Your/my opinions on music programs - Phonak Lumity 90, Oticon Intents, Resound Nexia (plus Resound Linx 3D)

Hey, Old Music Guy: The banjo player lived to make another session, barely. I’ve never met anyone who can do a 3-finger Scruggs roll and only hit 2 notes. I may carry some wire cutters next time to get rid of the blankety blank off-tune, out of time drone string going off behind me.

Now, as to the “my music” performance of the Intent 1: I did about half the practice in that setting and I was very pleasantly surprised. The bulk of that time I was out of a direct line from the monitor closest to me with it slightly blocked by a music stand. I could hear all the instruments and vocals via the mains very well. (Our sound guy was there babysitting the mix.)

I stepped directly in front of the monitor for a few numbers and really liked what I was getting. What I was hearing was sharp, clear and well balanced Both vocals, harmonies and instruments sounded better than I expected. The only issue I had was that between tunes I turned on the “app” to confirm I was in the right program, and saw I had dialed down the gain to -3 from what I think is the default setting. Higher than that started to get a little loud for me. My reaction contrasts with the music program in the Real 1s which seemed to bury instruments to boost vocals. There I found general a better setting to track instruments.

Again, this is purely personal perception, but I liked the “my music” program in the Intent 1s markedly better than what was in the Real 1s. I did the test about midway through the practice after first using “general” and then “speech in noise” to knock down the banjo some. I can’t tell you for certain which setting I would pick if “my music” were not available.

I will be testing them again at our last practice in two weeks before a gig on the 26th and will try to pay more attention to rating the music program. I will also check the performance at the gig and report back if anyone cares. I’ll have a monitor almost directly ahead of me at the gig.

Eliot (an old music guy by virtue at least of age)

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it’s interesting…I play acoustic music with other non amplified musicians. When the topic of 'HAs for music" comes up, some of us think “cello, violin, flute, recorder, lute or guitar”. Most no doubt think “amplified guitar, piano, bass and drums”.

The two examples must require wildly different parameters from our HAs.

It’s the same thing, I imagine, when folks talk about listening to music live. Most are likely referencing an amplified rock concert… An unamplified classical music concert is another animal altogether.

I think! or is it?

I wonder if we don’t have to distinguish between rock concerts at a stadium and classical instruments performing without amplification in a small, intimate space, or even a solo guitar performing unamplified in a concert hall, etc. etc.–when we write about “listening to music with hearing aids”.?

Someone listening to a solo guitar in a quiet auditorium has different requirements from their aids as contrasted to someone listening to Radiohead at a live outdoor concert. Sure, music is involved in both
instances, but everything else is wildly different. I’d go so far to say as it’s not the same thing at all, in terms of what’s required from hearing aids.

And yet we all speak about, 'what’s the best HA for listening to music".

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Try Widex moments 440. This musician is really happy with the sound.

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Totally agree. And I’m being even more awkward because my requirement is listening to music on studio monitors so I need excellent reproduction in a quiet studio environment. I don’t play live any more and don’t go to gigs (primarily because of my hearing issues).

What has surprised me is how different the “music” programs are between the different aids I have tried. And I’m coming to the realisation after lots of helpful feedback on here that custom programming will likely be needed. I also found the DIY section and that approach also appeals to me.

I don’t know about other aids’ brands, but Oticon aids don’t allow you to specify DIRECTLY that you want zero compression (meaning that the Compression Ratio is 1). You can play around with the gain values to INDIRECTLY minimize compression to as close to 1 as you can, but then at the risk of messing up other things if you simply change your gain values out of whack just for the sake of trying to close in on compression ratios of 1.

Below is an example of the Genie 2 Fine Tuning section, showing the gain values across the frequency bands, and what the Compression Ratios are at each band. You can see that gain values are 100% adjustable, but the CRs are not adjustable at all. They’re simply calculated based on the gain values that you change.

Compression is a necessary evil sometimes, especially when the hearing loss starts getting to the severe to profound states. Without compression, louder sounds can become way too loud for your hearing comfort. That’s why compression is in place, to afford compensated amplification for soft sounds but not allow as much compensated amplification for louder sounds, because your hearing may be able to hear louder sounds with less compensated amplification → without compression, louder sounds can be WAY too loud for your hearing comfort.

