Narrow frequency response vs. cellphone convenience?

I’m new here, first let me introduce myself.

I’ve had a moderate binaural hearing loss all my life (60 dBHL @ 4khz, better in all other hz). When I as 8 years old (1983 or so) I had a single BTE which I hated and refused to use. When I was 12 years old the Norwegian healthcare system stuck a pair of CTC’s in my ears with no followup care. The poor fit, squawking, amplification of background noises, disgusting ear wax buildup and inconvenience contributed to my decision not to use them. Again, my hearing loss was not profound so I had the luxury of going without.

Since then I have not used hearing aids. I earned a college degree (and a half), worked ten years in software development and married a wonderful woman who put effort into speaking clearly and enunciating words correctly (her mother was an english teacher :smiley: ). However, a recent career change has put me in front of customers from all over the world and communicating with them is becomming difficult. I can deal with poor spelling and grammar skills but it is difficult (and inconvenient) to constantly ask others to repeat themselves due to heavy accents, both regional and national. Don’t get me started about those who mumble and speak too softly, or even whisper. I also spend a lot of time on my cellphone.

Anyway, my point is that I am once again in the market for hearing aids, and I am starting to get frustrated with the inability to find the ‘right’ hearing aid for me. I have been working with a local audiologist who seems knowledgeable about hearing loss but doesn’t seem to know much about the latest hearing aids, so I am doing much of this research myself. Getting information without the audiologist is slow and painful.

I have two concerns.

The first is cellphone compatibility. I use a headset for comfort and so I can have both hands free for typing and writing. One thought was to get a CTC (or smaller) aid and simply use a phone headset over that, but my experience with anything close to the hearing aid results in feedback squeal, so that’s out. That pretty much narrows the search to hearing aids which have some sort of sound transmission. I have found two: The ELI DirX bluetooth unit which connects to a DAI Europlug and the Phonak Smartlink XS. I would prefer not to have an additional gadget to drag around, so the ELI seems like a good choice.

My other concern is frequency response. Human frequency response is 20-20k hz but most hearing aids only amplify 100-6.8k hz. I have adjusted the frequency response on my home stereo to only amplify the 100-6800 range and the music sounds like crap. My fear is that I’ll spend thousands to gain better speech fidelity and lose all enjoyment of music. The Sebotek, on the other hand, touts a 50-14000 hz range and a post auricular canal (PAC) design. However, it doesn’t have the DAI europlug.

At this point it appears that I have to choose either sound quality or cellphone convenience. Is this an accurate portrayal of my situation?

First of all, welcome to our forum.

You are facing a tough choice, as hearing aid manufacturers are very behind as far as incorporating bluetooth technology.

Although the ELI might be a decent solution, the BTE’s that are compatible with it tend to be quite large and buliky and the ELI and even the Phonak FM systems become quite large.

Adding to this is the fact that BTE hearing aids with the receiver on top of the ear tend to have poor frequency response beyond 4,000 hz, thus music lovers tend to not enjoy wearing the typical digital BTE.

In this situation, I would suggest using a very good in the canal instrument with Telecoil and plug in a neck loop to your phone or use the Smartlink/My link combo.

If you go BTE, then you can use the ELI or Phonak FM receivers…the drawback is the size and the poorer sound quality of music.

The other options is to use a receiver in the ear instrument such as the Phonak Micro Power, whic has great sound, in the ear receiver and you can still use either the neckloop for phone or the Smart Link/My link.

Thanks for your response! It’s good to FINALLY hear from other people, instead of reading brochures.

I wasn’t aware that most BTE’s had worse sound reproduction than ITE/ITC’s. is this due to the speaker being in the main unit and sound is transferred to the earmold via a plastic tube?

I did a quite search and found ITC’s seem to get up to about 7500 hz, which is better than the 4000 or 6000 hz BTE’s have. But there’s still a far cry from the 14k SeboTek claims, and the 20k the human ear is supposed to be capable of hearing (although I really doubt I can hear much 15k). Has anyone actually tried the SeboTek’s to verify they are better than the “average” aids?

Other than the frequency response, the longer battery life and lower occlusion effects would be additional benefits of the SeboTek (size/appearance isn’t an issue).

This morning I was thinking about this again, and came to the conclusion that if I have to choose between frequency response or cell phone convenience, I would pick the frequency reponse (and comfort). After all, I wear the unit all day … I’m only on the phone an hour or two a day.

You mentioned the Telecoil as an option … the SeboTek’s have this option, and I’ve seen ‘headsets’ like the Hatis (and others). This seems like a good option - is telecoil as good as it claims to be?

I don’t have any experience w/ Sebo’s, but I have used a lot of Vivatone’s which are also receiver in the ear mini BTE’s. Unfortunately, I can’t give you any idea of the sound quality.

Yet, it is very very difficult for me to believe that 1 receiver/speaker can produce sounds from 125-15,000 hz as they claim. I know some other manufacturer in Canada was also making such claims.

I have to admit, though, that in my opinion, receiver in the ear designs are generally much better sounding and so are ITC/CIC designs. Just BTE’s that round sound thru tubing…they tend to not have as good frequency response and tend to peak at a weird frequency, such as 1.2 khz and thus many digital BTE’s have to have a physical attenuator.

In the ear and receiver in the ear designs can generally avoid those problems. Also, receiver in the ear designs can usually use a larger receiver, especially on the Phonak Micro Power.

Hope this helps you out.

Let us know your progress.

It seems that I am faced with the same problems you have. In daily life I can still manage without HA, but since I started the testperiod with different HA I am more aware of the sounds I am missing.

After having tried out the Widex Inteo with conventional molds, the Widex Inteo élan with open fitting, I am now trying out the Phonak Micro Savia. A delight to wear when you focus mainly on speech understanding, but it’s a total other matter when it comes to listening to my home stereo and ask for sound quality. I am quite disappointed regarding the high price of these jewels (4.800 EUR) and tend to look for another solution : integrating an equalizer in my home stereo so I can adapt the frequencies according to my HL.