Hearing loss and the Audiophile

As I approach my 63rd birthday I have been diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss in the HF range. As hearing los is insidious I hadn’t really noticed and it didn’t seem to negatively impact my music listening. But my wife insisted that, for general purposes at least, I get myself a hearing aid. After much research and reading horror stories from other audiophiles, I took the plunge and visited an audiologist that specialises in providing hearing aids to musicians and people in the music industry. They worked closely with me and set up the aid with two switchable programmes, one for general purpose use and the other for dedicated music listening (please note this is for live and loudspeaker reproduced music and not streamed direct to the device from a smart phone). On the music programme all sound processing has been switched off other than a modicum of gain required to boost specific frequencies associated with my hearing loss. The aids are also programmed/designed for a high dynamic range i.e dedicated for music not speech. I have to tell you that I am amazed at the difference the aids make to my listening experience. HF detail that I didn’t know was missing is now clearly audible, but mid and low frequencies reach my ear drum naturally and are unaffected by the aid. It did take a few trips to the audiologist to get the music programme just right but it has been so worth it! To other audiophiles struggling with hearing loss I would say find a good audiologist and work with them to get the right aids and have a dedicated music programme installed on the aids. I am now enjoying my system more than ever.

I would be interested to hear positive experiences from others with hearing loss and their story

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Start with Loss of hearing but not bad enough to be proper hearing loss?.

WoW Teskey

Great info - I’ve had tinnitus for at least 25
Years in the right ear and now probably lost 70% of the high frequencies

As yet hasn’t diminished my enjoyment of music but wondering if I’m missing out on something

If I am why would I spend more dollars on the new classics ha :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::crazy_face::crazy_face:

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Who/where is the audiologist, and what brand/model are the aids? (My understanding is it doesn’t infringe forum rules to name and give details, just no links.)

Six years older than you, I’ve been noticing and I’ve been becoming aware over the past year or so how often I say “pardon?”, and my wife has been nagging in the same way as did yours, increasingly over the same time.

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There have been several threads on here about hearing loss and how hearing aids can help people enjoy their music more. I suggest use the search facility to find them and you will learn far more about what the rest of us are up to, and far more quickly, than waiting for us to write it all down again!

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It’s easier just to ask again it appears.

I’m glad that you got this sorted. There are some very clever people out there.

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I don’t think anyone has in this thread? (The OP simply recounted his/her experience, and I asked for specifics relating to that particular example.)

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I found a local audiologist who had worked with musicians and understood the difference between hearing aids and programmes that prioritise speech to music. I ended up with a Starkey aid but was told that Phonak and Opicon are also good options. Most important thing is to turn off all of those digital aids that enhance speech recognition such as feedback, directional enhancement, wind reduction etc and work with the audiologist if it isn’t right first time

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I am the same age as you @Teskey, having just turned 63 late '22. I played in a bar band without using appropriate hearing precautions like earplugs for many years (the joke is that I tune my guitar to the ringing in my ears), have attended too many loud concerts to count and been an avid music listener/audiophile for over 50 years (since long before I was sophisticated enough to understand that loud, louder and loudest weren’t the only settings on the volume control), so it was no surprise when my ENT/audiologist told me years ago that I have a bit of tinnitus and more than just moderate hearing loss in the upper registers. He advised further intervention, including quitting the band (which I did), no headphones (which I didn’t) and no loud stereo (which I sometimes forget but usually remember, as lower volume suits the kind of music I listen to now anyway, and counter-intuitively, can allow for deeper listenting without all that sheer volume in the way, clean though it may be). My question to him at the time was: If my hearing loss is so great, why can I still hear minute differences between cables, tubes and tweaks in general? His response, which did surprise me, is that I have trained myself to be able to hear those differences, so my ability to detect them may not correspond directly with my hearing loss - I fully expected him to tell me it was all in my imagination. (NB: Although not an audiophile, he uses an old McIntosh tube amp to power his testing equipment because, he said, it is the only one that produces reliably pure tones…) So while I will likely end up with hearing aids at some point (and I am very happy to know that there are music specific ones available), so far I’m continuing to rely on my brain to fill in the parts that my ears are missing. Maybe I’m just an old fool wasting his money, but it makes me happy and I stil seem to be able to distinguish tweaks that do what I want from ones that don’t.

FWIW, just my $.03, YMMV, etc., ad nauseum

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I agree with your comments. I had no problem hearing the differences tweaks made with my non augmented ears. The one thing I will say though is that with my aids in it is easier to listen than without.

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Similar positive experience. Got hearing test done by independent audiologist. Then went to hearing aid supplier. Tested 4 brands including Starkey, resound, opticon. Chose resound. Used classical piano music to differentiate among the brands. Tested most recent top of the line choice for each.

Not totally thrilled with having hearing aids but my music system remains great and there is much more higher frequency content. All good

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Hi. That’s exactly my experience, held off getting aids for no good reason really. Now I have them, astounding difference. I use music mode too. Even work well with over the ear headphones

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My experience with hearing aids is that they help but they fall short of what I had hoped for. Unsurprisingly, they can only amplify what’s left so cymbals are much quieter than they should be and all sound much the same (pish), at least during busier passages of music.

I’m struck by how positive forum members are. I’m finding it quite difficult to come to terms with and have listened to less music recently. I have been wondering about downsizing and I noticed that the likes of @HungryHalibut and @Guinnless have trodden that path.

Keith

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I’ve downsized by selling my LP12. Although I suspect that further downsizing (or worse) may be required in the near future.
I’ve only done some brief testing with the ‘music’ program on my aid as I have been using some Roon parametric EQ to make things sound more normal. Adjustments are being done by ear (:ear: LOL) based roughly on my audiogram and I then intend to do a tone test similar to a hearing test and create a separate parametric EQ based on this. I can then listen back to back with various tracks.

The time taken to do this gives my brain chance to further acclimatise to my aid before giving this a decent trial. Roon’s EQ facility is worth every penny.

I’m clinging on here simply because I like music so much!

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I too suffered with hearing loss around 60 I had the usual tests and was issued with Aids NHS style good. Since then theses have been upgraded 4 times now I am to Bluetooth style aids My audiologist set them up for HD music which is brilliant Thanks NHS I may go for private aids I have tested a few and although slightly better as with all things go outdated and so far the cheapest are around £2K think I will wait and see As I love music anybody who is in this position shouldn’t hesitate The consultant at the hospital told at a very modest 27 we start loosing our hearing on a slightly loss each year

Really good information and good to know that something can be done.
I have moderated hearing loss with higher frequencies and am booked in for a hearing test next month.
Good to know that there is a solution.

Be prepared to work at it with your audiologist.

I’ve had hearing loss for about 5 years and various aids, Last time I went to an independent audiologist and tried about 4 different ones before getting Oticon ones . The difference to listening to music with these is great, I can hear high notes like a triangle etc really crisply.
You don’t realise over the years how much you’ve lost the top end frequencies till you have a test and get aids

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The degradation of hearing with age is generally relatively slow, and is often not noticed by the individual until it affects normal communication with others. People may buy hifi gear while having quite an advanced state of hearing loss, choosing that which sounds best to them - and of course that might result in a setup with exaggerated high frequencies. That may be particularly the case where speakers have been chosen at such a time. I wonder if then getting hearing aids may cause them to dislike the sound and result in a lot of knock-on hassle and cost…

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