As We Get Older - Hearing Aids for High End Audio/Concerts & Home Theatre

May 16, 2010
164
9
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#42
Got demo ReSound hearing aids mid afternoon today. Came home and listened to music not impressed. Didn't seem to do much compared to no hearing aids and I felt dynamics perhaps limited a bit. I was prepared to bring them back tomorrow very disappointed and get the Phonaks I had demod back whichwere excellent! I went out for dinner using the hearing aids and all I started getting was a minor headache. I came back home quite dejected. However, I decided to try again but expecting to be disappointed listening to 2 channel music. Surprising after a bit the sound has opened up and I'm srarting to really like ths music! Popping the hearing aids in and out I am now hearing a marked sonic improvement vs no HAs! Lyn Stanley's new album "London Calling: A Tribute to Julie London" is hitting me off the charts now more than I recall yesterday listening with the Phonaks! Same for another new album "Carpenters with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra"! Now I'm listening to "Tettero Plays Eddie Harris and Les McCann". Whereas earlier today this not much different than without my new demo ReSound HAs. now its no doubt as nice, full bodied, better across the board especially highs and as good if not better than I remember with the Phonaks.

I had thought that since I had the Phonaks for more than 2 weeks at full frequency correction that my ear/brain would be used to these demo ReSound hearing aids right away. But apparently it took some hours of using the ReSound hearing aids for my ear/brain to start really adapting! It "looked" like this was gonna be a good example that what you expect, better sonics as ReSound is speced to 9.5 kHz (8 kHz for Phonak) and 116 dB, was simply not the case, thus the folks who argue you must "blind test" don't know jack S--T! But I am glad this is gonna be a contest now!
I've done some internet sleuthing to discover that the latest top line Phonak (the top line Phonak I demod came out in 2015, and the latest line came out a few weeks ago), ReSound and Oticon are speced for dynamic range (ability to process incoming audio) at 111 (this is for the just out Marvel line, the Bolero line I demod is 95 dB), 113 and 116 dB, respectively. And Phonak (the latest Marvel and the prior Bolero) are speced for 8 kHz, whereas ReSound and Oticon are speced for 9.5 kHz. Since Phonak, ReSound and Oticon are all speced dynamic range well above 95 dB, and above 110 dB, looks like they have all moved into 24 bit chips.

I've done a lot more music listening in my theater. And some movies/tv. Interesting that with my Sony VPL-5000VW projector on, with the Phonak Bolero I did hear a high pitched whirr which went away after a few minutes, whereas with the ReSound that high pitched whirr usually continues on as a very very low volumewise high pitched wirr through my watching stuff. I watched again some of the 4k disc "Crazy Rich Asians", with a really nice musical soundtrack, and realized that whereas the Phonak Bolero seemed to give more detail from the ground (mid bass) up and even expand the soundstage a bit and make me want to listen only with the hearing aids (HAs) in, that the ReSound didn't do anything to hurt the music, but overall did a good amount less of improvement to the music. And this is what I found in listening to a lot of music as well, that the ReSound did improve the very top end somewhat, but that the Phonak Bolero seemed to give more detail from the ground (mid bass) up and even expand the soundstage a bit, with vocals being more enticing and pulling me in, with drum brushes and cymbal metal sounding being so much more clear, etc etc. With the Phonak Boleros, piano and harp has clearly a bit higher pitch and more enticing, whereas with the ReSound I didn't really feel drawn in any more than without the HAs.

I've been a bit down and out and missed two concerts late last week where I would have demod ReSound with live music, but I'm better now but anticipate from my own two channel music that my reaction will likely be similar tonight when as I am better I will be seeing/hearing Peter White jazz! And I'm following up with my Audiologist this Wednesday.

I think what happened the first afternoon/evening I had the ReSounds, when they initially sounded worse than not using HAs, is that it took me some hours using them to adapt, and that evening music sounded so much better that I thought my ear/brain would continue to adapt and they would hold true to the speced 116 dB and 9.5 kHz specs. But that's not what happened.

