Best hearing aids for piano and birding?

Can anyone help me with finding best HAs for hearing all the sounds from my piano without clipping and distortion and also which manufacturer might have highest frequency capabilities? I’m trialing Oticon Real and finding pitch changes when I play music, even in the lower registers (and it generally sounds awful). And the birds I want to hear (at about 7K Hz) are inaudible. My audi wants to try Resound Nexia next but I’d like input from y’all if you’re willing to opine. I’m new and struggling to understand a lot of things about hearing loss, but I think I’ve loaded my audiogram, if that helps. Thanks for any advice.

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Possibly Widex aids. They are said to be best for music.
I wear the Real1 aids and have no issues hearing birds in my area of the country. And honestly to me the piano sounds great to me, but I have never been that much of a music lover.

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I have no problem with hearing birds wearing cochlear implants. What birds are you not hearing?

You have high frequency hearing loss that shouldn’t be an issue for any modern hearing aid.

Hearing birds and clipping with music are two different programming issues.

Have you considered trying different audiologist?
The aids you have are nice but so are most other modern aids. Have you considered trying Costco?

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Dr Cliff, Aud puts out a LOT of info on hearing aids. He says the Oticon Real One is the best for high frequency and a top hearing aid for 2024. I’ve got phonak audeo 90 r/l. I’m quite pleased with them with music and i can hear the birds, etc.

The audeos are my first and only HAs. I’ve had them 2 years. I seriously doubt I could tell the difference between other high end hearing aids.

Is this your first hearing aid pair? It does take a couple weeks for sounds to be normal. Also I think they start you out at low volume and gradually increase. So that may be why you dont hear the 7k bird sounds just yet.

I like Dr. Cliff, but given that he takes payments directly from HA manufacturers, I take his recommendations with a grain of salt. True, his best of YEAR videos are not sponsored, but many of his review videos are. I’m not saying what he says is not true, but if anyone is taking payment from a manufacturer and reviewing their product, I view what is said as an advert rather than an unbiased review.

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Thanks all for your replies. I think I’m dealing with too many different issues here: Some birds vocalize at frequencies above 8000 Hz and I know the hearing aids won’t deal with that, but I’m not hearing Cedar Waxwings and some warblers that call at just over 6000 Hz. Complicating this is a tinnitus problem that varies a lot. But I suspect that the Oticons are interfering with some of the bird sounds, possibly identifying them as “noise” and I wonder if the same sort of thing is happening with musical overtones. My audi is very knowledgeable and helpful but she’s not a birder or a musician, and I’d like to understand how the HAs deal with these situations so I can help her with programming for my needs.
Is there some information out there that shows the differences between how manufacturers correct hearing loss?

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Have you tried using the MyMusic program it removes all filters, it works great when outside sounds are important

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You need to get your audi to program a dedicated muscians program. My Signia AX7s came with one pre installed and it still needed more tweaking. After it was fine tuned, it was great. Many audis don’t know how to program for music and assume that the pre installed ones are sufficient.Often they’re not.

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I have Jabra Enhance Pro 20s from Costco and have been amazed at how much sound the “Outdoor” setting brings in, including birds. Of course, I can’t tell what I’m missing. As for Music, my test is only with live performance of classical (including recently an all-brass concert!). I have long felt that I’m not fully getting the melody, using hearing aids (I’ve worn various). Much of the comment on this board re music seems to be about various forms of recording.

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You are unlikely to hear 6000 Hz and above directly. Your good low frequency hearing means you are likely wearing open domes (to prevent occlusion and to allow natural low frequency sounds to enter the ear) Open domes will mean you won’t be able to get enough high frequency gain without generating feedback. Solution possibilities are either closed domes and more gain or frequency lowering. (Shift the high frequency sounds down to a lower frequency where they can be heard.
Many find frequency lowering annoying. It takes definite tweaking to get it right (It’s not just turning it on (and that’s all many audiologists are willing to do) I can suggest resources if you want to get into the deep end of frequency lowering.
There are multiple threads on the forum regarding setting hearing aids up for listening to music. You’ll likely want a separate music program.

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You don’t say the model of the Real (1, 2, or 3) you are trying or the output rating of the receiver (the speaker) in the ear. The Real 1 has wider frequency range than the 2 or 2 and the high end cutoff changes with both model and receiver. Note that the fitting range for the power depends on the type of dome or mold you have.

