Why are hearing aids so bad at streaming music?

I have had hearing aids now for about 4 years and just tried streaming music at the gym while working out. I was surprised at how bad the sound quality was. I have been using a pair of wired Bose ear buds or an aftershokz wireless, both have great sound even with my hearing loss. So why is the music quality so bad with hearing aids. Are there any that have good music quality? How about Bose hearing aids which has some of the best earphones?

Well I stream through Amazon and I find ultra high definition to be very clear . While high definition isn’t as good and anything below that sounds kind of garbled. I don’t think the problem is necessarily with the aids but the quality of the steam that’s provided I have phonak paradise aids and I’m pretty happy with the streaming

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I love streaming music to my Phonak Sky M70 SP hearing aids. Sound really good.

Sound like your issue is a programming issue. I know with Phonak, the music and phone calls, use a different program to your everyday program.

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My Phonak P90 RIC sound really good for streamed spoken word. However their actual drivers, receivers, speakers, whatever you want to call them, are absolutely tiny, at a guess probably about 2mm in diameter. You cannot expect to get full range sound from a diaphragm that small. My guess is that mainstream IEM (in ear monitors) have speakers of at least 3 to 4mm diameter.


Bluetooth steaming program’s can be adjusted within the software, to help get them sounding how you like your music to sound, takes a bit of trial and error to do, but can be done (of course your not going to get them blasting like some premium boombox!)
What is the exact model of HAs your using, this will help everyone offing solutions for you.

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Yes one of the limitations of good quality music for some, if adjusted for your own style of music, you can get some pretty good results, just takes a bit of time in the software adjusting settings your happy with.

As most here said, with the right aids and the right programs you can get a decent semblance of music sufficient for working out in the gym. But, then again, if you do know how music is supposed to sound, you are right. Hearing aids just aren’t there yet, good headphones are definitely the way to go. I continue to hold out hope that future generations of aids will be better for music.

Totally agree for streamed music. However when listening to live music and music from speakers my RIC P90s with tulip domes sound very, very good. At the moment I’m fortunate that I can still hear ambient bass without HA intervention.

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Here is an excellent article on the frequency response of the Widex Moment hearing aids with frequency response charts for different settings. When I compare these charts to the frequency response chart for my Bose QC25 headphones, it becomes obvious that the Moment HAs are not high fidelity for music.
See link: Fresh From the Bench: Widex Moment mRIC RD Hearing Aid | audioXpress
The answer to why many hearing aids are so bad at streaming music is that they are designed primarily for speech and not music.
The characteristics of Moment HAs also affects audiobooks. When I switched from my Bose QC25 headphones to my Moment HAs for listening to an audiobook, I found the previously rich and sonorous reader’s voice became flat and sharp with the HA default streaming settings (Quite ruined my listening to the book). So I went back to the Bose headphones for listening to audiobooks


To the OP (@cjb4), I bet with your kind of ski slope high frequency hearing loss, your definition of high quality streaming music is all about having adequate bass, and not really about high frequency fidelity. The Bose ear buds or other kinds of ear buds give you plenty of low frequency oomphs, creating the perception of higher quality.

If you’re wearing open domes, which I’m guessing you are based on your kind of hearing loss, then the first issue is that any low frequency amplification from the hearing aids is already lost through the leak out of your open domes’ vents. So you only end up hearing the high frequency amplification, making the music sound tinny to you → hence the bad quality perception.

After all, remember that the Bose ear buds plug up your ears completely, not allowing any of the lows to escape. On top of that, the size of the Bose ear buds, being outside of your ear canal, can afford to be much bigger than the hearing aids’ receivers that have to fit inside your ear canals. So you can’t beat the physics of a larger size ear bud on the outside vs a much smaller HA receiver on the inside of your canal, in terms of low frequency production. So even if you try to plug up your ears to improve the bass perception produced by your hearing aids (like how the ear buds already plug up your ears), the tiny HA receivers inside simply can’t compete with the much bulkier ear buds outside.

In short, you’re comparing apples to oranges as if they’re the same and ignoring that one (the much bulkier ear buds outside) has a distinct advantage over the other (the tiny HA receivers that have to fit inside your ear canals).

The short answer to your question is that it’s really simple physics and it’s apples to oranges that can’t and shouldn’t be compared against each other. It’s like asking why a tiny Honda Civic can’t pull a heavy load like a Ford F350 truck can?


@Volusiano: Exactly, Mr V … Exactly!


I take it you still haven’t read the forum guidelines Spud, here’s yet another link for you. Hopefully you’ll make an effort to read this time or next time I’ll use apples to spell your faults.

Paul Cleary makes the point well it is not only music that streams poorly on hearing aids but also voice.
I can hear and understand voice well on earbuds and earphones but less so on my Jabra resounds.
I think many of us welcome hearing aids that are a bit bigger but better at music and voice streaming

I don’t have the Jabra Resounds, but most hearing aids can be (and should be) set up with a streaming program.
This program can boost the bass somewhat,and balance the soundscape.
You should also have a dedicated Music program set for you.
Just do a search to find many valuable tips to make h/a’s sound decent with music.

As @Volusiano pointed out, hearing aids with open domes will not give you the necessary occlusion to emphasize the bass.

Hearing aids use the same drivers that In ear monitors use:

Bottom line:
If using open domes, get some Hearos ear plugs, and insert behind your domes to get a seal.
If using Earmolds, plug the vents.

Remeber, to conserve battery life, the power is limited, and frequency response of a hearing aid is only rated at 150Hz to 10Khz.


@hi1: I can’t believe that you’re actually threatening me! You need to do something more for yourself than just disconnect your Bluetooth, methinks, young Matias!

Yes, I got plenty of time to do many things for myself. You, on the other hand, barely got time to read the forum’s guidelines.

Curious, what are am i missing here? I only see one post from Spuds and he agrees and posts…“exactly”. His reply didn’t take the thread into a different direction. The post he agreed to is right on and contains a perfect explanation of the OP’s question. If we are at the point where someone can’t post “exactly” in reply to such an awesome explanation, then count me out. If I want nazi like enforcement I can find that on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t need it here


Thanks I’ll try what you suggested

Not sure what you are saying??

@mr.smithster: Thank you for that! Regulars know in what high regard I hold @Volusiano because - not only does he know the answer - he’s extremely generous with his time, always crafting an articulate and understandable explanation, to his credit and the benefit of all Members, be they scientifically-minded or not.

Rather than say “I agree” (for I do have a middling grasp of Physics), I do a Laurel and Hardy-esque Exactly!

Been doing it for a year, and there’s no harm done.