Why are hearing aids so bad at doing the job they are made for?

I have used only two different models, the Jabra enhanced and the ReSound so my experience is somewhat limited. Neither after multiple adjustments help much with hearing and comprehension. But I can plug in a set of wired Bose noise canceling ear buds and can hear and comprehend perfectly. Plus music is great unlike trying to listen to music with hearing aids. Yes I know, different technology. But modern hearing aids especially AI enhanced technology should be able to overcome the differences. is there something out there that I’m missing. If not is there anything under development.


Hearing aids are just that an aid to help you hear. They cannot give you your normal hearing back. The key is to not think about hearing aids like you think about eye glasses, because they just cannot accomplish the same functionality. Hearing aids cannot over come the damage that we have or have done to our hearing.


I think you missed the point

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I think if you connect your HA’s with bluetooth or a streamer to the same source , you will find the HA’s give the same results as the ear buds.


No as someone that has worn aids for almost 20 years I am definitely certain of my point.
And to be honest hearing aids aren’t intended to be ear buds. Hearing aids are for helping with understanding voice communication and not music. You are talking apples and oranges if you try to compare hearing aids to ear buds.


The Bose earbuds have two things that may be different… My guess:

  1. more Occlusion then some domes and may be what you have? Going to double domes helped a lot for me. Ear molds can be even better.

  2. more Volume if you can hear and comprehend perfectly. Are you you have the HAs loud enough or the receivers strong enough for your hearing loss?

For sure, streaming umph will always be better with your Bose. I have severe loss in the highs, and for me I hear better with the Jabra HAs them my Jabra earbuds. Not the big sound of earbuds but more high frequency sounds across my hearable frequency range. My HCP also raised the “Streaming Bass Boost” in the fitting software which helped me.

I agree that it is a shame that HAs don’t yet sound as full as earbuds. I got by on my Jabra earbuds buds for many years. Their hearing test sound adjustments worked to some degree but they could not recover the higher frequency loss. A comparison of the two to the same Santana song was markedly different. I am so glad I got my Jabra HAs. I have gotten used to them and they work for me at least.

There are also some reviews of the Oticon Intent which imply they may be the best thing since sliced bread :bread:

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No not the issue… 20 years doesn’t make it so

Until hearing aid companies can figure out how to get a combination of music quality and speech understanding, hearing aids will continue to be designed to help us understand speech first and foremost. I gave up on music years ago, I have enough problems understanding speech. I have researched my hearing loss and have finally come to the reality that while hearing aids are getting much better my hearing loss has gotten worse but luckily not as bad as hearing aids for my speech understanding as gotten better. I maybe retired but i still retain my understanding of electronics and software engineering. My discipline was audio communications. I believe that hearing aids will continue to evolve to be able to become closely to ear buds for music and connectivity as they are evolving for speech understanding. The problem is that everyone’s hearing loss is different, and everyone’s hearing environment is also different in the individual person’s perspective.
You seem more concerned with music and as long as I struggle to understand speech I could care less about music. I have been are individuals with hearing loss for my entire life of 76 years. I have had tinnitus since 1975, and should have worn hearing aids decades before I gave up and got aids, and by then my word recognition was in the dungeon. I have had years of hearing therapy since getting aids to help me relearn how to communicate. So you have your priorities and i have mine.


Yes, I can understand your frustration. What I think is happening here is that the Bose buds are just applying linear amplification, but the hearing aids are applying prescriptive adjustments to optimise speech understanding.

Let’s not get into an argument about buds v hearing aids. I can personally say that it is possible for hearing aids to sound good with music, and there are others on here that will testify that. In my case it took a long time to realise that I wasn’t get enough gain in the mids. Your case will almost certainly be different.

Are you using a dedicated music program?

What is your exact problem with music? Is it too tinny? Is it distorted?

You should be able to get your audiologist to create a program that takes out all speech and noise processing and raises the MPO, if necessary. I am not a resound wearer, but there are others on this forum who may be able to help, like @tenkan and @jim_lewis

What kind of domes/earmolds are you using? What programs are set up, and what verification was used (ie REM)

That sounds frustrating. In my experience, the only hearing aids that have given me excellent speech clarity (in noise too) and made music sound beautiful are Widex. The others seem to concentrate on trying to sharpen speech artificially, at the sacrifice of enjoying sound. However-this is dependent on the dispenser following exact Widex fitting protocol requirements in the software. Fit is also critical and I always have a custom. Every time the fit is changed the sensogram & feedback calibration needs to be rerun to keep them performing at their best.

Have you tried adding a spongy ear plug over your HA in your ear while streaming music via your HAs? Big difference for me in quality. Most HAs are not “noise cancelling” unless you have fitted molds - experts, please correct me on this if needed.


Custom ear molds make a lot of difference.


While I believe that REM is an important step in fitting my aids, but it isn’t the final step in my fitting, it is just the basic step to determine if my ear molds are correct, and my aids meets standards for my loss. Then my audiologist applies the information that has been gathered over my many years of wearing aids. Another reason that a dedicated audiologist is so important to the combination of hearing aids, ear molds, audiologist, and fittings.

All good advice been given all ready, I’m with going molds, but the one drawback here is the receiver, balanced armature compared to say headphones or buds cannot be compared, but most of us can get streaming to a acceptable level, I use PowerAmp on my phone with great success to help.
Unless your into DIY projects you might not be able to find a solution.
What model from ReSound did you try, I’m using the One’s and really like them, your left side loss is most likely the culprit in your case.


To piggyback on Tenkan here, if your left ear isn’t using a power dome (it looks like a double dome) or an earmold, you are most likely either getting feedback or not enough amplification because it’s being cut off before it amplifies enough of what you need for clarity. I personally don’t like Resound/Jabra for hearing losses like this OP’s because it can be difficult to reach the highs you needs without these issues (unless he/she has an earmold)


I believe I understand cjb’s frustration. When listening to speech from any electronic source using cheapo earbuds or headphones the sound is so much better than what my pricy Phonaks deliver from live audio around me. Perhaps this is a limitation of those tiny microphones.

I was not very clear. I have tried multiple devices to improve comprehension, different domes, earmolds, TV streamers, etc. and nothing helps. Let me give a specific example of what I mean. On a flight back from Europe this past weekend I had difficulty understanding announcements over the plane’s PA’s system with my current Jabra HAs. No adjustment helped. But if I used the noise cancelling earphones announcements were perfectly clear.and comprehensible. If I used my own bose noise cancelling earbuds again perfect. Even with the cheap earbuds the airline hands out thing were better than my HA. Music I have sort of given up on when my HA are in. I realize the three examples are devices directly connected to the source by wires so of course different than a HA.
RobHooft got it

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I guess it depends on how severe the hearing loss, and how long you have been wearing aids. But I find that even if I am wearing my Bose headphones i wear them over my hearing aids.

I’m not quite understanding what you’re saying here honestly. Were the PA announcements somehow coming through your noise canceling earphones via Bluetooth or a headphone jack? If that’s the case then that’s why it sounded better, because it was being transmitted directly to your devices not relying on the terrible airplane PA system. - if this isn’t the case then I really don’t understand