Help with understanding people in restaurants - tinnitus

I’m currently testing a set of Widex Evoke 440s. I’ve noticed improvement in the high-end frequencies. But they haven’t improved my ability to understand speech in noisy environments, even with the Restaurant and Directional settings. The background noise is still louder than the voices of people sitting next to me. Could my tinnitus have something to do with it? My speech comprehension tests well in quiet settings.

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No.

It’s because of some combination of your hearing loss and the settings in your hearing aid.

So what settings should I change? Even though music sounds very different, in noisy environments I still struggle to understand some words, since some consonants are still inaudible. What I really want is a setting that cuts out background noise and boosts it for nearby sounds.

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To some degree the ability of a hearing aid to attenuate noise and still let you listen depends on the type of fittings they have used for the receivers and how closed they are. More closed gives more control to the hearing aid as to what you hear and don’t hear. What kind of fittings do you have? Open, Closed, or? If you go to the link in the top right of the screen and enter your audiogram data, that will be helpful in making comments on what you have to deal with.

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Hearing in noisy environment is hard FOR EVERYONE. The advertising for some new devices is claiming better hearing advantage then for those with normal hearing.

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You may find social works better for you than party. Party can be a little heavy. By setting up a separate programme of social you can then select this when you have difficulties. I found I actually got more used to it over the months and just leave it in universal now. Make sure you are set up with a sensogram and that the vent size is entered and correct. These are critical elements to getting speech clarity.

The Widex app that has SoundSense Learn doesn’t have either Social or Party as options. I’ll have to experiment with the other options.

I’ll get my audiogram data. Not sure what you mean by open or closed fittings. The part that goes in the ear has a rubber disc with holes in it, so I assume it’s an open fitting.

Yes it is the part that goes in your ear and hold the receiver if they are RIC type. See the various types that Widex uses:

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You may be able to ask the dispenser to add this programme for you and then you would select it when needed.

Thanks. I posted my audiogram.

With that loss, open fittings would be the first choice. I’m surprised you are having issues with hearing in noisy environments with that loss. But, I don’t know much about the settings available on Widex aids, so can’t help you much.

Both my son & I have loss up to 85db and wear Evoke 440s. Our speech in noise is better than that of normal hearing as we can hear when my other son & husband can’t. It will be to do with the set up so do persist, they are great hearing aids.

In plenty of restaurants, everyone else at the table can understand each other fine, but I frequently have to ask others to repeat themselves, or repeat certain words. In one large banquet hall, everyone else speaking at the table might as well have been speaking only in vowels.

One of the things that the fitter has control of is the prescription formula they use for your loss. There is probably a Widex proprietary one, which I can’t model, but of the industry standards the NAL-NL2 is probably the most commonly used. Here is what it looks like with open fittings. This is not a lot of gain, and there no issue with feedback. The formula is using quite a bit of compression. The top lighter line is the gain for soft sounds. The middle is for normal sounds, and the bottom is for loud sounds. In other words soft sounds are being amplified more than loud sounds.

Here is another industry standard called DSL v5. Notice that it is very different, and probably will sound very different. It actually tries to attenuate the lower frequencies and amplify the higher ones. It has no compression in the right ear, and very little in the left ear. To get this attenuation in the lows, it may be necessary to use a more closed fitting instead of a full open fitting.

I guess the point is that there are choices in fitting formulas, and before giving up on the aids being useful, you may want to try the other formulas.

Do either of you have tinnitus? I’ve been reading that the condition can also interfere with auditory processing independent of the perceived volume.

I have some tinnitus, but with hearing aids, it has pretty much gone away. The aids I have do not have any tinnitus masking, but as I’m sure you know the normal ambient noise level is much higher when the aids are on, and the relative contribution of tinnitus is reduced.

Very rarely, and if I do it’s the very high pitched sound. Hopefully your dispenser can help you, don’t be afraid to push.

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I have tinnitus all the time, and occasionally it’s louder for a minute or two. During my exam, I was tested for the frequency, but right now the aids don’t seem to mask the ringing.

I have the Evoke 440s and I’ve found the Party setting more useful than Restaurant or Social FWIW. You have to ask your audiologist to program it to the HAs if you’re not seeing it in the app. You get up to 5 programs max that the audi can enable at a time, but you can always have the audi change them. If you want to know more details about the Evokes, there’s lots of info in the AudiologyOnline.com Widex courses (there is no charge - unless you want CEUs - but you have to set up an account with your email address). I use Party quite a lot in restaurants and in stores. Of course nothing’s perfect; I’ve used the SoundSense learn function in a couple of really challenging restaurants that I frequent and came up with a setting that’s somewhat more useful, but when there are really high noise levels there’s always going to be some problem I think. I have noticed after months of use and some SoundSense fiddling that I seem to use Universal more than I used to; in theory the aids are supposed to adapt to your listening preferences by what you do with them. I don’t know how much that works or if I’ve just adapted better to them, but I seem to need to manually change programs less often. Using the Music setting when i listen to music is great on the Evokes for me; I didn’t know how much I’d been missing!

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