My hearing deficits are becoming clear...

I am a life-long audiophile with a nice system which I enjoy immensely.  For years I have had problems comprehending conversations in lively rooms with lots of folks speaking at once, but it has not diminished one iota my enjoyment of my audio system.  However, today, in a room with 5 guys talking over a football game on the TV, I was just flummoxed trying to understand what the heck anyone was saying.  The aural dissonance just drove me nuts so I departed, realizing that I need to address his deficit.

I reach out to my friends on this forum for recommendations for hearing aids for an audiophile like myself.  I prefer tube amplification in my system, but I don't suppose that is possible with hearing aids.  I'd look silly walking down the street with a 12AX7 tube sticking out of each ear, right?  Any input would be much appreciated.   Mark in Sacramento
What are you doing at a super spreader?
Don’t make me call the Vegas task force onya.
My apologies if you're in Vermont.
Dont let anyone depress you.... All people with age and even young has no perfect hearing, but hearing is not only perceiving pitch clear frequencies it is also reinterpretting the sound perceived, and with an hearing aid you can begin to enjoy again music and sound in your own personal universe .... All of us we live in our sound bubble, conscious or not of our limitations...

Many people with very good hearing but with no personal listenings history experience cannot enjoy or reinterpret the musical impression created from the sounds...You can with or without hearing aid....

Music is NOT only in sound , it is a qualified sensible but also supra sensible phenomena coming from the sound and manifested in the brain/heart/body .... Nothing is  definitively changed for you, it is only an adjustment to a more straight window to see the world from....

I wish you the best....
Mark...if you are saying that it might be time for hearing aids to help with speech recognition..... then......

There is no “ one size fits all solution”. You will find that optimizing your specific situation requires a good assessment. Do some local investigation and try to find the best audiologist in town.

They will measure you and work with you to find the specific hearing aids that will give you the best results, and you will likely have to try a couple pair and have some tweaking done to reach a point where you are satisfied.
Thanks for the input, gents, and Fuzztone makes a fine point about group gatherings, my bad, no question.  Snapsc, your suggestion is just right... I have a top notch ENT doc friend with an audiology staff to do the testing and such.  I have no problems with listening to music, but with conversations, not very good at all. 
Okay well then get back to me when you start having problems with massed strings. 
Your link is very informative and a great place to start.  Thanks for sharing it.  Mark
From a background of NOISE making, I can tell you protect what you have. This may sound strange but taking care of your ears, nose and throat can really help. People say it only gets worse, I KNOW with care it can get better.  Stay away from "LOUD", I don't care if its a train going by or an aircraft taking off, protect yourself..ENT doctors will tell you clean your ears with great care, gargle for your nose and throat.. 

Don't smoke cheap tobacco or weed. No smoking at all is best, BUT if you must... Cheap is NO GOOD. Booze, what can I say. I don't drink BUT if I did, no cheap stuff.. A  "single" Single malt maybe once every couple of years..

I also had two underlying problem with tinnitus, and hypersensitivity. I had my heart repaired and ALL of the tinnitus symptoms subsided. Last test I was good to over 16K at 65+ years old. A lifetime of "Loud" can leave you in a world of NOTHING. Protect what you have.

They make BIG EARS, look goofy but work pretty good with an adj or two... It's a collection device for worn ears..

Besides, most of what folks are talking about goes in one ear and out the other, anyways... LOL MUCIC, though!!!!!!

Hat on the floor, as I slowly walk around to the beat of the music.. my faithful dog following me... OLAY......Amego.... 


For some reason, I cannot get links to work right now. Look up Auditory Processing Disorder. It is not uncommon and can onset in adults. I have dealt with it my entire life and it is very frustrating at times.
Get that hearing checked.

I'm no good past 7khz with imbalance of L/R AND  massive tinnitus. Doesn't interfere with music, but like you when in a noisy room with people, it's difficult at times to pick some things up in a conversation. 
I believe MC has a lot in common with our prez, they just can’t help themselves. 
Get the hearing aids.You’re right: several voices in one room is the worst: my aids had a setting for restaurants and situations like that--those settings actually work.

