I just got new hearing aids Phonex Solara - and they are driving me crazy!

Ok, any feedback appreciate but obviously I have to go back to my audiologist and complain - which is often hard because well he has perfect hearing so how will he ever understand?

I wore Sonic Tribute CIC for about 8 years (yeah, I made them last that long) - don’t have the software for those anymore and my mom offered to buy me new ones because they were not working as well. Turns out my hearing decreased a little bit (but audi said very good for 8 years).

So I am used to the CIC so I got the CIC ones again - these are Phonak Solara Petite - I have small narrow canals - I think there was a teenier one which I think was the Nano? but he said I couldn’t get that one because my ears were too small. (wah!)

Anyhow, Ok, I know these are supposed to be more technologically advanced than my old ones but honestly I can’t see how they are working correctly. The sound volume decreases in one or both of the aids that random moments and my old ones never did that. It could even be in a quiet area where there is little noise and I can tell the sound volume went down because my ear feel “plugged” - almost like that feeling you get when your batteries die out but your hearing aids are still in. I know this CAN’T be right.

These aids are supposed to have the ability of being “directional” I guess - well, sometimes there will be a sound/noise that is defiantley happening right in front of me (ie cooking on the stove dishes clanging or paper rustlling in my hands) but instead of hearing it like it is right in front me - I hear it coming from the back of me like it is happening a few feet behind me. This CAN’T be right - CAN IT?

I was thinking I would be hearing alot better but honestly the whole “group noisey” situation is pretty much the same. I have alot of difficulty understanding people with heavy accents (although I think that might be a common thing with people with hearing loss).

I don’t think it is wax on the aids because this started happening in the car after I left the office. I have a hard time telling whether there is wax on them because he got me the skin colored ones this time - last time I had red and blue and I could see the dried wax on them when I cleaned them - I can’t tell now. FUnny how he had everything programmed in but I remember him having to change the sound level in one of them because it sounded slightly muffled - than the other one sounded like that - now I am wondering if it wasn’t that the sound levels were off but the aids are duds.

Since I am seasoned CIC user, I know that often my voice will sound “echoy” but I honestly feel like I am hearing other sounds in tunnel.

I think I got dud aids.

If anyone else has any other experiences like this with these or know how these are supposed to work, please let me know. I know this can’t be right - how can these be worse than my old ones?

I only have so much time before I switch them out I think and get new ones if they are not working for me. But I hate to think my mom spend $6,000 for aids that don’t seem to work properly and if they are really supposed to work like this - it will be utterly exhausting to have to deal with the sound volume changing for the next 5 or so years.

I honestly feel like I am losing it but I don’t think it is me. There has to be something wrong with these aids!

I would say that jumping to the thought that they are “dud” HA’s is a bit premature and highly unlikely. I’ve fit probably 150-200 Phonak hearing aids in the past 2 years and one was an actual, outright ‘dud’.

The sonic HA and the phonak will have vastly different sound quality. I’d say that a number of your issues are more than likely programming problems. I would write down everything you’ve written here and present it at your next appointment. More than likely, the audiologist can adjust the settings so many of these problems will go away.

I agree with Doc Audio… mostly.

The first thing you need to understand is the nature of your new hearing aids. You have what is called a program blending heairng aid. What that means is that your hearing aid is picking a program to help you hear ‘better’ in the environment you are in based on the environmental noises around you. That said, those blending programs need to be configured individually so that you don’t feel suddenly isolated.

You have two choices, get a hearing aid that doesn’t do the blending of programs, or get manual programs built into your current hearing aids so that you can pick and choose which setting you want to be in.

As for ‘directional’… a CIC type of hearing aid does not have an electronic directional setting. Directionality with a CIC comes from your ears.

I hope that helps,

Thanks! So than you have had patients whom you fitted with the Phonaks that had the same problems I am describing?

