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Using Sonnet and unbalanced Headphones for SSD rehab


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SSD rehab seems to take occasional tricks to keep the good ear from doing all the work.  Not that I'm complaining about having a good ear!

As an SSD person, I normally stream audio directly to my device so that my CI side doesn't just rely on my good ear.

Sometimes I'll wear noise canceling headphones or construction ear muffs to dampen both ears so my Rondo does more of the work.

I've heard about people using headphones over their Sonnets so I decided to give it a try.  Especially since I will be traveling next week and want to use noise canceling headphones.

I've been doing a lot of music streaming but one of the challenges is that even very familiar music can be hard to really recognize using my CI. 

In particular, I found something that seems helpful.  I can adjust the left/right balance so my good ear is getting a very little bit of audio to help give it a hint to my brain what the CI side is supposed to sound like.  (At least that's my theory - whether or not it is is helpful, I'll see.)

By going into Windows, I can adjust the balance.  In here I'm giving a 100 on the CI side and 5 on the good ear side.  Effectively it is a 20:1 weighting in favor of my CI. 

The same thing can be done in MacOS, iOS, and Android under system settings for sound.  Note that for Windows, it may require changing a system change setting to allow the balance to be controlled separately.  Here are directions on how to make the change in Windows.

I'm only 7 weeks post-activation and still experimenting with technology.  I could just wear the noise canceling headphones and stream to the Rondo 3 through AudioLink.  This seems to be working and pretty comfortable using a Sonnet 2 under my Sony XM5 headphones.  It also helps hold the CI processor in place! In Windows I like keeping the Balance window open and dynamically adjusting it based on the song.  Going to 100:0 is essentially the same as a direct connection but with the better codec's of quality headphones at the expense of additional Digital to Analog conversion.

The sound quality seems pretty good. Doing a real test takes enough re-jiggering that it is hard to remember how it sounds.

In Windows and Spotify I make sure to set the Audio to be "Mono".

It would probably be better if I had a program with Omni mic setting and all Adaptive Intelligence turned off - I can only imagine all the work the processor is trying to do to identify the scene of being tucked under headphones.

Any fellow SSD hardware experimenters have comments or suggestions?   I'm posting this in part because I wanted to take notes to remind myself for the future.

Maybe in a few months I'll go for more of a 50-50 blend and turn stereo on instead of mono but this seems like another way of doing rehab for SSD. Am I crazy?  Does anyone else do this?



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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for posting this and I'm definitely going to use it!  As it is my airpods have always had equal volume and with SSD (comes in many forms) I would have loved to have the ability to adjust my volume.  Anyway, activation date for me is 3/31.   We've adjusted my computer, ready to go!

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@Mo M

wishing you the best at activation this week! Which processor did you choose?

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I occasionally use a very low tech alternative when I’m in my office alone:

1. Stuff a ear plug (one of those soft foam ones that give about 35dB attenuation) in my good ear

2. Turn on the radio and play around with the volume on the radio and the volume on my Rondo so I get just enough coming in my good ear to help me fully understand what’s coming in via my processor.

I do this mainly to eliminate all the idiosyncrasies of streaming to my Rondo via the AudioLink and I can then take phone calls without needing to spend 20 mins after getting the streaming working again 🤣


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@Mike Austin  The earplug solution is nice and simple. This is a lot lighter than wearing headphones. I may give that a try sometime but I normally don't like sticking anything in my ear - I suppose hearing loss just makes me sensitive to the idea.

I sympathize about "...spend 20 mins..." - nice to know I'm not alone on that. 

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