Best hearing aids for musicians

Hi, this is my first time posting,I am a professional musician I’ve been using sígnia pure nx 7 for the past few years,after doing research it is suggesting that there are better hearing aids for performing musicians such as oticon and wider, I am looking to upgrade my signia as they are a few years old now.
Are there any performing musicians who could offer first hand advice to point me in the right direction.
Thank you

1 Like

Hello @Andy3
Welcome to this forum which I myself started following because of the same reason some years ago.
I tried several HA’s and ended up DIY as it was very hard to find out the solution after trying different brands and HCP’s.

As of now your actual audiogram is unknown, but very important to know.
Second thing the instrument you are playing and under which conditions (teacher, chamber music, small or symphonic orchestra, choir or whatever).
After knowing these you can explore the at this time available possibilities.

But I am still in doubt if you’ll find the solution which will help you the most on a forum like this. Not only is the perception of the HA brand very personal, you could also play with the different speaker- systems and available molds. And not at least your HCP and his/ her knowledge could play a great role in fitting your HA’s.

Another thing I found of help was a FB group called association of adult musicians with hearing loss. And of course this forum which also helped me a lot.

Wish you success and am following here.
Emile

5 Likes

Hi ,
Like many musicians I wasn’t happy with the audiologists understanding of my situation so I got myself a hi pro and software, immediately after self fitting I had a vast improvement on the audiologists set up.
I have been self fitting my HA for a few years now and have become quite efficient with the connexx software .

I’m a guitarist/ singer playing electric and acoustic guitar, sometimes with backing tracks.
I have a small project studio at home,I can’t up load my audiogram at the moment as I’m on holiday.
I was thinking of buying a new HA as the ones I have are a few years old , not sure wether to stick with signia or if there are better brands for live music performance.Maybe I’m expecting too much and my current setup is the best it can be.

Thanks

3 Likes

I’m a piano player and first came here with musician questions. Like others I eventually found out that you have to do your own settings.

I’ve tried all of the different brands and alternatives and believe that when properly adjusted there really isn’t much difference. That is, for me, YMMV.

I’ve pretty much settled on Phonak mainly because of the accessories and the extensive world wide support network.

4 Likes

Hi Andy welcome to the forum.

Yeah, I’m not player/singer, but an avid listener, attend a lot of classical concerts, and part-time/amateur luthier for cellos and guitar/bass. So my HAs performance with music was non-negotiable. I tried Phonak Lumity and Paradise, as well as Orticon Real - none of which made the cut. Eventually, I found what I was looking for when I trialed Widex Moments. Their higher sampling rate provided much needed clarity, and the Puresound ZeroDelay (though it’s actually 0.5ms) lag make the performance with music like getting the hearing back.

As to HCP’s not being music aware/oriented… it’s sad but true. It’s like their training is to stay away from tinnitus and music optimization. Nearly all brands have dedicated Music program, in which they typically have feedback suppression reduced/off and have increased/reduced compression - they can be a mixed bag! They can be fine tuned though and is where usesr opt for DIY than working with an audi that doesn’t have that background. Performance with music is still limited to internal hardware - which is Widex’s unchallenged advantage. They should be on your shortlist!

1 Like

Hi,
Thanks so much for your input, very valuable.
Widex was one of the brands I was looking at,
I bought my first devices about 9 years ago, unfortunately I live on a small Spanish island and there’s not a lot of options,signia was all I really had access to , they were the pure binax at a cost of €4500 ,so 4 years later I came across some info on the web on how to buy your devices on line and aquire the necessary equipment for self programming ,so I bought signia nx platform and programed them myself with much better results than I got from the audiologists. They’re now a few years old and I was looking at buying new devices online and continuing down the self programming route as I’ve been doing the past few years,but unfortunately we are limited in choices on my island and the cost is very high so I can’t really try anything out.

Does anyone have any info on self programming the widex devices .

Great help on this form.

