Phonak Smart IXs - Louder, Then Softer w TV

Has anybody experienced this with the Phonaks where you are watching TV and the sound is quieter then a few minutes later it suddenly gets louder and then back.

When it happens, I"m not listening to loud music on the TV. It’s mostly talk TV, and for some reason the HAs are adjusting to something, but I’m not sure what.

IF I then put on my hearing-assisted headphones from Sennheinser, I don’t experience the changeability any more.

Any help would be appreciated.

I have experienced this. I believe most often during a drama where the musical background (which can easily not be noticed) causes the aids to switch to “music mode”. The experts here can probably recommend some threshold adjustments which can fix this.

Phonak have messed up the music mode base volume - it’s too quiet, so drifting into auto music mode will cause the aids to quieten and so you can no longer hear quiet speech.

It’s not ‘messed-up’ it’s deliberately set quieter so that when the feedback manager is turned down to maintain the music integrity, the whole aid doesn’t start to whistle. Argument being that if you are listening to music, you potentially have control over the input level.

You can set IPFG to reduce the sensitivity of transitions to reduce the effect though. I’ve got a customer in her thirties who’s on older micropowers and she basically has to have this turned off completely as it totally stuffs-up her speech comprehension when she’s out in the evening.

Thanks for this helpful post.

It’s not ‘messed-up’ it’s deliberately set quieter so that when the feedback manager is turned down to maintain the music integrity, the whole aid doesn’t start to whistle. Argument being that if you are listening to music, you potentially have control over the input level.

Sorry, me old mate, me old mucker … it IS messed up!

The TRUE scenario is people chatting whilst walking down a corridor … then muzak drifts in … hey presto the volume drops and the user can’t hear the speech of the person he/she is chatting to any more.

Additionally, if you are chatting in auto mode then manually select a fixed music program … hey, why can’t I hear people any more???

I now boost MUSIC ‘softs’ with all AUDEO YES IX fittings - seems to make people happier.

Note: Just to be sure I also looked at other manufacturer’s fittings which have an auto music mode … they do NOT drop the gain in music modes!!!

Thanks for this helpful post.

You’re right about the other manufacturers, but i don’t accept it was a mistake - it’s a peculiarity of their methodology. It’s a bit like the fM boost they used to give - there for a specific reason. Similarly the Claro would practically shut down in directional mode.

IIrc there was also something to do with the average dB spl of performance music and the risk of embarassing feedback.

I agree that it doesn’t work well for occasional music/cocktail party, but that’s true of a few other recent ‘intelligent’ products too.

Hi English,
Thankyou for this clarification! I experience this all the time with my Smart IXs and it’s so frustrating. So what do I tell my audi – what does that mean to boost music ‘softs.’

I also want to commend you for what you said months ago about the cables/wires on the Smart IXs open fits. I was struggling for months with odd fluctuations and other problems and my audis (I went to a few) kept telling me it wasn’t the HAs, we could fix it in the programming. This went on for months! Finally, I said send it back to Phonak. Lo and behold, it comes back and they replace both the wires/cables AND the housing on both HAs.

Have you found the new wires/cables that Phonak is using to be much better than what they had before?


I have this problem with my Smart IXs and keep complaining to my audiologist. It is independent of music and happens at other times, but it is just that it is so obvious when one is focussed on the TV. It is exactly like what happens when some commercials come on, that are intentionally set louder. At first, I thought it was my wife over-using the remote. :slight_smile:
“Sound Flow Premium - Continuous and instant optimization to all environments.” This is the phraseology among the Phonak description of the Smart IX’s features. I suspect it is just a clever feature that is not quite ready for prime time, and that can be minimized by software adjustment.
After a few weeks with my aids (not my first) my current beefs are:

  1. Insufficient voice clarity, especially with some characters on TV.
  2. Fluctuating volume.
  3. No DuoPhone feature is obvious.
  4. My right aid, that I use to make changes, does not always ‘talk’ to my left one (i.e. follow the new setting)- or, alternatively, my left one does not always ‘hear’ my right one.
    This is after an initial installation and two follow-up visits. I am sticking with it because overall these are superior to my previous ones and to a pair of Seimens Pure 700s that I tried and sent back.