One thing you might find (I sure did) is that once you start wearing them (and letting the techs slowly crank them up over a period of weeks), you will begin hearing ’lost’ sounds without them. (I think this is what mahgister is getting at). Part of dealing with hearing loss is re-training your brain to compensate for what your ears are doing. I never wear my aids when listening to music or going to a concert (why would I spend thousands and thousands of dollars on an audio system, or hundreds on a symphony, then listen to it through an amplifier and speakers the size of a small earthworm?). But based on my own advice, I would do well to put them in occasionally and retrain my brain to hear stuff I may have forgotten.

(And YES:  please do not f*ck with Covid! we all miss gatherings.   If we're on this site, life is clearly not all that bad.  We can endure the suffering of not having a family reunion or a Sunday barbeque for a year or so.)
@ oldhvymec, find it very interesting that your tinnitus subsided after your heart repair, please elaborate to the repair and any thoughts of why if shared to you by your surgeon or cardiologist. Thanks.  Enjoy the music
@ oldhvymec, find it very interesting that your tinnitus subsided after your heart repair, please elaborate to the repair and any thoughts of why if shared to you by your surgeon or cardiologist.


His name was Reddy and a God sent.  My BP was 190>< over 110><, off the chart. With the stents in place and thinners 90/60 is a wake up BP and 140/85 if I walk at a good pace..

After a walk before, It took 2 hours for my ears to stop the darn ringing, and thumping in my ears.. Now I get none of the 2000-5000hz ring...And none of the old chest thumping. I don't FEEL my heart like I use to..

I never had heart or chest pain. It felt like someone was trying to push the air out of me BUT from my back. My stomach was just BOILING. I was sick to my stomach for 11 weeks until the SECOND stent was put in.
45 SECONDS, after the second stent was put in my stomach quit boiling.

I also had an underlying thyroid condition, made for a minor adjustment of an injection of alcohol directly.. Lets say I've been shot and it felt a whole lot better..:-)

So GUYS be aware I was the 10-15% that didn't have chest pain, I had stomach issues.. It was my heart. I'm 66, 6 foot 190lb and 12% body fat, not an out of shape guy... 

The actual problem was a blood clot. YUP a nasty bruise on my inner thigh.

Now how about those "Big Ears", they work...

It sounds like you had Pulsatile Tinnitus which is associated with the rhythm or beat of your heart. This is unrelated to tinnitus caused by acoustic trauma. 
@oldhvymec, thanks for you giving the details and hope all is as well as can be now. 
If you have a "top notch" ENT and the ENT has not recommended and executed a battery of tests to determine the root cause of your issue with your issue/complaint then perhaps you need to find another ENT.
And why do you have a ENT in the first place?

I had the same issue re: conversations in groups, etc.; along with a very nasty "hearing event" that awoke me from sleep. I was tested over several days and was diagnosed. While the treatment results are not perfect, I understand what I need to deal with. It does not diminish my enjoyment of listening to music.

If the root cause of your issue is not identified and addressed then just getting hearing aids is a shot in the dark.

Your ENT should be proactive in recommending a course of discovery and  providing a factual diagnosis.  If not, then look elsewhere.
Isn't that the responsibility of the doctor? Understanding and giving guidance on the patient's issue?
I have Oticon hearing aids. They work great you can program with different settings for watching TV or music. You can answer the phone and pipe your music to the units. They are digital in the end. They don't make analog hearing aids anymore. 

This hearing problem is something that many of us have or will have by varying degrees as we get more mature, which is ironic since that is the time when we can really afford the exotic goodies and pursue that psychoacoustic nirvana which for some of us is a convincingly lifelike soundstage.

One thing to keep in mind, though, before you decide to forego or delay going to an audiologist, is that there is much more at stake than just your enjoyment of your favorite tunes. Degrees of deafness closely correlate to social isolation and depression and ultimately some types of early dementia. There are lots of interesting studies on this subject that you can google. If you have a friend or a loved one who is in that awkward situation where they can’t carry on a normal conversation unless they are right in your face (not good during Covid isolation) then by all means help them think seriously about exploring this type of help.

