Hearing Aids and Guitar

A week and a half in using my first HA’s (Phonak Audeo Q90’s), still a week and a half to go before a revisit with the Audiologist.
While generally using the “full Auto” setup he recommended, I had him add the preset “Music” option. I didn’t want any frequency shifting/compression that might interfere with playing.
So far, I’ve used my “regular” 6 sting guitar, and while different, it hasn’t been a dramatic shift in what I hear.
But today, I got out my 12 string, and OMG - it’s terrible! For those that aren’t into instruments, the strings are tuned in pairs, with each pair plucked at the same time. Most pairs are an octave apart, but the high strings are duplicates. This produces a lot of harmonics and complexities in the sound that make this kind of guitar so distinctive. It is also harder to produce a clear, distinct sound.
Without the HA’s, all is great. With them, especially in the high strings, there is a grating “buzz” no matter what I do. This is the kind of sound that would normally lead one to think that there is something terribly wrong with the guitar, and send one off to a repair place to spend lots of $$ to have it fixed! (ie - fret buzz, for those familiar with it). Also produced is a grating scraping sound from fingernails/guitar picks on the strings! I spend a lot of time getting this thing set up perfectly to avoid this kind of a problem while I play. Glad I’m just a hobby player, and I don’t inflict this on other people if it is this bad!

So, how do I sort this out? Is it a setup problem with the HA’s? Or have I just not been hearing how terribly bad it sounds until now? Any musicians out there that have experienced something similar and have words of advice about the HA setup? Or do I just not wear the HA’s while playing?

Even in the Music program, SoundRecover (frequency compression) is turned on by default. Did your audi explicitly turn it off by un-checking the box in the SoundRecover tab? You might want to give him a call to verify.

You might see if your dispenser will allow you to bring your instrument to the fitting session. I’ve had a number of clients do this and they always report significant improvement- nothing like realtime feedback.

Just keep in mind that HA’s are made for voice and generally do a poor job with music. I play in a band (and I have a 12 string). Initially, I had my audi do a lot of adjustments and she even called Phonak for advice. In the end, the best solution (for me) was to turn the HA’s down a few notches and just let it run on the Auto setting. My residual hearing is still good enough that it works OK. My HA’s (Phonak Solanas) don’t provide good quality for music and they clip when I leave them at the normal setting because they can’t handle the volume. That’s probably true for most of the HA’s in the market.

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Just keep in mind that HA’s are made for voice and generally do a poor job with music. I play in a band (and I have a 12 string). Initially, I had my audi do a lot of adjustments and she even called Phonak for advice. In the end, the best solution (for me) was to turn the HA’s down a few notches and just let it run on the Auto setting. My residual hearing is still good enough that it works OK. My HA’s (Phonak Solanas) don’t provide good quality for music and they clip when I leave them at the normal setting because they can’t handle the volume. That’s probably true for most of the HA’s in the market.

I do not have the exposire to sound as you have playing in a Band. I play classical guitar solos as well as with a small ensemble. My hearing aid does provide a set for music high and lows and I can adjust the volume to my liking. Of course playing classical guitar the sound is minimal compare to a full sound of a band. I know of two professional band players both under the age of 30 who are already classified as having lost most of their hearing and need the assistance of plugs - even when having limited hearing - when they are performing. Maybe this could be an option for you when you are performing with your band. By the way I have a set of Full Shell hearing aids by Rexton.

That “grating ‘buzz’” you report sounds similar to what I have been complaining about recently on this forum, a similar sound i have been hearing at live concerts from massed strings. My Naida Q90s have been adjusted several times, the music setting with sound recover and whistle block turned off, as well as other changes suggested by a Phonak tech. But nothing helped. At least one other person here seems to have experienced this too. It looks like I will return them.

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