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Hearing Aids

Discussion in 'audio' started by KeithL, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. KeithL

    KeithL pfm Member

    My hearing has been gradually declining over the past 5 years, exasperated lately by bouts of low frequency tinnitus which tends to distort everything.

    The gradual hearing loss was something I could accept but the added distortion from the low frequency tinnitus was very disheartening. My GP eventually sent me to have a hearing test at Specsavers. I came away with a pair of NHS Siemens Teneo S+ hearing aids. I was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss.

    I struggled with the Siemens for 4 months. They sounded spectacularlly horrible. Sure, I could hear Moira Stewart's news broadcasts in the car but most sounds were compressed and crashy. The HiFi rig sounded dreadful.

    I stopped listening to my Hifi and left the Siemens in the drawer. The tinnitus came and went and came back.

    I had MRI scans which showed nothing sinister. So I bit the bullet and tried a local independent audiologist. After a lengthy consultation I have a pair of Unitron North 500 on a two weeks demo. They are on the bottom rung of the price scale. Yet they are delivering a very aceptable sound. Most things sound natural. The crashy compressed sound of the NHS pair is gone. Dare I say, my Hifi sounds ok; deep bass is compromissed but the rest of the frequencies are clear and natural.

    This pair of Unitron aids can be programmed to give better performance in 5 different stages. I am interested how the Pro level will sound.

    My experience of hearing aids is limited to the Siemens Teneo S+ which are BTE (behind the ear) and the Unitron which are RIC (receiver in canal). The main difference between the two types is that the Siemens uses a hollow tube to conduct the sound from the hearing aid to the ear canal and the Unitron uses a wire to connect sound from the hearing aid to a speaker in the ear canal.

    I did briefly try a pair of Sharkey Muse 2400 which are top the range RIC hearing aids which sounded fabulous and natural. I may come back to them in due course. Meanwhile I'll see where I get with Unitron and its various levels of programs.

    Another reason for being pleased with the Unitron pair is that they actually stay in my ear canal. No matter what size dome I tried with the Siemens, the domes always popped out of my ear canals within minutes.

    The reason for this post is to give hope to music fans who have moderate hearing loss. Modern hearing aids are very capable of reproducing music.
  2. Still

    Still beware of the duck

    Thanks very much for posting a heart warming tale.
    I find the thought of sensory loss genuinely frightening.

    I've some unexplained numbness in my toes currently, so on my mind.

    Cheers - John
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Interesting to know the NHS stuff can easily be beaten when I get to that point. I'm ok at present for a 54 year old; nothing much of note above 10kHz, a slight dip around 5-6kHz in my right ear which screws up imaging a bit and a very slight degree of tinnitus, but only audible in a silent room. I imagine it will only go downhill from here so I'm very conscious about avoiding noise/loud music these days and haven't gone to anything bar classical concerts without earplugs for decades now. I'm determined to keep what I have left for as long as possible. I've all but given up rock gigs now to be honest. Haven't been to one for years now.

    PS My hearing loss dates from the '80s when I was in a band, I started using plugs as soon as I realised there was an issue, but by that point it is too late. Most of my muso friends are pretty seriously deaf now, such is indie guitar music! I escaped far better than most!
  4. KeithL

    KeithL pfm Member

    It's rare that you find anything written about hearing aids' SQ. Even now some audiologist seem to be operating behind closed doors. Until recently it was impossible to get price comparisons. Now Boots publish their price structure for given models as do some online sites.
  5. muzzer

    muzzer Numb Nut

    Just hope the hifi companies don't jump on the audiophile hearing aid bandwagon;)
  6. JemHayward

    JemHayward pfm Member

    A friend of mine (who isn't a hifi or really even a music enthusiast) went through a similar experience, the NHS offering wasn't great, so he went to a private audiologist and ended up spending serious (even in hifi terms) money on the re-sound system which he says are dramatically clearer, and even have selectable directivity - a bit like the KII speakers so he can 'point' his hearing where he wants it, all controlled my his iPhone. When his phone rings it just connects to his aids, so suddenly he's speaking to someone else, half way through a conversation! I think there are some good audiologists and products out there.
  7. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    This interesting. I'm in the process of dumping all of my gear because the wife finds both of my systems unbearable at anything approaching an acceptable volume.

