Widex Universal Program

I am trialing a Widex Unique 440 with the Com-Dex. As my audiologist has it set up now, I can go on my smart phone and adjust the mode to MORE CLEAR, or MORE COMFORT or HOLD TO MUTE, and I can CHOOSE DIRECTION to front, left, rear, right or center, but NEXT PROGRAM does not give me any options. When I asked her which programs she had installed on my hearing aids she told me only the Universal Program. She told me that if she installed the other programs that the hearing aid would no longer be able to automatically switch based on sensing my environment. I do want the universal program so I do not have to manually switch programs all the time but I would like the option to manually switch when I need a particular environment.

Can someone here who is a audiologist with Widex products tell me whether she is right? It just does not make sense to me.

You can have up to 4 additional programs on the 440 in addition to ‘universal’ & if you have additional programs it will not affect the automatic 9 ‘soundclass’ settings which the universal program can switch to within that program itself. So if the aid is on the universal program the aid will still automatically adjust its settings, even if you have additional programs.

Thanks, that’s what I thought. The Widex Unique 440 seems to be doing a very good job but I would like to test the programs manually, so I will get my audiologist to install 4 of them in addition to the universal.

Can you tell us how do you see differences between this hearing aid and other ones that you have tried?

So far I have only tried the Oticon Alta 2 Pro Ti and the Widex Unique 440. I am going to try Phonak V90, ReSound Linx2 and Siemens 7bx before I decide. I am keeping a chart with comparison and so far the Oticon has a more natural sound but only fair to good speech in noise. The Widex has very good speech in noise and directionality but strangely the wind noise is terrible when I wear them outdoors. Widex is supposed to have exceptionally good wind noise attenuation so I don’t think my audiologist programmed them correctly. I am going in this afternoon to have 4 other programs installed and I will ask her about the wind noise. I am planning to report my review of all 5 of them after I have finished trying them all out. But clearly a lot depends on how good the audiologist is, so it is hard to really compare unless the same audiologist handles all the companies.

So far I have only tried the Oticon Alta 2 Pro Ti and the Widex Unique 440

You are trialing the 440 now. But remember I read your thread on the Alta2 and what your audiologist did and gave you can hardly be called a trial. Be very careful and very patient in all of this. Use the whole trial period to have things adjusted so that you know you’re getting the most out of the instrument because it takes a skilled audiologist or HIS who knows their way around the instrument and its software to make the most of it. You don’t just import the audiology report, program it using the recommended settings and be done with it. That is just a starting point. Minor adjustments and little tweaks can make big differences in the way they perform. You need to do your homework up front so you have some idea what to expect from each of the instruments. Go to the pro pages of their websites and read there. Get a feel for their philosophy of hearing and how they approach things—not because you will know which one is better but because it will make you better suited to ask about adjustments and changes.

I had a terrific audiologist. I asked her about preferences and I was told that hers were Oticon, Phonak and Siemens and that I should pick one based on personal preference i.e. which sound I preferred because “I will make it work.” I asked about the Unique but since she had not fit one yet she wouldn’t comment. She did say she believed the Dream was a notch below the three mentioned above except for their tinnitus program which she thought better than the other three. Also said that the Unique looked great on paper.

You also need to read enough to get a good understanding of what aids can and can’t do. There are some that think a speech in noise program should tune out ambient noise like a sound proof booth and pipe in what you want to hear like a set of Senheisers. NOT!

I had already make up my mind about the Oticon before I went in to purchase. Several months of research told me that is the one I wanted. And because it can take anywhere from two to four months to really settle in with aids I decided to get them and work with the audiologist until they performed as good as they can. And after 2 months I can say that they do everything they are supposed to do including enabling me to hear in obnoxiously noisy surroundings. If I’m having trouble hearing then those with normal hearing are having a problem as well. At my last trip there she did a QuickSIN to test my speech in noise ability. In automatic I placed just hair under the dividing line between normal and mild. With the speech in noise program activated I was in the lower end of normal. And that was after four visits (3 after my initial fitting) and all of them close to 2 hours long all the time tweaking and tuning and asking me questions.

Now if there is anything to be learned in this its in this sentence above: “pick one based on personal preference i.e. which sound I preferred because I will make it work.” You can get some good results from any of the major brands but it takes a skilled audiologist or HIS to personalize them and make them work the way they should for you. Technology being equal the programmer is far more important than the aid.

If he’s trailing all those different aids it should a year so before we hear back… by then some will be replaced with newer models.

UPDATE: I saw my audiologist this afternoon and she reiterated that she was told by the Widex rep. that you should not install the other programs - just the universal - because having the other programs installed would prevent the universal program from automatically adapting to the hearing environment. Crazy. I had her go ahead and install 4 programs plus the universal. I also told her the wind noise suppression was not working. She loaded up on her computer and it showed as “on” but she went ahead and turned it to “off” then back to “on” and it seems to be functioning now. It takes a few seconds for the HA to recognize the wind noise and then suppresses it very well.

