Is a hearing aid the best possible tweak for 50+

Is a hearing aid the best possible tweak for anyone over 50?

New Digital Hearing Aids With Music Programs.

I am 55 and I have a slight hearing loss (it was first noticed when I was 50 and I had my hearing checked for free at COSTCO).

I recently purchased from COSTCO a Bernafon Chronos 9 hearing aid (Swiss manufacturer) that has a two preprogrammed MUSIC settings. This is the only new digital hearing aids that I found that have these settings.

I was skeptical thinking how can this little microphone, amp and speakers in the hearing aids work with my expensive stereo system.

However COSTCO gives a 90-day money-back guarantee so I decided to give them a try.

WOW was the result for music (typically vinyl), I heard instruments I haven't heard in years. Poor recordings suddenly sound good. Good recording suddenly sound great. All of a sudden Led Zeppelin sounded good to near great as I could now hear Jimmy Page's guitar.

For less than $3,000.00 for the hearing aids I now truly had an outstanding stereo system as follows:

Grado Statement Sonata1 Wood Body Phono Cartridge

JLTI Phono Preamp (Swiss Made and very good)

Linn LP-12 (Valhalla) with a Hadcock 242 tonearm

Sunfire Theater Grand 5 Preamp in Bypass Mode.

Modified and Upgraded Behringer DCX2496 active crossover for Emerald Physics CS2 speakers.

Sunfire Theater Grand 5 matching five channel amp (TGA-5200, 200-watts per channel) for the four channels needed for the bi-amp requirement of the Emerald Physics CS2 speakers (the amplifier’s rear output ("Voltage Source") are connected to the woofer input terminals, the amplifier’s front "Current Source" output to the speaker’s upper range input terminals.

Please note the hearing aids did little to help my overall hearing (except for music) as my hearing aid loss is only slight (I believe it is sloping down to 20 db down at 10,000 hertz). My main complaint is that I cannot hear conversations in load restaurants, movies are fine, etc. t
Good for you for experimenting. Nice to know that this is available. I am 62 and so far blessed with good hearing, but with music being such a love of my life, I would hate to find that pleasure waning in the ensuing years.
Who cares if you can't hear conversations, you can hear music. Best of both worlds. I think I would pay $3000 not to hear most conversations. lol

Only eat at places with good music!
Yes, if you have a significant hearing loss that is correctable. I have worn hearing aids for over fifty years and have been an audiophile for all those years. Always use aids in pairs. Almost all hearing aids are now digital, but there are some analogue still available for those who want to experiment. I think the digital offer the best sound. It was a struggle to find aids that addressed better sound. Look for aids that are used by professional musicians. I've found the key to getting the right 'hearing' fit is to have an audiologist that will work with you and knows what your actual hearing loss is all about. Your actual hearing loss curve needs to be programmed into the aids you use. The one curve fits all does not produce the best outcome. Your curve will change over the years so it may need to be re programmed. Not all 'music' programs are alike. There are some aids on the market that let the wearer do their own programming. Also, the type of ear connection will make a huge difference, in the ear, over the ear etc. Mold design is important too, almost all the same issues of speaker design come into play. Mead Killion is the leader in field of 'audiophile' hearing aids. Mead does not sell hearing aids. Mead's designs are part of the ER ear bud products. Mead's amp designs are far apart from most commercial aids. Seek out his designs in the products made by the General Hearing firm. Lastly, maintain a regular program of having ear wax removed from your ears by a doctor. Medicare gives you two cleanings a year, well worth the $15 copay that is needed.
Hi Alfa_lover,

Having owned two 2000 GTVs, being an audio hobbyist, and having a hearing loss, it seems we have much in common. I first noticed a hearing problem in my late 40s when I had difficulty with female conversation in an automobile - a deadly combination of pitch of their voices and masking by road noises. I lived with the loss as it gradually increased for about ten years before being fitted with hearing aids. Here is a summary of what I've learned.

* As Buconero117 states, proper fitting by an audiologist is critical for the best results.

* Patience in selecting the best model aid and with the fitting process is essential. Several trials may be necessary.

* Don't worry about any stigma of wearing hearing aids as a music lover. The proper devices and fitting can renew your listening enjoyment. Several friends in my local audio club have remarked on their amazement with my listening acuity when we do component comparisons.

* The benefits will carry beyond music listening. Your family and friends will appreciate that you can better participate in communication with them. And you might just be surprised at the sounds of nature that have been escaping your experience.

Good luck
By "fitting process" I did not mean only the tolerance of the aid within the ear canal. Most modern digital hearing aids have adjustments with at least four parameters and each of those should be tailored to the individual. Thus the importance of a really good audiologist.
Glad to find this thread. I'm in my mid-40s and just learned (through a non-professional iPhone app of all things) that my hearing above 13kHz is terrible to nonexistent. I think I'll try getting my doctor to clean the wax first. I've never had that done.
Explains why so many bright and aggressive systems at audio shows are still highly regarded.
Costco gives a free hearing check and sells you a $3K hearing aid. They're not as dumb as they look. BTW, the hearing aid will sound better with an upgraded power cord and teflon caps.
Branislav said,"Explains why so many bright and aggressive systems at audio shows are still highly regarded."

That is exactly what I was thinking.
I believe it is sloping down to 20 db down at 10,000 hertz
Ouch! Glad you found a practical solution. I'm blessed with less loss than average. 58yo and still hear test tones to ~15kHz. My 54yo partner has bat's ears, he hears tones @ 20kHz+.

Who cares if you can't hear conversations, you can hear music. Best of both worlds. I think I would pay $3000 not to hear most conversations. lol

Only eat at places with good music!
LOL! So true. We've walked out of quite a few restaurants playing unlistenable crap. The music in some restaurants seems to be chosen as revenge for the food in some concert venues.

Explains why so many bright and aggressive systems at audio shows are still highly regarded.
+1 Ever notice that it's mostly old guys with money drooling over the $1M system that sounds like fingernails on slate? They're applying Acman3's advice, tuning out conversations naturally and while hearing all the music. More power to 'em, as long as I don't have to listen. ;)
" my hearing aid loss is only slight (I believe it is sloping down to 20 db down at 10,000 hertz). "

I am an audiologist by profession and a stereo nut by fate for decades now; and what you describe is in fact, normal hearing as the range of normal, for an adult is considered down to 25 dB HL (a scale based upon "average" normal hearing). Most commercial audiometers do not measure beyond 8 KHz as well, as the primary concern is for speech understanding, not music. Another point to consider, is that only relatively newer hearing aids are even designed to amplify beyond 5-6 KHz, and they have extremely weak outputs by the time you approach 8-10 KHz (approx 60 dB spl which is likely not audible for anyone with even moderate hearing loss in that region, let alone conveying any dynamic range at all). Yet another fallacy is that an online app can measure hearing sensitivity at 13 KHz with anything resembling accuracy.

Basically, if it sounds better to you, then great... enjoy the music. Music programs in hearing aids generally disable the extra signal processing used to attempt to enhance speech, as well as noise-reduction. There are many things going on in modern hearing aid circuits, and the algorithms may enforce very different levels of compression depending on the frequency of the sound. Sometimes, the patient knows best. There is one manufacturer, who has a interactive programming app that allows the patient to modify many of the fitting parameters by moving the mousing cursor around the computer monitor (while listening to music through the hearing aids if desired). I find that this is extremely beneficial when my patients need to "fine-tune" their settings beyond my best attempts.

Sorry for the long response, but I could probably go for hours on this.
The best bet for over 50 listeners is to get their ears professionally de-waxed and cleaned.