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Thread: Restaurants

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Bluejay View Post
    Again, I wonder if RIC (assuming mic is BEHIND ear) is just plain inferior to having a mic IN the ear as in ITC aids. It seems that any restaurant program set with mics picking up ambient sound from a wider range of directions would just add a level of harshness, vs a mic that uses the ear's natural cup shape to somehow round out the sound. Ah well, I may be quacking in a vacuum, but I can only try to articulate exactly the difference I hear with my Oticon Opn RIE vs Agil Pro ITCs when in a noisy place, set to Program 2 (restaurant).
    The Resounds are standard BTE's with standard tubes and earmolds.
    Oticon Agil Pro w/streamer

    -250 500 1000 1500 2000 3000 4000 6000 8000
    L 10--5----10----30---50----70----85---80---80
    R 5--10----20----35---45----85----85--100--100

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    L 88% @55db ------- L-10
    R 90% @55db------- R-25

  2. #42
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Bluejay View Post
    I would bet that BTE mics are better at picking up ambient noise and folks talking behind me, especially if there are 2 mics - vs the ITC aid with mic sitting in the ear cup that faces forward. But I DO wish that BTE sound quality was more natural like the ITC. BTEs just seems flat, thin, not rich, golden, rounded if that makes any sense. Using high end hi fi as an analogy, often it's the very cabinet in which the woofers, mid range and tweeters are set that can make a huge difference in quality & richness of sound. Acoustically, as if the music was being played through a mellow cello vs a plastic box. Ah well, at least your audi wears aids and you benefit SO much from that common experience. :-)
    The general perception about directional mics is wrong here. The greater the mic separation on a BTE aid allows greater directionality than a similar ITE. The Concha effect only really works for smaller ITE/CIC where there's no space for the second mic anyway.

    As to the sound being thin, that's purely a function of programming and coupling. Domes encourage the loss if low frequency. Inadequate compensation for this will give you a 'thin' or 'tinny' sound - it's not an essential part of RIC fitting.
    'He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.'
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  3. #43

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    I just went to a RIC from a CIC for the first time in roughly 25 years. I can attest that the modern BTE with its multiple mics is superior to the ITE with its single mic. I prefer the CIC for other reasons, but its ability to optimize what hearing I had left was inferior to the BTE.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Bluejay View Post
    Again, I wonder if RIC (assuming mic is BEHIND ear) is just plain inferior to having a mic IN the ear as in ITC aids. It seems that any restaurant program set with mics picking up ambient sound from a wider range of directions would just add a level of harshness, vs a mic that uses the ear's natural cup shape to somehow round out the sound. Ah well, I may be quacking in a vacuum, but I can only try to articulate exactly the difference I hear with my Oticon Opn RIE vs Agil Pro ITCs when in a noisy place, set to Program 2 (restaurant).
    ..250..500..1000..2000..4000..8000
    L:75....75....70.....75.....65......60
    R: no hearing

  4. #44

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    I have tried my old full shell ITEs in restaurant settings, and they are worse than my BTEs. Maybe a new pair of ITEs or CICs would be worth trying. For ordinary hearing situations, my BTEs are good, but I'm open to a second pair for this purpose.
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffBowser View Post
    I just went to a RIC from a CIC for the first time in roughly 25 years. I can attest that the modern BTE with its multiple mics is superior to the ITE with its single mic. I prefer the CIC for other reasons, but its ability to optimize what hearing I had left was inferior to the BTE.

  5. #45

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    The key to my statement is "modern". I have fully functional hearing aids going back to 1972, all are inferior to current technology in noise with one exception - my old analogs do far better with music.

