Self programming? Not sure how much longer I can deal with the "muffleness" of the compression

For those who aren’t aware: I am a very very long-time hearing aid user over here since the age of 3 years old. 42 now. So it’s not my first pair of hearing aids. But the compression is really starting to get to me and is always something I have dealt with since switching from analogues. I miss the ability to just switch off the hearing aid while it’s ON the ear without opening a friggin’ battery door. Anyway…

My loss is severe/profound in both ears (severe > profound in my right, profound in my left). I have a Phonak NAIDA B90 hearing aid on my right with a CROS B on my left. Have had some good results from last audi visit but I am still dealing with some compression. Other voices sound pretty okay but my own voice sounds very muffled. Other voices sound muffled when they start speaking louder. Consonants sound nice and clear but vowels sound muffled and dull.

Music lacks a “punch” that it used to. And the middle tones of everything with the voice sound muffled (almost inverted) from where it’s supposed to sound. I am NOT interested in switching modes or going to a “music mode”. Too much baby sitting of a hearing aid for my tastes. Everything a hearing aid can do needs to be in one single mode without the automatic shitte.

I find myself yelling to try and recover that lost sound with my own voice. I am thinking that I might try self programming next for some very minor tweaks.

However, I don’t see Phonak Target software anywhere. I see IPFG 2.6e and PFG 8.6c. Is this the Target software?

I am thinking about getting an icube so I can work on some self programming tweaks myself. Thankfully, my audi is relatively close so I can make the short trek to them if I need assistance.

I guess I’ll do another audi visit but I am not sure where I’m going from here.

Check out the Self Programming or DIY section of the forum. Hearing Aid Self-Fitting and Adjusting [DIY] - Hearing Aid Forum - Active Hearing Loss Community

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Have you tried phonak paradise aids. Have you looked at threads regarding mute
What aids are you currently using

Did you read my post? All your questions are answered. I am not upgrading anytime soon.

Uh oh. I better move on. I could have sworn you said you weren’t sure where you were going to go from here. Maybe I miss read that

You read that right. And I did…but I also said I am using a Phonak NAIDA B90/CROS B. :slight_smile:

No worries, hass5744. I misunderstood as well. No harm done.

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Has your loss progressed over time?

You do need to be more careful about the maximum output with a severe-profound loss. Patients who are long-term wearers and have an analogue background often prefer the maximum output to be cranked up. But you need to make sure that it is still within safe limits. The default MPO in the software tends to be conservative and probably SHOULD be moved up for you, but get it verified on-ear with your current molds to make sure it is okay. If you can ask your clinician to do real-ear measurement and crank the MPO to the edge of that safety range, then when you self program as long as you don’t turn the MPO up any further than that you should be okay.

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To the OP (@codergeek2015 ): Compression is not such an evil thing that you make it out to be. Without compression, louder sounds would get amplified too much which would make the wearer stressed out due to uncomfortably loud amplified sound.

Yes, compression would result in loss of dynamics. But it’s not due to the incompetence of the hearing aid manufacturers who don’t know what they’re doing. You just can’t get everything in the world if you have severe to profound hearing loss like in your case. It’s the law of physics that’s against you. The amplification for your kind of loss on softer sounds is already so aggressive that without compression, the amplification of louder sounds for your kind of loss would either be too much for you to handle without compression, or for the hearing aids to be able to deliver.

OK, maybe your severe to profound hearing loss may not cause you to stress out too much at very aggressively high amplification without compression if you can’t hear well enough in the first place, but there’s no guarantee that removing compression altogether would make things sound less muffled for you anyway. I remember my severe to profound hearing loss mother wearing old analog hearing aids back in the days, and they would whistle all the times because of the lack of automatic compression in analog aids, and she didn’t even know that there’s whistling unless my dad told her that her aids were whistling like crazy so she can turn down the volume. But if she turned up the volume to be able to hear better, then it’s just too loud for her to understand anything anyway in noisy places. So she had to constantly adjust the volume, turning it up in quieter places, then when she got to noisier places, her aids start whistling like crazy and she didn’t even know until my dad told her to turn it down. So it’s a constant game of volume adjustment for my poor mother. Has she had digital hearing aids with automatic wide dynamic compression like they do nowadays, I’m sure she would have appreciated this technology a lot more.

For people with mild to moderate hearing loss, yeah, the music program removing some of that automatic compression may make a difference and give them a wider dynamic range in the music sounds so they can enjoy it more. For folks with severe to profound hearing loss, having more dynamic range to enjoy music better is much more limiting because their hearing has only a very narrow range of dynamics in the first place. So removing compression altogether may not necessarily make music sound any better for them.

If it’s about your own voice that sounds muffled that bugs you the most, maybe you can try the Widex “own voice” technology. The solution is not always necessarily removing compression because it may lead to other issues with your severe to profound hearing loss anyway.

DIY self programming would be a good approach to try to see how you can improve things for you if you’re a DIY inclined person. Getting the hearing aids to perform to how you want with your kind of loss would involve a lot of experimentation that only a DIY approach can afford you to do without having to make countless HCP office visits. But with your severe to profound hearing loss, I would caution about being careful with DIY and get buy-in from your HCP to review your end results to make sure you didn’t do anything damaging to worsen your hearing loss.

Below is a screenshot for WDRC (Wide Dynamic Range Compression) of how a normal hearing range looks like on the left and how the reduced dynamic range of a hearing challenged person looks like on the right, just to give you an idea. It also shows how automatic compression dynamically across the frequency range is helpful in letting you hear what you can but without the discomfort of excessively loud sounds that can lead to the whistling feedback.

The bottom line is that compression is not necessarily an evil thing like you think it is. Without automatic compression, you may constantly have to manually adjust your hearing aids’ volume settings all the times as you transition from one environment to another. Even though it’s not necessarily an evil thing, it gets a bad rap and it’s often misunderstood as a necessary evil altogether without much acknowledged benefits.

