As a musician, Dr. MacDonald can appreciate the concerns musicians have when fitted with hearing aids. Will these make my instrument sound terrible? Will they be so loud it’s uncomfortable? How will it affect the sound of my voice?
The first question we need to know is – What instrument do you play?
Modern hearing instruments have substantial hardware and software designed for extracting the best signal-to-noise ratio possible. This processing actively alters the amplification in multiple bands simultaneously (as often as 500 times per second). While this is what we need for speech, it is not so great for listening to music.
How we address modern amplification for live music
We don’t want the hearing instruments altering anything about the music (frequency response, compression amounts, acoustic feedback cancellation, reverberation reduction, etc.). As such, a Music Program must be available, either as an automatic mode or a manual program (or sometimes both).
Ironically, this program functions much like analog hearing aids – near linear gain processing, reduced high-frequency response, little to no noise or acoustic feedback cancellation, no directional microphone use – just plain old ‘tuned amplification’ – but with all of the additional digital perks and software of a new hearing aid.
One advantage we have now is the ability to compress loud sounds so they never exceed a safe and comfortable level. Unless you’re a drummer, you don’t need hearing instruments; you need hearing protection.
Pack your violin or guitar for your fitting appointment
Dr. MacDonald prefers that patient bring their instrument to the office so their devices can be fine-tuned based on their subjective assessment of the resulting sound quality. This process guarantees that the wearer can know precisely how their music will sound through their new hearing aids before they leave. We want you to be as comfortable as possible.
Concerts require no boosting in power
Lastly, when listening to live, amplified music, many people remove their hearing instruments as the sound levels will undoubtedly exceed their hearing thresholds. Wearing them can damage your hearing more during a concert. Talk with us if you would like some comfortable concert hearing protection.