Usefulness of Tone Generator for Diagnosing Quattro Microphone Problem

I found that it’s handy to have a Tone Generator app to realize when one’s HA ain’t working right.

For a couple weeks, my left Quattro HA rechargeable battery has been draining noticeably less than my right. Used to be the reverse, with less of a difference.

Seemed like the sounds heard from the left mic were somewhat fainter. I noticed the left HA booted normally but within a minute or two, the clarity of a voice heard through the left HA only faded away. (right HA turned off in phone app)

Tests with a tone generator at various frequencies showed that tones streamed to both HA’s were heard ~equally well across a range of frequencies from 100 Hz through 8 kHz. However, if I used the tone generator with wired over-the-ear headphones, although the right HA behaved normally, the left HA had no frequency response above 1.7 kHz or so.

I inspected the microphone openings with a high-powered, high quality binocular dissecting microscope and couldn’t see anything unusual in the openings - same for my audi using her magnifying video otoscope. I did notice that the window on the underside of the HA through which the device serial number is viewed is quite a bit “fogged” or frosted on the inside - not so for the right HA, which has a rather clear window. Might be someone overzealous with the coating material in the manufacture of the left HA.

My audi found the problem par for the course - I think she said something like “problems with microphones, receivers, and wires are not unusual for HA’s” and just said that she was going to send my left Quattro back to ReSound with the recommendation that it’s internal parts be replaced. When I had my mold impressions made, there was a considerable amount of residual liquid in my ear canals that she didn’t remove on completing my impressions and the domes of both HA’s were very moist when I pulled the HA’s out at the end of the day - but she didn’t think any left-over liquid could have worked its way back into the HA bodies (and I didn’t see a sign of anything in the wires of either HA under a dissecting microscope at 12x). The other possibility for me destroying an HA might be sweating at the gym while wearing over-the-ear headphones or wearing gun muffs over HA’s to blot out gym noise while streaming. It’ll be interesting to see if ReSound offers a verdict of “defective HA” vs. something like “user-induced moisture damage.”

So for anyone like me with approximately equal hearing loss in both ears, if one HA starts draining its battery a lot faster than the other, you might find frequency response tests with a tone generator helpful in finding out whether improper reception, amplification, or output of tones at various frequencies is the reason that one HA is consuming noticeably less battery than the other. Gently rubbing my fingers together by each ear, where I couldn’t hear the high frequency “whfffft” sound of my index finger nail being snapped across the inside of my thumb when testing the left HA, was the first clue to having a relative frequency reproduction problem.

I’ve had so many repairs on my resound HA’s in the past. They’re very good, never had any questions asked. I was very rough on my original ReSound LiNX…working out daily without HA sweatbands/eargear, etc - and I certainly caused damage to them due to that. They replaced all the innards several times.

I’m a bit more careful with my HA’s now. :wink:

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Thanks for reminding me about the eargear as 1Bluejay has advertised them as being very helpful in the past.

Would be nice if ReSound gave feedback on what the problem was but if it were bad quality on their part, they might not want to document it. But if it were moisture from sweat or whatever, I’d like to know to take more strenuous steps to guard against it in the future

I would definitely encourage you to wear HA protection from sweat. The HA manufacturers can only protect from so much with their coating - sweat contains salt and other components, and these can wear down a HA’s protection overtime. Despite what they say (can resist water and sweat). I guess what I’ve found is that their “resistance” can be beat, and rather easily when the HA ages and the cumulative impact grows.

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I’ll see how long my wife takes to notice that I’m wearing eargear at the gym! :grin:

Hmm! Happened again. My left HA, which is the replacement for the Quattro that failed back in March, 2019, has failed in the same way. By streaming with a tone generator, it can still output high frequency sound but if tested through the external mics, it can’t receive and/or amplify high frequency sound that way, e.g., any scratching sound. The right Quattro, which is one of the originals from October, 2018, is working fine. Will see audi for replacement or refurbishment and advice on what I might be doing wrong or is it just ReSound quality?! Maybe stretching high frequency input to get the extended high frequency range that ReSound claims for the Quattro has made it more susceptible to failure?

