As We Get Older - Hearing Aids for High End Audio/Concerts & Home Theatre - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 145 Old 11-15-2018, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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As We Get Older - Hearing Aids for High End Audio/Concerts & Home Theatre

The past five years, as I have slowed down, I have been going to lots of concerts at more "audiophile" settings with easy parking - primarily the Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, and even some at a great local nonprofit jazz club The Nash. Jazz whether with or without vocals has been my very favorite music. Now I think I know why!!!!

I have known that I've had high frequency hearing loss for some time (I'm 65). Using a test disc, I can hear a 6 kHz test tone but 8 kHz although I can hear it’s much less in volume! And nothing beyond! At concerts, I too often have difficulty understanding the words! Very frustrating at times! I love fewer instruments with voices because I hear and understand the words better. Also, most days listening to music or watching tv/movies in my home theatre, I get some mild headaches, and also some tinnitus (not bells ringing, but a light to moderate whoosing sound of air that I am used to from a psychological standpoint doesn't really bother me).

I did some web sleuthing and came up with some interesting tidbits:

https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociet...arry-deniston/ (article has link to click with detailed written presentation from some San Francisco audiologists)

https://www.stereophile.com/content/hearing-aids-4

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thread...g-aids.638583/

https://forum.hearingtracker.com/t/h...udiophile/5872

https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/hear...igh-end-audio/

So I decided to see an ENT doctor to have my ears cleaned (its been about 2 years since last done, a good idea periodically for audiophiles) and see their Audiologist for a hearing test & audiogram, which I did Tuesday this week. Turns out I have mild to moderate high frequency hearing loss. Keep in mind doctors and their equipment only measure to 8k and hearing aids are designed and speced only to 8k (not the full 20k of potential human hearing).

The ENT doctor told me that given my audiophile tendencies, whether a hearing aid would be a positive worthwhile improvement for me might well be subjective, and that I should meet with the Audiologist and she could provide me demo hearing aids at no cost to try.

I immediately thereafter met with the Audiologist (as opposed to a tech you probably get at Costco and some other places, an Audiologist has a Ph.D., and my Audiologist has been one for 17 years). I explained my audiophile needs and concerns in detail and my questions re whether hearing aids might help with my headaches, tinnitus, difficulty understanding some singing words primarily at live concerts, etc. She felt that hearing aids would be of help. In view of my subjective needs and hearing loss, she programmed and provided a pair of Phonak Audeo B-R hearing aids for me to try, with follow up in two weeks. She explained that she programmed them for me as a hearing aid beginner and would make some changes when she sees me again in two weeks.

https://www.phonak.com/us/en/hearing...k-audeo-b.html

Note that my Medicare will not cover the cost of hearing aids. An out-of-pocket "audiophile" expense!

My initial "observations" over using them to watch some tv shows so far, listen to 2 channel music, and attend one live concert last night - Rodney Crowell and what a concert! - are as follows:

Watching tv: Commercials are no longer way louder than the tv program, sound level is about the same! The same volume on my surround processor seems somewhat "easier"/less fatiguing? (sort of a guess as to how to describe). Other than commercials, would this be a reason to get hearing aids - questionable at this short time of use.

Listening to two channel music: Nice improvement, like moving up to a better, smoother, better high end response DAC. E.G., I can now discern brush strokes like on cymbals better than in years! Music and vocals show the better DAC improvement. A given volume level is "easier"/less fatiguing than before (when it didn't seem fatiguing at all before). So far for my two channel music alone I want the hearing aids!

Rodney Crowell concert last night: Rodney was accompanied by two othe outstanding performers, with Rodney singing alone except on a few songs.
I found the instruments to sound more vibrant, dynamic and 3D than I am used to. I could hear guitar plucks and the like more clear and better than ever. But most significant, I understood every single word, whether just Rodney singing, or all three singing! My brain didn't have to work trying to understand words sung. I didn't give up trying to understand the words. This single improvement was revelatory! And frankly, I couldn't have anticipated this "wordy" improvement, it was so "out of wordy/worldy" for me.

Now I get why jazz and vocal jazz has been my favorite music these past years. Aside from the fact that I love jazz, jazz without singing has no words to try to understand, and jazz with singing is often (not always) easier to understand words than say hard rock with more instruments and louder music!

I am so far reasonably impressed!

What about you? How old are you? Do you listen to much two channel music in your audio or home theatre system? Do you attend many live concerts and if so, in more "audiophile" settings as opposed to overly loud and boisterous rock concerts? Have you tested your high frequency hearing loss?

