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Flashhog
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Hearing Aids

When I was younger, I did some very stupid things that resulted in loosing a lot of my hearing. A trip to the audiologist recently provided me with some bad news, so I'll be getting a set of hearing aids before I'm 30. My question is, what now; should I adjust my eq to compensate for my hearing loss, provided I even know what normal sounds like any more, maybe just tune it to my liking? Or do we have some audiophile grade hearing aids reviewed on this site I have somehow missed? Thanks.
-Flashhog

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Hearing Aids

This is probably a question that Dr. Kal will want to contribute to. I will throw in my 2 cents.

From you audiologist did he/she give you a print out of what level and what frequency ranges you hearing was deficient? It could look like a freq response graph of a really bad loudspeaker with maybe somewhat flat response out to 4 to 6 khz and rapidly dropping off like mine does (past 6500 hz).

I hope you do not have the ringing like I do called tinnitus in which you must get your music level higher than the base level of the ringing, which will always ride in the background like tape hiss from our old cassettes some of us "still listen to". And when your memory starts to go it will all be new to you (again) anyway! lol

I would try and answer those questions for your self and then maybe someone can recommend EQ adjustments to your system that can help you continue to enjoy your music.

For me, very little sounds "bright" to me so Triangle loudspeakers are right up my alley along with Grado headphones.

Wishing you the best of luck, and now, really don't listen to music too loud and protect what you do have left. The hearing aides will help as you try and live your life with hearing all that family, friends, and co-workers are talking to you about.

Freako
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Re: Hearing Aids

My dad has 2 hearing aids, and from what I've heard (I've tried one of them) they sound very clear, and rather bright. Even though my dad can't hear the difference between a $100 and a $1000 CD-player, he can still enjoy music very much. In fact, I'm not sure he would be able to tell the difference even if he didn't wear hearing aids.

May Belt
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Re: Hearing Aids

>>> "My dad has 2 hearing aids, and from what I've heard (I've tried one of them) they sound very clear, and rather bright." <<<

You seem to come over as someone who is prepared to experiment.

Could I suggest that you carry out the following experiment - for and with your father.

I am presuming that your father has a supply of hearing aid batteries. I know that they are not greatly expensive for you to experiment with two of them !!

Place two new hearing aid batteries in separate plain plastic bags and place them overnight in a deep freezer. When you lift them out, let them return to room temperature very, very slowly (a convenient method is to place them in a towel).

Get your father to change his current hearing aid batteries to the new (frozen now defrosted) batteries, to listen with these new batteries in as many different places as possible (watching TV, in the kitchen, outside in the garden, in the road with traffic, in the car, shopping in stores etc) and then, after he has experienced those 'sounds', to change the batteries back to the previous (unfrozen) ones.

I would expect that the 'sound' when using the 'frozen' batteries will still be as good, but much more natural and not what I would call "objectionally bright".

Regards,
May Belt,
P.W.B. Electronics.

Freako
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Re: Hearing Aids

I'd love to, but my dad is very old school, and he would surely have me comitted to the funny farm if I suggested this. He is so old school, that if I told him that I have spent what equals $8500 on my stereo, and over $10.000 on music, he'd shoot me on the spot.

Thanks for the idea though

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Hearing Aids


Quote:
When I was younger, I did some very stupid things that resulted in loosing a lot of my hearing. A trip to the audiologist recently provided me with some bad news, so I'll be getting a set of hearing aids before I'm 30. My question is, what now; should I adjust my eq to compensate for my hearing loss, provided I even know what normal sounds like any more, maybe just tune it to my liking?

In the brief experiments I did on this with only one subject (not myself), he was not comfortable, long term, with an exact correction as it sounded too different from regular sound balance (i.e, real world sound of people, music and things). He was happy doing ad hoc adjustments on his music systems to restore, as he saw it, the missing parts.

You should consider a control unit with usable tone controls that you can manipulate without instruments. The best is the z-systems EQ but it is hard to find (discontinued) and pricey.

