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Hifi and hearing aids? Discuss hearing loss/imperfections and implications on HiFi Life.

ROOSKIE

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There are kids sitting at school staring at a blurry blackboard, my mom is trying to find just the right angle and distance to hold her phone in order to read the extra large font - these are people who will soon (hopefully) find they benefit from glasses.

As many of you already know, hearing aids can now be purchased over the counter and that will require significant consumer consumption to survive in the retail market . Therefore they are being 'discussed' and promoted.

Beyond the marketing push, the reality behind this is that like glasses many folks have either hearing losses, inborn hearing defects or both - and will benefit from a 'fitting'.

From the Wirecutters most recent post about these over the counter aids. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/signs-of-hearing-loss-otc-hearing-aids-could-help/
"The evidence pointing to widespread hearing loss among the 21-and-up crowd is eye-popping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that hearing loss from all causes is “the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States and is twice as prevalent as diabetes or cancer,” while noise-induced hearing loss is experienced by roughly 24% of all US adults, including one in five 20- to 29-year-olds. Overall, the National Institutes of Health has found that “approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing” and “about 28.8 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids,” even if their particular concerns fall far short of severe or total hearing loss.

Perhaps most shocking: Among those adults who self-reported having good or excellent hearing in a 2016 National Academies of Sciences study, nearly one in four of them actually exhibited measurable hearing loss—a sign of how adaptive the brain is to the gradual hearing loss that almost everyone experiences as they age, and one of the reasons younger adults may assume that hearing loss isn’t affecting them.

“Standard hearing difficulties progress so gradually that your brain just says, ‘Okay, this is my new normal,’ rather than ringing any alarms, the way it would if you woke up one morning and suddenly you could barely hear at all,” Angela Shoup, PhD, past president of the American Academy of Audiology, said in a phone interview."


That is A LOT of people.

Would you buy a pair of glasses/contacts before sinking $$$$ into a great new video display?

So for HiFi discuss the objective implications of realizing one benefits from a set of aids and the possibly very difficult (or positive/exciting) phycological implications of accepting such a situation.

Do you buy/test your hearing before that new 'Wire' purchase or more likely here at ASR that KEF Blade Meta upgrade?

I can't look in mine right now but Toole does comment some on hearing loss in his book.
 

fpitas

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A few comments. One is that the brain tends to compensate, at least to the extent it can. I'm 68, and I'm sure my high frequency hearing is following the typical progression; yet I consistently EQ my horns flat to 10kHz. I've tried boosting treble, and it sucks. Flat is the most natural sound, so my brain must have adjusted.

The other comment is the obvious one: what is the alternative?
 

Doodski

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I consistently EQ my horns flat to 10kHz. I've tried boosting treble, and it sucks. Flat is the most natural sound
Horns have a sharper more dynamic sound and that might be affecting your hearing and the crossover settings.
 

fpitas

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Horns have a sharper more dynamic sound and that might be affecting your hearing and the crossover settings.
Well, maybe. 511s have their problems between 600 - 1000Hz. And the TD-2002 drivers are pretty commonly used as super tweeters.
 

Doodski

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Well, maybe. 511s have their problems between 600 - 1000Hz. And the TD-2002 drivers are pretty commonly used as super tweeters.
In ran the 511B for years in a tri-amp'd transmission line for years. They sounded really good. What range are you operating them at and what is the issue?
 

fpitas

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In ran the 511B for years in a tri-amp'd transmission line for years. They sounded really good. What range are you operating them at and what is the issue?
No issue once I got the crossover right, and notched 4dB at 700Hz for the midrange narrowing. Get the crossover wrong and you get a shouty mess ;)

Crossed @ 800Hz LR4, run out to 20kHz
 

Doodski

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No issue once I got the crossover right, and notched 4dB at 700Hz for the midrange narrowing. Get the crossover wrong and you get a shouty mess ;)

Crossed @ 800Hz LR4, run out to 20kHz
Yes, mine where a bit shouty and if memory serves me correct I crossed the horns over at ~1200Hz and lowered the tweeter crossover point and reduced the horns a bit and voila it sounded good. I saved the single parametric EQ setting that was available for the tweeters. I like bright zingy tweeters.
 