Wearing a Quattro under a headphone can in a gym situation is going to cause problems eventually - I’d say you’re flooding the mic gore-tex with sweat every time and that’s going to leave salt deposits.

The aids aren’t designed to work like that - if the mix of the outside noise is overpowering in the Gym, turn the aid mics down while you are there using the app. If you need gun muffs to make that happen, have a word with the manager: it’s too loud in there.

Thanks for the suggestion, um_bongo. I’ve actually stopped wearing my headphones to the gym for quite a few months but I still sweat a bit at times working out. I’ll ask my audi if she thinks that could be the problem. I tried Ear Gear but found the covers very noisy with the jostling of my glasses frames, etc., if I run on a treadmill and some Ear Gear wearers on the forum have said that with enough time passing, Ear Gear can just be like a wet sponge laid on top of your HA after it soaks up enough sweat.
When the original left HA failed, my audi looked at the microphones on both aids through her magnifying digital otoscope and said she didn’t see a problem with the condition of the microphones - I don’t know whether she’d be able to see salt deposits?

Would be great if ReSound actually gave some feedback as to the likely cause of failure and I’ll ask my audi to specifically put in a request for that when she sends the HA in, if she can’t fix it herself. If it were just salt deposit filtering out high frequency input sound from the input area of the mics, it’s too bad that they don’t have a way to sponge/dissolve off such deposits since sweating with exertion or heat is a pretty universal human activity - but since I haven’t been sweating all that much wearing my HA’s, I’m doubtful at the moment that’s the source of the problem and my right HA would have suffered twice as much as the left and its replacement in that regard. But we’ll see.

So am I correct in reading that you are not using any protection on your hearing aids while exercising? Having gone through countless ReSound repairs, I would strongly suggest you reconsider and commit to finding protection that suits you. If you don’t like EarGear, maybe give hearing aid sweat bands a try. I sweat a lot when I exercise, so I actually use EarGear and sweat bands - i put the sweat band on top of the ear gear. I also put my aids in a dryer every night. I don’t buy what I think I’ve read on the forums - that you don’t need to do that. It may not be as useful for rechargeables, but I swear drying my aids every night has made a significant difference for me in regards to lifespan of my aids and time between repairs.

also - i don’t have any of the noise you talk about while wearing the eargear. Although this may not be helpful in your circumstances (or maybe it is), I’ve found that having just one of these solutions actually blocks out wind very well.

I’ll ask my audi what she thinks. Don’t know how much she can disassemble my HA’s and look at the mics, etc., but if it’s salt deposits, they at least ought to be visible under a microscope.

I actually carefully checked my Quattro manual. Says that the HA’s are rated IP58, doesn’t mention a thing about sweat or exercise but does say “do not immerse your hearing aids in liquid” and says to avoid showering, swimming, and rain. If it were sweat and they’re not going to honor the warranty for sweat damage while using the HA’s, they should say, “Do not wear your HA’s while exercising and sweating, etc.”

Personally, unless I sweat very asymmetrically or am just randomly unlucky, I don’t think it’s sweat since a) I sweat relatively little being old and taking oxybutynin (an anticholinergic!) for BPH, and 2) I don’t exercise that hard (being old), always pick the coolest part of the gym that I can find-trying to get under an AC duct, and turn on the fans on whatever machine I’m on to the max, especially being old and taking oxybutynin, I’m more prone to overheating my body. My hair might be damp when I’m done but I’m not dripping sweat at all like I used to in my 60’s and earlier. I would also have to knock out all three mics on my left HA, each within a span of 5 to 6 months for the two failed left HA’s but not affect the 3 mics on my right HA in 10 months of the same use.

