Lifelong musician/audio engineer dives into trials of's my story and experiences thus far

Here’s a little of bit of my backstory, just for reference:

I’m a 53 year-old lifelong musician, born to a musician father who had profound hearing loss (some genetic and some noise-induced) at middle age. I’ve been very involved with audio from my teens. I have toured professionally both as a musician and audio engineer mixing FOH and monitors. I worked for some years as a design engineer for a professional audio manufacturer. I’m a current member of a touring band. I own a recording studio am actively engaged in producing, recording, mixing and mastering projects. I’ve had the good fortune of founding and owning a pro audio and acoustics design and installation company for 24 years. It would be accurate to say that my hearing has been at the center of my life and career from a very early age. I’m only one of so, so many in this industry who suffer from some amount of hearing loss…sigh.

My hearing was quite good and pretty stable until a couple of years ago. I had some minor age-related HF loss, and a little loss due to noise exposure over the years, but overall, I felt fortunate to be able to hear quite well. Then, I got Covid. My hearing was immediately negatively impacted and I thought that it was simply typical of head congestion. As the Covid symptoms slowly disappeared, unfortunately, my hearing never fully returned. Doctors have no explanation or treatment. Now, I have the typical 3k valley (down 15db right, 20db left) in both ears as well as a general attenuation of everything above 5k (like a HF shelving eq down 4 or 5db at 5k). As one would expect, this has made it quite uncomfortable for me in many of my daily situations and I’m learning to adapt. Part of my adaption strategy is to investigate HAs. I have no concerns about stigma or aesthetics of them.

I decided to try HAs last summer after becoming frustrated with my struggles hearing both my daughter and my girlfriend’s soft voices. Sitting at home, it was generally no problem, but in the car or in a restaurant, I was struggling to hear them well enough to have a conversation without asking them to repeat themselves so often as to interrupt the natural flow of conversation. I did some research and decided to find an audiologist that could fit Widex Moment HAs. I had them fitted with a very cooperative audiologist (also a musician) who was very intent on making my experience as good as it could be. I did the typical booth hearing test, he entered my audiogram data into the fitting software, made a few adjustments and sent me on my way. For five weeks I had weekly return visits to tweak the fitting in an attempt to acclimate my hearing. In the end, I couldn’t live with them. The terrible tonality, audible processing, unpredictability of how they’d respond to varying stimulus and phasing issues made wearing them a far more negative experience than positive one for me - actually inducing stress quite often. At every visit, I’d ask the audiologist for access to the fitting software, knowing that I’d be able to tune the HAs to my taste to the degree that the hardware and software would allow. He repeatedly declined my attempts to get the software and after 5 weeks, the HAs were returned.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try again. With the help of an online retailer (not sure if I can mention here), I’ve started a trial with both the updated Widex Moment 440 (Sheer) and the ReSound Omnia 9 HAs. I have the fitting software for both (thanks to this forum) and I have a Nomadlink. So far, I’m very pleasantly surprised with how much better my experiences are with both HAs as compared to my previous experience this past summer. I’ve been able to address many of my previous concerns by having the “levers” to pull to tune my own devices. Yesterday, I felt like I actually preferred listening to low to moderate level music with HAs rather than without. That was a HUGE breakthrough!

I’ll continue to post as I have time and gain more insights. Meanwhile, please feel free to ask questions as I’d love to be able to help others who might share the same struggles.



Glad that you are having success. Engineers just like to fix stuff.

Here’s another resource for Music settings →


Thanks for doing this topic, I have a Dr. appointment next month to discuss my options and these two HAs are some that I’m interested in testing. My whole adult life it has been related to music and audio so it is very interesting to me to get your perspective.

Hi Chris;
My story is very similar to yours, in that I’m a lifelong musician and recording engineer, as well as front of house mixer. I’m 68 years old and went into aids 4 years ago. I was fitted with Phonak Audeos and had the usual adjustment period to get used to the harsh tones etc. I had my audiologist fix me up with a music program with no compression, “whistle stop” as they called it, etc. I learned to adjust myself to it all as I still play and sing in restaurants and clubs. I’m now attempting an upgrade to the Audeo L90. They fitted me with a trial pair and so far the experience is totally unacceptable. The compression is just awful and makes these aids unusable for me. I contacted the lab at the hearing center I went to, to see if they would please turn off the compression, and they told me that they can’t?..? The ratio is at least 4:1, with about a 2ms attack and 10 to 20 second release time… Are you, or anyone reading this, able to speak to this issue before I return in 2 weeks for my follow up. If I’m in a quiet environment, these babies are great lol! The blue tooth capabilities and overall sound quality is a big plus. But the compression makes them useless to me. As soon as I begin to play my guitar and sing, everything is squashed and I have no reference of overall balance or level. Even when I walk into a noisy situation the aids compress down in volume so far that speech intelligibility is lost.


