Naida Review

So I’ve had a pair of Naidas in my ears for about four days. Previous aids were Phonak Elevas. My hearing profile:

Progressive nerve deafness. At present:

8,000- 110db
4,000- 90db
2,000- 95db
1,000-90db
750 - 80 to 90db
500-65 to 75 db
250-normal

Speech discrimination: About 70 percent in both ears.

The Good:

CORE—the auto program, based on CORE which offers program blending, seems to be excellent at focusing/zooming in on sound. I overheard a conversation on the street and someone talking on the phone an office away, something I don’t recall being able to do for a looooong time. Also heard my buddy from across the tennis court, which normally I would not be able to hear.

Harmonics!!!–I play the piano and so far these have been the best aids at making sure all pitches are heard, even when they overlap. Normally I would not be able to hear bass notes over high notes, but somehow w/ these I can hear five or six note pitches played in harmony. (The other aids would not pick up the bass harmony).

Extremely high pitches heard: I am hearing very slight tympany–snare drums, cymbals not previously heard before, and complex synthesizer layerings (such as in a Moody Blues song). Also heard music played through someone else’s walkman as he passed me by in the gym—don’t remember hearing that for years.

The Bad:

Sound quality, sound quality, sound quality. I am getting some “shcccchhh” static across the audible spectrum, when words are spoken or when I whistle. The overall result is that speech has a slightly garbly quality.

Music is also too high frequency and lacks overall clarity. I am not sure if this is because SoundRecover making frequencies ram into each other, but I want the sound clear though. I understand these aids take a few tries to knock out such glitches?

Where’s the voice zoom/noise reduction??--CORE is very good but I am somewhat disappointed it’s not keying in directly on the speech when I need it to. This is supposed to be an auto function…however, the other day the aids were picking up the music over the loudspeaker but not the sound of the cashier’s voice who was directly in front of me, based perhaps on the fact that the music was louder than the guy’s voice. (Conversely, the Naidas did excellent in a car and at a low-noise restaurant). I understand a noise-reduction option can be manually programmed.

Overall:
Impressive in parts, but seems to require programming to make ideal.
Exelia seems to offer or at least advertise better sound quality and voice directionality (w/ myPilot).

I’d consider Exelias, but given the fact I have progressive loss, I’m not sure whether the higher power offered by the Naidas gives me more room to grow—and to take out the noise with an FM— over the next few years before a CI.

Sound quality, sound quality, sound quality. I am getting some “shcccchhh” static across the audible spectrum, when words are spoken or when I whistle. The overall result is that speech has a slightly garbly quality.

Music is also too high frequency and lacks overall clarity. I am not sure if this is because SoundRecover making frequencies ram into each other, but I want the sound clear though. I understand these aids take a few tries to knock out such glitches?

First of all I’m pleased you are hearing better overall despite a few niggling issues. It sounds like there might be two main issues related to your experiences, which might be worthwhile relaying to your audi. The first is the hissing. I had this with one patient and it was easily resolved by reducing the gain for soft sounds and increasing the hearing aid’s kneepoint slightly.

The second issue, might as you suggest indicate too much high frequency gain (in the area to which your high frequencies have been compressed) Ask the Audi to reduce overall HF’s a notch or three. This might also help with music overriding speech as too many HF’s can actually be distracting and take your attention away from speech. The alternative to to reduce the amount of HF compression. Maybe have the audi add one or two different manual programs with different combo’s of HF gain and compression for you to evaluate and then the best one can be applied in you automatic setting.

Also remember that the aids have their directional focus to the front so if speech and noise(music) is present in front of you and the music is louder, you’ll hear the music more than the speech. So your positioning relative to the noise (ideally to your back) is more critical than with Exelia. How much progression in you hearing loss has there been in the last few years?

Hear now - does this have to do with the aggressiveness of the sound recover function, by squeezing too much of the higher frequencies into the lower more audible (for the profoundly impaired person) ranges? Or is it simply the regular gain issue?

I wonder, what’s Phonak’s recommendation for this (if part of the Sound Recover function)? Start out with the most aggressive compression, and then lower to see what’s right for the patient, or, start out with miminal compression and build up to what’s right for the patient?

I would think that starting too aggressively would lead to frustration, like the original poster above. However, I can see, if it is Phonak’s recommendation, why starting aggressively then lowering, could benefit the user, although it does carry that risk of patient frustration leading to non-acceptance.

Pat

Hearnow—I’ve been relatively stable the past two years though if I look back 5-6 years there’s been a large dropoff.

Thanks for the suggestions. The first culprit I wanted to finger was SoundRecover, since I’ve never had aids do these things, though I will check about the overall HF gain.

-Chris

If you have to reduce the HF gain and reduce the compression, what advantage do Naidas have over the high power Exelia/Savia/Eleva models?

Hear now - does this have to do with the aggressiveness of the sound recover function, by squeezing too much of the higher frequencies into the lower more audible (for the profoundly impaired person) ranges? Or is it simply the regular gain issue?

I wonder, what’s Phonak’s recommendation for this (if part of the Sound Recover function)? Start out with the most aggressive compression, and then lower to see what’s right for the patient, or, start out with miminal compression and build up to what’s right for the patient?

