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Hearing aids and the violin


jezzupe

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Fortunately my hearing has been holding up pretty well, but I'm asking for a friend. Does anyone here, particularly maker/players have any brands or types of aids that they recommend ?, particularly ones that function well with high frequency listening as we tend to do 

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I don't know about brands but my sister, who is a physician, recommended going to Costco if you have one.  I told a friend who needed hearing aids and it saved her thousands of dollars.  evidently Costco is the largest retailer of hearing aids in the US.  The models my friend got are all configurable as to frequency and volume and can be controlled from her 'phone.  it gives her the option of several different patterns and volumes.

DLB

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Just now, Dwight Brown said:

I don't know about brands but my sister, who is a physician, recommended going to Costco if you have one.  I told a friend who needed hearing aids and it saved her thousands of dollars.  evidently Costco is the largest retailer of hearing aids in the US.  The models my friend got are all configurable as to frequency and volume and can be controlled from her 'phone.  it gives her the option of several different patterns and volumes.

DLB

:lol: funny you should mention that, as my friend is trying to replace the costco ones. He said they worked well but that they only lasted about a year and was looking for more robust ones {I don't know if that's possible}. but thanks for the reply

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7 minutes ago, Dwight Brown said:

Sure thing, My friend has had better luck I guess.  I know they are all quite expensive.

 

DLB

Thanks Dwight, well knowing my friend I hate say I question if it's the robustness of the product or his stewardship of them, anyways, but ya they ain't cheap, that's why I figured I'd ask here, everyone here knows everything :lol: 

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I have been using a pair of Kirkland (CostCo) hearing aids going, now, into 7 years. I heartily endorse the Kirkland aids with the "behind the ear" electronics based on my own use. I have been using it from 16 hours daily for all those years. I visit CostCo to replace the ear pieces once a year (because they do a better job than I can).

The first thing your friend needs to do is get a hearing test and a copy of the audiograph. Alternatively there is an online hearing test that I have used that gave the same result as my audiologist tests (https://hearingtest.online/ ).  This test generates a printable audiograph.

A unique advantage of the online self-test is that you can also test your hearing with the hearing aids in your ears to measure the gain your hearing aids are providing at each measured frequency. With that information you can give the CostCo audiologist very specific instructions to adjust your aids to your musical requirements (as I did on the 2nd and 3rd visits).

One year ago my heath insurance began supporting the purchase of hearing aids to the tune of $2,500 (good only once very 5 years). I used that to get a pair of EARGO aids. They are more sensitive for the frequencies of 2KHz to 4KHz than MY Kirklands - but only because of the way I had the CostCo aids adjusted for me. My CostCo aids are adjustable by me over 10 amplitude steps and 3 settings (normal, crowds, "music" - my quotes because the "music" setting does nothing for me).  The EARGOs are delivered to you set to the audiograph you provide the seller (attached to your "purchase") and their are 4 self-settings you can use. The EARGOs will be adjusted electronically via transmission to your smart cell phone which you then link to the EARG charger via an EARGO app. In fact - I just had my EARGOs adjusted that way yesterday to improved settings for violin playing and speaking voice.

EDIT (2/2/22): I forgot to mention that EARGO had just announced their own online hearing test that I used to get them to set up the new adjustments to my EARGO aids. They told me I was fortunate that my hearing was still the same as it had been when I bought the EARGOs . Good to know!

 

 

 

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Jezzupe, if only voices came with closed captions (the way TV does now)!

 

Larry is certainly correct about the raucous  sound from "professionally adjusted" hearing aids. That's what I got from CostCo at first - so I went right back (by appointment) and told them what decibel (DB) boost I wanted I for each frequency test point on the audiograph. My primary goal at first was getting my music (violin playing, primarily) to sound the way I thought I remembered it. That worked pretty well. I did that based on the audiographs I could generate for my ears with and without the hearing aids with the online hearing test. Also I took my violin to the CostCo testing booth that 2nd (and 3rd) time.

By the way, my 7-yr old CostCo hearing aids use replaceable batteries and I get and average of about 90 hearing hours from  each battery (measured). My EARGO aids are rechargeable and the daily charge lasts about 14 to 16 hours. I find it easier to replace a battery than it is to get a good charging connection - just saying. Perhaps not all recharge systems are the same.