Following is an easy test for high frequency hearing loss to "see" if perhaps you might want to see an Audiologist (and also get your ears cleaned say every 6 months to year by an ENT doctor):

http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/...-hearing-test/
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post #2 of 145 Old 11-15-2018, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
The past five years, as I have slowed down, I have been going to lots of concerts at more "audiophile" settings with easy parking - primarily the Mesa Arts Center, Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, and even some at a great local nonprofit jazz club The Nash. Jazz whether with or without vocals has been my very favorite music. Now I think I know why!!!!

I have known that I've had high frequency hearing loss for some time (I'm 65). Using a test disc, I can hear a 6 kHz test tone but 8 kHz although I can hear it’s much less in volume! And nothing beyond! At concerts, I too often have difficulty understanding the words! Very frustrating at times! I love fewer instruments with voices because I hear and understand the words better. Also, most days listening to music or watching tv/movies in my home theatre, I get some mild headaches, and also some tinnitus (not bells ringing, but a light to moderate whoosing sound of air that I am used to from a psychological standpoint doesn't really bother me).

I did some web sleuthing and came up with some interesting tidbits:

https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociet...arry-deniston/ (article has link to click with detailed written presentation from some San Francisco audiologists)

https://www.stereophile.com/content/hearing-aids-4

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thread...g-aids.638583/

https://forum.hearingtracker.com/t/h...udiophile/5872

https://www.psaudio.com/askpaul/hear...igh-end-audio/

So I decided to see an ENT doctor to have my ears cleaned (its been about 2 years since last done, a good idea periodically for audiophiles) and see their Audiologist for a hearing test & audiogram, which I did Tuesday this week. Turns out I have mild to moderate high frequency hearing loss. Keep in mind doctors and their equipment only measure to 8k and hearing aids are designed and speced only to 8k (not the full 20k of potential human hearing).

The ENT doctor told me that given my audiophile tendencies, whether a hearing aid would be a positive worthwhile improvement for me might well be subjective, and that I should meet with the Audiologist and she could provide me demo hearing aids at no cost to try.

I immediately thereafter met with the Audiologist (as opposed to a tech you probably get at Costco and some other places, an Audiologist has a Ph.D., and my Audiologist has been one for 17 years). I explained my audiophile needs and concerns in detail and my questions re whether hearing aids might help with my headaches, tinnitus, difficulty understanding some singing words primarily at live concerts, etc. She felt that hearing aids would be of help. In view of my subjective needs and hearing loss, she programmed and provided a pair of Phonak Audeo B-R hearing aids for me to try, with follow up in two weeks. She explained that she programmed them for me as a hearing aid beginner and would make some changes when she sees me again in two weeks.

https://www.phonak.com/us/en/hearing...k-audeo-b.html

Note that my Medicare will not cover the cost of hearing aids. An out-of-pocket "audiophile" expense!

My initial "observations" over using them to watch some tv shows so far, listen to 2 channel music, and attend one live concert last night - Rodney Crowell and what a concert! - are as follows:

Watching tv: Commercials are no longer way louder than the tv program, sound level is about the same! The same volume on my surround processor seems somewhat "easier"/less fatiguing? (sort of a guess as to how to describe). Other than commercials, would this be a reason to get hearing aids - questionable at this short time of use.

Listening to two channel music: Nice improvement, like moving up to a better, smoother, better high end response DAC. E.G., I can now discern brush strokes like on cymbals better than in years! Music and vocals show the better DAC improvement. A given volume level is "easier"/less fatiguing than before (when it didn't seem fatiguing at all before). So far for my two channel music alone I want the hearing aids!

Rodney Crowell concert last night: Rodney was accompanied by two othe outstanding performers, with Rodney singing alone except on a few songs.
I found the instruments to sound more vibrant, dynamic and 3D than I am used to. I could hear guitar plucks and the like more clear and better than ever. But most significant, I understood every single word, whether just Rodney singing, or all three singing! My brain didn't have to work trying to understand words sung. I didn't give up trying to understand the words. This single improvement was revelatory! And frankly, I couldn't have anticipated this "wordy" improvement, it was so "out of wordy/worldy" for me.

Now I get why jazz and vocal jazz has been my favorite music these past years. Aside from the fact that I love jazz, jazz without singing has no words to try to understand, and jazz with singing is often (not always) easier to understand words than say hard rock with more instruments and louder music!

I am so far reasonably impressed!

What about you? How old are you? Do you listen to much two channel music in your audio or home theatre system? Do you attend many live concerts and if so, in more "audiophile" settings as opposed to overly loud and boisterous rock concerts? Have you tested your high frequency hearing loss?