    Quote Originally Posted by simring View Post
    I have tried my old full shell ITEs in restaurant settings, and they are worse than my BTEs. Maybe a new pair of ITEs or CICs would be worth trying. For ordinary hearing situations, my BTEs are good, but I'm open to a second pair for this purpose.
    ..250..500..1000..2000..4000..8000
    L:75....75....70.....75.....65......60
    R: no hearing

  6. #46

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    Do you use your analogs when listening to music?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffBowser View Post
    The key to my statement is "modern". I have fully functional hearing aids going back to 1972, all are inferior to current technology in noise with one exception - my old analogs do far better with music.
    Steve

    250 500 1K 2K 4K 3K 6K 8K
    L 35 30 20 40 50 55 75 85
    R 35 30 25 50 55 60 80 90
    Speech Discrimination L 80 R 64

  7. #47

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    No I don't. If I really want a good music experience, I crank up my home theater and remove my aid altogether. The older I get, the less I care, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by simring View Post
    Do you use your analogs when listening to music?
    ..250..500..1000..2000..4000..8000
    L:75....75....70.....75.....65......60
    R: no hearing

  8. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Neville View Post
    So, I think there were a couple of reasons that I was bothered by your post.

    Firstly, you seem to be saying that the reason that the Opn is better at noise reduction is that it's really fast and up until now hearing aids haven't been fast enough to clean out the noise sufficiently. This isn't quite true. Certainly it is beneficial that the Opn is fast because what they are doing is processor heavy, but it is not the case that hearing aids by other manufacturers cannot do quick, phoneme-level processing. The Opn strategy isn't new and cool because it is so fast, but because their new strategy is clever. Anything here will obviously be a simplification, but modern hearing aids are all fairly good at removing steady state noise and they have strategies for impact noise, etc. What they have trouble with is babble, because babble is speech and how do they know what speech you are trying to listen to and what speech you are not trying to listen to? So they have gone with the assumption that you are trying to listen to the speech directly in front of you, and beamforming has been very successful in helping people listen in that specific situation. Even in his presentations Don says that noise reduction is first about defining the noise versus the target signal, and that is what Oticon has done with the Opn: They've redefined the noise. The Opn is still directional, but instead of creating a directional beam, they have essentially said, "Okay, everything in back that isn't detected as close speech we will now consider noise, including all of the speech signal that is made up of distant talkers, speech reverberation, etc., and then we will subtract that out of the omnidirectional signal." The result is a wide front directionality, but also a reduction of the 'noise' in front that is made up by ambient babble which other hearing aids have not been able to remove. It's clever.

    Secondly, you keep calling Opn's new strategy "TRUE" noise reduction in capitol letters, which does seem to be implying that it is obviously better. Whether it is better is a question that will eventually be answered through experience and through data collection. Their new strategy is just different, and it was created to address a particular problem. In a group conversation, it is a bit unatural to always be facing the speaker, and it can be difficult to follow the conversation fast enough that you always are facing the speaker. Does the Opn strategy provide a speech-in-noise benefit that is as strong as narrow directionality? This is a question that can be answered empirically, but my early guess is probably not. The article posted by someone else comparing the Opn to the Signia Primax suggest that, although understanding how the Opn works shows that the experimental conditions set up in that study (quite artificial relative to real life listening) were basically setting up the Opn to fail. I think that this new strategy IS a paradigm shift and it WILL be useful for a lot of people. But different people have different SNR loss that is only roughly correlated with hearing loss. I know someone whose hearing is exceptional (>0 dB across the audiogram) but who needs the signal to noise ratio to be 12 dB greater than a normal listener. 12 db! He has to use an FM system in every day conversation despite having technically normal hearing. For people with more SNR loss, the Opn may not be that useful and traditional beamforming may turn out to be a better solution. I think that another five yeasr from now, there will probably be some even cooler implementations of the Opn strategy.

    [tl;dr: I think what the Opn is doing is neat, but I don't think that it is the be-all-end-all of hearing aids.]
    First of all, thank you for having a cordial discussion about this. I very much appreciate this type of conversation and I value hearing your opinion on this. It's hard to have this type of discussion unless it's with somebody who's already taken the time to review the video and read the article in-depth to know what Oticon is talking about and form their own opinion about it. And not everybody has the time or want to bother spending the time to understand more about the topic, which is fine because life is too busy for everyone, and also the material is quite in-depth and technical.

