Widex Unique 440 CIC on trial


This is my first post here, and at the moment I’m on mysecond day of trialing the widex unique 440 CIC, upgrading from widex InteoCIC. First I’ll write a little info about me. I’ve worn HAs ever since I was 7,now I’m 27 and I’ve always worn widex CICs. In my signature is my audiometry (Ihad it done last month) and over the years it stayed pretty much the same, butin the last 2 years I’ve had several test and hearing seemed to have wosened,not by much however.

Two years ago I’ve tried widec dream RICs 440 with custommolds and they didn’t work for me, there was the custom mold and then thehearing aid behind the ear and my ear would hurt by the end of the day + theocclusion from the custom mold, couldn’t wait to get them off at the end of theday. Beside that there was another big issue - there was always an imbalancebetween the 2 hearing aids and no matter how many settings the audi tried to doit just didn’t work and this problem was very distracting. I also found that Ireally didn’t get that much speech clarity from them so I turned them back. Ialso tried several other brand (siemens, phonak, starkey, unitron - all RICs)but unfortunately, in my country, only widex provides a trial and only for oneweek with payment. I tested the other brands only in the audiologist practice,they didn’t even tell me to walk outside and see how the work so I couldn’treally make a decision based on the testing done inside the room.

I decided to wait which brings me back to the present day. Iheard about the new unique series and I thought to give it a go. I actuallywanted to trial the Unique RIC 440 but the audie suggested I go with the CICones since I’ve worn CIC almost my entire life. So I went with these one and Ican’t tell there’s big improvement compared to the dream 440 RIC. I could heareverything, yesterday I was quite overwhelmed by all these new sounds. Theweird thing is that today I’ve realised that I hear the background noise waytoo loud - the car engine, the air conditioning, the cars on the streets and Idon’t think it is because I’ve never heard them before, it bothers me too much.Speech clarity is way better on these ones compared to the dream RICs, but Istill have to test them in other situations (restaurants, several people in thecar etc.). Another issue that I’ve notice with the background noise, is that,while I’m driving even though the radio is quite loud the aids don’t pick it up, the background noise is still clear (car engine, cars on the streets). Alsowhen I listen to music the lower frequencies seem to be cut, I can’t hear them,but when I take one HA off I can hear them (I have to mention that I have novent in my HAs and I don’t have the wireless aids, the audie told me that theycouldn’t fit my hearing loss so I don’t have com-DEX and teh aids work with theuniversal program).

And now I have to ask if widex has a problem with theimbalance of sound in their HAs because I’m having the same issue with theseCICs that I’ve had with the RICs, and I’ve also noticed these in my Inteos CICexcept is not that pronounced.

I’m looking for a bit of advice from someone, hoping maybe tobe a bit more enlightened, maybe someone had the same issue, especially withthe background noise and the imbalance, because at the moment I really don’tknow what to do. I’m also going to try some Oticon Opn1, with a different whotold me that I could try them outside, I hope I will be able to make and ideaabout these Oticons.

I know it’s a long post, sorry about that!

Thank you in advance!

I’ve found the new Unique series to be the best aid I have ever had, in the digital era. You WILL hear more noises as you describe, but you may want to try the programming mode where you have 3 steps instead of 8 steps on the “volume control”, it will impact a lot more features than the 8 step control. You also can have the programmer shift the overall mode more towards “comfort” and see if that helps. Some technical resources for you:http://www.audiologyonline.com/artic…-because-16325 Your brain should also get used to these sounds and will learn to filter them out.

Back in my early years, I also had a reverse slope loss as yours. You have a difficult situation - you need a full closed shell to get the high frequency amplification you need without feedback, but you need an open fit to get the low frequency you can still hear to a large degree. You’re going to have to learn to live with a compromise. It was easy for me, lost my hearing so young, I don’t remember what it’s like to hear low frequency normally.

I also found the RIC, with the two microphones vs the one in the CIC to be a better aid - it allowed more of the Widex features to work as intended, and the “clarity” and my speech understanding improved immensely. You can get used to the aid hanging on your ear, just a matter of time.

I was hoping an audiologist would chime in. I don’t know if it was a “miswrite,” but I’m pretty sure ana doesn’t have a reverse-slope loss. Reverse slope is when low frequency hearing is impaired and high frequencies are normal or near normal.I also think ana has enough low frequency loss where a full open fit wouldn’t be appropriate, but probably a moot point with a CIC.

I don’t know what to make of the imbalance problem. Are your old aids “balanced?” If so, maybe have the audiologist look at the settings on them.

I don’t think there’s any quick solution other than to keep working with your audiologist. If you stop making progress, consider another audiologist. Consider contacting Widex. Good luck and keep us posted.

I can’t comment about the Widex Unique 440 because I don’t wear them but I can comment about the Oticon Opn1 which you said you’re going to try them out as well.

