Best hearing aids for playing music?

Any upates on this? I wear Phonak aids (forget the model, it’s mid range priced with buttons rather than auto to change programs). I have two music programs installed, which really help. I’m concerned primarily about live classical music and my own playing, not recorded music (there’s a difference). The Phonaks work pretty well but I don’t have any experience comparing them with other aids.

I 'think" sometimes with certain chords played on my guitar I hear a bit of distortion,but mostly they’re pretty clear.

thanks in advance!

Signia and Rexton have three music programs to choose from; Listening to live music, Listening to recorded music, and Playing an instrument. They are mostly reducing noise reduction and feedback suppression. Feedback suppression seems to be an issue that can distort or cause pure tones to warble. So part of the solution in addition to turning down or turning suppression off can be to use a more closed fitting to reduce feedback potential.

There have been a number of threads here discussing this issue of music and whether or not digital aids are better or worse than analog. You may want to do a bit of a search.

My recollection is that there are a couple of specifications to pay attention too. One is the input dynamic range of the hearing aid. This is not a common spec and you have to dig for it. I recall that Widex was one of the first to claim increased dynamic range, and they are currently at 112 dB. Signia claim 113 dB, so essentially the same. Another, possibly ReSound Quattro claims 116 dB?

Another is the frequency bandwidth. Most are now 10 kHz, with Signia claiming 12 kHz for the 7Nx. For many of us, this is a moot point and we are not going to hear anything that high. The other thing to watch is that when the receiver power goes up, the bandwidth goes down, and the distortion goes up.

Hope that helps some,

I’m a hearing aid user for nearly 30 years and musician. I used Phonak aids for most of those years with some success. The challenge I encountered was the distortion when performing. My audiologist turned off the feedback manager and that solved the problem of the “singing into a fan” sound. However, the hearing aids were then more susceptible to feedback. In more most recent search for hearing aids I’d demoed Starkey, Oticon, and Widex. I found that the Widex had the best sound for music without any changes in the programs to compensate for the distortion.

thanks for all the replies. I’m not sure if my aids have a feedback manager and if so, if it’s been turned off on my music program. I’ll look into it. Feedback is not an issue for me but I’m playing acoustic classical music so there’s that.

I don’t have terrible distortion but sometimes with chords in particular I’ll hear a bit of a snarl tone on my first, high e string when playing notes there. I wonder if the aid is simply overwhelmed with too many tones in a chord.

my right ear has worse hearing than my left and so has a more powerful aid–I suppose that’s the receiver power mentioned above. I wonder if this is the source of my problem? and then what to do about it?

The issue with feedback suppression is the methods used by the aids. One method is to notch filter the offending frequency out, which would have some impact on the sound of notes. The other method is to detect the offending frequency and shift the frequency of it, so it breaks the feedback loop. That probably has an even worse effect on the sound of a note in the affected range.

Jeffrey,
We could tell a lot more if you enter your audiogram. Enter if by clicking on the “MY AUDIOGRAM” menu item at the top right of the forum page. It’s easy to do. If you click on my avatar (My Face Icon) you will see mine. Most of us have entered our audiograms so others can see where we’re coming from when we comment. :blush:

I’m a classical pianist using Phonak Marvel M90-R’s. I had problems until I removed WhistleBlock from my Music Program and now all is good.

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Apply sound recover from 5-8k you have loss of 75 at 8k and 40 at 4k so— that include music frequency

Agreed parth_p.
In Target 6.1 under Music Program Options, Fine tuning I have:
WhistleBlock = OFF
SoundRelax = OFF
NoiseBlock = OFF
WindBlock = OFF

This is what Signia/Rexton/KS8 does for the Playing an Instrument program:

Most of the automatic features are turned off except the Automatic Classifier (AC), which identifies the situation you are in, and the intelligent Wind Noise reduction (iWN). The Intelligent Feedback Preventer is left on, but in the Slow setting. If you did not intend to play outside I would expect the iWN should be turned off too.

I use the Listening to Recorded Music program, and I have had the feedback prevention turned right off. It works at home listening to music, but I made the mistake of switching into that mode at an airport where there was some reasonably clean music being played in a restaurant. My left hearing aid nearly exploded. I thought there was a freight train coming in my left ear. I couldn’t get the aid out of my ear fast enough and get the program switched back to Automatic!

wow thanks for all this! I used to have my audiogram posted but somehow I was de listed or something and it’s gone. I’ll try to find it and post it again. Basically I have a ski slope–ish audiogram with more extreme loss in my right ear.

My audiologist programmed my music program by turning off features, but I never went over this in any detail with him. I’ll check in to see exactly what features he turned off; and which I have! Mine is a cheaper model (still pricey!). I’m not sure an audiologist would think to turn off Whistleblock, etc. Gary, good to know that Phonak is working for you. I have the Phonak Naida V. I need to actually look at the manual to see what features it has…

This is what my Music Program settings look like in Target 6.1. My Marvels weren’t connected when I made these screen shots so the settings are from the last live programming session I did.

My friend is a professional musician and wears Phonak Sky Q70 UPs. She also doesn’t use WhistleBlock as it really effects the sound of the music. She plays the violin and piano.

my wife has profound loss — over 110 DB — using the Phonak Naida Q90 at its maximum. For music settings I turned off sound recover because makes the higher notes sound strange. But now she’s complaining — when listening to string quartets — that there’s something she calls screeching or whistling when the violins play loud and high. Mostly she listens on tele-coil with whistle block turned off. Through much trial and error I set her up with a car stereo speaker mounted in a large speaker box using a special preamp after the amplifier to boost the sound as loud as possible for her. I also make her CDs with the music very compressed using Audacity freeware. I had been boosting the high frequencies for her, but this seems to make the screeching or whistling worse for the quartets. There’s also an eight band graphic equalizer in-line for her to play with.

When she listens when I’m driving, I set up the same speaker mounted right next to her ear, but unfortunately the static from the electronic ignition makes tele-coil listing impossible. so she uses a different program— with whistle block on — but doesn’t hear as well as at home.

Finally, we discovered that at the very maximum volume settings music was distorted — I could hear this myself. I bumped it down six notches and this seemed to solve the problem — except music had to be turned louder.

Any ideas about the whistling or screeching violins? She also has nerve damage which may be progressing and be the partial cause of this. Her left ear she hears only noise — zero discrimination. She wears the Cros on that side.

She’ll probably upgrade hearing aids next year when we get into a Medicare advantage plan, possibly waiting for when the Marvels come out in Naida.

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