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Thread: Distortion on phone, streamer, and in classroom

  1. #1

    Default Distortion on phone, streamer, and in classroom

    I have Alta2 Pros from the VA with setting for face to face, restaurants, and concerts. The HAs work well talking to people face to face, in the streets, etc. I also have no problem on the phone with those who are talking from cell phones or ordinary desk phones or remotes. No distortion. However, there is far too much distortion when I talk on the phone with those who are using business type microphone headphone combinations. Any doctor's receptionist, for example, comes through with much sh-shy distortion and I keep asking them to repeat what they are saying. Very frustrating. I have great problems hearing in a small classroom. And when I use the TV streamer all is extremely tinny. I have tried all settings. I am using the minifit power domes. I have tried other types of domes but these work best. I have had the HAs one year and they have always had these problems but lately they are really bothering me.

    Any suggestions for adjustments. I see my audiologist in a few weeks.

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  2. #2

    Default No replies to my request for help

    I was very surprised that no one could figure out why I am having great difficulty over the phone hearing those using headphone-mictophone combinations. And why I have problems in the classroom hearing the instructor. Is it possible my audiologist turned up the treble too much? Last time when I complained about hearing certain female voices (I heard a sh-shy distortion sound at times) she said she would turn up the treble.

  3. #3

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    I assume when you say sh-shy distortion, you mean the "sh" sound seems oversaturated, especially on the high end component of a sound? If yes, I think I had that, too, initially, when I just got my Oticon OPNs. But it only happens on my right HA, where my hearing loss on the highs is about 10 to 20db worse than that on the left. I suspected that the cause was that the 85db receiver that I have is being overdriven on the highs because there's no headroom left for amplification, causing the "sh" distortion. I hear it the most when listerning through my Bose SoundDock 10 speakers where Bose products have a reputation for sounding more tinny, but also when streaming certain videos when there's a voice punctuating strongly the "sh"s, even on a male voice. It really bothers me as well.

    I asked my audi to cut down a couple of dbs in the 8KHz and 6 KHz range, and even down 1 db in the 4KHz range on my right HA, and the "sh" distortion went away. I think your audi wanting to turn up the treble would be wanting to go in the wrong direction to address that problem. It's not that your audi turned up the treble too much. It's probably more like your hearing loss on the highs require large amplification on that end so the original programming (not your audi) set out to compensation for the severe loss, but the receiver can't deliver and ends up getting distorted/saturated.

    I suspect that maybe some of the headset/microphone combination people use emphasizes more on transmitting those highs compared to regular desk phones or cell phones (maybe because they're lacking on the bass so they compensate by driving harder on the highs?). But high quality headsets shouldn't be like that. For example, I have the Plantronics Voyager Focus Bluetooth headset with mic and there's no issue with it being like that.

    As to why you have problem with hearing in a small classroom, I'm not sure, but how far away are you sitting from the instructor? Are you still having trouble even if you sit in the top row? There can be many things at play there. If you sit in the back and the room is packed with students then maybe all the bodies in front of you absorb the instructor's voice before it gets to you. There may be an issue with reverb in the room but if it's a small classroom then there should be not too much reverb. Maybe the instructor is too soft spoken for you to hear. Maybe it's harder to hear when the instructor faces the board with the back to you? Did you try to turn up the volume? Since the classroom should be pretty quiet when the instruction speaks, I would think turning up the volume would not cause anymore noise to be louder.

    I don't know why the TV Streamer would sound tinny to you if you're wearing power domes. It maybe it's the content you watch that's tinny. If not, maybe there's something wrong with the streamer if any content would sound tinny. You may want to ask your audi to see if she can turn up the bass for you in the TV Streamer mode or not.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 05-04-2017 at 06:18 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  4. #4

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    About the tinniness of the streamer, it's my second, same model, slightly advanced. Same tinniness. And no tinniness when listening through good headphones. Finally when I stick my fingers into my ears (with the HAs in) there's much more bass, no tinniness. Voices sound real, similar to experience with headphones.

    About the classroom I sit in the second row, possibly six to seven feet from the teacher. It's in a library, possibly 20 x 20 feet, high ceiling, maybe 12 feet. Five rows of folded chairs.. Teacher stands, strolls a little. His voice far from stentorian. Some unusual vocal effects. But almost everyone else can understand him. I've asked them. And there's much discussion in the class, much of which I can't make out even if it's to my side, same row. All very frustrating.

    In all situations, I try all settings, regular, restaurant, music. And volume, up and down. Usually new domes and wax guards before the class,

    I've been wearing HA's for 30 years. Of course my hearing has gotten worse over the years too. But I do think some of this can be corrected. That's why I posted this, to pass on some of the suggestions to the audiologist.
    Last edited by AlanM; 05-04-2017 at 06:07 PM. Reason: Adding something

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanM View Post
    About the tinniness of the streamer, it's my second, same model, slightly advanced. Same tinniness. And no tinniness when listening through good headphones. Finally when I stick my fingers into my ears (with the HAs in) there's much more bass, no tinniness. Voices sound real, similar to experience with headphones.

