Oticon, Phonak, ReSound, Oticon (or my hearing journey thus far)

Well today is the last of my initial one month trial of the Oticon OPN S3 (312) and I am making the change now to Phonak Marvel M50Rs.

The troubles currently being featured by the Oticons, which have been high on everyone’s list, the feedback manager “warble/people talking into fans/distortion” is the biggest detractor for me at this time for the S3s. The connect clip work well, for the most part, with streaming music, setting up beside the tv as a remote mic and for phone calls. My most recent visit to the audi, we did REM on NAL NL1 and brought both ears to their full prescription and changed to Phonak double domes for both. VAC+ was previously setup with REM as well, so I have been able to switch back and forth for comparison and I find I much prefer the NAL NL1 outside of work and VAC+ while at work (provided I’m not having to talk to people.) The VAC+ rationale seems to handle server/HVAC noise differently than does NAL NL1, in that it seems more ambient background. The NAL NL1 program, while outside of work, or having to focus on a discussion, ie. meetings, or even just a group of friends talking, seems to pick up and have voices come through more clearly. However, in a restaurant setting, this can be annoying as I’m still adjusting to how to block out those other table conversations and focus on my table which, while getting better, is still not so easily done.

I’m definitely looking forward to the time that I’ll have with the Phonak aids and comparing them and the rechargeable battery to the S3s and 312 batteries. Hopefully I’ll have some good initial impressions tomorrow after having had a chance to wear them through the afternoon and evening today.


Well, M50Rs are fitted now with REM for all 3 programs in AutoSense. Time to give them a try and see how they do. So far, hearing a phone call in the car, via BT to the car, was much more difficult than with the S3 and currently at work, it’s just server fans/HVAC and having a more difficult time picking up co-workers voices. But maybe that’s just like switching from glasses to contacts, or the other way, in the middle of the day and having to re-adjust your eyes… We’ll see more tomorrow how the Phonak do within a work environment.

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Thanks for sharing. I’m very interested in hearing what you think after you’ve tried both types.

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Those Phonak M50 aids have 5 automatic programs in AutoSense.
Give the aids a little time. Just about everyone has to adjust to new aids or even older aids that have new adjustments.

@Raudrive 100%, just thought I would document my initial thoughts and see where I am in a few days time. It took about a month to get 100% with REM and even then some of the high frequency sounds were sounding very out of place. This is going to be a month long project and then possibly adding the ReSound Quattro next and having a try of each to see how I find each.

As to programs in AutoSense, in Target, there were currently only 3. Speech in Noise, Comfort in Noise, Calm Situation.

@Volusiano That’s the plan! As above, I’m thinking to trial the ReSound Quattro also and keeping a log in my Note 8 what I have enjoyed, what situations were helpful to have, different rationales, etc. Hopefully it helps for me, when it comes time to decide which set of aids that I will commit to and take home for the extended trial (with moulds rather than domes), and keep for the next few years.

I was also counting streamed programs in AutoSense but I see where you are coming from.

Not an expert but REM is done at different sounds levels.

I think you are going about this in a very smart way. I am a fan of Phonak and Oticon. Resound has moved up my ladder this year.

Looking forward to your updates.

I am curious why you would use NAL-NL1 instead of the updated NAL-NL2? NL1 rolls off the highs. If you are giving up on the highs, it might make sense to use frequency compression.

@BrianMB I’ll be interested to see what you think of the Resound brand. I see my Aud next week to discuss the Resound brand. I’ve always had Phonak, but I need Resound to pair with my N7 now…I have no clues wether to choose the Quattro, Enzo or Lynx… Interesting times ahead.
Good luck with your trial of the M50

What about the NAL-NL2 Tonal?

Re: REM, we did REM for Soft, Medium and Loud noises about 5 times yesterday in trying to set the M50s up correctly. I think we got pretty close, a few tweaks yet to be done I’m sure, but definitely getting there.

Having never worn HA before and being someone who, as my wife says, researches everything to death, I would rather have all of the possible information I can in hand before making the decision. With the location I’m going to, they are setup to carry Phonak, ReSound and Oticon, so why not try all 3 and see which works the best for my lifestyle and hearing needs? : )

NAL NL1 I chose, having setup with REM for VAC+, NAL NL1 and NAL NL2 using the Oticon S3 and having all 3 on separate programs, using in my work environment and home, I found that I had the clearest speech with VAC+ and NAL NL1. Perhaps it was the way the fittings were done but I found I lost more sound with NAL NL2 and had a harder time following conversations.