Following is an easy test for high frequency hearing loss to "see" if perhaps you might want to see an Audiologist (and also get your ears cleaned say every 6 months to year by an ENT doctor):

http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/...-hearing-test/
Steve--excellent post and i am interested in other comments. I probably have more invested in my 2 channel setup vs multichannel HT system but overall i have a lot invested. Having also worked in heavy industry most of my life, i know my hearing has suffered due to that also. Tinnitus is my biggest issue and the accompanying high frequency hum that often dilutes down my ability to hear those subtle sounds that jazz, classical or even complex rock music produces. I have done similar ear treatments (ie doctor visits to clean the ears and some OTC treatments for Tinnitus). Thanks for starting this and i hope to learn!
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post #3 of 145 Old 11-15-2018, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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A few more articles I just found dealing with hearing aid issues re music vs speech:

https://www.healthyhearing.com/repor...h-hearing-aids

http://www.scena.org/lsm/sm12-8/sm12...ngaids_en.html

I am listening to some higher frequency harp music, Lavinia Meijer "Philip Glass: Metamorphosos; The Hours", from NativeDSD.com. Hauntingly beautiful music! I read that such high frequencies may be problematic or require adjustment in programming for hearing aids. Sounds great without the Phoneks. With the Phoneks, sounds a bit different, may well be my better hearing. But I also seems to be hearing and feeling more vibrations, so of neat, but sort of seem to be giving me a minor bit of a headache. Without the Phoneks no headache issue at all, but don't feel the vibrations as much. This is the sort of thing I need to keep track of and discuss with my Audiologist as she can make adjustments. Although I have the Phoneks back in now and I seem to be doing better - may be my ear/brain getting used to the "improved" sound?

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 If I recommend a dealer It will be a person to person recommendation and if a dealer tells you I refer to them don’t believe it! ! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade awaiting July/August 2019!

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post #4 of 145 Old 11-16-2018, 10:41 AM
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Hmmm. Very cool!

I know I'll need at some point...

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #5 of 145 Old 11-17-2018, 05:44 AM
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Steve,
A little interesting story I think. All four of my boys took the high frequency challenge along with me one afternoon. I told them just to hold up their had when they no longer could hear the test tone as it increased in frequency. Of course , I was first but then my 27 year old held up his hand my 19 year old was next , my 16 year old next and my 13 year old was last. This simple test shows something we all know and that is it starts early and is progressive.
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post #6 of 145 Old 11-17-2018, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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In my car last night I was playing some jazz, and moving the hearing aids in and out of my ears, no questions the cymbals and highs were noticeably better on this particular jazz cut (FM radio) using my hearing aids. Then in my theater when I got home, I played some Diana Panton and I heard this same exact phenomena.

For many years in a car, I've been able to talk to the person next to me, but I unfocus on anyone else because I simply have difficulty making out what they say.
Last night, I rode in the front in my daughter Adria's Mazda CX-5 with her husband Patrick driving, and six week old grandson in the back with my daughter and her friend Rachel. Patrick and I talked, and Adria and Rachel talked, and I could make out and understand what everyone was saying without even trying. In the past the rear sear conversation would have just been bothersome background noise!

Turns out my daughter's friend Rachel is a rare teacher working with children who does sign language. So as I discussed my "new" demo hearing aids, turns out my Audiologist is on her list to recommend for her students, that Phonak (that I have) is the brand they widely recommend and what is generally used, and she discussed the differences make for children who are hard of hearing. Interesting!

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post #7 of 145 Old 11-17-2018, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I just watched the 4k blu ray of "BlackkKlansman". At times has a nice musical score. Its easy for me to pop in and out the hearing aid earpiece, which I did a half dozen times. No question with the hearing aid engaged, the music is more full bodied with appreciably clearer highs. Very very pleased.

An interesting discussion I found on frequency response and audiology testing in this regard:

https://www.reddit.com/r/audiology/c...m_content=PSR1

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 If I recommend a dealer It will be a person to person recommendation and if a dealer tells you I refer to them don’t believe it! ! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade awaiting July/August 2019!

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post #8 of 145 Old 11-17-2018, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

I am listening to some higher frequency harp music, Lavinia Meijer "Philip Glass: Metamorphosos; The Hours", from NativeDSD.com. Hauntingly beautiful music! I read that such high frequencies may be problematic or require adjustment in programming for hearing aids. Sounds great without the Phoneks. With the Phoneks, sounds a bit different, may well be my better hearing. But I also seems to be hearing and feeling more vibrations, so of neat, but sort of seem to be giving me a minor bit of a headache. Without the Phoneks no headache issue at all, but don't feel the vibrations as much. This is the sort of thing I need to keep track of and discuss with my Audiologist as she can make adjustments. Although I have the Phoneks back in now and I seem to be doing better - may be my ear/brain getting used to the "improved" sound?
Listening to this again. No headache issue this time with hearing aids engaged. Apparently my ear/brain is getting used to hearing some higher frequency info compared to before!