    I think you probably misunderstand when you think that I'm saying that the OPN is better at noise reduction, and understandably so because I did use the word TRUE in capital when referring to the OPN type of noise reduction, causing this impression. So I apologize if it was taken the way I didn't mean to. I actually think either approach can work, as I already said later on in my later posts on this thread. I think it highly depends on the individual and their brain hearing ability as to which approach works better for them, so it's a personal decision, really. That's why I don't go around telling people that the OPN is the be-all-end-all of hearing aids in every thread, although some folks may get that impression from reading my posts, even though I never said those words. In the context of this thread, the OP said his HAs don't work for him in restaurants, asked for inputs on what else he can try. So I thought that the OPN with its new paradigm is different enough that it'd be something worth trying. I could have simply said try the OPN and be done with it. But I wanted to provide a context on why I think the OPN may help because of how it's different from other HAs in its new approach. But apparently my detailed post seems to have rubbed some people the wrong way because it came across as promoting the OPN to be superior, while all I meant is that the OPN is different, although I still truly think different in a very good way based on my personal experience.

    Now, having said that, let's get back to the noise reduction discussion. I think it comes down to how you define noise reduction, and what noise is, and what speech is. And you're right that what Oticon does is clever beam forming, and obviously traditional directional HAs do beam forming, too, so what's the difference? While we both agree, and so does Oticon on the OPN and other mfgs in their implementation, that noise is defined as what's behind you and speech as what's in front of you, the approach to removing noise is completely different, even though both approaches utilizes beam forming in a way. The traditional beam forming removes noise from behind simply by virtue of picking up sound from the front only. But it doesn't do anything further to the sound it picks up from the front. And the dilemma with this is that there is still noise combined with speech in the sound coming from the front. Granted, there's less information now coming only from the front, which can help people focus better instead of having to deal with ALL the sound from all around. But the front sound is still polluted with noise, so people at this point will have to manually do this speech and noise separation with their own brain hearing power. Many people can do this successfully, but apparently there are people who can't (like our OP).

    This is what the Oticon video seminar is trying to explain, on how they can take this one step further and try to clean up this polluted front sound. And this is where the Oticon's approach to noise removal goes beyond just clever beam forming. They do this by breaking out the sound spectrum into 16 frequency bands, take samples in each band and compare the sound average between their front sound and their rear sound (which is used as the noise model), and if they detect that the sound average of the rear sound is higher than that of the front sound, that implies that the rear noise is drowning out the front speech, so they reduce the rear noise by either 3db or 6db or 9db in that frequency band, depending on the settings of low or medium or high noise reduction level (also limited by the different models, as the Opn3 can only reduce up to 3db, Opn2 by 6db, and Opn1 anywhere between 3 to 9 db). This is where the processing speed comes in and can make a difference. If your processing speed is not fast enough, your sample is a longer term average. If your processing speed is fast enough, your sample is a shorter term average. Oticon is saying that on the whole, long term averages of the 2 sound sources (rear noise and front sound) almost always look virtually identical, so you can't see enough differences in order to help you decide which of the 16 frequency bands you need to reduce gain on and which ones to leave the gain alone to execute your noise removal strategy. But if you can keep drilling down to shorter and shorter term average samples, you'll begin to see discernible differences between the rear noise and the front sound to help you remove the rear noise. In order to drill down to very short enough sample average, you need to have faster processing speed. That's where the OPN faster Velox platform comes in, with enough processing speed to enable them to execute this strategy.

    And this is why I call it TRUE noise reduction, because this strategy can actually take that next step and actually also help remove the noise from the polluted front sound, while traditional beam forming doesn't do this. I now realize that this choice of word might have irked many folks, so I'm OK with just calling it FRONT noise reduction to be more politically correct. But to me, noise reduction is not about blocking out sounds out completely in certain areas and pick up sounds from other area, that's actually just beam forming. To me, noise reduction is actually about going into the polluted signal and figure out a way to remove the pollution from that signal. That's more than just beam forming.

