Distortion of high notes listening to music


Hi, I’m new to this site. I have just been issued with a Phonak Nathos S+ on the NHS and like yourself a guitar player. I am experiencing the same issues as you had. My question is, what does it sound like if you just left your hearing aid on the music program and didn’t change. Does everything else like speech, using the phone sound any different? I am asking the question because the last 2 digital hearing aids I had - Viennatone Newtone and Oticon Spirit 3, my current one, have no problems at all in this area. The Oticon Spirit 3 I am told is obsolete and so I am concerned with support.


Good question. Actually I often forget to cancel the music program after playing guitar and go for quite a while before remembering to switch back to automatic. I don’t notice any difference in sound quality with speech or telephone, but when I do switch back I get a slightly improved sense of three-dimensionality, or at least I think I do; nothing dramatic, but very slightly “better”. That may be the result of the special features being added back into the mix by the automatic program.


Frequency lowering is primarily helpful with speech, specifically for words like “s” and “sh” and other fricatives that have presence in the high frequencies. It helps make those sounds more clear and more easily understandable by transposing them to the lower frequencies where the hearing loss is not as bad for common ski slope type loss.

I wear OPN hearing aids and its frequency lowering technology is called Speech Rescue for that very reason. I find it very helpful for me on speech because I can now hear the “s” and “sh” sounds much clearer. I can now also hear cricket sound, birds chirping, high and soft digital tones from appliances much more easily.

For the OPN everything sounds natural to me because the original high frequency sounds are preserved as is and not replaced by the lowered sounds. It uses a unique “composition” method where lowered sounds are added to instead of replacing the original high sounds.

I don’t notice any obvious distortion when listening to music so I rarely need to switch to the music program for music listening. But then other folks may have a more discerning ear than me when it comes to music listening.


Have a look in the DIY forum:



I’m also a retired audio professional, both a systems design engineer and recording engineer, specializing acoustic jazz. My hearing loss is moderate high frequency rolloff, and I sometimes wear a pair of the Etymotic Bean. They have two settings, both of which gently boost the highs, one about 10 dB more than the other. I use the lowest setting, which gives about 20 dB of boost. I like them for jazz and speech in my living room, but I take them out for live music in clubs. They have enough dynamic range processing that they never overload in my living room.

The mics used for good hearing aids should not overload, but the miniature transducers (earphones) CAN overload if they’re amplifying too much, and for most of us, it’s the highs. For those who need a lot more gain than I do, I strongly suggest that you have your provider program a “wide range” setting for you and make sure that your aids allow you to turn them way down. Unless you have REALLY severe loss, that should keep good aids out of distortion. Also, with severe high frequency loss, tell them not to try to push your response too high in frequency.

In my living room, my best music listening experience is with a set of Sony MDR7506 headphones. I set tone controls flat for music; for speech, movies, etc. I turn down the bass and turn up the highs. When my hearing gets worse, I’ll use the speech settings for music.

Jim Brown


Ha! They are the best!


Finally met with my original audiologist. She reprogrammed my HA’s. Adjusted compression and volumes at high end and they are much much better now!

Seems it was clipping and that was the distortion I was hearing. Was not volume dependent so it wasn’t mic overloading.


Probably distortion on the output stage due to overdriving the highs on the output then.

Or it could be that the receiver chosen is underpower for your high end loss, too. You never post your audiogram on your profile so we don’t really know how bad your high end hearing loss is.


Do you mean my graph?


Yes. See that little icon to the lower right of some avatars. Click on that and you’ll see that persons audiogram. That’s the name of the test result sheet you may have received after your hearing test. This forum provides a way for you to enter it on the site. Uploading an image has varied quality so they could be hard to see.


Have you talked with your technician about creating a dedicated program for listening to music, wherein most of the active BS is turned off, along with the compression being turned off?


Yes I have separate music profile


Added audio gram in profile