Keep in mind that its not only the chipset bits, not only the dynamic range and frequency response specs, but most importantly the software programming and how the combination of everything sounds for music which concerns me as an audiophile. One more observation. I play digital test tones from "Audiophile Speaker Set-Up (2xHD) test disc with frequencies from 16 Hz on up to 20 kHz. With the Phonak Bolero, I could hear test tones up to 8kHz relatively even with the HAs but 8 kHz much lower in volume without the HAs. With the ReSound, I could hear test tones up to 10 kHz but with 10 kHz down some but not half, and I could also hear more vibration in the test tones. Yet as I've said the musicality, the excitement, the "I've got to have them" is far more up the scale for me with the Phonak Bolero vs the ReSound.Whatever Phonak has done with the Bolero I demod makes me happy to plunk down too much $$$ and buy the even newer model Marvel (assuming I can demo them and find they are I assume even better given Phonak's experience in software programming of their HAs).

My Audiologist also has Oticon so I am hoping to demo them as well.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
3,416
4
38
Reno, NV
#43
I wonder how bad an analog lover's hearing would have to be before moving to a (digital) hearing aid?
 
May 16, 2010
164
9
18
#44
I've done a lot more music listening in my theater. And some movies/tv. Interesting that with my Sony VPL-5000VW projector on, with the Phonak Bolero I did hear a high pitched whirr which went away after a few minutes, whereas with the ReSound that high pitched whirr usually continues on as a very very low volumewise high pitched wirr through my watching stuff. I watched again some of the 4k disc "Crazy Rich Asians", with a really nice musical soundtrack, and realized that whereas the Phonak Bolero seemed to give more detail from the ground (mid bass) up and even expand the soundstage a bit and make me want to listen only with the hearing aids (HAs) in, that the ReSound didn't do anything to hurt the music, but overall did a good amount less of improvement to the music. And this is what I found in listening to a lot of music as well, that the ReSound did improve the very top end somewhat, but that the Phonak Bolero seemed to give more detail from the ground (mid bass) up and even expand the soundstage a bit, with vocals being more enticing and pulling me in, with drum brushes and cymbal metal sounding being so much more clear, etc etc. With the Phonak Boleros, piano and harp has clearly a bit higher pitch and more enticing, whereas with the ReSound I didn't really feel drawn in any more than without the HAs.

I've been a bit down and out and missed two concerts late last week where I would have demod ReSound with live music, but I'm better now but anticipate from my own two channel music that my reaction will likely be similar tonight when as I am better I will be seeing/hearing Peter White jazz! And I'm following up with my Audiologist this Wednesday.
My observations of using the ReSound hearing aids at the Peter White/Rick Braun Christmas jazz concert last night are similar to my observations in my own two channel setup. First, phenomenal concert. They all sang, too, quite nicely, one song acapella with no instruments! Very 3d presentation which I measured up to 98 dB at one point! I popped the ReSound HAs in and out many times during the show, and uniformly found they added just a tad and that's all. Keyboard and xylaphone sounded pitchwise the same with or without the HAs, whereas with the Phonaks I could easily discern a somewhat higher better pitch to these musical instruments. I think its pretty obvious Phonak made a choice to program their upper tier hearing aids with Autosound and music program to avoid compression but to improve the sonics and apply frequency correction at all levels; whereas ReSound was happy not to compress the existing sound and perhaps make the sound a tad better. Again, interesting as I demod the Phonak Bolero, a 16 bit model with 8k frequency extension and 95 dB dynamic range input processing which came out in 2015, and the ReSound is a 24 bit with 9.5k frequency extension and 116 dB dynamic range input processing and just came out a few months ago. Now would like to demo the latest Oticon, speced at 9.5 kHz and 113 dB; and the latest Phonak Marvel that just came out speced at 8 kHz and 111 dB. Of course I anticipate the latest just out Phonak Marvel will perform even better than the 2015 Bolero model I demod!
 
Dec 16, 2018
50
28
18
75
Phoenix, Arizona USA
#45
Hi Steve.. While your hearing-aid story is interesting, you are definitely MUCH more interested in the tech of the aids than I am.. I got my ReSound GNs in the fall of '17.. I started and ended my search at Costco; the Christown store couldn't get me in for a couple weeks, so I went to I-17 and Yorkshire and was seen when I walked up.. I was very impressed with my technician and bought my aids that afternoon..

