Why are hearing aids so bad at streaming music?

Has your audi set up the bluetooth streaming for max bass in Target?
I don’t have Phonak, but I think they have settings for that.
Perhaps @tenkan knows.

I like your handle, reminds me of Rickie lee Jones “Last Chance Texaco”

Target does have some settings in the bluetooth music streaming program, but bass boost is no longer available as such on the later platforms, so they only seem to offer audibility fine tuning or straight gain adjustments for lower frequencies (Bass) but not much good for @texaco24.9 as he’s using open domes, if one was willing to go with custom made molds that are vented, one could possibly find a compromise between good speech understanding and nice bluetooth streaming with some decent bass, but as @texaco24.9 has already noticed, no matter what it’s not gonna be a boombox!

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I’ve only skimmed the thread as I came late to it owing to having revision stapedotomy surgery yesterday.

But I don’t think that anyone has mentioned that streamed music quality via hearing aids is also affected by the very low power consumption version of Bluetooth that has been adopted by some manufacturers in order to preserve battery charge in the hearing aids. In particular Resound (ie also Jabra) use such a low bit rate that there are many audible artifacts. For example, warble on sustained piano notes is very obvious. The Resound One is better than any of the LINX models (I had all of them) but it’s still much worse than the quality of listening to the same music through the microphones on the aids with a well-adjusted Music setting.

This is one of the biggest hopes for Bluetooth LE Audio (there is another thread here all about that). We can expect this will be implemented in the next year or two, but whether existing hearing aids and existing phones will be able to deliver it with just firmware upgrades is not at all clear yet.

And I’m talking about Resound here which I have lived with for over 10 years, but I suspect that the other top brands like Phonak and Oticon will currently have similar streaming sound quality compromises.


Hi Cjb4, i just started wearing my Oticon Mores, I feel the same. It does help when I will manually adjust bass and high freq on my app while streaming music, need to ask my audio if I can create a program for that.
Anyways, I prefer wearing aids and headset at the same time for music.
My loss is cookie bite.

My Phonak p90’s are awesome at streaming music, maybe you need an adjustment.


Yes definitely something to consider, however the bluetooth classic profile, which Phonak uses is pretty good in this area, as the bit rate is a bit higher,so this could explain why a lot people like the streams through Phonak models, so when you mentioned ReSound are you streaming using MFi directly from your iPhone? Would it make any difference to use things like the phoneclip or tv streamer (which I use, i like it, as it sounds pretty good to me anyway) as in the bit rate changes (classic 4.2) is higher or the same?

Yes directly to the aids from my iPhone using MFI.

I also have a Resound Multi Mic that I use to stream from my Mac into my hearing aids, but I think the sound quality is not as good as MFI streaming from my iPhone, although it’s hard to compare directly as the streaming program is different to my music program. But I did recently make exactly that assessment.

I don’t know how the bit rate varies between Phonak and Resound. I didn’t like Phonak when I owned a pair a few years ago, although they were better than Widex that I also tried three different times (I bought two different pairs so did give them a good try). The Resound Quattros weren’t good for music in retrospect, but the Ones are much better. But I know people in the HiFi community that I’m also in who prefer Phonak to Resound.

I do spend quite a lot of money buying new hearing aids, about one new pair a year. I know I’m lucky to be able to do that without worrying about it.

Coming in late and eyes just dilated by ophthalmologist, so I might type with errors. To echo what a few folks have already contributed: I am thoroughly pleased with iPhone music streaming into my KS10’s (Phonak P90’s in disguise). The Costco fitter gave me closed domes (tulip) that have just two tiny holes in them. Bass isn’t superb, but more than satisfactory. I also have a pair of Phonak Marvel 90RTs, and I switched the open domes to closed ones. My HA specialist had to re-calibrate for the closed domes, and streaming into them is also great. Months ago my HA specialist (not Costco) asked me to try a pair of ReSound One’s (MFI) and give him some feedback. I found the sound to be harsh, even though he had programed them to my audiogram. I’m not sure if that sheds any light on this issue, though. Bottom line: I am thoroughly pleased with my Phonak streaming from iPhone.

I use my P90Rs to stream music every day during workout and jog. The sound quality is fine. No problems. Only issue I have is the volume to start is too loud, so I have to lower it each time. I’ve tried to adjust the stream volume in Target but no luck. So rather than screw it up more, I just deal with lowering the volume when I start streaming music.

I stream off my Garmin Fenix watch straight to the P90s. No phone involved during the workouts. :slight_smile:

I would expect LE Audio to sound a lot better- bit-for-bit- than anything we’ve got now. At the same time, we won’t be getting the same bitrates as someone with a pair of headphones would get. Bitrates will get scaled down when the transmitting device is informed that it’s transmitting to a hearing aid.

They may do, but not to the extent that it degrades the sound quality unnecessarily. LE Audio has been designed to work well in hearing aid applications, as well as many other applications of course.

Anyway the fact that high quality headphones would sound better than hearing aids is totally irrelevant to anyone with a medium or worse hearing loss.

@david.hendon I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying. I was responding to

and pedantically pointing out that those power constraints will not disappear with LE Audio. LC3 seems to work very well as a low-bandwidth codec so I expect a significantly better experience than what we get now.

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I think we agree with each other then! It will be very interesting to see what happens and when.

Having read all these posts I’m puzzled about why Streaming Quality seems to be expected to be different/better than normal non streaming sound quality … or maybe the thrust here is that streaming is not as good as normal non streaming mode… Am I missing something. Thinking about this because the streaming sound quality on my Phonak Marvel M90’s with closed/vented domes improves significantly when I block my ears behind the domes, like some of the techniques mentioned here to do that. Apart from better midrange/bass tone, the music vocal intelligibility/comprehension improves significantly when I do that … so I’m wondering if i have the right domes. I’d like to have the same level of (improved) speech comprehension when using the HA’s in non streaming mode. Said another way … why would one expect to have to occlude the ears for streaming … but not for normal use. Is there some downside I’m unaware of to occlude for non-streaming? Appreciate any insights.

When you are streaming all of the source of sound is delivered electronically and there is no natural component. When you hear things around you, part of the sound goes through vents in the hearing aid dome or mold (unless the hearing loss is such that you need not to have the vents to prevent feedback) and part is amplified and processed through the hearing aid. It helps improve the streamed sound inside your ears by preventing it from leaking out through the vents.

Does that help?


I think the implication of the discussion is that streamed quality is less good than non-streamed quality.

But it’s all more complex than it might seem. For example if you listen to live music or music played through loudspeakers then, depending on your hearing loss, you hear some of that directly through your skull, particularly lower frequencies. But it does depend on the extent to which your hearing loss has a conductive element.

This is why a full audiogram has Bone Conduction readings. Music streamed into hearing aids doesn’t get to your inner ear through bone conduction, or at least not to the same extent.

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My Phonaks give me amazing sound when streamed with bluetooth or airstream (tv connector or roger mic) and I hear better than I’ve heard in years. Given the choice between live sound and streamed, I will take streamed…


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And me! Never had such god results with my Phonak M70 HAs.


Thankyou WhiteHat … now I get it. And I now understand why blocking the ears for streamed enhances my perceived quality by reducing/eliminating leakage. So now I’m off to experiment with blocking my ears when my wife talks to me (tho she claims I’ve been doing that anyway lol) to see if that enhances quality even tho reducing external sound. If so I’d have to deduce that I need non vented domes.

Thanks David, very informative and I had never even thought about about the bone conduction part of the full hearing experience.