Recommendations for the best headphones with equalization after severe acoustic injury

I recently experienced an Acute and severe hearing loss between 1-4khz after a bike tire exploded in my face. My wonderful system is now rendered unpleasant (Apogee Divas with DAX refurbished, Velodyne active sub, D'Agostino stereo biamps, ARC SP20 pre, Rossini DAC/player with separate clock, Llyod Walker air bearing turntable...). I need to accept the loss and switch to the best headphones with equalization capability so I can listen without hearing aide distortion. Some have had this horrible experience and I wish to learn from your experience. How did you compensate for the hearing loss, and what are your best recommendations for equipment, and why? Cost is of little concern because music has been my saving grace for 59 years! Thanks to all in advance!


Wow. Really sorry to hear about your loss. I have had bike tires blow up often. They are really loud.

How does your system now sound unpleasant?

Consult an audiologist first. If they agree you may want to EQ your speakers

Hey, so a couple of ways to go here.  First, if you use Roon or something like that you can use Roon's DSP capabilities. Another way is to use the miniDSP headphone amp with DSP built in for your PC


I am very sorry to read about your accident. For an audiophile (and one with such an excellent system as yours), that is a nightmare. I hope that you can find a solution so that you can enjoy listening to music in a way that mitigates the damage to your hearing. Godspeed.

DSP might not alter the room sound sufficiently.

I like  Kennerton Magni's for EQ since all ranges are present.

You could play all of your files in folder or genre shuffle on a Topping M50.

It allows you to create a custom EQ.  Easy enough for an old bastid to do.

It even has configurable i2s output that you can't use. 

I appreciate the kindness of everyone's sentiments, truly. I have consulted ENT and doing all, including resting my ears. I've done no system listening for 12 days (ouch)! - sounds are boxed in and unpleasant in general, and the car system is hard to ID words and some instruments - my brain fills in what is missing sorta. I would even pursue stem cell options if there is some promise. On the audio end, it's that I share regular listening sessions with audiophile friends, and I hope they remain pleasurable for all! Room DSP is a ver good thought, and one friend can help me with trying that out for my 10-12 hours of solo listening weekly. DSP would distort the sound for my friends who listen with me weekly, so I'd have to toggle it off and on. And how would this additional link affect a a pretty clean chain of reproduction? I know, cake and eat situation! I'll explore Roon as the Rossini in Roon-capable; I use it's Mosaic to store a library of titles, but without EQ capabilities. And fuzztone, I think your recommendation deserves my thorough consideration - it sounds like you are onto something fruitful. I will explore all the headphone-style recommendations generously shared here with me. Trouble is, I would merely glance at headphone equipment reviews in TAS, Stereophile, etc and so am woefully ignorant. Who here with hearing loss has addressed their loss through headphone listening, what was your approach to a musically satisfying solution - natural open sound, dynamics, image depth, timber, comfort of wearing headgear, etc. Any dealers who you know to specialize in this area? They deserve support and my consideration. I'm in NE Ohio and easily travel 4 or 5 hours for consultations. I follow this blog for years, don't comment much, but this is a great great of people with thoughtful recommendations on all audio arenas from which I have benefitted. Much respect!

your hearing loss is in the range where speech differentiation occurs, and mist of the midrange and low treble, so if you don’t have a pair yet, you will.  The best ones cost around $6k per pair, last time I checked. 

My hearing aids have 4 eq curves available.  Some of the problems with hearing aids - which are not designed with any attention paid to audio quality! - derive from the severe compression they all employ.  So I switch to an eq curve with no compression, which helps.

it’s still somewhat low-quality digital, but it’s the only way you’d be able to hear your own very fine system, much less your friends’, with something like normal hearing.


I find headphones to be very isolating, and don’t like them at all.  If you want music listening yo be a social event, hearing aids is the only way to go.  they might help in the car too.

btw, the Lyric is very expensive, but they are still analogue!


A close friend who is my piano technician and tech for the Cleveland Orchestra pointed me toward an audiologist specializing in musicians and the professionals, located in NE Ohio - Heather Malyuk of Soundcheck Audiology. fstein, I'm taking your advice and seeking consultation with her. She apparent can work virtually, but I'll see her in person. I'll keep this forum informed of process and results. Thx everyone! Happy listening.

My hearing loss came about gradually and finally got to the point that I hated to listen to my stereo. The music sounded two dimensional, lacked high frequencies and the bass was muddy. It sounded like I had cotton in my ears. I also have worse hearing in my left ear than my right ear so the soundstage was completely out of whack.

Hearing aids made a huge improvement. My audiologist was able to fine tune them to where the sound was close to the way I remembered it. It wasn't perfect though. The high frequencies lacked sparkle and clarity and there wasn't any improvement in the bass.

I downloaded Equalizer Pro ( and the Peace Equalizer GUI. They were very beneficial in fine tuning the sound. One nice feature about Peace is that you can save different leveling adjustments. I have one for my headphones and another one for my speakers. You can also adjust the levels for each speaker, even for speakers in a surround system. It was a big help to center test tones in the center of the soundstage and to make musical instruments and voices appear in their proper location.

It's important to remember that hearing aids aren't intended to reproduce the full spectrum of sound. Their primary task is to make speech more understandable which means they focus on a relatively small band of frequencies. The equalizer helped tremendously to boost the volume in the frequencies that my hearing aids didn't address.

I hope this is beneficial to you. Both Equalizer Pro and Peace are free so there's no cost to give them a try.