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I had Phonak Naida hearing aids. If I understand correctly, they always have a muffled sound. I bought programmer and tried self programming Naidas without any adequate results. After this I turned to Oticon way, and voila - no muffled sound! My best hearing aids was Oticon Chili, now I use Oticon Xceed 1 SP and Xceed 2 SP as backup.

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Will wonders never cease.

I put on my old Phonak NAIDA Q50 UP (a single hearing aid that I use as my backup) because I’m prepping to send in my aids under warranty. I can get along without a CROS unit until my NAIDA B90 UPs are back from repair. The CROS unit is not critical for me.

The difference in clarity is night and day.

No muffleness. My voice is loud and clear. Zoom calls are not muffled anymore. The texture of sound is back, if that makes sense. Everything. Music is rich and vibrant again.

It’s a total game changer.

Whatever is in the NAIDA B90 UPs w/CROS B (whether it’s too much compression by default - regardless of where that and the MPO are set), whatever it is, is interfering with my ability to hear myself. It’s always been this way and I have never been happy with them. But my NAIDA Q50 UP single hearing aid…it’s like seeing an old friend.

It’s definitely not my hearing. And it’s nice having confirmation of that fact.

I will be letting my audiologist know about this tomorrow.

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Very interesting, lostdeaf. Thank you! I may ask my audiologist about this route if I need to eventually.

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Yeah, your issues shouldn’t be that hard to program out. And if you have an old hearing aid in the same line that is working for you then it should be even easier.

Ironically, as hearing loss progresses into profound there is often LESS tolerance for compression, not more. Wide dynamic range compression has been dramatically effective for many hearing aid wearers, but it DOES introduce distortion and it damages temporal cues which tend to be more critical for individuals with profound loss because their spectral cues are already so degraded.

One of the nice things about the Naida is that, aside from just adjusting for more linear gain, you can turn off the fast-acting adaptive compression which can be helpful for some folks. I don’t think you can do that with the Oticon aids. I think you still can with Resound.

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@codergeek2015: I’m a retired recording artist, and I understand how compression works (although from a practical and perhaps less scientifically-erudite POV) . @Volusiano is exactly right in this statement. Compression, judiciously applied, is our friend!

You could ask your audiologist to export your NAIDA Q50 UP settings and import to your Naida B90 UP aid.

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To the people talking about compression: Compression and digital does me absolutely zero good if:

  1. Zoom calls are always muffled.
  2. I have trouble hearing on the phone because that is muffled.
  3. The overall sound of the hearing aid is muffled.
  4. I can’t even hear my own voice well because half of my voice is muffled (vowels).
  5. Muffled muffled MUFFLED is absolute horse crap.

If the overall reputation of Phonak is the fact that they have a muffled sound, then they have declined in quality significantly, and it’s time for me to look into Oticon hearing aids.

My current set of NAIDA B90 hearing aid + CROS B is out for repair and we will see how well I hear with it when it returns. But my suspicion is that it may not, because I haven’t had any Zoom calls that were not muffled since I got them and I’ve never been happy with them regardless of the tweaks we have done for the past 3 years.

The NAIDA Q50 I’m wearing apparently is the last model that had full digital linear, so its settings wouldn’t really benefit me all that much in the new B90s. All hearing aids since the Q series have done away with that and have wide dynamic range compression without the ability to do digital linear or turn off compression entirely, from what I’ve been told. Even a compression setting of 1 is the least compression (which is where I’m already at), but you still have some compression.

Without some compression you’d not be able to hear at all.
Assuming ‘normal’ hearing has a maximum dynamic range of approximately 120dB, if you have a SN loss of 50-60-70 dB plus any degree of recruitment, you need compression to ‘fit’ the sound into the available dynamic range. Whether that’s 70-60-50-40dB.

How you tackle that in different environments is down to your compression processing strategy:
Some aids kick in early to deal with louder sounds while others retain more loudness growth. Different people like different approaches to this; that doesn’t make some hearing aids ‘better quality’ than others.
Oticon has used a technique called ‘Floating point linearity’ - this allows normal (linear) growth of loudness in brief time windows, but which means that the same speech sound will be amplified differently in different overall average noise/speech situations.
Widex has a different approach: it has a ‘soft-release’ technique which delays the changes through syllabic peaks of words, to preserve the ‘shape’ of the word loudness.
Phonak historically uses fast syllabic changes in compression to attempt to reproduce every part of the speech as best as they can (per NAL2 etc.) but this can cause loss of parts of speech; especially with people with poorer auditory resolution. I believe Marvel has more of a smoothing function specifically to deal with this.

As for zoom calls: can’t you Bluetooth them straight to your aid?

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No. Bluetooth streaming on the Q series is limited to the ComPilot, which I don’t have. Bluetooth streaming directly to the hearing aid without an external device wasn’t introduced until the Naida V series. Now the Naida V, M and Naida P series have bluetooth streaming built in.

The hearing aid I am using right now while my B90 devices are out for warranty repair is a Naida Q50, about 3 or 4 generations behind current Phonak models, is the last time I had fully unencumbered perfectly clear Zoom calls, thanks to the ability to go fully digital linear on this model.

No, you can make the Bs sound just like the Qs. The linear options are the same (you couldn’t really turn off compression in the Qs completely either, they still used WDRC at the top rather than clipping like old analogues). Again, if you have a functional set of Qs that sound good to you, it should not be hard to just match the Bs to them in the testbox.

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Phonak Naida V came out before your Naida B so how can it have Bluetooth like the M and P?

The Naida V and Naida B both use the same ComPilot.

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Thank you, Zebras. I got my models mixed up there when posting.