Distortion of high notes listening to music

I’ve been trying to get used to listening to music with my hearing aides. I keep getting an occasional high pitched ringing distortion on certain high notes in voice or wind instruments like sax or trumpet.

I’ve tried all different settings an volume control but it still occurs.

Is this typical?

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Typical? I don’t know. I think it’s good to remember that if we’re wearing hearing aids, our hearing is distorted (with or without the hearing aids) Without, we’re definitely missing sounds. With, we can have issues with microphones cutting out with loud sounds, compression (loud sounds won’t get as much gain as softer sounds) and all kinds of other sound processing. Many people who are music afficionados just use headphones to listen to music. Another approach is to create a special program for listening to music that eliminates a bunch of processing, but hearing aids are never going to provide great sound quality.

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The feedback processing doesn’t like pure notes. You need to have the audiologist set up a music program for you.


I also find that being able to hear better – i.e. with hearing aids – brings out all the distortion that is part of my hearing loss. I used to love the piano, but now find it nearly unlistenable. What with the sensorineural damage, and the evils of recruitment, the harmonic beauty of many instruments has become kind of awful.

I have set up two of the three music programs available for the Costco KS7s, and I think they’re pretty good. But a lot of it is just, I think, the result of my trashed hearing :frowning:

Oh I should say that I worked in the technical side of professional audio for about 30 years, and my ears used to be quite good. Sigh.

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I hear you Corona1. I had perfect pitch as a piano and guitar player. No more. When you lose the high frequency harmonics, the sound is pretty flat. I still play every now and then and even in a crowded room I get compliments. Shame it sounds terrible to me. I have a music channel and do my own tuning of the HA’s. So I can go in and take the harshness out of the upper keys with frequency shaping. The piano is great for this, since you know exactly what frequency sounds harsh. Better, but still no as good as the old days. Oh well.

This. I have no idea why this might be so but the experience really is a lot better.

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My Resound does have music program. But when there’s a sustained high note it starts “ringing” is best word I can think of. Like overload.

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Ouch. Lots of different sounds and combinations can get feedback going. I’d tell whoever is taking care of these for you about it.

My “story” that I tell myself is that basically we like what we get used to. If we can just amplify all of the sound through decent quality headphones, it sounds good to us. It goes along with another “truism” I’ve heard about hearing aids: “If they sound good, they’re probably adjusted wrong.” But, that viewpoint could be completely wrong.


LOL. Yeah well there is that whole evolutionary, survival-oriented issue of speech comprehension, isn’t there?

I spend a lot of time in acoustically awful spaces, like classrooms and a yoga studio where I basically live. My solution has been to drag my laptop and all the programming gear into these actual places and make it work. I’ve ended up with two programs that I use only for last-resort speech comprehension. Can’t say they sound pretty though :frowning:


I think the limitation here is the input dynamic range of your microphones and processing resolution of the hearing aid.

For hearing aids with limited input dynamic range, certain musical sounds may exceed this limited input dynamic range and get clipped and /or compressed by the hearing aid processing, resulting in distorted sounds.

Some hearing aid may not also have enough processing resolution to achieve a high enough dynamic range digitally in the first place, let alone the wide dynamic range of the input mics.

You didn’t say what hearing aids you have. Some newer hearing aids like the Oticon OPN and Widex Beyond have 114 dB SPL which is supposed to be able to handle louder live musical instruments’ sounds.

If you’re listening to recorded music and experience distortion, of course one way to eliminate peak level distortion is to decrease the overall volume until the distortion disappear. But of course decreasing the overall volume will diminish the dynamic of the music and it will sound more like low volume recorded music and not as lively anymore.


Curious what kind of modifications you make to improve speech comprehension? Are you talking more gain at certain frequencies, or just altering settings , or??

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Usually it’s caused by some processing in the hearing aid, usually the feedback control.
I play guitar and had KS6, they were not good at music in any setting. Certain notes would clip and deep bass notes would cause weird effects. CC sent the aids back twice and I still had the same problem.
My KS7 were much better at processing music on the music setting and even the auto setting. I reduced the feedback settings, but you may also have to reduce some of the gain at certain high frequencies. I would play the guitar tuning notes (mp3 file) while we adjusted the aids.
I’m trying the Phonak Brio 3 now and so far it’s been good.


Do you have Connexx? If so, I’ll just send you an export of the client file. Because it was a while ago, and I just messed around with it endlessly. On the more extreme of the two programs, I used some bandwidth compression.

Yep, I have Connexx. Sure, would be fun to look at. So some bandwidth compression to make 6-8khz more audible?

I guess. I honestly don’t remember how I arrived at these kludges. I’ll PM you re the file.

Will do. They are the latest Resound LinX 3D BTW

I just gave up on hearing good music sounds. I would think that
some one could make a good HA that would let a person enjoy
music again. I think that its very difficult to develops an aid that
will allow all the frequencies that you need to hear music well. I
have Resound aids. I think hey are good units. Just don’t do

This is a great thread. Like some have mentioned, the input volume level can overload the mic in some cases and you either have to reduce the volume level getting to the mic or try and find a mic with wider input dynamic range.

Marshall Chasin’s articles found all over the web are great. This is just the tip of the iceberg:


If the problem is caused by feedback control, and/or microphone dynamic range, and/or processing limitations, perhaps the real root of the problem is the size of the aids.

The microphone is close to the speaker, so feedback is inevitable. The microphone is tiny, and I’m under the impression that dynamic range isn’t such a problem with bigger mics. (Can anyone confirm?) The electronics are tiny, as is the battery, so processing options are limited. Perhaps this is why people report better results with headphones - no feedback to control.

So one solution would be to use a larger device with its own microphones, either connected wirelessly to the aids, or with headphones. Normally we want our aids to be inconspicuous, but in some situations, eg in an auditorium, bigger might be acceptable. Do such devices exist?