Phonak Virto V90 Nano IIC On The Way

It has been almost 2 1/2 years since switching to the Starkey Soundlens from an RIC model. The left was good from the start, but it took three times of sending the right side back to Starkey before it was an acceptable fit (I wanted them really deep, the way they should be). Come to find out, I have more of a bend in the right canal and it is shorter than the left. It took 2-3 weeks to really toughen up my canals, to not feel the HAs once installed, and about the same to become proficient at installing them (Now, I usually forget I have them in).

Wear/Comfort - I have really enjoyed being able to take my sunglasses on and off without disrupting anything behind my ears. At first, I would still remove my sunglasses very carefully, forgetting nothing was behind my ears any longer. I keep my hair really short most of the time, but in between hair cuts, my hair would ruffle on the microphones and it would bother me for a week or so until the next barber visit. I am outside a good deal of the time, and regardless of what type of wind noise reduction my HAs had, it was never enough. With the IICs, I have no wind noise issues. Wearing the RIC HAs, I would periodically (about 5-6 times a day have to push the dome deeper into my canal, regardless of what type or size dome I had on, it would work itself out). Talking on the phone seems much better too. I am able to put the phone directly on my ear as I did years ago. I almost forgot, because it is not a big deal to me, no one knows you are wearing HAs.

Negatives - Battery life is only good for 4 days. Any changes that need to be made have to be hard wired with a loop attachment around your neck at the Audi’s office. Putting them in takes practice and some amount of finger dexterity. According to what I have been told, they don’t last as long and have more chance of problems (I had none), due to the environment of which they sit most of the time (hot, humid and etc.) Currently, they are only good for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

All that being said, thanks to good insurance, I am eligible for new HA’s. My Audiologist stated my most recent audiogram shows a little more hearing loss than three years ago, but it would still just allow me to keep wearing IICs if I wanted to go that route, which I did. Her recommendation was to try the Phonak Virto V90 Nano HA and not the Starkey Soundlens 2 series. We ordered the right one, and will order the left one in January of 2016 (better for out of pocket expense).

Anyone have any comments on the Phonak Nano V series or the old Q series would be greatly appreciated. How did they fit out of the box, how do they sound, how was it working with Phonak (for getting them to fit properly if needed to be sent back), etc. I would also be willing to try to answer any questions for those considering and IIC HA.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Greg, thanks for sharing your experience with IICs. I tried Soundlens about a year ago, and the fit was never what I expected (I wanted them really deep too). Currently wearing Siemens Binax RICs, but part of me is still interested in getting a well-fitted pair of IICs. Are you happy with the fit of your Soundlens? Looking forward to reading about your experience with the Phonak Nano V.
Where are you by the way? From what I’ve read, getting IICs to fit well depends a lot on your audi and their willingness to work with you.

Dave

Hi Dave,

i am 100% happy with the left Soundlens and about 90% with the right. Only 90% because on occasion I get a little feedback when moving my jaw. I think this may be because the gain is higher in the right HA. It did take 3 times for Starkey and/or Audiologist to get the fit as good as can be. I forget they’re in my ears most of the time.

I will ill post my experience with the new Phonak’s upon receiving each of them. The right mold was done last week and sent off.

I’m glad you finally got the fit sorted out with the Soundlens. I ran out of patience. I see we have very similar audiograms, it gives me hope that I could also be happy with IICs if they were fit well. Can you post a pic (or PM me if you prefer) of your HAs in and out? I’m curious to know how deep you finally got them.

Thanks,
Dave

Hi Dave,

I took photos of both ears with the HAs in and one with an HA out of my ear (they are both identical). IF you are able to zoom in, you can only see the clear pull tab. The pull tab is pretty long, so it gives you an idea of how deep in my ear the HA fits.




Thanks Greg,
that’s pretty darned deep. Mine were never anywhere near that depth. I hope the Nanos work out as well for you.

Any reason why the V90?

Your ability to to benefit from the directional mics is removed, not sure they can definitely get their bilateral signalling in unless there’s lots of space too.

What does that give you over a V70 apart from having to pay a bigger bill?

