Playing with a hearing aid

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by bumblebee, May 5, 2014.

  1. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    Over the last few years I've been playing with some older people (and not so old) who wear hearing aids. I haven't asked any of them (yet) what affect that has on their perception of their sound, or of other players' sounds but my grandfather who had one (over 20 years ago now) told me it was like listening on a telephone (which I imagined to be the 70's/80's quality version before the modern/improved compander electronics came in).

    I rely on good feedback from my ears to know if I'm playing the way I want to (usually try to play warmer, richer) so I don't know that I'd play so well if I couldn't judge the quality well enough. Thinking back to what my grandfather said I wondered how trumpeters with hearing aids get on, and how well their hearing is restored using the aids. I know players both with and without hearing aids who have in my possibly untrustworthy opinion very poor tone quality (and they don't seem to be bothered by this), as well as a young lady who has an absolutely fabulous voice despite being almost totally deaf (and she wears two hearing aids) (and she sings, doesn't play).

    Also, is this an insensitive/touchy topic to be talking about?

    --bumblebee
     
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    It's not insensitive, but I wonder why you bring it up.

    I wear hearing aids. My hearing just deteriorated to a point where I had to struggle to understand speaking. Also, listening to music, most of the upper partials are blocked out and hearing is muffled. Now, having said that, what alternatives does one have? I'm at a distinct disadvantage without them.

    How they help (music-specific):
    - I can hear the conductor's instructions much better.
    - I hear the full spectrum of sound.

    Disadvantages:
    - the sound quality of what I hear is not a good representation of what one normally would hear.
    - sometimes when I play (must be a hearing-aid/feedback thing) I actually hear a buzz saw sound.

    Recently, I have been rehearsing and performing some very loud band music. At first, it was deafening and I swore that was it; no more playing with hearing aids. But playing without them was pointless. And damage was being done, but you didn't notice it as much because my "normal" hearing was so bad. So I went with ear plugs. Now, ironically, I don't hear better with ear plugs but I'm at least at damage control.

    At yesterday's concert, I played the first few pieces with musicians' ear plugs in. I couldn't hear my tone and it was hard matching volumes. Then, when the music wasn't as severe, I put my hearing aids in, but had the settings on as low as they went. On the second half, with more moderate -even quiet - volumes, I used my hearing aids normally.

    It's my understanding that there are hearing aids available that can do everything I am trying to do with hearing aids, ear plugs, and no devices, but these are very expensive.
     
  3. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I bring it up out of genuine curiosity, and I also wondered just how hard it is for players who need them (so that I can understand their challenges better). In the last year I've played with more and more players who wear them (not just trumpet) and so I think about them more.

    Thanks for the detailed rundown -- some is as I expected, but I am a little (pleasantly) surprised when you say you hear the full spectrum of sound. I myself don't hear the full spectrum -- my young son can hear high pitched notes which are beyond my hearing, but apart from the upper harmonics inherent in most musical voices these notes are significantly higher than what the musical range normally covers (i.e. I can still hear well above the top piano note). (I suspect I'm 1-2 kHz compromised possibly due to working in loud industrial environments in my teens and twenties.)

    Thanks again,
    --bumblebee
     
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    I used to be able to hear the hum from alarm systems when I'd enter department stores.
    When I first went into the service, I had hearing tests where my score on the graph was so high, it wouldn't even register.
    Not any more.
     
  5. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

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    I have aids, but can't play with'em in. Get a kind of feed back/echo effect with them in. My hearing isn't really bad without them, just certain tones. My wife's voice falls in that category,though:roll::-?:dontknow::oops:
     
  6. anthony

    anthony Mezzo Piano User

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    I wear hearing aids both ears I can hear my trumpet fine. But people talking no..........hey come to think of it no one ever said anything bad about my playing. ......I think? ? Hmmmm wha ya say? Hmm.....
     
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  7. Dave Mickley

    Dave Mickley Forte User

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    Had a friend that played up right bass in a combo that his hearing deteriorated to the point and needed hearing aids. He used the old style for playing and the digital style for everything else. I am wondering when I will need something since I have tinnitus 24/7 in both ears. Years of factory work, motorcycles and playing music have done its toll. If I knew then what I know now I would have worn good hearing protection.
     
  8. Buck with a Bach

    Buck with a Bach Fortissimo User

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    Tinnitus here as well. Dang jingles keep getting louder. too many years in a factory as well. Biggest cause was probably a broken 150 lb. PSI air line that broke. I drove the lift and bucket under it so the pipefitter could get it shut off. He had hearing protection, I didn't. Hearing was muted for about two weeks after that. Been dicey ever since. Doesn't seem to bother my playing.......yet:roll::dontknow::oops:
     
  9. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

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    I wish people wouldn't mention tinnitus - I've got this high-pitched whine (seems well out of normal audio range, if you can imagine that) which I can mostly ignore (probably not as bad as others who report really loud, disruptive tinnitus). I've had it since being a young kid, though a few years working in industrial environment with inadequate (or infrequent) hearing protection probably made it worse.
    Anyway, having read the last couple of posts I've become aware of it again. I suppose that was my fault for starting a thread discussing hearing. :-(

    --bumblebee
     
  10. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Tinnitus: what a pain! I have heard it described as millions of crickets singing softly in unison, which pretty much describes mine. I am encouraged by reading some of the accounts of those of you who more or less successfully use hearing aids in a musical environment. I do not believe I need them yet, though my Mrs. may disagree!

    Jim
     

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