Trialing Silvertone W16's (Starkey WI's)

It’s been a few days since I received my W16’s and I have to say, so far, so good. I’m proceeding with caution here, since my previous aids seemed fine at the beginning, but after a week or so, my hearing comprehension would deteriorate.

Sounds seem as they should be, not overly loud, yet comfortable. I remember during my previous trials, the first time I heard our Great Danes bark I thought my head was going to blow up! Now, their barking is still loud (as it would be with normal hearing), but tolerable.

I’ve been testing the aids in a variety of places and I’m very happy with the results. We leased a new vehicle and I sat in the back while the salesperson was explaining the features to my husband in the front seat. To my surprise, I was able to understand what the salesperson was saying without having to read his lips. I also did fine at the restaurant we went to afterwards.

This time of year the red-winged blackbirds frequent our backyard before going back north and they are a noisy bunch! I was able to carry on a conversation with my husband while sitting on the back patio despite the chattering.

The only disappointment I’ve experienced so far has been with the Surflink media. The sound is better (but still not great) than the Surflink I trialed with the Audibel Ranges, but as I walk out of range, I get an annoying crackling sound in my aids and the sound seems to be going in and out of the left aid. I am also having problems with the remote. It may not be the equipment’s fault, since in our house we have WIFI and an infrared system that powers all of our TV’s (all satellite/receiver boxes are out of sight in an electronics room) and this may be causing some interference. I am seriously considering returning this.

In conclusion, I am very happy so far with these aids. Starkey has made a superior product and with the help of an expert hearing specialist, found courtesy of this forum, I’m confident that I will be hearing to the best of my ability for a long time to come.

I’ll be going back week after next for a follow-up. I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress.

Following are my test results:

Right: 55/ 40/ 55/ 45/ 25/ 75
Left: 60/ 50/ 50/ 55/ 40/ 85

SRT: Right: 40dB Left: 40dB

Unaided Discrimination:
Right: 80% Level: 70dB
Left: 88% Level: 70dB

Moderate rising to mild at 4 kHz then dropping to severe sensorineural hearing loss for the right ear.
Left shows moderately-severe rising to mild at 4 kHz then sloping to severe sensorineural hearing loss.

I was playing with a Surflink Media the other day on one of my trips. I was in a busy Sears store, surrounded by electronics, and all the other technology you might expect in a store. I was able to stream music clearly off my iPad and hear it from about 30 feet away without any interference.

Make sure that the volume control on the Surflink is up and more importantly make sure the range is on max.

Despite the name ‘Wi’ there should not be interference from WiFi, it’s not the same frequency (2.4GHz vs 900MHz). Also the aids have frequency hopping where they should be able to skip to a better frequency instantly if there is interference from something.

Consider requesting that a memory or program be set aside just for listening to the TV. Then you can have a special program set up where you hear the TV great, and you can turn to that memory when you wish to stream. This may be better than simply having the normal memory also having streaming.

Glad to hear that you are doing well in other areas, after all conversation is pretty important, and it’s great that you can do that well even with background noise.

I will continue to experiment with the Surflink. The sound quality I experience through the aids (without the Surflink) is pretty good, so I may do that.

I’m thinking a dedicated memory for music/TV would be ideal. That would be my first thought. Then that memory could be programmed to sound awesome on the TV without affecting your every day program that you are already pretty happy with.

The memories are independent, so having multiple memories allows you to customize for specific listening scenarios.

As a clearly tech savvy user, I’d give you all four programs and probably configure them in this way:

  1. Normal every day.
  2. High noise situations, like a restaurant.
  3. TV / Music
  4. Telephone (automatically selected by aid when using the phone)

I totally agree!

I have the same four in the WIs I am trialing. But the t-coil does not go on automatically.

Diane, Have you tried your WIs in a very noisy environment? How did they work?

I have been fitting a lot of Starkey Wi products over the last couple months and I have to say, I am really impressed with the hearing aids, the wireless programming, the remote options and function, but the surflink media device has been an issue for my customers. I am actually going to fit myself with hearing aids and trial them for a couple weeks with the surflink media device attached to all my gizmos to see if I can better trouble shoot the audio issues. Glad you are liking your hearing aids!

Hi, Lalo,

Nice to meet a fellow WI-user!

So far, I’ve worn these aids in stores, restaurants, a car dealership and my backyard that has a lot of noisy birds passing through this time of year and the aids have really performed well!

That said, I was disappointed while in a quiet insurance office the other day, since I had a terrible time understanding a low-talking woman who was also a fast-talker. I must have asked her to repeat herself at least a half-dozen times. I was really bummed out over that. Guess I’m doing better in noisy environments than in quiet ones!

