Questions for Phonak Exelia Users :)

Hi everyone, I’m new here. I’m 23 and I have been wearing hearing aids since I was 3 years old. I have a profound hearing loss and I just got Phonak Exelia after 5 miserable years with Resound.

I’m hoping that someone can help me w/ my frustrations.

I picked them up on Monday and immediently noticed that I was able to understand speech better. I could hear things I’ve never heard before (the heat on in my car makes a sound, who would have thought), it was overwhelming to say the least.

After I picked them up, I had my boyfriend take me to a cafe that was loud. Immediently I started having issues with being able to hear him. When I get in a noisy situation, like a car or cafe, it sounds like my ears are plugged up. The car especially drives me nuts because the sound goes up and down depending on if I’m at a red light or not. I have to constantly change the radio volume from 3 to 8! The left ear also seemed to be too loud because things like turning on the water gave me a horrible static sound.

I went in and had the hearing aids adjusted on Tuesday, my audi turned the noise reduction down but its still a pain in the butt! And now, I’m not sure what happened, but speech sounds muffled even in quiet situations. I went from having great speech comprehension to not good at all - though this seems to only apply to real life situations becuase I have been able to watch the TV without captions now.

I guess I’m just looking for suggestions on what kind of things I can fine-tune. My audi works with Phonak a lot and has no problem calling them when shes unsure of how to do something. I’m just wondering if anyone has had success fine-tuning by doing something specific that I can suggest to her?

Thanks!

I also have the Phonak Exelia hearing aids. Mine are the Micro BTE. I am completely new to hearing aids and I have only had mine going on 2 weeks. Tomorrow, I go in for my follow-up to the initial fitting. My loss is moderate in my right ear and severe in my left ear. My aids have silicon ear molds and thick as opposed to thin tubes.

I am guessing based on your stating that you have a profound loss that you are using the more powerful Exelia.

I am mostly pleased with the aids as I am hearing much better overall. Now that I have gotten sort of used to the aids, I think I am not hearing as well as before. The proof that I am hearing much better than before is definitely evident when I take them off at night and the TV and my wife (not necessarily in that order) go silent. However, I am having some of the same issues you are describing, particularly the issue of greater difficulty at restaurants. Changing the program to “speech in noise” results in no improvement for me as it seems the background noise reduction is also adversely impacting my ability to pick up speech. I will be discussing this with my audi when I see her tomorrow, hoping that there is something that can be done to help me in noisy restaurant environments.

In the car, I use the “comfort in noise” program, fade the radio speakers to the rear, and have my zoom control at the rear, which for me reduces road and engine noise. This works really well for me.

With TV and stereo, my aids work remarkably well. I am no longer blasting everyone else out of the house and I can comfortably make most everything out at the same volume as my wife and son.

Lastly, I am having a lot of difficulty with phone calls, particularly on hard wire phones. It does go to tcoil mode, but no matter where I place the receive, hearing is a challenge for me. My cell phone has a tcoil setting and I am able to put the phone directly against my ear molds and I hear everything just fine. I will inquire about setting a manual program whereby both the tcoil and microphones are active to see if I can get any improvement on a my home phone.

I will have one more fitting, the day before I must decide whether to take a refund on these aids or move on to something else.

I’ll be happy to share my outcomes as I continue along this journey.

