KS10 bluetooth spoken word sound quality is bad

All, KS10 user since May and I like them, except that the sound quality is horrendous when listening to spoken word like a podcast or audio book. It sounds like the person is talking through a kazoo. or, like you are listening too loud to an old tape player with a tiny speaker. or a bit like the adults sound in Charlie Brown. It’s only noticeable in quiet environments. But, it’s annoying. Is no one else noticing this?

I’ve had the folks at Costco try a couple times to fix the issue. One called Phonak and had a couple of their folks work through ideas, none of which worked. I also tried a totally different pair to make sure it wasn’t just something wrong with my pair. I wonder if there is something wrong with my streaming setup, but if so the Phonak people should have caught it. Then again, this issue is something that I think would be all over the forum if everyone had it.

Thoughts? Similar experiences? Fixes?


What kinds of domes or ear moulds are you using? That can greatly help the improvement of the things that you are streaming.

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I should have mentioned that I’m using an iPhone with IOS 15. IOS 14 sounded the same.

I have the KS10 and spoken voice sound just fine through mine, I used them regularly for work calls and podcasts.

Maybe there is a setting that is messed up but I don’t think your experience is the norm

So as I said, what domes or ear moulds are you using?

If you’re using open domes, then streaming will not sound as good because the base is leaking out of the dome. That’s why it possibly could be why it’s tinny sounding.

Yep it certainly sounds like it, streaming can easily be adjusted in the target software, just need to spend time (sometimes a lot!) to get them where you like the sound, of course your iPhone has settings as well, and as @Zebras has said could be as simple as to what domes you use.

Hi Zebras, I’m using open domes. I’ve tried it with vented and there is a little better bass but no difference in the issue that I’m struggling with. The issue is not that the bass is leaking out or that the sound is tinny (both are true with open domes). The sound that is bothering me is more vibrational. Kinda muddy. Or as described above, like they are talking through a kazoo.
Thanks for your thoughts,

@leucurus: What strength are your receivers? Are they in good shape? (Ie. - do you have especially moist or waxy ears? Have they ever gotten wet? Do you use a dryer?) Has REM been done to verify MSP levels they’re operating at?

HI SpudGunner, I think my receivers are in good shape, I don’t have waxy ears and they haven’t gotten wet. I’m not sure on receiver strength - does it say on the receiver itself? My hearing loss is moderate/mild. Also, the issue I’m having happens even when the volume of the spoken word is turned down as low as possible.

They did REM during my initial setup. I don’t know what MSP stands for? My guy at Costco tried manipulating several parameters in the streaming voice program and none affected the buzzy/vibrational quality of the spoken sound of a podcast. He was at a loss and spent an hour trying things the Phonak folks suggested.

Maybe it’s in my head. It’s subtle enough that I only notice it in quiet environments. Thanks for your thoughts,

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@leucurus: Just trying to generate ideas …

My Phonak P90 are superb on streamed spoken word, totally distortion free, loud and clear. So so on music.

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I have the same issue with my K10. Streaming video or music sounds horrendously distorted, which is a pain as I have an online course to do and I would like to stream it. The Costco audi said basically that’s the way it is and I have to use headphones. Is this correct?

Is there not a way of adjusting the streaming program in Target? I have looked but can’t see it listed in the program list.

I don’t know if your hearing aids are working correctly but for me bluetooth streaming to the KS10 sounds poor initially, lots and lots of noise. I almost always stream to them when I’m outside so it’s lots of ambient noise being jacked up for some reason. I’ve found that If I go into the app and click the equalizer icon (lower right corner) instead of the equalizer and noise adjustent settings there is a single setting you can change called cross-fader. Sliding to the left is just microphones on and streaming volume is nil. All the way to the right is all streaming, microphone is off. I slide it just a tiny bit, the least I can, to the right and the immense amount of noise goes away and streaming is really good. The microphones are still on, I can still hear things around me but it’s like the noise reduction turns on the moment you touch that button. I feel like there is a glitch where the default (for my hearing aids) has the mic up way too high or noise reduction all the way off (ether way) with the result that the background news completely crushes the streaming audio and even a tiny tweak somehow makes it correct that.

Maybe you could try that slider out and see if it helps at all.

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With my KS-9’s anything I stream is really quit good, whether it is phone call,youtube video or music. I wish sounds coming through microphones sounded as good.

FWIW another data point.
I have great sound with streaming audio/spoken word to my KS10s. I have open domes BUT I mute the mics and set the ‘balance’ to the stream as I tend to use it when I am exercising in the gym and don’t want other distractions or much background noise. I did have my audi boost the bass for me to compensate for the lack of natural acoustic bass input that I would otherwise get but overall I am quite happy. Using an old ipad for streaming…

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I am very unhappy with the hearing tech that fitted me at Costco. He told me info that I knew was wrong at the time and I told him so (for example he said there was no way to turn bluetooth off on the hearing aids, you just turn off your phone. I said ‘you can. it’s right in the paperwork you gave me’). I told him I didnt like the bass response when I was listening to streaming music and he said that was the way it was and “use headphones”. I know they can boost the bass in the streaming program but at that point I’d already decided I was going to see someone else at Costco on a followup. I’ll mention the issue with the streaming starting out extremely noisy and see if they can sort that out while I’m at it.


You can test the setting in the app to hear only the bluetooth sound and not the ambient sounds. Look at the images with the slider to fit you. The bluetooth sound improves a lot.

I hope it helps you.

Thanks for the feedback, all. Interesting that a few of us have the distortion. Changing the “crossfader” in the Bluetooth streaming +mic 1 program from Environment to Audio doesn’t impact the distortion other than making it much more noticeable when fully set on Audio.

Here’s a thought, is there a setting that tells the hearing aids which receivers are attached? My receivers are red and have the letters “1M” on them. Does anyone know, a) which power receivers these are and b) is there a setting that tells the hearing aid which receiver is attached?

This idea comes from the fact that the distortion sounds a bit like a very tiny speaker that is just being overloaded. Maybe my HAs are set for a more powerful receiver?


Yes and no, yes it does know, but you can fit any power receivers and the power output will stay the same from the HAs, as the HAs are programmed with whatever receivers were fitted in the software…but you can change them without reprogramming, and you’ll notice a difference, your using 1M which are medium power, if you fit a P (power) receiver you’ll notice a big drop in volume if you don’t reprogram your HAs for that receiver, it’s not recommended to do this.

Yes in the target software.

If the hearing aids are not distorting when amplifying ambient (not streaming) sound then I would suggest the receivers are not the issue. I would suspect the BT radio. Ask Costco to give you another (sample) set of aids programmed identically and see if the problem continues.