Advice on compensating for hearing loss


Here's a puzzle: I'm an 84-year-old music/movie lover with considerable hearing loss (especially upper register), helped to some extent by high-end Oticon hearing aids.  Current system is an Arcam AVR300 receiver and a pair of Von Schweikert  VR-1 bookshelf speakers, old but still working well. What kind of additions/ improvements can I make that would at least  help with dialogue and lyrics and possibly even make music (classical, jazz, bluegrass, folk, rock) more enjoyable? A center speaker?  Which ones (since the Von Schweikert's can't be matched I've been considering everything from Polk CD10 to Elac C5 to Aperion 5C)? Would a subwoofer help? Anything else? I'm not much interested in surround per se unless it helps with the issue. I'm sure I'm not the only senior grappling with these and similar questions. Thanks for any and all suggestions.

jessleo
Here is some advice from someone who is unqualified to give it.....but have you worked with speaker position? As I understand it the high frequency sound projection is fairly direct. In other words, your tweeters need to be aimed. Do you have them toed in so that they point directly at you and as close to ear level as possible?


I assume you’ve visited an audiologist, given the hearing aids. Although shunned by the high-end crowd for years, an equalizer might make sense. There are some good ones, albeit at a price. Perhaps some folks who use them can weigh in-- one area of savings may be to look into EQ used for professional sound applications, rather than audiophile approved products.
I find the dialog on movie soundtracks harder to hear- and goose the volume setting for that on our small home theatre. It may partly be aging and partly how the soundtracks are mixed.
For two channel "purist" audio, I’ve also found significant differences in mixes- for example, the original UK pressing of In the Court of the Crimson King-- an average sounding recording even as a first press pink label, has Lake’s voice very recessed in the mix. The Steve Wilson remix-- which was until recently, only available on digital media but is now out as part of a multi-album LP set, fixes that--you can finally hear Lake’s voice- stunning-- on the track "Epitaph."
I guess my point is that even with profound hearing loss, it’s not all you!
Be interested on some of the other takes people here offer.
Glad you are still rocking your system.
I think I would change speakers,IMO the 15 year old silk tweeter is hiding low level detail & resolution..Advanced coatings & materials put today's speakers wayyy ahead of those that are well over a decade old..Since you have AVR,YES to a CC speaker..Ask V.S.about matching if you stick with them..you could try "brighting"up the room(harder more reflective) which would help with dialog but kill tonal purity..
 Another option & one I highly recommend is adding a good,tube based headphone rig...The listening perspective is different but the low level resolution & detail with the right "cans"brings music to life in a way speakers can't,but then the same can be said vice versa...
 I hope I have the same problem when I'm your age.At 59 now with the life I had I'll be thankful to make 70 hahahah...
Thanks to all. Appreciate the thoughts.
I bought my parents (both with hearing problems) a home theater system for Christmas. After moving to a new house, I installed my KEF "egg" speakers into their system until their speakers could be unpacked. They loved the KEFs which allowed them to hear dialog more easily. So I'd add KEFs to your list.

Another thing you can do is try a sinus drainer like "Mucinex" to make sure nothing is clogged up (may want to talk to your doctor first).
Finally, refrain from eating dairy e.g. whole milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.
Good luck!
@dweller :

Why refrain from dairy?
@n80 - Dairy is a well known mucus maker which blocks sinuses. Your hearing is part of your sinus system. Clear sinuses = easier hearing.
Actually, the mucus and dairy connection was disproved a while back. But for decades we did tell patients not to consume dairy or give their children milk when they had colds, ear infections or sinusitis. But in reality there is no connection.
That is not my experience. 
Jessleo, I have those speakers paired with VonSchweikert's VS1 sub, a perfect match IMO
  • Thanks. Do you have a center speaker?  I 'im sure the VS sub is a great match but  would it help with dialog, lyrics, etc.?
By the way. I consume very little dairy other than cheese.
For movie/tv I would definitely suggest a center channel speaker. If you run an auto calibration go in manually and bump up the center channel until you get the effect you want.

My dad is now 83. Several years ago he was complaining about not being able to watch TV because he couldn't make out the dialog over the soundtrack. He was just using the TV speakers so I set him up with a soundbar that allowed for adjusting the 'Center Channel' level and it was a huge improvement. 
Thanks to everyone. I'll get a center  speaker. Any suggestions given my gear (Von Schweikert VR-1 speakers and an Arcam AVR300).
I'm considering a Polk CD!0, Elac Debut C52 and at the high end (if this would really make a difference) Aperion Intimus 5C. All of those  have soft dome tweeters as do the VS's.
My 84 year old dad said headphones make it much clearer.  However, he hates wearing them.  He just blasts the Zvox sound base.

Have you tried the mono switch on your arcam?  That should help until you find a  matching center.