Hearing aid as "monitor' while playing in a band

Hi all.

OK - here’s an off the wall question. I am 66, been wearing ITH HA for 20 plus years. I am due for new ones. I am looking at Bernafon BTE with RITE Verite 9 (Vantage) or Chronos 9 (Canteo) with the Soundgate and TV Adapter. Has anyone connected the TV adapter to a sound board so that the HA can be used as monitors for the sound system?

Suggestions / comments / ???

Monitors should give sound isolation, so you can’t hear the main speakers.

Hearing aids give a max of 20dB protection so I’m not sure how well they will work as monitors.

This is totally possible.
Essentially you are routing an audio signal through your soundgate via your tv adapter. However… there will be a slight delay in the sound reaching your ears. To avoid this delay, you can patch into your sound mixer directly using the headphone jack located next to the charger port on the soundgate. The cable should have been included in your soundgate packaging. Depending on your mixing console, you may need specific adapters to patch in.

Hmm - As I am just exploring this - these are the comments I really need. I played in church yesterday morning and could not hear the tiny monitor on the stand beside me. Yes - I better monitor would probably be better, but, if I can ajust the volume of the monitor “channel” I could boost it a bit. As you can see - I don’t really know of which I am speaking :slight_smile:


So if you are playing live, it is vital for your sound to be ‘real time’. There are two options, either get a bigger louder monitor for yourself, or patch into the mixer.

What instrument are you playing?

Err - do you ever see open fit or lightweight professional in-ear monitors?

No? That could be telling you something.

If you MUST use a hearing aid as a monitor I’d go for a BTE with an old fashioned earmould.

I recommend trying before buying, because it can be expensive and you may find the best that hearing aid technology has to offer for you to not be good enough. I haven’t tried this with Bernafon, but the quality of the wireless transmission of music through the TV streamer on ReSound is not very good in my opinion. One very important factor to keep in mind here is that these devices are designed to transmit speech, not music, and their dynamic range–their ability to distinguish between quiet musical sounds and loud musical sounds–is limited. ReSound’s wireless transmission at least does not have a discernible delay or lag. A split-second delay that is perceptible does not work for a musician in a band where one performer being a split-second late makes the band sound sloppy. Also it will drive you bonkers.

if any wireless transmission is in the signal path. I tried direct to hearing aid with the Rexton remote, going straight into the remote, then wireless to the aids, and there is a noticeable delay. Even worse delay if the signal path is::: mixing board monitor out> TV adapter (basically a bluetooth adapter)> hearing aid wireless remote>hearing aids.

The problem with ITE on stage monitors is they block out other sound, like conversation, so you will hear nothing but music with ITE monitors. I think your best bet is to get a small near field monitor and put it close to you at ear level and use your aids. I play bass with the same loss you have, and I have yet to find a solution. I just keep my aids in.

If you are having trouble with sound quality of your aids in live music situations, drop the knee point, open up the MPOs, and reduce the compression a bit. In 110% of hearing aids, they have no idea how to set them for live music,and the aids have too much compression and the MPO (limiter) set too low, so the music gets all squashed together and muddy when things get loud

You will be pleasantly surprised at how much technology has improved hearing aids in 20 years.

I play music weekly and have tried to use my HAs as a personal monitor. Here’s what I know: Bluetooth is too slow. There is a troubling delay between when I pick a note and when it hits my HA. Fail.

The only viable solution is FM, but just saying that costs $2,000 (above the hearing aid cost). Seriously. And it is rare to find HAs that can provide good quality low fq sound.

I spent $500 on a pair of quality in ear headphones (low end of good quality). Now I route the monitor feed through a small personal mixer, into which I plug my headphones. The mixer allows me to crudely correct for my hearing loss. It’s not perfect, but it works. The only way I could do better would be to have even more refined EQ controls on the mixer (e.g., at least 5 bands with some control over bandwidth).

That is a great idea.

To add- I tried the Chronos 9’sThey were my first choice, but neither the audi nor the Bernafon tech could make them loud enough at soft to normal levels. It <could> be an issue with Bernafon’s “auto gain” but, since the B tech couldn’t make it work, and their tech sup was a bit lacking, my audi let me try the Bridge 12 HP aids which I have.

For musicians the next part is very important - in fact, I would say a determining factor on which aids you buy, that is rarely discussed or mentioned in the spec sheets:::::::::::

Performing musicians need more input headroom than normal, even a jazz combo can produce 105 db spikes, likewise a big band or orchestra.The Chronos aids <should> be better, since they have Live Music Plus, and that is supposed to extend the input headroom to 111db, and change the amplification to more or less linear. They would work if the auto gain can be made to work- possibly defeat it. The Bridge aids are nice, but be careful- when I went to buy them, my audi and I asked Rexton tech sup about the input level and we were told it was 130 db (!) I asked twice and I was reassured by a Rexton tech that number was correct. But the aid distorted at loud levels, and it sounded to me a lot like digital front end distortion, not speak or microphone overload, a sound I am familiar with. I subsequently found out that Rexton and Siemens aids will digitally “clip” at 105 db. The aid <should> have a way to limit the front end without clipping, but it doesn’t. For most people, that is tolerable - for musicians,not so much. Further, I found out that Rexton does not test their aids above 100db.

A suggested workaround is to cover the aids’ mic with a piece of cellophane. I have not tried this, but it may work for you. But frankly, you should not be forced into trying to cobble together a separate on stage sound system for yourself, when your aids should be doing the job for you. Those that offer suggestions, well, I have yet to find one who has ever been on stage, or will come on stage to experience what happens on stage. Marshall Chasin is about the only guy that has a grip on this with his Live Music Plus, but the concept has been around for years beginning with Mead Killion’s K-AMP- an analog circuit for live must. I had it and it worked, so DO NOT let anybody tell you it can’t be done / never been done, or you’re asking too much.

And, as seems to be the norm in the hearing aid business, nobody has any clue about how to set a hearing aid for a performing musician. Don’t be fooled by the so called “music” programs. Almost always, that is geared towards listening to record music - much compression when the volume gets loud and usually too much limiting resulting in loss of definition and muddiness of sound. You MUST “audition” your audi to see if he can do the job and has the right gear to do it. Otherwise, you and he will just get frustrated, and you won’t get the full benefit of our aids.

This article just saved my on stage music career! How to Use Bluetooth and Hearing Aids for a Live Performance | The Hearing Review
Using a DI box in conjunction with the TV adapter is the key. I also wear total noise cancelling ear muffs over my hearing aids when performing. I still receive signal up to 40’ away and the muffs cancel all other noise on stage.

1 Like