My hearing loss is significantly different from yours, with mine suffering a narrow canyon 75dB (!!!!) deep centered between 2K and 5KHz in both ears, followed by the normal age-related high-frequency taper above the canyon.* (I believe this notch in my hearing started while in highschool and college while I operated 1"-drive impact wrenches on truck wheels for 6 years.)

The aids were tuned automatically to my peculiar hearing losses and work quite well, especially after a little level tweaking done quickly and freely by the tech after a couple weeks.. Since my lower-frequency hearing is still good, my aids have the 'hollow' surrounds on the in-ear microspeakers and virtually no boost below 500Hz or so.. My personal default level setting is 1 'notch' below the default level most of the time, but I reduce the gain significantly listening to reproduced or live music or movies--and that level, '4', is the same for any of those. I now hear the treble harmonics of volins, trumpets, etc., that were virtually inaudible before.. Mine were $2300 per pair, and I'm damn glad I have them!

* This pattern is identical to that measured by an ENT's audiologist just a year before.
 
Last edited:
May 16, 2010
164
9
18
#46
As of today I am now demoing the Oticon UPN HAs. Speced at 113 dB dynamic range and 9'5 kHz frequency extension. This will be interesting.
 
Last edited:
May 16, 2010
164
9
18
#48
Hi Steve.. While your hearing-aid story is interesting, you are definitely MUCH more interested in the tech of the aids than I am.. I got my ReSound GNs in the fall of '17.. I started and ended my search at Costco; the Christown store couldn't get me in for a couple weeks, so I went to I-17 and Yorkshire and was seen when I walked up.. I was very impressed with my technician and bought my aids that afternoon..

My hearing loss is significantly different from yours, with mine suffering a narrow canyon 75dB (!!!!) dB deep centered between 2K and 5KHz in both ears, followed by the normal age-related high-frequency taper above the canyon.* (I believe this notch in my hearing started while in highschool and college while I operated 1"-drive impact wrenches on truck wheels for 6 years.)

The aids were tuned automatically to my peculiar hearing losses and work quite well, especially after a little level tweaking done quickly and freely by the tech after a couple weeks.. Since my lower-frequency hearing is still good, my aids have the 'hollow' surrounds on the in-ear microspeakers and virtually no boost below 500Hz or so.. My personal default level setting is 1 'notch' below the default level most of the time, but I reduce the gain significantly listening to reproduced or live music or movies--and that level, '4', is the same for any of those. I now hear the treble harmonics of volins, trumpets, etc., that were virtually inaudible before.. Mine were $2300 per pair, and I'm damn glad I have them!

* This pattern is identical to that measured by an ENT's audiologist just a year before.
Jeffrey, some months ago you discussed your HAs at our Az AV Club Meeting, and got me interested. Its all you FAULT thank you.

And whatever works and sounds great for each of us within our budget is what counts! What works for me may not for someone else, due to not only budget but their own specific hearing loss and subjective listening analysis!
 
Nov 22, 2018
31
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#49
As of today I am now demoing the Oticon UPN HAs. Speced at 113 dB dynamic range and 9'5 kHz frequency extension. This will be interesting.
Do you mean the Oticon OPN? The OPN 1 actually has 10k FQ extension and the OPN 2 is 8K. I demoed both and settled on the OPN 2. Best HA I've had and I'm lucky to have an audiologist who understands our hobby. I also follow Marshall Chasin to keep up on HA developments relative to music.
 
May 16, 2010
164
9
18
#50
Do you mean the Oticon OPN? The OPN 1 actually has 10k FQ extension and the OPN 2 is 8K. I demoed both and settled on the OPN 2. Best HA I've had and I'm lucky to have an audiologist who understands our hobby. I also follow Marshall Chasin to keep up on HA developments relative to music.
Do you mean the Oticon OPN? The OPN 1 actually has 10k FQ extension and the OPN 2 is 8K. I demoed both and settled on the OPN 2. Best HA I've had and I'm lucky to have an audiologist who understands our hobby. I also follow Marshall Chasin to keep up on HA developments relative to music.
OPN 1.
 
