Audiophile hearing loss and hearing aids

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ghost rider, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. ghost rider

    ghost rider Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm in my 50s and I know I have some hearing loss. I also know someday I will have to get a hearing aid as I can no longer hear conversations in a noisy room. As far as music goes I feel like I'm hearing better music that when I was young. My system has gotten much better. I don't feel like I'm missing anything when I listen to music.

    So are there highend audiophile hearing aids? Does an audiophile with a hearing aid use it when listening to music or is it just good for conversations?
  2. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Plano, Texas U.S.
    Check this thread:

    The short answer is I don't know about audiophile hearing aids, but all modern hearing aids utilize advanced technology and can amplify those frequencies necessary to "approximate" normal hearing.

    You need to use them all the time -- you can't just turn up the stereo -- not because of the neighbors, but because hearing loss is not uniform across all relevant frequencies. Hearing aids restore the loss frequencies. Makes a big improvement when listening to music, and you can turn them to "mute" when your wife complains to you and say "honey, I'm sorry, but I can't hear you.":righton:
    Tullman, eyeCalypso, pitro and 4 others like this.
  3. P2CH

    P2CH Well-Known Member

    I have a pair of hearing aids. Granted, I didn't buy them from where my test was done, but I bought a decent behind the ears type on-line.

    This is just my observation of them; they sound crappy and I doubt anything that is made that small is going to sound much better. No matter how much fancy technology goes into it.

    Due a hearing aid increases the level of sound you're hearing, everything it picks up is going to be louder. Meaning, the sound floor level is relative. When I stopped at a drive-thru place, I couldn't hear the person talk due the noise from traffic was very loud. They say your ears will adjust to these kinds of things, but in the numerous times I wore mine, I still had trouble hearing people talk because everything was louder and noise around me drowned out the person I was trying to hear.

    I've also been fooled into thinking, more than a handful of times, that what I was listening to was playing very distorted. I actually forget that they are in my ears so anything that is loud is going to sound distorted badly. I was at a fund raiser gig once and there was a DJ playing loud music. I was almost going to tell him that his amps were clipping very badly but I realized I had hearing aids in my ears and it was those that were distorting badly.

    I don't wear them anymore because it just seemed like they caused hearing issues by trying to correct them. And, they are not able to recreate sound like your ears can. If you listen to music with them, the music will be louder but it isn't going to have a quality sound to it.
  4. joem

    joem New Member

    Wigan uk
    For best results hearing aids need to be programed to suit your particular hearing loss just buying a pair will not give the best results. I have mild high frequency hearing loss and my hearing aids are programed to just effect these frequencies, music sounds a little clearer in the treble with them in.
    DougP, Grant, auburn278 and 1 other person like this.
  5. JBStephens

    JBStephens I am not a "peep", thank you very much.

    South Mountain, NC

    You aren't hearing better, but your listening skills have become more acute and attuned to unwrapping the many subtleties of your stereo. So you're not hearing better, you're listening better. And that's what separates audiophiles from ordinary people.
    timind, vconsumer, 4011021 and 11 others like this.
  6. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    A good friend of mine was diagnosed with some significant hearing loss a couple of years ago. He's in his early 60s. He has been a music lover for decades, passionate about collecting the music he loves, and he is a dedicated listener with a very good listening room filled with tens of thousands of dollars worth of electronics and speakers he's gradually built up over the past ten years in particular.

    He discussed a range of possibilities with his audiologist, his GP and a couple of other specialists. He settled eventually on ReSound Enzo2 hearing aids. The things are amazing, which they should be for a little over $2,000 each. They're controlled from an app that runs on both his iPhone and his iPad. He can also listen directly from one of his idevices to the Enzo2's, which is really quite something. He insists that fidelity is great - thoroughly enjoyable, and truly high fidelity. IIRC, his audiologist told him originally that the next model below the top of the line Enzo2 actually might offer slightly better fidelity again, but without as many bells & whistles controls via app. He also owns a pair of Etymotic (a company that also makes award winning IEMs as most people on the forum probably already know) in-ear sound amplifiers that filter noise and provide what he claims is also a very good music listening and conversation listening experience.
  7. drew phillips

    drew phillips Well-Known Member

    alicante Spain
    I have some hearing loss, like TV sound is crap and voices in a room fudge as it were.Very common for a 70 year old. Also my wife nags me to get help. I visited a independent hearing specialist for an examination and hearing test. His opinion based on my audio test was that my hearing was not so bad that any hearing aid could fix it and i would be wasting my money. I was delighted my wife not so.
  8. Vandalfsens

    Vandalfsens New Member

    I don't often post because I don't feel I have much to contribute but appreciate the information shared by other members.

    I'm a music lover with an all-Adcom system except for my Pro-Ject deck and Hafler 300 floor-standers.

    After being diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss across all freq in my right and moderate in mostly the low and high freq in my left, I just got my hearing aids a week ago. I have the Siemens Silk in-ear kind.

