HAs for music and musicians

Hello! I am trying HAs for the first time (a few days into a trial of Oticon OpnS), and though they’re helping a lot with speech, so far I’m horrified by what they do to music or any sustained higher-frequency tones for that matter (warbling/flutter). I’ll be going back to the audiologist soon to see what solutions he may have for this, but I’m curious what experience others have had with listening or playing music with this and other brands. I see Widex Dream as being marketed toward musicians, but I don’t see that on their US website, so that’s confusing. Suggestions/comments appreciated!

Have them setup a music program. That will get rid of a lot of the extra processing. Bring a sample of music with you to the appointment to try out. Opn has a decent reputation for music. Widex are great too, but I suspect you’ll find a music program will help a lot.


As MDB says, have your audi set up a separate program that you can switch to while performing music. In the music program you want all speech comprehension enhancements turned off or minimized.

You should have any compression settings turned off. Very important: Have feedback elimination set to the lowest setting you can get away with without generating feedback. When your HAs hear a sustained musical note, they think that that note is feedback, and they try to disrupt the note. This is the “warbling” you hear.

Another hugely important factor is the HA’s input headroom. If the HA has insufficient ability to handle loud musical notes at the input stage, they will distort and sound terrible. Opn S should be fine for input headroom. Widex is known for excellent input headroom. Phonak (at least in the recent past) not as good. If you are considering a different HA you should have your audi contact the HA manufacturer about the input headroom of the particular HA you’re considering. Good luck.

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Try the Simplicity Hi Fi aids. They are sold online and can be purchased here: Hearing Aid - Simplicity HiFi Musician Hearing Aid

They are based on the K-amp circuit developed by Mead Killion and are the best sounding aids I’ve worn - for both music and natural sounds. The K-amp is an analog circuit but I think they are now sold in a digital form that are supposed to sound identical. Keep in mind that these do not have any of the newer digital features like directional mics, noise reduction, multiple programs, etc. I shared some more of my thoughts in this post:

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My friend www.eloisegarland.co.uk is profoundly deaf and wears Phonak Sky Q70 UP’s and is a professional musician.

She find Phonak’s to preform well for her. I have no idea what has been done to her aids to make them good for music tho.

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Thanks, everyone; much appreciated. I will be back at audiologist on Tuesday with lots of questions!

Signia (& Rexton, Kirkland Signature) have three music programs: Musician, Recorded Music, Live Concert. Here is a demo video.


Widex Dream is old technology. Evoke is the newest model. I have them and got them partly because of their reputation among musicians. They’re terrific. My last aids were Oticon Alta2 Pro and not nearly as good with music. Don’t know whether the OPNs have improved on that count or not.

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Thanks for this; I’ve been reading about the Evoke and def want to try them. The Evoke app look very useful, and connecting to apple watch is a big plus. Oticon app has very little control, and no watch capability. What is your experience with the SoundSense Learn? (Of course what I’d really like to have is at least 24 band EQ, buuut… :wink:

I am also wondering about getting Widex as opposed to Resound (which is what I am also trying and can return back if needed). I am going to trial Widex moment in about three weeks time, after getting another ear mould.

The problem I had with Resound is the pitch and harmony sounds very off… Beethoven’s moonlight sonata sounds unpleasant… and generally sounds like a harpsichord. I also wonder whether there is a bit of delay in sound processing because when playing Chopin etudes, the clear fast passages now sound blurry.

Everything I read about Widex Moment seems to suggest this is my best option, but then again, advertisements are still advertisements…

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FWIW, I ended up buying the Widex Evoke last year (after trialing Oticon and Resound) and I’ve been pleased with them overall, and especially for music; I definitely hear a big difference putting them in the “music” program, and it sounds great to me.

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The latest Widex generation is called Widex Moment. They just came out. They have a much faster processor. I’m trialing them now but will probably also try Oticon after my trial. I am very particular about my music and am still working through the fittings to get them where I want them.


Hey Dan! How are the speech clarity/understanding/ recognition w/ the Moments? Music is on my must have list.

