Newbie, need advice after trialing Phonak Audéo M90 and Oticon Opn S

There is something that I don’t find was talked about on this thread. For some people the ability to stream from your phone for both phone and music without the need for wearing an intermediate device around your neck is important. It definitely was for me. I have an Android phone. At the time I got my Phonak Audeo Marvel M90-R a year ago, it was the only HA that streamed directly from my Android Google Pixel 3 XL. If you have an Android phone this could be important to you.

If you have an Apple phone then literally all HA’s are MFi, (Made For iOS), and will stream directly just fine, but ONLY from an iOS device. MFi does not work with a non Apple device such as a Windows 10 computer. The Phonak Marvel can stream directly from any device whether a PC, Apple iOS or Android.

This might be something important for you to consider.

You might want to consider trialing a Signia or Rexton aid. They have a feature called Own Voice Processing, which can help some with the occluding effect. They also can use sleeves instead of domes for an off the shelf fitting. I find the closed sleeves to not be very occluding at all.

To the OP, the custom molds on the OPN does have a small vent to help reduce occlusion. There is also closed dome option with one or two small vent to try out if you don’t want to go with custom molds during your trial period yet on your OPN S1. But to fit you with open dome/fit on the OPN based on your hearing loss is not really the best approach. No wonder you get feedback issue with the OPN S. Neither the custom molds with a small vent, nor open domes with a small vent, gives me feedback on my OPN 1. And I don’t feel much occluded at all as long as there’s a small vent.

You mentioned that you don’t have feedback at all with an open fit on the Phonak Audeo M90. That’s pretty good given your very severe high frequency hearing loss. I don’t know how Phonak does it, but I wonder if that’s why you don’t like its sound quality of the Phonak right off the bat. For example, you said that you cannot hear the parking sensor in your car with the Phonak, but with the OPN, this sound is annoyingly loud. So perhaps the feedback control on the Phonak, while effective, comes at a cost of the sound quality somehow.

I think frequency lowering will help you a lot. The frequency lowering of the Phonak (Sound Recover 2) uses frequency compression, while the frequency lowering of the OPN (Speech Rescue) uses frequency tranposition and composition.

Without going into too much details of the differences between these 2 types of frequency lowering here, I think the Sound Recover 2 from may be better for your particular hearing loss because you already have significant hearing loss at 1KHz and even worse at 2KHz. Sound Recover 2 can extend the lowered destination pretty low (even lower than the 1KHz area), so it’d be more in the audible range of your remaining hearing. Speech Rescue from the OPN can only go as low as 1.5 KHz, not as low as Sound Recover 2, but not too bad. I’d say if you’re still trialing the OPN S1, try out Speech Rescue anyway. There’s nothing to lose. If it doesn’t seem to help, you can always go back to the Phonak and try out its Sound Recover 2 to see if you like it better or not.

I still think the key to helping you improve your speech understanding will be to try out the frequency lowering feature. It’s designed specifically for people with the heavy and early ski slope hearing loss like yours by moving the high frequency sounds into the more lower audible hearing range that you still have.

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You mentioned that you didn’t hear some sounds made by your car when wearing the Phonaks. This is due to the feedback supression in the aids. It thinks any beep or similar tone is feedback and lowers it considerably. I suspect that since you have pretty high gains programmed, and you have an open fitting, your feedback eliminator setting is pretty high. I don’t know if it would be possible to turn it down with an open fitting, but you might mention it to your Audiologist. I am not trying to push the Phonaks, only you know which brand provides the best results. I am just explaining why you couldn’t hear a sound your car makes with them. I had pretty much the same experience with Marvels. Since I wear molds, I just turned the feedback eliminator off.

To add to that, he may not have sound recover adjusted properly for his loss.
The blinker sounds are high frequency. His loss at that frequency is profound. He might not have enough hearing aid power to deal with it. If that’s the case he needs more powerful aids or get aggressive with sound recover settings.

Thanks for your advices, guys.