Since May 2008, I have trialed hearing aids with 3 different audiologists. All have fitted me with Phonak Exelia, two used Exelia M, one Exelia P, and two of them also tried other aids in addition. I ended up purchasing the Exelia P and using Lucite custom molds w/ the BTE aids. Meanwhile, I experienced all the things that are mentioned in the posts above in the way of no speech comprehension in noise, painful sounds that should be background noise, voices sounding as if they were down a well and just not good word comprehension in general. I could not understand evening news on TV on 3 major networks. Some of this was worked out bit by bit with the audi I purchased my HAs from, but I remembered things being quite different when audi #1 programming my HA the very first and only time as she set them up for me. (Only reason I didn’t purchase from that place was that I was allergic to the custom silicone molds and they didn’t suggest other materials.) So I returned to that first place w/ an appointment for a new hearing test and also programming my Exelias that I had gotten in October. The audi put the same program on she had done the first time back in May. Bingo! It was like winning the lottery. I could hear well again because all the complaints I had were gone. That was almost 2 weeks ago. BTW, my numbers below are from last year’s audiogram because I forgot to ask for a copy of my latest. She did say no remarkable change. I will pick up a copy of that audiogram when I have a followup with the doctor in that office in a couple of weeks. The most interesting part of this other than the fact that I can hear better than I ever expected to hear again since experiencing sudden hearing loss in December 2007 is that I’m just using the “Soundflow” program for all situations other than phone. No other programs are necessary, nor was any set up for noisy background such as a restaurant, etc. Before I had to use my music program for any music and also for videos. Audi #3 that I purchased the HA from did set up a music program that was pretty good but I could not keep it and also have the new settings according to audi#1 who just reprogrammed with such success. Since that visit I have looked at the Phonak site and it seems that in programming there is a little “chain” that can be “broken” as the audi sets up special programs and actually I could have the music program that I was using from audi #3 while keeping soundflow as set up by audi #1. AAR, I’m a very happy camper as it is. Would have to compare music set up both ways to know which I like best and suspect it would differ from one recording to another. Some sound engineers do a much better job than others on CDs and DVDs.

I don’t know if I should be wearing Exelia M or P, because the first two audiologists ordered the M, third the P (which I purchased.) At the risk of hijacking your thread, I would be interested in opinions on this.

No problem with thread hijacking, but I do hope there will be some responders to the original post.

Try having your phone program turned OFF. I have having major issues with my phones, and with my last hearing aids I never used the phone program. Now I can hear fine (with the exception of my speech comprehension being pretty crappy at the moment but I hope to fix that).

Thanks for sharing. I guess it seems like you need a good audi for these and hope that you get lucky with adjustments!

I’ll be going back in tomorrow to address the speech thing, and the noise reduction issues. Tuesday I saw my audi at another location so she didn’t have my audiogram with her, perhaps that will make a difference.

Just to compare, I just put one of my old hearing aids in my “good” ear and kept the Exelia in my left ear.

Amazing difference. I have the tv on, and with the Resound Canta’s I couldn’t make out a word of what they were saying on the show. Turned on my Exelia and understand perfectly.

Now if only I could get those darn kinks to work out and I’d be thrilled! It’s so frustrating…and hard to take off of work everytime I need them adjusted. I work in marketing and I don’t have the luxury of being able to drive 30+ minutes to my doctor everytime I need something done!

Paul, I don’t know if this will help w/ your landline phone problem but here is what I discovered. One of our phones is quite old and not part of our Panasonic set purchased last year that is all hands free phones w/ one on a base station that has the voice mail, etc. Those new handsets we have work very well w/ my Exelias even in just Soundflow program but esp in phone program where nothing special was done except to deliver more sound to the right ear for that phone program. I can not use left ear for phone even w/ the HA and do not have iCom yet. With the very old phone voices do not come thru well w/ the HA. It has something to do w/ technology of some of the newer phones. My husband could explain it better but he isn’t here atm. Will get him to give me the specs on those Panasonic phones that were not all that expensive at Fry’s. (Costco had at the time a different Panasonic set that would not be the correct one for the HA technology.) The audi should know but may not. 2 out of my 3 did not. Also, my Nokia cell does well enough w/ the Soundflow but even better w/ the program that was set up just for cell. Again, it depends on your cell as to whether it is compatible w/ the Soundflow. Audi didn’t think any of them would be but since my Nokia is and not a higher end model but was new last year I suspect many of the newer cells will be like mine. Just a guess and still it is better to have a special program just for cell use. I don’t know how mine was set up for that but can find out from audi.

Sorry I won’t have definite info on the Panasonic until later. Other brands of landline sets also have models that work well w/ the Exelias. Will get info on the tech specs from husband when he returns tonight.

Shultzan31, I do not know if this will assist you in with your issues but just in case, here is an email I sent to my audi #3 before my last visit w/ her, and it did help her know where to go in the Phonak s/w to make the last adjustments she did. It surely improved things for me although still leaving things such as voices sounding as if down a well and not being able to understand things such as words on evening news on TV.

