Voices sound like someone talking through a fan

Greetings all. I posted a thread on another part of the forum in which this issue was mentioned (but it was not the topic of the thread), so I thought I’d post it here where I might get some more response from other forum members.

I was recently fitted with Starkey Z series RIC HA’s about 7 days ago. I’m at 50% of my “dosage” and no other adjustments have been made yet as my Audi wants me to just get acclimated to wearing them. I’m experiencing the normal “loudness” and hearing more distinct sounds than before. I’m totally fine with this and getting adjusted to it. However, whenever anyone talks, it sounds like they are speaking through an electric fan. My own voice also sounds this way, especially if I talk louder than normal. The sound reminds me of when a caller is on the radio but they don’t turn their own radio volume down to avoid feedback. Also, any beeps or single high-pitched tones/notes sound like two tones which are clashing. My gut tells me that this is not normal, so I wondered if anyone out there has experienced anything like this. I am NOT hearing any whistling sounds. However, if someone else actually whistles, it sounds like two people whistling together, but their notes are out-of-tune. This is really annoying.

Any thoughts???

Compression might need to be adjusted?

I think I mentioned in the other thread already, but I’m guessing that the whistling or single tone that sounds like 2 people whisting or 2 tones that sound out of tune is probably due to the frequency shifting done to control feedback. Of course this is just a guess, but if you search this thread in the Oticon forum, you may find a poster who’s a musician and who vehemently complain about hearing out of tune notes due to the frequency shifting technique employed to control feedback. Musicians are very sensitive to things that sound out of tune so they pick up on this right away. You may want to ask your audi to turn off feedback control next time to see if you notice this anymore or not. Also, if there’s any type of frequency lowering/compression turned on to help improve speech understanding, you may want to turn that off as well because if definitely will mess with the sounds and make them sound out of tune.

As for the fluttering speech of others or of your own, I’m guessing like Tony above that it may be due to compression pumping of some sort. This is not normal and won’t go away even after you’ve become acclimated to the louder sounds in my opinion.

You asked for thoughts, so they’re being offered here. But know that we’re only HA wearers, not HA service professional. Maybe some of the HA service professional on this forum can chime in as well. There may also be some comments calling us “internet specialist” as well. I’d just ignore those.

Your comments are helpful. Thank you! …and no, I realize that most of the folks here are HA wearers, so I’m not expecting people to have all the answers. I’m just fishing to see if anyone else out there had a similar problem and to find out what was done to solve it. Ironically, I can put up with the musical portion sounding “out of tune”. But as I said, the spoken voices are what is driving me nuts. I’ve been doing some online research, and the compression issue may very well be the culprit. Can compression be adjusted on hearing aids? If only the volume is increased, I’ll just hear the same thing only louder. I definitely don’t want that. I also read something about how the sounds that are naturally coming into my ear along with the amplified sounds might be occurring at slightly different times which would create and odd sound. The technical term is “artifacts”, I believe. I’m certainly getting an education with all the reading/research that I’m doing.

I’m grateful for the input that I’m getting here on the forum. I don’t expect complete perfection, but I do want the sounds coming into my ear to be as normal as possible.

^^^ Ack. My first pair of Starkeys way back in the '90s vibrated when I was driving my car and shifting gears. Also, whenever anyone spoke, their voices vibrated such as you describe (like talking through the fan blades). Very annoying. I recall sending them back in, but when they were returned, the volume never seemed as powerful on them as before. So maybe my audi was just trying to boost them beyond the capability of the aid? It sounded like a vibrating diaphragm or something.

It’s also possible that you got a lemon pair of aids. Ask for a NEW pair instead of countless tinkering with these. You must be under warranty still? Your time is valuable, and I’d aim for the quickest fix here.

You may be onto something there about the natural sound that comes into your ear conflicting with the amplified sound which may have enough of a delay that at certain frequency range may happen to be out of phase enough with each other (at 180 degrees out of phase) that is starting to cancel each other out at some spot and doubling each other up at other spots, resulting in the fluttering that you hear.

I totally forgot that you have excellent hearing up to 2KHz and even between 2-4KHz your loss is only moderate. So it’s really well within the range that most HA should be able to handle and process without having to reach any kind of limit, so maybe it’s not due to compression after all. But any amount of processing, whether it be compression or whatever else, is going to contribute to a minor delay in the output. Maybe they can fine tune this delay so that the amplified sound will be in phase enough with the natural sound to get rid of the fluttering.