  1. My audi made on the very beginning a feedback test to both HA. Actually I’m wearing most of the time the Phonaks, I only make use of the Oticons at home. Meanwhile I tried by the Oticons the closed domes, since 2 days no feedback. So that’s the way to go with them (was also the suggestion of my audiologist)

  2. I dont’t know how the Phonaks manage feedback, but the explanation of Volusiano and John is credible. I’ll try to find infos and to ask my audi

  3. I mentioned my audi that I hear the parking sensor only if it’s quiet in the car, no radio, no conversation. As mantioned above, that’s no problem with the basic fitted Oticons. His answer was that’s because of the collateral noise supression function by Phonak (I hope that’s the right term, I translated it literally from german), that’s more agressive. What I realised from the first wearing of the Oticons is that in the car is more “calm”, the air wents are smoother, the rolling sounds are in the background, I clearly can understand the voices and the high-pitced sound of the parking sensor. With the Phonaks I’m able to hear all these disturbing sounds. I received a “Speech in 360” program. Now it’s a little bit better, but no comparison to 360 sound experience of Oticon.

  4. The way the Oticons sound is more natural, my own voice is smoother, they are more beginners-friendly. The Phonak sound loud, high pitched and if I raised the volume than distorted. It’s also possible that I don’t have the necessary amplification by them and that’s why the Oticons are more pleasent. Or it’s a fitting issue by the Phonak and there’s is a way to make them more enjoyable w/o ruin the speech intelligibility?

Try similar molds/acoustics with both sets of aids. Program them correctly for those acoustics. Then see how each set of aids sound.

The high frequency loss makes it difficult to correct without making the low frequency suffer. The low’s make it possible to hear but the high’s make it possible to understand. Your Audi must provide you with the word understanding test - before and after the programming of the hearing aids plus the REM test afterwards. Get the Audi to print your programming and REM test and explain your word recognition with and without the hearing aids. The Audi’s are trained to program the highs and use the open or closed domes to bring up the low’s without messing up the Compression and Feedback. It will take at least 6 adjustments over a 6 month period to get the HAs and your ears working together - the Audi may not want to put that much effort into your case?

This is interesting to me, as just last Monday 11/18 I went to my audiologist to have my HAs adjusted to the closed domes hoping that it would help me hear a little better. I wear Signia Pure 13BT (2017) While there, I asked some questions regarding Frequency compression, from what I’ve learned here. She said I did not have it turned on and most of her patients didn’t like. She said I could try it and voile - she turned it on w/ computer. Nothing else. I’m finding I’m not caring for it and am going back tomorrow to have it turned off. Phone calls. and music are not good at all. TV is not all that great with it either. Things do sound a little tinny. Hearing my own voice does not bother me, which is from closed domes too.
This all started as I didn’t feel I was hearing w/ my aids as well as I should. Maybe my expectations are too high.
Maybe frequency compression would work for me IF my audiologist worked or knew how adjustments should be. I’m frustrated w/ her, but I am now tied to her since I bought them there.
Any suggestions?

Your loss in some ways is similar to what I have in my left ear. You are on the margin where a custom mold is needed to avoid feedback, when you are given full prescribed gain. Are you trying the closed domes or closed sleeves? The Connexx software is showing that closed domes are not good enough to avoid feedback, but the closed sleeves may be OK. It kind of depends how well they actually fit you.

The software does not suggest frequency compression for your loss. My fitter told me the same thing as yours. They really only use it as a last resort if the user cannot hear the higher frequency speech. I would agree that you are probably not a candidate.

I would ask for some closed click sleeves to try if you have not already. Another thing to try are different fitting formulas. There are three basic choices; Signia proprietary fit, NAL-NL2, and DSL v5. And if none of that works, you may want to think about custom molds.

If you want to see what other fittings would be like, post a new thread. I don’t want to drag this one down with Signia stuff. I recall we may have discussed options before in another thread…

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Thank you, Sierra. When you say feedback - I’m thinking the squeaking noise like old HAs had. Is that what you mean ? I do not have any feedback w/ my Signia HAs.

