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Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2689437
11/14/17 12:38 PM
11/14/17 12:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 19
Virginia
D
Dick Hamlen Offline OP
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Dick Hamlen  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 19
Virginia
OP update:
As I noted a few weeks ago, the only objectionable sound I have had with my new hearing aids was the “pulsing” and distortion of piano sounds, even single strings. (I discovered the same problem occurs listening to some organ stops.) The first thing the audiologist tried was a “music” program. I gave it a couple of weeks, but was unable to detect any difference between the program and default positions. He then put in a program which turns off the feedback suppression circuit. The results were dramatic – pianos sound bright, but not out-of-tune or pulsing. (and with age-compromised hearing, who knows what they REALLY sound like?) There is some loss of very high frequency sounds – some sizzle lost from percussion and “sheen” from strings and brass, but at the same time less sibilance on voices and distraction from fans, motors, etc. that you don’t want to hear anyway. Overall, a very pleasant musical sound. I have no problem with feedback, so it works well for me, and I’m going to see if he can increase the high end just a little bit.

I appreciate all of your interest, and will update for any future changes.
Dick

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Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: harpsichorder] #2689524
11/14/17 07:14 PM
11/14/17 07:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,056
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by harpsichorder
...I really wonder if these devices mess with what's left of your "normal" hearing. In any case, there seems to be a re-adjustment period after turning them off, so I try to give myself time to adjust...


Yes they do. They mess with the brain's part of auditory processing, but they won't make what is happening with your (inner) ear worse.


Learner
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2690472
11/18/17 02:52 PM
11/18/17 02:52 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 45
Texas
Nelsthepianoplayer Offline
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Nelsthepianoplayer  Offline
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Texas
When I play piano I turn my Phonacs down as far as I can...which seems to me to be equal to taking them off. Otherwise the music is too loud and too tinny. I have needed aids for 5 or more years now. When I first got my "new to me" Bosendorfer, I discovered that the high notes are way out of tune, without the aids. At first I thought it was the piano. But I checked with my digital piano, and I have the same result there. High means as much as a whole step out of tune. Consequently I avoid music with high notes. I also frequently hear music in my left ear...mostly familiar melodies, hymns, etc. Usually just one note at a time, not chords. Sounds more like a male a cappella choir. Very distracting. I also have tinnitus which is most bothersome at night when trying to get to sleep. I have worn the Phonacs for over a year now. They are good for one-on-one conversation but hopeless in crowded restaurants and useless for piano playing.


Nelsthepianoplayer (formerly Annitenth)
B�sendorfer 225
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: malkin] #2690966
11/21/17 06:28 AM
11/21/17 06:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 53
Vermont USA
harpsichorder Offline
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harpsichorder  Offline
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Vermont USA
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by harpsichorder
...I really wonder if these devices mess with what's left of your "normal" hearing. In any case, there seems to be a re-adjustment period after turning them off, so I try to give myself time to adjust...


Yes they do. They mess with the brain's part of auditory processing, but they won't make what is happening with your (inner) ear worse.


That is still disturbing- I prefer my brain "as is" until I REALLY can't hear!


EarlyMusicLover
www.creaturekinships.com
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Nelsthepianoplayer] #2690968
11/21/17 06:29 AM
11/21/17 06:29 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 53
Vermont USA
harpsichorder Offline
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Originally Posted by Nelsthepianoplayer
When I play piano I turn my Phonacs down as far as I can...which seems to me to be equal to taking them off. Otherwise the music is too loud and too tinny. I have needed aids for 5 or more years now. When I first got my "new to me" Bosendorfer, I discovered that the high notes are way out of tune, without the aids. At first I thought it was the piano. But I checked with my digital piano, and I have the same result there. High means as much as a whole step out of tune. Consequently I avoid music with high notes. I also frequently hear music in my left ear...mostly familiar melodies, hymns, etc. Usually just one note at a time, not chords. Sounds more like a male a cappella choir. Very distracting. I also have tinnitus which is most bothersome at night when trying to get to sleep. I have worn the Phonacs for over a year now. They are good for one-on-one conversation but hopeless in crowded restaurants and useless for piano playing.


I'm afraid that is my experience also- I keep "forgetting" to wear my hearing aids, and really don't miss them except for an occasional conversation. I DO find i can use them in a chorus, turned way down-it helps to hear the director and doesn't distort the vocal sounds..much. I much prefer whatever I get without them on the piano-perhaps I don't know what I'm missing, but no distortion and not out of tune like some have described. I hope if/when my hearing gets worse, some technology for musicians will have improved. Not, however, holding my breath.