There are good hearing aids available (according to Consumer Reports) at Costco of all places but I somehow don’t think I want to go cheap on something like this although they do offer accurate free hearing tests with frequency charts you can take home. A reputable audiologist or chain will let you try out different hearing aids until you find what you want or can live with. I have a friend I grew up with, with whom I shared a small business designing and manufacturing speakers and crossovers who eventually segued into owning a hearing aid shop, and since he was a musician and seriously into audio I looked to him for a hearing solution since he is also starting to need one too. It’s amazing how much technology they pack into those little buggers. And once you’re used to them, I can only explain it by comparing it to your eyesight when going from VHS to HD, Blu-Ray DVD or better.

I got a pair of the “top end” units and after 2 years the technology had improved so much that I had to go to the next step, so I’m on my second set. My first set allowed me to select a setting that reverse mirrored my hearing loss but otherwise was straight thru with amplification, besides the normal conversational modes. This did not have any of the typical feedback dampening or other logic so that I could avoid the strange changes to music in that earlier generation of hearing aids, especially on sustained high notes which otherwise tend to gargle a bit (enough to be really annoying).

The new set I have has a much faster processor and bitrate among other things and I listen to it with music of all kinds and it is amazing how dreary music can be when you forget to put them on until you power them up. And I don’t have to fuss with them when going into a conversation in a crowded room – they compensate somehow. Because my loss is in the upper register, my sets let the low frequencies go straight thru (by not blocking the ear canal) but they still somewhat augment the high frequencies. At my last visit to the audiologist they were able to download an upgrade to the processor in my units and give me the benefit of some tweaks. My brand of choice is Oticon.

I know – it’s a huge leap of faith. Most of us have grown to believe that the less signal processing there is to the music, the better, which of course makes sense. You have to consider, though, that your ear is the last link in the chain. This may not work for everyone, but in my opinion hearing aid technology has improved exponentially to make it possible for even purists to increase their enjoyment. They’re not perfect but they’re way better than the alternative. Just sayin’…


If you think you have hearing deficiencies then you should consider  becoming a reviewer. You would fit right in. 

402 posts
01-10-2021 12:24pm
It sounds like you had Pulsatile Tinnitus which is associated with the rhythm or beat of your heart. This is unrelated to tinnitus caused by acoustic trauma.


I'm guessing "acoustic trauma" is being around a lot of loud noise or having someone slap or pop your ears. I've been around the loudest CRAP on earth. Puff suits and doubles, Plugs and fitted muffs.. We were trained to keep our mouth shut too. Great collection point for noise too.

I was trained by my father, retired USAF master mechanic. His hearing was very good. He taught me HOW to protect my ears. Use to hunt as a kid.. Plugs in or no hunting..

I had great teachers, but first and foremost, protect your hearing.
No loud music in my house..LOL

Time to feed the chickens, I can hear them cluckin'
I was trained by my father, retired USAF master mechanic. His hearing was very good. He taught me HOW to protect my ears. Use to hunt as a kid.. Plugs in or no hunting..

I had great teachers, but first and foremost, protect your hearing.
No loud music in my house..LOL

Time to feed the chickens, I can hear them cluckin'
Reading this, with my peanuts butter jar in hand, i meditate about this life lesson....

   I have responded to the topic of hearing loss more than once so here's another.....
   Years ago I sold and fitted hearing aids. Learned a lot about hearing loss and what causes it. Most common is the factor of aging. Happens to almost everyone. This is accelerated by exposure to LOUD noises. Of course, we all know that. To regain close to optimal hearing, hearing aids are the most practical approach.
   The anatomy of the ear....The ear and hearing is basically divided into 3 regions...The outer ear (ear canal and ear drum), the middle ear (about the size of an aspirin containing 3 bone-like structures called ossicles and the oval window, kinda like a second eardrum) and the inner ear (where the cochlea is located)
  When sound happens the eardrum picks up those vibrations. Connected to the eardrum the ossicles (middle ear) convert those vibrations into mechanical motion which are transmitted (via the oval window) to the inner ear where the cochlea is located. Movement of fluid on tiny hairlike nerve endings (cilia) generates signals to the brain to determine the characteristic of sound heard.
   If hearing loss is caused by a problem in the outer or middle ear there are "not too drastic" medical treatments. However, loss in the inner ear (cochlea) is caused by those nerve endings not being able to do their job (most commonly called nerve damage). This damage is not reversible unless a cochlear transplant is performed. A complex and difficult path to pursue. I strongly disagree with the post by jdane that a hearing aid can "retrain your hearing" if it's an inner ear problem.