The quick way to check for it is to hold your hands over your ears. Even with quite well set up aids that usually starts the feedback whine. When I had molds I could hold both hands over my ears and got nothing. Now with the closed click sleeves I can get a tiny amount that way. What you don’t know, unless the fitter has told you, is that they typically back off the gain to the extent needed to prevent feedback. That is where I am at, when I decided against the custom molds. They backed the gain off in my left ear.

With the Connexx fitting software that Signia uses there is a step called Critical Gain. It determines how much gain you can tolerate without causing feedback. If that critical gain test is saved then the fitting software will limit gain to avoid the feedback. My fitter told me that she believes the critical gain feature limits gain too much, so she runs it to see to what extent and where the problem may be but does not save the data. She then adjusts manually. The point is that your fitting coupling type will determine maximum gain. It may be lower than what the prescription for your hearing loss is. Bottom line is that there are two ways around it. Change the fitting type, or reduce gain, usually in the 3 kHz range. And on top of that the different fitting formulas will prescribe different gains. One formula may be OK, and another not. So those are options when doing fitting - different fittings and different formulas.

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I have just ordered the Phonak 90 after an extended trial, but my hearing loss is not as severe as OP, and I’ve been wearing HA for almost a decade. What I found during my trial is that I could use the Phonak MyPhone app to select different programs and try different adjustments to them. This was useful to the audiologist in making adjustments to the automatic program. The various programs are very different, and very helpful.

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If no one mentioned real ear measurement it can make a big difference ask your hearing aid specialist if he doesn’t have the equipment find someone who does. the domes can make a big difference to .I’m on my fourth set of ha have phonax I’m 74 years old happy with what I have

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Hi everyone, I saw a few mentions in this post about “get back speech recognition”. Is that true that we can improve speech recognition? I have been told by multiple audiologists and my ENT that speech recognition is gone then it’s gone. It would not come back. Are word recognition and speech recognition are the same thing?

I have improved my speech understanding by find tuning my aids to hear as much as I can in the speech frequencies.

@bobtpanda: I think maybe your multiple audis and ENT were referring to your hearing loss when they meant speech recognition. Most people don’t regain the hearing they lost for sure.

Word recognition is understanding just one word uttered at a time, like in the closed booth test. Speech recognition is not word recognition. It’s a string of words that even if you miss a few or a lot of them, you still may be able to understand the context of the speech spoken via other cues.

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I’m now on the second round testing with Phonak M90. I had the Oticon OPN S1 for a couple of weeks. They are also top HA, but somehow different. I have a couple of question for all the profis here. Both sets of HA were with REM adjusted.

  1. I thought if the HA are set using REM then are the amplification values nearly same. That’s by me not the case. I have in some frequencies even a difference of 15 dB (for example by 1 kHz 80 dB I have by Phonak an amplification of 16 dB, by Oticon only 1dB). Is that normal or is this a wrong measurement?
  2. With Oticon I can here some noises wich I can’t with the Phonaks (e.g. the button on the elevator makes a hich pitched beep while pressing; I can’t here that sound with the Marvels but with Oticon). My audi told me it’s because noice cancelation by Phonak. Is that also normal?

Thanks

For starters, I’m not a pro. Regarding #1: How are you determining this amplification difference? They would be equivalent only if they were both programmed to the same fitting algorithm. I find that unlikely. Your Oticons are likely programmed using VAC (I think that’s right–too lazy to look it up) and your Phonaks using Phonak adaptive. Regarding #2 I’m guessing it has more to do with how their (very different) frequency lowering systems are set up.

Not a pro.

There is so much more to programming hearing aids than REM. Many many settings that affect hearing results.

As mentioned the fitting algorithms used for Phonak and Oticon are probably different. That will have an influence on gains at different frequencies and volumes.

Looking at your high frequency hearing loss, frequency lowering technology would probably be very helpful. Phonak has one of the best frequency lowering technologies at this time. It’s all about how the aids are programmed. Take a look at my audiogram, I hear birds, beepers, alarms etc.

Your hearing results will improve with either aid you decide to use, it just takes time. Everyone is different about acclimating to hearing aids.