I have a similar high end loss and hear, if not well, many native birds in Arizona. As I have somewhat more loss at lower frequencies than you, I have vented molds with 85 dB receivers now per recommendation of my audiologist. Those probably allow for more gain at higher frequencies than open domes or vented domes and the fitting was done with Real Ear Measurements. REM resulted in larger gain at many frequencies for me.

If you download the technical data sheet for the Real from Oticon, you can see the claimed performance for the model you have. For example a Real 1 with 85 db receiver has a claimed frequency range of 100-9500 Hz for an ear simulator and 100-8900 for a 2CC Coupler (I have NO idea what these items are). The Real 2 & 3 with 85 dB receiver have a range of 100 - 7500 Hz.

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I have the Real 1 with 85 dB receiver. And my audi used real ear measurements. I think I’m hoping for the impossible as far as high frequency bird calls. But today I was fitted with the Resound Nexia HAs that my audi suggested and, though I wasn’t able to hear a singing kinglet (there was also considerable wind), I did hear much more of the overtones and other high pitches in the song of a chickadee than I could hear with the Oticons. So I’m hopeful that the Resound might do better for me. No trial with the music program yet.

I’m going to be able to keep both of these HAs for a month so maybe I can figure out which works better for me. An interesting thing my audi said was that she is able to change more settings and tweak the programs considerably more with the Resound than with the Oticon so maybe we can both really geek out on these HAs!

Thanks to all who responded and I’m glad to have more comments :slightly_smiling_face:

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If you have conductive loss, like me in my right ear, a Bone Assisted Hearing Aid can work miracles in terms of restoring high frequency loss. If you look at my audiogram you’ll see that I have severe and profound loss especially in high frequencies in my right ear. With a BAHA (Osia) I score very close to normal levels all the way across the spectrum. And yes, I noticed bird song right off the bat! However the Osia isn’t very good for playig music, so I still use traditional aids for that. I play classical guitar.

The Osia is flat out brilliant for speech however.

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Thanks for this Jeffrey. I’m learning about a lot of possibilities here, and I’m also considering in-ear monitors for music. But I haven’t investigated that yet, still hoping for decent sound with HAs. So far the Resounds seem to be working better for me than the Oticons for music and I heard a Ruby-crowned Kinglet very well this morning on my bird walk. Maybe someday technology will improve to the point that we can get all of our aural needs met with one device (assuming our brains are still functioning). :upside_down_face:

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As a musician, I settled on Philips mini rites after trying everything in Costco, plus Eargo. Clipping distortion makes piano sound like a guitar with the strings set too low such that the strings are rattling on the fingerboard. The Philips had the widest adjustment range, and adjusting gain is the only way I found to eliminate the clipping distortion. Can’t help with the bird problem.

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Thanks for this reply–I hope to try more hearing aids before I have to decide. Your input is helpful.

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More important than the brand of aids is your HCP’s expertise in the specialty problem area that you are looking to solve. If you have a good rapport and they are willing to do research, you may even help them grow beyond their current areas of expertise if you are a bit patient. The HAs and fitting software are just tools. Some are better for different problems than others. A good HCP knows what tool to grab to fix your issue. It sounds like you found a good one.

WH

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HI Musicnbirds, I’m a musician too and love hearing birds. Over the last 10 months or so I’ve tried Oticon, Phonak, and now Widex. A lot of people, including other musicians say Widex is best for music. I’m still working my widexes in but they are definitely the best I’ve found so far in terms of sound that I can live with. they have some rudimentary EQ control that you can use and if you make a sound you like better than the ones that came with the aids you can save it. Also the “Power Sleeve” tips increase the low frequencies which will make your piano sound warmer. They are far from perfect and though I’ve heard numerous musicians including the great Quincy Jones say that they are going to make better ones, as far as I know these are the best yet.

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Check out Widex hearing aids. For me, as a musician, I get amazing sound from them. I have tried other brands. The Widex Moments 440 are what I’m currently wearing with custom ear molds.

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To Bill H and jazzpete–could you tell me about your hearing loss? I don’t see any audiograms and I’m just curious if some hearing aids are more suitable to certain types of loss. I’m currently trying Resounds and they sound better for both music and birding than the Oticons, which are supposed to be better for high frequency loss like I have. But as WhiteHat mentions, the settings could be different and that would make the two HAs not really comparable.

I’d like to try Widex and I suspect my audi will let me do that but she says they have more issues than some of the other brands, apparently with repairs and such. Since I’m a newbie I’m a little reluctant to spend such big bucks on something that won’t last for several years. Any thoughts about that?

I’d also be really interested in any specifics you’d like to share about the differences between the other HAs you’ve tried and Widex.

Thanks everyone for all the input.

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