Singers - Help/advice on strategies to still make music


Hi folks,
I’ve been a professional musician for about 40 years fronting bands as a singer and playing guitar. I’ve been wearing hearing aids for the last 5 years. Currently I have Phonak Audeo V90s and use large power domes with them. When I first started using aids I was able to take them out while playing but as my hearing has gotten worse I’ve needed to have them in.
I have a host of issues I’m dealing with. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t trust myself hearing pitch correctly. Quite often with my hearing aids in I’ve not been able to discern pitch and either have to keep playing through the changes until I feel comfortable or wing it (with not so good outcomes). Another issue is hearing myself too much and not being able to hear the music being played or other singers for blending harmonies.
I’ve started to use in ears for solo gigs with good success but don’t always have the ability to use them in all situations.
So long story not so short, I’ve contemplated giving up playing live but want to try to address all avenues of help. So, any advice/strategies any of you would like to share would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,


The in-ear sounds promising. I assume that is a custom made. Does the in-ear use an equalizer to more or less match your hearing? Could you include the other voices in your in-ear, with yours just a little louder? It might be hard to get that right, on the fly.


Hi Don,
Right now I’m only using off the shelf In ears. The mix comes off of the board and yes, if you have a sound engineer willing to spend the time he/she can eq it to your preferences and raise or lower the volume of any of the inputs on the board. On the fly just doesn’t work unless it’s a solo thing and I have control of the board.



phild … lead guitarist here that very occasionally sings. Been struggling with some of this myself with playing Christian Rock in various churches for the last 15 years.

I’ve been wearing HA’s for the last 9 years. I wear Signia Pure Primax 7PX (BTE’s) with programs that I can change for normal hearing, noisy environments, listening to music and playing live music. I tried the CIC’s (completely in canal) but could not get used to the occlusion that I had with them.

The best situation for me is playing in venues where In-Ear Monitors are provided for everyone in the band. I put them loosely in while I continued to keep my HA’s in and also where the musicians don’t use discreet amplifiers on the stage, but plug into direct boxes that keep the stage volume down. Also I try to stand as far away from drummer as possible. I won’t say that this has made everything perfect but has been very workable.

Also playing in venues without In-Ear Monitors, has been VERY frustrating, I’ve found no good solution so far. Hope some of this might help and that input from others may help all of us.


Thanks Jcpstrat. Do you happen to know what the difference is in your settings for listening to live music an playing live music?
As much as I can I talk to fellow musicians about stage volume but especially in club situations it always seems to creep up. I’ve found that if the whole band is wearing in ears it is not nearly as bad but I’m rarely in that situation.
Thanks again for the reply.


Hi Phil,

may I ask how severe your loss is? Live music is quite loud usually, so the approach not to wear aids at all is what comes to mind.

Results of a hearing test would help here, also it is of importance if there is a difference between bone conduction and air conduction.

I perform with aids out and protection in. I hear enough of the music, only problem is that I don’t understand anyone talking in between.


Thanks for the response. My hearing loss is air conduction and moderate to severe. Much worse in my right ear.
If the band I’m performing with is loud it can work with aids out. My main conundrum is being able to hear well enough to hear pitch and blend my vocal with others. Quite often I’m performing without a sound person so I have to be aware of my vocal volume. If my aids are in the occlusion effect doesn’t let me hear the external sound enough. I’ve been experimenting with taking out my right hearing aid or changing the right hearing aid to an open dome for performances and have met with some success.


Okay, now I understand a little better.

I have the following equipment:

  • open domes on my regular aids
  • closed domes on my backup-aids
  • a pair of elacin earplugs with filters 8 dB, 15 dB , 25 dB

My hearing loss is mild to moderate.

I use my regular aids for unplugged-performances only. I use my live-music program then. This has a lower overall amplification, but less compression.
I take my aids out when going to concerts that use a little amplification, but not too much.

I use my earplugs when going to rock-concerts.

I use my backup-aids when working with a band where I need protection (the closed domes function as earplugs when the aids are turned off) but need to talk in between.

I hear enough to control my pitch. The occlusion effect helps me to hear my own voice very loud. But I cannot balance my own vocal volume. Others will have to do that for me. Since I wear aids it is totally impossible for me to judge sound balance.

I have two suggestions for you:

1st: Try a special program for live performances with, as I said, less amplification and less compression. I guess that the program that you use at the moment has much compression. Thus, the aids turn completely off when loud music is played.

2nd: Let others care about the sound balance.

Do you know the page “hearthemusic” by Marshall Chasin? There is a lot of interesting stuff to read through there ( be sure to check the archives).

I don’t know if my advice is of any help, as my hearing loss is not as bad as yours. Maybe you can do a trial on bernafon aids, which are really great for music.


Thanks so much for taking the time. I’ve read most of the work Chasin has done and recommended my audiologist read it as well. We have worked together on finding the best music setting. At this point my compression is just about all the way off along with other modifications as well ( I can’t exactly recall the others).
I too use the closed domes as light protection in loud situations. I also use custom plugs for loud concerts but have to admit I try to avoid those situations whenever possible.
I’ll try and check out the bernafon aids.
Again, thanks for taking the time to respond.



Good luck!

In case you have a question and I miss it in the forum, don’t hesitate to write me a personal message. Sometimes I am not in the forum for a longer time.

Yours, Musician_72