Problem with Phonak P90R in noisy environments

A while back, I got some Phonak P90Rs from the VA. I don’t wear them at home except to stream TV. I have been wearing them more when I go out, and have noticed that in noisy environments, they actually hurt rather than help. A couple of times, I have actually removed them and found that I could hear much better in noise without them. Speech in noise was the main thing I stated as my issue when I first got aids. I am hesitant to go back to the VA about this. I actually did this with my Marvels, and they just told me they were programmed properly for my loss. In my experience, the VA seems to have the stance that once they program your aids the way they think they should be programmed, they are reluctant to change anything. The Audiologist at my local clinic has been nice, and I don’t want to antagonize her by complaining. Does everyone have this issue? I mean, is it just a common failing with aids? If so, then they are practically useless.

Have you thought about programming them yourself?

I have the same hearing aids. It’s taken quite a while to improve my hearing in noisy environments.

Something simple—someone here suggested it might be the domes I use. I confirmed that by blocking my ears with a finger in each ear. I could hear better! Saw my audiologist and he provided different domes. I went from the open domes (many holes) to closed domes—each has a couple of small holes. Size was critical. Sound from the receivers was leaking out. Much better!

Hope this helps.



Oh…we did more after that. Each step improved things.

I made a lot of changes with my Marvels, much to the chagrin of the VA Audiologists. Nothing I did helped a lot. Some small improvements. With these, I wanted to see how they were programmed, so I read them. it looked like they just copied the last programming from my Marvels. I did make a couple of small changes. One was to turn feedback supression way down. I have never had an issue with feedback, and I really don’t care for the artifacts that aggressive use of feedback supression creates. The second was to lower the lower frequency limit for "“sound recover II”. They had it set at about 2.5 KHz, which I thought too high. My really bad zone starts just below 2 KHz, so I lowered that lower limit to that. It does seem to help some with speech intelligibility. I have gotten used to all the lisping it introduces and consider it a minor tradeoff. One thing I think I should comment on about Sound Recover. A lot of people seem to be afraid of it. I have heard some suggest that it messes up music. I have not found that to be the case. The software seems to be smart enough to recognize music and inhibit the frequency lowering. This is one of the few things about Phonak aids that really impresses me. I actually enjoy music streamed to my aids. It isn’t HiFi quality, but is decent. I am using vented molds, which I prefer to domes. I do get the feeling of having my fingers in my ears, but I think that is the aids themselves, not the molds. I can, and would make some adjustments on my own, but I don’t really know what to adjust to which setting. I have done quite a bit of experimenting over the years, and nothing makes them sound even near decent. I am aware that hearing loss can hasten cognitive decline, but so far, aids have done nothing to improve my quality of life.

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Last session with my audiologist I got there early. Sat waiting about 8 feet from his administrator who was on the phone constantly. I couldn’t hear her on auto.
Opened up the app.

Started playing.

Saved the program. I had increased volume a notch, and adjusted Dynamic almost all the way to soft. I could hear! Saved the program.

Showed my audiologist what I had done. He called Phonak. Made some setting changes

A month later I’m using my Audeo Paradise P90 R’s solely on auto. All I need to do is kick volume up a notch from my hearing aids. I’m pleased.

Trial was a restaurant that was really noisy. There were 4 of us together at two tables, side by side. I was able to hear. It wasn’t perfect. But I could hear. My best critic is my Wife. She was impressed. It’s been a year and a half getting these things right.


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I appreciate the comments you’ve made.

(I have sleep apnea and I tune my apap myself. I use OSCAR in case that means something to you. But I spend so much time doing that, that I haven’t talked myself into programming my hearing aids. Is it worth doing? I really want my hearing aids to work well.)

What I proved to myself is that if I run my HA’s in auto, then make changes using the myPhonak APP and save the program to use it again—when I use the saved program my hearing aids are no longer smart, or running in auto. If they were in "calm situation* when I started, the saved program is calm with my changes. And the hearing aids are no longer smart enough to change programs.

Hope this helps

Yes it is worth doing in a lot cases, but you should get familiar with what’s involved before jumping in, DIY is not hard, software and hardware is required tho, we have an active DIY forum on hearingtracker, check it out here.

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I’ve given up on speech in noise with my KS10s which are quite similar to your aids.

I believe that setup is key.
For me that means finding a good audiologist; for others, it’s self programming.

My current audiologist is amazing. He’s dedicated and has resolved real problems for me. It’s taken a while to get results I need.

My last session was an ah-ha moment. My hearing aids work now.

@tenkan thanks so much. That’s very helpful

I understand that’s your experience. My last audiologist was…well, I won’t rant. Fired them. (when they sold out to Sonova in Canada) Their experience with their setup on the new hearing aids they sold me was like yours.

Have you tried experimenting with the app for your hearing aids?


I believe this is the key line of your posts!
Your brain will not learn to use them if you don’t wear the HA’s.

You could accomplish this with a pair of cheep bluetooth ear buds and saved a lot of money.

Yes, it’s a common failing of aids if you want to put it that way. The technology isn’t there yet. Lots of discussion about speech in noise on this forum. Some people use accessory mics.

Interesting comments. Thanks to all. If you were able to get your aids to work to your satisfaction, congratulations! More power to you. I think I wear my aids enough for my brain to adjust. When I wear them to stream TV, I often forget they are there and have to get out of bed to put them up. Their performance in noise has lead me to not wear them more often, because I know they will just complicate matters. I just don’t think they have what it takes to solve the noise problem. Maybe someday.

Hi John,
I looked at your audiogram.Your hearing loss is more severe than mine.

I feel completely dependent on my hearing aids. I wear them all day everyday. :slight_smile:

I think that the process is flawed. I’m lucky I have a great audiologist. My last audi wasn’t good at all. Their hearing aids didn’t work at all.


Likely that you have, but have you tried different fitting formulas?

For me, NAL 1 has a massive difference with background noise. This is just me tho.


Thanks Zebras!

I’ve worn aids for some 20 years. I find only marginal improvements between aids in noisy environments. It’s just a very challenging environment for technology to try to replicate what the brain does so well. An external directional microphone seems the only real solution in these environments, but that will only help here one speaker.

Maybe custom molds might improve your ability to hear even more. They have helped me and I started out with various domes. Plus I am so glad I never have to fumble around trying to change the filters which was always a stressful experience because a few times I lost them when they fell onto the floor. Incredibly, I did find them eventually but in the meantime it made life difficult because I had just moved here, knew no one and didn’t yet have an audiologist.

I really can’t imagine what Phonak was thinking when they decided on the method and device needed to change filters and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels the same.

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I agree.
I’ve complained about the wax guards. My audiologist phoned Phonak Canada during one of my visits. The person on the line said they had no complaints. I can’t hear the “klicks” when I use the container. I can’t see the little wax guards And when I have to dig one out because the wax guard is off centre I swear a lot.

The new wax guards don’t suit me. I’m old. Thisis my third pair of Phonaks Must have been designed by a young person with good eyesight.