My Phonaks are erratiic: only work 20% of the time! Bad batteries?

These new Phonaks are unreliable and my audiologist is unsatisfactory. She goes in the back room and when she comes back they’re working. And she says that she just put in a new battery. But she never does that in my presence.

MOST of the time when I put in a new battery it doesn’t work, and then after I try 8 or 10 new batteries it starts working. I’ve bought batteries at the drugstore, through eBay and Amazon, and even gotten them from the audiologist.

Sometimes I just pretend to change the battery, and that works! I take it out, wipe it with a clean cloth or Kleenex, carefully replace it rightside up while firmly assuring good contact is made (as much as possible), and try it out.

If I finally get a battery to work then I just dread the battery running down and I have to start over again. As a result I’m only getting partial and erratic use from the Phonaks.

I change the wax trap every time that changing the battery fails to produce good results, which is just about every time I change the battery. Doesn’t fix the problem. I also bought a little HA warming gadget to dry the HA, because I thought maybe the clear tube was plugged. Very seldom works.

I’ve spent a small fortune on batteries and wax traps that I threw away, and I bet that 90% were perfectly OK.

I don’t think the batteries are the problem because they always register GOOD on the 3 HA battery testers I’ve got. I think the Phonak itself is erratic. But when I complain to the audiologist she looks at me like I’m a child. Maybe she thinks “this 76 yr. old creep can’t handle the modern world”. But I have 2 engineering degrees and designed high-tech military receivers for years. I’m also expert at digital systems and software.

IMO there’s an intermittent circuit in the Phonaks. Or maybe that clear acoustic tube has a poor fitting. I don’t know because I have no way to test that.

I look forward to getting a DIY HA that I can monitor and control myself.

There have been problems with HA batteries: a lot of people have had problems with Eveready and some of the no name brands also have problems. Most are slightly undersized(to thin) and fail to make proper contact once in the HA. Stay with name brands such as: Rayovaks or PowerOnes and see how they work. If your a member of Costco, they have rebranded 40 battery pack Rayovaks available for under $10. Worst case, have your audi sent the HA’s back to Phonak to be checked out. Good luck!

simply ask her without implying you think she is pulling a quick one if she would kindly show you exactly how to change the battery maybe you are doing something wrong.

does this happen with both aids?

Really? I was going to order online 40 for 10. Do they have size 10?

As for the hearing aid battery issues. The issue I have is I put in a fresh battery and its like I have bionic hearing, then as the battery goes down, so does the hearing.

hearing aid batteries do not fade away like your regular AA, etc… they work within a certain parameter and then the HA shuts down.

seb: Maybe some battteries are too thin. It looks to me like there’s a small but perciptible gap above the batteryt before I swing the cARRIER shut.

Doc Jake: I seldom try the left HA because my left ear is so weak. But when I do it has the same problem.

Thats what I figured too, but thats not what these are doing.

Yes, they carry size 10’s. As for the size difference, if you have or can get your hands on a micrometer, check the thickness of the batteries that are not working against those that do work and see if they are thinner, it they are than that is your problem.

or you could simply use the brand that works…

duracell always seem to run on the thicker side, cheapo’s don’t waste your time. I would stick with PowerOne.

well I was using whatever starkey or my audiologist provided when I got my hearing aid. That worked decent. Now I have Duracell that epic hearing sent me and they aren’t lasting as well. One just spontaneously died one day too.

Duracell and PowerOne are both made by the same company, Varta Microbattery. They’re easily identifiable because they have a blue grommet on the bottom.

return them and move on… no matter what she does you won’t be happy.

Indeed, starting off with a wrong foot with an audiologist is a no-no.
Interesting: I trialed Phonak Audeo Smart S V aids, but handed them back.
They were DEMO aids, used by unknown # of people
Also, the ‘S’ is for SPICE which has older electronics than the latest Phonak ‘Q’ Quest aids.

