Widex or Phonak hearing aids for working in noisy environments

I’m just trying to get as much information as I can, I’m waiting on a call back from the audiologist. I know everybody’s hearing is different I’m just trying to get as many opinions as I can. Just seems like one answer leads to another question.

I agree. You have an audiologist. If you have questions he’d be the one to ask. For instance some aids will provide hearing protection but my impression is for some with a severe to profound loss because the molds fit more tightly. But realistically your audi should be the guy you question

For every question you ask here, you’re going to get several answers. Some will be great and well-founded but not appropriate for treatment of your loss. Other opinions may not be so well thought out.

How will you know what to internalize and act upon and what to set aside? Answer: You won’t, because this stuff is not your field of expertise. But it is your audiologist’s.

I’d be patient and avoiding an input bottleneck, if I were in your shoes. There’s a difference between random facts and useful information.

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Alright I appreciate the feedback and I’ll try patience, and try to hit the audiologist with all my questions when he calls.

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That’s a good idea, IMO - but look, you can browse TONS of information by inputting your queries into the Search function.

That’s a STATIC, or passive process, as opposed to the DYNAMIC, “live fire” one of asking questions in the Forum. I’ll bet you’ll find that approach to be much less overwhelming and stressful for you until you can have the parlay with your audiologist.

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@renegade681: Speaking of processes, getting hearing aids that actually work for you is a process . This quote of another post by Member @cvkemp will prove itself true very quickl.

Good luck in your quest!


I work in a noisy environment it is very important to where hearing protection. What can also do is to reduce the volume of the hearing aids while you work to further allow the hearing protection to work. Not off just reduce it a bit using the app. The amount will depend upon you hearing loss. That is what I do.

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Why just these two, both Signia, ReSound and Oticon are just as viable for anyone, you do need to trial a few different brands before setting on ones that you like, I mention these others, as Costco has the best deals going from a price point anyway.

Widex and Phonak are quite different on the way they offer solutions for people’s hearing loss, so I would think you’ll notice a big difference between the two,which is better, well only you can say.
Just out of curiosity, is there a big price difference between the two?

Any HA can handle this situation, some better then others, the easiest way to deal with it is to have a separate program set up especially for that environment, basically with the noise reduction set at a higher level, this is where an App can be very useful, as you’ll be able to make this adjustment yourself on the fly.
Again some Apps are better then others, do some research before taking the plunge, just like when you shop around for a new car, phone or TV, not just whatever the sales rep says.

Good luck

Those are the 2 choices he recommended, not sure why but I also have to say I’m 3 1/2 hours from a city and the closest Cosco also. Joys of living in a small town lol.

Bummer, but at least you have your local clinic, you also have a lot more insight into what to ask your audiologist, hopefully you’ll end up with what works best for you.

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Great excuse to go shopping and stock up.

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Please get a copy of your audiogram from audiologist and then post the information in your profile as this information is often vital to forum members is answering your ?s and having better context/understanding of your unique situation. As generic comments to you: 1) I expect that given that your hearing loss is not too severe that you will experience some to good improvement in most or all of your listening situations. Even for people with “perfect” hearing/ears-brain there is at least some challenge in hearing when there is background noise, and/or competition from other voices from the one that you want to hear. Don’t expect miracles and you are more likely to not be disappointed. 2) It takes some time (perhaps 4 to 8 weeks) to fully get used to hearing aids for the first time. This is true both at a personality level - how do you respond to hearing differently? are there things you are now hearing that are actually annoying, but come with the territory?; AND it takes time for your brain to adjust to and integrate the new auditory information. If you try HA from one Mfg for say 2 weeks and then change to trying one from a different Mfg for a few weeks, part of the difference you’ll experience with the 2nd one is due to the transfer of experience and familiarization process from the first HA. While it is often good to audition different HAs, and you (probably) do so some of why a 2nd HA from different Mfg might sound better might have little to do with that HA but be more due to familiarization. Often an audiologist when initially fitting HAs for someone who has never worn HAs before does NOT initially turn up the volume to what they recommend but would increase the volume in steps after each 2-3 week time period.

You will be on a fairly steep learning curve for a few months as a new HA user. Be patient with yourself, take notes on what is changed, is working well for you, and what still needs improvement. Then sharing this info with your professional lets them tweak things to solve those “issues” without introducing other “issues.” If you are “lucky” each step will improve your experience of hearing and each step will be just a small refinement of the initial fitting - perhaps like having a tailor make adjustment to clothes.

Welcome to the forum and good hearing and luck.