We did get rid of loud background noises, so that I could hear a person sitting across from me, etc. This is some of what I sent in mail to audi:

"First a question…does the “Soundflow” program work even when there are also special situation programs set up? I’m guessing it could. Meanwhile, tonight I’m on the Phonak site.
SoundFlow continuously monitors the situation and instantly optimizes the Exélia settings to the changing environment in real-time, for a seamless hearing experience

SoundRelax
http://www.exelia.phonak.com/en/features-and-functions/performance/soundrelax/
(mine sound like first example and not the second where “Fast acting SoundRelax identifies sharp, abrupt sounds like banging dishes or slamming doors and suppresses them before they cause any discomfort.” I get the discomfort big time.)

NoiseBlock
http://www.exelia.phonak.com/en/features-and-functions/performance/noiseblock-processing/
(I’m not getting as much of this as I expect)

I get alot of feedback, esp in L ear. That one will screech for no reason I can discern at times."

Shultzan31, the above is a combination of what I emailed my audi and what can be found on the Phonak website. I hope it makes a little sense when all combined!

As an addition to my post above, neither my “SoundRelax” or “NoiseBlock” were set properly until my next fitting. It surely helped when she brought up the s/w on her computer and did this. When I say “not set up properly” I guess I should say, not for my results.

Still, it took going back to audi #1 to get rid of the “voices down the well” sound. Also it took that short visit to get word comprehension when a person was in another room or just feet away from me but back turned and walking down a hallway or into another room. In addition I was suddenly able to get excellent word comprehension from evening news and other speech on televison and radio. I have absolutely NO idea how she did this. She doesn’t have the program on her computer that many say is so important, nor does she have a big Plasma or LCD screen up on the wall where I can view exactly what she is doing. In fact, I can’t see her little screen at all from where I’m sitting. All I know is that what this one did in my case surely made a big difference.

I did ask her to burn a copy of her program that she set up for my hearing aids onto a disk we took w/ us. She said it couldn’t be done, but I have read that this can be exported and thus I do not see why it could not be either emailed to me or burned to disk. Will press the issue when I’m in the office to see the ear specialist for followup in a few weeks. Of course, what works for me will not help others!

A fair amount of hearing in my right ear had been diminished for a long time. Wouldn’t you know it was my left ear…the good one, that got hit w/ sudden hearing loss! I had a virus and on top of that an allergic reaction to an adhesive used by contractors in a bathroom remodel the day before. No way to know the cause of sudden hearing loss but I bet either one or the other. The interesting thing is that I’m hearing a few sounds in my CD music collection that I do not remember hearing before now that I have the latest hearing aid programming from almost two weeks ago. They’re sounds from instruments that should be there, not some artificial anomaly.

Thank you!! I am encouraged now that I will get these properly set up for me. Thanks so much for your posts, I’m writing a lot down that will hopefully help tomorrow.

One thing to remember, the Exelias learn from your usage patterns. So if you notice the volume is low, turn the volume up. If you have multiple programs set up on your Exelia, use them. The automatic program will take all the feedback to self adjust. Your audi can also view what your doing by looking at the data being logged.

My experience with the Exelias is somewhat similar. I originally had the Exelia P because that was what the software recommended as the fitting range. I found it too weak, and after playing with them for a month, we went with the Exelia SP. Even with that change, it took a while to tweak everything. Part of that tweaking involved the audi looking at the data recorded from the aids on my usage and changing programs based on my usage. Eventually we got it just the way I needed it. But it took time and effort, and my audi wasn’t shy about calling Phonak for assistance.

Ugh. Today is a horrible frustrating day for me and the exelias.

I have an appointment at 3:30 to get them adjusted thank god.

My right ear suddenly decided to give me loads of feedback for no reason. Last night I could hardly watch tv because the sounds were so shrill. I hope we get it right this time.

My appointment went well.

The issue was my compression levels, we turned them down and now I can hear great in the car. Also loud noises like fans and blenders dont bother me anymore!! I’m very thrilled.

I am going to try the Audeo YES’s as soon as they come in (week and a half).
My Audi is a little concerned that these aren’t as powerful as the exelia’s but thinks that I might benefit enough from soundrecover that I won’t need the volume up all the way. I’m very excited to try these as I’ve been told all my life I would need the obnoxious ear mold and a large BTE aid.