Kal

AlanMa
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Re: Hearing Aids

There is very little literature on the subject on the Internet. The only pertinent article that I know of is "Hearing Aid Issues for the Hearing Impaired Audiophile," by Wayne Sarchett In Home Theatre Hifi, in 2006 http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_2/hearing-aids-6-2006-part-1.html The conclusion at the time was that "Aging audiophiles face a very bleak future." The situation does not seem to have changed since then.

I consider myself a music lover and an audiophile. I have been wearing hearing aids for more than 20 years. I use them for meetings, dinners with others, and other times when I feel them necessary for conversation. I go to many concerts and operas. I do not wear hearing aids for these. My solution is to sit close, usually somewhere in the first ten or so rows. My doctor told me that the solution for hi-fi listening was to turn up the volume control. He was serious. Unfortunately, this is not a solution in apartment living. At home at nights, I use headphones.

During the past years I have owned three different sets of hearing aids, all expensive, all the latest technology for my type of hearing loss. None was satisfactory for music listening. All distorted the sound in one way or the other. Just the fact that my latest pair, for example, emphasizes certain frequencies over the other is a distortion that bothers me. (Yes, there is a music setting but that does not solve the problem.) And there are other distortions too.

When I discussed this with my hearing aid provider a few years ago, she looked hard and did find one which had a wide frequency response. But it had other problems and was not made for the average hearing aid impaired individual. And it was far more expensive, if my memory is correct, than the pair I own now. To my knowledge the situation has not changed since then. The average pair of good digital hearing aids today for those with severe hearing loss is over $5,000. One would think that the manufacturers would do some research into this area. But they seem more concerned with the average hearing impaired person who does not seem concerned with this situation.

Read Sarchett's article please. Then, dear editors of Stereophile, do something about this situation. Get one of your writers to do a feature article, maybe even a more up to date review of some of the latest hearing aids using Sarchett's methods, maybe even newer and better ones. Is there a pair of better hearing aids out there for me and for others like me? An article like this might help.

One further note: Audio manufacturers could start adding a balance control to preamplifiers. At one time all had them. Now very few do. Many people do not hear equally in their two ears. This could help them.

Elk
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Re: Hearing Aids

Great post!

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Hearing Aids


Quote:
There is very little literature on the subject on the Internet. The only pertinent article that I know of is "Hearing Aid Issues for the Hearing Impaired Audiophile," by Wayne Sarchett In Home Theatre Hifi, in 2006 http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_2/hearing-aids-6-2006-part-1.html The conclusion at the time was that "Aging audiophiles face a very bleak future." The situation does not seem to have changed since then.

I suspect that dynamic corrections built into these devices is as much of a problem as their frequency response.

Kal

May Belt
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Re: Hearing Aids

Can I suggest you try the experiment I have just described to Freako.

Regards
May Belt,
P.W.B. Electronics.

Buddha
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Re: Hearing Aids


Quote:
I'd love to, but my dad is very old school, and he would surely have me comitted to the funny farm if I suggested this. He is so old school, that if I told him that I have spent what equals $8500 on my stereo, and over $10.000 on music, he'd shoot me on the spot.

Thanks for the idea though

Tell him it might make the batteries last longer and save him money.

Tell him it's an experiment and see if he will do it as a favor.

Talk loud when you ask.

Freako
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Re: Hearing Aids

Do you KNOW my dad?

Buddha
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Re: Hearing Aids


Quote:
Do you KNOW my dad?

Tell him you'll pay him 30 Krone to try it.

Offer to buy him a Carlsberg Vintage No. 2!!!

struts
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Re: Hearing Aids


Quote:
Tell him it might make the batteries last longer and save him money.


Genius. Pure genius.

Freako
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Re: Hearing Aids

Yeah, not half bad

I have emailed him, and exaggerated considerably both about the money saving and the sound quality part. Hehe...

