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Are there certain types of hearing aids that are better for professional singers?

Marvin Lewis, AuD

Doctor of Audiology

21 May 2020 - 4.84K Views

Let me begin by giving you a reference point on me.  I was a recording studio engineer for 10 years before I became an audiologist (for 29 years) and now at 62 I wear hearing aids.

Any of the big six manufacturers make good hearing aids.  Making it sound good to musicians is the job of the audiologist.  First you must find one who works with musicians and that you have a good rapport with.  These two aspects are way more important than what brand you have.  Expect to go back to the office at least a few times for fine tuning.  Since everyone perceives sound differently, they need to be programmed to how you like it.  Today’s digital hearing aids have multiple programs or presets.  This is important because a program optimized to hear speech best is usually not the best for music, so you’ll want a different program for singing. Some brands state they adapt to every situation. Try it if you want but I’ll bet you like a different program better. 

Lastly, depending on your hearing loss and hearing aids selected, you may be more sonically comfortable wearing just one while singing.  It is always best to have two so your brain can process speech best, but having only one in sometimes is preferable so you hear your own voice differently.  This aspect is highly variable and you should discuss it with your audiologist. 

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Audiologist in West Hampstead

21 May 2020 - 4.84K Views

Irrespective of whether it is a singer, composer or conductor, my patients have sworn by Widex hearing aids for music over the years, Ideally using a model with as few channels as possible (historically 3/4 channels as the aid is as "analogue" as possible & truer to the original sound more channels would typically be better for speech). 

You will find it easy to know when you are in your music mode as when your press the button/press the button on the remote (or app) it will say "Music" in your language of choice to avoid any confusion.

One of my favourite audiology related quotes was when a lady with 12 year old Widex aids had a demonstration of another brand. She was asked if she wanted to proceed with the new aids?


Why not?

The new aids are clear, but they are also harsh & metallic.

What are the Widex aids like?

"Like somebody melting chocolate & pouring it into my ears"!!

It is worth noting bernafon are "channel free" (the sound is adjusted at 20,000 points across the frequency range without sounds overlapping) so although I have only fitted them for the last two years as opposed to 15 years with Widex patients have been very complimentary as they are very true to the original sound.

I hope this helps.

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Doctor of Audiology in Kailua

21 May 2020 - 4.81K Views

Others have already commented on some of the technical aspects of different hearing aids and how it might affect perceived sound quality, so I will simply add that another important consideration is the acoustics of the chosen earpiece that is attached to the hearing aid. A tightly sealed earmold will allow amplification of the widest range of frequencies, and occlude the singer's own voice. It will also provide acoustic isolation from external sounds, meaning that the hearing aid could both amplify and attenuate sound as needed. For example, it could be set up to amplify all soft sounds and attenuate loud high-pitched sounds.

An earmold with a large vent or a perforated eartip will provide a more natural quality of the singer's own voice at the expense of being able to control many aspects of the overall sound quality.

Which type of fitting is more advantageous would really depend on the type of music and the singer's personal preference. A singer in a barbershop quartet would have very different needs than a singer in a punk rock band. Some singers might prefer occlusion and feel that it helps them sing in tune, and others might find it impossible to work with.

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Jennifer Arndt


21 May 2020 - 4.83K Views

Our practice was located in Nashville for several years and we had many professional musicians as clients. We loaned them multiple brands and let them wear them to the studio and onstage before purchasing. Literally 90% chose Widex, and some actually did video testimonials for Widex. One of those switched to ReSound Quattros. He prefers them to the Widex. He is a drummer for a Hall Of Fame performer but doesnt sing so personally I would look at Widex for our patients who sing, but still recommend trying Oticon, ReSound or Phonak for comparison. Each loss and each mind are unique as is each voice.  Just because others prefer one technology does not ensure that it is the best for you.

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