I disagree about deflecting the question to his audiologist. True, the OP should ask his audi, but there is value in hearing opinions form others Audi are just like anyone else and they have opinions and they don’t know everything about everything. Maybe his audi has never worked in an industrial environment…just as an example. Anyway, I learned a lot hear when I was considering buying aids and went to the audi a much better educated consumer. It helped me tremendously in making a good choice.

Anyway, this is something I’ve considered. I used to work in paper mills and other heavy industrial settings. This was long before I wore these aids. I’ve often wondered how I would handle it with the aids. I do wear over the ear style hearing protection now, when cutting the grass (well not since my mower died and I bought an electric one, but still). Point is I have some experience wearing over the ear muffs over the aids.

Mostly I just take them off and put them in a case when doing it.

First it gets sweaty and dirty. No good for the aids, not comfortable.
I have on occasion gotten a little feedback. I think that depends a lot on settings and fit.
The other thing I have noticed is that they interfere with the seal just a bit. Not as bad as with my audio headphones that I use for listing to the computer or music. With those, the mics sometimes pickup sound outside the ear cup and that’s just weird!

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I appreciate all the comments so far I really do, I downloaded a decibel meter today just to see what a few of my machines were putting out and I was surprised to see a high of 86 decibels. Guess that’s why I don’t care for spending more than about an hour in there.

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86db is not too bad. The steel mill I worked at had 105db transients at the cold shear.

Here is how I do things…… I have faced exactly your issues and do so now. I am 50. Been wearing aids since 1976. My hearing has never changed, so I must be protecting myself successfully.

In the load noise areas, I mute my aids…simply turn off the ambient mics. Only my 2-way radio is coming through via the phone clip and Bluetooth. Yes…the vents do let through some outside sound. You will not find and audiologists that will give you any guarantees. Nor will the safety man be completely happy. Yet, this is what has worked for ME. Ear Muffs over the aids…never worked for me….rendered me effectively completely deaf. I know I am correct that the aids with mics off act very well as ear plugs. With the aids in and muted, I could stand next to the shear and be comfortable. With nothing in my ears, it was painful anywhere near. With earplugs properly fitted, the effect was close to what I had with the aids in and mics muted.

Why not get yourself a good set of electronic Peltors so you can hear what’s being said on the shop floor without difficulty and then put your hearing aids back on when you get in the office?

It will keep them out of the sweat and feedback risk, plus you’ll actually be able to hear the speech.

Thinking more about it, I suppose that has a lot to do with how bad of a loss a person has…using peltors, turning off mics, or my thought about putting the aids in the case, etc…

My loss isn’t so bad that I can’t get by without the aids.
That also means that my aids have very open domes.

efigalaxie, I’m guessing yours is some sort of ear mold which closes off the canal except for a vent. I never thought about the idea that they actually would form an earplug of sorts. Interesting.

I’ll bet it would be easy enough to get a reduction rating test done to see how well they work with the vent. Might get enough data to make the safety man happy. Audi’s might even already have a number published for molds…
I used to prefer the old classic 3M yellow EAR plugs over all the others. If memory serves they provide a theoretical 29dB reduction. We had one place in the 1st papermill I worked at that was especially loud. The back side of the old #1 paper machine that was built back in the 1920’s as I recall… huge open spur gears back there. We had to go back there for a quick check monthly. One time I was back in that area and the safety guy was walking around near by with his dB meter. I asked him to go to that loud place… I want to say it was around 130db. It’s been too long to remember exactly…I just recall for sure, thinking that even with perfectly fitted EAR plugs with their 29dB reduction, that a person is still right on the edge of permanent loss. I think it was then that I started wearing plugs and muffs together.

Thanks everyone this is exactly what I was wondering about with noisy environments.I know what I’m about to say is only an excuse. I’m in service so I’m in and out of machine rooms all day long some noisy some not bad at all. And I’m talking to customers so ear plugs are just a pain to use but I’m going to have to change me mindset.

There’s a real-ear measurement for this, called “real-ear occluded gain”, abbreviated REOG.

I know I’m late to the party:

I have Widex with open dome, just in one ear.

Mine has 4 presets, and one is programmed to “mute”, or whatever, and turns the volume way down.

If I’m on the factory floor, I either 1)leave it alone, 2) mute it, 3) take it out and use ear plugs. It depends on noise levels and exposure time.

For yard work with a lawnmower and gas trimmer, I use plugs.

In the airplane I leave the aid in and then use a headset.

If you are still deciding on an aid and do plan to use ear muffs of some sort, take them with you and check for fit and feedback issues. In my case, my aviation headset fits just fine with my Widex RIC and my sunglasses. I’m assuming you also wear safety glasses, so test for worst case when getting fitted.

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