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Hearing loss and aids
#3025956 09/17/20 11:25 AM
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I've had minor hearing loss since the 80's which has progressed to almost "profound" in left ear. I'm wondering how many other long time pianists suffer from hearing loss.

I would really appreciate input from anyone who has purchased hearing aids about their satisfaction when playing the piano, and the model of the hearing aids. Thanks!


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Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3025989 09/17/20 01:13 PM
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Hi,chasing rain, I have a moderate hearing loss in both ears and use Phonak hearing aids. I am very happy with them, although I found using headphones without them in more comfortable while playing (I’m playing on a Yamaha 575 Clavinova). One thing that is nice about Phonak when I am playing with the aids in is that I can adjust volume, bass, tremble etc.

Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026019 09/17/20 02:31 PM
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I've been using the Oticon OPN S2 hearing aids for about a year now. They work well, but you have to disable the digital feedback. If not, they warble when listening to piano, or anything with a constant pitch. I can whistle and make them do it. So I use the second program for music with the feedback disabled. In effect, since I practice first thing in the morning, I end up just using the second program all the time anyway. They have to be programmed by the audiologist.

I think what is happening is that they identify a constant pitch as feedback, and try to suppress it - which causes a warble. Disable that "feature" and they are fine.

My advice is to find a doctor that agrees to work with you to adjust them to your satisfaction, or get your money back or try some other model. The Oticons were not usable for piano until I got the program changed.

Sam

Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026033 09/17/20 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
I've had minor hearing loss since the 80's which has progressed to almost "profound" in left ear. I'm wondering how many other long time pianists suffer from hearing loss.

Well there was that one Ludwig dude from a while back....

Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026108 09/17/20 05:40 PM
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i find the cost of "prescription" hearing aids absurd.

One alternative (that has a reasonable combination of features, technology, and price):

https://www.soundworldsolutions.com/product/hearing-aid-hd75/

I have mild hearing loss, and my wife has slightly worse. She has a prescription aid in one ear.

I bought a pair of the HD75 aids, and found them quite useful in hearing lectures where the lecturer was un-miked. They were useful in my choir practice, to hear our soft-spoken conductor. Having someone sing into my ear -- that was not so good.<G>

My wife is now using one of them in her non-prescription ear, and finds it OK. Maybe not as good as the prescription aid, but worthwhile.

They have Bluetooth _control_ from any Android / Apple smartphone. That's handy for the self-administered hearing test (which adjusts the phone's frequency response), or the feedback control.

They don't have Bluetooth _connectivity_ -- you can't get a Bluetooth link to a phone call, or music app.

The company's help desk is helpful, but it's not a substitute for an audiologist. Adjusting the aids (using the smartphone app) is in your own hands.

I think there's a reasonable "free return" period. Order a pair, see how they work _for you_.

PS -- I have no commercial relationship with Sound World Solutions.


. Charles
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PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Hearing loss and aids
Meaghanw #3026149 09/17/20 08:04 PM
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Thanks, Meag, do you have a model # for the Phonak? There are more than one.


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Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026198 09/18/20 12:26 AM
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The Phonak aid is Audeo Marvel M50, rechargeable and Bluetooths to iPhone to make adjustments.

Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026363 09/18/20 12:11 PM
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In the US and Canada, check what is available to Costco members for lower prices in hearing aids.

Re: Hearing loss and aids
chasingrainbows #3026917 09/19/20 08:41 PM
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I have mild/moderate hearing loss and use Phonak 90 hearing aids. They are programmed for 3 functions- "Regular" everyday hearing, music, and birdsong (picks up higher sounds). Music works for radio programs and some choral singing, but not for piano- there is distortion-a "warble" as someone described. I also play recorder-that is even worse. So I turn them off for live music, including piano, and find I can hear instrumental music quite well. But the compromise is that I can't hear people talking very well in an ensemble, for instance. I have to use the music program in chorus so I can hear the conductor.

I have not tried using bluetooth-it would not help with my acoustic piano in any case.

Does your piano sound distorted to you?

My audiologist keeps re-adjusting, hoping the music will work better, but hearing aids are not built for the tonal range and vibrations of most musical instruments. Singing is one possible exception.
I would recommend getting good hearing aids that are multi0functional, and working with an audiologist. There is quite a bit of information on this site:

https://www.grandpianopassion.com/category/hearing-music/

Even with some major hearing loss, i think many people still enjoy playing piano.

Re: Hearing loss and aids
harpsichorder #3026948 09/19/20 10:17 PM
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harpsichorder, have you tried setting the feedback-blocking feature to the lowest possible setting? When the feedback-blocking feature hears a sustained musical note it thinks it is hearing feedback and it tries to disrupt the perceived feedback by trying to slightly vary the pitch of the note. You will hear this as a warbling sound. I had the audiologist disable the feedback on my music program and the warbling disappeared.

Sam

Re: Hearing loss and aids
Sam S #3027289 09/20/20 08:14 PM
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I’ve worn hearing aids for 15 years and had a stroke of extreme wonderful good luck when I purchased my second pair in 2010 from Starkey. At that time I had stepped out of music. When I returned five years ago these Starkey aids were phenomenally realistic in representing the sound of acoustic grand piano. The audiologist asked which genre of music I wanted for the music program and I had four choices— Pop, Jazz, Country western/folk, and classical which is what I chose. Note that three of these genres are amplified and classical is totally natural sound.

About 18 months ago I tried searching for a new hearing aid and tried out StarkeyMuse and Livio ... Big disappointment! Also I tried Widex, Phonak, and ReSound—All were current models and only the resound had a faint possibility of representing an acoustic grand piano sound live, sitting at the keyboard. I’ve currently returned to using my 10-year-old Starkey aids... But I desperately need to search for a new aid!

4 factors influence how well a hearing aid will work for your use in playing LIVE acoustic piano—1) your individual hearing loss 2) shape of your ear canal which acts as the soundboard 3) Particular computer chip in a hearing aid model 4) algorithms available for programming the hearing aid.

You need to be very informed about features of an acoustic piano sound when you discuss a music program with an audiologist— Wide range of frequency, shape of attack and Decay, etc.

I don’t have any good recommendations for a current model but I will resume my search and try to post any useful recommendations. My own hearing loss is complicated as it began with low frequency hearing loss.

BTW listening to recorded music is not a problem for current model hearing aids as there is an amplified source of music being processed by another amplification system...! Whenever my former audiologist offered a recorded music sample in her office for me to try the music program—— of course it sounded reasonably pleasing!
With current models being excessively digital, Finding a HA that gives you a normal sound from an acoustic piano as you sit live at the keyboard is very very challenging!

There’s a very useful and responsive “Hearing tracker forum” that you might want to chat with.


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