For the audiophile, hearing aids often fall short of expectations for reproducing music. Audiologists fitting musicians or music-lovers need to understand the tools available to limit any negative impact on the musical signal. In this way the highest fidelity reproduction of sound quality can be achieved.
ReSound’s Tamara Stender, Au.D. and Steve Hallenbeck, Au.D. discussed at the 2013 AudiologyNOW! conference the inherent issues for hearing-aid processed music and how advanced signal processing can improve the listening experience.
Why is it difficult to fit music lovers?
First of all, music does NOT equal speech. Most hearing instruments today treat music the same as speech but differences abound. For example, on the frequency spectrum speech is controlled but music is highly variable. In terms of intensity dynamics, speech has a small range while music has a more variable range and higher intensities. Music also presents tonal qualities where speech does not.
Music often contains pure-tone-like input signals, such as flute or piano notes. Traditional feedback systems identify pure tones as feedback and try to cancel them. This erroneous feedback cancellation introduces a disturbing tonal sound artifact. But even with turning the feedback management “off” for music programs, it can still lead to feedback. For example, more hearing loss equals higher gain prescription as well as high levels of high-frequency gain without feedback management often leads to feedback.
Enter the ReSound DFS Ultra II Music Mode which is designed specifically to preserve music’s sound quality while eliminating feedback. Below is a comparison of the sound quality gained through the ReSound DFS Ultra II Music Mode versus competitors.
How is the ReSound DFS Ultra II Music Mode different?
- Improves DFS Ultra with better precision and scaling to more accurately cancel feedback.
- Includes a new Music Mode setting.
- Designed exclusively for feedback and artifact-free music listening.
- Analyzes the input sound over a longer period of time.
- Provides a built-in mild level of Whistle Control.
Counseling still plays an important role in the fitting of hearing instruments for musicians and audiophiles. Here are some tips:
- During the initial fitting play musical sound files or clips through PC speakers to enhance the patient’s understanding of the listening situations he or she will encounter.
- Encourage performance musicians to play their instruments while wearing their hearing instrument to gain experiential learning.
- Provide patients with volume control instructions for adjustments with high level music.