Trial hearing aid sounded distorted


I recently was fit at Costco with a trial hearing aid. It was the Phonak Brio I believe. I was impressed with the high end sounds coming back after having missed them for years. (I have fairly typical high end, moderate loss in both ears.) The high end stuff, even annoying sounds (unruly child screeching, shopping cart crashing) were welcome to hear. The sounds were sort of what I expected to hear. One issue I had was some severe distortion when my wife talked and I was too near (arms length). If I stepped back a couple of feet, all was well. The audi said that it was my brain getting used to the increased volume of the higher frequency sounds. We turned down the hearing aids one or two clicks and the distortion went away, although everything was less loud of course. To me it sounded like clipping, for example when a poorly designed amplifier is over driven by a signal or is of low quality and turned up too loud. It didn’t occur when the male audi. spoke at similar distances.

What are other’s experiences with this? Is it more likely my brain clipping or the hearing aid?



That is a very difficult issue. I have been having similar issues with my KS8 HA’s from Costco. I have been on an off with whether or not it is a problem with the HA’s or my hearing just not being used to hearing those frequencies. The fitter has tried open and now closed sleeves for fitting. Didn’t make much difference. More gain seems to make it worse. She finally admitted it may be a defective hearing aid and has returned them to be replaced. I am now using some loaner HA’s. At the same time as she gave me the loaner pair she turned the gain down. The distortion I was hearing is gone, but not sure if the problem was the hearing aids or just too much gain for my ears. I am currently leaning toward it being defective hearing aids, or at least one of them.

See this thread for more detail on the issues I was having…



Have you looked at your audiogram placed on TOP of the actual hearing aid’s performance graph? I’m probably not stating this in technical terms, but each model of hearing aid has a graph that plots against the optimal hearing loss that it is able to handle.

It could be that your hearing loss is butting up against the limit of some frequency range of the hearing aid and what it can handle.

Ideally, one buys hearing aids with a comfortable frequency-handling field so that volume can be boosted (is that gain?) without distortion. I’d ask the Costco audi to show you how your audiogram plots on the Phonak Brio’s performance chart.



The brain can cause clipping.

I had Clipping/distortion on moderately loud sounds and music for years before I got hearing aids (and also discomfort/pain) at sound levels other people are ok with. I got hearing aids six months ago, and after three or four months, loud sounds became less uncomfortable. I am not sure if the distortion has gotten better.

The hearing aids don’t seem to cause distortion for me.

At concerts, I remove the hearing aids and use ear plugs or muffs because of both the distortion and discomfort. That is for classical and choral concerts. I stay away from rock/pop/amplified concerts.



Thank you Steve. That is good to know. I don’t have anything like that without hearing aids but the amplified sounds might cause it I suppose.



Bluejay, I have not checked that yet but I will have a look at the hearing aid capabilities more closely during my next visit.



Thank you all for the information. It is a great help. I think I’ll try a couple of different brands and see if the same issue occurs with those in a similar setting.