Sound quality issue with Starkey Picasso IIC

Hi All,

I am working with audiologist to trial latest new technology hearing aids that will improve my hearing from old HAs. I first trialed Starkey Picasso IIC (latest model) and really liked sound quality and improved my hearing capability significantly. Since I wanted to trial few more options as comparison, I trialed Signia Pure Charge and Go and Phonak Audeo Marvel (both BTE). I had issue with keeping receiver in the canal for Signia so decided not to go with them. On Phonak, fitting was good, however, I noticed that I did not see good sound quality when used autosense setting in the app. However, when I changed setting on the app, it improved sound quality. Anyway, I decided to go back to Starkey IIC since I did like the sound quality and also they were really discreet in design. However, when my audiologist ordered new Starkey IIC - I realized sound quality was not the same as I trialed first time. I asked audiologist to increase volume level and sound quality is still not good. I have trialed them for few more days now and I still struggle in conversations and my brain has work harder for listening. I did ask audilogist to see if any settings has changed or for any reason HA are not set up according my audiogram. She seems confident that settings are fine. I am little frustrated now. Does anyone has any suggestion on how to fix this problem? Or anything similar they encountered in the past? Do I need to go to different audiologist? I feel that my audiologist has missed something in programming these HA and but not sure how can I tell her that without coming across rude. I also say this because Phonak hearing aids at Autosense setting did not improve my hearing much. I had manually adjust program to hear better. I spent so much money on these HAs and I am hoping that I can atleast get better sound quality so that I don’t struggle hearing. I have mild to moderate hearing loss in one hear and moderate to severe hearing loss on other ear. Thank you for your attention.

Posting your audiogram profile helps folks make suggestions. Your HCP should have or can provide you a copy free of charge. I believe the tool creating your audiogram on this site as part of your avatar is available when looking at your profile from the main Hearing Tracker website, not this community forum.

The comment about “adding new tools to analyze changes in your audiogram over time” is interesting…

Uf, sorry to hear that.

I have a suspicion that your fitter didn’t follow best practices which include real ear measurement based fitting otherwise she’d be able to setup any HAs in terms that those in the same level give same speech comprehension. That is not the same as sound quality / color or whatever you call that ‘it feels natural’. Just wanted to emphasize.

Honestly, if you have chance, go back and return them and ask for money back and then find a fitter who will really adjust aids and not guess. Insist. If you’re in return period, use it. Too much money to rely on poor fitters.

I mean, it seems you stumbled upon a seller and not health care professional. Otherwise you would not be here with such complaint that she says she didn’t changed anything and there you have completely different results.

Of course there was some change, but she obviously has no clue what it is. Like mold change, vent change and whatnot can affect the sound big time, even if program settings are exactly the same.

Unfortunately, people come here every week with experience with poor fitters. From what I read here, costco does proper fitting.

All this is if you have ‘common hearing loss’ in high frequencies.

About what’s proper fitting, the fastest way is to check dr cliff aud on youtube. I mean, we here also write about that, but watching videos is faster. Dr cliff is also member here on the main site. And he has a list of providers who follow best practices.

That includes but is not limited to - tone audiogram (air and bone conducted), word recognition score in quiet, in noise, maybe quicksin (sentences in noise) BEFORE you start trialing.
Then explanation of those results in terms of setting up expectations, eg if you cam expect a lot or not so much from HAs, if the latter if additional microphones could be of significant use.

Then fitting aids to the prescription formula and verifying that using REM (which makes process of initial fit for speech understanding extremely fast, like one session for that, one checkup, and others are further adjustments if needed)

You repeat that fit for each HA you want to trial, in order to be able to do fair comparison of how they help you. If they’re not fitted right for you, any comparison is useless. Unfortunately that’s the most common way it happens.

Then you repeat those tests during each trial, words and sentences based ones to see if and how HAs helped. That’s the only way for you to see if they’re helpful or not.

Then you need to get information about maintenance, cleaning, with what and with what not (not alcohol, some devices not UV light), dessicant or dryer instructions if needed, how often you should replace parts, how often come to them for regular cleaning and checkups both of HAs and of your hearing.

Check this list, if nothing else, and unfortunately you’ll know better than probably 70% of fitters out there.