You’re right about the t-coil. I automatically assumed it would be activated the day I received the aids. I go for a follow-up tomorrow and I will definitely make sure that is done.

So far, I’m very pleased with these aids. How are you doing?


Hi, Hearingaid girl!

I have been having issues with the Surflink as well. To date, I have only seen positive feedback regarding the Surflink in this forum and I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong.

This is the second Surflink I have tried; the first one was with the Audibel Ranges I trialed for 10 days before returning everything. The issues I had with the first Surflink were poor sound quality and the sound would come and go out of the left aid. The Audi was clueless on how to program these aids (not to mention the Surflink), so I decided to cut my losses early and look elsewhere.

The Surflink I’m presently trialing with the Silvertone aids isn’t much better. While I’m hearing the streaming in both aids, regardless how I set the range/volume, as soon as I go out of range I hear this annoying crackling sound.

I usually wear a Sennhesier RF listening system while watching TV at night that I really enjoy. It has great sound and a wider range which enables me to walk around the house as well as the backyard. When I get out of range w/the Sennheiser, I hear a soft beeping sound, which is much easier on the ears.

The sound quality from the Surflink, in my opinion, is not that geat. Yesterday I tried watching The View and I only had the Surflink on for about 10 minutes before I switched back to my Sennheiser. I was trying to think of how to compare the audio through the Surflink and I finally decided that it seemed as if the women of The View inhaled helium prior to the show, causing them to talk in high-pitched voices. Yet, when I listen to the TV with my aids alone, the voices are as they should be. I don’t know if anything can be done to improve the quality of the audio on the Surflink, but I’m not giving up yet. I believe I have a 30 day trial on the Surflink. I’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

Are these the issues you are hearing from your customers?

I really do like the Silvertone aids and the hearing aid specialist is first rate.

I will continue to provide updates and I hope you do the same.


Yes Diane, these are the same issues I have been hearing. SO. This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to demo the aids and connect them to my tv, my friends tvs, my computer, my iPod… everything. I will also work with Starkey on figuring out this issue. I really, really want the surflink to work… I will get back to you within two weeks. Also, you can ask your hearing aid specialist for an extension on the trial period for the surflink… we get 90 days to return from the manufacturer. I will be in touch soon.

Oh, did you get the remote with your hearing aids? Perhaps you could have your hearing aid dealer either give you a secondary multimemory setting to help you hear a bit more at times, or just have the volume control activated on the remote?

Funny you should mention the remote, since after I posted my reply, I noticed I did not address that.

When I returned home after receiving my aids, I immediately set up the Surflink. I was anxious to try the star button, which would mute the Surflink if I wanted to hear someone in the room. Well, it did not work. No button worked. The lights would shine when I pressed the button, but that was it. I later learned I was supposed to hear tones while pushing each button, so it may be the remote was not sync’d to my aids.

I’ll address that issue w/my hearing aid specialist this morning as well as adding a memory setting to improve my hearing the TV.

I’m glad to learn I’m not the only one experiencing these issues with the Surflink media. My husband was under the impression I was doing something wrong, since I was having problems with both the Surflink and remote. I’ll be sure to show him this post!

I, too, want this Surflink to work, but I don’t see where any adjustments can be made on the present unit to improve the sound. I would hate to keep this unit as it is right now, only to find Starkey launching a new, improved one a few months from now.

Thanks for the info regarding the trial period on the Surflink. I look forward to hearing your results on your Surflink demos.


Went for my follow-up yesterday and told the specialist about my issues with the Surflink. We hooked it up to the TV she had in the reception area using different chords, since her set would not take the chords that were included. We were unable to get the Surflink to stream audio into my aids, no matter what we did. The specialist called Starkey and she made a few adjustments.

Prior to her calling Starkey, she reactivated my remote and as we were testing it with the Surflink, she was instructing me to hold the remote at different angles towards my ears which not only looked ridiculous, but did not work. So much for use of the remote being discreet!

Starkey informed her I should be aiming the port at the bottom of the remote towards the Surflink, which would mean holding the remote upside down. That did very little to control things.

Since we were trying everything to get this thing to work for almost 2 hours, I decided to take the Surflink home again and reinstall it. Well, it won’t stream audio here either! I’ll play around further with the setup over the weekend.

The hearing aid specialist also activated the telecoil which should engage automatically when it detects a telephone. Well, that’s not working either. I would imagine the telecoil is pretty basic when it comes to hearing aids, but it’s new to me, since my Siemens aids had bluetooth. When I hold it near my amplified phone that contains a telecoil, nothing happens.

