Hearing Aids for Audiophile?

I’m an audiophile freak, and very much in love in music. I have been using hearing aids for few years now. The first hearing aids I used was Siemens Acuris. I wasn’t happy about it since the sound was too loud and unnatural. Occlusions was also a big problem. I never really got used to it.

Then I bought Acuris Life, and VERY HAPPY with the technology. I have been enjoying my music ever since then. :slight_smile: Now that my Acuris Life has served me well for 2 years, I’m looking to upgrade my hearing aids again.

Could Anybody suggest the greatest hearing aids in the world that may enhance my music enjoyment even more? Price is not a concerned at this point.

Thank you in advance,

My system at home:

Probably the very best open fit would be the Savia Art with receiver in the ear design.

If you have a low freq loss also, then the Micro Power IX may be a great choice also.

Another would be the Sonic Innovations Balance Open fit, which are tiny and work very well.

Wow, the pictures says it all. You are an audiophile.

Starkey just released a new open fit hearing aid with some amazing technology in it based on their Destiny technology. It is so new I forget what the name is, but a Starkey dealer would know. The core technology is about 10 months old, but they have just launched a micro OTE open fit version of it.

I know you audiophiles like a source direct kind of sound where no potentiometers like bass, treble and graphic equalizers are used. But if you have a loss maybe there is some kind of graphic equalizer you could purchase that would allow you to increase the frequencies where you audiogram shows the greatest losses. This way you could enjoy your music without hearing aids.

Keep in mind that all hearing aids are primarily designed with speech amplification in mind, rather than music.

Yes I understand that hearing aids are primarily designed with speech amplification in mind. Some hearing aids offer few options where you could switch in between using a remote control, don’t they?

I will try to read up on Savia Art, Micro Power IX, Sonic Innovations Balance.

Thank you all for the recommendation.

I think it’s nFusion By Starkey

Yes the core technology is called nFusion by Starkey, but they have just fitted it into a tiny little OTE with an open fit. What I didn’t know was the specific model name for that new creation, as it was only launched last month with the latest software release.

http://www.starkeynfusion.com/destiny/open_solutions.html

I just looked it up, and they have the new products on there. Seems they are continuing to use the Destiny name for it.

I am not a huge fan of remote control aids. In fact many companies are phasing them out because people didn’t like to carry a remote with them wherever they went.

Some hearing aids have a multi memory button on them where you can access different sound programs. Many of the top of the line hearing instruments have a music program that turns off a lot of the electronic gadgetry designed to enhance speech and opens up the dynamic range to be better with music. Such programs often turn off background noise management, compression, and other features to make music far more pleasant.

Good luck. And once again, compliments on your beautiful sound system.

Thank you ZCT,
I actually stopped listening for at least 5 years due to hearing loss. Until I found Acuris Life, and I felt like a new man again.

I have been reading the specs for Starkey Destiny, Phonak Savia Art. Open Design Savia Art seems to have 20 Channels. Sonic Innovation Balance is with 16 Channels, and worst yet Starkey Destiny 1200 with only 8 Channels. Since Balance and Destiny have less channels than the Acuris Life, would it be safe to conclude that Destiny 1200 is the most inferior of all in terms of sound quality?

Hi
I noticed that SAVIA ART released in October 2006
I find Savia ART Specs and Features very impressive. Best of all I think. I’m looking forward to try Savia ART.

I don’t think that is a safe conclusion at all. There is more to hearing than how many bands or channels a hearing aid has. Your analogy would be like saying, my friends’ stereo has eight speakers, but mine has twelve, so it’s much better.

There are many other important factors about hearing aid sound quality which would include sample rate and true independence between bands and channels. I’ve seen some hearing aids with a large number of channels, but when you adjust one channel the two adjacent channels adjust too. So true independence is an important factor, along with the specific parameters that can be adjusted for each channel.

But if you are really into channels, there is another Destiny coming out this summer with some more channels, and another one due out next year.

I am new to hearing aids and, like you, was very concerned about losing the benefits of a really good sound system.