I also hope they don’t do any kind of amplification between 0-1KHz where you don’t have any loss there at all. Any small amount of amplification there can have the potential to conflict with the natural sound you hear for sure.

It’ll be interesting to see how your audi will address and fix this issue for you. Please do come back and share with us how it will have been resolved in the future.

yeah it’s not normal and it might be a combination of compression being to tight and frequencies in the mid being to high in relation to the lower ones.

I guess you have an open fit? some kind of open dome or mold?

I have open domes with my RIC.

Let’s hope that maybe I’m on the right track. It’s awkward, because my Audi has much more experience and education about all of this than I do. Then some new guy like me comes into the office and tries to explain away what he thinks is happening. I should probably just keep my mouth shut.

My hearing loss is definitely moderate at this point, and I could still easily survive without my HA’s. The whole reason for getting them though, was because I’ve had such a problem over the past four years in understanding my students in school and other people, especially with background noise. My struggles have been with certain tones - consonants, especially. I misunderstand people frequently and the TV is especially challenging for me at times. e.g.- someone was talking about their “extensive” family, but I thought they said “expensive” family. Someone will be talking and I’ll hear 3/4 of what they say but certain words will sound garbled/unclear. This went on for a good year or two before I finally went to an audi and was tested. I also had Meniers for a year or so. My audi tells me though, that my hearing loss looks more like a result of loud music. This would definitely be me as I’ve been a serious musician since I was in elementary school. I’ve spent many many years playing in instrumental groups. At any rate, I say all this to make the point that I think my hearing loss is probably “on the fence” as far as a desperate need for HA’s. Maybe that’s why I’m experiencing the oddities with the voice quality. I hope my audi can work it out.

If you had Menere’s, it must have been a mild version. My ENT says it is often misdiagnosed. Typical attacks are instant and very debilitating. Usually, the loss is much greater. Menier’s can be looked at as a collection of symptoms often with little prescribed treatments. What does sound like it is difficulty understanding. But even those with good hearing can be fooled by plosive sounds – just not as often. Your Word Recognition Score are likely pointing to the problem as much as your audiogram does.

Your loss resembles a cookie bite loss and it is a harder loss to fit than the waterfall loss that relates to loud music etc. Your loss is somewhat atypical and many audiologist don’t encounter it that often.

Hopefully, one of the audiologist here will confirm my remarks and suggest how it should be programmed. Evidently, the stock programming software doesn’t do well with cookie bite. You might search on cookie bite here to find threads that discuss how it is fitted. I’m not one who really understands such fitting needs and you need a true pro to confirm/expand what I’m saying.

I had minor vertigo issues with my Menieres. I was diagnosed by my family doctor rather than an ENT, so who knows? Still, at the time my symptoms pointed to it. Mine was mostly the roaring in the ear and reduced hearing inability. On the onset, I’d be standing and all of a sudden fall to one side like someone was pushing me. I ended up on a type of water pill and a reduced sodium diet to remedy it. Mine lasted probably close to a half year before it started to finally go away. Then it came back again about a year later but only for a brief time and not as intensely. I have constant tinitus and still have some minor affects if I eat too much salty food for an extended period of time. With Meniers, people usually lose the baseline hearing more than the upper, so yes my audiogram is kind of odd for someone who had Meniers. I’m sure that my musical exposures didn’t help things much. I’ll check out the cookie bite thing…very interesting.


all three suggested reasons can be true. In my opinion. feedback supression is worst. This gives a warbling, chorus-like sound. Let your audi turn off feedback-supression and see if that helps.

Interference between direct and amplified sound occurs, too. For me I hear this especially with my own voice when I talk outdoors with wind. But this is rare. Only means against this would be a closed fitting (which has other disadvantages).

Compression gives me a kind of “chopped sound” when I am in bigger halls. This goes away when I use my live-music program (which has less compression).

Some of those artifacts you’ll have to live with. I decided I didn`t want to live with the artifacts of feedback supression, so I turned it off in all programs. But I do have feedback sometimes, which is annoying. It’s a matter of compromise.

Good luck with improving your settings,


Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to my Audi next Wednesday and I hope that we can experiment with different settings to see what will work best. Yes, you described it well - it gives a chorus-like sound that warbles. That’s exactly what I’m hearing with any voices or any higher pitched tones…