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Thread: Hearing Aids

  1. #1
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    Default Hearing Aids

    I have just been fitted with hearing aids. They are wonderful except when I play my mandolin. I have an Eastman MD305 which I am really happy with (pre hearing aids). Now when I play it and have my hearing aids switched on it sounds dreadful; tinny, jangly and out of tune. I have had an experienced friend play it and he says it sounds fine to him. I have an appointment with the audiologist in 2 weeks and will speak to him about it and hopefully he can adjust something. My short term solution is to switch off the hearing aids when I play.
    Has anyone else had this problem?
    Just another one of those "joys" of getting old.

  2. #2
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    It takes a while to adjust to hearing aids, especially as you've probably been hard of hearing for some time, and have no idea what the norm is. When I first got hearing aids, sounds sometimes seemed very intense. It reminded me of being a child, and I had to wonder, is this what my hearing is supposed to be like or are the devices tuned too loudly? At first, I had to turn the volume down when I played the mandolin. Then I started thinking, perhaps I'm used to playing too hard, so now I leave the volume at normal range and try to play more softly. When I first got hearing aids, I went to a fiddle lesson. My teacher, who didn't know about the hearing aids said, "Finally, you've lightened up on your bowing." Give it time and experiment with volume. Still, you may find it difficult to separate your instrument from others when jamming. I don't think there's a solution to that, other than keeping musical groups small.
    Last edited by Ranald; Oct-25-2019 at 9:10pm.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

  3. #3
    Registered User rockies's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    I had the same dreadful sound on my old hearing aids, took them out to play. The problem is the lack of bandwidth, hearing aids are designed mostly for speech and the audio bandwidth slopes off at around 5 kHz. Music has tones well up to 20 kHz so sound especially mandolin is terrible. My new hearing aids (year old) are made by Starkey and they have a switchable music channel with a bandwidth of 10 kHz. Not perfect but my ears are not perfect either but is quite adequate. Mind you this technology is not inexpensive. Good luck with the problem.
    Dave
    Heiden A, '52 Martin D-18, Taylor 510, Carlson Custom A with Electronics

  4. #4
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    My hearing aids have four "programs" that I can chose from. Automatic, Noisy/Party, Television and Playing music. I can switch between them using an app on my phone. If I use the "playing music" function, instruments sound pretty natural. Without it, the mandolin sounds dreadful indeed!
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

  5. #5
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    Mine have three settings and all were personally dialed in by the audiologist. The third setting is specifically set for playing music. We sat in the control room as I went about playing the mandolin and guitar and commenting on the tweeking being done until we got to a sweet spot that has served me well for years now.

    Billy

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    Billy Packard
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  7. #6

    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    "sounds dreadful; tinny, jangly and out of tune" reminds me of my playing. Now with hearing aids, you know just how crappy we've been playing all this time, blissfully unaware. Kidding aside, I think the solution is $10,000 hearing aids and a $10,000 mandolin!!! I'm only at -10db so far, so "not a candidate" for hearing aids at this time. From everything I've read on music forums though, it sounds like you really do have to spend an outrageous amount of money to get decent hearing aids, and then it's still a compromise. I hope your audiologist can get them adjust to your satisfaction.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    Thanks for all the replies. Alas I think that the solution may be very expensive hearing aids, which I can't afford. So I will talk to my audiologist to see if there is a work around or alternatively just turn them off when I play.
    Cheers.

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  10. #8

    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    Quote Originally Posted by David Kennedy View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. Alas I think that the solution may be very expensive hearing aids, which I can't afford. So I will talk to my audiologist to see if there is a work around or alternatively just turn them off when I play.
    Cheers.
    So... just thinking about a cost-effective solution. What about some basic studio headphones, quite good ones can be had for $40-50, a decent microphone, and a preamp which lets you monitor as you play? Not ideal, but with your hearing aids out, I'd think you could get a good representation of your tone. I don't think there's any solution that won't require you to turn off and/or remove the hearing aids due to their basic processing being pretty extreme for the purposes of communication.

  11. #9
    Registered User Roger Adams's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    Quote Originally Posted by David Kennedy View Post
    Thanks for all the replies. Alas I think that the solution may be very expensive hearing aids, which I can't afford. So I will talk to my audiologist to see if there is a work around or alternatively just turn them off when I play.
    Cheers.
    I got my hearing aids at Costco. The cost was less than you might think. Worth checking out, in any case!
    If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a vet.

  12. #10

    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    I almost cried the first time I played my mandolin after getting my hearing aids, because my very good mandolin sounded tinny and jangly, and I was so disappointed. I eventually adjusted to hearing my instrument through my new hearing aids. I turn my hearing aids down to the lowest volume possible which helps a lot. It does take a little time for your brain to get used to the new sounds, and at first they sound strange. But your brain will adjust. Now I don't like to play without my hearing aids because I miss all the tones of my instrument that are missing without the assistance of my hearing aids. Don't give up!

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  14. #11

    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    I have hearing aid that have a bass and treble control. For playing mandolin, I find that I have to turn down the treble quite a bit on the hearing aids - or take them off!
    My hearing aids (made by Siemens) go up to 12K.

  15. #12
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Packard View Post
    Mine have three settings and all were personally dialed in by the audiologist. The third setting is specifically set for playing music. We sat in the control room as I went about playing the mandolin and guitar and commenting on the tweeking being done until we got to a sweet spot that has served me well for years now.

    Billy

    billypackardmandolin.com

    I say Billy. Could you give me an idea of your settings for the music "sweet spot" please? I play guitar, mandolin, bass and keyboards (like to record myself by overdubbing) but it is listening to vocals (and particularly mine) that have started to sound a bit a thin and trebly of late. Even on older recordings of my voice. Any advice would be welcome. I have four different controls on my iphone: conversation, restaurant (a nightmare I have to admit), outdoors, music (and a space to save "favourites").

  16. #13
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    I have hearing aids but don't wear them while I play !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

  17. #14
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hearing Aids

    I have good aids but really enjoy playing without them, mostly.

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