EarlyMusicLover
www.creaturekinships.com
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2690992
11/21/17 10:30 AM
11/21/17 10:30 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by harpsichorder
I hope if/when my hearing gets worse, some technology for musicians will have improved. Not, however, holding my breath.

I think hearing-aid technology is head-and-shoulders better than it was years ago. However, I think the audiologist and hearing-aid technicians have not kept up with the latest technology and lag behind in their skill level in programming the newest aids for the maximum benefit of the patient/user. The hearing-aid fitter/technician who programs my Phonak hearing aids told me once, when I was asking for an adjustment to improve what I was hearing while wearing the aids, said all she could do was program the hearing-aids based on what the hearing test shows. I like the lady and respect her, but that was like telling me she is not skilled enough to program my aids for the maximum benefit.

The two professional audiologist I've dealt with didn't seem to be any more skilled than the hearing-aid fitter I'm dealing with now. I guess I have not found the right professional to help get the most out of my hearing-aids.

And, since I'm a bit depressed at the moment, I'll say that it is all about money. The hearing-aid industry makes huge profits selling hearing-aids to individuals who have hearing problems, yet the patient/customer doesn't usually get what they pay for. My hearing aids were $2500 each, or $5000 for the pair. I expected a lot more for my money. On a scale from 1 to 10, in terms of satisfaction with my hearing-aids, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, my satisfaction level is probably a 6.5.

I need to play one of my pianos to ease my depression (without wearing the hearing-aids)... smile

Rick



Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: harpsichorder] #2691070
11/21/17 04:18 PM
11/21/17 04:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,056
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by harpsichorder
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by harpsichorder
...I really wonder if these devices mess with what's left of your "normal" hearing. In any case, there seems to be a re-adjustment period after turning them off, so I try to give myself time to adjust...


Yes they do. They mess with the brain's part of auditory processing, but they won't make what is happening with your (inner) ear worse.


That is still disturbing- I prefer my brain "as is" until I REALLY can't hear!


Wait--it isn't any more sinister than how your brain adjusts to new glasses or contact lenses.


Learner
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: malkin] #2691112
11/21/17 08:36 PM
11/21/17 08:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 53
Vermont USA
harpsichorder Offline
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Vermont USA
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by harpsichorder
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by harpsichorder
...I really wonder if these devices mess with what's left of your "normal" hearing. In any case, there seems to be a re-adjustment period after turning them off, so I try to give myself time to adjust...


Yes they do. They mess with the brain's part of auditory processing, but they won't make what is happening with your (inner) ear worse.


That is still disturbing- I prefer my brain "as is" until I REALLY can't hear!


Wait--it isn't any more sinister than how your brain adjusts to new glasses or contact lenses.


Perhaps not, but I don't have any trouble seeing without my glasses when reading, whereas when I remove my hearing aids, everything immediately sounds muffled as if I had cotton balls in my ears, and it takes about 1/2 hour to readjust. If I forget to turn them off before I play in a recorder ensemble, everything sounds weird. I also noticed a lot of strange sounds from a piano I was playing that normally aren't there if I havn't been wearing the hearing aids. Go figure. It's really disturbing to me, anyway.


EarlyMusicLover
www.creaturekinships.com
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Rickster] #2691174
11/22/17 06:25 AM
11/22/17 06:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 668
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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South Wales
Originally Posted by Rickster
[quote=harpsichorder]
The two professional audiologist I've dealt with didn't seem to be any more skilled than the hearing-aid fitter I'm dealing with now. I guess I have not found the right professional to help get the most out of my hearing-aids.


This seems to be a common problem which I think arises from the fact that they do not use hearing aids themselves so that they don't appreciate the problems. Until we get programs which the user can adjust according to what they are hearing I don't think the situation will improve.

As for the difference between seeing and hearing I think the latter is far more complicated due to the internal architecture of the ear, sinuses, etc. The eyes are more 'external'.

And relating to an earlier post of mine regarding having low condensation hearing mold, it is very difficult to see any difference from the previous one. The diameter of the connecting tubes may be very, very slightly different. A friend of mine reckons it's just a manufacturers excuse to make more money. He also says about the 3 programs that they supply us with on the NHS are actually all the same!