From his page, on the very top

If however you can’t get out of that expensive event, print out the list, and force the fitter to follow it. They should earn their money.
Also, read here and see what you can find out to suggest what they change. You can also find the software (check our DIY subforum) and look it yourself in order to understand the options and if they’re clueless, say them what to do eg what you want to try.

But, don’t give up, you have options. And you have every right to demand fitter deliver what they promised and are being paid to.

We here definitely can help brainstorming. Stay strong :muscle:

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Hi Jim,

Thank you for suggestion. I have added audiogram details to profile now.

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I’m curious how did you trial an IIC hearing aid? I thought they were all custom built.

Thank you so much for your advice and encouraging words. I did not go through lot of the things you talk about in terms of best practices. We discussed my situation and what will be best options to trial and went from there. I trialed few HAs and gave feedback based on how I felt about new hearing aids vs old ones. There was minimum testing as described in best practice check list. Anyway, I will follow through with my audiologist to see what options she come up with to try resolve this issue. Hopefully, it is a simple fix. Thanks again for suggestions.

Yes,they were custom built. I got 60 days for trial. I returned and trialed new one after 1 month.

I imagine there could be multiple reasons why they sound different, but one of them could be the acoustics. Each one is in essence a custom mold. Do you know if they were made from the same impressions or if new impressions were taken?

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They were made from the same molds. However, my audiologist did make bigger vent hole for second ones. Not sure if that will make big difference.

My take, based more on “gut” than knowledge is yes. I think what most people mean by “good sound quality” is a rich bass. Any increase in venting is going to lessen the bass.


Audiologist also feels the same…will go back to original small vent hole…hopefully that will solve the issue. Thank you!


Were you having occlusion issues with the smaller vent?

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vpat, you said you liked the Phonaks if you got out of Autosense and went into a manual program. I’m pretty sure that your audi can add whatever program you like, tweaked to your satisfaction, to Autosense and make it the default program for Autosense. Then your audi could set program switching among the various Autosense programs to a setting whereby Autosense would resist switching out of your default program unless the HA detected a radically different sound environment. I think it might be called “low sensitivity” or something like that. I’m surprised your audi didn’t suggest that.

You are right, I could have changed my autosense setting to one I liked by working with audi. My point was that audi’s first setting (with Phonak) based on my audiogram was far off. That surprised me and made me think that this could also be the case with Starkey IIC I trialed second time.

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Not that I remember.

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What “Blacky” said is the juice. I have already given up on my devices after 1 year of trial and error. I returned it, got my money back and bought an OPN from Oticon. But a little resentful, because I really wanted those Resound Linx 3D and I really liked his features. I just felt that the professionals were not getting it right in the setup to eliminate gain problems at high frequencies.
Apart from this human problem, if I were a professional I would apply another battery of tests to see if your hearing remains at the same thresholds, especially paying attention to high frequencies.

Some fitters are sellers, and that part comes out if there’s any difficulty on the fitting based on hearing loss. Should I say that before I found great one, no one ever took anything more than built in HAs audiogram? And fittings were ‘how do you hear me now’.

And now I find out that results would be much better if they’d use even WRS, if they’re cheapskates to buy equipment for REMs.
I think I’ve looked at prices, it’s not insanely high. If I looked up right thing, but it was in ballpark of 5-10 thousand dollars, so that’s even doable if you decide you want to do that as a hobby, unlike those people who buy sewing machines for quilting or motorbike or something else.

So, if you find a professional, you’re lucky. But unfortunately, many in this business are just sellers. Some have more empathy and patience, but not knowledge or equipment, but results even they can get is subpar to professional with equipment and knowledge.

Truth. This “you hear me now” thing is one of the most boring things you hear from a salesperson audiologist when you put on new hearing aids. But in any other field, being empathetic is one of the requirements that, combined with technical knowledge, turns a salesperson into a competent professional audiologist in that area. That is why an audiologist with hearing loss is so successful when he has technical knowledge, because empathy is natural in this case. Unfortunately, we have few hearing impaired people who are audiologists.

Just wanted follow up on this topic - got the hearing aids back with small vents and it made the difference! Now, I can hear much better and doesn’t have to struggle as much. In fact, we increased volume few notches up and now I hear every little things. Currently, everything is loud and it affects sound quality in noisy situations as multiple sounds are competing at the same time. Any suggestions to adjust the settings. I will consult with audiologist but I am guessing reducing volume and background noise will probably help. It is still good problem to have than struggling to hear. Appreciate all the responses!