Oticon OPN3 - new right aid, settings not quite right, can Oticon DIYers help ID it?

Hello again,

I bought my left Oticon OPN3 in Fall 2018, and saved up for my right one, which I just got.

The folks I bought my OPNs from are great, but they do not program Oticon at all. This was a mistake that happened because I used Hearing Revolution and somehow they did not know that this hearing aid office doesn’t fit Oticon. They brought in a new audiologist who has fitted Oticons for years - she fitted my left aid. But she is now working at a different location. I could ask to go see her, I know, and I may do that. But I’d still like to learn something from the very knowledgeable DIYers here!

Here’s what I experience with my right aid that is bothersome:

  1. I hear a faint white noise in my right aid as soon as I turn it on. Eventually I tune it out and then I only hear it when the room is silent. But it drives me a little crazy.

  2. When using bluetooth to watch videos on my phone, the audio is not good. This is hard to describe, but I will try. There is an abrupt “blp” sound constantly at the end or beginning of most words. It’s hard to tell, but I think it may be happening during the vowel sounds? This makes the whole audio sound kind of “scrubby” with these weird kind-of scratchy sounds throughout all the audio. It’s a little bit like in the old days of analog TV when the cable was going out and the picture and audio became garbled. This only started after I got my right hearing aid.

What they did during the fitting, as far as I could tell, was this:
They updated the firmware on my left aid. Then they used the Noah to measure the resonance in my ear canal (at 3 different frequencies, and then with a voice recording). They measured the right a few times, said it looked strange (“bumpy”), and then measured the left and said it’s similar so it’s probably correct. Then using Genie2 they copied over the settings from the left aid to the right (my hearing loss is essentially identical in left and right ears).

I will go back and ask them to adjust it. But I am hoping to first get some feedback from the DIYers here: if you even know how to “explain” better what I hear, or if there is a name for this or it’s a simple problem, that would be information I can give to them that might help. (To be clear: I’m not trying to tell them how to do their job…I’m just trying to bridge the gap between lay person who can’t properly describe the issue and hearing aid professional who doesn’t actually know the Oticon Genie2 software very well but is more than willing to try to help me hear better).

Thanks in advance!

I’m guessing number 1 is the basic noise of the hearing aid. (It’s got a better name, but it escapes me at the moment) You’ve got good low frequency hearing so you can hear it. They might be able to adjust it out, but I think you’re pretty much stuck with it. Ask about it.

FYI when 1 hearing aid is fit for someone, it is usually louder than if you have 2.reason is the single ear needs to hear more to compensate. 2nd thing is you went 5-6 months hurting your unaided ear because of lack of hearing.When you had none you turned things up louder to hear with both ears. after you got the first aid you turned things down and your unaided ear got worse do to lack of hearing correctly from that ear.Go back to the audiologist/dispenser and have the start over as a first fit,so they ears can hear properly.

If I had to guess, your issue #1 is probably due to your right aid being set to Full Directional in the OpenSound Navigator’s Directionality Settings. This is not just an issue with the OPN, but it’s a well known and well published issue by audiology researchers about Full Directional setting in most hearing aids. By applying directionality on the mics to zoom in toward the front, the signal to noise ratio in the low frequencies get compromised and is lowered. So what you’re hearing is the floor noise of the amplification -> a faint, static, white noise. When things are loud, you don’t notice it. But when in a quiet room, especially if you have no or mild hearing loss in the low frequencies, you’ll start noticing this faint white noise.

I have only mild low frequency hearing loss so I was able to observe and hear this noise consistently every single time I put my OPN into the Full Directional mode. So it is VERY verifiable and consistent with what is being reported in research papers. Some hearing aids like the Sonic Enchant even try to address/solve this issue by doing directional beam forming on the mid and high frequencies only and not on the low frequencies to avoid or minimize this white noise.

So what you reported rings a bell to me that it is very likely to be the above issue.

On your #2 issue, I have to ask whether you’re being fitted with a 65dB receiver or 85 dB receiver on your right hearing aid? If you have a 65 dB receiver on the right hearing aid, I’m guessing that what you’re hearing is the distortion / saturation of the 65dB receiver being overdriven. Your right hearing loss has a couple of frequency points where the loss is at 70 dB. Probably right outside the range of the 65 dB receivers. So if you’re fitted with 65 dB receivers, there’s a very good chance that you’re being under fitted and need the 85 dB receiver for your right hearing aid.

It sounded like they did the REM test on your right hearing aid when you mention some kind of Noah measurement, but I’m not sure. Not sure what you meant by the right (and then left one the same) looking strange by being bumpy. If this is REM we’re talking about, then maybe the OPN amplification is not matching the target prescription and needs adjustment? It’s strange that they concluded that your hearing loss is essentially identical to on both sides. I see a 10-15 db gap between the two starting at 1.5 KHz and up. So they’re not essentially the same. The difference is significant enough. They should run REM on both again and fix it up if necessary so that it matches the target prescription.

Another thing they can do for you while you’re at the office is run the in-situ audiometry while you wear the OPNs to see if your in-situ result is that far off from the original audiogram or not. If yes, maybe you want to re-prescribe the OPNs to reflect the in-situ result instead. Even if it’s very close, then re-prescribing to the in-situ result may not change it that much, but at least still reflects the minor changes from the in-situ. I think that it’s always better to re-prescribe to the in-situ result because that’s the test where you get to use the actual OPN to perform amplification, so it should be more accurate because it’s calibrated to the real hearing aids and the fitting you’re wearing.

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