My old aids were CIC and I didn’t have the “directional” thing happening - I could tell where sounds were coming from. It seems rather odd that a noise that is occuring right in front of my ears is not heard AT my ears but sounds like it is from several feet behind me (even sounds like it could be coming from a different room). Even though I have had hearing loss for about 10 years, I do not remember my “normal” hearing working like that. I realize that hearing aids do not “correct” hearing like glasses do eyesight - but these work totally backwords. I would rather not have this if it goes all goofy on this like me. It honestly gives me a headache. My old heairngs seemed more like regular hearing to me - funny how I was excited to get this because they are supposed to be more technologically advanced so I thought they would work better ( maybe not amphlify EVERYTHING in the noisy restaurant and be able to hear things right in front of me more than hearing things just as loud that are several feet away) but honestly it seems like too much technology can also be a bad thing.

Just to add that when a have a noise right near my ears - it seems like the aid shuts off for a second. That seems like a ridiculous programming idea if that is what is supposed to happen.

I’m not sure why you are perceiving sounds in front of you as if they are behind you. I have no idea on why they do that and as a result, no clue how to address it. This is one of those things I’d be calling Phonak for if you were in my office.

As for the HA’s cutting out if a sound is right in your ear…if it exceeds the MPO (max output) then the hearing aid will essentially clamp down and cease to amplify it, resulting in it sounding like it shuts off.

Queenfluff, this isn’t really mysterious, it is a matter of compression and gain. Your perception of what the hearing aid is doing is dead on accurate. Your hearing aids are programmed with what seems like an overdose of compression and your gain settings are perhaps not where they need to be.

If things are too loud, then a headache will definitely happen, but at the same time, if they are not loud enough your brain is working overtime to fill in the blanks. You like the sound of your old hearing aids mainly because you are used to them, but moreso, they give you exactly what you expect them to. Ideally, your new ones should do the same and more.

Technology is not the enemy, but it is our application of such technology that can either make or break your experience.

My advice, is to get them re-tuned and hopefully your experience will be a better one.

I’d consider asking again about the nano… they might have to make them less deep given your narrow ear canals. I couldn’t be happier with mine :slight_smile:

Thanks all for your responses!

So I went to the audi yesterday and told him all my crazy stuff - yes, he did menition about compression and the “directional” capabilities of this new aid. The “directional” part of it (that is apparently supposed to make background noise less) is what is doing this. I forget his whole explaination but the programming in these things is supposed to “shut the aid down” when there are certain levels of noise - which is why the thing seemed to be going “in and out” for me or the noise level went down. It mostly happens with the left one. I hate this. He shut off those features and I am supposed to have “straight hearing” (similiar to my old ones I guess) without these new “fancy” features (which honestly to me do not work properly - and I am techy person!).

So, they DO seem better now for the most part. I tested them last night in kitchen where I was noticing this the most.

For example, I will be in the kitchen making my dinner (no one else in there - it is completely quiet) and if I take a plate out of the cupboard even though the noise of a plate rattling against other plate isn’t that loud - that is one of the situations where the left aid seemed to shut down (or the sound would go down) - mostly I can feel it happening - as we all know how it feels when, for example, our aids go off and they are still in our ears - we have that “plugged” feeling - hard to ignore it.

Anyhow, the aids still seem to do this, but not in some of the other situations that I noticed before (like in the car listening to music or when I have my headphone on- it doesn’t seem to do it anymore but it has only been one day) but why it does it still do this in the kitchen when the feature is SUPPOSED to be for high noise level situations?? Good thing I am not a chef! He asked me if it was high noise situations and I said no it was in quiet rooms where there was only a small amount of noise (being made by me). In the few noisy situations I have been in since I got these, the aids worked similar to my old ones - I didn’t notice the apparent “directional” features doing anything. Although, in noisy situations I will say it is difficult to hear the little details and nuances at all - I still have problems hearing people speaking when there a lot of background noise and that is something I have learned to accept - esp. people with heavy accents - it has to be completely quiet for me to understand them at all.

One of the other problems I had (which made me sound like a crazy person but I told him about it anyhow and he said he was going to report it to Phonak and see if there are any other things we can change on these) was that I was hearing sounds like they were in back of me when they were actually in front of me - like in the kitchen. So far, I think that might be gone (yeah!) but I have to see further.