2 Likes

Andy,

I wouldn’t get caught up thinking it’s about the hardware, until you have exhausted all the programming options for the hearing aids you already own. In my opinion almost any of the major brand hearing aids over the last 10 years should be satisfy your music requirements if properly set up.

This is where doing your own programming can be very satisfying. Just as long as you save your program settings, you can always revert to a previous program and start over. No mistakes are permanent, you can’t screw it up. Actually it can be fun to try different things to see what works best for you, and there is minimal initial cost.

I play some classical guitar and mandolin, and am totally happy with the dedicated music program I set up. I didn’t get it right the 1st time, but after a number of improvements it’s working great now.

Give DIY a chance, and save yourself a ton of time and money.

3 Likes

Great to read the strong vote for Widex Moments since I have just ordered a pair. I am a professional symphonic viollinist and am not satisfied with my Kirkland Signature 10.0s (basically the same as Phonak Paradise), even after self adjusting. My sister is a bass player and tried the Widex and also said they were better for music so I decided to give them a try. Keeping my fingers crossed!!

4 Likes

It would be very helpful if you could use the same audiologist as she does, taking that variable out of the equation. The same brand/model of hearing aids but using different audiologists might result in completely different results.

1 Like

I had the chance to A-B Paradise and Moments. Simply put, string instruments sounded dull with Paradise - no resonances or harmonics. With Moments I could hear both those, differences in string or bridge changes, adjusting sound post, etc.

As a violinist, with any HA, you’ll want to disable anti-feedback (both, not just left) so those flutes and piccolos don’t keep triggering it. :grimacing: The Moment’s music program does have that disabled, but also needs to be changed to have the compression ironed out (reducing gain of mid and low level sounds). You may still prefer a custom program based on Puresound for the marginal delay for coherence and reduced comb filter effect - my personal preference but that’s specific to my hearing loss slope.

2 Likes

Thanks, 715, for the input regarding the Moments. I am looking forward to receiving them and trying them. Will take into account your advice about adjustments for the music program in the HAs. All best. David

1 Like

Maybe again not pointing in the right direction but just a thought as I’m suffering the same and searching for the solution also. I have a great collection of premium devices and accesories costing me a fortune already. Also self programming for my own research.

Stupidly enough and probably because of my search for the utmost best and my disappointment of not finding the solution I never thought of this before now turn back to my starting position with HA’s.

Wondering if you wouldn’t be better of having two sets of HA’s specifically one for speech the other for music. I can imagine that you even would not need the premium ones of them as they only have to fulfill just in one of the requirements each. A cheap analog device for music and a digital one for speech for instance or whatever.

Good hearing musicians nowadays also often use their ‘normal’ ears and are playing with relatively “cheap” custom made noise killers in to be able to NOT hear. So if the perfect expensive all in one solution for hearing impaired people does not exist why not copy the behavior of our good hearing friends?

Just a thought…

Are we cutting the hearing aid manufacturers and set up practitioners too much slack?
Why don’t they all manufacture hearing aids that work for speech in most difficult circumstances, and music too?
Why do they exclude music when it has so many beneficial effects for all of us?

I truly appreciate all your posts. I’ve used hearing aids for 20+ years, and have had 3 sets of Phonaks in the last 10+ years.

DaveL

Yep, Widex has a great reputation among musicians.

I have Signia AX7s, with the Musician program further adjusted. I like them! But I haven’t tried Widex or many other brands.
Let us know your impressions of the Widex, please. I’m very curious.

1 Like

@DaveL
Well I don’t think they exclude music lovers, as HA’s are made as medical devices for hearing impaired people, to be able to communicate in speech. They are doing a good job nowadays for music minded people too.
Only a professional musician needs professional solutions to do his job. No unwanted digital operations in frequencies and loudness like compression and sound enhancer or autosense etc.
I don’t believe HA’s will ever become a perfect solution for professional hearing impaired musicians .