I would think that starting too aggressively would lead to frustration, like the original poster above. However, I can see, if it is Phonak’s recommendation, why starting aggressively then lowering, could benefit the user, although it does carry that risk of patient frustration leading to non-acceptance.

Pat

Hi Pat it is not neccesarily that the sound recover is too aggressive, if anything the first fit setting is a bit lenient as it seemed to want to compress the high frequencies into areas that might also be dead in some of my fittings and I had to make it more agressive (increasing CR and reducing cut-off frequency (depends on the audiogram). What I think tends to happen though is that the cochlear resolution is diminshed slightly by the compression as you fit many bands into a small cochlear band width (very often 1.5-2Khz) and then apply additional gain as well in that area (psycoacoustically a wider band sound sounds louder than a narrow band tone of the same intensity) . This can create a scratchy sensation. Each person’s perceptions and needs differ so the first fit is purely a suggestion (which may improve with future versions of the fitting software) and the aud needs to fiddle around to see what gives best “S”,“SH” perception and balance that with the harshness or Scratchiness. A useful way of checking this is using minimal pair (cheek/seek , ball/ fall etc. ) words but also adding different manual progs with different levels of soundrecover for the user to try. User adaptation is also very important as it WILL sound different and the brain has lots to learn about reusing this additional info.

If you have to reduce the HF gain and reduce the compression, what advantage do Naidas have over the high power Exelia/Savia/Eleva models?

With you hearing loss you should definately find benefit from the Naida. It will however take a bit of time and preseverance to achieve the outcome you desire. The Naida’s offer more future proofing (more future gain) than the Sp models of the other aid’s mentioned and is designed with profound hearing loss in mind, adding only those features which will benefit the listener, rather than distract the profoundly hearing impaired user (too much noise reduction may make you feel isolated). Remeber also all of the professionals, myself included have only now been exposed to frequency compression and are still learning as we go to optimise this for the client. So you may need some time to get things right. I think your aud should try to reducing the HF gain somewhat and maybe even notch up the frequency compression a bit. Again ther is no harm in trying any of the other devices to see what YOU prefer.

So regarding SoundRecover:

Anyone care to expound on the wisdom of training your brain through SR to make sense of speech that is compressed into lower frequencies, when one knows that in the future (say 5 years or so) they will become eligible for a CI, which will give one a sound pallete comprised of much higher frequencies?

On one hand, my brain is already filling in gaps in high-FQ speech (else I wouldn’t have 70perc comprehension). A CI would give me new information so I have to train my brain to make sense of sounds that have gone missing for a long time.

With SR, I would have to retrain my brain now and then retrain it again in 5 years or so w/ a CI.

Seems to require an awful lot of neural plasticity, no?

Also, Naida update: I heard a fly buzzing in my room and then tapping against a window, so bravo Naida. Don’t recall hearing that in a looooong time.

On the other hand, speech and music overall is still garbly and not as clear as Elevas.

When I whistle to myself at various frequencies, as a test, it seems to break up the whistle in two tones–the pure tone of the whistle (as I have recalled it for a long time at least) and a seemingly higher tone composed of static. The overall combination soundtone has a hollow / static / echoey quality.

Playing piano in isolation is interesting, the harmonics are much better. For instance I can hear a lower bass chord of 2-3 notes over a higher treble chord…which is astounding. I am guessing Naidas either offer improved harmonic quality w/ these aids or SoundRecover is doing something there. Don’t know which.

If the Naidas can be programmed through myPilot to reduce the speech and music annoyance, perhaps these are a good bet. But I’m skeptical about SR right now.

I am very excited that you a musician! I too am a musician, and I am trying Naidas.

I know that on mine will the SR will be set as strong as it can be. I am concerned about how this will effect music for me, especially playing or singing with other people. I know I won’t be hearing sound the way the rest of the world hears it. How has that worked for you?

Hey Jenny,

Well not a professional musician but I can get through Mozart and Bach on piano, so I am happy. Nature can screw w. my ears but you’d have to cut my hands off to stop me from playing. I guess if that happens I’ll whistle :slight_smile:

Regarding music and the Naidas, I’m hesitant to say much because I don’t think you should be looking at my experience as a kind of benchmark, since we probably have different loss profiles. And I don’t want you to be either too pessimistic or overly optimistic…

With that in mind, so far they have been very good for me for soft music, like piano or Sarah Machlaclan. They really pick up the soft sounds well, and I can pick up more of those HF cues in musical quality — the soft tap of a snare drum or cymbal for instance. Notes over notes are also much more clear. It makes a difference.

The downside for me, however, is that I am getting static across the audible spectrum, so that gives overall speech and music a slightly garbly/static quality. My hypothesis is that SR is compressing the high FQs into new areas I have not heard before, and cannot match w/ a pattern.

But I can’t prove that yet. I see my audi again on Monday and we’re going to try some new settings, so I will keep you posted.

Glad to hear you are a musician, too! Feel free to send me a message and maybe we can keep comparing notes!

It may also be that you are getting more soft sounds across the spectrum than you are used to having, or should have at all. Perhaps raising some kneepoints for the time being would be good with the thought of gradually lowering them over time.

Glad you are doing well.