Diminishing hearing ability?

I believe my biggest challenge in pursuing a great listening experience is my diminishing hearing ability. I have assembled a $50k system through Audiogon (for about $30k) that should knock my socks off. Once and a while it does but most of the time is less enjoyable than my first "higher end" $5k system 30 years ago.

Just had to remark because it's rather frustrating at times. Not that my hearing is that bad, it's just not what it had once been.

I suppose we're all challenged by this to varying degrees. Hmmm, anyone ever have an "ear tune-up" (short of a hearing aid)? May be the best tweak of all!!!

I suspect it's probably not your hearing at all that's to blame. I suspect it all actually stems from the basic premise that it just ain't that easy to assemble a system that knocks your socks off. Most systems I've heard and that's a lot are kind of blah, to be brutally blunt about it. If it were easy everyone could do it.
You can have your ears cleaned professionally.

You can't do anything about bad source material. If it's not recorded and copied well you are SOL.

You might be surprised and disappointed were you to listen to your 5k system today.
90+ year old conductors can conduct because the brain can fill in gaps from memory.

I agree with Tostad, I wanted big Infinities back in the day , heard some in recent years and wouldn't want them for free now .
How is your health? Does ANYTHING knock your socks off these days?
Try hitting the treadmill 3-4 times a week for six months. It works for me!
What is a great listening experience? Is it the sound? The music? A combination of both I expect. Audiophiles, when we obsess about the sound of our rigs, will play those familiar cuts, over and over, that we use for intellectual analysis of the performance characteristics of our systems. But I suspect a great listening experience to be more connected to our emotional response to the music. Rather than obsessing over the nature of the cymbals, the resonance of the bass, how about connecting to the artistic performance? - of new or unfamiliar music? Certainly, I, along with others I might assume, are guilty of the analysis posture - which might include assessing our diminishing hearing. But, on occasion, to relax and be open to music itself, might and can provide the possibility of the great listening experience. IMHO
Anyone ever have an "ear tune-up" (short of a hearing aid)? May be the best tweak of all!!!
Very much so, in my case. I see an ENT (ear, nose, & throat doctor) every 6 to 12 months to have wax removed from my ears. Just about every time he removes significant amounts of wax from one or both ears, and it certainly makes a difference.

I started having that done about 10 years ago, when I found that I could barely hear people on the telephone when it was placed against one ear, although everything was fine with the other ear. The dr. removed a large amount of wax from the problematic ear, and it instantly returned to normal.

He has said that wax buildup has no predictability, or even any consistency in how it occurs in a given patient from year to year.

-- Al
When you were building your system, did you go around with the same 5 or 10 demo CD's and use the same test tracks over and over again? When you do stuff like that, the system you end up with will probably sound good with your test CD's, but not the music you really listen to.
Al is correct - I also have had wax removed by a doctor a couple of times over the last three years. One thing you do NOT want to do, though, is try to remove it yourself with a Q-tip. Look up remedies for "swimmer's ear" if you want to find out about some safe home remedies.
As someone who has been hearing impaired for over fifty years, I strongly suggest you find a experienced audiologist who works with musicians. Yes, wax removal is a must, but you also need to know what you are capable of hearing. An initial full spectrum hearing test will give you a benchmark to actually help you define 'diminishing'. For further remarks check out my recent interview with Jim Smith of 'Better Sound'.
Obviously you need to have your hearing tested, then consider good hearing aids - which run around $6K/pair - just another component in your system. They are equalizers with some digital processing.
Loydc...yuk..hearing aids are awful. The beauty of sound is totally gone, replaced by digital sand of the worst kind. I tried a few different brands, and decided to live without them.
Wow, thanks all for the great responses!

To Dwellers point, my overall health is very good - at the gym 4 or 5 times a week.

So what do I suspect are the contributors? Heredity (big time), getting older (54), wax buildup (likely), and my past "loud!!" listening preference(so say my wife and daughter). Not much that I can do about these things other than an ear cleaning - I like that idea, can only help!

Papermill puts forth a healthy perspective: enjoyment should not only be had in how well the content's received by the ear of an audiophile but also, and even more, from simply enjoying the emotion brought about by the music.

I recall the words of the gentleman I bought the CJ Premier 16 Preamp (about $8k retail) I'm using: "Selling because I can find ample enjoyment from the experience had in listening to my old Fischer tubed receiver".

Take away: Strive to find enjoyment in the emotions awakened by the music itself and accept the presentation as received by the ever so discerning but degenerating ear. And make an appointment for an ear cleaning!

Again, thanks all very much!!
Stingreen, agreed, up to a point, I often do without them. But with "high frequency hearing loss" - which means above 2kHz, when we're talking about hearing aids, which is around the frequency of tweeter crossovers - without hearing aids, cymbals do not shimmer, overtones are not heard, and so on. Behind-the-ear aids affect only the "high" frequencies, there is a big difference between the top-of-the-line aids and the others (my Oticon 10's have 10 bands of eq, vs. around 4 in many starter models), and they keep getting better.
You could of course eq your stereo, but then it's unlistenable to anyone in the vicinity, and hearing aids, being less susceptible to some of the other variables, may produce a more "natural" illusion.
Another suggestion, assuming your dissatisfaction is mental and not physical, is system change up. Do you have more than one system? Do you have components to swap around? Can you try different speaker placements?

For instance I just set up a near field speaker arrangement (temporary) with speakers from my bedroom system. It's a different listening experience and I'm really enjoying the change.
Your attitude is also important. Some people think "Well, I've spent a ton on this system so it should MAKE me like it even if I'm not in the mood."! Compare this to sitting for an audition of an expensive component. I'll bet there is nothing "laid back" going on here. You are totally focused on every micro-nuance coming from the speakers -almost like your life depends on it.

If I were becoming indifferent, I'd not listen for a month then schedule a listening day. I'd invite a nice bottle of wine to join me then let it rip.
Rhljazz and Dweller,

Though my hearing is diminishing a bit I hear you! Both of your responses are aimed at means to reinvigorate the experience - change up. And it is the good experience had that's more important than having that ability to so perfectly discern! Perspective check - thanks!
Anyone can remove their earwax by instilling Debrox drops or a generic into each ear for several days and then irrigating with a bulb syringe full of lukewarm water. This is an easier process if done every 10-12 weeks, before there is a wax impaction. You can always have clear ear canals--there is no need to go in for this if your ear canals and tympanic membranes are otherwise normal.