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 If I recommend a dealer It will be a person to person recommendation and if a dealer tells you I refer to them don’t believe it! ! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade awaiting July/August 2019!
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post #9 of 145 Old 11-18-2018, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Bill Cunliffe a jazz trio at The Nash last night. Once again, hearing aids vs no hearing aids, hearing aids a smash hit winner! Percussion, cymbals, even drums, I can hear the difference. Piano absolutely. The presentation has a higher more natural pitch (I never would have known this before the hearing aids) which is more well rounded/3D. And it was easier talking with my friends in a busy restaurant before the concert.

Take this rudimentary hearing test below. From my own experience, if you have difficulty hearing any test tones 8 kHz or below, then from my own experience you are a prime candidate for hearing aids. Or based on other stuff I've discussed in this thread!

As an audiophile one can spend big bucks on new speakers, amps, or a surround processor/preamp. But my own experience here is that if one has particular hearing limitations, hearing aids designed and programmed for not just speech but audiophile concerns this is just as important if not more important.

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post #10 of 145 Old 11-18-2018, 05:30 PM
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Music mode for hearing aids

As an FYI for hearing aid users that may not be aware of this, certain hearing aid brands can be programmed with a music mode. Hearing aids are designed to correct hearing deficits within normal speaking frequencies. Selecting music Mode extends that frequency both lower and higher, thus allowing listeners a superior musical experience.
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post #11 of 145 Old 11-18-2018, 05:40 PM
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I am 70 years old and been listening to loud rock music for the last 50+ years, also a musician who has been in bands. My hearing was shot a long time ago. About five years ago I got tested and my hearing dies around 4K. Medicare won't cover hearing aids and they are radically expensive. So I found so inexpensive hearing aids online made by MD. Cost me $600 for a pair. They really help understand speech but loud music was too distorted. I wore them for a year but stopped wearing them since I live alone and don't talk to a lot of people but I do spend a lot of time listening to music.

https://www.mdhearingaid.com/en/prod...g-aid-air-pair

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post #12 of 145 Old 11-18-2018, 05:47 PM
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I have tinnitus since I was 32(combat and mortars and way too much time in c130's) and I have noticed its worsening based off of meds for high blood pressure and depression meds. I have to take the bp meds so I tried not taking depression meds like lexapro, wellbutrin, and just about all of em....and some days the tinnitus went away and I felt like new man. some days I can hear all the detail and some I cant....I really enjoy the days I hear very well. the days I dont is just normal.

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post #13 of 145 Old 11-18-2018, 10:39 PM
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torii,

I have/had tinnitus also and in case you weren't aware, it's correlated with hearing loss.

What happens is that the brain tries to replace the missing high freq by generating spurious signals.

Hearing loss is also associated with dementia and Alzheimers, which is ascribed to the loss of sensory/brain stimulation and isolation from loss in communication with others.

Since getting HA's from Costco my tinnitus is vastly reduced.

I got the Rextons because they were the only ones with rechargeable batteries and because the technician, who was formerly (and now again) a digital hearing aid engineer, told me that all of the better aids use essentially the same speaker transducer and chips, and that the differences are in the programming.

They also have a Music mode which disables a lot of the speech-intelligibility processing.

Music/movie watching was greatly improved, especially surround, as so many effects/ambience are mid/high freq; I have a huge notch in my sensitivity at 3 kHz and a sloped-down treble as well.

Noah

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post #14 of 145 Old 11-19-2018, 02:53 AM
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at 71, I have some hearing loss, and even with a high end system, I get fatigue and distortion when listening to music, so I may be interested in these devices

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post #15 of 145 Old 11-19-2018, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
torii,

I have/had tinnitus also and in case you weren't aware, it's correlated with hearing loss.

What happens is that the brain tries to replace the missing high freq by generating spurious signals.

Hearing loss is also associated with dementia and Alzheimers, which is ascribed to the loss of sensory/brain stimulation and isolation from loss in communication with others.

Since getting HA's from Costco my tinnitus is vastly reduced.

I got the Rextons because they were the only ones with rechargeable batteries and because the technician, who was formerly (and now again) a digital hearing aid engineer, told me that all of the better aids use essentially the same speaker transducer and chips, and that the differences are in the programming.

They also have a Music mode which disables a lot of the speech-intelligibility processing.

Music/movie watching was greatly improved, especially surround, as so many effects/ambience are mid/high freq; I have a huge notch in my sensitivity at 3 kHz and a sloped-down treble as well.
Yes the links I provided when I started this thread discuss that hearing issues can cause/contribute to tinnitus and headaches - particularly the link I am reprinting below - and in my case my tinnitus and headaches have improved greatly over the past 6 days of using the hearing aids.

https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociet...arry-deniston/ (article has link to click with detailed written presentation from some San Francisco audiologists).

Your comment that "Music/movie watching was greatly improved, especially surround, as so many effects/ambience are mid/high freq" I have found to be so true!

