problems with latest new hearing aids & what to do about them.

Posted by awilst @awilst, Dec 29, 2020

I am a senior who has been getting hearing aids from VA . I have been diagnosed as having a severe hearing loss. My latest hearing aids are phonak audio M90s, both ears.. I have been refitted several times (using real ear measurement technology) by VA & am still unable to get much clear speech benefit from these Phonaks. The audiologist says the problem is with compression & frequency transfer issues.
At the moment I am dead in the water. Been to VA several times with little benefit.
question … Is there much difference in hearing aid brands ? would a different manufacturer have better managing technology in handling attack/release & compression? The literature I read says Phonak is a top brand?
Anyone out there who can give me some advise.
thanks for reply

art

Note prompted by Don Higgins' desire to have rechargeable aids: Costco sells HA batteries in a pack of 6 cards of 8 each (48 total) for $8.99. If you don't have a Costco membership, someone close to you probably does. The batteries are on the counter in the Hearing section of the store, usually close to the Vision section. For me, that's less than my local pharmacy charges for one card of 8! They last roughly a week, so $8.99 buys almost a year's worth of hearing. I'm mentioning this because lots of folks complain about the high cost of HA batteries. I can see that rechargeable aids have the advantage of not running down in the middle of the day, but for some of us, 15 hours is less than a normal day. Just sayin….

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@awilst

thanks for input. still need answer to my technical question. what brand/model HA has the most adaptable compression/attack/release capability? will try VA again. but any alternative suggestions greatly appreciated.
dont know if another brand/model HA will solve problem or not?? or my speech hearing perception loss is a done deal.

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@awilst Each of the name brand manufacturers have good products. Your Phonaks should be capable of helping with your hearing loss. Going with new ones may not help. In fact, you may get even more discouraged if new aids do not offer much help. Personally, I would wait for some breakthrough technology to get new aids. For me, the technology was direct Bluetooth streaming to both ears from my iPhone. I used to avoid the phone, but now, I do pretty good (severe to profound loss). You mention that you've been fitted using Real Ear Measurement. Many audiologists do not do that, despite it being an audiology best practice.
Tony in Michigan

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@awilst I go to the VA for my Hearing Aids..(in Central Iowa).. I have had Starkey hearing aids (HA) now for nearly a year. I am profoundly deaf in the left ear (from Big Gun Noise and Shock Waves while aboard Ship).. My Starkey HA are rechargeable, the left one just broadcasts to the right ear … the Right HA has a Remote Mic that is Bluetooth… a great thing.. when I use my HAs on the phone with that remote mic and my smart phone I can hear most people very clearly.. they have to enunciate… not slur their words… but even when I remind a certain friend it does little good after a few minutes of conversation… The adage of "garbage in, garbage out" applies… the HA cannot clarify certain speech patterns.. So try to clarify what speech patterns work best for you… Even switching stations on the TV… to judge… or talking with several friends to try to quantify what works best with your HA and Brain… Hard of Hearing is work.. and we have to communicate with those who can be of help to us… Good Luck …

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what discourages me , is that my previous hearing aids (phonaks) allowed me to hear my wifes speech pretty well at home. (lost that old phonak taking off mask).
with new replacement phonaks M90s, she has to repeat everything she says to me.
so, is it the HA, is it the fitting, has my hearing gotten worse? Have had the new phonaks fitted & refitted. they stink. thinking of buying a phonak on ebay to replace lost one.

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I know an audiologist can give you a copy of the hearing test results. but can the patient also get a copy of the hearing aid compression/attack/release/ & frequency transfers that the hearing aid (my phonaks) is programed to perform?

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I am trying the Phonak Paradise P90 aids. They are quite technical and lots to learn with them. Also, they are slow to come on when you go into the app. The tap feature most of the time doesn't work; it's a hit-and-miss proposition. There are other things that are hit and miss, also. They often unpair themselves, and it's a bit complicated to re-pair them. I am thinking of not accepting them and going back to the Resound aids, get new Resounds that are rechargeable. I've had three sets of Resounds over the years, and they are much easier to use. What attracted me to the Phonak Paradise was the tap feature; just tap them to get inn or out of settings or to answer phone calls, and also the Auto-sense feature which is supposed to sense your hearing surroundings and adjust accordingly; that feature I feel does not work well at all. Anyway, wished I had better things to say other than their support phone line is really very good. They've always been extremely helpful.

