Starkey Halo 2 - sudden drop in performance

This morning one of my Starkey Halo 2 aids degraded in performance. It still outputs audible sound, but it’s just muffled and not as “loud” as it was before. However, some of the observations rule out what I initially assumed: malfunctioning receiver (I have a custom RIC mould).

  • I do not remember doing anything special with them; when I took them of last night, they worked just fine. The other aid seems to be unaffected, as far as I can tell. I’ve also tried putting in fresh batteries and cleaned the receiver.

  • Interestingly, when I stream audio to the broken aid, it works exactly like it used to. This indicates the actual receiver is performing fine, but the issue is inside the hearing aid itself, when it’s processing outside sound.

  • I used to hear some very quiet “clicking” or “whistling” from he broken aid before, but I never really paid attention to it. Now I hear more audible “clicking” and “crackling” from the aid.

  • Sometimes, the broken aid feels like it’s performing closer to usual state, but it’s fluctuating and perhaps I am just making it up inside my head.

  • I have tried connecting the aids to my programmer and check Starkey’s fitting software if maybe some diagnostic alert pops up. Only an alert about feedback cancellation possibly not working showed up.

  • I also tried updating my targets in an attempt to “reset” a broken memory, but no effect.

  • When I ran the feedback process in the software, the software announced that it failed to measure anything, even though I heard the typical buzzes.

So far, my hypothesis is for some reason the feedback cancellation in the broken ear decided to malfunction and is muffling everything. I do not have a vent hole due to my hearing loss (90dB). This could explain why the hearing aid works fine when I am streaming audio to it, because it isn’t running the feedback cancellation algorithm on streamed audio.

Does anyone have any other ideas about what might be happening here and how I could attempt to fix it? Ironically, last week I had a meeting with a Phonak rep to buy an upgrade, so perhaps Starkey gods decided to punish me for my lack of brand loyalty.

You haven’t mentioned if you have changed your wax filter/guard?

Yes, I also have changed that. But because the aid is working as normal when I stream audio to it from my phone, I do not think this is a receiver issue.

I had clicking of my old Aid, turned out to be a faulty microphone. Might explain why it works when streaming.


Well, that does definitely make more sense than the feedback hypothesis, so thanks!

This probably isn’t the problem here, since streaming works ok, but just in case…Occasionally ear wax will somehow get underneath the wax guard and even changing the wax guard won’t help. In that case I have to take it to my Audi’s office and they vacuum the wax out. I think they use a Jodi-vac. I’ve been thinking about buying one for myself.

My starkey aids typically needed repair about once a year. Very frustrating. With some Starkey aids, you can carefully remove the back cover to the microphones and clean off the dust screen. It does seem that it has to do with the microphones not getting enough sound (since streaming is fine) so that might be an obvious place to start.

Note, Starkey halo 2 is pretty outdated technology. You might want to see what you can get for under $2,000 at costco if you have one within an hour drive or so.

I agree with @Zebras. This is almost certainly going to be a microphone issue. I have had success (but not with Starkeys) in the past of directing a jet of air, for example from a thin tube connected to a bicycle air pump towards the microphone hole, but be careful! This might dislodge something that is blocking the sound. But more likely it needs to go back for repair.

I have been very lucky as this is my first issue after 4 years with these. And yeah, I am currently shopping for Phonak’s Paradise, because as you say, the Halo 2 is old and I don’t think it’s worth the cash repairing it.

Costco branded Phonak Paradise is $1,400 at costco if you have one near enough to you.