    She uses the Siemens Teneo and gets on with them well in all other respects. Your corroboration of the problems they cause with music will make the sacrifice much more bearable.
  8. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I've an appointment this week with a doctor with a view to finally having a go with hearing aids. My first flu jab 3+ years ago knocked out hearing in my right ear, but it did come back gradually, to about 40% down, according to my last test at Hidden Hearing.

    My enjoyment of music is undiminished, however, despite my not hearing people and TV etc. too well. I thought I could wear aids for sports and generally, yet take them or it out when listening to music. The thought of hearing music through further and highly compromised amplification is a bridge I won't cross.

    Maybe I'm wrong and things are not that simple with aids, as my only experience was with my mother's nearly 50 years ago (and they weren't very good!) You wrote 'exasperated' but I think you meant 'exacerbated'; both are quite apposite, though, I guess.:)
  9. KeithL

    KeithL pfm Member

    The premium Sharkey aids have full iPhone Bluetooth integration which I find appealing and non-appealing in equal measures.
  10. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Much of the improvement (or not) will be determined by the nature of your hearing loss. Even very expensive ones may not give a satisfactory result- particularly for music.
  11. KeithL

    KeithL pfm Member

    Ray - please congratulate the missus for managing to keep the domes in her ears. However you may wish to keep shtum about the fact the Teneo are very compromised as far as SQ goes.

    Some peeps don't give a fig about SQ.
  12. A girlfriend of mine has one in both ears.
    Really small little things with a bit of chord that flips over the back of the ear.
    I tried one on my right ear.
    What a difference it made.:cool:
  13. The Far North

    The Far North pfm Member

    I have a general absence of higher frequency hearing and have a single Danalogic CS61 bte hearing aid from the NHS. In all honesty, it isn't a wonderful device for music and I don't use it for that, mainly using it for TV instead. I also use it in some social and work situations, but find I have a tolerance limit of only a few hours. I suspect that anything actually inside my ear would give me the same tolerance issues, since I've never been able to get on with earbuds, so the more expensive aids may not even be a solution for me and I'm not going to spend thousands finding out. Enjoy things while you can. ;)
  14. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    I think she is well aware that the SQ is compromised, its just that she went for so long with no help at all that it is a massive improvement.

    I had 30 years at a volume i enjoyed and she couldn't appreciate.
  15. barryb

    barryb pfm Member

    Inner hair cell regeneration in humans is nearing closer to reality by the day. In fact, several companies are in a race to bring such a treatment to market. One such company that looks promising is:http://www.frequencytx.com/

    Trials are currently underway. I've a layman's understanding of these things but try keep abreast of developments, certainly interesting times...
  16. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr pfm Member

    Would you not both be better off if you invested in better hearing aids for your wife, perhaps? Then you might not need to dump your system, and you can both go back to enjoying it again.
  17. raysablade

    raysablade pfm Member

    She has never enjoyed it, before she got her hearing aids she could not hear it😉 She's clearly on a journey with hearing enhancement, my luxuries can take a back seat.

    Anyway I think I'm going to enjoy setting up a lower volume nearfield system within a "no floor space" constraint.
  18. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr pfm Member

    Ah, good for you.

    I'm currently getting great results from a NuForce DDA120 into a pair of Eclipse 508s. As a small room, nearfield, or low-level listening experience, it has a lot going for it.
  19. mikemusic

    mikemusic pfm Member

    The other half has an NHS set up and recently went for a test at a local opticians/audiologist.

    He said the NHS kit was at the entry level for hearing aids and his kit at around £3-4000 was very good. (so it should be)

    Sounds like a huge amount of money.
    What sort of money is usually paid for good kit by those who know what they are doing ?
  20. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I'll pop the question again. Don't you remove or disengage a hearing aid when listening to hifi? I intend to do this and nor do I have a balance control on my pre.

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