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Thread: Dilemma re Phonak B-R 90s

  1. #1

    Default Dilemma re Phonak B-R 90s

    Hi all,


    The short version is that I demo’d a pair of Phonak B-R 90s in September, loved them, but the ones I actually ordered don’t sound nearly as good and neither the dispenser nor I can figure out why. Any advice?


    Longer version:
    I demo’d the B-R 90 for two weeks in September, and made plans to purchase them in December, when it was financially more prudent to do so.


    During the demo, I *exhaustively* tested the HAs, going to varying listening environments, testing talking with people in cars, restaurants, meetings, etc., and making notes on what I experienced. While hearing can be subjective, my test and notes were rigorous, and I sent them to the dispenser with the comment “they really are a tremendous leap forward.” (I've worn HAs for decades). I felt like they were as close to experiencing “normal” hearing as I will ever come. The sound quality and speech discernment were very good, without many of the typical negatives of HAs such as occlusion and background sounds being too loud. They sounded very natural.


    Fast forward to December and trying the pair ordered for me, and I knew right in the dispenser’s office that the sound quality was not as good. I took them home, and stopped wearing them after a few days because they were not discernibly better than my old Resounds. The dispenser ordered another pair for me, with the same result. I can’t hear in the car, am frequently having to adjust volume up and down…they just don’t feel like the same model HAs I demo’d. They do not sound natural.


    The dispenser tells me they are the exact model, programming, etc as the ones I demo’d. For the second new pair, she briefly tested my hearing with the aids on and made some adjustments, but no great improvement. It’s very frustrating, and I sense the dispenser is getting impatient. I asked to try a step down in receiver power from the current 2xp, thinking that a less powerful receiver might have better quality sound, but she assures me the model I demo’d also had the 2xp.


    I understand why the dispenser is getting frustrated. But it’s $8k with accessories (Roger pen the most expensive), and I can’t do that for a small marginal improvement over my old HAs. There are also some minor issues like ordering the aids without asking me what color I wanted. I am contemplating returning everything and starting fresh with a different dispenser or audiologist but am conflicted because she’s put a fair amount of time into this.


    What would account for the difference in quality, assuming it is not just faulty memory on my part? It’s at the point where I’m wondering if the ones I have are actually a lesser model than what I paid for. I have no idea how to check though.


    Thank you for any advice or comments.




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  2. #2

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    I don't suppose the obvious question is whether you tried to have your dispenser locate the original pair that you demo'ed? Surely if they loan them out to you for 2 weeks, they must have paperwork with their serial numbers on them somewhere.

    Another obvious question is that while your dispenser claims it's the same programming, did she save your demo program and simply reload it back on for the new pairs? Or did she recreate it again from memory (how would she remember)?

    Even if it's faulty memory on your part, if you have a higher level of expectation now for some reason, then you shouldn't be stuck with something you're not happy with. If you're contemplating starting fresh with a different dispenser, I assume that you're going to want to be trying out different models or even different brands now, right? There's no sense in trying out the same model again anyway. If that's the case, why not just try it out with the same dispenser? That way she still has your business because of the time invested, and you're not stuck with something you don't like. After all it's not her fault (and neither is yours) that something changed that neither of you can figure out why. This way, it's still a win-win/salvageable situation for you both.

    Also, if Phonak has proven to have inconsistent quality control like you've experienced, maybe you should try out other non-Phonak brands instead.
    Last edited by Volusiano; 01-10-2017 at 07:32 PM.
    HA wearer since the 1990's > Rexton Insite+ CIC (2011-2016) > Oticon OPN RITE (2016)

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  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TXGal View Post
    Hi all,


    The short version is that I demo’d a pair of Phonak B-R 90s in September, loved them, but the ones I actually ordered don’t sound nearly as good and neither the dispenser nor I can figure out why. Any advice?


    Longer version:
    I demo’d the B-R 90 for two weeks in September, and made plans to purchase them in December, when it was financially more prudent to do so.


    During the demo, I *exhaustively* tested the HAs, going to varying listening environments, testing talking with people in cars, restaurants, meetings, etc., and making notes on what I experienced. While hearing can be subjective, my test and notes were rigorous, and I sent them to the dispenser with the comment “they really are a tremendous leap forward.” (I've worn HAs for decades). I felt like they were as close to experiencing “normal” hearing as I will ever come. The sound quality and speech discernment were very good, without many of the typical negatives of HAs such as occlusion and background sounds being too loud. They sounded very natural.


    Fast forward to December and trying the pair ordered for me, and I knew right in the dispenser’s office that the sound quality was not as good. I took them home, and stopped wearing them after a few days because they were not discernibly better than my old Resounds. The dispenser ordered another pair for me, with the same result. I can’t hear in the car, am frequently having to adjust volume up and down…they just don’t feel like the same model HAs I demo’d. They do not sound natural.


    The dispenser tells me they are the exact model, programming, etc as the ones I demo’d. For the second new pair, she briefly tested my hearing with the aids on and made some adjustments, but no great improvement. It’s very frustrating, and I sense the dispenser is getting impatient. I asked to try a step down in receiver power from the current 2xp, thinking that a less powerful receiver might have better quality sound, but she assures me the model I demo’d also had the 2xp.