The Phonak demo hearing aids that I have also have rechargeable batteries which last an entire day before needing recharging.

I was so impressed with my Audiologist, with 17 years experience in the field and a Ph.D. which is required to be an Audiologist, that I most probably will buy my hearing aids from her. However, I have an appointment with Costco in a few hours to see how their hearing test compares and what they recommend for how much, as well as the education and experience of the tech or whoever helps me. Interesting that the person who helped you at Costco said he's a "digital hearing aid engineer". Did you ask him what this entails, education, degrees, etc.? My bet is that is what they all say and that no degree is even required. But I will find out in a few hours and let you know my experience. I am not knocking Costco. Its just that my audiophile research on hearing aids indicates a number of audiophiles have advised how important it is to get an Audiologist with experience and who can work with you to program and adjust the hearing aids so they work best for you with your particular hearing loss and to improve music (and therefore movies/tv) optimally. That's not saying that the Costco "technician" or "engineer" or whatever won't do a good job for you. But I'm a died-in-the-wool audiophile and tweaker so I can the most, not average!

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post #16 of 145 Old 11-19-2018, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah katz View Post
What happens is that the brain tries to replace the missing high freq by generating spurious signals.

Just to complete the thought in case it wasn't obvious, restoring (at least some of*) the missing freq results in the brain reducing/stopping their spurious generation.

* As Steve said, HA mfgr's are only concerned with up to 8 kHz, but I don't know how high in freq they actually go. Judging by their size, I expect their capability should be well into the ultrasonic range.


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The Phonak demo hearing aids that I have also have rechargeable batteries which last an entire day before needing recharging.
Good to know, I'll consider them when my Rextons die.


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Interesting that the person who helped you at Costco said he's a "digital hearing aid engineer". Did you ask him what this entails, education, degrees, etc.?

Yes, I know that sounds suspicious, but he certainly had a lot more technical knowledge than the clueless audiologist I spoke to at Kaiser.

It was hard to tell exactly how much because his English wasn't very good; I assumed that was why he couldn't find work as an engineer.

When he told me he was leaving Costco and going back to work as an engineer, my thought was that he had found a company where his Chinese and limited English was enough (shouldn't be that hard here in Silicon Valley).

Noah
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post #17 of 145 Old 11-19-2018, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Just to complete the thought in case it wasn't obvious, restoring (at least some of*) the missing freq results in the brain reducing/stopping their spurious generation.

* As Steve said, HA mfgr's are only concerned with up to 8 kHz, but I don't know how high in freq they actually go. Judging by their size, I expect their capability should be well into the ultrasonic range.




Good to know, I'll consider them when my Rextons die.





Yes, I know that sounds suspicious, but he certainly had a lot more technical knowledge than the clueless audiologist I spoke to at Kaiser.

It was hard to tell exactly how much because his English wasn't very good; I assumed that was why he couldn't find work as an engineer.

When he told me he was leaving Costco and going back to work as an engineer, my thought was that he had found a company where his Chinese and limited English was enough (shouldn't be that hard here in Silicon Valley).
You simply had a poor Audiologist. The trick is finding a top notch competent one also with experience for those listening to live music! And your hearing aid tech at Costco made himself out to be something he's not. See my post below and you'll understand better.

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 If I recommend a dealer It will be a person to person recommendation and if a dealer tells you I refer to them don’t believe it! ! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade awaiting July/August 2019!
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Yes the links I provided when I started this thread discuss that hearing issues can cause/contribute to tinnitus and headaches - particularly the link I am reprinting below - and in my case my tinnitus and headaches have improved greatly over the past 6 days of using the hearing aids.

https://sanfranciscoaudiophilesociet...arry-deniston/ (article has link to click with detailed written presentation from some San Francisco audiologists).

Your comment that "Music/movie watching was greatly improved, especially surround, as so many effects/ambience are mid/high freq" I have found to be so true!

The Phonak demo hearing aids that I have also have rechargeable batteries which last an entire day before needing recharging.

I was so impressed with my Audiologist, with 17 years experience in the field and a Ph.D. which is required to be an Audiologist, that I most probably will buy my hearing aids from her. However, I have an appointment with Costco in a few hours to see how their hearing test compares and what they recommend for how much, as well as the education and experience of the tech or whoever helps me. Interesting that the person who helped you at Costco said he's a "digital hearing aid engineer". Did you ask him what this entails, education, degrees, etc.? My bet is that is what they all say and that no degree is even required. But I will find out in a few hours and let you know my experience. I am not knocking Costco. Its just that my audiophile research on hearing aids indicates a number of audiophiles have advised how important it is to get an Audiologist with experience and who can work with you to program and adjust the hearing aids so they work best for you with your particular hearing loss and to improve music (and therefore movies/tv) optimally. That's not saying that the Costco "technician" or "engineer" or whatever won't do a good job for you. But I'm a died-in-the-wool audiophile and tweaker so I can the most, not average!
OK. I had my Costco hearing aid eval today with a tech "Bob". Initially I didn't tell them I had seen an Audiologist and worn hearing aids the past 6 days, not until my hearing evaluation was done with his recommendation did I discuss this with him.

