Topic: Hearing aids

As I've become older I've noticed some loss of hearing particularly in the upper register. I've also seen a number of friends and relatives struggle with the various types of hearing aids available. All seem to provide some frustrations.

I wonder if any members of the list have had good experiences with a hearing aid product, one that can be used while playing and faithfully enhance the sounds of musicians and instruments.

On a further note, I've seen some posts about ways to protect hearing in loud orchestra or band settings. I wonder if there is more information on what products work best while still allowing important things to be heard.

Walter Deinzer
Amateur Oboe and English horn

Re: Hearing aids

I sometimes use an earplug in one ear; there is a certain trumpet player in a group I'm in who has two volumes: forte and fortissimo.  I just stick it in whichever ear is pointing in his direction.  It makes things sound (and feel) a little odd, but one benefit is that I can hear myself a lot better than I normally would.  Two earplugs does not work.  It makes my head feel very stuffed up and non-resonant.

Darlene

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Re: Hearing aids

Hi Walter:
Here are some links to products to protect your hearing. 
http://www.etymotic.com/
http://www.hearnet.com/index.shtml
http://www.hearos.com/products.htm
http://www.hearwig.com/index2.html
http://www.westone.com/kids.html

I also know some musicians including an oboist who have their own protective shield around them.  This works really well but can be a problem for the musicians directly behind the shield.  Their sound could be blocked or changed.  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Hearing aids

I agree with Kent's mention of westone , but also look at Etymotic Research's page: www.etymotic.com/
I've used their 15 dB attenuators for more than 16 years, with excellent protection of my hearing (my losses have not increased) in orchestra, bands, and church work.
You might also wish to check an article in the Double Reed 1999, vol 23 no.2, pp. 99-100 for more complete information as it pertains to double reeders

Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Hearing aids

By contract, the Honolulu Symphony provides Wenger sound shields so every musician who wishes can have an individual shield. This way, it's not like one or two people are noticeable by having a shield. The brass section is up on risers (and have their own shields to protect them from the percussion!) so there's less 'blowback' for them. Before the contract clause was negotiated, a few of us used the 'Buffalo Baffle' which was a bit more effective, but since it's attached to the back of the chair the buckles could cause some discomfort. Despite decades of trumpets placed directly behind me, to date my hearing has not suffered any loss, possibly thanks to the use of these shields. The symphony management also prominently places backstage a big box of (yellow foam) earplugs for those who don't want a shield. Hearing loss is irreversible and this issue is an important one for all musicians.

Paul Barrett
   -Principal Bassoonist, Honolulu Symphony
    -Lecturer in Bassoon, University of Hawaii

Re: Hearing aids

I used to have hearing aids.  I think the brand was oticon.  They didn't give me too much trouble.  My audiologist also mentioned something about musicians ear plugs.  They're supposed to filter out the sound when it gets loud enough that it would be harmful without distorting the sound.  I'm pretty sure they're just called Musicians' plugs.

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Re: Hearing aids

To amartin:

Please check the previous posts in this topic -- On Aug 30 I mentioned checking the Etymotic Research Web site. They make several varieties of musicians' plugs, and I am a satisfied user of one variety for more than 16 years.  I take out my hearing aids to use the earplugs (or "attenuators", as they're called) while playing in large groups or in church.

Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Hearing aids

Has anyone tried some of the more recent ear plugs - Earasers or Dubs, for instance?

Thanks!

Nancy

"There are 2 means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats" - Albert Schweitzer

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