May 25, 2010
969
226
43
SF Bay Area
#52
I've been using hearing aids for about five years now. First it was a pair from Costco, then in 2016 I went to an audiologist at our local medical school (UCSF) and got a pair of Oticons.(Not sure what model). I had greater hearing loss in my left ear, probably about 4 db more than my right. My left ear I could just barely hear 10K but no more, while my right ear I could hear 10K but not 12K. The hearing aids got me to about 12-13K, a good improvement in listening to live classical concerts and my stereo system.

About two months ago I noticed my hearing aids were not functioning that well. That is, when I put on my hearing aids (which I generally wore all waking hours) I didn't hear the improvement in the high frequencies that I used to hear. In fact, in my left ear particularly (which has a larger earpiece that fits in the ear) I noticed a decrease in the hearing, particularly the high frequencies. I was planning to go in to have the aids checked by the audiologist (since I am within the 3 year warranty). Well, I was listening to my stereo about three weeks ago and decided to take the aids off and I noticed that I could hear the high frequencies better. So I connected my tone generator and started moving up the frequencies to test what I could hear. I can hear 17K in both ears, but not 18K or higher, without my hearing aids. The 17K signal is quite faint and I have to put my ear up to the tweeter to hear it, but it is very distinct and the 18K tone is completely inaudible.

So it wasn't that my hearing aids were not functioning, but that my hearing had improved sometime around the middle or end of October. I don't need my hearing aids any more!

What happened? Don't know for sure. The only thing that I know is that the improvement was temporally related to my most recent flu vaccine shot in mid October (I take the extra strong senior dose). I have had flu vaccines every year (the strong one for several years) with nothing happening to my hearing before.

Anyway, I am very pleased! Still keeping my hearing aids around, just in case.

Larry (age 73)
 
Likes: bonzo75

steve williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#53
I've been using hearing aids for about five years now. First it was a pair from Costco, then in 2016 I went to an audiologist at our local medical school (UCSF) and got a pair of Oticons.(Not sure what model). I had greater hearing loss in my left ear, probably about 4 db more than my right. My left ear I could just barely hear 10K but no more, while my right ear I could hear 10K but not 12K. The hearing aids got me to about 12-13K, a good improvement in listening to live classical concerts and my stereo system.

About two months ago I noticed my hearing aids were not functioning that well. That is, when I put on my hearing aids (which I generally wore all waking hours) I didn't hear the improvement in the high frequencies that I used to hear. In fact, in my left ear particularly (which has a larger earpiece that fits in the ear) I noticed a decrease in the hearing, particularly the high frequencies. I was planning to go in to have the aids checked by the audiologist (since I am within the 3 year warranty). Well, I was listening to my stereo about three weeks ago and decided to take the aids off and I noticed that I could hear the high frequencies better. So I connected my tone generator and started moving up the frequencies to test what I could hear. I can hear 17K in both ears, but not 18K or higher, without my hearing aids. The 17K signal is quite faint and I have to put my ear up to the tweeter to hear it, but it is very distinct and the 18K tone is completely inaudible.

So it wasn't that my hearing aids were not functioning, but that my hearing had improved sometime around the middle or end of October. I don't need my hearing aids any more!

What happened? Don't know for sure. The only thing that I know is that the improvement was temporally related to my most recent flu vaccine shot in mid October (I take the extra strong senior dose). I have had flu vaccines every year (the strong one for several years) with nothing happening to my hearing before.

Anyway, I am very pleased! Still keeping my hearing aids around, just in case.

Larry (age 73)

That is a very strange story Larry

At the very least I would go back to the audiologist and have them repeat your hearing test
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,661
1,466
113
London
#54
I've been using hearing aids for about five years now. First it was a pair from Costco, then in 2016 I went to an audiologist at our local medical school (UCSF) and got a pair of Oticons.(Not sure what model). I had greater hearing loss in my left ear, probably about 4 db more than my right. My left ear I could just barely hear 10K but no more, while my right ear I could hear 10K but not 12K. The hearing aids got me to about 12-13K, a good improvement in listening to live classical concerts and my stereo system.

