Widex 440 Fremer review

Another thread on hearing aids, but on the only audiophile angle.
Is Widex really the best for audio sound quality, as often cited in reviews or forums.

I ask because I have the Signia 7iX for testing and also the Starkey Genesis. My hearing loss is light, more in the left ear, and some intermittent titinus.
The Starkey give a more resolved sound but for now I find the treble not enough soft.
I feel the high frequencies are exaggerated. It’s a bit demonstrative.
The Signia are more balanced. I have not the impression that something is amplified. It’s very very close to my sound experience without the aids. Natural. But of course I hear better through the left speaker.

I read a review on Signia vs Starkey. They say the sound on Starkey is more natural, effortless, vs the Signia. It’s not my experience for now.

Thought my interrogation : is it worth to try also the Widex?

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Here is a part of the Michael Fremer on Analog Planet:

« Two Months Later

If this is starting to sound more like an audio accessory review than a hearing aid review, you’re sort of getting the picture. Popping these in and out is effortless and takes a few seconds. Once in and correctly adjusted, you forget they are there. The only program I found seriously not useful was (ironically) the “Music” one. Very intrusive. The AI “Rough and Rowdy” one that seriously attenuated the top end per my “blind testing” was extremely effective especially for listening to classical and jazz at very low SPLs and when going from ppp or pianississimo to forte. Yes, the Bruckner 7th Direct-to-Disc record for which I contributed some notes, sounded more “pure” both texturally and timbrally with the Widex hearing aids out, but the results in, were very satisfying and allowed me to enjoy the entire first movement that begins ppp and ends with enormous blasts of trumpets, tympani and all sorts of majestic mayhem, without touching the volume control.«

Here are some recommendations by Dr Chasin, from the Piano Passion site, to set up the hearing aids for music. Set up by an audiologist.

« Start with Post-16-Bit Architecture

What to tell your audiologist: First, be sure to select hearing aids that have 20-bit or 24-bit architecture to allow for a higher input level. Then start with the optimal “speech-in-quiet” program for the patient and make adjustments from there to create a custom music program.

Here’s why: In some hearing aids, all sounds can’t necessarily get into the hearing aid for processing because the old industry standard 16-bit systems have a maximum input level of 96 decibels. Music can be louder than speech with more dynamic peaks, so louder elements would be clipped or distorted. Many newer hearing aids do not have this problem, but it’s important to make sure you’re starting with an appropriate model.

Dial Down Compression

What to tell your audiologist: A low compression ratio of 1.7 to 1 (or a maximum of 2 to 1) is best for music.

Here’s why: The compression ratio represents the change in loudness that comes into the hearing aid versus the change in loudness that goes out of the hearing aid and into your ear. Too much compression essentially over-processes the sound, causing music to sound dull and lacking in dynamics.

Turn Off Noise Reduction

What to tell your audiologist: Disable the noise reduction system for the music program.

Here’s why: The noise reduction system is designed to reduce the sound of the microphone inside your own hearing aid, but this feature sometimes has detrimental effects when used for music.

Turn Off Feedback Management Circuit

What to tell your audiologist: Disable the feedback management circuit when setting up the music program.

Here’s why: The feedback management circuit is designed to prevent you from hearing the squeal of your own hearing aid. But sometimes it can’t distinguish between the whistling of your hearing aid and a harmonic or a musical instrument.

Turn Off Frequency Shifting

What to tell your audiologist: Disable any frequency shifting or frequency transposition for the music program.

Here’s why: Frequency transposition customizes sounds to your particular audiogram by moving some tones to a lower frequency. It can help a lot when listening to speech—but for music, it means your hearing aids can actually change the notes and octaves on you if this feature is turned on! Should your audiologist have additional questions,«

What do you think of these recommendations, @davidhendon ?

Yes I totally agree with all of them. The inbuilt music program usually does follow these rules (but the 24 bit recommendation is more tricky to follow as this isn’t something that the manufacturers readily put in their specs.

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Thanks David. I hope my audiologist will know how to do that. In France we have ORL doctors ( for ears and nose) and shops for hearing aids with audiologists. The audiologist makes the set up but he mainly install the set up already calibrated by the brand ( Signia, Widex…) to the audiogramme of my ears.

Same in the UK.

The audiologist should understand what you show them if you give him/her the Chasin suggestions. He will know how to follow the suggestions.

Also if you are really interested then you could tweak the audiologist’s settings yourself. You need special software to run on a Windows 10 or 11 PC and the programming interface (which is known as NoahLink Wireless). The software is free if you know where to get it (I do). And the NoahLink Wireless costs about €100-200, on eBay, depending where you are buying it from. You probably can’t buy it from your hearing aid shop in France because it’s a controlled medical device in the EU, but it’s easy to buy from outside the EU. Mine came from South Korea (they are all made by a firm in Denmark!).

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Thanks, very interesting. But I doubt I will go so far. If mine can’t do, I will try to find one elsewhere.
For now the most bothering is to feel the dome vibrating in my ears for some tracks, hopefully not a lot of tracks. I could raise down the volume of my pre, but like them loud.
The Starkey gave a whistling signal on 2 tracks. More bothering.