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@awilst

I know an audiologist can give you a copy of the hearing test results. but can the patient also get a copy of the hearing aid compression/attack/release/ & frequency transfers that the hearing aid (my phonaks) is programed to perform?

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@awilst, good question. You should always be able to get copies of your tests as well as read outs from transfers that the Phonak aids are programed to perform. I'm tagging @julieo4 @nurseheadakes @imallears @tonyinmi @dsh33782 to get their input too on requesting this data.

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@awilst

I know an audiologist can give you a copy of the hearing test results. but can the patient also get a copy of the hearing aid compression/attack/release/ & frequency transfers that the hearing aid (my phonaks) is programed to perform?

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@awilst I ALWAYS get a copy of my latest audiogram for my records. As far as any of the technical settings, that is something I've never requested. I really don't think you want to try to get the settings unless you plan to program your aids yourself. People do that but it requires the programming software plus a piece of hardware that connects your aids to the computer. Chances are that the settings file is most likely a binary file that you would not be able to read anyway without the programming software.
Tony in Michigan

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@raykraemer

I am trying the Phonak Paradise P90 aids. They are quite technical and lots to learn with them. Also, they are slow to come on when you go into the app. The tap feature most of the time doesn't work; it's a hit-and-miss proposition. There are other things that are hit and miss, also. They often unpair themselves, and it's a bit complicated to re-pair them. I am thinking of not accepting them and going back to the Resound aids, get new Resounds that are rechargeable. I've had three sets of Resounds over the years, and they are much easier to use. What attracted me to the Phonak Paradise was the tap feature; just tap them to get inn or out of settings or to answer phone calls, and also the Auto-sense feature which is supposed to sense your hearing surroundings and adjust accordingly; that feature I feel does not work well at all. Anyway, wished I had better things to say other than their support phone line is really very good. They've always been extremely helpful.

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@raykraemer Thanks for your evaluation of the Phonak Paradise P90 aids. Given the problems you're having, I would not keep them. It sounds like there may be some design flaws and they may be able to be fixed with firmware updates. Do you know if those Phonaks can be programmed remotely without a visit to the audiologist? My Resounds (Linx 3D) are 3 years old but have remote programmability.
Tony in Michigan

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@awilst
I have read all the good suggestions here . I don’t think there is that much of a difference in the major brands as they all have compression technology vs the linear aids used years ago. The problem lies in how fast or slow the attack/release needs to be for each individual. Not everyone benefits from a fast attack/release. It depends on the severity of the loss, cognition, age etc. This is something a good Audi should know. I know each brand is different and there is new technology coming out all the time. The Audi needs to keep up and understand a lot of technical information and should be consulting the manufacturer on a regular basis.

I switched from Oticons to Phonaks about 20 years ago as my loss increased from severe to bilateral profound. I have worked with good and bad audiologists and currently have one of the best programmers I have ever had. She had been on the phone with Phonak a couple of times over the years.

That being said, Phonaks are the best for me and I have trialed all the major brands. I will suggest seeing another audiologist who may understand how compression works better or insisting that a Phonak tech be present (either in person or virtually). Don’t accept the aids as they are. Phonaks are excellent and very powerful….it is how good and patient the programmer is.

I don’t know how the VA works and maybe another brand would benefit. You are in the drivers seat and don’t worry about offending the current Audi. I have a very difficult hearing loss to program and my Audi explains what and why she is doing certain adjustments while I am watching the screen. This lady knows her business and always wants to learn new things…rare bird.

Let us know the outcome and keep pushing for optimal hearing.

FL Mary

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@awilst What VA facility are you going to for your Hearing Aids.. I go to the Des Moines Iowa VA Hospital where the Audiologists are in a separate building and we can go there without an appointment to have problems solved… Certainly it is sometimes better to have an appointment, but there are at least 2 audiologists … but they are not there every day… so try to get a different audiologist and take measure of that person's capabilities.. Even in this Pandemic the VA Audiologists seem very helpful… So many who have been in the service have hearing problems… so get it so you are satisfied.. If you are going to one of the outpatient clinics, try going to a bigger facility… Its time to get shots… sign up for that too… Ken

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orlando fl VA… used to be walk in, now by by appt only.. I just got a new appt. , 1st avail 3 weeks wait.

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