"Bob" is a very very nice person. He has been with Costco some years, moving up to do this the past 8 years. Very honest. Very up front about his knowledge and experience. He was trained for one month coursewise - then spent a year working with an experienced hearing aid tech before being on his own. He admitted Costco is a "volume" hearing aid seller - you come in for the exam, they can give you some demos to try, and then if you buy the setup once and that's it. No further adjustments re your concerns. Costco sells hearing aids strictly for speech intelligibility, he couldn't respond to my audiophile concerns at all. When he was in Scottsdale 55% of his customers bought hearing aids from Costco; in Mesa now this is higher at 70%. And for children with hearing issues, Costco will not sell hearing aids for them without a written prescription and permission from an Audiologist.

The test chamber at the Audiologist was far more damped and was above floor level some, which the Audiologist explained was necessary for proper testing re ear pressure. Costco's test chamber was ground level and not hardly damped in comparison. Whereas the Audiologist was outside the test chamber for the testing, at Costco he was sitting a foot across from me, hitting buttons for the test. And the Costco test earphones/earbuds seemed quite skimpy compared to those at the Audiologist. The Costco tech told me their test tones only go to 6.3 kHz, yet literature and their own test graph, and my Audiologist, confirm testing is to 8 kHz.

The results: Mild to Moderate hearing loss within the tested ranges. Same as Audiologist.

The Costco tech told me within his training and experience he does not even recommend hearing aids. Then I politely educated him how I had been tested 6 days ago by an Audiologist, how I'd been wearing demo Phonak hearing aids since then, how they improved both music/audio and speech intelligibility whether in a car or restaurant or especially at the Rodney Crowell concert where I understood every single word sung without effort.
He was quite amazed! He agreed that I am one of those cases, as an audiophile, where I am far better served with the Audiologist.

My Costco sells the Phonak Brio 3 R-C, and several other brands of hearing aids, including their house brand Kirkland, which are the cheapest. These Phonaks sell for $1,249.99 to $1,349.99, with accessories from $84.00 to $249.99. Costco's Phonak model appears to emphasize speech not music as you go to Costco's website and then it links to a special Phonak website (for Costco only) for the Brio 3 R-C model, which is not listed on the Phonak website:

https://www.costco.com/phonak.html and https://www.brio.phonak.com/us/en.html

https://www.phonak.com/us/en/hearing...k-audeo-b.html

As the Phonek website states, the Phonak Audio B (that I am demoing):

"Phonak Audéo B hearing aids were created to simplify your life and make hearing effortless. What makes Audéo B so special is its unique operating system called AutoSense OS. It senses your surroundings and adjusts your hearing aids every step of the way. All you have to do is turn them on, and the rest is automatic."

The Costco/Phonak website makes no mention of their model having Autosense OS, which I understand has an awful lot of modes including music depending upon what you are hearing and auto adjusts modes so you can't even tell (I sure can't). And the Costco tech didn't seem to have knowledge of this feature.

Now price is another story. It may be you get what you pay for. My Audiologist told me the price, discounted some from MSRP, would be in the range of $2,000 to $2,900 for Phonek hearing aids, depending upon which model I get. The Costco tech thought the Audiologist must have meant per each hearing aid, not for both! I don't think so. I'll find out next week on Tuesday when i go back in to my Audiologist. My Audiologist said she would be following up with me and making adjustments, and that the intitial adjustments already made were for me as a beginner and more adjustments/programming would be made.

I have been a Costco member since like 1981. Love Costco. But when it comes to more expensive items like appliances, I have often found as good or better prices and features elsewhere. You've got to shop!

Also, although Costco online shows it carries like five different company hearing aid models, what each Costco store carries depends on the buyer for each store. The Costco I went to carries all of them. The Costco tech said another store in Mesa only carries Rexton!

I will keep you updated!!!

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post #19 of 145 Old 11-19-2018, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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A bit of research on the Phonak Brio 3 (Costco) vs Audeo B (Audiologist) hearing aids:

https://www.hearingtracker.com/ask/a...nd-performance

"Audeo uses a newer chip built and introduced to the market at the beginning of 2015, whereas Brio uses an older chip built in 2012. A few benefits of the newer chip in Audeo 90 are: Automatic Auto sense, comfort in car, comfort in echo, and good quality of music."

