When you have hearing loss, experiences you once loved – like listening to music – become much harder to enjoy. Your hearing loss may make it so you are unable to tell when a new instrument comes in, or you may have difficulty making out the lyrics. For some people, hearing aids alone combat these issues, allowing them to enjoy their favorite songs once again. For some people, however, hearing aids aren’t enough.
Why Hearing Aids Aren’t Enough
Your hearing aids are programmed to help you hear and understand speech, not necessarily music. Speech typically ranges between 30 and 85 dB, while the range for music is about twice as large. Music also includes more frequencies than speech – a piano has about 40 percent more of a frequency range than a women’s voice.
Older hearing aids can’t handle these large ranges without distorting the sound or making louder sounds uncomfortably loud. Fortunately, newer hearing aids are better at handling these issues, though you still may run into problems with devices that minimize high-frequency feedback – which could mistakenly suppress the high notes of a flute, organ or soprano singer.
Assistive Listening Devices
The best way to ensure you can enjoy the music is to incorporate an assistive listening device. Keep in mind you can talk to your audiologist about trying out one of these devices before you make your purchase.
You can purchase amplified headphones that deliver sounds at a higher volume than standard headphones. Some come with separate equalizers that allow you to boost low, mid or high frequencies as you need.
Alternatively, you can purchase noise-cancelling headphones to wear over your hearing aids. These will deliver sounds at a lower volume, reducing risk of further damaging your hearing, as well as cancel out background noise that can affect your listening experience.
Hearing loops provide a wireless signal you can pick up using the telecoil setting (T-setting) on your hearing aid when using a mobile phone or when inside a theater, church or concert hall.
Remote mics allow you to pick up live sound and stream it to your hearing aid. The mic must be placed near the sound source in order to work.
Streamers are small devices that route sounds from other audio equipment to your hearing aid wirelessly. Many of today’s hearing aids have a streaming program that can be enabled by an audiologist.
For more information about assistive listening devices or to schedule an appointment with your audiologist, call the Hearing & Balance Center at Charleston ENT today.