Currently with the Phonak, I am setup with their proprietary rationale, however I cannot recall the name off hand. Google fu says maybe Adaptive Phonak Digital, but I cannot be certain. So we’ll see how that goes for the next little while.

I’m keeping notes for sure and will definitely share my thoughts on all three once the trials are complete. I have the option of the Lynx or the Quattro as well, at least from the paperwork that they have in the office, so we’ll see which I do try. I will be composing an email to my audi after this post to ask about a few things I noticed last night which were very different from the S3 I’ve worn for the past month.
Thank you for the well wishes, and to you as well, good luck with your meeting next week!

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. This has been a huge learning experience for me and it is certainly nice to be back in the world of the more hearing able! I’ll post updates and further thoughts as they come along.

edit: also for whichever HA I do choose, my audi has recommended to get custom moulds for both ears for the best comfort and to get the appropriate power from the HA. For the time being, it’s Phonak double domes.

I see that I had entered your audiogram in my software some time ago. NL1 gives about 10 dB less gain, and as I said rolls off the highs. That probably would feel a lot more comfortable to a new user. I suspect since I entered the data, my software has been updated to Connexx 9. It is now automatically suggesting frequency compression with NAL-NL1. It wants to squash the 5.25 to 10 kHz range down into the 5.25 to 7.5 kHz range.

It is certainly possible that this was the case for me. Initially VAC+ in my work environment was too loud as setup, so I used -2 volume clicks to make everything more accessible. 2 weeks later, after a full REM adjustment with NL1, this was too loud in my work environment and I started using VAC+ as it had been configured with REM, this time, with no volume adjustment.

At this point, I think it’s very much that I am getting accustomed to hearing things at their natural volume and as that happens, I’m able to increase the volume at which I am able to handle different environments.

For future, if I do go back to using the Oticons, I will definitely be looking at NAL NL2 and VAC+ again and with further adjustment/accustomization by my brain, perhaps those will be my preferred fittings. All things in time, I’m sure.

Try turning up the volume a bit. Despite REM, you may need some more power in the challenging situations - especially distance voices. Your Audi can see your adjustments and it helps them fine tune to your needs. I know I needed more power after my rem fit. So don’t be afraid to use the rocker switch to turn it up (or down).

Every day! I had gotten accustomed to the S3 after the month wearing them at the office every day. Now, to re-adjust and get myself accustomed to the M50. I’m sure within a week or two, I’ll be used to them in the office more and be using them at a louder volume.

At home, default volume has been alright so far. So we’ll keep pushing the limit and get things ‘normalized’.

I’m the same way. For better speech understanding, I found that NAL NL1 is best for me. NAL NL2 does not give me the clarity I can get with NL1. VAC+ is not bad for speech either, and it is my normal all around program. I only switch to NAL NL1 only when I need the extra edge for speech understanding, as it tends to sound a little too sharp for my liking and not as natural as VAC+.

DSL Adult also sounds sharper as well, but NAL NL1 sounds best for speech understanding. But VAC+ sounds the most natural for me, and as long as I can understand speech with VAC+, I don’t need to resort to NAL NL1.

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So I got another adjustment yesterday. Thank goodness!! However we’re starting from zero again. Maybe I should lay out the troubles I experienced and then what we did to ‘fix’ it.

While browsing on my phone, reading forums, new sites, etc. I would have, what appeared to be random, periods of time where the aids would mute all sound, nothing of sound around me, nothing from my phone. Digging around, I found in the remote app that the aids/phone were switching me to bluetooth streaming, even though there was no media streaming.

  • I have disabled the BT audio connection from my phone to the hearing aids, so far, so

My wife and I were unable to watch programs simultaneously in the same room. The other night, we were both in the living room, I watching a movie on TV, she watching a program on her iPad. During the quieter sections of the film, music, no dialogue, the hearing aids focused only on her program and blocked the movie out. When dialogue resumed on the movie, I missed what was being said.