One thing I did learn (and feel pretty foolish about) is that when the aids don’t seem to be picking up speech as sharp as they had been, change the batteries. The fading quality of speech was one of my concerns that I mentioned to the specialist. She immediately changed the battery and low and behold, clear sound! Duh! I was waiting for the low battery prompt to change the batteries. I should mention I had rechargeable batteries with my Siemens aids that were charged nightly, so my experience with regular batteries is limited. This is indeed a learning process!

I return in a week for another follow-up. I’m pretty happy with the hearing aids, but I’m beginning to think the Starkey people should go back to the drawing board regarding the Surflink and possibly the telecoil!

Please share your experiences with Starkey’s accessories. Thanks to HearingAidGirl, I now know I’m not alone in this!


Hi Diane, Lots of thoughts here: My telecoil works just fine. Again, it has to replace one of the 4 programs. This is so strange that the Wi works well for you in noise but poorly in noise for me. I had an adjustment yesterday to increase voices in noise and it helped but the Wi’s are still terrible in noise for me.

Hmm, you have not put up your hearing loss in your signature - our hearing loss may be very different. Also, if these are your first hearing aids, they will seem fantastic. Have you trialed any other brands? My Audie is going to get the rep from Starkey to help but I just don’t think she can help. I suggested Widex as he likes Widex but he is not impressed with the BT from Widex. His thoughts on Phonak mirror lot of experiences here. Great tech - perhaps too much tech, which is not implemented well. He does not like Oticon business practices but thinks the Agil is a great HA. Maybe if I trial that, XBuilder will be nice to me…

I have been trying the Starkey Wi’s for about 3-weeks and have had a lot of technical problems with the HA’s and SurfLink. I have been comparing them with the Phonak S Smart IX and iCom. I am experiencing the same problems with the SurfLink as you. The sound quality is so-so and in a couple of cases I needed to use CC with the SurfLink. I have never needed CC with the iCom and good sound quality although a bit tinny. I also have the problem of losing the sound for a couple of seconds with the SL. The SL does not do well unless I am line-of-site with it and my HA’s. I think this is because of the SL operates at a lower frequency. Sometimes I go to the kitchen away from the SL and cannot hear the TV but I can hear in the kitchen with the iCom. Maybe they don’t need to work in another room but it’s nice for me to hear the news in another room for a few minutes.

I have other technical issue with the Wi’s. My left HA went dead. At first I thought it was the battery but not that. Then I thought it was the wax guard but not that. When I brought it back to the audi he replaced it. Then with the new HA I had a different problem with the SL. At first it worked okay but then the left HA went dead when I moved in the room with the SL. So I went in another room opened and closed the battery door and the HA worked again. This problem continues whenever I approached the SL. My audi reprogrammed the HA. It worked okay for a couple of hours and then same issue with the SL…goes dead when near SL but turns back on with battery. My audi contacted Starkey and they think it’s the antenna so they are sending a new set.

I think the remote is good but I have a problem with that, too. There seems to be a lag between the left and right HA when I change programs. In other word, I will hear the number one in the left ear and then a few seconds later I hear the number one in the right ear. This gets worst if I try to go to the next program before the left ear catches up. Then they get out of sync. Now I’m hearing the one program in the left ear and another program in the right ear. I’ve learned to correct this with the remote by turning one HA off, then change the other until it is in sync with the HA that is off. I don’t have this problem all the time but often enough to make it an issue for me.

I’m hoping that the new HA’s will correct the problems because this distracts me for evaluating the most important thing, which is the hearing quality of the HA’s. However, I think they are very loud. This is a common problem for a new HA wearer but I’ve been wearing HA’s for about 6 years. I hear loud voices fairly well but low voices, particularly females, is not good. I know this is due to my hearing loss becasue it’'s common for me without HA’s and with my old ones, but I was hopping the new technology would be better.

Hi, Lalo,

Sorry for not posting my audiogram. I had it in my previous posts, but I guess I’m getting careless!

Here it is:

Following is my audiogram results:

Right: 55/ 40/ 55/ 45/ 25/ 75
Left: 60/ 50/ 50/ 55/ 40/ 85

SRT: Right: 40dB Left: 40dB

Unaided Discrimination:
Right: 80% Level: 70dB
Left: 88% Level: 70dB

Moderate rising to mild at 4 kHz then dropping to severe sensorineural hearing loss for the right ear.
Left shows moderately-severe rising to mild at 4 kHz then sloping to severe sensorineural hearing loss.