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Here's a weblink with a chart showing the frequency ranges of male and female voices and musical instruments. Interesting! And depending on one's audiogram measurements and hearing loss (if any) may help explain what one is hearing & not hearing!

https://www.audio-issues.com/music-m...ull-ever-need/

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post #21 of 145 Old 11-21-2018, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post
And your hearing aid tech at Costco made himself out to be something he's not. See my post below and you'll understand better.

You can't possibly know that.



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He admitted Costco is a "volume" hearing aid seller - you come in for the exam, they can give you some demos to try, and then if you buy the setup once and that's it. No further adjustments re your concerns.

Not so, at least at my Costco.

In the beginning I went back several times for no-cost program tweaking, and once a couple of years later.

They also provide free cleanings and dome replacement.


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The Costco tech thought the Audiologist must have meant per each hearing aid, not for both!

That may be the case; I paid $2800 for the Rextons, and I've heard elsewhere that HA's are quoted per each.

Noah
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Noah, believe what you want! Its your $$$. If you Google onto Audiologist forums you will learn Costco sells non-Kirkland hearing aid models the prior chip generation. And if you think Costco pays the $$$ for Ph.D. Audiologists when I asked the right questions and received truthful answers that my hearing aid tech worked at Costco prior, got one month training, then a one year "internship" working with a Costco hearing aid tech, before going on his own. Currently, Costco sells its Phonak Brio 3 model per pair from $2500 - $2700, again, based on the 2012 chip. You can buy the more current with more features, later chip, Phonak Audio B-R 50 with Autosense for $2600 https://idealhearingaids.com/hearing...s#.W_W20XdFyF4 Your "audio engineer" is nothing of the sort - I got an honest hearing aid tech, you did not. Yes, your tech was willing to make some adjustments for you beyond the initial adjustments. But most like mine discourage this. And they do not have the years of education and training to compete with Ph.D. Audiologist, mine with 17 years of experience.

I like Costco. If I see their Optometrist I save $25 over what a private Optomestrist will charge me. But I am so glad my sister got after me five years ago to see a top Opthalmologist, who referred me to an Opthalmologist Surgeon for partial cornea transplants and cataract removal each eye. The Optometrist simply doesn't have to training and experience in this regard and didn't even identify the potential issues to make a referral in the first place. Its no different with hearing aids! Its good to know Costco's limits.

And over the years, I have found expensive appliances I can get as good or better deals with better features buying at a local discount appliance store as opposed to Costco.

Nonetheless, I still buy too much stuff at Costco, but I ask questions and do research! Especially for true audiophiles, recommending use of a good private Audiologist with experience and responsive to audiophile concerns (and finding a good one, not a poor one) is a must!

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post #23 of 145 Old 11-21-2018, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Note there is a thread which I started discussing hearing aids also at:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threa...6/#post-541403

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its nice to know VA should have my back if ever need hearing aids...


https://www.hearingtracker.com/ask/w...s-the-va-offer

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its nice to know VA should have my back if ever need hearing aids...


https://www.hearingtracker.com/ask/w...s-the-va-offer
Yes, the VA has great buying power as they provide 20% of the hearing aids in the U.S. So the VA gets the hearing aids for much better prices than do private companies and Audiologists. The issue with the VA is waiting time for appointments but once you get to the hearing specialists, you should be well taken care of at the government's cost!

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Excellent article on over the counter hearing aids/devices:

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/o...-for-everyone/

Excellent articles discussing how earing aids work and types of hearing aids:

http://www.hearingreviews.com/best-hearing-aids/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-...s/art-20044116

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My demo hearing aids are Phonak Audeo B-R (R for rechargeable).

Next week Phonak's new Marvel series is coming out, with nice improvements albeit somewhat higher price. I will be discussing this with my Audiologist next Tuesday.

Detailed info on the new Marvel series:

https://www.hearingaidknow.com/phonak-launches-marvel

https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/show....php?t=1158431 If I recommend a dealer It will be a person to person recommendation and if a dealer tells you I refer to them don’t believe it! ! 9.4.13 Trinnov Altitude 32 Theatre renovation/upgrade awaiting July/August 2019!

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post #28 of 145 Old 11-22-2018, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
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Your "audio engineer" is nothing of the sort - I got an honest hearing aid tech, you did not.

That's rather presumptuous.

He told me details of hearing aid components and their sourcing which audiologists aren't likely to know or care about, and regarding pay, have you not heard of educated immigrants driving cabs because they lack English skills?

Regardless, I don't know nor care if he was an engineer or not, nor did I make any claims of his services compared to audiologists', nor is it germane here, so how about we drop it.


What is germane is what services an audiologist can provide that are relevant to audiophiles.

As far as I can tell HA mfgr's and audiologists are focused on speech intelligibility and processing for dealing with noisy environments, etc.

What can they do for us other than tell us to use the program with the least processing?