If you have an iPhone, you can pair the OPN1 with your iPhone and it’ll give you a choice to independently set the left and right volume separately, so this feature may help you adjust to remove the imbalance. Once you know where the left and right volume settings should be relative to each other to minimize the imbalance, you can have your audi program the relative left/right volumes into the OPN directly so you won’t have to keep making adjustment on the iPhone anymore. If you have Android phones then the Android ON app from Oticon doesn’t have separate left/righ volume controls, unfortunately.

In terms of the background noise being way too loud for you, it’s probably because you’re not used to hearing better with the Widex Dream before so now everything will seem too loud for you. Just give it time to adjust and eventually your brain hearing will learn to become not as sensitive to the background noise as before. In the meantime, the volume control is your friend to turn things down if you feel too overwhelmed, and turn things back up when you need to listen to speech. The OPN has a built-in feature to gradually adjust your volume after so many hours if you want to set it, but manually adjusting the volume gives you more flexibility although less automated and a little more hassle.

When you try out the OPN, you’ll probably also hear a lot of sounds around you that you did’t hear before or don’t care to hear now either because you consider those sounds noise. But keep in mind that the OPN1 lets you hear everything on purpose because that’s an integral part of their “open” paradigm. But you’ll also find good clarity in speech amongst all the sounds. So you need to give it time for your brain hearing to get adjusted to the new hearing capabilities and eventually your brain hearing will learn what to ignore and what to focus on quite seamlessly. With you still being young at 27 I’m sure your brain hearing will adapt quite well and quite quickly to the “open” paradigm. After a while, you’ll be glad that you can hear everything and have your brain hearing be able to pick and choose what you want to focus on hearing and what you want to ignore at will. That’s how normal hearing people selectively manage their hearing anyway. I wear the OPN1 and when I’m in a noisy moving car with the radio on, I notice the radio music the most, but if I want to shift my attention to focus on the other sounds beside the radio music, I can immediately notice the other sounds at will as well like they’re right there at the tip of my fingers.

I stand corrected, that is not reverse slope.

I’m back with an update, but first… it seems that the posts have been deleted, anybody knows what happened? Hopefully it can be solved.

Ok so the update on the Oticon OPN1. It seems that I’m just out of luck with the audiologists… I’ve tried the Oticon OPN1 and I can honestly say that the widex Unique CIC I’m trialing now are more powerful. I think the Oticon OPN1 would have been a great HA if only the audiologists knew what to do which wasn’t the case. I wasn’t overwhelmed by noises at all, it was like I was with my old CICs. They did help me hear more clear the person talking in the back of my car but I could also hear the person on the back of my car with the unique CICs (altough a little bit muffled).
I was fitted with a bass dome but I forgot if it had a single vent or double vent (if I try to recall it was probably doble vented). It was also itchy on my right ear.
Altough I had 2 hours to try them the audie did a bunch of settings, he set me with the 4 programs, and I was told at the end of the trial that the ambient noise was reduced from the setting by 7db. wasn’t impressed with these HA but now I realise how important is to have a really good audiologist, I definitely can’t buy a HA if the audiologist has no idea what to do. On the post that was deleted, Volusiano, you mentioned that the speech would be clear, and I did notice that, but I wish I had more noise so I could make a better idea.

Regarding the unique CICs, I went to the audie to do some settings but there is an imbalance between the left and right HA, I did another sensogram and now the left one seems to have a darker sound and the right one a clear sound. But I did notice that I have way better speech clarity. I would also try the RIC unique passion 440 next week as Jeff advised, especially for loud environments. With these CICs speech is muffled in loud environments, and I need speech clarity.

I would probably choose the unique RICs passion 440 or CICs 440, I will decide that after trialing the RICs also. I’m really dissapointed with these audiologists, they are more sales agents than audiologists. I wish I could do my own settings to the aids, I think I would do a better job.

Good luck with your choice with the Unique, Ana! In the end you’re right that it’s important to have audis who know what they’re doing and not just trying to push the sales like sales people.

Just a comment about the 7 db noise reduction you mentioned your audi set on the OPN, that is the medium setting. The audi could have made it more aggressive with the 9db noise reduction setting so you can see if the speech would be any clearer or not. But like you said, you’d need to be in a noisier place to notice a bigger difference, and 2 hours is no where enough to test it out thoroughly.

In terms of the Widex Unique sounding more powerful, it may just be a matter of volume setting. And I’ve also heard from many OPN wearers that they find the OPN to sound more natural compared to other HAs which tend to emphasize more on the high frequencies which may make them sound crispier but less natural.

Regarding the itch due to the dome, I experienced the same thing when I started wearing the OPN domes but the itch quickly went away after a week or two once my ear canal had a chance to adjust to the silicone material of the dome. It’s no big deal unless you’re truly allergic to silicone domes in the first place.

