Newbie: Hearing music almost as important as hearing people

This is my first post on this forum and in a few days I go to Costco to try HA for the first time. I’ve been reading this forum and musicians forums for over a month now trying to educate myself.
I would have to say that for me being able to hear music more clearly is equal in importance to hearing humans. From what I understand, in the music studio I’m better off still listening through headphones and the studio monitors without the HA. That said for pleasure and while in the car I’m hoping an affordable HA will help with clarity.

Is it true that Widex (not affordable) is the best for music listening? What are some Costco options to consider?

Some situation questions:

I sometimes work in an environment where I have to wear ear muffs for short periods of time. If I get RIC HA is it possible to wear the ear muffs over the HA?

How well do HA function in a car with the windows down and the FM radio playing or passenger speaking?

Thanks in advance.

Your low frequency levels are good. They can do open fit domes. However those aren’t optimal for aids. Setting it to single domes would improve bass response. That is optimal for anything besides music. Open fit will use light amplification and allow outside sounds. Using a headset would overcome that lossiness.

Bernafon are aids like by many musicians here. The have a good music reputation.

Thank you for the info Ken. I hadn’t considered the type of dome.

Your hearing loss deteriorates sharply right after 500 Hz. I wouldn’t consider wearing open domes with that kind of loss. You’ll lose/leak all the amplified sounds between 500Hz to 2 KHZ through the vents. That’s a crucial range right there for many things.

As for hearing aids good for music listening, if it’s live music you’re talking about, look for hearing aids with wide input dynamic range. Something like 114 dB SPL that the Widex Beyond or the Oticon OPN have.

I am also interested in listening to music with aids. Is there some reason you mention open and single domes instead of using moulds. From what I gather from reading the forums - moulds seems to be the best option for every listening environment. I am not sure what the difference between single and open domes is anyway?

Usually people would try out the domes first to see if it works for them before resorting to custom molds simply because the domes are instant fit and is much cheaper than the custom molds. Some people have ear canal shapes that are suitable to wear domes. I have both bass domes with single vent and custom molds and either of them work fine for me. The only reason I have the custom molds is because I wanted bigger receivers that must come in custom molds only.

Well at the price I am paying my audiologist, I hope that he is getting me custom moulds :grinning: It does sound like custom moulds are optimal and given the price that I am spending on the aids, makes sense to get the moulds as it would be a bit like swallowing a horse and then baulking at swallowing a fly as it were.

Thank you for the reply.
As to music I’m not as interested in live music as hearing recorded music on the home stereo speakers or while traveling in the car.

The programming your Audi does to the HA’s is vitally important for hearing music clearly. HAs are designed to maximize your ability to hear and understand conversation. There are many enhancements available in the programming software that are intended to maximize speech comprehension.

There effects usually make music sound terrible. I would suggest that you tell your Audi to set up a separate music program that you can switch in and out of. For the music program, have the Audi turn off all compression and frequency lowering and any other functions that enhance speech comprehension. Set feedback control at the absolute minimum necessary to avoid having your HA’s feed back. You probably won’t be able to turn off feedback control entirely, but minimize it.

Make sure to buy HA’s with maximum input headroom like Widex or Oticon Opn. Otherwise loud music can overwhelm the HA’s microphones and cause distortion before the sound even reaches the HA’s processors and amplifiers. Good luck.

You should expect to be able to enjoy music, on both the general program and the music program. That doesn’t mean it sounds exactly like it did before. I enjoy the detail of music now that I was missing, but I don’t get much bass when streaming.

Wind noise is generally awful over hearing aids. You’d want to close the windows.

1 Like

As I continue to review the responses and study HA reviews and opinions, I’m thinking the Resound Forte might be a good option. I had been leaning, probably like so many first timers toward the KS8 but I happen to like the Resound Smart App . How does the KS8 compare in terms of available features one can adjust?

Road noise, and wind noise in a car with open windows, covers the same frequencies as music from an FM radio (or other source). When you amplify the music through a hearing aid, you also amplify wind and road noise. Hearing aids do have circuitry and programming to give preference to voice or music over steady background noise, but it’s only partially successful, as you’ll hear if you go to a noisy restaurant. Some aids are said to do a better job of this than others, but again, partial success, not total victory.

