Good voice *and* good music?

Sorry for long post, any advice appreciated!
I’ve used Phonak Exelia Art (BTE) for 4-5 years, now looking to upgrade.
My ability to hear speech clearly is greatly improved by aids, but I love music (classical, blues, folk) and am looking to find improvement there as well.

Am currently in a trial period for the new Phonak Audeo V 90 and am underwhelmed.
Am willing to pay for high-end aids if it does what I want, so would welcome suggestions:

  • Phonak has a necklace to wear for bluetooth streaming.
    Streaming to hearingaid seems nice in principle but the necklace is awkward,
    seems very old fashioned compared to e.g. Resound Lynx2 which connects to your smartphone w/o necklace.
    Any users of Lynx2 who could comment on (a) speech (b) music © convenience (d) other capabilities?

  • the phonak bluetooth streaming from ipod to aids seems heavily optimized for speech:
    can hear lyrics quite well but the actual music is basically a cartoon.
    Although it has a ‘music program’ to which it’s supposed to switch automatically it almost seems as if in bluetooth mode it doesn’t switch.
    Also, listening to external speakers (no bluetooth) isn’t good either, so there may be a bluetooth problem but that’s not the whole issue.
    BTW, if I use headphones with aids then music sounds good – am looking to get that effect w/o use of external headphones, e.g. if go to a concert and use my aids.
    Any thoughts or recommendations from other music lovers/musicians about hearing aids (tips, tricks, other brands)?
    I have moderate/severe loss at higher frequencies, sloping down to 60db or so.

  • with the old Phonaks I could actually hear the sound dampening kick in after a few seconds if e.g. turn aid off/on while driving in a car with wind noise. Not so with new ones.
    Perhaps Phonaks’ new automated programs sound good to customers as a selling point, but they don’t seem to work very well. Anybody else experience this?

  • In iTunes one can turn on a graphic equalizer, and with your laptop (not iPhone) you
    can actually see the frequency adjustments that sound best for music (it looks a bit like an audiogram).
    I printed this out, took it to my hearing providers and asked “can you program a music mode with this specification?”.
    They were floored, said they had no idea, but would call Phonak (waiting for response).
    Doesn’t a provider have control over individual frequency bands and not just a minor ability to tweak the level of different “hearing modes” such as “speech in noise” etc?
    I’d be shocked if otherwise.
    In fact I want that ability to program frequency bands myself, has anybody tried to obtain and use the audiologist’s software to do this themselves?
    Where do you get the software, the manual?

  • General question about hearing tests and aids:
    after you take a hearing test involving listening to tones, and listening to speech, your aids are then programmed.
    After that, you may go back for little tweaks to the program.
    But it seems to me that a true test of whether things are working well for you
    would be to to re-take the hearing test while wearing hearing aids after the aids are programmed.
    In principle, if the aids are programmed correctly and working correctly then your hearing deficiencies in the re-test should show up as greatly improved.
    My hearing provider doesn’t do this, I wonder if it’s just him or if other ones do this?

But it seems to me that a true test of whether things are working well for you
would be to to re-take the hearing test while wearing hearing aids after the aids are programmed.
In principle, if the aids are programmed correctly and working correctly then your hearing deficiencies in the re-test should show up as greatly improved.
My hearing provider doesn’t do this, I wonder if it’s just him or if other ones do this?

Pure tones look like feedback to the hearing aid so the feedback cancelled tries to stop the feedback. If you have ever had a REM (Real Ear Measurement) they use what sound like gibberish in lots of different languages. In reality they are creating sounds that don’t trigger the feedback canceler but end up producing all of the frequencies across the spectrum so the actual hearing results can be recorded.

You could try the word recognition test both aided/unaided. That would not cause the feedback cancellation to kick in but the results may be affected by any automatic gain adjustments.

would need to see your audio-gram to know what greatly improved would mean to you.

Hi Tedthedog,

I doubt the problem are the aids themselves. It seems to be very complicated in some cases to the adjustment to work to our liking, maybe it is how our hearing, or lack thereof, is working that in some instances make it difficult. And maybe some of us are more demanding and specific.
I wear Phonak Audeu Q (the version before the ones you are testing) and it took me quite a while to get them to a good place, in particular for listening to music. Had to go back many times and even had to make a reset and start over at one point. Getting a dedicated manual music program (and not depending on the aids to figure out if I was listening to music) helped, but getting them “just right” in the default program actually helped with the music and other sounds) as well.
Contrary to you I have always enjoyed the quality of the music while streaming via the Compilot, and that is still my preferred way to hear music. I am saying this, because I think you can get how the streaming perform tweaked as well.
Finally, I completely agree with you that it would make sense to test someones hearing with the aids adjusted. I don’t think that is common practice at all and I don’t understand why. There was a posting about this very topic recently on te forum. I think it was HIS who had posted it.

The hearing aids do not switch to the Music program when you’re streaming with the ComPilot. Music is only for acoustic listening. Streaming uses a separate program called Bluetooth audio. Your provider may be able to adjust that program to improve the sound quality. But if you’re using open domes, any low-frequency amplification will simply leak out of your ear canal, and music will sound tinny. You might want to try using power domes when listening to music.