So I hear a lot of musician type folks keep saying on this forum that they want no compression at all in music program. While in theory it makes sense for musical fidelity for folks with normal hearing, it’s still nevertheless a naive viewpoint from hard of hearing folks, because they’re forgetting that they still have a hearing loss to be compensated for, even while listening to music. And compression is put into hearing aids not just for the fun of it. It’s put in there to specifically address the issue of needing to dynamically amplify more on the softer sounds, but amplify less on the louder sounds, in order to preserve the balance of “perceived” loudness created by the hearing loss.

Below is some description on Wide Dynamic Range Compression that explains the reason and benefit and actually also the need of doing compression in the first place.

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Thanks for this, it’s really interesting and very helpful. This will be a problem for me as I am trying to mix music on studio monitors, so any compression is bad (as it will conflict with my use of the compression tools in the mixing software). Obviously my use of the music program will only be while sitting in a quiet room, so I don’t need to worry about background noises.

This again confirms I need both custom programming and the ability to do DIY adjustments, both things I would never have thought of before finding this forum.

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Glad it worked out well for you. I guess my issue is that I am sat in a quiet home studio listening on studio monitors rather than playing live, so my requirements are somewhat different. And best of luck with the banjo… :wink:

POST EDIT: Please read last sentence below.

@Volusiano

I always appreciate and respect you great knowledge about many things around HA’s and far from that other things you are talking about.

Good to hear and realize this about the Oticons. It would bring me to the conclusion that Oticon will be hard to use for a musician. But I am not specialized in the finetuning of all hearing aids. It is a very complex attempt of copying the functionality of the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear and the brain it’s components and cooperation.

I would like to add for musicians and HA’s some notes as I see them

Of course volume is an important musical “factor”. If you can’t figure out how loud your instrument has to be heard in comparence to the instruments around you you have a problem. And upon that you have to figure out how loud someone in the theater you’re playing will be hearing the different instruments which depends on echoing, direct and indirect reflexions of the frequencies in that hall. Every place in the hall will have its own properties. So you need a soundcheck of the area you’re playing in. Curtains, chairs, clothes people wearing, temperature are all physical factors influencing the sound and frequencies you appreciate. And the interferences between the several instrument and their given tones and volumes. These are all cumulative factors contributing to music which is a more then complex system.

Then about the compression. You need to hear the exact frequency of a tone as this is defined in a scale. So if you are having deficits in your hearing scale you have a big problem as everyone is using this defined scale. Interferencing between different tones generates new tones or even volume changes.
If you are compressing frequencies you are putting frequencies where they do not belong into the scale. This could only function if every player and or listener would have the same compression and even then the interferencing between the different tones will get lost. And all the other factors as bounce offs will get influenced too. You will end up in a mess of sounds far from musical intent.

Next to all this you have to do with two ears which combine and compose the appreciated sound in your brain. The frequencies you got not only by air but also by bone conduction. And also there will take place processing to make the musical scale what it is in combination with the mix of volume contributing to the appreciated sound.

Another thing ears are able to is to make adjustments in sudden or slowly rising volume. Think of the HA’s capable of automatic muting for sudden loud and also soft noise.

Compression is very important if you want to learn your brain to differentiate between sounds you hear and sounds you are actualy not able to hear. So you make it possible to hear more than you could hear if it didn’t exist because of the shift you make in the frequencies. This can be great depending on where you compress. In HA’s for instance higher frequencies to appreciate bird sounds etc.
But for a musician it is of utmost importance that you can put the heard frequencies in the right place of the scale. It will not and never will be possible to replace the function of an ear in all of its capabilities by a HA. Their are to many factors influencing this process.

I am a great fan of Artificial Intelligence, internet and computers but this human function cannot and will never be copied nor replaced by HA’s. It must be seen as a tool to improve an impossibility.
POST EDIT: I actually ment “ frequency compression” where I am writing about compression, sorry.

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You are making a TOTALLY WRONG assumption that we’re talking about frequency compression here, because we are NOT. We are ONLY talking about GAIN compression here.

Of course nobody would want to use frequency compression for music. And frequency compression can be completely disabled with a turn of a software switch, so it’s not even an issue here to begin with.

You’re also jumping into conclusion to state that because Oticon doesn’t let you directly set GAIN compression ratios to zero at each frequency band that it is not suitable for musician. Most built-in music programs in most aids are likely to minimize GAIN compression as much as they can (in addition to turning off a lot of the other digital processing functionalities), but I doubt that any hearing aid brand will let you DIRECTLY set the GAIN compression ratio. If you can find one HA brand that allows you to change GAIN compression ratio directly, please let me know.