I’m still curious because you reported to still sense an imbalance on the Unique, so it makes me curious whether you had the same issue with the OPN at all? I just wonder if this is HA related or if it’s something due to your hearing…

When I first put the Opn1 on I thought that there was a slightly imbalance between the aids, but at the end of the 2 hours I really couldn’t feel it anymore. It was probably something related to the domes rather than the aids. I don’t really know if the Widex aids is the problem, it can also be from the settings. So I think I’ll have to ask the audiologist to do a lot of settings to get it right.

ana_m, So I am in the exact same situation as you.

I’m 33 years old and have worn HAs since I was 3. I don’t have my audiogram on me but I currently have similarish loss as you do (mostly 50/60 across the board but my dip to 70db is at lower freq end and my ears have pretty much the same loss). My hearing didn’t change much since I was a kid up until I was 25 but it definitely worsened a bit in the last 8 years.

I did have BTE ones with custom molds until I turned 25 when I got starkey CICs. I LOVED my star keys and wore them for 8 years until they broke a couple months ago and am not ready yet to go back to BTE.

I’m now near the end of my trail for Widex Unique 440 CICs.

Initially the hearing aids were just set way too loud. And only a day after my initial fitting my audiologist brought the volume down 25%. I think Widex definitely errs high on sound amplification, though audiologist might be erring higher on hearing loss as well. I also asked them to bring down the higher frequency volume a few notches to lessen the shrillness of normal sounds. I still hear way better than I did with my last hearing aids even with the significant volume reduction.

I don’t have quite the “balance” issues you do. The biggest issue for me was the vent, which now has to be smaller so the occlusion really bothered me. After a couple weeks I decided that the initial mold didn’t go far enough in my ear so I asked to have them remade and if possible, to widen the vent too. I got them back 1.5 weeks ago and the occlusion has definitely improved, but it still bothers me a bit compared to my old star keys. I feel like I can get used to it now but it’s a huge process.

As far as sound goes there are things I like and dislike.

I can understand speech way, way better. I don’t think I’ve ever had this easy of a time hearing people talk. I can watch TV without captions too.

I do have the same issue with the background noise you do. I have been making an honest effort to get used to the increased noise but I still feel like the sound of voices can get really distorted when the background noise amplification is so loud and it doesn’t help speech understanding. I have a remote-dex thingy so I can turn it down but I get headaches if I forget to bring it with me. Restaurants are particularly painful. Overall, I can still understand people way better than I was able to with my old hearing aids, even with the volume lowered via remote-dex so I think I can probably ask my audiologist to turn them down a couple more notches. I am getting used to the background noise where I work (lab machines whir a lot but aren’t super loud) and that REALLY bothered me at first.

While my widex were being remade I did try RIC demos (I think resounds) and though I liked the sound quality and loved not having the occlusion, I still disliked my hair brushing up against the microphone, they still sucked to wear with glasses, and my ears still hurt at the end of the day. Plus over the years I’ve played a high intensity contact sport (roller derby) and these didn’t feel like they’d be super stable if I play again. So it’s either that or deal with the occlusion of the CICs.

I’d consider another brand but it’s more time I have to spend going back and forth to an audiologist. Am I the only one who dreads doing this? It’s why I waited so long to replace my last pair.

Did you end up going with these? I think I will. I have my follow-up this afternoon and will make the adjustments then. I’m definitely functioning better over-all with these than I was before and the issues I have seem fixable. Another thing my audi and I figured out was you can have it set it to switch between programs quicker than default, which helps noise suppression a lot. I’m not sure why the fastest setting isn’t default.

I got the com-dex streaming thing too. The positives on that outweigh the negatives but I wish it was a lot more adjustable as far as volume goes. Even on the lowest setting my music is sometimes too loud (and if it’s not on mute, the background noise is WAY too loud). I still hate using it to talk on phones only because voices sound loud and distorted (I have always taken my hearing aid out to talk on the phone—at some point I do need to rely on my devices a bit more).

I know I’m 3 months late with my answer but I just saw your post and I wanted to answer it. I ended up buying the Unique CIC 440. After 3 months and 5-6 fittings I got used to them. I do get a bit of feedback but it does not bother me. I even got used with not hearing the bass anymore when listening to music.
Speech understanding is so much better now and it ok even in noisy environments.

It’s interesting now that I don’t hear the background noise as I did in the beginning, when everything seemed to be overwhelming and I even got some headaches because of it. It definitely takes some time for the brain to adjust with the new sounds, but with the right fittings and with time you get used to it.

Now I’m happy for going with these CICs even though they are not wireless because the RTE ones wouldn’t have worked for me at all in terms of comfort.

What did you end up buying? Hope it all worked good for you!

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