This forum is a goldmine, there a LOTS of people here who fit/adjust their own HA’s, just beware of certain suppliers!
If you are bent on DIY, by all means do sift through this Forum (see my previous post: Digital Hearing Aids -> Hansaton Linner)
Good luck

The Audiologist took the HAs in the backroom again and came back with them working! She said the batteries were dead and the tubes were plugged with wax. That was in spite of my regular attention to wax, changing the trap every time. I also use a little HA oven to dry them out.

They worked until the second time I changed the battery (and replaced the trap) , but now the #!@#$ chimes go off almost constantly! Replacing the battery doesn’t fix it, and it’s driving me nuts. The stupid little booklet I got doesn’t say what the chimes mean, or what kind of chimes I can expect.

I’m convinced the Phonak unit is defective, but now I’m afraid I’ve exceeded the warranty because I’ve had them 14 months. Tomorrow I’m going in and insisting they take them back and return my money or give me different HAs. I paid the full $2700 even though I had a chance to get Phonaks for $900 each elsewhere.

I’m so distraught that I’m going to try those $30 HAs advertised on TV and Ebay.

If you have Air - Zinc batteries, maybe you have to pull sticker away and leave it out for a minute or two… They react on air and sometimes they need time to “breathe” so that they start working. Some do it slower, some do it faster. So maybe if you put them in too soon, battery doesn’t have enough power to start hearing aid. It happened sometimes with more protected models like Aquaris - Cassia H20… but it is rare

Also I see you have Phonak Audeo Smart - make sure you replace filter on speaker (if you have it), clean microphones and I would not reccomend a RIC model if you have a lot of earwax

I think I’m being defeated by earwax (cerumen). So I try every day to take the HA out, open the battery door, and put it in the little ‘KAPAK’ dryer/oven I got for a couple bucks from eBay. After a couple hours the pilot light goes out so I take it out and try it in the ear, if it doesn’t work I replace the trap and the 312 battery. Often, it works, but it is never very warm from being in the drier/oven.

I suspect that my copious earwax plugs the tube (one time the Aud said it was completely plugged). I would like to have an option to use copper wire, but I don’t think there’s any way; I suspect that ALL modern HAs use the acoustic tube instead of wire (for cosmetic reasons, which I don’t care about), so I’d like to be able to clean the tube someway, or replace it without going to the Audiologist. I notice that internet vendors have replacement tubes and even bulk tubing. I don’t know what size or material or what tools and glue (if necessary) , though. Phonak doesn’t say, and they always try to sell me a gadget (which I’d buy if I thought it would work, but it looks like eventually the signal has to go through the darn plastic tube).

I’m thinking of getting (or trying, more likely, but you still have to pay in advance, even for a trial) an in-ear style instead of BTE to obviate the tube. But this time I’ll go to Costco, whom I like anyway.

My ideal would be to use my iPod as a backup (or more) with some APP. But I need to be able to set the freq response curve. I’d even be willing to use an in-line equalizer/amplifier with the earbuds, especially if I can find some earbuds that rolloff some bass in favor of some treble. All the earbud vendors seem to be proud of their bass-boost, which is exactly what I don’t need, as shown by my response curve and actual experience. I once had some earbuds (chanced upon I-don’t-know-where, and I can’t find a label) that worked perfectly for me with the FM internet feed on the iPod. Lovely! I almost always listened to the radio on that iPod until both bud wires broke and I couldn’t find a replacement for the earbuds. Of course, when the HAs are working the iPod audio propagates into the air and thence to the HA and thence thru the pesky tube (if possible) to my poor ear. Maybe in some future day the iPod can broadcast right into the HA employing the Phonak proprietary FM frequency. I like FM radio and years ago I had Moto V66 cellphones that included FM OTA reception and I really liked it.

I’d even consider cochlear implant since they have improved so much. But the cost seems to be about $200,000.

Any ideas?

If you produce a lot of wax you could try a standard BTE with standard tubes with a custom earmold, with the mold the tube would not sit as deep in the canal and it would take longer to get clogged and it would also be easier to know when the tube is clogged and IMO it is also easier to clean.

If you are using a RITE, then the “tube” is not a tube, it’s a wire. It cannot get clogged. What can get clogged is the filter at the very tip of the receiver (the part that goes in your ear). Your HA’s came with a small tool you use to pull out the old filter and insert a new one.

