How to talk to your Audiologist for HA programming

#1

First and foremost thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully give me some advice. I am 2 weeks into my first set of hearing aids ever. I am supposed to head back to the audiologist for further programming and adjustments next week. I was not given any instructions on what to tune into or suggest on for adjustments. I think I have adapted to wearing them, often forgetting I am wearing them. I am floored on what I was missing in the world. At night when they come out I am shocked at how quiet and dull the world sounds.

My loss is at the mid to upper frequencies and is considered mild. I was placed into Oticon Opn2 hearing aids.

I have noticed that I tend to have to set them to volume 2 to hear clearly the tv at “normal” levels (according to my family). Also turning them up in meetings and noisy environments.

Wind noise is obnoxious and I read they have wind noise cancelling tech. Not sure if it is turned on as even in very light wind I get crackling noises.

Those are the only things i have noticed so far. To be honest I am lost as to what to ask for with respect to programming changes. I don’t know what the full capabilities of what my aids can do or what is already on or off. Advice is needed. Thank you for all of your posts. I have been reading many of the posts on here. The forum has been wonderful for navigating this new experience of living with a hearing loss.

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#2

Tell your audiologist what you just told us.

You’re on the right track. It’s up to you to decide where you think they’re lacking and do your best at describing it to the professional.

The #1 thing I’ve discovered is that this part of it is not an exact science. What works for me probably won’t work for you. We all have different perceptions and expectations.

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#3

There is no way that I know of to turn on or off wind noise management on the Genie 2 programming software so I must assume that it’s already on by default and always on. However, many OPN users, myself included, have found wind noise management on the OPN very lacking. I think OPN does many things well but it fails miserably on the wind noise management technology. You should really complain to your audi about this fact and have them relay this back to Oticon so they’re aware of their deficiency.

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#4

By volume 2, I assume you mean you turn it up a click or two above the default volume. You can always ask your audi to increase the overall gain by a few dB so that you wouldn’t have to do this anymore, but of course the reverse is that if you want the volume to be lower in other situations then you’d have to manually decrease the volume.

In the Fine Tuning section of Genie 2, there’s a Sound Controls tab (see pic below) there’s a setting for Soft Sound Perception and you can set it to max (Detail) like I have on mine so boost soft sounds like soft speech for more clarity. That may help avoid the need to boost up the overall volume if you feel comfortable with the overall volume except for certain situation where you find soft sounds hard to understand.

As for turning the volume up in noisy environments, I usually do that, too. But you can ask your audi to go into the OpenSound Navigator window (see second pic below) and set the Noise Reduction for both Simple and Complex listening environment to maximum, and have the Open Sound - Transition setting to High. That was you’ll have the OPN 2 apply max noise reduction quickly and to full capacity in any listening environment so you can understand speech better hopefully without the need to turn up the volume.

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#5

at the end of the day try to rember difficult situations or sounds that kinda sounded weird, write them down and then talk them through with your fitter.

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#6

If you stream a lot from the phone and the TV Adapter and find the bass lacking, you can go to both the Phone and TV Adapter settings and increase the Power Bass setting to High (as seen in the pic below) to get a better bass perception. I have mine on High for this reason.

As for having multiple programs, I think just a single default program is sufficient for most listening environments as long as you have the max noise reduction set for Simple and Complex listening environments like I described in the previous post. If you don’t want any kind of noise reduction or signal processing for music listening, there’s a built-in Music program your audi can add as a second program to your OPN to achieve this. I do find the Music program useful to have sometimes. But listening to music in the default program is very acceptable as well. But if you’re a music aficionado, you’ll appreciate the subtle difference of the Music program being a little bit more wide open than the default program.

They also have other built-in programs like Speech in Noise, Lecture, etc, but the max noise reduction setting in your default program basically will be very closely equivalent to these kinds of programs.

Since you have only mild loss in the mid and upper frequencies, you probably don’t need the Speech Rescue (frequency lowering) feature. But if you want to try it out just to see if you like having it or not, just make a copy of your default program and add Speech Rescue to it.

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#7

Hi, there first-time poster and first-time HA user. My audiologist recommended the Oticon OPN and I wanted to ask if those adjustment screens are visible to the end-user or only the audiologist?

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#8

To see how YOUR hearing aids are adjusted, the audiologist and anybody who has programming equipment and software can see those screens.

If you just want to see what options are available, you can learn how to download Genie2 software here:

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#9

Thanks, @MDB!!! I wasn’t looking forward to hearing aids, but I’m a techno-geek at heart so there’s part of this journey that has piqued my interest.