I trialed Phonaks albeit 2 years ago, and I know what you are experiencing
Phonak employs what they call “Autosense”, which supposedly adjusts the Hearing aids to the environment.
The problem is It sacrifices every sound it deems to be “Noise”.
The good news is, your audi can adjust the sensitivity of the Autosense to allow less compression within the automatic changes.
Also, tell your audi to enable the dedicated Music program (not the automatic one).
This will reduce compression, and disable all the functionality that emphasizes speech, such as whistle block, and feedback management.
I was never able to adapt to the Phonak paradigm, and ultimately went with Oticon More, which uses a totally different scheme which allows your brain to pick out what YOU want to hear!
God luck.
PS: You are probably a good candidate for DIY! See @pvc 's valuable DIY information.


One of the things that I’ve found with the Widex and ReSound fitting software is that there’s an abundance of controls that have “marketing speak” labels for common pro audio terms such as compression, downward expansion, feedback filtering, beam-forming and various other commonly-known algorithms. I’d think that for everyone’s sake, the labels on these controls should be standardized much like in the pro audio world. It would certainly allow audiologists to be more efficient and effective using each manufacturer’s fitting software package without having to know all of the unnecessary proprietary jargon.

For music, I’ve turned off everything that I can, trying to make the device into a basic microphone > mic preamp >eq > amplifier > speaker both for purity of sound as well as attempting to minimize latency reasons. Due to the fact that almost all modern HAs utilize DSP, there’s some inherent latency (throughput processing delay) involved. This latency creates phase issues for me as the acoustic sound mixes in my ears with the amplified sound of the HAs. Some swirling and accentuation of certain frequencies inevitably result. One of my strategies to battle this has been to focus very carefully on providing gain (amplification) only for the frequencies that I feel I’m missing and working very hard at making sure that the HAs are providing no gain at any frequency that I don’t need or want. This seems obvious, but the audiologist’s gain curves were too wide at the top and bottom of my audiogram, providing gain (and thus tone and phasing issues) above and below my pronounced notch of hearing loss. Once the gain across the frequency spectrum has been fine-tuned and the tonality of sounds seems right, I’ve found it to be really important to adjust the volume of the HAs to as low of a level as possible while still getting the required output. More volume than necessary can easily destroy the sound quality as the amplified frequencies quicky become louder than the acoustic sounds getting to your ear canal naturally. For you pro audio folks, think of this as tuning the midrange in an active crossover. You’re setting the crossover points between LF/MF and MF/HF with the gain/frequency curves. It’s important to note that I’ve been working mostly with open, tulip and vented type domes (earpiece tips). If your hearing loss is severe enough to need closed or power domes or custom earmolds, much of what I said above is void.

I’d ask your audiologist to turn off all autosensing, minimize comfort settings and have a look at the gain curves at the different volume levels, making sure that the changes present in the gain/frequency curves aren’t making huge changes as the ambient volume levels increase and decrease. Those changes should be gentle in order to have smoother transitions between low, medium and high ambient noise levels. This should minimize tonal changes between different ambient noise levels and give your more consistency across varying ambient volume situations. I’m working on this very thing for myself at the moment.

Sorry to be so wordy, but this is such a detailed subject that it requires careful thought. Hope this helps someone!

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This makes so much sense to me, this is what I basically did on my home music listening setup I crated a inverse EQ curve based on the frequency loss values from my latest audio-gram.

Talking about DSP processing the Widex Moment marketing talks about “Zero Latency” compared to other HAs, do you hear a difference between their HAs and the Omnia 9s in this aspect?

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I’ll post more on this later, but the Widex Moment has an extra-low latency mode called PureSound. It is significantly better-sounding regarding latency than the Resound Omnia. That doesn’t mean that it sounds better to me for all things, but my own voice sounds significantly better to me. Other sounds are also improved, but to a less-noticeable degree. Again, the latency is going to be most noticeable for users with mild to moderate hearing loss and those using open, vented and tulip domes.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience. I’ll add your knowledge to what I experience and hopefully my audi will work with me through all of this.


Thanks for all the info! Hopefully I can get this worked out !

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Have you been using the PureSound program for music? Or no? I was very interested in this program when it came out, but subsequently had some bad experiences with it and haven’t gone back.

Interesting thread. I’d love to see a snap-shot of the gain settings you settle on.