I find one of mine programs slightly different, but whether that is in the preprogrammed sound level or not I don't know. What I do know is that the slight increase in volume that I get is often cancelled out by an increase in sibilance in conversation so that I am better off without them.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2691500
11/23/17 01:09 PM
11/23/17 01:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 668
South Wales
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Colin Miles Offline
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South Wales


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Colin Miles] #2692760
11/28/17 10:57 PM
11/28/17 10:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 19
Virginia
D
Dick Hamlen Offline OP
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Dick Hamlen  Offline OP
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Virginia
OP update 11/28:
I last reported that by turning off the feedback cancellation circuit, the audiologist eliminated the “beats” and distortion (honky tonk) I had heard in piano and pipe organ sounds. Last week, I had the piano tuned and was able to enjoy hearing unisons come together, and agree with the tuner about the need for voicing in some treble areas. (He had suggested it at last tuning, but without the hearing aids, I liked the mellow piano sound).

I went back to the audiologist this week, and I noted that, while piano and organ sounds were fine, I was missing the crispness of percussion, especially cymbals. He discovered that the manufacturer’s program had automatically rolled off higher frequencies (starting around 8kHz) when feedback cancellation was disabled. He was able to restore the prescribed frequency curve with cancellation off, and I’m trying that now, comparing it to the “rolled off” program and the original “feedback cancellation on” program. I confirmed that the piano still sounds fine, so I think I’m probably at the final programming.

I agree with others who observed that the key is the audiologist – they have to understand music, understand the programming of their product, and have the patience to assure you get satisfactory results. I may have mentioned that in 2016 I tried an even more expensive hearing aid, with unsatisfactory results. The audiologist didn’t seem to understand my concerns, and seemed to have a limited knowledge of the product and its programming.

For anyone dealing with piano pulsing, beating, distortion, or honky tonk sounds with hearing aids, I encourage you to talk with your audiologist about whether your aids have feedback cancellation and whether it can be disabled. My audiologist tried to explain to me why it occurred, but it was beyond my ability to comprehend.

Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2692766
11/28/17 11:57 PM
11/28/17 11:57 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Dick Hamlen
OP update 11/28:
I last reported that by turning off the feedback cancellation circuit, the audiologist eliminated the “beats” and distortion (honky tonk) I had heard in piano and pipe organ sounds. Last week, I had the piano tuned and was able to enjoy hearing unisons come together, and agree with the tuner about the need for voicing in some treble areas. (He had suggested it at last tuning, but without the hearing aids, I liked the mellow piano sound).

I went back to the audiologist this week, and I noted that, while piano and organ sounds were fine, I was missing the crispness of percussion, especially cymbals. He discovered that the manufacturer’s program had automatically rolled off higher frequencies (starting around 8kHz) when feedback cancellation was disabled. He was able to restore the prescribed frequency curve with cancellation off, and I’m trying that now, comparing it to the “rolled off” program and the original “feedback cancellation on” program. I confirmed that the piano still sounds fine, so I think I’m probably at the final programming.

I agree with others who observed that the key is the audiologist – they have to understand music, understand the programming of their product, and have the patience to assure you get satisfactory results. I may have mentioned that in 2016 I tried an even more expensive hearing aid, with unsatisfactory results. The audiologist didn’t seem to understand my concerns, and seemed to have a limited knowledge of the product and its programming.

For anyone dealing with piano pulsing, beating, distortion, or honky tonk sounds with hearing aids, I encourage you to talk with your audiologist about whether your aids have feedback cancellation and whether it can be disabled. My audiologist tried to explain to me why it occurred, but it was beyond my ability to comprehend

Thank you for the update, Dick. I will take this info and share it with my hearing aid fitter/technician next time I see her. She is a very nice lady, and reasonably knowledgeable about what she does. But when I would try to explain to her what you just explained to us, she would say things like, "well, Rick, all I can do is program the hearing aids to match the hearing test that you took"; or, "you know, Rick, I've never heard of that".

She is, however, willing to try certain things in making very small adjustments for me to try and see if there is an improvement. For what I paid for my hearing aids ($5000), I do not feel I am getting the maximum benefit due to the limitations of the programmer/fitter.

While we are on the subject of hearing aids, and audiologists, I'm going to share this story, and try to make it short. The first real audiologist I saw (Dr. of Audiology) impressed me a lot initially; I thought he was surely the savior I needed to help fix my damaged hearing. But the hearing aids I was trying through his practice (Widex) were more of a tinnitus treatment than a hearing aid, although they were hearing aids. The whole time I wore the hearing aids, I heard musical chimes (think wind chimes) in my ears. After a while, that got old and irritating, and not something I wanted, even though it could be turned off. The audiologist said it would train my brain to listen to the chimes more than the irritating ringing in my ears.