Edited by Andrew Victor
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I'll add the perspective from an audiologist that I know. You can potentially get the same hearing aids from COSTCO as you can get from an ENT office (where she works). As I understand it, hearing aids will truncate the sound losing a portion of the highs and lows. Programable hearing aids can work best for musicians (everyone else too) because how the sound is amplified and truncated can be adjusted. The difference between COSTCO and a good audiologist might be similar to having your violin setup at a Music and Arts store vs. going to a quality violin shop that knows (and can dedicate the time) to properly set up the instrument and adjust it so that it works for the for the player. 

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4 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

I'll add the perspective from an audiologist that I know. You can potentially get the same hearing aids from COSTCO as you can get from an ENT office (where she works). As I understand it, hearing aids will truncate the sound losing a portion of the highs and lows. Programable hearing aids can work best for musicians (everyone else too) because how the sound is amplified and truncated can be adjusted. The difference between COSTCO and a good audiologist might be similar to having your violin setup at a Music and Arts store vs. going to a quality violin shop that knows (and can dedicate the time) to properly set up the instrument and adjust it so that it works for the for the player. 

No one else can hear what I (or YOU hear), neither the best audiologist in the world nor the best luthier.

However the luthier can get the best out of any instrument (regardless of what the client hears).;

The audiologist is totally dependent on what the client hears.  However, when adjusting hearing aids for musicians, what the client wants to hear and doesn't want to hear are also critical.

Also, hearing aids can distort the sound, especially some sounds of music.

At least, that has been my own experience.

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This is about hearing aids for musicians/makers. I have high end Oticon aids which I was able to purchase through my retirement medical coverage. When testing violin plates with a constant high frequency note or playing almost any note on my cello without vibrato the sound I heard was wobbling in volume. There was some kind of feedback causing this. If the music did not have long duration notes or vibrato then the problem was diminished or not noticed. Has anyone else with aids had this problem and if so were you able to eliminate it?

Thank you.

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Last fall I got a set of Oticon Ruby 2 hearing aids. I have a minor high frequency loss with tinnitus, largely from playing in a live band setting for a bit too long. They're more for speech than music, as when I play an instrument such as a violin/cello I don't get a true sense of the sound. It's like having a stereo chorus effect as I'm getting the ambient sounds of the instrument plus the amplified sound. I actually have to remove them when testing an instrument. The tinnitus is reduced to a minimum when I have my Oticons in, so they help with that, but they're a minor nuisance when playing. The biggest pain is hanging hearing aids, glasses and a Covid mask on my ears all at the same time, something is bound to fall off and usually does.

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9 hours ago, Larry Furse said:

I can certainly second that-a constant pain.  Every time you take the mask or glasses or both off,  the  aids are almost always dragged out.  Shouting back and forth through masks, with bad hearing to boot, even with my aids in, also makes dealing with the public very difficult.

 

I can't very hear well and apparently I used to lip read people all the time.  Now with masks on everybody I don't hear anything anybody says anymore.

Not so bad.

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On 2/3/2022 at 6:50 PM, Greg Sigworth said:

When testing violin plates with a constant high frequency note or playing almost any note on my cello without vibrato the sound I heard was wobbling in volume. There was some kind of feedback causing this. If the music did not have long duration notes or vibrato then the problem was diminished or not noticed.

I had the same issue when first wearing hearing aids (Costco brand made by Rexton, which I've been really pleased with). I learned that the anti-feedback and perhaps other digital sound enhancement algorithms can cause this. I think the phenomenon is called "entrainment." I actually brought a fiddle with me to the fitting and we eliminated the warbling. It's been a few years now but I recall there was a music "program" that took care of the issue but I didn't want to have to be switching settings every time I played or heard music. I have moderate hearing loss but even the relatively high gain I require doesn't trigger any feedback issues so I think we just simply turned off the anti-feedback feature. It should be a simple adjustment for your audiologist.

- Tom

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Catnip - I don't think you want to do it that way.  I think your HA adjustment  for music needs to be against the human standards - i.e., the way "normal" people hear. I think amplifying the high frequencies up to the Strad level would really be an "unbearable blast."

Just take your instrument along for the next HA adjustment tests.

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