   The most common complaint by those with hearing loss is the inability to understand normal conversation in a noisy environment. And, in a majority of cases, the higher frequencies are the ones affected most often.
   An audiologist can determine which frequencies need amplification and a hearing aid can be fitted to boost those. Those over the counter aids (Costco,etc) boost all frequencies and make matters worse. Along with the hearing aid itself, the mold (part that goes into the ear) is also important since it works with the aid to enhance the result.
   Hearing loss is a heartbreak. Often, vanity is a reason that many refuse to wear a hearing aid but the longer help is delayed the less will be benefits of a hearing aid.
   Oh Yeah.....Tinnitus is an enormous problem for those suffering from it. Has many causes and can be a major obstacle to obtain the best results. My best of luck who have a hearing loss especially when it comes to listening to the music you love and being able to effectively communicate with others.
206dino....Spot on with your input.
To drop a mfr. name, I'm really happy with my Phonak  Audéo  M-RT pair.

The Bluetooth works well with my Samsung droid cell as long as I keep it on me and don't stray too far from it.  That's the biggest complaint users lodge against them, but for all the versatility they have I can't bitch too much.

My tinnitus has largely been overcome (a mild hiss, somewhat like tape hiss), back only when out of my ears.  My mid-range loss is nicely compensated for, and my insurance knocked roughly a third off the price.

Molded ear pieces are nicely comfy, they charge quickly, and one learns to remove a N95 mask off towards the back of one's head rather than just pulling it off (since I wear glasses as well)...

Had the same issues with speech recognition, but have learned how to excuse not paying attention to spouse....

"Pardon, listening to Spotify....Say what?" ;)  It almost works...*G*
Like many, when I was a teen I went to concerts and liked my music LOUD.  But over the years I found that I enjoyed the music much more when it was at a low-to-medium sound level.  I can listen much better for each instrument and find that relaxing.  When I got my current hifi set-up last year, everyone assumed I would be blasting the volume, which was not the case.  I have the power I do for clarity of the music and not for blasting sound pressure levels.  Sorry, but I have no recommendations for OP’s question.
Thanks to all for your helpful suggestion.  I will see my ENT and his audiologist for the next steps.  Whitestix
Don't smoke cheap tobacco or weed. No smoking at all is best, BUT if you must... Cheap is NO GOOD. Booze, what can I say. I don't drink BUT if I did, no cheap stuff.. A "single" Single malt maybe once every couple of years..

You're no dam fun!
I've been through this.  Time to find a hearing aid specialist and get a good set of hearing aids.  Don't go cheap.  Mine are by Beltone and you can control the settings from an app on your phone.  And if you have an iPhone, you can stream phone calls and other sounds direct to the hearing aids.  Its great.  Its not a perfect solution but nothing is. 
I believe MC has a lot in common with our prez, they just can’t help themselves.

And you can't seem to help yourself when it comes to keeping politics out of an audio forum. Aren't you sick enough of that s&*t from every other possible venue already?

