Selecting a receiver

I did a search and couldn’t find an answer so apologies if this has been asked before.

When you/your audiologist selects a receiver power, is it best to be well within the upper thresholds of it (I.e. is there likely to be distortion at the upper threshold and at what point)? Are there any disadvantages to selecting a receiver that is “too” powerful? If you have an 80dB loss should you go for the 85 or 100? Thanks!

Here’s a similar discussion;
Oticon Opn1 minirite 85s appropriate for my loss?

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Thanks so much @pvc.

The gain of the receiver doesn’t attempt to match your loss. You could probably stand no more than somewhere around half your loss.

This is a rough, layman explanation, but if speech is at 50 and your loss is 80, you only need to get it over 80 to hear it (+30). You don’t need it at 130. My apologies to the pros for over-simplifying and butchering the concept.

Thanks @Don. That’s a really interesting point you raise, however if I use an earmold (I use one because the shape of my loss is so weird), all sounds are blocked and it’s no longer a supplement but the processor needs to sample the analog, convert it, and then pump it into my ear at the requisite volume for me to hear it…or do I misunderstand?

I’m not sure then if I’m understanding the fitting diagrams/guides for each receiver then which appear to correlate with an audiogram.

I ask because I get a lot of distortion (one aid was faulty and sent back) but I am wondering if we literally blew it by pushing too much power through it and if I should ask for a high powered receiver.

Look at the fitting range, which is different than the gain of the receiver. For example, a 60 gain receiver might have a fitting range (the hearing loss range) reaching into the 80-90s. Doesn’t change if it is a closed fit. The fitting range is a general guide for picking the right receiver, but your pro will probably pick that for you.

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Your other question, I haven’t really found a downside to sound quality by being at the bottom of the fitting range, but I have been there and then had further hearing loss, and had to buy more powerful receivers, but they were cheap at Costco, $50 each.

There can be a downside to having too much power. Some receivers have a noise floor (like a hum) and if your hearing is good enough you may be able to hear that. If you stay in the fitting range you should not hear the noise floor.

I guess ideal would be if you were 3/4 down the fitting range because you would have some room for further hearing loss…

Some brands are pretty conservative with their fitting ranges, Resound and Starkey used to be. Not sure now.

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thanks for the info. I like my audi because she is willing to experiement to try and help me because I’m a hard fit. That said, she can’t hear what I hear and honestly what I hear just has to be the receiver being overblown. I also anticipate my hearing getting worse, week by week so that’s another reason I want to try the higher power. I just didn’t know if I was totally off base there.

Thanks for your help!

I see your hearing loss goes from 5 to 75, so probably the middle power receiver would handle that 55-65 gain.

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You can look at my audiogram to get an idea of my hearing loss. My provider originally tried to fit me with 85 dB receivers. My loss at high frequencies on the right ear is beyond the fitment range of the 85 dB. Yet she fitted me with 85dB receivers anyway because she wanted to see if she could avoid doing custom molds for me which is a more expensive option.

Well, I got saturated distortion on my right ear on the high frequencies right away and unless she reduces amplification in those high frequencies, the distortion exists.

I eventually went for 105dB receivers with custom molds and the saturated distortion on the right ear was diminished without having to cut down on high frequencies amplification. But for louder sounds, sometimes it was still there, which was to be expected because amplification for very loud sounds at very high frequencies can still reach the limit that the receivers can handle.

Long story short, the main disadvantages of higher power receivers are that they MAY require custom mold (100dB receiver for the OPN no longer requires custom molds however). They may cost more (up to 85dB receivers are standard with the price but 100dB and up are additional cost for the OPN for example). If your ear canal is too small, it can be an issue.

They also may have a higher harmonic distortion rating, but to me it should not be a significant enough of a factor.

The custom molds may make them look a lot more conspicuous because the custom mold can be seen more easily outside the ear while the domed receiver fits way inside the ear canal, virtually disappearing into your ear, leaving only the wire visible.

I gave up on trying to amplify my hearing at 6 and 8Khz because even the 105dB receivers aren’t able to let me hear sounds in that range due to my profound loss at those frequencies. All I hear at maximum amplification at those 2 frequencies is a low buzzing sound, presumably the distorted noise due to overdriving them.

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Thanks for your reply. I already have custom molds, and visibility isn’t an issue for me (actually I wish they were more visible so people can tell I have a hearing loss). They are remaking a mold for me with the higher power receiver so we will see if that fixes things. I’m not sure that the Opn is the right aid for me because the noise reduction part hasn’t been working well. I get it back from Oticon next week so we will see.

Interesting discussion. I’m a new user with OPN1s, going back for my first follow-up next week. No idea which receiver they used. I have open domes.

I am having issues with phone calls and (sometimes) music, which if i turn the volume loud enough to hear when there’s background noise get distorted/clipped with a horrible buzzing sound, I’m assuming because the receiver is being over-driven. Wold a bigger receiver possibly address that? Or different domes, if I don’t mind a more closed off feeling (open question, I haven’t tried that)?

My friend is a musician and wears Phonak Naidas. She got a clipped, buzzing sound on her music program and it turned out to be the feedback manager. Is there such thing on Oticon OPN HAs?

Interesting points. I would think the clipping means you’re oversaturating the amplifier (i.e. it isn’t able to handle the signal processing) because I think the receiver would just distort rather than a distinct clipping (that sounds more digital).

You can long press the button to mute the mics when you’re on the phone or listening to music if it’s noisy around you. It makes a big difference and you don’t need to increase the streaming volume too much.

When you say 105 db receiver, are you talking about the fitting range? 105 would not be the gain.

Yes, I mean the fitting range. I think it’s the power, not the ultra power