Hi Um bongo,

I can not tell you why my Audiologist selected the Phonak V90 apposed to the V70 or any other manufacturer of HAs. I know very little about HAs and have been happy with the selection my audiologist has recommended to me over the last five years. I was the one who requested the IIC type of HA again, after wearing the Soundlens for almost three years and being very happy with them. Her first response was if I knew I was giving up a lot of other features not offered with this type of HA. I advised I did, but liked the idea of not dealing with my sunglasses knocking them off my ears, my hair brushing on the microphones and wind noise. All things I had issues with when wearing RICs.
Looking at the Phonak website, the additional options with the V90 over the V70 are Comfort in Echo, Speech in Car, Speech in Loud Noise, Speech in Wind, EchoBlock and 20 Finetuning Channels instead of 16. If these options do as advertised, they will be beneficial to my lifestyle. I am fortunate to have very good insurance and the cost for the V90 out of pocket is reasonable for me. I am not sure what the monetary difference is between the V90 and the V70, but if those few options help me hear better, I am willing to pay for them.

Thanks for your input.

My appointment with my audie, to receive and begin my trial with the new right HA was yesterday. To my surprise, upon first observation, was the size of the HA. It was much larger than my current IIC and I pointed that out to her right away. She pushed forward and advised me to try it out and put it in my ear canal, which I did. I did not think it would even go in my canal, much less be invisible to the eye. To my surprise, it did go in deeper than I expected and she advised she could not see it from her observation, which I confirmed with the use of a mirror moments later. This HA was not necessarily larger in diameter, as much as it was in overall length.

After giving me a few minutes to check the fit, by talking and making other facial expressions, trying to see if it would work its way out or become uncomfortable. The HA did not move, it was locked in place and almost felt like it sealed itself to my ear. The only new feeling was more occlusion I felt while talking. Of course, there HA was not operational at this point, so it was more like an earplug.

After advising the fit felt comfortable and it did not move around or work its way out, she had me remove it. This took a little work, as it was almost part of my ear and the small cord to pull from was in a different spot from my older HA. Once grasping the pull cord, luckily I have long thin fingers, I was able to break the seal and work it out.

She asked what I thought so far and I replied, I’m still concerned with the overall size (length) of the HA. She asked why? I stated it is so much larger than my old HA. She stated it is invisible and goes into my canal like it is supposed to, so we moved forward with the programing.

I have lost more hearing since my last pair of HAs and one of the problems with the old pair, I should say only the old right HA, was if she turned the gain up higher for me, which I needed/wanted, I began to get more feedback. It would happen when making facial gestures, or eating, or sometimes just sitting in a quiet spot I would hear a squeal, so I settled for less volume and no annoyances. It still helped with sounds I normally had trouble hearing, like the sound from the letter S, but not as much volume as I would have preferred.

When the programing began, I was quite surprised at the volume level in the new HA. I was hearing the mouse click and the keyboard clicks with my right ear very clearly as she working on the computer. She adjusted it to my desired comfort level, equal to the left ear, as best I could tell her. She asked how it was sounding while completing her programing. I stated I was hearing things very clearly and at a better volume level, which I was happy about. She asked if there was any feedback. I immediately started to make different kinds of facial expressions, jaw movements, etc. and could not hear any feedback. I was very surprised considering how loud the volume seemed to me. I then took out my iPhone and placed it directly on my ear, and again there was no feedback. I was pleasantly surprised.

She set three programs for me: Normal, Low, and High, in that order. She stated each push of the little button on the faceplate would cycle through the programs. She then smiled and said, “It will be easy for you to reach the faceplate since it is not as deep in your ear canal,” and just grinned at me. My other HAs needed a program on my iPhone to change programs or volume levels, which I never did. I like to put the HAs in and forget they are there.

We continued to talk and she had me remove my left HA, she was getting ready to make an impression for new left HA, to be ordered in January. I advised the only thing I noticed with the new HA was more occlusion. My voice sounded a little different and my ear had a filled feeling. She advised the new HA has a smaller vent, and seemed to have a tighter seal than the old one. She stated it might take a little getting used to, but hearing better with no feedback was a good thing.

I could really hear the difference with the new HA once she filled my left ear up while making the impression. I was able to carry on a conversation with her without struggling and she advised she was talking in a normal tone not any louder. I asked if I really needed a new left HA, since my old one still worked fine and fit well. She recommended it was best to have two of the same HAs working together.

I made my next appointment and returned to work. The radio in the car definitely sounded different, a little louder and crisper, not too “tinny” though, and road noise was also louder and more present. Conversations at work sounded different too. My voice sounded a little louder while talking, so I lowered my tone a bit, and others speaking to me sounded different/louder to me as well. I was definitely hearing out of the right ear better and was not used to it. It will probably take a couple of days to get accustomed to the changes. After eight hours of wearing the new HA, I could feel a little sensitivity in my canal where the new HA must be touching/rubbing areas that I am not used to. It was not hurting, I just could feel it.