  • Haven’t yet tried this again since the adjustment. Definitely something I want to check however.

Feedback!!! I put my hands anywhere near the aids and they would shriek. Power off and power on while still in my ears, they would shriek. Very inconsiderate of them and very noisy also.

  • Changed from M to P receiver. Suspected that M was reaching it’s max capable output on high frequency and causing the trouble. Trying with the P, so far feedback has not been an issue.

Grocery shopping at Costco on Thursday, I took out my Marvels as I could hear nothing but the HVAC/fans. My wife talking to (at would be more like) me, by no fault of her own, I could not hear at all. We were 3 feet apart, facing each other, no one else immediately near by, no sample products playing media, should have been no trouble. I ended up taking the Marvels out and putting them in her sunglasses case and we proceeded to be able to have a conversation.

Plastic bags, my worst enemy! Peeling the plastic apart or even opening a ZipLock was unbelievably noisy! However, on the flip of that, when filling a plastic bag with air, you know a brisk arm movement and make it pop, this was extremely quiet.

  • The last 2 were attributed to tuning, even though we had used REM to bring everything to the appropriate target, at the office, that’s what they figured it was. With the new receivers in place, we went through REM again, having started with everything at the default from the Target software. REM has only been done now for the ‘calm situation’ of AutoSense and not the other 2. I do have another follow up next week to check in and see how the adjustments have gone.

The first and biggest observation is with music. It’s anemic now… Having the house to myself last night, I put on a classical album and then an Iron Maiden album just to have a good listen on the stereo. Well… there was no bass at all. Again attributable to the tuning. During the visit, REM was calling for more low frequency to be added, however, I was told that this would likely inhibit my ability to hear and was likely the culprit for the above mentioned Costco visit. This was dialed back from the REM target quite a way and now listening to music or the world, there’s no low end richness. Streaming audio from the phone, there’s now a bass guitar on Wasted Years! So certainly something that will need to be addressed this coming week. But then again, if that is what will allow for clear voices with these aids, then I guess so be it for the month of trial.

At this point in time, even with the feedback manager issues of the Oticon, they are definitely my number contender at this time. I’d like to try out the ReSound option as well, I believe they carry the Quattro and Linx2 3D. Next month, see how they stack up to both the Marvel and the OPN S. Also have my name on the list for the KS9 when they come out here in Canada, so we’ll see when that is and how the service is with Costco and being able to get follow up appointments and such.

I don’t see how changing the receiver power would change feedback. I would think the M should be adequate for your loss based on the M with the KS8. What are you using for fittings? I suspect when you settle on a set of aids, it would be best to get a custom mold for your left ear, or both. My latest set of molds seems to have solved the feedback issues I was having with my left ear using the KS8’s.

You probably know you have a small window to try the KS8’s before they are gone in 3-4 weeks. I had to make a decision whether or not to keep the KS8’s or switch to the KS9’s when they came in. I just couldn’t convince myself the 9’s were better, so I passed on it.

My observation of the Costco pricing is that one has to pay a significant premium over the Kirkland brand to get the same thing, or less with a brand name on it.

The supposed reason was that the receiver was nearing max output in the 6-7.5kHz range and thereby showing it’s limit. I don’t know, this is simply what was recommended to me.

The fittings I’m using are currently non-vented power/double domes from Phonak in the medium? large? size. It would be equivalent to the Oticon 10mm size. I agree with moulds when I do decide on a pair, however I didn’t want to ask that during the trial period.

Re: KS8s, I hadn’t even thought of that, that they would be removed from the shelves once the KS9s are brought out. I’ll have to give a call and see when I can get in to see them for a fitting and also inquire how quickly I’ll be able to get follow up appointments.

I have to admit, I’ve been spoiled by my current office and have been able to get appointments within 5 business days or less for follow up which has been fantastic.

My current guess for the KS9 is September 15. Not sure when they will stop ordering KS8’s. That might stop on the same day, although they must keep some available in the factory depot for warranty replacements.

I have the Resound Link 961’s now, and have had for 3 years. I did just get an IPhone and am loving the bluetooth streaming radio/music/calls into the aids.
I have the Resound mini mic, but did not like it after one use.

Not sure what to go with next, but will look at Resound again, and the Phonak Marvel.

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