But based on what you are saying, I don’t think wax is your problem. Intermittent problems are usually electrical in nature. I would check the operation of the battery door and make sure the contacts are properly touching the battery when you close the door.

It’s a tube, alright, I can see thru it and the audi cleaned the wax out a couple times. The $20 ITE HAs from China actually work pretty good (that was TWO for $20!). The $30 BTE HA you see on late-nite TV is too loud and distorted.

I’m going to try some eBay $175 Phonak ITEs and bypass the Audi/salesmodel. I need a programmer and some kind of external auxiliary to feed signals from radio, Tv , etc. There’s some kind of Phonak proprietary FM RF link to the ITE for programming, too.

I despair of the HA Industry fixing my problem. They are very condescending. It’s the same old industrial system routine “the customer is always wrong”) and I no longer trust them.

I know from years of debugging electronics equipment that I wouldn’t have proceeded this way if I were an Audi. A conscientious person would soon determine if my plugged tubes were the result of excess wax. For example, see if the person had visible sebhorehic cysts caused by cerumen (wax), or even ASK the person because he would be aware of a brown-red waxy cyst, typically someplace from shoulders up. Usually someone would even have mentioned it because they are very noticeable: I had one a few years ago that grew as big as a dime and was just above the hairline. I hated it! It reminded me of a childhood pal who had one from about age 5 until about age 35 at least.

Then, by digging and researching I discovered that a common commercial shampoo with Selenium (“Selsyn Blue”) applied once or twice a month and a residue left for a minute or two directly on the cyst would dissolve and loosen it a little and after a few weeks of treatment it was gone. I use very little and so infrequently (I’m averse to putting chemicals stronger than H2O on my skin) that I still have about half of the original stuff.

Just my 2 cents worth.

I concluded that modern medical folk consider it more important to defend the sale rather than fix the problem. IMO we have a struggle between profits and medicine and medicine is losing.

The Phonak stopped working again, so I went in to the audiologists office again and got a different person this time. She took the stopped HA in the back room and came back in a few minutes and said she’d replaced the transparent plastic connector between the BTE capsule and the little silicon speaker that goes into the ear canal. She said the copper wire was corroded! Now I’m really confused: is the connection acoustic or electrical? The last Audiologist (same office) said the acoustic tube was plugged with wax! The new one said it was corroded because of excessive moisture. She said they usually charge $150 to replace that connector! Yikes! If I have to do that every month or two it makes the HAs too expensive. When I protested she gave me that one free and gave me a little HA drier (which appears to be a few blue copper sulfate dessicant balls and several white inert balls to balance strength). Oh, and I can’t return the HAs anymore nor try other HAs because it’s almost 2 years since I started on this so warranties and trial periods have expired!

I have a feeling that they stiff armed me when I previously complained, got the HA limping along again, and now I’m screwed by expirations. Maybe they saved the revenue and lost the customer.

And I haven’t even started debugging the left HA, which is a bigger problem.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to hack a solution that uses my iPod as a source, which would be nice since then I could control ambient sound as well as radio and podcast thru the iPod, and use ordinary mass-produced earbuds as speakers in the ears. I thought I’d be able to find an APP to serve as an equalizer to correct the response curve and amplify as necessary, but no luck so far. The ipod has a builtin equalizer but it’s very limited and some users say it runs the battery down quickly.

Earbuds themselves contribute to the problem since most have a builtin bass boost, which is the opposite of what I need: treble boost or bass attenuation. High bass signal drives the eardrum into saturation and the poor little wimpy trebles are simply lost. I HAD a pair of very old earbuds that worked quite well, but the insulation and the wire got brittle with age and finally broke completely. I have no idea who made them or how to replace them. But it seems to be almost impossible to get earbuds without that darn bass boost. But I’ll keep trying by getting almost every earbud I can find on eBay.

If I can’t find a solution with the iPod, then I’ll return to trial-and-error testing of HAs, starting, perhaps with all under $100 from the internet, and moving up, and then maybe Costco, which I am predisposed to like.