So far, not impressed with these “new features” that are suppose to apparently make the aids work like “real” hearing - bleech. I don’t remember my “normal” hearing doing that - the only thing I do remember is that in noisy situations I could hear the people in front of me better than all the background noise around me. I guess that is what these new programs are trying to accomplish but don’t do very well. I would rather have my hearing be constant than have that feature work because I honestly avoid noisy situations anyhow. It makes one feel nausaeated to have the hearing going in out in completely quiet situations (why in the world would it need to change if there is no noise?)

Anyhow, I have this weird feeling that it could be my small narrow canals causing some of the problems - compression I guess because these aids are fatter than my old ones and even though they are lighter than my old ones - I am slightly more aware of them. (I notice when I tilt my head forward my left one will often go out - I wonder if it hitting my ear somewhere but since these don’t have feedback I can’t tell - I mentioned that to the audi).

I think too much technology is not always a great thing since our brains need to adapt to it. I have accepted the fact that my hearing will never be like it used to be before my hearing loss but I don’t want it be going in and out and give me headaches and make me nausaetaed when it does so - it makes me feel sick.

Until they invent drops or something that rejuvenates hearing to normal, I am stuck with this so it should just straight amplify things so I hear them - Straight and simple. I think hearing is too complex to really completely perfectly mimic it. For these aids, they tried to hard imo.

Funny how there are so many advances in sight correction (I personally have had my eyes lasered - best thing I ever did!) but not with hearing. And to help people hear better (not FIX hearing) it is so expensive while eye stuff is relatively cheap. Ugh, why have they not made more advances in hearing loss?

So that is my update and rant!!

I think these are what I asked about when I went to get my new aids - there were samples of these really teeny tiny CIC type aids on his desk and I asked about them - he said he would love to recommend me for those but my ear canals were too small ??

I didn’t really get that - you would think they would be perfect for me than!!

I also didn’t like that fact that he chose the flesh colored ones without asking me - I had the red blue ones before - with the flesh ones I can’t tell if there is wax on the aid because it blends in. I actaully would have preferred the red blue ones because on these I have to look at the writing one them to tell which one is right and which one is left. It is too late now to switch because it is now technically a month (i couldn’t get into the office because they were too busy ). I can’t get them switched out now.

I really miss my old ones. :frowning: I liked how small they were.

I am looking for answers myself. I have been wearing HA’s for a total of 2 weeks and have nothing to compare to.

My AD put 5-6 samples on the table and said which ones do you want? I asked which will perform best for my needs? She said any. So I picked the Phonak solara solely based on size and their ability to be hidden. In the office I heard all sounds as if they were coming from a speaker in an auditorium, especially my own voice. She made some adjustments and it was a little better.

I am a teacher and when I was in the hallway or classroom, I found them very distracting and was getting an echoed effect. I made an appointment for the next day and went back in. She called a rep from Phonak and made some more adjustments. they worked better, but now I was not getting enough amplification and found myself saying “what” all the time again. I went back for my 2 week adjustment and she turned up the volume to 90% from 80% even though the program recommended 80% based on my hearing needs.

It was instantly better, but here is the interesting part. I asked if a different brand or model would suit my needs better and was told “No”. She at this time asked what I thought when I tried others in the office. I had to remind her that I NEVER TRIED any. She then says I have a BTE model you can try. I put the Oticon Agil on and heard sounds normally and didn’t have that “artificial sound” I walked down the hall and outside and heard normally. She convinced me to order the Intiga because they were the same price as my Phonak Solara and we could switch them out. I obviously asked if they would perform relatively the same and was told yes.

Anyway I will pick up my Intiga in 1 1/2 weeks and try that. I have the option to switch back to the Phonak if need be. Also I did not have the “plugged” feeling with the Agil

I would return everything and find a new AD.

Uh…that’s a bit harsh. Not sure what your reasoning behind telling the OP to return and dump this pro is…unless having flexibility and being open to changing product if necessary are all of a sudden bad qualities to exhibit in a professional.

