There is some discussion within other recent threads on this forum about extended bandwidth hearing aids, so I thought I’d start a new thread that perhaps could stay primarily on this topic.
As a musician with mild-moderate hearing loss only at 6k & 8k, this topic interests me. But I also note that some other posters who aren’t musicians also ask why extended bandwidth seems not to be generally offered by many of the major hearing aid manufacturers.
Granted, some folks might not be able to benefit by an extended bandwidth due to their hearing loss or cochlear dead regions. But should that be the reason that extended bandwidth is not readily available to those who might be able to benefit by it?
I’m not talking about such features as “sound recover” or frequency-transposition that some hearing aid manufacturers offer, but rather real gain provided at frequencies from 10k through 16k.
I’ve read that Sebotek has a HD16 model hearing aid with a 14k bandwidth. Another company, General Hearing Instruments, uses the “Digi-k” circuit that claims to provide gain to 16k. I really don’t know much about Sebotek and General Hearing Instruments, but they seem (at least to me) to be smaller companies, and to my knowledge, no local audi or hearing instrument specialist fits these products in my geographical area. That’s the only thing keeping me from investigating these two options for my use, because I’m convinced that the success of a hearing aid is only partly due to the aid itself, with much depending on a good relationship with the patient and a hearing aid fitter who has extensive knowledge and experience with a certain brand/model of hearing aid and the fitting software.
It seems that most audiologists/hearing aid fitters only test up to 8k, and that a special audiometer is needed to test frequencies higher than that. So, a question for any audiologist/hearing aid fitter who fits Sebotek, General Hearing Instruments, or any other hearing aids with high bandwidth of which I am unaware: In order to be fit for one of these high-bandwidth hearing aids, does a person’s hearing need to be tested on one of these extended-frequency audiometers, or is it guesswork? (i.e., if someone’s hearing at 8k has a 50db loss, then does one just presume that the higher frequencies are worse, and then make an educated guess as to how much gain to apply at the high frequencies?)
I find this discussion of high-bandwidth hearing aids useful as well as perplexing. From my reading, it seems that high-bandwidth hearing aids have been available since the 1980’s or 1990’s, but it doesn’t appear that most of the larger hearing aid companies seem to have jumped on this band(width) wagon (bad pun!) despite studies showing the benefits of extended bandwidth not only for music appreciation but also for speech.
Any comments, thoughts, discussion would be appreciated! Thanks.