Here’s is a link on this forum on how to turn off GAIN compression on Widex HAs → it seems like it simply has the same setup as the Oticon Genie 2 software does → you can change the GAIN compression ratio to 1 by setting the gain value between Soft, Medium and Loud gain levels to be exactly the same. But then the gain curves you end up getting will either make you not be able to hear the soft sounds anymore, or if you set the gain to be able to hear the soft sounds, then the loud sounds will be WAY too loud for your hearing comfort.

Please find an HA brand that will allow people with hearing loss (not just mild hearing loss, but moderate to severe to profound, like yours) to set the GAIN compression directly and set them all to a 1 value, then listen to the end result. Then if you are satisfied with it like you think you will be, come back here and share with us what HA brand it is that lets you do that, and confirm and show that you actually have GAIN compression of 1.0 across the board on all frequency bands, and that you actually absolutely love it. I’d love to hear from musician folks with moderate/severe/profound hearing losses set their GAIN compression to 1 across the board and find that they’re totally happy with it.

For normal hearing folks, yes, any kind of GAIN compression is bad for them because it would distort the GAIN compression already built into the music mixing software (not the hearing aid software).

But you are not a normal hearing person, I presume. You don’t show what kind of hearing loss you have because you don’t post your audiogram on your avatar/profile like the others. If you have a very mild hearing loss, then perhaps you can get away with no GAIN compression in your hearing aids. If you have moderate to severe or profound hearing loss, then GAIN compression is an essential tool in the hearing aids to allow you to get some audibility in the soft sounds but not have your ear drums blown out by the same amplification level on loud sounds.

This is the misconception that I’m trying to clear up here → musician folks with heavy enough hearing loss on this forum (bad enough that they need to wear hearing aids to help them hear better) keep talking about not wanting GAIN compression at all for music programs in their hearing aids, as if they have perfectly normal hearing. It doesn’t work that way. If you have a heavy enough hearing loss to need to wear hearing aids, chances are you will need some level of GAIN compression. You can try to minimize the GAIN compression, but your hearing loss will most likely not allow you to get rid of GAIN compression altogether, and still be able to hear perfectly without any GAIN compression (like a normal hearing person would) while in parallel utilizing the aid of hearing aids to be able to hear music due to your hearing loss.

The bottom line is that hearing loss is usually a non-linear loss. So demanding a linear gain for a non-linear hearing loss doesn’t make any sense. The hearing loss requires a certain compensated amplification gain to get a soft sound above the threshold level where you hearing challenged ear can detect that soft sound and have audibility of the sound. But if that same sound is loud enough, you don’t need the same amount of large compensated amplification gain to register audibility to that louder sound. A lesser amount of compensated amplification gain would probably suffice. Then if that sound is really loud, you might not even need or want any kind of compensated amplification gain at all to be able to hear that sound loud and clear. That is the non-linear nature of the hearing loss.

If the hearing aid takes the same large compensated amplification gain that it uses on soft sounds to apply to that very loud sound, it would be uncomfortably too loud for your liking and tolerance. That’s what GAIN compression is all about, to accommodate for the non-linearity of your hearing loss. The GAIN is compressed as the sound gets louder.

GAIN compression is a non-linear approach to compensated amplification gain in order to match with the non-linear audibility of the hearing loss. It’s an advanced technique to actually making the sounds at different volume levels “seem” to be “linear” so that a linear perception of volume is emulated to the ears of the hearing challenged person. So to demand by hearing challenged musicians for actual/real linearity in compensated amplification gain would actually cause the opposite and non-linear perception to that hearing challenged person.

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I haven’t got my audiograms, I will try to get them at my next audi visit. But I have moderate to severe loss across mid and high frequencies.

I get what you are saying and I checked out the ReSound Surefit software today. That is the same as the Genie software in that the CR does not appear to be adjustable, it appears in the gain values table across the frequency spectrum but isn’t adjustable.

So I guess for me I need to create a custom music program that turns off all the environmental factors that can be tweaked (like Noise Reduction) and then I will have to strike a balance between between the frequency gain and the CR that is generated as a result. Like you say, if I get the CR to be linear across the frequency spectrum I will likely not be able to hear everything.