This is not my first experience wearing hearing aids. I began wearing Siemens Pure 700’s in 2008. They never were right for me and the audi was a real creep; a total bad experience.

My husband convinced me late last year to try to find another audi, which I did, but she wasn’t very experienced with my type of hearing loss, so I returned the aids and was able to find a hearing specialist that I like through help from this forum.

There is a real improvement between my first aids and the ones I have now, especially in noisy situations. When I wore the Siemens aids, everything seemed loud and distorted. Sounds seem so much more natural now.

I know I’ll never hear perfectly again (probably never did), but I’m hopeful the Silvertones (Starkey) will improve my situation.

I’m sorry you’re having so much difficulty in noisy situations. On the plus side, at least your telecoil’s working!

I hope someone in this forum can help you. Please keep me posted on your progress!


ZTC With these programs, which would be used for Bluetooth such as Artone?

Hi, Joesan,

I’m sorry to hear about all of the issues you’re having w/your aids and the Surflink. My Surflink’s sitting on a shelf and the remote is right there next to it, since I am unable to get the audio to stream through my aids. I haven’t found time yet this weekend to play around with it to see if I can get it to work. I don’t think either accessory is going to be a keeper.

I don’t see the value of having a remote when you can click the back of one of your aids and get the same results. I guess I learned to hate HA remotes when I had my Siemens Pure 700’s with the TEK remote. It was like a heavy old cell phone that hung around my neck on a lanyard and I hated it! The only way to use bluetooth w/it was to speak into the TEK. My iPhone would sit in my pocket. Carrying 2 units just to talk on the phone seems like overkill to me.

I’m leaning toward returning the Surflink & remote and continue to use my Sennheiser listening system for the TV. Starkey must have an inkling by now that their Surflink has flaws and I don’t want to be stuck w/their original when in a few months or so they introduce their “new, improved” model.

I agree with you that all this fussing around with the accessories is distracting us from the HA’s, which by far is most important.

My aids aren’t loud at all; they are very natural sounding, much to my relief. Maybe your audi can turn them down to a more comfortable level?

I’m doing surprisingly well in noisy situations, but I had a problem similar to yours, understanding a female with a low voice in a quiet office, so adjustments will still have to be made.

I hope they’re able to resolve your sync issues w/your HA’s and they work out well for you.

Please keep me posted and I’ll do the same!


Okay Diane, I am wearing a pair of Wi and have the Surflink hooked up to the tv. Aside from the sound being different, it is working pretty well. I am going to make some adjustments inside the software to see if I can get a bit more low frequency gain in the television/streaming mode I’ve created. So, I’m not sure what people are doing wrong at home or if your dispenser has made some errors in setting up your device. There are quite a few options with the remote and microphone settings, Perhaps he/she needs to double check how things are set. As a non-hearing impaired person, I’m kind of enjoying feeling like I’m “inside the tv”.

You say the sound is different, in what way? I thought the voices sounded very high pitched and unpleasant. Overall, I believe the sound is poor quality, nothing I would want to listen to on a regular basis and I’m not the only person who shares this opinion. You mentioned in your previous post that you were hearing the same issues I was experiencing.

I want to hear the streaming the same way I hear the TV if I’m close to it or if I’m wearing my aids and not using the Surflink.

As far as doing something wrong at home, while it could happen, the set-up’s pretty simple (red to red, white to white, plug to outlet). My hearing aid specialist was on the phone w/Starkey, but I don’t know what was discussed, other than I was not getting the audio through my aids, which is still the case.

I’m seriously considering returning the Surflink and concentrating on trialing the aids. That’s really what is most important to me. If I want to enjoy TV without my aids, I’ll use my Sennheiser system.

I thank you for taking the time to reply.


Yes, I agree the sound is A LOT poorer than I expected. It sounds slightly tinny with the open fit ear buds I am using. When I plugged my fingers in my ears, the sounds quality (naturally) improved to acceptable. I’m wondering if I can create a tv mode and increase the lows and mids and decrease the highs in that setting to give a more rich, full sound when using the Surflink. I am thinking you should return the Surflink and if I have success with this, maybe you can trial it again… I am not giving up yet as I have only tried it one time. I’m not sure which model of Sennheiser you are using, but many of them, especially the higher end devices utilize more than one speaker (tweeter, woofer…etc) so the sound has more depth and richness. I will call up Starkey today and have a chat as well, because before I recommend this to my customers, I really want it to work! Best of luck. Will keep in touch.