    What I can tell you so far is that with a few exceptions, music from my system sounds amazing. I was missing so much detail. I just brought home the Stones' Exile on vinyl and therefore had the opportunity to listen pre and post hearing aids. Besides, I can also mute my hearing aids using an iPhone app. There was no comparison. I can also hear the difference with solo guitar- I hear what I guess you would call the overtones, not just the plucked or strummed strings.

    There are three tiers of software, and each one is more costly. I have the middle one which includes a program for music which is supposed to include the full frequency bandwidth.

    The TOTL has three different modes for music: live, recorded and also one for musicians.

    However, I can say that solo piano music, or if it's mixed with just one other instrument, sounds wobbly. I'm transitioning to a single adcom CD player (should arrive this week) and only have my turntable for assessment right now so I don't know if it's unique to the turntable or not.
    timind, Dan C, ben_wood and 3 others like this.
  9. Hipper

    Hipper Forum Resident

    Herts., England
    I'm by no means an expert but this is what I've done.

    I'm 64 and use an equaliser and test tones to get levels right.

    I noticed hearing loss when doing some acoustic tests using headphones. At the moment not only am I not able to hear above 10kHz but I've also lost a few dB between 5-8kHz and one ear didn't hear 7kHz. With an equaliser in my speaker system I can make adjustments to get the sound more level at these frequencies which seems to improve things. It's not quite that simple because compromises need to be made otherwise there was sometimes harshness in female vocals.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  10. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    Very informative, thank you! I know I have some loss from difficulty unraveling conversations in noisy environments. I see no reason why very high fidelity hearing aids could not be built. Why can't they sound as good as good in-ear buds?
  11. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Houston TX
    Typical hearing loss from aging is in the high frequencies. For men in their 60's sensitivity rolls off above 8khz. In their 50's above 12khz. When listening to music there is a loss of what is usually called air. Lyrics become harder to understand. The music is still enjoyable.
    SandAndGlass and 4xoddic like this.
  12. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    I'm always interested in music enthusiast's experiences in the hearing-aid quest. Everybody's music appreciation (and by that I don't mean Sabbath over Metallica, I mean intimate headphone listeners, over Klipsches in the shower stall) is different, and their requirements make a significant difference when you have to choose your new equipment. And while Consumer Reports can tell you what equipment will make your wife happy again, there's no similar studies done in Stereophile*.

    Some people don't really understand what their loss is doing to their perceptions of everything else in their naturally, their impressions of their recorded listening is deteriorating "normally" as well. But, your inner equipment is already tuned to what you hear now, and sends the message, that this is the norm. Now the audiologist has to get you to the point where you can hear Pat Sajak mumbling while the Wheel is spinning once again, and also know with assurance, that your MoFi collection sounds, "right". The audiologist can swap out your equipment, but you have to give yourself time to "update your inner firmware". So that's two things at once.

    We all know what happens when we upgrade the cartridge and the speakers at one time - you don't really know which one solves the problem. Fortunately for me, Pennsylvania law allows a pretty fair evaluation period, and when I get my first pair of aids, I wanna spend a lot of time in the sweet spot, letting them "burn-in". I spent a lot of years under headphones on-air, and listening to tape hiss on cassettes in cars, and "watching" the soundstage in the living room, as many of you have. So as my hearing goes, maybe I can't hear all the transients...but my noggin fills in the blanks for me, and I can imagine where the transients are. So...what will happen to this, once I regain the ability to hear my wife mumble, "fix the faucet thingie" from three rooms away?

    (*because, there's an understandable bias against people claiming "golden ears" when they're wearing "golden hearing aids"...kinda like, nobody wants Lou Ferrigno's autograph anymore while they're all lining-up to meet Mark Ruffalo)
    (incidentally, can you imagine the horror, once Monster starts marketing their own hearing aids!?!)(or Bose!)
    4xoddic likes this.
  13. tootull

    tootull John Norman

    Bose made earbuds that act like hearing aids
  14. 4xoddic

    4xoddic Forum Resident


    The sounds of gently falling raindrops on the leaves of a 100' tree were one of the first experiences I had post-hearing aids. I can't recall when I lost those frequencies. IMHO, by the time hearing losses cannot be offset by the brain & the individual notices, hearing aids are the only route to take.

    re: un-equalizing the frequency spectrum (boosting for hearing loss). Does no one else listen to your system?
    timind likes this.
  15. riddlemay

    riddlemay Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    Vandalfsens, I found your entire post valuable, but got stuck on this sentence. What is a TOTL? Is that the (middle) tier of software that you chose for your Siemens Silks? If so, what does it stand for? And what are the other tiers called? If TOTL is not that, what is it?
  16. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    My wife and I enjoy our main system together. Preparing one for the living room for us and visitors. The one in the studio however, is all mine. We only share it when catching-up on television shows online. But I wouldn't dream of tweaking any of these just to compensate for my particularities; I'd rather "join the party", than insist the party come to me. As for the studio, I'm used to producing, tweaking, and working on my music library with other ears in mind. Even if I commit the unforgivable sin of relying on my headphones sometimes instead of my near-field monitors (and that will have to change anyway once I get all 5.1's working anyway), knowing what I'm missing, is the better choice than putting thousands of tracks on my radio station (which is already over, in the first place) or readying them for a whole-house NAS, then having to un-tweak them all once I join the hearing-aid generation.