While I’d say that the initial way your Audi had you select the hearing aid is a little weird IMPO but everyone has their own clinical styling. Now, the switch from a CIC to a BTE, of any kind (especially a RIC) is what probably caused you to have the improvement in sound quality and definitely the reason you didn’t feel “plugged up”. That’s why so many people select those styles over CIC’s or ITC’s. Honestly, other than some very specific hearing losses, any audiologist worth anything could probably fit just about any hearing aid on any loss so saying that none was specifically better or worse for your hearing loss wasn’t really incorrect. And just FYI…most manufacturer software and definitely Phonaks’ will always start at 80% if someone is a new hearing aid user. It doesn’t change unless you change a parameter at the beginning for someone who is a more experienced HA wearer…then sometimes it starts at 90% or 100%.

Good luck with the switch. I am NOT a fan of CIC’s especially for people who have normal or nearly normal hearing in low frequencies. That’s a professional bias I’ll completely own up to…

here’s all the drugs I have pick the one that look’s nice to you… this AD is either over-worked and not keeping her patient records (she would have known what other aids this person had tried or not) or lacks confidence in making a professional recommendation.

I obviously asked if they would perform relatively the same and was told yes
check the Oticon site unless she ordered the Intiga 10 you won’t get close to the Agil and then you will only be close not as good as.

Good Post Doc Audio…some useful information. Thanks

I’m Back… I do believe it is the Intiga 10. Quite Frankly, I will just keep running through trial periods until I get something that works for me. I can at least keep the current aid until the next comes in.

SInce these are your first hearing aids, yes, it will be weird at first. You will have that “plugged” feeling. It goes away. If the hearing aids are properly molded to your ear there will come a time when you forget they are there they are so comfortable. I almost wore mine in the shower once!

The thing is that your brain need to adjust to the hearing aids too. It was very overwhelming wearing them at first because I was used to the hearing I had and your brain also adjusts when you lose your hearing. This is what my audi told him. So it felt weird having the aids in my ear for quite a while and now, it is like I forget they are there. Some people never get used to the CIC ones though. It is really just a personal preference.

I had to have one repair a week or so ago and they have me one of those BTE loners - I hated that thing. That “stick” would not stay in my ear (I have very small ears for an adult) and it was a pain to get it in exaclty the precise position so I could hear out of it. I actually just stopped wearing it and dealt with the one in. Plus my hair is long and I hated that I had to wear my hair up or I would sometimes get feedback on it. Plus I could not wear my sunglasses - I would think it would be a pain for someone would has these and also has glasses - the glasses will hit the piece on top of your ear.

I love the CIC ones because I don’t have to worry about that stuff. I can wear my hair down and put my sunglasses on and not have to worry about distrubing the piece.

When I first got my aids, I wanted ones that no one could see - I was very self conscious about it. I was only 32 and single - I had just started a new job and I didn’t want people judging. For the most part even if I have my hair pushed back behind my ears, no one notices them which what I personally like.

I finally solved my problems with the the weird “echos” etc. My first CIC’s didn’t have the “directional” feature which is what was driving me crazy before because honestly I didn’t think it worked right. My audi turned that feature off completely (they can do all sorts of adjustments with the software - pretty neat!). He also changed a few other things in there. For the most part they work well now and I have gotten rid of the annoying “directional” feature. I still sometimes don’t like the way the left one works - it seems to pick up sounds differently than the right (like I can hear my computer fan with differently with the left than the right). Sometimes I still can a weird echo with my left one. But for the most part it is fixed.

One thing I like about these compared to my old CICs is that rarely any wax gets buildt up on the aid and I have crazy wax problems! They aren’t as “pointy” as my old ones which I think it is the reason. Plus my other ones would sometimes be blocked when I ate - I have problmes with my TMJ joint so I can feel the bones blocking the aid. These don’t do that. I can still hear my chewing but they are more comfortable to wear than the old ones - at first I thought they were too big.

In the week I had the one repaired - it felt weird having it back in and I had to get used to it again. I thought the sound was blocked but it wasn’t it was just me getting used to having it in again.

Thanks queen… still trying to work all this out. This is a great forum for research and answers. I learn more each day.

U mean the Solana, not Solara like my friend’s mom drives LOL