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#10

You’re welcome (and true thanks should go to PVC who put this info together). Hearing aids are technically interesting, but also frustrating in that getting good comparative technical info is all but impossible. You also might want to look at classes on Audiology Online. Classes are free unless you want CE credit for them.

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#11

It sounds like you feel “too responsible” for this. It also sounds as though you’re doing really well for a new user.
The audiologist will appreciate hearing how well you’re doing, counsel you regarding any complaints that are just “normal,” as well as know how to adjust for whatever problems you’re having. You don’t need to worry about “what” the adjustment needs to be or about which features are turned on or off. That’s your audiologist’s job! You can relax, knowing that s/he has seen and heard all of this before and is well-trained to figure out what to do and/or knows where to go to get the help!

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#12

I really don’t agree with this. The more knowledge you have about what features are available for your hearing aids, the better you can work with your audi to achieve better results.

My audi was not well trained on the OPN at the time she fitted me with it, simply because it was too new and I was one of the very first people she fitted with it. Even the Oticon sales rep whom she brought in to help has no technical knowledge and was not helpful at all in the 2 fittings he sat with us. Even calling technical support to get help resulted in being on hold several times while the technical support asked the real technical gurus for help.

My philosophy is while you respect your audiologist, learn all you can about the hearing aids you’re trying out so you can ask smart questions that help produce productive fitting sessions with your audi. Don’t blindly just trust that your audi is a know-it-all and can anticipate your every need. Even having some basic knowledge can help you articulate the issue(s) you may have with your audi.

Ultimately, you ARE responsible for your happiness with your hearing aids, not your audi. They’re there to help you achieve that goal, but you are responsible yourself to ensure that you get to that goal.

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#13

I land somewhere in the middle. If you want to learn about this stuff in detail, I think it’s great, but one shouldn’t feel obligated to do so. It’s fun for me. For others, it would be like pulling teeth (or impossible for the likes of my Mom) The audiologist should be able to figure out how to set things up with feedback in lay terminology.

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#14

Of course I have no qualm about a patient depending on the audi to figure everything out for them. That’s what they’re there for.

But in the context of the OP asking online for advice and wanting to make his (or her?) upcoming appointment with the audi most productive by knowing the right questions to ask, I just don’t agree with a response saying that “you don’t need to worry about how to talk to your audi about HA programming because the audi will figure out everything for you.” To me, it feels like it’s kind of a brush-off response, especially coming from a Registered Provider.

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#15

Thank you all for the responses. I had my follow up today and was able to get several items tuned and additional programming done. I am happy with what has been changed so far. Some of the changes would not have been as quick to make without your input.

Changes performed:

  1. I now have 3 programs. A general use, directional for meetings and tv watching, and a music program.

  2. The buttons were turned on and can control program, volume, and muting.

  3. Slight tweaks to the volume and speech clarity settings along with a couple of other settings.

I find it interesting how views are different with respect to my original question. I believe there are several different types of people when it comes to technology. All are valid approaches, a true professional can speak to an individual at the level they are at. It is part of the service I am paying for. I expect no less from any medical professional, doctor, nurse, medical technician, audiologist, etc.

I place myself into the highly technical end of the spectrum of dealing with technology. I am a electrical engineer by trade. I design, and test electronics for scientific instruments. I have a good appreciation for the technology in modern hearing aids. I want to know all the little details and how they can make my day to day life better.

These devices are litterly now a part of my every day life. A very extension of one of my basic human senses. For the money i am laying down i want to get every last feature and benefit from them. This will then help justify the huge cost. Call it my own return on the investment.

Am I an expert in hearing aids or a novice audiologist? No. I am a total beginner and just learing about dealing with hearing loss. Some of you guys are experts. Some of you have had hearing aids for many years and know what is possible, or are professionals. This is why I wanted to ask the question in the first place. Thanks again!

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#16

Awesome that you were able to get your aids programmed in order to get the most out of them for your hearing benefit.

At my last visit I explained that it seemed like I could hear better with the aid out my left ear which is worse. He turned up the volume more in the right hearing sid to balance it out. I also explained in noisy environments like restaurants with kids yelling or screaming, or when my dogs would all start barking it was so loud, I eanted to pull my hair out. He didn’t make any adjustments so I just end up turning the volume down. I also thing he is program phobic because he hasn’t set any programs for my aids. I do intent on asking about speech rescue next time.

I agree it can be frustrating, but it sounds like your audi is imore attentive to your concerns than mine is. Good luck to you!

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