    So, what does raindrops landing on a 100' foot tree sound like, anyway...? Do the drops on the upper half of the tree sound different than those on the lower branches? And, do the drops on the lower branches that came from the top first, any different from the others? You know, do they sound, "pre-dripped"...? :D
    4xoddic likes this.
  17. Vandalfsens

    Vandalfsens New Member

    Sorry! That would be Top of the Line!

    I think the software is called Primax. Level 3 has 1 mode, level 5 has 3 (my audiologist configured Standard, Crowd and Music for me) and level 7 has 5 modes I think and also introduces things like decreasing wind and road noise in the car.

    My Audiologist says that most of her patients are just fine with the middle tier. So far I am too.
  18. J. R.

    J. R. Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    I have had some hearing loss for several years, particularly the high frequencies, so started searching for hearing aids. Bottom line: you can spend several thousand, but I ended up buying the K7's at Costco - $1800 a pair. I have had them for a couple of months. They have certainly helped my hearing, but to my biggest surprise, they have aided in listening to music also. YMMV or course, but Costco has a six-month free trial.
    4xoddic likes this.
  19. Vandalfsens

    Vandalfsens New Member

    Mine were $2800 which reflects 30% off. I have unlimited office visits and adjustments which was important to me. One more thing: these are CIC aids but are not molded/custom.

    Only downsides to the tiny size is they are not rechargeable and cannot directly link to a Bluetooth signal.
    G E likes this.
  20. 4xoddic

    4xoddic Forum Resident

    I have been contemplating that statement since I posted it . . . I've not since heard raindrops in the exact same way. Very wide soundstage & depth => 3-dimensional. The 1st experience post-hearing aids of cutting a Fuji apple was also spectacular. Such audio revelations blend into the background, and don't draw my attention these days.

    My Widex aids have 10-steps of amplification; I usually have them at 6. IF the windows are open, I can hear the farm trucks going from pavement to gravel, a block away. They have a "TV"/"Master" switch, which boosts audio from directly in front. I don't find it useful. It could likely be programed to other amplification level & frequencies.

    The remark about un-equalization wasn't directed toward you. I've read several comments today about this route to offset hearing loss. Your comment knowing what I'm missing is indicative of your professionalism. Should you one day get hearing aids, I believe you'll hear things you never thought about.
    timind likes this.
  21. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    The most common hearing loss isn't that sound is muffled, but the ability to hear higher frequencies is lessened. We can detect them, but they aren't as intense, which means you have to turn the volume up louder to hear them with the same intensity.

    I don't think hearing aid companies really take this into account. All they do is basically boost the midrange, without regard to much else. To get the kind of hearing aid that would be most useful is to have a custom-made one that precisely boosts the frequencies that you need by a certain number of decibels based on the hearing curve. Ah, but that is expensive.

    On another note, those of us with severe allergies have a tough time of it. I have to do my critical listening only when the atmospheric conditions and pollen count is low. My hearing is really affected by those factors, and when they are in play, it makes it seem as if my hearing is worse than it is.
  22. townsend

    townsend Forum Resident

    Plano, Texas U.S.
    Grant, I'm not sure your statement is correct. I'll try to ask the next time I am at Costco. I do know, from my personal experience, that turning up the volume won't address the issue of not hearing higher frequencies. Now there may be some super cheap hearing aids that do nothing but boost midrange -- I simply wouldn't know the answer to that. My hearing aids cost around 2800 for the pair at Costco, and they are a "rebranded" (sorry, I just railed against that word in another thread!) major brand. At Costco, they produce a audiogram, and I think that they can show you exactly what frequencies you are struggling to hear, and that hearing aids (such as the ones I have) address that particular deficit.

    Having said this, I still and never will have perfect hearing, and I don't think it's the fault of my hearing aids, nor of any others I might get . . . it's complicated . . . but regardless, I am very happy to have much of my hearing loss restored. Huge difference.:righton:
    timind and george2210 like this.
  23. Grant

    Grant A Musical Free-Spirit

    Well, that is the case with me. I still hear those very high frequencies if they are loud.

    Those are the ones most frequently marketed to senior citizens. I doubt too many of them are audiophiles!
    SandAndGlass and DougP like this.
  24. DougP

    DougP Member

    Omaha NE
    This. Go see an audiologist. Only they are qualified to give you a hearing test and base the results on what type of aid you need.

    I've been half deaf since 5yrs old and I'm 45 now.

    I currently wear an analog (not digital) in the ear hearing aid. Since I've been used to the "analog sound" for so long, I decided to stick with it instead of digital.
  25. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    Does Costco have audiologists?

Share This Page