I have hearing loss, especially in high-frequencies, and have worn behind-the-ear hearing aids for the past 20 years or so; also hissy tinnitus. Currently I'm using Oticon hearing aids, but any good manufacturer should have something that would meet your needs. My problem is I can't use those when listening on headphones - the mic is in the wrong place - so I have to take them off them. I'm looking into an ear canal 'hearing amp' where the mic would be by the ear opening. If I don't have a feedback problem, that should be a big improvement....
The brand most used by classical musicians is Widex Evoke - they are pricy but have a special music setting that is not visible by default but your audiologist can unlock it for you. They are particularly good if you also have an iPhone since a lot more controls become available from your cellphone.  I have been using them for a couple of years now.
I've had the top-model over-the-ear oticon's for a year.  The before and after with music is like taking off a shirt draped over my speakers.  More detail, more clarity,...  Of course, you lose the opportunity to offer "sorry, I didn't hear you" as an excuse...  I had one problem.  I have dry skin, and in the past several years my ears have become itchy.  Hearing aids don't help that.  Perhaps I rubbed my ears too much with the aids in, but I ended up with a mold infection in my right outer ear.  I was in Vienna when I finally went to a doctor, who said I had a Pilz - a mushroom, in my ear.  Three otolaryngologists in two countries and four months to get rid of a sequence of such infections, and three months not wearing my  hearing aids.  The otolaryngologists all agreed that one can wear hearing aids too much, which is the opposite of what my audiologist said.  Now I put a touch of baby oil at the opening of the ear every night, and rinse my ears mornings in the shower:  The itching has abated (but not disappeared), I'm comfortably wearing my hearing aids, and enjoying the music.

I’ve recently acquired the Resound (well reviewed by CR) behind the ear hearing aids with the receiver in the ear. They are very good all things considered. The audiologist made a program for TV and another for Music.

The aids only go up to 8KHz, as do most. There is compression at the high frequencies. She has removed all of the compression she can but she says there is still some. It is hard to discern with and without on music, but like you I can hear music fine.

My loss is somewhat symmetrical in both ears, with the left being worse than the right. Since most of the loss is at the high end I thought that the aids would "even" my ears frequency response in the aids range, but as I said it’s hard to tell. But, what is amazing is the the very high frequencies, above 8KHz still can be heard and the very low when present can be heard, yet we know it is impossible for them to reproduce the low bass tones as well as high frequencies.

I did see a website touting "audiophile" hearing aids. They claimed 20-20KHz. They were cheap. I tried a different kind of cheap aids and while they did make some improvements in my hearing, they did not compare with what I have now.

There is a cool hearing program for the iPhone that I tried. You self test, it has a half dozen programs, and the iPhone is the device. It is full spectrum. The program is about $20-25 a month, so it can get pricey, but it may be good for some. I wasn’t satisfied because it really does take a professional to know what to adjust and how much.

So, my recommendation is to see your audiologist and get fitted for the aids that suite your life style and budget. Use them for a while just for standard conversation and get used to them. Your brain has some re-programming to do. Then work with the audiologist to add programs for whatever you want. The aids usually have at least three programs. Don’t expect instant success. It’s another high-end audio device that needs tweaking just like setting up your speakers. I’ve had mine for a couple of months and we are at the point where I can use them where I need them and don’t even realize they are in. I hope I remember to take them out before I shower. :)

Once you’ve got them you’ll be much happier. And believe me it does improve your outlook and attitude. Before I got them I would have jumped on MC for his dumb ass comments instead I’m giving you the scoop and ignoring him. A great recommendation right there. :)
And I like that they may stave off dementia.
I recently purchase a pair of Class A tube hearing aids so as not to loose any of the music I value so much.  
Outstanding, and funny.  It is odd that I sense no hearing problems listening to my system, but in a lively room with lots of noise and folks talking, I am just frustrated.  Cheers.  
@whitestix Like you I hear the stereo very well but (prior to covid) got lost with background noise is busy places.

No amount of hydrogen peroxide solves it for me but the crackling is fun. Have you tried a cleaning? St. Jude?

Hi from Davis.
Hi wsrrsw,
I have not tried any sort of home ear cleaning remedy.  I will leave it to my ENT doc and his audiologist sort out.  Say, if you are in Davis, send me a PM to visit off line.  Cheers, Mark 
Post removed 

This info is relevant for me and much appreciated.  Thanks to all of you responding  here.

There are few potential alternates in the realms of homeopathy and essential oil therapies however in my experience (in practice over 30 years) each case is unique an so any general suggestions I could make would be "shooting from the hip"... Rarely a positive outcome.

That said if any of you are Colorado locals PM me an I will be happy to discuss possibilities.