About two months ago I noticed my hearing aids were not functioning that well. That is, when I put on my hearing aids (which I generally wore all waking hours) I didn't hear the improvement in the high frequencies that I used to hear. In fact, in my left ear particularly (which has a larger earpiece that fits in the ear) I noticed a decrease in the hearing, particularly the high frequencies. I was planning to go in to have the aids checked by the audiologist (since I am within the 3 year warranty). Well, I was listening to my stereo about three weeks ago and decided to take the aids off and I noticed that I could hear the high frequencies better. So I connected my tone generator and started moving up the frequencies to test what I could hear. I can hear 17K in both ears, but not 18K or higher, without my hearing aids. The 17K signal is quite faint and I have to put my ear up to the tweeter to hear it, but it is very distinct and the 18K tone is completely inaudible.

So it wasn't that my hearing aids were not functioning, but that my hearing had improved sometime around the middle or end of October. I don't need my hearing aids any more!

What happened? Don't know for sure. The only thing that I know is that the improvement was temporally related to my most recent flu vaccine shot in mid October (I take the extra strong senior dose). I have had flu vaccines every year (the strong one for several years) with nothing happening to my hearing before.

Anyway, I am very pleased! Still keeping my hearing aids around, just in case.

Larry (age 73)
Great news Larry. Do you think listening through the Lampi restored your hearing? ;)
 
May 16, 2010
164
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#55
Do you mean the Oticon OPN? The OPN 1 actually has 10k FQ extension and the OPN 2 is 8K. I demoed both and settled on the OPN 2. Best HA I've had and I'm lucky to have an audiologist who understands our hobby. I also follow Marshall Chasin to keep up on HA developments relative to music.
What did you like about the OPN2 vs the OPN1 inasmuch as the OPN1 has speced higher freq extension to 10K (which doesn't mean that it sounds better as this depends how the HAs music mode is programmed and sounds).
 
Nov 22, 2018
31
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#56
What did you like about the OPN2 vs the OPN1 inasmuch as the OPN1 has speced higher freq extension to 10K (which doesn't mean that it sounds better as this depends how the HAs music mode is programmed and sounds).
I demoed both the OPN 1 and 2, each for a couple of weeks including a visit with each to the audiologist for fine tuning. I couldn't tell the difference between them so I saved money with the 2.
 
Dec 17, 2016
8
3
3
#57
Thanks so much Steve for starting the thread and taking so much time typing out your experiences. Invaluable to me as I'm about to take the plunge as well. I've been putting this off for years and need to make a move. As a rock musician among other bad ear habits I'm now at around 2k in the left ear and 4k in the right with a healthy dose tinnitus.

If you don't mind, I'd like the number of your audiologist (I'm in Tempe).

I've made a list over the last year of audiophile recommended HAs from other threads. My top pick right now is the Widex Evoke. Their aids interface with smart phones so tweaky guys like us can play around with the settings and also auto-adjust. Phonek and Opticon (I look forward to your review of the model you are currently trying) models are also on my list and now with your experience I've also added ReSound.

Thanks also to Jeffrey and others that commented.
 
Likes: NorthStar
Nov 22, 2018
31
3
8
75
#58
Marshall Chassin (google him) recommended Oticon and Widex for the quality and performance of their DACs. He felt thry were ahead of the rest of the field.
 
May 16, 2010
164
9
18
#60
Thanks so much Steve for starting the thread and taking so much time typing out your experiences. Invaluable to me as I'm about to take the plunge as well. I've been putting this off for years and need to make a move. As a rock musician among other bad ear habits I'm now at around 2k in the left ear and 4k in the right with a healthy dose tinnitus.

If you don't mind, I'd like the number of your audiologist (I'm in Tempe).

I've made a list over the last year of audiophile recommended HAs from other threads. My top pick right now is the Widex Evoke. Their aids interface with smart phones so tweaky guys like us can play around with the settings and also auto-adjust. Phonek and Opticon (I look forward to your review of the model you are currently trying) models are also on my list and now with your experience I've also added ReSound.

Thanks also to Jeffrey and others that commented.
My Audiologist is Lainie Hales, Au.D., 480-273-8680 Valley ENT 4140 E Baseline in Mesa. I called and saw ENT Dr Gonzalez to have ears cleaned and hearing test and told them I wanted to see Audiologist as well. Let Lainie know you're an audiophile having heard about her from me! I'm still in the demoing process!
 

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