I actually play both, and also bass – yes…I am extremely concerned with protecting what I have left.
I have been working with using a small digital mixer that I can use to mix the output from the main board to send me two monitoring signals – one to my SoundGate (the bernafon wireless interface) that puts a mix directly to my aids, and the other to a pair of isolation headphones I wear over the top. Initial testing sounds really good actually. I turn off the mics in the Aids, then put isolation headphones over my ears/aids – could also use just hearing protectors like they use for chain saws and guns)… to mitigate the room sound. In the case of the isolation phones, I lose some low end response (especially with acoustic guitar) by isolating the room sound, so I carefully add back in a little of the normal mix in the headphones after I have a comfortable level in the aids – just enough to replace and balance the lows, and the result is a pretty darn good mix, with the high end tuned to my extreme hearing loss, and all overall at a total DB level that I can control. This is essential in live settings like clubs or weddings where noise and volume can get way out of hand.
Of course this requires mics and or directs or otherwise output from a main mixing board to your personal mix board to accomplish – I am still working this out. I have ordered a new small digital mixer that has multi channels and great onboard effects, but most importantly has ability to craft eq and compression/limiting for each of the inputs and save everything as an “environment” – not sure how good this will be in practice but I should know more when it gets here this week.
But… the other day I had no mixers or otherwise and I played a duo with a drummer (playing very softly – someone I have worked with for many years so no surprises) and me on (amplified) acoustic guitar – mostly jazz improv. The experience was very gratifying. We controlled the overall level very consciously, and were pretty safely in comfort sound range in that particular setting. However, my eventual aim is to have a complete environment monitoring setup that I can control and bring with me to live situations that may get loud, so that I can positively protect what hearing I have left
IEMs are great start but can be really dangerous, and anyway the single mix from a board to IEM cannot accommodate the drastic eq curve required by my hearing loss without getting too loud. Most mixers have EQ range of ± 15 or 20 db max – you can see my Audiogram – I need the +80 db the aids provide in the HF…
Ideally I would fully occlude my earmolds with my aids to give complete isolation (the iso headphones only give about -28db) and create a custom program that adds some low end into the sound – at present my low end is pretty normal so the aids don’t mess with it. The Bernafon rep I am working with says this is totally doable… so will see what he and I can come up with once I get the basics tuned up.
When I tried IEMs (decent Sures) previously I could get virtually complete isolation - I sometimes put them in unplugged in the car just to enjoy the silence – but the eq could never be adjusted to give me enough high end with a balance low end without overall too much volume – and I am very sure that many years of endless hours of studio mixing on headphones (I am audio engineer) was what ultimately did my hearing in (though playing bass in a blues band for several years with a “deaf” drummer and “deaf” guitar player did not help probably