DVDdoug

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I had an older friend with "noticeable" hearing loss. Her TV was "too loud" for me most of the time so occasionally I would wear ear plugs. The TV didn't go loud enough to make it painful, just louder than I'd prefer. And she was getting along fine in most of her daily life.

Of course, hearing aids were an option but she wasn't that interested and she had some other health issues and lifestyle limitations and my feeling was that it would be "one more thing to deal with" and I didn't know how they would work-out or if she'd actually use them.

But as a experiment I ordered some cheap ones from Amazon (around $100 for the pair). We tried them once and the experiment was as success! She was listening to the TV at normal volume and see seemned comfortable. But, she needed help adjusting and inserting them. She had a caregiver with her during the day but I never got-around to working with the caregiver about using them, and within a week or so my friend went into the hospital and then passed-away.

Had she lived she'd probably have used the cheap ones for awhile and then upgraded to "real" hearing aids. She went to a bible study once a week where it was difficult to hear. I think this was the only time it really bothered her. If the cheap ones helped her at the bible study, she may have wanted to upgrade to real ones or she may have been satisfied with the cheap ones, and maybe with using the cheap ones only occasionally.
 

Fahzz

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I need new hearing aids- they are failing after 7 years.
I currently wear Oticons which have always been fine for music, but I note that Oticon has new software called "My Music" specifically for music appreciation. Seems that hearing aids are focused primarily on speech and treat a lot of other sound as background noise.
Does anyone have any experience with this or similar programs?
 

MRC01

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I had an older friend with "noticeable" hearing loss. Her TV was "too loud" for me most of the time so occasionally I would wear ear plugs. The TV didn't go loud enough to make it painful, just louder than I'd prefer. And she was getting along fine in most of her daily life.
...
At the risk of resurrecting this thread after several months... this sounds like my wife. Over the past year or two she's lost some high frequency hearing. We were watching a nature show about hummingbirds and she asked me why they didn't record the bird songs in the show. Of course, they did she just couldn't hear them. She has quite sensitive hearing in the lows & midrange but has lost the top octave. I often have to tell her what actors are saying in shows, when they talk quietly or whisper. I generated sine waves at 1 kHz, 2 kHz, ... up to 22 kHz. She can hear fine up to about 6 kHz, at which point she has to turn up the volume and at elevated volumes can hear up to about 10 kHz. For me, I have to turn up the volume past 12 kHz and can hear up to 14 (left ear) or 15 (right ear). As for age, I'm 55 and she's 63.

The NYT recently had a great oped on this subject. Here's a link from my subscription that will get you past the paywall
 
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Ninjastar

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I need new hearing aids- they are failing after 7 years.
I currently wear Oticons which have always been fine for music, but I note that Oticon has new software called "My Music" specifically for music appreciation. Seems that hearing aids are focused primarily on speech and treat a lot of other sound as background noise.
Does anyone have any experience with this or similar programs?
Late response, but I'm an audiologist. I have fit many hearing aids including Oticon.

All modern hearing aids that are from the major manufacturers have a program for music listening that can be added to your devices if you use a RIC/RITE or BTE style hearing aid.

You are correct that the default program is prioritizing speech understanding so it may not work the best for enjoying music. Typically people with age-related hearing loss will have a sloping high frequency loss so the default program can make music sound unnatural.

The music program flattens out the response to be more neutral (based on the patient's individual loss) and changes the compression to better suit music listening. How successful this will be depends on the shape and severity of your specific hearing loss and if the devices have been fit/adjusted properly by your audiologist/hearing instrument specialist. Also some brands work better for certain people.

Widex is probably the most well-reviewed hearing aid brand for music. But Oticon is among the best for understanding speech in background noise environments.
 

MRC01

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... The music program flattens out the response to be more neutral (based on the patient's individual loss) and changes the compression to better suit music listening. ...
That is very interesting, I didn't know hearing aids could also compress dynamics. One thing I did that really helped my wife was to enable a smooth dynamic compression profile in my DSP device (Behringer DEQ2496). It gently lifts the quiet stuff and she can hear dialog much better. I don't use it for my own music listening, but it really transformed things for her. And I don't have to pause and tell her what actors are saying anymore. In her case, dynamic compression was more helpful than frequency response EQ.
 

Speedskater

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Most of the adjustable high tech features of expensive hearing aids don't work when streaming audio, telephone or TV sound.
 
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