I think I either damaged the HA’s by occasionally accidentally having them on while I cleaned the mics with the Jodi Vac or by generating relatively uncontrolled feedback by accidentally putting them in my charger case bay and getting into a wild receiver to mic loop. When the latter has happened and I’ve put my ear near the bay, the feedback sound is VERY loud even to me missing my high frequency hearing.

But I’ll ask my audi to specifically request from ReSound a verdict on the likely cause of failure.

The other thing I’ve left out is that the failure is not absolute. The first HA that failed with high frequency loss, would always work perfectly normally for about the first minute after booting, then high frequency response would die away. The current failed one will sometimes work, then always go out again (it doesn’t seem to do the “works for 1st minute thing”). I guess one could always argue that salt corrosion is creating some sort of “loose contact” phenomenon in both HA’s but I think the now it works, now it doesn’t work nature of both failures could be indicating something flaky in the manufacture or materials of the HA. The failed cutoff for the first failed HA seemed relatively abrupt, nothing above 1.5 kHz. Haven’t bothered investigating the 2nd failure that carefully but it doesn’t seem as abrupt.

Thanks for the headgear suggestions, though!

I have a similar problem… Resound Quattro microphone dead

@ssa I actually have no confirmed good reason for the failure. Each time, I asked my audi to ask ReSound for a detailed report on what went wrong but neither time did ReSound provide any info back to the audi. When I called ReSound’s 1-800 USA Support line, I got a very knowledgeable guy on the line. He said that if the audi filled out a specific detailed request form, ReSound should respond with an analysis but said that typically when a Quattro is sent back for repair/replacement, ReSound doesn’t bother with reusing any components - they just open the shell and replace the whole body. As I mentioned in other posts, I was a bit disgruntled in that the refurbished left HA that I got back after my 2nd left HA high-frequency microphone input failure seemed to have a decided inferior battery life to the one sent in for fixing by about 1/2 hr (or slightly more) less battery life for each 20% charge decrement.

My latest totally unproven suspicion as to what went wrong with my two left HA’s in succession is that I don’t think the seal on the ReSound HA body switches is that great. When the HA’s are brand new, the serial number read through the clear window on the bottom of the HA is literally crystal clear. As time progresses (many months), lots of very light, fine debris seems to accumulate on the inside of the window partially obscuring the ability to clearly and easily read the serial number, more so on the two left HA’s that had high-frequency microphone input failures. Since I am a psoriatic and in spite of medicated shampoos, etc., I shed dead skin cells from my scalp like rain (most of which I vacuum off the HA bodies every day with my Jodi-Vac, my totally unproven theory is that some of this incessant rain of dead cell fragments is falling into the crevices around the switch opening, then into the HA as the switches are operated. Since dead tissue = SALT, it’s my totally unproven suspicion, because of the bottom windows becoming cloudier and cloudier over time, that that’s what caused my HA failures. Perhaps throw in a little high humidity from wearing over-the-ear headphones while working out and there you go… Since the two left HA failures, I’ve stopped wearing the headphones but the right HA, which has been working like a champ since 10/2018 and still had a very clear window while the left HA’s that failed did not, is now getting to about the same relative cloudiness point - so we’ll see what happens. On the positive side of things, ReSound has cheerfully replaced the failed HA every time, no questions asked.

So, ssa, how clear are the serial # windows on your Quattro’s, esp. the one that failed vs. the one that’s still working?

it is grey to me, not transparent. I only have one because I wear a CI on the other ear…

For me, the HA body inside the shell has a dark grey background with the serial number being white lettering on that background. But the window on the bottom of the HA shell appears to be something like clear polycarbonate (the way it appears when it’s brand new). It’s the inside of that window, inside the shell, that appears to gum up with stuff like a dirty set of eyeglasses, etc. I have Quattro 961’s (the Li-ion-powered ones) so perhaps if you have a zinc-air battery-powered one, there’s a difference there?

I have li ion version with glossy black.

You’re right. If I look more carefully through the white haze on the inside of the shell window, the body background of mine is actually black, too. I guess the combination of white haze and black background averages out to a grey appearance for a casual gaze.