More to come along with a photo as a day or two passes.

UPDATE - Good news and bad news. Good news, so far I have noticed I hear better with the new right HA, especially when people are sitting on the right side of me or while using the right ear during a conversation on the phone. Bad news is twofold. The first is I am still trying to get used to the occlusion. As I mentioned above, the HA is larger and does not sit below the first bend of my ear canal as the first set of IIC’s. I am hoping I will get used to the feeling of enclosure I am experiencing, because the Audie was able to increase the gain of the new HA with no feedback and she relates it to the fit. Secondly, the door for the HA, which is where the battery is located and turns the HA on or off, has fallen off three times, while turning it on/off, and yesterday it came off in pieces to the extent I could not put it back on. My Audie made me aware she had noticed a problem with the front cover plate and stated she ordered a replacement upon her observations.
Hopefully the replacement battery door will be in this week since it was ordered last week on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the replacement door has still not arrived. Maybe it is due to the holiday mail rush. I have included a picture taken of the new HA when the door was still attached. You can see the HA is just visible within my ear. It is still going pretty deep, the HA is just much larger than the first pair of IIC’s from Starkey and thus fills my entire ear canal.


Thanks for sharing your expirence.

I was looking for IIC and tried Oticon Alta Pro 2 IIC, Simens Insio Binax - both of thenm could not do IIC and now I choose Phonak Virto V90. I had used Starkey Soundlens which fit completely IIC.
I am hoping to fit this one like your’s (OP)

My question is does this provide bluetooth/wireless support?

Hi Uspeed,

To answer your question they do not. Probably due to the size of the IIC HA, they just can’t get everything in that little device. I guess just something you have to weigh out whether you want small discrete HAs or all the bells and whistles.

Hi Greg,

I’m just wondering, whether you have any new experiences to share with the Nanos. How are they performing with regards to the speed understanding compared to the soundlens? What are the main differences between the two aids?

Well. I had to wait until early February to get both of my hearing aids back and working together. Although I received my left hearing aid at the end of January, it took another week before the right returned after being sent back to replace the door. I have now had a full month to wear and test them for fit and for hearing. The fit took the normal time, which I consider normal, about three weeks for my ears to get used to them. These Nanos do not go as deep within my ear canal as the Soundlens did, and as such, these were rubbing/touching new surfaces within my ear and it took about two weeks for the right and three weeks for the left before being able to forget they were in my ear canals. It also took about the same length of time to get used to the occlusion. I am now used to the way it sounds when I eat and my voice when I talk, and don’t really think of it anymore. As for the hearing of the new aids. I am hearing better with these than the Soundlens, especially my right ear, which has the most high frequency loss. For some reason, when the Soundlens gain was turned up to where I would have liked them, it would result in too much feedback. My audi has programed these new Nanos with three presets which change at a touch of the button on the door. They setting are: quiet (turned down for loud situations), loud (when I need extra volume) and then back to normal. I did not think I would use this feature, but it has come in handy a couple of time already (once at a hockey game, where it was too loud and once in a meeting, when I got seated too far back from the speaker. I hear high frequency sounds much better, especially in my right ear. The other great thing about the Nanos, is there is absolutely NO feedback, even when I put over the ear headphones on or push a phone all the way up against my ear. The only thing I sometimes have and issue with is with clicking in the right HA. Occasionally, I get a clicking sound when I open my mouth, but usually a small adjustment using my finger fixes the clicking sound. I have not determined if it is the little cord, used to pull the aid out, or just the way it is sitting in my ear canal.

Here is a photo of the left HA.


Hi ! Can you take pictures of the hearing aids outside your ears just to see how big they are. It will be helpful for me as I’m trying to get some iic that are discrete. Last audi I saw couldn’t get me something very small to look like yours from the side they end up looking like ITE we tried with starkey and then with oticon. Next week I’m seeing another audi to see what we can come up with the phonak nano.

Btw I’m 27 and I have an active life I wear RIC but it bothers me with safety glasses at work and fans all around me and I would like to have something discrete that’s why I am willing to get IIC.

Don’t know exactly how to put my hearing loss in the bottom like you guys do so I’m going to write down in there.

        Left / Right

250Hz 30 - 30
500Hz 35 - 40
1000Hz. 55 - 50
2000Hz. 60 - 60
4000Hz 75 - 75
8000Hz. 80 - 85

You are likely to find that IIC aids will do worse in noise. With your current aids, get you fitter to turn up noise control and how quickly it starts in another program. Check for safety glasses available with standard frames.