I always setup a custom program for my client’s to disable the automatic function. Either an omnidirectional quiet program (better for surround sound) or a speech in noise program usually seems to work best for TV viewing. The main concept being to disable the automatic features and allow stable gain of the instrument while watching TV. This eliminates the problem of the hearing aid changing by itself whether it is changed by the noise (ex: party/restaurant situation on TV or helicoptor sound effect) or music. Just like everything else with hearing aids there is a negative, you must hit a button or use a remote to change to this program while watching TV.

Thanks, Kadougan. I sense you speak the truth! The audis and phonak won’t tell you this, but it’s true. Unfortunately, I now have my HA buttons set for volume adjustment, and the Smart IXs can only be adusted to EITHER volume or programs. It’ll have to wait, I guess, until I can buy the MyPilot.

The automatic program will keep hunting to find the best voice recognition “in it’s opinion”. The audi can reduce the sensitivity so it takes several seconds longer for the change to occur but it doesn’t solve the problem of the HA’s hunting when music, speech, and general noise come from the TV.

The speech in noise program works better than the music or comfort programs for me. I have music, automatic, speech in noise, comfort, and mute set up on my instruments. I have cycled through them many times trying to find the best fit for the situation. Using the mypilot makes it much easier and inconspicuous to others.

This ever changing gain while watching TV is driving me nuts so I’m going to show your post to my audi and insist he do the same. Thanks for the info.

This “searching” for the best sound is driving me nuts also. I notice it mostly while watching TV or listening to the car radio. I am picking up a MyPilot on Thursday and would welcome any comments on how best to take advantage of it. My principle problems with the Smart IXs is this amplification fluctuation and a still-unresolved lack of speech clarity. The best setting to this point is the program that was set up for telephone use, including the DuoPhone feature that works well. Voice clarity is much better with that but there is really too much gain for regular use.:confused:

I absolutely cannot use the “Automatic” on these Smart IX’s due to the constant fluctuations. It also drives me crazy. The Phonak rep told me that I should be in automatic most of the time but I can’t use it. My audi did put a program on that is the same as automatic but disables the “pumping”, as she calls it. I find that I hear best in the TV/Music program with decreasing 4 - 6 dBs. My myPilot is defective so it’s being returned tomorrow. When I trialed the Phonak Yes, I did not have this problem with the sound fluctuations.

have you asked your audi about soundrecover?

You better ask English dispenser if you need any information about your aids. Seems that your audi is not helping much.

I am going to begin my search for a new audiologist. I need to find someone who will do REM or speechmapping for validation of these aids and someone very experienced with Phonak. My current audi will handle returning the defective myPilot.

i will get my Smart( one aid only) this week. I will try it until I am convinced it is the right one for me and get the other one.

I intend to buy Icube and help myself. All those who do self programming are happier with their aids.

I have Mute, Comfort in Noise, Speech in Noise, Music, Calm Situation, and Automatic set up my MyPilot. I had to firmly insist on this because the Phonak representative was hesitant to use anything other than Automatic, Speech in Noise, and Mute.

I use Calm Situation most often when listening to speech. I’ve not used Music at all–but only because I don’t think of it on the rare occasions that I do listen to music. The Comfort in Noise is best when riding my bicycle in traffic. The Speech in Noise is best for just that, except that in very noisy restaurants, I find that the Zoom feature focused forward is best for understanding my wife’s speech.

While in Automatic, my right HI switches to Comfort in Noise while parked in my truck listening to the radio, watching TV or just when my soft spoken boss begins speaking, making it nearly impossible to understand speech. About the only time I use Automatic now is while outdoors when I’m not listining to any speech.

I am going to try for another adjustment of that HI to see if this switching can be eliminated, but I don’t have much hope.