News & Information

Aug 24 2017

What should musicians look for in a hearing aid?

First, why would musicians and music lovers need to consider special features for music? Well, the answer is that most hearing aids are optimized for speech.

Music and speech present hearing aids with different problems to solve. Speech tends to change rapidly and is often accompanied by background noise such as when sitting in a restaurant or at a family gathering. In this situation the hearing aid wants to maximize speech while minimizing other sounds that might interfere. This is often done via noise reduction algorithms and compression, which reduce much of the unwanted background noise. However, these same features can distort music.

Another common feature is the feedback manager, which prevents whistling sounds from the hearing aid. When feedback occurs the hearing aid generates the same tone, but opposite in phase, which cancels out any annoying whistling. However, sometimes this feature can mistake certain musical tones for feedback and try to cancel them out, leading to distortion.

Many hearing aids have a dedicated music program which reduce or shut down some of these features. This allows more of the signal to preserved, which is very important for hearing all the complex sounds associated with music. Depending on the model, the music program can be accessed manualy or automatically when the hearing aid detects music.

So if you are a musician or simply a lover of music, you want to be sure to look for a hearing aid with a dedicated music program.

Ask the professionals at Accurate Hearing what device is right for you.

 

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3 Responses to What should musicians look for in a hearing aid?

  1. Sandra Hexner says:

    Thanks for this great information about hearing aids for musicians. My husband is realized he can’t hear well and it’s frustrating him while playing guitar and his other instruments. I had no idea there are hearing aids that have dedicated music programs. We’ll have to look into that when we find the right doctor.

  2. Benoit Tis Music says:

    Our Base player had been struggling with this one for a while. The loss was gradual so it was hard to notice until it got to a threshold where slight tunings were becoming an issue.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Derek says:

    I am a life-long, serious guitar player who began wearing hearing aids in 2017 to compensate for high-frequency loss. I often play in live music settings, such as bars. My devices, which I got at Accurate Hearing, have two programs – one for “normal” (voice) and one for music. My experience is that I used the music program a lot when I first got them, and it made the guitar sound “smoother” and more natural than through the normal program. But I found the overall noise level, and especially background noise in bars, higher than the normal program, and would often turn the level down to 1 or 2, just for comfort. So I stopped using it as much and gradually got used to hearing my guitar through the normal channel; my guitar seems to cut through the mix a bit better. It will never sound the same as it does to natural hearing, and frankly I’m always second-guessing whether my guitar tone has the right amount of treble. So it’s still frustrating. But I know it sounds the same to the audience (although individuals’ experience will vary depending on their hearing ability). And my love for playing is still strong.

    Overall, I would encourage musicians to try the music program. You may find it works well for you, particularly in quieter environments. Personally, I wish the devices came with a good equalizer; I feel like I could tweak the tone!

    I hope this helps.

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