As for my trial periods with first the Oticon and then the Widex, they were both with short term demo HAs with no down payment. Tomorrow I go to a different audiologist who has a different approach and will trial fist ReSound Linx2 and then Phonak V90 which she carries. It will indeed take me at least a couple of months to give all 5 a decent trial, but I think this audiologist will work with me a little more on them than simply loading up my prescription from the audiogram.

As it stands now, clearly the Widex suits my needs better than the Oticon did. I am trying to learn Spanish and the Widex allowed me to pick out one person to listen to in a noisy restaurant by using the front focus on their app. The others also have that kind of feature so I will see what seems to work best for me.

Thanks for your feedback! Your thorough approach is commendable, it will be interesting to follow your posts

Very good info! I’m new to HA with moderate to severe hearing loss, and first tried some Oticon Nera 2’s for about 3 weeks and liked them, with the only downside being they’re a little big, and the sound is a little artificial - but I was pretty happy overall. I then bought/tried a set of Widex 440’s and it’s been 40 days (have to buy or return at 45 days) and just don’t like the sound. They make jingling coins in my pocket so loud I was startled at first. The Audi turned down the volume, but they’re still amplifying sounds like that too much. And I couldn’t understand people talking to me. I got 4 programs installed and none of them work that great with speech. I’m planning on returning them. Back to a loaner set of Oticon Alta 2 Pro Ti earlier today and I do hear people more clearly with them, spatial orientation is better, and I’m happier with them. And I’m not sure my audi is doing or isn’t able to do much adjusting. The Widex are intriguing and have good sound, but I have trouble understanding people and they seem to emphasize irrelevant sounds. Any thoughts from y’all experienced folks are welcome! :slight_smile:

Interesting, perhaps it is because of your hearing loss being more severe than mine or at different frequency ranges, but the Widex Unique 440 definitely made speech clearer and more understandable than the Oticon Alta 2 Pro I tried before it, or the ReSound Linx 2 that I am just starting to trial. Also a clear difference in streaming music from my smart phone. The Widex sound was rich and full just like wearing headphones, but streaming with the ReSound is thin and tinny. I am also using my TV volume setting for a more objective comparison. Without hearing aids I need to set it at 50-55 on a news program like CNN to hear clearly. With the Oticon I could drop to about 41-45. With the Widex 35-38 was good. With the ReSound I have to set the TV at 45-48, even with the hearing aid volume all the way up. I will be going to the audiologist who I am demoing the ReSound with to see if she can tweak it to improve it but just out the door it is not nearly as good as the Widex was with just the basic loading of my prescription.

Interesting that our resident Widex pusher has avoided this thread…

Hi Skinnerd - watching this thread with great interest as you have shortlisted the same set of HAs that I did (noticed only today that my audi does stock Oticon so added the Alta 2 Pro Ti to the list). Based on current results including your latest posting it seems to be be Widex 440 Unique > Oticon Alta Pro 2 Ti > ReSound Linx2 9 - is that correct ?

Yes, I have now tried both the Alta 2 Pros and the Unique 440. I agree that the Oticon has a more natural sound, but for me the Unique 440 made speech much clearer to understand, even in noisy environments like a loud restaurant. That was right out of the box with just my basic prescription entered and no further adjusting. So far they are the best for me but I still want to test the Siemens and the Phonaks.

I wear the Widex Passion 440’s and wind noise is pretty bad with them. I also have the custom made ear olds and the feedback in the left one is bad also.


I have had zero feedback issues with mine. The wind, I could care less about. I use HA Sweat Sox which I guess helps. As for feedback: it sounds off now and them but usually when I’m putting them on but it’s low volume and goes away in half a second. Outside of that… nothing and even when I turn them way up sometimes I got no feedback. If I cup my hand on my ear I’ll get a moment of feedback but it to goes away in half a second. Feedback is normal to some degree and with my 330’s it’s a total non issue. If you’re getting a lot of feedback, something is wrong.

I’m new to this forum. I’m not new to hearing aids. I have been wearing Phonak RIC for 6 years. Before that I wore other in the ear models. I trialed the Starkey 6 years ago and found the Phonak better for me. I was fitted with UNIQUE 440 today. I have been trialing the Phonak V70 for about 3-weeks. In my opinion, with only one day of trial, I find the 440 to be much better for my hearing quality in general and particularly with low, high frequency female voices. Wind noise is a problem with the Widex. I’m sure this can be improved. The hearing quality of the Widex may get better or worst over time during the trial, but thought my first impression may be of interest to this group. I’m also going to trial the Phonak V90.