At least I know what factors to look at and can work with my audi to get a starting point in a custom program. I’ll then get the software at home so I can do fine tuning in a studio environment.

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Sorry to mess up what you were talking about @Volusiano
Thank you very much for explaining this Gain Compression extinsevely as I already was wondering why I should know something you didn’t know! And I’m really glad you took the time for writing down your knowledge here about this Gain Compression and straighten the discussion.

But I then have a question I think you are able to answer too.
I thought there was a method also for HA’s in the higher segments to compress the frequencies. A trick to teach your brains to get information above the maximal for you hearable frequency by bringing it down in frequency as I explained in my post above. Compressing the bandwith. I don’t think I invented it myself, so I am wondering how is that called then?
Hope you can solve my question.
Thanks in advance.

Yes, frequency lowering is definitely a feature available in most hearing aid brands. That’s to bring the less audible areas of the hearing loss (namely the higher frequencies for many people with precipitous normal ski slope loss) into the more audible area of the hearing loss, usually the mid frequency area.

Different HA mfgs implement frequency lowering differently. Phonak uses frequency compression, for example. Oticon uses frequency transposition and composition instead. There are good threads on this forum that discuss the various different kinds of frequency lowering that you can search and read up on.

I personally find the Oticon frequency lowering technique very agreeable to listen to music with. But that’s really up to the discerning ears of the wearer. I’m not a professional musician, but I do play the piano for fun, so I’d like to think that I do have a musical ear to some extent. However, for purists, they can disable frequency lowering in the music program, of course.

It’s easy to hear “compression” and automatically assume that it’s frequency compression. But gain compression and frequency compression are 2 totally different things.

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@Volusiano
Thanks for your explanation it is indeed important for all music addicted to know about these differences.
So if I am talking about my special interest I have to talk about “frequency compression” and not just talk about compression as you and others could mean something else and this will be the confusion. I understand that and will edit my first post here by adding “frequency”. As this is what I would like to emphasize and I saw in rereading my first comment that I omitted this.

Nice to hear you also play the piano, one of my favorite instruments with a wide spectrum of available frequencies. The important thing with a piano is the frequencies are fixed so if the instrument is in tune you don’t have to worry very much. Even someone with HA’s frequency compression on could probably accompany and has the opportunity to establish you are all together more or less in tune except for notes played out of this piano bandwidth! (So not talking about gain compression here :blush:). Our brains are doing a great job in artificial intelligence, who invented that.
But at the other hand the classic piano is somewhat limited in musicality as it lacks for instance the possibility of vibrato and crescendo. But that’s another topic.

For me, I play a string instrument (cello) myself, this frequency compression control makes it for me impossible to play with. (I use it though for my speech- understanding because it luckily and surely brings up my word recognition rate a lot and I am happy and lucky it can do the trick to allow me to communicate with my environment not only by vision).
Actually this musical topic is for me of great interest as not only being interested in music but also in medicine. And I read as much as possible about high tech and future of HA’s. I also understand that it is not possible for a human being to know and understand everything nor be flawless. And no one ever will give me back my former absolute hearing I am still longing for but enjoyed in former years.

I’ll try to simply explain what the problem of frequency compression for me is. Musical instruments I accompany, when I do not play solo, are mostly playing in other frequency bands. You will always try to play in tune and try to find out who could be a bit out of tune and what to do about it. It is a precise teamwork.

Next to that, depending on the historical data of the pieces you want to perform, you’ll have to tune if not solo with the other string- instruments at different pitch.

And to even make it more complicated there are changes in each hand made instrument, the pitch will depend on bow strength, place of bow on the string, kind of string used, vibrato, air and instrument temperature etc. So I have to make a decision about placing my fingers on the only right estimated place of the fingerboard for each intended note. You lucky and happy piano- players, you’ll be able to always find the right note on the exact same place and it will be always in tune I hope.

No helping frets or other possibilities for me to show the right direction of an intune note. Only thing available is my experience, my muscular memory and my ears and also passed body- vibration to estimate the right place to put my fingers. For all other instruments then my cello and apart from the piano they have their own specific tools to be able to graduate their frequencies and try to stay in tune.

What I would like to say for the ones interested in music and HA’s is that you have to be clear that some problems cannot be solved. Even if you have big pockets and can effort the most expensive HA’s.

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I have two dedicated music programs on my Oticon MORE 1. One is for my guitars, named ‘guitar,’ and the other is for everything else music-related, named 'music.’