In mild defense of your original fitter, clinicians are typically contractually (with the manufacturer) unable to give you the software. So even for those of us who are happy to support DIYers, we still need to leave you to find the software and connectors yourself on the grey market. Mind you, we’re not contractually obligated to not just tell you that straight out.

Hi Neville,
I haven’t been using PureSound for music. While it shortens latency and thus makes the hearing aids sound much more natural for many things, there’s some processing going on behind the scenes that I find objectionable for music. I’ve created a music program that I’ve been fine tuning. In general, I’m reducing my high-frequency gain with the music program vs. the other programs. There’s some aliasing or distortion of the high-frequencies that I find really obnoxious with music. The siblants in music and the high hat are pretty bad. If the high-frequencies were clean and natural, I’d love to add them, but I can’t deal with the nasty sound of the highs. This characteristic starts at around 4k, so that’s where I try to attenuate the HFs in my music program. Once I get things tuned in to something I can live with long-term, I’ll post my gain vs. frequency settings.

I understand the audiologist’s commitment to the manufacturers and the desire to not share the fitting software. I don’t blame him at all. He was as helpful as the policies would allow. It’s just that for me, with my background, there’s no other way than to let me have the levers.


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I wonder whether you could get rid of this or whether it’s unavoidable. Off the top of my head, feedback issues (does it go away with a more occluding fit), mic/speaker limits (is it there with a more powerful receiver, or if you turn down the music but turn up the hearing aid volume), cochlear distortion issues at regions of severe loss (is it there through a quality headset if the volume at that frequency is loud enough).

That was my experience with the PureSound program, too–it seemed like it SHOULD be good for music, but in practice it sounded weird.

As a point of reference, I wear high-quality ear monitors for performing. Things sound glorious with them. The entire audible spectrum sounds absolutely amazing. I wish I could wear them permanently, but the mixing console, processing and power supply to run it all won’t fit behind my ear! In all seriousness, I know that my hearing is capable of hearing the quality that I seek from my experience with my ear monitors. With that rig, I have very specific eq and dynamics processing tuned to my preference and the payoff is crazy good quality.

There’s something going on in the Widex aids particularly that badly distorts the high-frequency content. I think it’s digital aliasing, as it sounds familiar to me from my days doing pro-audio design. Another interesting datapoint is that the ReSound Omnias don’t exhibit this same high-frequency aliasing. In fact, I think they sound more “hi-fi” than the Widex Moment, but their latency is much worse, totally ruining the experience. It’s so bad, I cannot seem to get over it. I find myself getting really frustrated with them and going back to the Widex every time I try them even though the fidelity isn’t as pleasing to my ears. The Widex processing is just faster, thus reducing latency, comb-filtering and timing cues for localization. Frustrating. I wish manufacturers would raise the sample rate to allow for less latency. I believe they are using a 24kHz sample rate which limits HF response to 12kHz and doesn’t allow for very fast processing times. If they’d double the SR to 48kHz, they’d cut the latency in half and double the frequency response to 24kHz. That would allow all of the audible spectrum on the top end to be amplified without the negative aliasing that I hear from the Widex Moment and the negative latency issues I hear with the ReSound Omnia. The downside is that doubling sample rate would increase both the power consumption and heat generated. These are obviously big design challenges that would require a LOT of time and work to resolve.

I have more observations, ideas and wishes for microphones, but that’ll have to wait for another post.



I think historically most of them were at 20kHz, but they’ve been pulling up their socks recently. Widex Moment claims 32kHz. Oticon, Phonak and Signia are all claiming 500 million instructions per second now, which should support this.

Suggestion: How to change your username (and name) because I can’t remember usernnn numbers and also, I can’t find my socks. :rofl:

btw> after 30 days you can no longer change your username.

Would changing the Rationale in Widex Compass help with this?

I really don’t know what changing the fitting rationale does. Maybe Neville or someone else could speak to this. It’s worth a try.

User name changed. I’m now Heater. :wink:

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If Widex or anyone else is using 32kHz or higher sample rates, I don’t know why they wouldn’t extend the audio frequency response to the technical limits. At 32kHz, that would be audio up to 16kHz which would sound a hell of a lot better than rolling off at 8.5kHz or so currently. Perhaps their algorithms have too much high-frequency aliasing to be acceptable if they don’t limit the response, thus frequency-masking the aliasing. That theory would support the aliasing that I hear at the lower frequencies below 10kHz. Additionally, the latency issues will only improve with higher sample rates.

So very much of music and the world lives north of 10kHz. I wish Widex (or anyone else) would address those of us who can still hear and appreciate those frequencies as wearing the HAs (even with the most open domes) severely attenuates all frequencies above 10kHz. All of the frequencies above 10kHz are sacrificed when I wear my HAs. I’d love some clean response there.