    Some folks reading this may wonder if Oticon's approach using beam forming AND noise reduction here is inconsistent with its open paradigm or not. After all, aren't you supposed to hear everything everywhere? What if there's speech coming from behind? Is that considered noise? In the OpnSound Navigator white paper on page 5, they talk about a Voice Activity Detector that operates independently in each of the 16 frequency bands and is used to detect speech that are not coming from the front and freeze the noise removal module to preserve this speech coming from the rear. So at least it seems like they've thought about this situation and have a way to manage it. Also, this type of noise removal from speech only happens on a moment to moment basis (up to 100 times/moments per second). But as soon as speech is no longer detected, all noise from everywhere is let through again. So there's NO steady state noise reduction in the OPN strategy, only moment to moment noise reduction, and only on clearly defined speech.

    This lack of steady state noise reduction is what irked me THE MOST when I originally started wearing the OPN. I was used to having this steady state noise reduction on my old HAs (by virtue of directionally blocking out sound), so not having it on the OPN bothered me a lot. But after about a month of wearing the OPN, my brain adjusted and now it just naturally tunes out those steady state noises, so they don't bother me anymore. In hindsight, that's actually part of the big plan, to let all sound and noise come through and let your brain decide what's to tune out and what's to focus on. After all, noise IS sound, so the definition of real noise is very subjective anyway and no HA in the world can read your mind to know what's sound and what's noise to YOU. Even to yourself, noise can also vary from situation to situation. For example, if you walk on the sidewalk, passing by cars may be considered noise by you. But if you decide to cross the street, all of a sudden, car noise becomes crucial to your safety and is not noise anymore. For this reason, the OPN and its new open paradigm just lets all the sounds through, and the only place it wants to try to help is with noise removal if there's speech coming from the front. The end result is that you may hear clearer speech in front, but as soon as speech stops, you hear everything again, noise included, whether you like it or not.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 02-07-2017 at 10:28 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

    KHz 0.25...0.5...0.75...1.0...1.5...2.0...3.0...4.0... 6.0...8.0

    Left ...10...10....10.....30.....70....75....80....95.. ..90....80
    Right .25...30....40.....55.....75....85....90....90...1 00...100

  9. #49

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    Ensure closed fit, maximize adaptive directionality (perhaps separate program), try reducing noise reduction (perhaps noise reduction is interfering with directionality), make sure you're set to REM-verified NAL-NL2 targets so you're picking up adequate high frequency gain, try just one hearing aid (remote possibility of binaural interference), stay away from walls in front or behind, manage distance, clean directional mics. I performed in-clinic speech-in-noise testing with many top hearing aids last summer and found the mid-to-premium Demant hearing aids (Bernafon/Oticon) to be top performers for front-facing speech (up to 10 dbSNR improvement in clinic). No harm trying something different to give you a healthy point of reference. Apart from that, use a remote mic, change restaurants, or come to terms with the fact that no hearing aid can effectively overcome > 10dbSNL.

  10. #50

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    All of this information was created by the manufacturer who has a vested interest in selling hearing aids. You would be wise to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. For what it's worth, here's a new study from Signia that shows Signia primax hearing aids are superior to Oticon Opn for speech understanding in background noise:

    https://www.signia-pro.com/scientifi...ibility-study/
    Rasmus_Braun,
    That's a very interesting article. I have been using Oticons Agile Pro (BTE) for 3 years, but switched to Signia Silk (CIC, Primax 7) four weeks ago. The universal no-custom-mould CIC is brilliant I think, but that's another story. Back to noise..I have not yet been able to test them in really noisy pubs, but I have used them on flights and in that setting I can tell you right now they are superior to the Oticons. It was easier now to talk to my wife with the noise cancelling/directonal program enabled. But of course, it can be that my Oticons are not optimized.
    And that's the clue here as many have stated in this very good thread. The audis only adjust according to the producers sw preferences. I read an article somewere of an electronic engineer who was fed up with countless visits to his audi so he did an in-depth research on how his HA operated and bought the necessary equipment to adjust them himself. He concluded after a lot of experimenting that the default programs leave a lot to be desired and that most HA users only uses a fraction of the HA's capability. He strongly encourage HA users to invest time and knowledge in this. But this is not for everyone of course..
    Last edited by Morton; 04-26-2017 at 03:02 AM.

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