Anyway, there was a 90 day trial on the Widex hearing aids, which were $4800, and I had to pay for them first before trying them. When I called the audiologist and told him I wanted turn the hearing aids back in and get the refund, he said it took about 4 weeks because he had to send the hearing aids back to Widex and get credit from them first. Okay, fair enough. Four weeks went by and I called about my refund, and he said they had not received credit from Widex yet and it would be about 6 weeks. Okay, I can be patient, and was trying out the hearing aids I have now during this time, which meant that I had $9800 invested in two sets of hearing aids, and waiting for the refund on the Widex aids. Six weeks went by and I called the audiologist and inquired about my refund. He said they still had not received credit from Widex for the hearing aids, and since they were regulated by the FDA, when they send them back in the FDA has to de-regulate the hearing aids and that was the hold-up; he said it might be 8 weeks before I get my refund. Well, you know, that last excuse just didn't sound kosher to me, so I called the FDA.

I found an FDA consumer help line phone number online and I kept calling and getting a voice mail to leave a message, which I did, but never got a call back. So, with me being the persistent sort, I kept calling, and finally got a real live human on the phone. It was a woman who worked for the FDA and she asked how she could help. I told her what the audiologist said about the hearing aids he sent back to Widex had to be "de-regulated" by the FDA before they could issue me my refund, and the woman began laughing over the phone. She said that was pure malarkey (BS, is another term) and the FDA has absolutely nothing to do with the hearing aids that sent back to the manufactures. So, the good Dr. told me a bold-face lie to delay paying me my refund, which he so elegantly bragged about when giving me his sales pitch for the hearing aids.

The lady with the FDA gave me her name and phone number and said I could use her as a reference and to call the audiologist and demand my refund immediately. So, I called the good Dr. and his secretary said he was in a meeting. I told the secretary that I had just got off the phone with a representative with the FDA and they completely disputed and contradicted what the audiologist had told me about the FDA having to "de-regulate" the hearing aids they sent back to Widex. Well, a few minutes later, the secretary calls and said they had received their credit from Widex, and my refund check would be in the mail that day.

I tried to make this story short, but it was difficult. I was so disappointed in that audiologist, who I thought could walk on water initially. He was as much of a con-man and a liar as he was an audiologist. You can call me names, and you can tell me that you don't like me, or that you hate me, but don't lie to me or try to deceive me. There is nothing worse than a liar and a cheat. Yea, I got my $4800 refund, but the audiologist I had put on a pedestal was suddenly lower than an earth worm in my view.

So, yea, the hearing aid business is pretty much all about money and profits for the most part, and not so much about helping people with hearing problems, although that (hearing help) might happen on occasion.

But all is not gloom and doom; one of my piano music videos on YouTube just surpassed 3,000,000 views! So, life is still good, in spite of my hearing issues.

Sorry for the long post... I guess I should write a book entitled "The adventures of Rickster, good, bad and ugly". smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2692988
11/29/17 08:14 PM
11/29/17 08:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 19
Virginia
D
Dick Hamlen Offline OP
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Dick Hamlen  Offline OP
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Virginia
I can't match your experience, Rick, but here's a quick summary of mine:
I paid $6030 for a pair of Widex, with a 30-day trial. I was getting random chirps, and the audiologist didn't seem to know what caused them ("maybe you're just hearing sounds you haven't heard before"), or how to eliminate them. And music sounded terrible - pitches below 500Hz were hard to hear. After 3 weeks I returned them and got an immediate credit (less $300 fee). After about a year, I found a musician friend who was happy with his Oticons (AGXO). I checked the Oticon website which recommended a nearby audiologist. The audiologist gave me an interview which lasted nearly 2 hours and convinced me that he was my best bet.The Oticons were about $1500 less than the Widex, and so far are working great. The fact that I'm not interested in extras like streaming helps the price. An additional plus - the audiologist and I have some common musical interests.

Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2692999
11/29/17 08:55 PM
11/29/17 08:55 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,201
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
Originally Posted by Dick Hamlen
I can't match your experience, Rick, but here's a quick summary of mine:
I paid $6030 for a pair of Widex, with a 30-day trial. I was getting random chirps, and the audiologist didn't seem to know what caused them ("maybe you're just hearing sounds you haven't heard before"), or how to eliminate them. And music sounded terrible - pitches below 500Hz were hard to hear. After 3 weeks I returned them and got an immediate credit (less $300 fee). After about a year, I found a musician friend who was happy with his Oticons (AGXO). I checked the Oticon website which recommended a nearby audiologist. The audiologist gave me an interview which lasted nearly 2 hours and convinced me that he was my best bet.The Oticons were about $1500 less than the Widex, and so far are working great. The fact that I'm not interested in extras like streaming helps the price. An additional plus - the audiologist and I have some common musical interests.

