I know I’m not alone, but where should I turn?
It’s time for me to accept the inevitable upper register hearing loss and change my audio setup, I’m sure of that, but what change(s) to make? Does anyone have advice on this ‘phase of life’ ?
I’m thinking Uniti Nova to replace ND555 / NAC552, whilst keeping the ATC active 100’s. So my worry is about the abilities of the Nova - does anyone have any experience of such a change (I’m trying to avoid the term ‘downgrade’) ?
Any help / reassurance / advice / experience gratefully accepted
Before getting rid of your black boxes, I take it you’ve seen an audiologist, to establish the hearing loss curve?
I’ve been using electric ears for some time now, and they seem to work just fine, having two programmes, one for everyday speech, and one for listening to music, tailored specifically for my upper register hearing loss.
My audiologist is a mate of mine, and he was able to coax the best out of a pair of NHS hearing aids, without, as he said at the time, “spending daft money on an audiophile pair”
Worth a bash, mate.
I’m not far behind you on this. The advice I have had from reading up and from talking to two neighbours is hearing aids. The earlier you start the more time the brain has to adjust. There is also a theory that using them can slow up the onset of dementia.
@roger I’m quite a few years ahead of you on this journey. Definitely try hearing aids. They are not cheap, but then Naim isn’t cheap. For the price of a Nova you could get a pair of top end hearing aids prescribed and supplied privately. You must mention to the audiologist that you want them for music listening and so will need to be able to switch programmes and on the music setting have as much as possible of the digital processing turned off.
I am happy to help with advice but I think there are plenty of us here who can help you actually.
Just to expand on @Collywobbles point about starting earlier, so that the brain can adjust, I’d suffered for years with work induced tinnitus, which seemed to magically disappear once I adopted my electric ears … bonus!
Roger, I told my audiologist I am a music lover and she knew what to recommend. The music is beautiful again, and the family can finally enjoy listening with me.
I asked her to make the Music profile the default. I switch to the Normal “Smart” profile when driving, and when away from the house. Mine are by Starkey.
I have to admit that while the HAs give me the convincing perception of restored/normal high register, I still prefer to leave closed caption titles turned on, and the family don’t object.
And, while I retain the opinion that better sound is better, with or without my HAs, I do take other people to demos these days, before buying, in case there are issues that I do not hear.
Good luck, with sympathy.
Hi Dave, I didn’t mention that my tinnitus has got significantly worse this year; the hospital audiology guy did tell me that a hearing aid was often what they prescribe for that too, so thanks for your confirmation on that point.
Seems I have a lot to learn about modern hearing aids (which is what you mean by ‘electric ears’, isn’t it?) Reading yours & other replies it’s evident that they’ve moved on a pace since I used to talk to my Grandad with his…
Yep, the tinnitus is a thing of the past now.
I’m not knocking the privately prescribed hearing aids in any way, but my audiologist felt the Phonak ones available on the NHS were infinitely customisable for each individual, and I’ve never felt the need to venture into the upper echelons of separate power supplies and upmarket cables … no, wait!
You’re not alone… I’ve had a pair of Phonaks for a couple of years now, and it was very unpleasant at first - the music sounded unbearably shrill. Fortunately, another forum member with the same hearing aids told me what to do - I followed his advice, it’s infinitely better now. Needless to say, I’m very grateful to him.
I found that relying on the aids to detect whether I was listening to music or to ordinary speech just didn’t work; so, like @davidhendon, I now have two settings and I can switch manually between the two. I had to pester my audiologist for a few months before I got what I wanted.
Tinnitus sufferer here too, happened after a snorkeling dive, high pitch ring and a loud pop, never been the same since 1996. Also, I work in a factory, where war plugs are required in almost all areas. I do everything I can to help slow the degradation, earplugs while using any power tool or mower, And everywhere at work. But enough about me, you have some nice black boxes mentioned which are probably paid for, and still delivering great music. I agree with the other member responses, maybe some hearing help, and/or other alternatives.
Just reflecting on the OP’s original thought about downgrading, doesn’t that depend on what you get out of the sound? Obviously if hearing aids bring back much of what is lost then the problem goes away, and undoubtedly it will depend on what exactly is the problem- but age-related hearing loss dulling and then taking away high frequencies might not negate the non-HF benefits of a good system, from timing well to clarity to fast bass you can feel etc.
On the positive side it does mean that you might not notice if a tweeter blows, or speaker choice may be wider because none have over-harsh or too-smooth treble, or whatever, all similarly having no treble!
If you don’t use hearing aids you might be surprised how sensitive you can still be to the difference between Naim systems.
I heard the ND555 through a 500 series system and then through the Statement system in the demo room in Salisbury. Even with Focal speakers, and my hearing aids, the difference between the two systems was obvious.
Which make of hearing aids suits you best depends on what your hearing loss is. I have tried lots and indeed change them about every two years. For me Resound is the best sounding make by a mile, but I know another forum member who tried Resound but preferred Phonak. Widex also has a good reputation for music lovers (but to me, having owned two pairs of Widex and trialled their current best model) they are just not good enough).
I got the ReSound Lynx in 2016 which I use for all around hearing, traffic, restaurants, live music and audio. Each is a customizable pre-set. It integrates with my iPhone and it works remarkably well. My US medical benefit with a private company plan at work paid for 70% of the cost and my co-pay covered the balance. The US Veterans Administration has comparable products.
Do this or something like it and you can upgrade your Naim system with confidence.
I agree, with electric ears they can be set up like a graphic equaliser to compensate for the frequencies you are not hearing. I can now hear triangles etc very clearly with my ears in. Without, what triangle!!!
The now obsolete Resound Linx was good, but the Linx 2 was the first that started me chasing Naim because I could again hear the difference in sound the Naim approach made and since then Resound have made the Linx 3D which was better again and the current one Linx Quattro which is the best yet. (And you get volume, balance, bass, middle and treble tone controls in the iPhone app).
My advice would be to retain your excellent source, and get the best hearing aids you can afford (if that is what you need) , rather than downgrading, which I believe cannot but make the situation worse.
Roger, I know that you audition your changes to your system before committing to them, and thus must have been able to hear an improvement with the change to the ND555, which has been very recent.
I remember reading an interesting article in “Popular HiFi” 40 years ago where the author reported that his father, who could not identify pure tones above 12khz, but could reliably identify when a 20khz filter had been switched in to a music signal. The author theorised that the presence of the higher frequencies had an acoustic texture impact on the music that went beyond conscious identification of frequencies.
So why not just use your established criteria of “if I can hear a worthwhile improvement then It earns its place in the system” ,
Me too I have this problem. Best advice surely is to get hearing aids. Which I haven‘t done yet. But I changed a part of my hifi equipment. Not the sources nor the speakers. I bought me a preamp with tone controls. This gave me back a lot of joy listening to music. This helped me, but as much as I know, hearing loss is different for every person.
Best wishes, Jo
And sorry for my english…
I agree - It wasn’t when listening to music that I became aware my hearing was deteriorating.
The enjoyment of music had not gone at all.
I became aware of it in professional situations, or in noisy restaurants, when I started asking people to repeat what they’d said…
If I were you, I wouldn’t change my system (I didn’t), I would just get a pair of good quality hearing aids. Several reliable names are mentioned above, I would add those made by Oticon (a Danish firm).
I’m in the same boat. I’ve been planning to move my system from family room back to my living room, but I need to buy a rack. I think that hearing aids are going to have to come first. Why is it the older one gets the more expensive stuff gets.