I just purchased the Moment a few day ago, How do you like them? So far I noticed that the battery only show 100% and the other is just grey however both batteries show in the Moment app but still always 100%. Have you tried creating a program? I tried once and was interesting but ended up deleting it an staying with the universal program. My TV is connected to stereo speakers about 6 feet apart and I sat six 6 feet away and there were some glitches in the sound which is perhaps it had trouble with sound from two directions. Sadly PureSound doesn’t work with my hearing loss so I can’t really use it well. Bluetooth streaming is nice for phone calls and some YouTube videos but I’m not impressed for music listening as to me music doesn’t sound like music which I’m sure has to do with low bitrate and perhaps all hearing aids are the same, I’m not sure. I am using iPhone 7 which is Bluetooth 4.2 and wondering if 5.x will have a better connection and less glitchy audio. I also have the custom ear molds from Widix which so far I like a lot.

@iblaineman I decided to not get the Widex and am just finishing my trail of the Oticons. I couldn’t get the Widex where I wanted them, nor the Oticons. I’m trying Phonak Audeo Paradise next and then possibly Starkey Livio Edge AI. I’m sure between the next two I’ll get a nice combination of features and quality.

Can you please share what were your findings, where they didn’t suffice?

I had a two month trial of each with numerous adjustments. I do think I could have gotten them where I wanted if I purchase either one but my audi is happy to let me try a number of different aids. I’ve only had Widex for 15 years and I’m a techie so I’m really interested in how the different new features will help me. I’m purchasing the top of the line of each brand.

That being said, I ended the Widex Moment 440 trial with a significant amount of background noise now realizing that I should have turned down the lower frequencies when I told the audi that I liked bass. I’m a music guy who loves my home theater. Now I realize that it’s not the same thing. I bet I could have gotten them where they need to be. I liked SoundSense Learn and equalizer features.

I liked the Oticon OPN S1s in the beginning until my wife said that I was saying “What?” way more that before. I increased the speech frequencies and decreased bass which helped. They still aren’t as clear as I’d like. I have closed domes which sometimes sound great but then they change and are very occluded. I have to play with them a bit and they will open up again. I’m not sure if they are switching between modes too quickly which is why I like apps that have more features allowing me to change the settings real time during my initial fitting so I can more quickly give feedback to my audi. I’m not loving the app which doesn’t have the features seen in Phonak, Starkey or Resound.

I actually liked the sound of the music streaming in both devices. You can’t expect to have much bass so I judge them based on clarity and tone. My home theater did sound natural on both but it was very difficult to hear my wife when she asked a question. I’m sure that’s a typical speed in noise problem.

I had a Samsung Galaxy S9+ during my Widex trial and started to use an iPhone 7 during the Oticon trial. iPhone has such a better experience that I decided to buy an iPhone 12 when it comes out. I did experience some scratching when streaming during the Oticon trial so I’m curious if other brands do the same.

I’m really looking forward to Phonak Paradise because of the feature allowing for two simultaneous Bluetooth connections and storing another 6. I am on Microsoft Teams meetings all day and also use my cell phone. That would be a game changer for me if I can tune them where I like them. I’m also curious if the rechargeable batteries will last. I’ve read different opinions so I will just try for myself.

I have Widex Movements right now. I still have time to exchange but not sure it will make much difference. I also have an iPhone 7 plus and waiting for a new iPhone. I streamed music while working like background but not so background music which I enjoyed and they seem to sound pretty good with listening to music on a stereo which is Mackie HR824s :slight_smile: I a failed at SoundSense learn because I never got it sound right. Funny that it was hard finding my phone when it was ringing in the HAs but my phone was on vibrate :slight_smile: Also I had an interesting time using the Amazon music app and streaming to a receiver because the HA would stay in streaming mode. I could of course turn off auto streaming in the IOS HA settings.

Do you get Real Ear measurements each time you try an HA?

I’ve got linx3Ds and the Music program as it comes from the fitting software is not very good for the type of music (mostly piano playing) I do. I actually dumped their MUSIC option and duplicated the “All Around” (default) program, tweaking the feedback settings, etc… to work better for my environment. It’s handy being able to run the fitting software while you’ve got the piano right there.

This is by and far the best way to program your hearing aids, something no audiologist with or without REM can ever hope to do.

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