    I understand why the dispenser is getting frustrated. But it’s $8k with accessories (Roger pen the most expensive), and I can’t do that for a small marginal improvement over my old HAs. There are also some minor issues like ordering the aids without asking me what color I wanted. I am contemplating returning everything and starting fresh with a different dispenser or audiologist but am conflicted because she’s put a fair amount of time into this.


    What would account for the difference in quality, assuming it is not just faulty memory on my part? It’s at the point where I’m wondering if the ones I have are actually a lesser model than what I paid for. I have no idea how to check though.


    Thank you for any advice or comments.




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    I wear Phonak Virto V70 aids. My experience is that you need to be very careful with accepting the first fit programming that Phonak sets for you before walking out the door of the dispenser.

    Phonak are apparently notorious for providing a very quiet first fit. My audiologist told me that historically, this was because the algorithm designers didn't want to cause feedback.

    For this reason, and because of the tendency of the two programs - speech in noise, and comfort in noise to dampen the gain from the baseline default volume, I had to go back (several times), bumping the volume up of the default setting.

    I found that when the default setting was too low initially, the comfort in noise and speech in noise programs - when switched to automatically, reduced amplification to such an extent that speech was muffled and in some cases inaudible. Unfortunately, the Autosense OS switches programs sometimes when not required - so for example - if I am in the kitchen, talking to my daughter, turn around and open the fridge - the (over) sensitivity is such that it immediately switches into some mode, and if my daughter is talking behind me, I suddenly can't hear her - because the mics have become attenuated. I have become wise to this - so in the house I mainly switch to calm situation program.

    Manually switch to the comfort in noise and speech in noise programs and check if speech is muffled - if they are - then you need more amplification. For me now, when Autosense OS goes into the comfort in noise or speech in noise programs, it is better, because ultimately I had the default volume bumped around 10DB from the original default target setting (Phonak's programming instrument software), and when there is a reduction in gain it moves down from that higher point. (at least that is how I see it).

    I had to be very patient during this process - otherwise I would have just thrown in the towel - because my Oticon NHS aids were programmed better from the start and the switching of programmes on that device was not noticeable and I never notice any reduction in volume - but the latest Phonaks have a different strategy in noise I guess.

    If that doesn't help you, I would do as Volusiano says I guess, and trial something else.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by glucas; 01-11-2017 at 04:57 AM.

  4. #4

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    Thank you for your response, Volusiano. I will ask if she still has the ones I originally demo'd. I believe she saved the demo program and reloaded it onto the new pairs, but will check on that as well.

    The B-Rs are a pretty recent product (I was the first person to demo them for her) and I also wonder if there was a manufacturing / software change between the time I demo'd them and the time I ordered them.

  5. #5

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    Thank you Glucas. I had no feedback and seamless program changes for the demo, but unfortunately that is not the case with the production models.

  6. #6

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    Phonak aids usually have the model number inside the battery compartment. The rechargables must have that information on them somewhere. Do a search with a magnifier or ask the audiologist to tell you where to look.

    You could also try asking to have them set up like a new pair from the beginning. This would include verification for that particular pair of aids. The difference should not be great but it's worth a try as long as the demo settings you liked are still saved somewhere to revert to if needed.
    Carol

    Linx 961>Linx2 961> Phonak Audeo V90 312T L&R
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    R 25 25 15 30 40 35 35 55 50
    Speech
    L 83% 40dB, 100% 50dB
    R 80% 40dB, 97% 50dB

  7. #7

    Default

    Just wanted to post a follow-up to this. I ultimately decided to start over with a different dispenser. I just felt like the first dispenser did not quite believe me when I said the B-R 90s that I bought sounded much different from the ones I demo'd, and that did not bode well for the long run.

    I went to an independent dispenser, who let me demo both the Oticon OPN 1s and the Phonak B-R 90s. The OPNs intrigued me, but I ultimately went with the B-R 90s, which were every bit as awesome as the first time I demo'd them. I still have no idea what the issue was with the B-R 90s that I purchased from the first dispenser.

    Thanks, everyone, for your advice.

  8. #8

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    This is great news ! Thanks for the post.

  9. Default

    This is excellent news. I have had my set from the VA for a couple of weeks now and they are to say the least - fantastic!
    Frequ: L/R
    0250: 35/25
    0500: 45/45
    0750: 65/75
    1000: 70/70
    2000: 75/70
    3000: 65/65
    4000: 65/65
    6000: 70/60
    8000: 65/65

    VA Service Connected; USAF 24 years, HAs since 1980

    Current VA HAs:
    Phonak Audeo B90-R RIC, ComPilot II, TVLink II

    Previous HAs:
    Phonak Naida S IX xP CRT w/ ComPilot & TVLink S
    Starkey S Series iQ Directional RIC AP 312
    Starkey AXENTII PDI DIGITAL HC
    Starkey SA T9 CICs
    Starkey SA C8 Full Shell (1st VA aids)
    Widex SENSOs (Company Ins)
    Zenith BTEs (AF Issued)

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