There is much less wind noise, as suggested, with the windows closed, and less road noise in a luxury car than in an economy car and less road noise on local streets than at highway speed, with or without hearing aids. I’m just stating the obvious because you may not get the improvement you want in listening to the radio with hearing aids. You’ll get some improvement, to be sure, but you may want more isolation of the music and may be getting more amplification of background noise than you want. Ask them to set up a restaurant mode (high background noise control) program for you.

We own a Jeep and a pickup truck, and I don’t hear music very well in either noisy vehicle at highway speed even with the windows closed… even in restaurant mode… unless I crank the volume higher than is safe. I have not experimented with different domes to see if that helps.

I’m a former musician… part of how I got into this mess… and I take comfort in listening to music at lower volumes than I used to in a quiet home, where the aids help (but as said above, do not restore normal hearing)… and really focus most on hearing conversation better.

Management of expectations is key to appreciating what hearing aids can do. Some newbies say, “For $X,XXX, I expected to hear normally again,” which would be great but may not be a realistic goal.

I listen to music mostly in my car. The music program on my LiNX 3D’s is set up with less gain than the other programs. That way I can raise the music volume to overcome noise without getting too loud. I do have a fairly quiet car and I drive with the windows closed.The app has a Noise Reduction slider for the Music program, but the music sounds better with it off.

Musician wearing Widex 440 Beyond. I’ve tried several manufacturers but the Wifex have the most natural sound for me. I used Phonak for 20+ years and also demoed Oticon and Starkey.

I’ve worn HAs for more than a dozen years and music has always been a problem. I just recently got the “new” KS8s and things were better, but not much. Then I got the Noahlink wireless programmer along with the Rexton Connexx software which allowed me to tinker with the programs. I have the Music/Speakers program as my dedicated music program and found that by (a) matching the programmed gain to the target gain and then (b) reducing the programmed gain between 1KHz and 2KHz (for this program only) really helped my specific problem. The beauty of the Noahlink wireless is that I could sit on my couch with my laptop, listen to music and adjust my HAs in real time to hear what worked best. I have moderate to severe high frequency loss so music will never be great, but reducing gain between 1K and 2KHz helped make music enjoyable again - both in my car and on my couch.

2 Likes

Thanks for that. I need to get one of those and do some tinkering.

You can also do it via cable connection. You would just have cables dangling from your ears. :slight_smile:

Tuesday I had a hearing appointment tried out the KS8 and the Resound Forte, walking around the store not knowing what to expect - this forum prepared me for my experience. In both aids everything sounded hollow, somethings sounded tinny. I heard my wife more clearly. The Forte had a slight sound like waves breaking on the beach in the distance coming from the checkout area no matter where I was in the store –When I mentioned that to my HIS he said Resound tends to focus on the higher frequencies. Anyway he trimmed the high end a little and when I went for another walk the Forte sounded much better. Even went out to the car drove around the parking lot playing the radio songs. To my surprise the music didn’t sound bad at all.

Yesterday afternoon I went back back to Costco to buy a pair. Since there was a cancelation ahead of my time slot the HIS said he had plenty of time & I could try out other aids. First he set me up with the Phonak, as he said they were quite popular. They were similar to the KS8 sounding kind of hollow and I could hear my feet “slapping” the floor. I asked to try the Forte again. I still preferred their sound. Finally I was able to try the Bernafon. I definitely didn’t care for those – they sounded harsh to me.

So I ordered the Forte. A part was the Resound 3D App which I downloaded and ran the demo none of the other HA seemed as comprehensive according to the HIS. Although, I do wonder how much was a psychological self-sell since all this is first time experience. All in all the Costco experience and interaction with the HIS turned out better than I expected. I was fortunate he had the time.

You will probably do fine with the Resounds. There is a learning curve when wearing hearing aids for the first time. It is common for sounds like clanking dishes, flushing water, even paper being crumpled, so sound too loud, and harsh.

It takes some time for your brain to adjust but in a few weeks those things will not sound so harsh. You can have them turned down but you are also turning down things you do want to hear.

It could be that your pro will start you off low so that will not be an issue, and turn things up a little at every visit.