The ‘guitar’ program has compression set as close to 1 as possible — as you mentioned, you cannot directly tweak gain compression in Oticon Genie 2 (although you can do that for Phonak HAs). The ‘music’ program has the same gain compression scheme as my main program but is crafted for music purposes and does not have the same gains.

Depending on the thickness of my pick, my acoustic guitar sounds nice with my ‘music’ program (the thicker, the better). However, I’d rather play it with my ‘guitar’ program as it sounds fuller and more enjoyable. As for my classical guitar, so far, the only way to be satisfied with the sound of the nylon strings is with my ‘guitar’ program. I can’t stand playing classical guitars with any gain compression at all. It just ruins the experience.

Of course, that is all based on my hearing experience, which might differ from anyone else’s.

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There’s some adjustments available in Signia Connexx software, but as @Volusiano has stated you don’t go messing about with these ratios unless you know “exactly” what your doing! really easy to get things sounding absolutely awful with no improvement to music (or speech for that matter)


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Hello, and welcome - Old Music Guy! Another ‘senior’ here - and at 80 stlll enjoying music: lifelong, thanks to my father’s superb high fidelity radio. Bass, treble, lift and cut: just as it should be. London Proms, theatre organ, singers, sound effects - all vivid and thrilling.

Well, to try and answer you, in not too many words… When I trained at the BBC in sound recording I began to realise my hearing wasn’t perfect. The clinic found midrange droop, which over the years matured into a senior’s ski slope to extinction at 4kHz. Just enough still to cover piano, which I play a bit, and to support my occasional work as a recorded narrator.

But to adopt your word ‘awful’ - yes, my first hearing aids! Telephonic, and I would say dangerously loud as they lacked any dynamic (gain) compression. They clarified speech, but hurt the ears and ruined music.

Tech has improved greatly but more for speech-in-noise than for live music, and indeed some developments such as pitch shift and rapid syllabic volume compression are hostile to music. Unfortunately, though aids usually offer a music option, few audiologists are trained to adjust it.
Mine likewise, but her exploratory mindset invited me to take a little keyboard in so we could explore the thin low end, and mushy highs.
Because this is western UK, National Health choice was restricted: awful Signia or the more promising but near-obsolete Phonak M70. With those in place, I ‘played’, she adjusted EQ, removed multi-band gain compression in favour of an overall comfort-limiter - which leaves dynamics unspoiled unless things get very loud. It did not take long, max 30 minutes. The outcome surprised and delighted us both.

If I had a choice, I would head for Widex on the strength of Prof Marshall Chasin’s excellent (and readable) papers on hearing aids and music.
One of his clever innovations is a pitch shift - if needed for the highs - that’s harmonically related to the original tone. Great! We all know how discordant is the typical two-or-three tone shift. Good luck OMG with your quest!

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Thanks for the welcome. This has been the nub of my problem. My first audiologist had a background in music technology and had fitted many famous musicians. However, he retired and since then none of the audiologists I have used had any understanding of the needs of someone with specific requirements for listening to music. I have now found an audiologist who really can help me and, through this forum, I have the confidence to tweak things at home (because I can’t take my home studio into my audiologist’s premises).

I am making progress but still have some way to go on my journey. I have the Intents at present and hope to trial the ReSound Nexias next week. I am still debating whether I should try the Widex HAs as well…

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A bit of an update. I got the ReSound Nexias today for a trial. For me, the music program and the audio streaming on the Nexias is wonderful, light years ahead of the mud-filled sounds of the Oticon Intents IMO. My audi did a quick bit of tweaking of the MyMusic program on the Oticons (rather than create a custom program) and while this improved things, the fundamental problems are still there. If I go with the Intents we will have to create a fully custom music program.

Now I will have to see if the Nexias can compete with the Intents for speech in noise and general speech recognition. However, the music capability is so important to me I already feel like the Nexias may be the way to go. I will keep you all posted.

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The Nexia can give you about 8.5 dB noise attenuation with its Front Focus mode. The Intent 1 can give you up to 12 dB attenuation, while the Intent 2 can give you up to 10 dB attenuation. But these are just numbers on papers, you need to try out the real thing to judge for yourself.

I’m curious if you’ve tried the normal default program for music with the Intent to see how they compare to the actual MyMusic program? Also, somebody mentioned that they had good luck with the DSL formula.