New Widex hearing aids not helping speech understanding

I was just fitted with Widex hearing aids for mild hearing loss in upper frequencies. I have trouble understanding speech, and I thought they would help.

I am so, so disappointed. The only thing they have done is amplify annoying background noises. My ability to understand speech has not increased at all. Thankfully my health insurance covered about half the cost, but I still wasted over three thousand dollars.

Is Widex just a terrible brand? I can’t justify buying another set right away, but if another brand is better I could buy again in three years when my insurance benefits kick in again. Reading here though, it seems like hearing aids don’t actually help with speech recognition, so I’m not sure why my audiologist recommended them.

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I have upper frequency loss and have had success with the Oticon More 1s. I got them cheaper on eBay. There is also a good hearing aid from Costco that is top of the line and a lot cheaper too than the wide.

I have the same issue.
New wearer, different brand, I have what gets described as the “ski slope” loss.
Soft talkers and mumblers are my weak point.
I described my main problem to the audi and she set me up with these.
It has only been two weeks of daily wear for me, I go for my audi first follow-up tomorrow, but so far I am very frustrated.
Exactly as you describe, there has been no improvement in my speech understanding.
Disappointing to read your comment that “it seems like hearing aids don’t actually help with speech recognition”, I hope this isn’t the case.

This is something that your audiologist can help with, it’s just more adjustments that are needed to help you along, it actually takes a bit it time for people like yourself to get used to newly fitted HAs, it can also take time for your audiologist to set them up how you like to “hear”
Remember HAs don’t restore your hearing, they are only an aid.

No Widex is a very good brand, no better or worse then any others, one of the reasons why they got brought out by Sivantos.

Really, where did you read that! HAs most certainly do help, but can take time for people to adjust.
Posting your audiogram would be helpful for everyone to offer advice.

It’s definitely not the case, like the OP, just hold in there, get the adjustments from your audiologist and work with them to get them set up how you like to “hear” most people don’t get “instant satisfaction”


As @tenkan says, there are adjustments to be made in the aids, and in the brain. I have a cookie bite loss, and have suffered for many years blaming everyone but myself. The VA gave me top of the line HAs last September. I have worked hard with the audiologist, and with other tools like the Roger On Mic to help get better at this. Am I all better? No way. But I am getting better and asking, “What?” much less. It takes times. Noises like sink faucet or walking around on hard floors used to seem like such stark noises. Things are back to normal there. I’m beginning to learn things like in noisy places I look at the speaker and the HAs do a better job grabbing their voice and filtering out the noise. Best use of programs. When not to bother, because the automatic will make it right.

Best wishes!



You need to wear your aids a couple of weeks and then go back to the audiologist with a list of complaints. You need to also understand that hearing aids don’t fix anything. They help. You also didn’t list your speech comprehension scores. It’s an area where hearing aids still struggle no matter what the manufacturers may claim


Hearing aids greatly (hard to over emphasize) helped me with speech recognition, especially, but not only, in group settings.

Work with the audiologist, as @tenkan says. There’s a lot that can be done. Also, expect your brain to take time to adjust.


Here is what I think is my audiogram:

My word recognition scores were 100% in both ears.

Is there any other information that would be helpful?

My dad wore hearing aids, so I knew that they weren’t like glasses and wouldn’t return my hearing to normal. He mentioned that a lot, so honestly the sound quality was better than I thought it would be. I’m just not understanding speech any better.

I am not an expert but my understanding is that our brains lose some skill at deciphering sounds when it doesn’t have access to them for a while. When hearing aids renew the access, it can take more time to relearn how to interpret them. Consider giving yourself some time to adjust, work with your AuD, and gain some access to new sounds over time. Good luck.

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Did they come with an evaluation/trial period? If they’re not helping it’s time to go back to the audiologist to either return them (if possible) or to see if there’s anything they can adjust.

You may find the experience improves over time or it may be that your issues have nothing to do with loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea- which is what most of us suffer from- but are caused by damage further down the auditory pathway. Search on “hidden hearing loss”, “synaptopathy”, and “auditory neuropathy”.

Hearing aids are moving from equalising amplifiers towards intelligent devices that can isolate voices and make them clearer. I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

I checked my contract, and I have 30 days. I then contacted my audiologist, and she said we have flexibility to go over 30 days.

My dad had pretty bad hearing loss, and I remember he showed huge improvements immediately. I felt like my expectations were reasonable, in that I knew I wasn’t going to experience sound the same. What I honestly didn’t even consider was the quality of the sound being quite good but not experiencing any improvement in speech recognition.