    About the classroom I sit in the second row, possibly six to seven feet from the teacher. It's in a library, possibly 20 x 20 feet, high ceiling, maybe 12 feet. Five rows of folded chairs.. Teacher stands, strolls a little. His voice far from stentorian. Some unusual vocal effects. But almost everyone else can understand him. I've asked them. And there's much discussion in the class, much of which I can't make out even if it's to my side, same row. All very frustrating.

    In all situations, I try all settings, regular, restaurant, music. And volume, up and down. Usually new domes and wax guards before the class,

    I've been wearing HA's for 30 years. Of course my hearing has gotten worse over the years too. But I do think some of this can be corrected. That's why I posted this, to pass on some of the suggestions to the audiologist.
    I would have suggested the fingers in the ear test for streaming if you had said you wear open domes. I thought power domes are closed with no vent so I wonder why you get better lows with your fingers in the ears. Maybe fingers in the ears helps promote bone conduction somehow that boost the low for you. The only other thing I can think of is custom molds but maybe you already tried it but don't like it. If your power dome has no vent or leak, I think the only other option (beside trying custom molds) is to ask the audi to boost up the bass in TV stream mode for you.

    The 12 foot ceiling in your class may be a factor and the sound gets bounced upward more away from your HAs. Also if you can't hear other students around you then check to see if you're in a program that has directional beam forming like for restaurant or noisy environment. That will block sounds around you and focus on the sound in front only. If that's the case, try a program that is omni directional like music or something like that to pick up voices all around and behind you as well in the classroom. I think Oticon has the Soft Speech Booster technology in their HAs so maybe ask your audi to maximize that functionality for you in an omni directional program for your classroom.

    I learned a new word from you today -> stentorian. That's cool to know. Thanks.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  6. #6

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    ^^^ Weighing in with my own 2-cents' worth! AlanM, you don't post an audiogram, but perhaps the problem is more with the domes and the environmental issues. I agree that receptionists who wear a headset *may* sound shushy, but I wonder if that's due to THEIR poor equipment? Also, the mouthpiece stick on these units is sometimes like 3 inches long and simply does not come NEAR the dang mouth. That is one postulation. Their headset may be of poor quality, or the fit not set up right on them. What I do when I encounter this kind of unsatisfying conversation is, I just say, "Are you using a headset? Cuz I'm having a LOT of trouble understanding you!" Usually, they switch to the regular phone at that point, and the conversation is night and day better! TELL 'EM!

    As for the tinniness of your streamer, ack! It could be a faulty streamer. I had a complete TURKEY with my old Agil Pro TV streamer. I ended up giving it to my aud guy (Well, he had given it to me! No doubt cuz it had been returned as a turkey from some other patient.) I never figured out if it was a defective unit or what. But now with my new Oticon Opn aids and the TV streamer that I got with them, the TV sounds SUPER!!! Explore your options here. Maybe see if you can try out a different TV streamer.

    It is indeed critical to get the right dome for the optimum hearing experience. I tried out like 3 different domes, but am still not 100% satisfied. See if your audiologist can put different domes on with a better (but still comfy and not too occluded!) seal.
    Last edited by 1Bluejay; 05-04-2017 at 06:39 PM.
    HAs from 1985>Starkey>Phonak>AGX>Oticon Agil Pro ITE>Oticon Opn miniRITE

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  7. #7

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    I have tried two streamers, with the same result. I have tried different domes with different sizes. The ones I use are the best. My VA audiologist tells me he has had too many patients using custom made domes with unsatisfactory results. And my experience at Cosco with them several years ago was not a happy one.

    Finally, as I said, I have switched to different programs and tried different volumes in the classroom with no success.

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  8. #8

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    I heard from DocJake that the VA now has the Oticon OPN on their list of approved HAs to dispense. I don't know how often you can refresh HAs with the VA. Or maybe if the current ones don't work well for you and the VA lets you swap out for a different pair, I would suggest trying out the Oticon OPN next. The reason for my suggestion is that in your classroom environment, if there's a lot of discussion around you amongst the students, the OPN is designed to pick up all sounds 360 degrees around you very well, which is its forte. Based on my own experience, it also picks up sound from further away very well, which would help with being able to hear your instructor better. For example in a noisy restaurant, I not only hear people at my table, I can easily hear people at tables nearby to my table as well if I want to.

    My experience with the Oticon TV Adapter 3.0 streamer for the OPN has also been positive. For sure no tinny sound from it, as anybody else on this forum who owns one can attest to it just the same.

    OPN owners also seem to report more natural sounding sound which I would attribute to its good reproduction in the mids and lows. Tinny sounds usually is a result of poor reproduction/amplification on the mids and low, giving bias and focus on hearing more highs.

    So if you can convince the VA audi in your next visit to let you try out the OPN, I'd say go for it.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 05-05-2017 at 01:09 AM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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