Why do HA’s sound so darn tinny when earbuds capable of more bass?

This likely has been asked before, so excuse the question if it’s redundant, but I can’t always wonder why HA’s have to sound so “tinny”. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how I look at it), my hearing loss came suddenly in 2010 so I still remember “normal hearing”. Since then I’ve worn Phonak HA’s. I’m on my second set now. My first was Phonak Ambra M’s and now my set are Phonak Audéo V’s that have the speaker built into the ear molds themselves and don’t use the “sound tubes” like the Ambra’s. While they both improved my quality of life substantially, I couldn’t wonder why they sound “tinny”. I’ve tried having my Audiologist adjust them a couple times and while we were able to improve them some, he basically offered an explanation of that amounted to “that’s just the way HA’s are”. I’m questioning why HA’s have to be that way though. Certainly the technology exists to make them less “tinny”? You only need to look at a set of cheap $10 Apple earbuds to see that it is possible? Heck, I even have non-Apple earbuds that are smaller than Apple’s that sound better than HA’s (and even Apple’s earbuds). I haven’t tried Apple’s wireless air buds yet, but I imagine they sound great. Maybe that’s the solution - HA’s could be in th form of earbuds, lol.

Yes, it has been asked many times before. Use the search function for tons of replies. Thank you for reminding us. LOL too.

Here’s one example, bass and mids leak out of your open domes

One reason HAs sound tinny is because most hearing loss generally occurs at the higher frequencies and aids boost those frequencies more than those that at the lower end. Ear buds attempt to provide a level response so do not have that effect. The brain takes time to adjust to the reinstatement of the higher frequencies so we get the tinny effect. However I feel that aids are often set to over compensate for the high loss and this particularly spoils listening to music. I have learnt to programme my aids myself and have slightly reduced the high frequency boost for the music setting. Your audiologist should be able to do this for you and an increase in the bass for the music programme can also be beneficial.

I’m very new to hearing aids and just got my first ones from the VA last month. I’m having that tinny deal too. They have ordered custom molds for me. I know about the no bass too same problem with me.
I’ve been reading that the Resound Linx3D seems to be better in the areas I think I need help in over the Linx 2 9 61 that the VA gave me. I wonder if they was change them for me?

If the VA carries those, I’d imagine they would likely let you. I just use Phonaks from the VA, but overall I’m happy with them. I remember with my first pair of HA’s five years ago, my Audiologist said that if I ended up having issues with those then there was another model that he thought would also be a good match for me. I didn’t have any problems so didn’t switch out though…

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I have experienced the opposite effect. Without hearing aids, music is dull and muddy. Not only didn’t I enjoy listening but it was uncomfortable and prevented me from any chance of hearing others.

With my current HAs, I music is bright and enjoyable again. For me, that is icing on the cake. The most important thing for me is hearing others and being able to communicate.


Beside the bass and mids leaking out of open domes in hearing aids while ear buds completely plug up your ear and prevent the lows and mids to escape, you also gotta remember that the receiver in hearings are much smaller than ear buds. That’s how you’re able to fit even the largest 105dB receiver inside your ear canal while your earbuds are too big and have to sit outside of your ears. The simple fact that the bigger physical size of ear buds allows them to be designed to deliver more low frequency gain.

If they had sold a hearing aid where the receiver is basically an ear bud, then you would have been able to get the kind of bass that you want. So you’re really comparing apples and oranges here. It’s like asking why a small house is so tight where a large house is much more roomy.

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Compared to hearing aids, earbuds are enormous!