Should HA’s reproduce spoken words as well as streamed

I’ve really been struggling with vibration, distortion, talking in a fan sound for months now. I’ve concluded that it’s my hearing problem that’s causing it, not the HA’s…but, when I stream from tv or phone calls, it’s much more clear sounding with just very minor vibration. If my bad ears was causing the distortion, wouldn’t streamed content be the same?

This brings me to the topic question, should my HA’s (OPN’s and Livio) be reproducing people’s voice standing in front of me as well as someone’s voice that is being streamed?

I will say no, streaming is a controlled recording most time. People’s voices are not even close to that control. I hear the sound of people talking through my mics almost as the same as streaming phone calls but I lower my mic volume when taking a call over my aids from my iPhone

Do you hear the distortion in both hearing aids, or just one?

Another question.
Do you hear the distortion without the aids.
I do. It’s just not as loud are as noticable.


Yes. When the distortion gets really bad I’ll switch to the other brand, thinking it’s got to be better, and it does seem better at first then it will get just as bad with that brand too.


Yes I do. Like you it’s just not loud unless someone speaks loudly, then I notice the vibration. But I don’t understand why streamed phone calls doesn’t vibrate.

So, you are saying it is you, and not the 2 sets of aids that you have??

Live speech is definitely more difficult than recorded or streamed speech. The speech signal is degraded by the distance between the signal source and the listener. If I remember right, if you are 4’ away and then move to 8’ away, the sound is not 1/2 as loud as you would expect but instead is 1/4 as loud. The weaker high frequency consonants are effected much more than the stronger low frequency vowels. Streaming does not have the signal loss associated with live speech and distance.


Yeah it’s my broken hearing. I was just curious why it didn’t sound broken with streamed content also.

I think georgeguy nailed it above…

My understanding is streaming speech has a better signal to noise ratio. This could be why you are understanding speech better while streaming.

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From an idealized physics standpoint, you have it right. Sound from a point source in an open environment falls off following the inverse square law. So the numbers you give are correct. That is why it is much harder to hear normal spoken voices from far away in anything other than a very quiet environment.

Another hint for maximizing your comprehension of streamed content is to mute the hearing aid mics - then you don’t have the room noise amplified and added to the streamed sound. Of course, you then may not be able to hear anyone speaking to you …

The fall off with distance is also the reason the partner microphone devices help - the distance from the source to the mic is less than a foot if worn correctly as compared to the distance between you and the partner. If you are 10 feet away, the sound pressure level of the voice at your hearing aid microphones is about 100 time less than it is at the partner mic :slight_smile:. Higher signal as compared to the background sound (or noise), also know as signal-to-noise ratio, helps understanding and remote mics help provide that if done correctly.

@tim4, your profile doesn’t mention your WRS (mine’s about 70%), but my loss is similar to yours & primarily due to bilateral Meniere’s. I also have “vibration, distortion, talking in a fan sound” fulltime as a result of the Meniere’s – this is tinnitus, no?
FWIW, my ability to comprehend speech when streamed to my HAs is considerably better than closeup, face-to-face conversation. And my comprehension falls off dramatically when the further away my ears are from the sound. Just like @gorgeguy described.

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I’m going to go against the grain a bit and say you should be able to remove that distortion with some sleuthing. I agree with everyone above about the benefits of streamed speech in terms of proximity, clarity and SNR. But I also agree with you that natural speech shouldn’t cause distortion if streamed speech doesn’t. Either something is weird with the programming of the regular, automatic program, or some quality of the sound that differs in live versus streamed is interacting with the weird ear–but if the latter is the case you’d think you’d be able to identify what it was and pull it out. If it were only the fault of the ear, the distortion would be present either way.


Going back to the audi tomorrow, been going once a week trying to figure this out, hopefully we’ll make some progress.

The weirdest thing about it is how switching to the other brand helps with the vibration. If I put the Livio in in the morning by 3:00 it gets so bad I’ll have to switch to the OPN’s. Same scenario if I start in the morning with the OPN’s.

Mine is 0% left and about 50% right and that depends on if I’m having a good day or bad.

Have you worked with your fitter to try and improve the vibrations?

With me I use AfterShokz
Titanium. I hear the distortion with the AfterShokz.
If someone talks to me and they’re on my right side I do not notice the distortion.
If they are on my left side I will hear it especially if they are loud.
If I lay down on right side with my right ear on the pillow total distortion is all I hear in left ear.
Lay on my left no distortion.
Same with the phone
My aids do not stream.
Looking at tv listening with both ears don’t really notice it.

ENT said nerve damage.
Not much can be done.

What dB are these tests?

85db left 80db right

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Have you been doing REM fittings? If you have you might try in-situ fittings just to give it a try.

Once fit take an aid out and wear it in different environments. Take notes how it’s doing. Then change out aids and do the same experiment, take notes. Sometimes it’s tuff to figure out where the problem is with both aids in.