2 Likes

@emile.heilbron Your posting enabled me to put the topic of “Using hearing aids for listening to music” into a sensible perspective.
Hearing aid manufacturers are focussed on speech clarity in many situations; if a hearing aid model is also very good for music then that is a lucky side effect.

2 Likes

I believe the problem is most audiologists are trained to help folks communicate. It’s not that the hearing aids won’t work well for musicians, it’s just that most audiologists are reluctant to disable the digital features that work so well to help communicion in most environments.

I recently ran into a situation affecting the dedicated music program on my Phonak Bolero M90 aids with Bluetooth. When the music program was activated, I could hear a slight hiss in my right ear only. I never heard it in my older Phonak V70 aids without bluetooth, so I went back and added a little noise canceling to my right ear in the music program, which fixed it.

Because the right side is the one set to communicate via bluetooth with my phone, I was hearing some noise that probably would never be heard in any of the other programs with all the normal digital functionality operating. My older V70 aids do not have bluetooth, so no hiss. I plan to verify this by using the target software to switch the bluetooth to the left ear and see if the hiss follows it.

The hiss was present even with my phone turned off, so I know it’s in the hearing aids.

The addition of a little noise canceling didn’t seem to adversely affect the sound of my guitar.

@dacuttler
The providers and manufacturers do their utmost best I think. Those people are all good informed and there are good music programs pre installed for the listener/ music fans.
Don’t forget that HA’s only manage frequencies between 50 and 8.000 Hz. So all interferences under and above at least will disappear and not play any role in the acoustics. As also the spatial echoing which has to be heard will be lost.
The better earphones for music have a broader band then the top HA’s. Also the speakers used are bigger then in HA’s.
And will the small microphone of the aid be as good as a professional on stage used microphone. Then why would we use these costly and big things for concerts.
Wasn’t it that in former years the analog HA’s were to be preferred…

1 Like

I am new to HAs and I was concerned about my piano sounding right. I am not a professional but I have been playing for 50 years or so and I’m pretty sensitive to pitches etc. I also play a little guitar. I have tested one pair of HAs (Audicus) which had a good review on music and I found them to be quite good although I have nothing to compare them to yet. I did find that some hearing aids have an extended frequency range although the frequencies at the high end were not adjustable. The Philips 9040 aids behave this way. They go to 12kHz I believe. Up to 8k is adjustable as I recall.

From the responses here I think musicians are investing in higher end devices, which makes sense for professionals. Since my hearing has a typical audiogram, tapering off at the higher frequencies, I’m looking forward to receiving my own first pair of hearing aids.

I love streaming music straight to my HAs when I’m exercising and of course the hands-free phone feature. I was listening to the Rach 3 yesterday and I knew I was missing some high end but it was still extremely moving. If only my fingers could move that fast. It must take many years to get that amazing. Great to read comments from musicians. Thank you.

1 Like

Over the last fifty years or more, hearing aids have restored a good bit of hearing to millions of people worldwide. Over the last 30 years, progress in this technology has increased by leaps and bounds.
Deafness and hearing impairment have been a constant through all of human history. Only in the last two seconds of that ticking historical clock have humans been able to address this condition effectively. And, lucky us, we live in that in that last two seconds.
So my point is, yes, hearing aids can’t make our hearing entirely whole. It’s not for a lack of trying! Humans can’t cure the common cold, either.
I become exasperated by folks who whine 'why can’t my doctor make me whole?" Why can’t my hearing aids restore me to my old self? why do I still have hearing issues?

I dodged becoming deaf when I was 6 years old due to advances in medical procedures. I would have been deaf had I been born ten years earlier, or lived in a rural community instead of Seattle, with access to Virginia Mason hospital.

I’m a musician–strangely!!–sure, I’d like to have better hearing. I’m blessed–blessed!–to have such fantastic hearing as I have, thanks to my hearing aids.

We’re all exceptionally lucky to have the hearing we have.

3 Likes