see why you are doing your own setup to practice or more importantly screen your program choices for effectiveness.

HINT - The Signia/Rexton aids have a microphone directionality option in the main Automatic program. You can manually narrow the microphone beam to directly ahead of you. It does provide a noticeable effect. I find to get the most benefit from it, I also have to increase the volume when I turn it on. I found a bit of information from Starkey on the HINT test when I was checking it out to see what it was all about. Basically they said that you need to take the aids out of auto and manually set the narrow focus to get the best results.

Localization - This is something I really do not do. Since my ears are quite different and my correction of the left ear is not as good as the right, I have trouble with localization. My first suggestion would be to ask your fitter to balance your two ears as closely as possible, even if it means reducing the gain a bit on the better ear. There are a few programs I would try on the KS8’s for this. One would be the automobile noise program which is a 360 degree microphone setting, but it causes the microphones to focus on where the speech is coming from – to hear people beside you or in the back seat. It might work. The other would be a pure manual 360 microphone focus. Since noise is not part of this test, noise reduction could be shut off. The listening to recorded music program in the KS8 does that. It would be a matter of trying the options and see what works.

As far as fittings all the research I have seen shows that noise reduction works best, and directional microphone focus works best with a closed fitting compared to an open fitting. One Signia article, Why Open Hearing Aid Fittings are Often Not the Best Choice for the Patient, showed these test results for the OLSA test, which I believe is the German version of the HINT. The results get better as the fitting is closed down.

image

The differences between the fitting types does not seem all that impressive in SNR dB of about 3 dB. However, it is claimed that for each dB of noise reduction you get a 17% improvement in speech recognition, for a total of 50% in going from open to custom closed.

Hope that helps some,

One is the HINT or Hearing in Noise Test, where the speech you are to recognize comes from directly in front of you, and the noise from all around. And the second test is a localization where the short white noise sound comes from any of 12 directions around you and you have to identify the direction. Correct?

Yes.

Are you allowed to switch the programs used and settings for each of these two tests?

Yes.

I see in your test results they seemed to be testing unaided, and then aided with two different programs. If you pass it with one of these programs is that good enough?

Yes.

And thanks for this info…it help with what I became switched on to today with Autosense 3.0. I initially had the Phonak M70 and they paid to jump to the Phonak M90’s as I asked due to what I saw as a better option for my needs.

What I thought was a software issue in the M90’s is just the Autosense struggling to keep up. As in today with a 7 and 10 year old boy’s wrestling, my Echo Dot playing music as I washed dishes with water running and cutlery tinkling…My HA’s cannot keep up and I did not understand as neither the M70’s or previous HA’s had the ability to switch programs on the fly.

So with my realization today and your and other’s info…I believe I can sort this out with possible molds, venting and specific programs.

I do have a very good audiologist, but I also no know what I need to be asking.

I still wish I was able to sit in the actual testing situation and tryout programs and different brands. But settle with building my own set and finding what works.

Or…if there is anyone in the Pacific North West…BC…Alberta that has the ability and setup to work with multiple brands…let me know

Thanks again

This statement about the M70 aids is not correct. The M70 aids are very close to the M90 aids and do have AutoSense.

I assumed it may be a different version, as I did not find they changed on the fly as the M90 did. I upgrade due to the what I had read at the time about the hearing in 360 stuff.

As I understood the M70’s had a different version of Autosense…as my audi advised they did have the newest software technology…and I only had reviewed the chart…

https://www.phonakpro.com/ca/en/products/hearing-aids/audeo-marvel/features-audeo-marvel.html

But I now understand there are portions within the Autosense removed on the lower versions…such as the M70’s, Correct?

…also headed out camping for a few week without forum access…I printed a few things that have been suggested and will be putting a plan together.

Your attached chart is good. The literature shows some differences between the M70 and M90 aids in speech. Particularly in noisy or challenging places.

There is also pretty good information on this forum that the lower level aids are a really good bang for the buck as far as hearing aids go. Are the upper level aids really worth the high price?

An example of really good aids at a cheaper price are the Costco KS aids. They have always been top of the line aids missing a few things that are questionably needed.

Thinking a bit more about your testing challenges, now that you have said you can set up the hearing aids ahead of time for each test. Some thoughts:

HINT - I think what you need here is super directionality. In this article about must have hearing aid features, the Phonak Marvel ( which I believe is what you have) and the Signia 7Nx get mentioned as being above average. the 7Nx is essentially the KS8 at Costco, and the Rexton model they also sell. I think to get the most out of it for the test you would have to put the aid in manual super narrow focus control. I can do that as I posted earlier with the KS8. This can only be done in the default auto program. In that program you can increase the noise reduction to maximum. There are 7 steps as I recall. I think I would also boost the volume as I find the narrow beam cuts volume. Last I still think a custom mold with a small vent would give you the best noise reduction as it would all the directional focus of the microphones to kill the surrounding low frequency noise that you would hear though a larger vent. You hopefully could do all of these things in the M90 that you have.

Localization Test - This one may be harder. I would ask the fitter to get the two ears as balanced as possible, even if it means giving up a little gain on the better ear. I think I would minimize or even eliminate feedback suppression. Feedback suppression can use frequency shifting, and notch filters which can mess with your ability to directionally locate sounds based on the timing each ear hears. And it may be better to lower noise reduction. The 360 microphone mode should be best, and I think you would have to do some testing to see whether adaptive focus would help or not. That is when the HA decides for itself where the sound is coming from, and then increases gain for that direction. If it acts fast enough it may be helpful.

I suspect the HA’s you have now probably can do all this stuff. I am not that familiar with them, so can’t help you with specifics.