If anyone is interested, check out my response on 3/10/23 to a question about tinnitus. It summarizes my experience over the past 6 months and may be informative. Classicalpiano

Can you give more specifics under which topic/headline your tinnitus response can be found? Not easy to do without more info and I’d love to read it as I have a band mate who’s suffering from pretty severe tinnitus. Thanks!

I’ll just also add, I have some tinnitus and did some research and this seems to help and only costs $5/month so I’d think is well worth a try.  FWIW…

I hate to say start with a google search, but it's a starting point for tinnitus and hearing loss. Reliable sites online for me for hearing info would include mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, NIH, and original published articles in reviewable journals. Best to avoid anything that is an ad or sounds to good to be true. I tried Magnesium, Zinc, CVS inner ear plus - 6-8 weeks and no help. Some hearing aides help with tinnitus. **My best suggestion is see a good ENT specialist and a couple audiologists for their opinions after taking a hearing test**. Problem is hearing loss and tinnitus often come from the death of hair cells in the cochlea, and so the signals of hearing cannot be passed to the otic nerve and to the brain. In essence, hearing loss and tinnitus are very complex issues with limited treatments. I did find that listening to music or playing piano for 20 minutes daily helped to retrain my brain to interpret some lost signals. I even tried high end headphone listening, but I prefer speakers, and the headphone experience did not work well enough for me. You might try headphones though, but be careful of listening at low-mid volumes only. I have not tried counseling, but that is another avenue. Each person's experience is unique. I hope this helps you and your friend.

First, I’m SO SORRY to for your hearing loss as a fellow audiophile.  If I was in your situation I’d ramp up a good headphone system with an equalizer.  As someone who has some experience with headphones, I’d recommend Hifiman HE1000SE open-back planar headphones, a Quicksilver tubed headphone amp, and a Schiit Loki Max equalizer.  What I like about the Loki, in addition to its quality, is that it has a remote so you can easily adjust specific frequencies on the fly to meet your individual hearing needs from song to song.  Just one suggestion FWIW, and best of luck in finding a workable solution. 

Thanks for your excellent recommendations! I did try dCS LINA headphone amp with a few high-end cans and it had promise. I ultimately purchased Naim Uniti phone amp and Meze Elite cans, but even with equalization the sound was too much "inside my head". The Roon equalization is lifesaving, very versatile, has a remote app, but i still needed to equalize vinyl and cd playing. The Trinnov Amethyst has excellent versatility and room correction (that's more for my friends). Thus, most things can be made "flat", and I still enjoy imaging and such. The timber of some instruments and choral pieces is distorted by my ears - nothing helps that. Still, live and reproduced music is quite enjoyable - just not audiophile quality - and I can live with that!

*While I'm at it I will highly recommend a couple recordings that are superb: Truro Cathedral Chorus performing Dobrina Tabakova's  "Of a Rose We Sing" is a gorgeous choral recording with a foundation of organ (divine!), and an album named Postcards which includes "Pueri Hebraeorum" (beautiful cathedral space filled with 2 men's choruses, one in front of the other, echoing the verses). They are among the best recordings!

I was speaking with Danny McKinney at RAAL Requisite on Friday. He told me that he had spent that last 6 years designing an equalization system. The tech details were a little over my head, but he was using some 1930s tube magic and other things that I did not understand. 

He sold the first unit to a very famous musician last week. He told me I need to hear this and he will build 7 more units. I hope to hear it next Saturday along with the Star8 XLR's for the VM-1a tube headphone amp.

Now if you want what a lot of people consider the state of the art in headphones. Talk to Danny about doing a home demo of the RAAL VM-1a tube headphone amp and the SR1a earphones (a 2-channel replica sound) or the traditional headphone sound from the CA-1a.

I was watching the Darko web site's coverage of the recent 2023 CanJam NYC show and I saw Danny in the video. He was demoing the SR1a using the Schitt Jotenhuim R RAAL only headphone amp. A bit shocking since I also have this $300 amp, but it is exponentially lower in sonics to the VM-1a amp.

People supposedly loved the sound at the show from music playing from a RME DAC via an iPad. Way worse than what is an uber level setup, but it still sounds really good. 

My home uber level setup is Lumin X1 fibre stream to the VM-1a. I am going to upgrade the Lumin DAC to a PlayBack Designs MPD-8 DAC with fibre stream specifically, for the VM-1a headphone amp. For me, the very high cost of this DAC is worth it. Just extraordinary sound whenever I add better gear to the SR1a or CA-1a. I try to work with these earphones on, but I stop so many times to just listen and then it is about an hour later.

Amplifiers Archives • RAAL-requisite (

Another option for EQ is to talk with Mitch Barnet of Since you are ROON user you can get better EQ using Convolution filters inside ROON. This is better than the standard ROON EQ. Mitch can make them for any phone. He is a bit of a genius at this. He did the EQ for my small office, and I also bought his Convolution filter for the SR1a. I no longer use that with the Lumin X1 DAC and VM-1a. Not needed for the VM-1a amp.

Digital Room Calibration Services, Convolvers, Headphone Filtersets (

Store - Accurate Sound (headphone stuff)


@classicalpiano Give Mitch a call and describe your hearing issue. He can customize anything for your needs. I went with him after reading his DSP book. He is also very well known on the ComputerAudiophile web site.

Accurate Sound Reproduction Using DSP: Barnett, Mitch: 9781520977904: Books


I can certainly benefit from contacting Mitch and reading his book! I'll look him up next week when my schedule opens. Meanwhile, I experiment with the Roon DSP and Trinnov equalization. Thx for the recommendations, yyzsantabarbara!