I definitely can hear better with them, but I just don’t hear speech better. Even music sounds more complete (I was missing the top part of snare drum sounds, for instance,) which I really wasn’t expecting. (My dad had said his hearing aids ruined music.)

No surprises about the music really. Widex have a really good rep in that department. Great that the audiologist is prepared to be flexible. Work with your audiologist and give them every chance. Good luck!


Thanks for posting, ok so looking at that it’s not to bad at all, mild to moderate loss, still getting 100% recognition is pretty good, I would’ve thought it could have been a bit less, no wonder you think you don’t really need them! But you’ve inherited this loss from family? (your dad) so you hear pretty good but can’t understand speech any better then unaided, I’m thinking not a hearing issue as much, have you considered APD? as this can be overlooked especially with hearing loss, there’s testing available that can determine if this is so.

If your speech comprehension is 100% then it’s just a matter of getting used to your aids and possibly further adjustments by your audiologist to reduce some of the background noise. Be patient


I read about APD, and I don’t think it’s that. I definitely didn’t have any symptoms of it in childhood, as reading, writing, and spelling were very easy for me. My inability to understand speech has slowly gotten worse over the years, which seems more consistent with hearing loss. I know I need hearing aids and I do hear things I didn’t before. The issue I’m having is just speech recognition.

@threedimen: You may want to read up a bit more on the highly complex, multi-parametric composition of speech before you say just.

There’s not just amplitude involved, there’s frequency, overtones of the voice box and the ear canal, and modulations thereof, mechanical issues of the middle ear (especially when responding physically to plosives and fricatives) … too many things for my limited layman’s understanding to advance here.

Speech is an extremely complicated transaction, and to think that a hearing aid can address all the possible reasons behind poor word recognition is to chase unicorns.

I always agree with @hass5744 and @cvkemp when they point out that hearing aids only help - they can’t cure. And your brain needs time to adjust to getting this extra help - it doesn’t automatically clue in to the new enhanced auditory input, so you have to be patient and give it some time.


I suggest you get in touch with your audiologist


Did your audiologist let you try any other fitting prescriptions? I’m personally not a fan of NAL.

If your word recognition is already high, then the main difference you’ll notice in simple situations is background sounds. Itll take time to adjust to using high frequencies for speech cues (as that is more helpful in noisy or group situations)

Adults with SII scores of 70 or higher for average speech can understand a conversation in quiet without the use of visual cues and yours look to be in the high 80’s, so even with well fit hearing aids you shouldn’t expect much difference in quiet except for very soft or distant talkers, some improved environmental awareness of specific sounds and perhaps improved music quality. In background noise is where you will notice a more notable improvement due to improved audibility of the unvoiced consonants essential for speech understanding in background noise for English speakers.

Widex devices in particular tend to have very limited adjustable gain above 4 kHz so you’re unlikely to get much access to sounds above this, but their Moment device range does have the fastest signal processing on the market so you’re less likely to experience the internal delay of the instrument and have better perceived sound quality with an open fitting compared to any other manufacturer. I can see why your HCP may have recommended these devices.

I’m not sure whether the image you’ve posted is these or whether it’s just a counselling screen only. If these are your actual real ear measures, these devices aren’t hitting prescription targets above 2 kHz which is where most of the clarity of speech is and where you’ll notice most benefit. They are actually providing less gain than a simulated unoccluded ear for average and loud speech as the coloured bars/SII scores for these are lower than than the grey ones. Ask your audiologist to send your actual real ear measures if these aren’t them. If they are, your devices need to be fit in a different way to achieve any real benefit.


Check that the set up has been followed exactly as the Widex set up requires. If the dispenser fits multiple brands they sometimes don’t appreciate how important it is to follow this. They should select the hearing aid type on screen (ie MRIC), vent size/dome type, select the Widex algorithm and perform a sensogram and feedback calibration. Missing out any of these steps can really affect your hearing. If you change the fit type all of this needs to be performed again. I have worn Widex for many years and when I had a new dispenser who selected 1.5 vent instead of 1 it affected my speech comprehension in a certain area with less body. If the set up seems correct and you still have difficulties after the support of the dispenser, they can ask Widex technical support to sit in on a session. Hearing aids have so many different ways they can be adjusted now, it’s just finding the right steps. If changes are made that don’t improve things, I like to ask to reload the previous session. In this way the set up is kept clean and you just concentrate on the right steps, without losing anything to steps that weren’t right for you.