Best Hearing Aids for Music LoversAudiology by Accent
Perhaps your life is like a soundtrack or you constantly have a favorite song running through your head. Music is an integral part of life for the majority of the population from young to old. It connects to the emotions on a deep level and can send you back down memory lane in a heartbeat. Music relaxes your mind, motivates your body and inspires your soul. Can you imagine your life without a melody?
Those who suffer from hearing loss, even with the use of a hearing aid, often give up on enjoying their favorite music because it just doesn’t sound the same. Given the technological leaps that have been made over the years, surely a solution looms on the horizon. A recent study reveals that the possibility of truly harmonious sounds exists for the millions of people who rely on hearing aids.
Objective and Subjective Combinations
Termed “Hearing Aids for Music,” this innovative study, conducted by the University of Leeds and Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation, seeks to determine how hearing loss affects the process of listening to music. More specifically, the study examines the way that hearing aids function in a wide variety of musical venues. For example, does a hearing aid work differently at a rock concert than it does at a symphony? How do the technological advances of hearing aids help or hinder one’s ability to hear all aspects of a song?
The study engages with both hearing test results and social and psychological data to explore hearing aid performance in various circumstances and settings. The end goal is to improve existing hearing aid technology in order to assist healthcare professionals as well as hearing aid manufacturers. Providers will be better able to advise patients regarding music, and companies can produce a product geared toward meeting the felt needs of the hearing impaired community.
Hearing aids are designed to amplify speech. Listening to music was not a consideration in the original blueprint. Music offers such a diverse quality of tones while encompassing such a dynamic range that hearing aids simply cannot discern and translate. By way of comparison, human speech falls between 30 decibels and 85 decibels. This means that the range is roughly 50 decibels. Music, on the other hand, has a range of nearly 100 decibels. Hearing aids simply can’t process such a vast range of sound.
Interestingly enough, the simpler the hearing aid, the less musical distortion that is experienced. Technologically advanced hearing aids squeeze loud and soft sounds together in an effort to increase perceived volume; this is great for speech, horrible for music.
The Sound of Music
It is not necessary to remove your hearing aids to fully enjoy music. Here are some steps you can take to enhance the harmony.
- Disable the feedback reduction system
- Turn off the noise-reduction feature
- Set the hearing aid to amplify lower frequencies
- Configure your hearing aid to the music setting
If you choose one of these routes, always remember to reset your hearing aid to its normal setting for daily life activities.
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