Wow, lots of useful info, thanks!
I’ll post my audiogram when I get a copy from their office.

I haven’t truly enjoyed music since I left behind analog aids and went digital. I’ve had some digital aids/programming that were better than others. but overall these days I prefer to remove the thing from my ear and turn up the volume on the amp when I really want to enjoy music.

I never had analog aids but I’ve basically come to the same conclusion. When listening to music I put on my earbuds and use the equalizer to increase the high frequencies. Not optimal but much better than using the hearing aids…

I’ve been doing a little reading e.g. the following (and others):
http://www.hearingreview.com/2014/01/a-hearing-aid-solution-for-music/
From what I understand, digital hearing aids use analogue to digital converters,
and these have just so some many bits (16 bit) available to represent sound.
Given that music has a wider dynamic range than voice (I think this means range in volume, but maybe also in frequency range),
then the hearing aid manufacturers had to make some decisions about using their bits, and they tilted towards voice quality.
Even in “music mode” the limited bits available in the A/D converters still can’t encompass the wide range of music.
So music in digital aids doesn’t sound good compared to older analogue aids, although they do try to provide some workarounds.

It’s claimed that the Widex Dream is supposed to address this (but it wasn’t clear to me exactly how, it’s apparently not more bits than 16 bit).
Does anybody have experience with Widex Dream? For voice? For music?
Alternatively, the Resound Linx2 allows one to at least adjust overall treble/bass balance (and some other things) via your smart phone.
But from the threads that I read, the first Linx version seemed to have bluetooth connectivity issues, I wonder if the latest version has addressed this?
I’m trying to decide if I should demo a different aid than the current Phonak Audeo V, and which one.
Thanks so much for the good input (I’ll try the power dome idea)!

Hi,

16 bit sampling rate result in a dynamic range of 94 dB - I must admit that I don´t exactly know why, but let´s take that for granted.

The important keyword is “range”. Instead of processing input signals from 0 to 94 dB and then clip, widex (and bernafon, but only for the live-music-program) chose to process input from 20 dB to 114 dB instead. If you deem input-signals less than 20 dB unimportant (and almost everyone does), you can follow that approach.

I have tested the widex dream and found the sound very unpleasant, especially for voice. But please note that this is highly subjective, your mileage may vary. I am now using the bernafon juna and enjoy music very much, both live and from my stereo.

Please note that I´m more “old-school” (though not old, 42 to be precise) and do not usually listen to music via portable devices. I have good speakers, and with hearing aids music sounds much better than without them.

I do have some good headphones, too, and if you set an equalizer to the amplification-curve of your hearing aid, this sounds very good, too, depending on the music even better than with the hearing aids.

If you want to use streaming, you will get good sound only with closed domes, not with an open fit.

In my opinion, the music-quality of modern hearing aids is not so bad, the first digital aids were very bad for that, but not the modern ones. Live-Music is a different matter, here widex and bernafon have the best ideas at the moment - as far as I know.

One more thing: If music is important for you, a wide frequency-range might give you better sound. Oticon, Bernafon and maybe Widex and Siemens (I haven´t researched that precisely) give you a range up to 10 kHz, whereas manufacturers like Resound (and Phonak?) only go up to about 7 or 8 kHz.

Good luck for finding the right sound!

I wear a dream 440 CIC. It’s the one I yank out in disgust when I want to truly enjoy music. Two generations ago it did better (I forget the marketing name for that one). It’s great for voice and soft sounds, and I do well with it otherwise.

I am an audiophile although an older one-72. I am currently using a Resound Linx2 with latest upgrades to software. I have been using HAs for 20 + years. Resound’s primary interest is speech recognition -at least that is what their east coast representative told me. To be precise she said if I was interested in music to go elsewhere than Resound. I also have older Phonak aids (top of the line as of two years ago) which sound better than the Resound with music. IMO digital and music do not go well together unless the sampling rates are very high (higher than CDs although SACDs are ok). The converters are also a problem. I have given up on HAs for music although I have not tried the Juna. I have a high end audio system (tubes) and also use a headphone system (tubes). I attend live orchestra performances although I sit in the second row center. So my advise would be to take out the aids for listening to music live or recorded. You can buy custom ear buds with 4 crossover adjustments for listening to music ($2,000) or use a high end equalizer for speakers but turning up the volume may suffice. Good luck in your search.

Maybe I have never known what good music is. I enjoy listening to music with my aids on. I prefer having my Bose headphones on over my aids and my aids set to the music program. And for me I sometimes will listen to the same song with my headphones with my aids then without my aids. I hear very little difference, once I increase the volume to make up for not having my aids in. I have only had digital aids. I have used Bose over the ear headphones ever since they first came out due to the noise quieting they have due to the fact that I use to travel by air a lot.
I also do a lot of walking, and I stream music to my aids while I walk. And I find it just fine for me.
I will say that I have never played music nor sing, and I have always been told I could not care a tune in a steal vault.
All I am say is that what is good music to some is very bad music to others and it just depends on the person.