Still an interesting story, Dick. smile

I've heard of the Oticons and have done research on all the major brands of hearing aids. Also, in my research, I learned that, by law, at least in the state of Georgia, the hearing aid dispensers/dealers are not obligated to offer a trial period, but most do. But it helps to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions.

I found an online help group of individuals/musicians who have hearing issues and wear hearing aids. I don't frequent that forum much, although I should. There is probably enough members on PW who wear hearing aids that we could probably start our own support group.

Anyway, it is great that you found an audiologist who also has interests in music. When I was at my lowest moments of depression and despair after my hearing injury, I ask the audiologist I refereed to in my last post if he thought I could continue my interest in music and learning to play the piano. He said to some extent, but not as much as someone without hearing issues. Boy, that was great encouragement...

I wish your audiologist was located closer to Georgia; does he do audiological consultations via Skype? smile

All the best!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2693000
11/29/17 09:01 PM
11/29/17 09:01 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
dogperson Offline
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You really might want to look at grand piano passion.com Which is a mixture of advice for adult students as well as articles for musicians who are hearing impaired

http://www.grandpianopassion.com


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: dogperson] #2693023
11/29/17 11:11 PM
11/29/17 11:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 19
Virginia
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Dick Hamlen Offline OP
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Dick Hamlen  Offline OP
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Virginia
Originally Posted by dogperson
You really might want to look at grand piano passion.com Which is a mixture of advice for adult students as well as articles for musicians who are hearing impaired

http://www.grandpianopassion.com


Thanks for the link.
Dick

Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2693039
11/30/17 12:12 AM
11/30/17 12:12 AM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 269
New York
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Medved1 Offline

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New York
I have a Baha 4 (Bone anchored hearing device) from Cochlear to deal with a sudden loss of hearing in my right ear. Initially I used it for piano playing because it seemed I was able to balance the voices better (had been playing the right hand extra loud because I couldn't hear it without the hearing aid.)

However, it seems that my left ear has gotten better about picking up the full spectrum of the piano during the 3-4 years since the right ear went dead. And the hearing aid did all the things that others have written about here - transmitted a slightly shrill sound, wierd beats in octaves, and so on. So I've stopped using the hearing aid for piano playing.

However, I do try to use the aid as much as I can for every day life, because it makes it possible to follow more than one voice in a conversation. A couple of interesting things about the audio program on my hearing aid - I was having a lot of trouble hearing lower-pitched voices - as in male voices - and so I got the program adjusted to pick those up better. One more reason to find an audiologist who listens to you.

Also, after about a year of using the hearing aid, I had to send it back to the shop to get fixed, so used a loaner Baha 3 (one generation earlier) for a couple of weeks. That was an instant lesson in how much progress there had been from Baha 3 to Baha4 - I wore the 3 during an evening of raucus conversations, and felt like I was getting hit by a wave every time someone told a joke and the whole room burst into laughter. The 4 did a much better job of presenting the laughter as something other than a wall of noise.

Supposedly the 5 has a separate music program, so I might try that at some point. I heard a story about a guy who is a birder, who got his hearing aid programmed specially to pick up bird songs - he didn't care whether he heard the humans or not, he just wanted to hear the bird as clearly as possible!


Mason & Hamlin A ('97)
Re: Pianos and hearing aids [Re: Dick Hamlen] #2693580
12/01/17 10:05 PM
12/01/17 10:05 PM
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Posts: 591
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Valencia Offline
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Valencia  Offline
500 Post Club Member
V

Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 591
Interesting thread. Thanks for posting. I don’t have much to add. Just nice to be reminded there are others out there at the piano with hearing issues. Im deaf in one ear and use a Phonak CROS system, which transmits the sound from my deaf side over to my good ear. I think the receiver which sits on my good ear is just the most basic phonak hearing aid. I play a digital piano with headphones so don’t wear the CROS when I play. I tried using Bluetooth but couldn’t get the full range of sound through the hearing aid and the sound was kind of tinny.

I find I don’t hear the music the same way anymore,for example I can’t hear clearly some of the musical lines when I’m playing. I think is due to my loss of stereo hearing so not sure the CROS would help even if I could wear it while playing. I have a music setting in mine,which I use when listening to piano music on my computer or a CD. The CROS is really helpful in some situations, but when there is background noise, no matter what I find sounds mush together.

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