To be clear, I don't mean to imply that I know that the answer is "nothing"; maybe I didn't get the best service/advice.



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Next week Phonak's new Marvel series is coming out, with nice improvements albeit somewhat higher price. I will be discussing this with my Audiologist next Tuesday.

Please ask if any of the improvements are related to basic transduction quality or anything of interest to audiophiles.

Noah
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That's rather presumptuous.

He told me details of hearing aid components and their sourcing which audiologists aren't likely to know or care about, and regarding pay, have you not heard of educated immigrants driving cabs because they lack English skills?

Regardless, I don't know nor care if he was an engineer or not, nor did I make any claims of his services compared to audiologists', nor is it germane here, so how about we drop it.


What is germane is what services an audiologist can provide that are relevant to audiophiles.

As far as I can tell HA mfgr's and audiologists are focused on speech intelligibility and processing for dealing with noisy environments, etc.

What can they do for us other than tell us to use the program with the least processing?

To be clear, I don't mean to imply that I know that the answer is "nothing"; maybe I didn't get the best service/advice.






Please ask if any of the improvements are related to basic transduction quality or anything of interest to audiophiles.
No question Audiology over the years has been primarily concerned with speech. However, in recent years improvements have been made for automatic (and in case of Phonak Autosense as far as I can tell so far also seamless) switching of modes for different environments, including music. In past, some manufacturers have had manual switching of modes, some had music. But my web sleuthing, and my Audiologist, advise that its best, if one can afford, to have seamless automatic switching of modes including music.

Now I am not an expert re each brand and how they work and features. I have researched Phonak as my Audiologist was of the opinion, given our lengthy discussion, that this would be the best for my concerns.

My web sleuthing indicates Phonak had the first Autosense with models that came out in 2012 (but its not in all models, not the cheapest models)
(the current Costco Phonak Brio 3 appears to use the 2012 chip); the second Autosense came out late 2015 with a newer chip, the Bolero line, of which my demo is; and Autosense 3 comes out this next week with the Marvel line.

So two weeks ago next Tuesday, my Audiologist provided me with demo of Phonak B-R with Autosense. Per my web research, this must be either the B70 or B90 models as they are the only ones with Autosense. I will be discussing with my Audiologist the Phonak M-R (Marvel Rechargable) just coming out next week, if she has a demo for me the try, how this may benefit me as an Audiophile given my mild to moderate hearing loss, so I can decide if the extra expense is worth it to me. My gut from the bit I could read on the web is that the Marvel with a faster more powerful chip and newer software with the third version of Autosense (Autosense 3.0) may be even better for hearing sound in 360 degrees with higher frequency extension, but I really don't know for sure, the Marvel is so new just coming out! The Marvel also can be remotely programmed by the Audiologist, so if I have an issue, I get her on the phone, discuss my issue, and she can reprogram - pretty cool, but of course at an extra cost for the Marvel!

My concerns as an Audiophile, one who frequents a lot of live music, mean that I am willing to consider spending more for a hearing aid, as opposed to a "normal" person concerned simply about hearing.

Today, I took my family to an Italian restaurant in Scottsdale, Buca Di Beppo, for Thanksgiving. Very busy, very noisy. Usually, I would be quiet, not listen much to folks talking, and have bit of headache from all the noise. Not tonight. Noise was in the background and everyone at my table was easy to understand. I could even eavesdrop some on other tables nearby. And no headache! A few times I took the hearing aids out briefly and I could hear the difference. The Autosense switched the hearing aid for the noisy restaurant without me doing anything (I'm sure some other hearing aids, again more expensive than ones that don't have this auto feature, do this as well).

I will post as I follow up with my Audiologist and each step of the way how I am doing.

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post #30 of 145 Old 11-23-2018, 09:52 AM
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I always test pretty good at the audiologist but know I have some tinnitus, hear some high pitched noise in my ears at night when lying in a quiet bed. I’ve know for quite a while that I suffered some ear damage from too many really loud rock concerts in the early 70’s, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Spirit with Randy California and his guitar turned up to 12 and lastly a Dead concert at the Garden circa 1988 or so come to mind. After that last show my ears rang for days and hearing was a bit muffled. After that I got professional ear plugs made that a drummer friend recommended, fit for my ears but linear, so they lowered the SPL in a more linear way as to not kill the sound like foam plugs. That was 30 years ago and have never attended a concert or even most movies without using them. Definitely stabilized my hearing, hasn’t gotten much worse since. Hearing aids for audiophiles is a strange concept, not sure my MIT auricle cables would fit in my ears! But so be it, I guess we are not as deaf as most of the rock musicians that we idolized growing up, Pete Townsend for example. Soon someone like Martin Logan will be marketing ELS hearing aids for audiophiles. Good luck and thanks for the info. Regards joining you soon, Ned.
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