My conclusions so far:

  1. Only use an open ear device (as this will let the sound that you hear naturally mix with the enhanced sound.

  2. Receiver in the ear technology is likewise a must.

  3. From what I can hear (after trying about 6 different devices) bandwidth is not as important as you may think. Speed is the most important since it is imperative not to upset the phase relationship between natural vs. amplified sound.

  4. Also important is the ability to amplify loud sounds (live concerts or home audio) without distortion.

  5. That said, I think I have found one device that works and one that may work (I didn’t have the opportunity to bring the second home).

If you are interested, lets talk further.

How about the new Widex Passion with a remote to get you into a music mode? I have no trouble sound staging with my system. Passion is the best aid I have ever used in the 15 years I have needed them. With all the bells and whistles you are looking at $6200 for a pair.

I am trying a new device which is similar in theory, even smaller and so far is a superior unit. Out of curiousity I will look for the Widex Passions.

Have you tried the Epoq XW (similar features)? It is a decent unit based on a relatively brief trial.

The problem with this whole business is that the optimal solution is different depending on your type of hearing loss, and there is no way to evaluate units based on specs alone. I purchased one unit based on features and was disappointed with the performance. It is the same with stereo equipment or flat screen tvs but at least you can easily audition them in the store or at home on a trial basis.

The device DickK is trying is so secret that if he told us what it was, he would have to kill us! :eek:

Yes, please tell DickK! Thank you.

I am trying an evaluation unit from a manufacturers rep. It is not yet out and the rep asked that I not discuss it. There is no pricing as yet. Further, anything I could comment upon might not apply to the official release version.

I have a degree in electrical engineering and am an audiophile and am used to reading specifications that usually have some bearing on performance. My experience so far is that user impressions are not a good way to evaluate different units since each person’s needs are different. Also, the software that processes sounds and switches modes is very unique to each (and can’t be described in specifications). To make matters even worse, the audiologists that I’ve met (four so far) each bring their own bias to the table and, in my opinion, set their audio standards too low.

DickK:

All the information that you can provide can only help someone…so when possible, post your results.

The units that I tried and were satisfied with are the Interton Avio3 which Costco is now selling.

They are the best that I tried based on relatively short sessions with four different audiologists. One would think that there would be some centers where say 20 or so different aids could be auditioned OR some testing lab like CR that would have comparative performance numbers.

Integration of amplified sound and direct sound (no echos or artifacts) are important to me since I have little loss below 1 kHz. Based on a relatively short listen, the Oticon Epoqs WV were good also. The big difference is that the Avio3s will cost $1,400 each (about the best value out there) versus about $3,000 for the Epoqs and several others. This is a difference of over 100% for no apparent difference (to me) other than features which didn’t directly relate to hearing quality (such as remotes and bluetooth add ons).

The bottom line for me was the ability to wear evaluation units for a few weeks and especially spend some time listening to my high end sound system. In audiophile terms, I found that the Avio3s gave me an openness that had gradually vanished as my high frequency hearing diminished. Transients are handled well as are frequency response and dynamic range. Could it be better? Probably so, but I found it to be good enough (and I am fussy).

Sorry for the intrigue, but that was the request of the manufacturers rep in return for providing an evaluation pair prior to their introduction.

Another observation which is probably true with any hearing aid that restores high frequency loss is that my tinnitus became slightly less pronounced. I guess that this is due to the masking effect of the amplified highs that are in the same frequency range of the tinnitus.

Have you tried America Hears? I have been watching user experiences with the open fit unit with speaker in the ear http://www.americahears.com/freedomv_of.shtml. IMO, speaker in the ear canal makes more sense than trying to push sound through a tiny tube, not to mention having less tendency for feedback. The SIE unit has a flatter frequency response spec and they supply a USB connector and software to permit the user to adjust the unit from his computer. This unit is $995, which is a big step in the right direction. :cool:

See Voyageur DSP chip spec at http://www.sounddesigntechnologies.com/pdf/37601DOC.pdf

you know there is nothing new on the interton , their products are the resound products… just like beltones are resound products