Playing the Piano with Siemens Pure 701

I’ve worn Siemens digital aids for about 10 years and am now upgrading to pure 701s. Since I’ve been down this road before, I’m hoping that I can make the most of my fitting experience next week and thereby reduce the problems that always come up.

I’m a serious pianist and organist, but am also very, very excited about hearing my mp3 player and phone through an improved frequency spectrum.

After spending a lot of time reading through the posts, here is what I think might be the correct questions/conclusions. Please please correct me or add other pertinent information if you can. Since I’ve worn hearing aids for 20 years, and digital for 10, I am very confident that the Siemens digitals will do the job, but only if they are set up correctly.

SO, for live music and piano, should I request the “standard” music program except with the microphone turned “on”? Does this mode disable feedback suppression or just dial it back a bit? I want to hear both soft and loud and don’t want the instruments to dial up the soft parts. In the past, I’ve had to turn them down to get the dynamic range I want without clipping the loud parts. Comments/Suggestions?

For phone and mp3 do I use similar settings except with microphone turned off?

For general listening, I hope the instruments don’t do too much in terms of signal processing. My Siemens "digital 8"s, when allowed turned so many frequency bands down that I had to ask everyone to repeat themselves, which seemed to turn virtually all frequency bands up again.

One other comment for those of you who are new to hearing aids. Stick with them! I had given up on playing the piano because it just didn’t sound good. When I finally became accustomed to my hearing aids, my life improved immensely and I was able to complete a degree in music which I had started a long time ago.

I wore Siemens analogs for 15 years, but am now wearing Phonak digitals. Assuming (yes I know) similarities between the brands, the music program is just a name assigned to a group of settings which provide a pleasant, accurate listening experience for you. All settings are available and adjustable to your liking,

Have at it,

Thanks for commenting, Terry. I’ve read about a couple of “enhancements” that sound like a real bad idea for music, live or recorded. Frequency compression, if part of the Siemens approach, would seem like a real bad idea. Feedback control would be bad if it means playing high sustained notes on a pipe organ creates the wrong effects. My old digitals were great with music, but I had to tweak the volume a lot, sometimes in the middle of a performance. It really sends the wrong message when you demonstrate to the audience that your hearing is impaired.

Music programs in general tend to change a few settings like turning off features like phase flipping feedback cancellation and changing the compression to behave more linear.

I would provide your Audi with this resource and/or read it yourself if you think your getting benefit out of it:

Marshall Chasin specializes in research focused on hearing aids and music so he is a good resource on this topic, the article linked is not the only o resource from him but its at least easy to obtain.

Lots of great questions here.

For you, I would recommend a specific music program for when you play the piano. I would recommend using only the omni-directional microphone rather than the automatic microphone selection. Careful consideration should also be given to the MPO (maximum power output), as this is sometimes why the hearing aid distorts the sound when playing loudly. Feedback suppression should be on low or even off if you can maintain a good seal in your ear. A good seal in the ear canal is critical.

As for mp3 player and phone, I would ask that you consider the Mini TEK, or TEK accessory for streaming audio and cellular. Earphones probably wouldn’t work very well.

Good luck.

Actually I had tried a number of Phonak models and they all work terribly with music, my main complaints are that the music is suppressed and even without any suppression, music sounds distorted and unpleasant.

I feel angry actually, there was nothing wrong with my analogue hearing aids and now my life is difficult with these “new” technologies, which quite frankly, does not help me at all.

Allegro, what do you mean the hearing aid suppresses music? Depending on the hearing aid you were trying, the speaker may have been distorting. If you were trying one of the newer CRT hearing aids (Hearing aid is behind the ear with the speaker in your ear) they come standard with the ‘standard’ receiver. You may want to try the power receiver. These are less likely to distort.

Hope this helps.


He’s right, most Phonak instruments do phase cancel to an extent, even with everything switched off in order to maintain the stability of the instrument. What I didn’t realise until recently is that the output (even with SoundRecover off) is shifted a few hertz, this I expect is to deal with standing waves in the open ear canal and to limit feedback.

It’s a bit of a leap here, but I think this is why there are so many issues with long standing analogue wearers saying that the sound is distorted; in the first instance the peaks and troughs are being ironed out and secondly the sound is being reproduced just a fraction ‘off-key’. (That’s before we get into issues of delay or processing artefacts)

#1- all hearing aids come with feedback and noise suppressors on. For music, turn them off.
#2 - if your aids have a “music” channel, use it
#3 Hearing aids use way too much compression in general, and they usually have the attack response time set way too slow. So, get the compression minimized, and reduce the release time to as little as possible. For best results when adjusting the EQ, turn off or minimize the compressors before tweaking the EQ, then bring them back in only as needed.
#4 - you piano is the best thing to use (outside of a in the ear hearing aid tester) to set the EQ at normal levels. So sit at the piano, and make a list of what notes are too loud, and too soft. Download a pitch to frequency chart and take this to your dispenser.

When you go to your dispenser for adjustment, have them create a “music only” channel, and use the mods I listed. Have them use a hearing aid tester, and check to see if the aids are behaving correctly while they are in your ears. The hearing aids do not come from the factory properly adjusted for the best fidelity. They come set for maximum speech recognition, and what you see on the hearing aid adjustment software EQ curve is only an approximation. . For practical purposes of description, hearing aids have an EQ curve for soft, normal and loud, and it is the normal and loud that will be of most concern to you as a musician.

As a musician, you have trained ears, something most dispensers do not know how to address. you may have to learn how to set your aids yourself, as I did.

Your best bet would be to first try the “music” setting. Ideally, all digital processing should be turned off and the frequency response adjusted to suppress “peakiness” but the reality is that we don’t know what a particular aid is doing when in a music mode. I’d probably just adjust your aids with a slight emphasis in the higher frequencies since it’s likely that you don’t need much amplification.

The Phonaks are distorted, even in the Music program; I just think it’s inherent in their design. I don’t doubt they’re great for speech (though I could never dial out the hiss/buzz with SoundRecover disabled), but for those of us who can still enjoy music, I wouldn’t recommend them.