AlanMa
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Re: Hearing Aids

It's a sad commentary that so few responded to this thread. A good number of Stereophile readers will eventually lose some of their hearing capability. One audiophile-manufacturer-researcher, Edgar Villchur (Acoustic Research, for old-timers), devoted a good deal of his life to the subject of hearing aids. He has published a good number of scholarly articles and has contributed much to the design of hearing aids. See Wikipedia for more on him. Can't Stereophile at least do an article on the need for better hearing aids for music lovers as well as audiophiles?

May Belt
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Re: Hearing Aids

Which type of hearing aid are you currently using, AlanMa ? A 'behind the ear' one or an 'in the ear' one ?

Regards,
May Belt,
P.W.B. Electronics.

drbrianhandy
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Re: Hearing Aids

With the advances in high end DSP hearing devices we fit audiophiles all day everyday. We have technology with over 2 terabytes of memory, 6.1 surround sound processing, omni directional and directional switching all in 3ms. Datalogging, data learning, the list goes on. Finding a Licensed professional who is also a audiophile is your first step. The compression ratios and compression knee points will have to be set a certain way for high fidelity listening. The dynamic range on the input side of the device has to be large or you will reject the sound thru them. Let me add a few more things...

Digital hearing aids all are programmed to a fitting prescription thats calculated off your hearing loss. Each of the best manufacturers has their own proprietary prescriptions that either equalize sound or normalize sound in some discreet way. Other companies will use generic older based prescriptions like NAL-NL1 or DSL i/o in prescribing gain and output. You need a prescription for music that equalizes sound more than normalizing. Lots of volume doesn't work just like too strong of glasses hurts your vision. I think you get the point. Hearing aids are so very complex with "open fit" devices and gone are the days of "in-the-ear" old school type devices seen even 15 years ago. Just thought I'd share

rvance
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Re: Hearing Aids

hearingdoc, do you know any specialists like yourself in the Northern Calif (Eureka), South Ore (Medford) areas? I have avoided the local high pressure itinerant sales caravans that work out of the hotels in my area (Crescent City/Brookings). My late father spent thousands on hearing aids without satisfaction. So I've avoided same even though I need some help.

Oh, and welcome to the forum!

May Belt
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Re: Hearing Aids

>>> "My late father spent thousands on hearing aids without satisfaction. So I've avoided same even though I need some help." <<<

I have lost count, rvance, of the number of people who have said to me "I have spent thousands on hearing aids without satisfaction" !!!

It was not because they could not hear better with the hearing aid than without it, it was because so many of them described the 'sound' they were experiencing, when using the hearing aid, was often 'harsh, shouty and aggressive"

In the UK we have the luxury of the National Health Service where people who need them can get at least the basic hearing aid. That means that people can gain experience of using/wearing hearing aids, in different situations, over a period of time and will then have some experience and be able to compare the different types of hearing aids - if they so choose to try the more expensive hearing aids being produced.

Irrespective of which hearing aid, it is still worth trying the technique of putting the hearing aid BATTERY through the freezing/slow defrost process !!

Regards,
May Belt,
P.W.B. Electronics.

AlanMa
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Re: Hearing Aids

There are many digital hearing aids on the market and many have a music setting but this does not mean that they have a flat frequency response and very low distortion. And there are many licensed professionals who are audiophiles. The only model that I know of that claims to be for musicians and audiophiles is the Etymotic KAMP hearing aid. Which specific hearing aid models are you suggesting for this purpose?

drbrianhandy
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Re: Hearing Aids

I do love the K-Amp. Back in the early 90's before 100% digital instruments, the k-amp was by far the best sounding device. The Digi-K has won hands down in SQ comparo's. Any digital instrument with access to the compression knee points and compression ratios can be set up for music. All knee points need to be set higher and the ratios more linear. I usually set the knees at 85db in all channels and bands and keep the compression ratio close to 1.1 or 2.1 like the k-amp circuit. I use to build k-amp circuits back in the 90's going thru grad school. Fun times, fun times, I miss those days....

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