hearing loss and amp choices

Found out yesterday that I have about 25-30% hearing loss in the right ear. Anything around 4000 hz and I display a sharp drop.

Currently looking for a new integrated such as the Vsi75, Sim Audio 700 series, Pass int 25, Belles Aria Sig and my distributor recommended the Rotel RA 6000 series which they are about to carry this  month.

The speakers are the very neutral and flat Studio 100's by ProAc.

My question revolves around the fact of hearing loss vs. expense for SQ. In other words what am i doing to be looking at a 10 or 16 thousand dollar int if my hearing won't appreciate it?

Do I look for something more articulated like the Rotel? Can I appreciate the nuances of tube gear with their richness?

Had Primare stuff (I-30) prior to this but it blew during a power surge and to tell the truth, thought the sound was a bit sterile with this series with little mid bass weight. Now I wonder if all this doesn't matter and should be looking for something with articulation that previously may have thought as "cold".

Just exploring what some of you may have experienced with any hearing loss in regard to previously perceived perceptions to SQ.


If you can still get a good stereo image, you won't want to down grade. And if you can't get a good stereo image, you'll still want a good mono set-up. I'm not a Rotel fan so I can't recommend that no matter what your hearing acuity is. 

Just try and hear as many different amps if possible. Nothing is designed for hearing impaired listeners. I live with severe tinnitus and hearing loss(just short of needing aids)

Other than that, it's a crap shoot. Good luck

Get an EQ and boost the 25-30% rt ear side over 4k. This should make a larger improvement in what you hear over any equipment upgrade. https://www.schiit.com/products/loki-max you can turn off the EQ if you have guests.

Get an amp with tone controls, Luxman or McIntosh comes to mind.  I have significant hearing loss in both ears and the treble control on my McIntosh preamp has been a Godsend. 

@stereo5 Agree 100% with you. I have a Luxman with loudness, balance and tone controls (all defeatable). I have a smaller loss in my right ear, and it helps. A friend has a McIntosh and he is quite happy also.

Do you still enjoy what you hear when listening to live music?  There is no way for you to "adjust" the sound of a live performance to compensate for your hearing loss.  In fact, the brain does a better job than most people would think possible in compensating for hearlng loss as we age. At just shy of 70 and with my own hearing deficiencies, I still enjoy music as much as I ever have.

That said, the best way for a consumer to pick out a component is to listen, preferably in your home setting, and then select the unit within your budget that sounds best -- to you.  You may -- or may not -- find that EQ or tone controls enhance your experience. Me? I'm perfectly fine without them.  YMMV.

no...just go to Costco and try out some hearing aids.....the music will sound different but it might be better.

I too recommend the costco hearning aids but stick with the "high end basic". By that I mean a hearing aid that does a really high quality job of simply flattening your response curve out.  That is what I have now.  Mine are 3 years old.  I love them.  Music sounds much better--natural with the gaps filled in...  So I went to costco to get the "latest and greatest" as a upgrade.  I bought the Rexton that has a music mode.  

Hated it.  It has all kind of AI that decides what I want to hear instead of just sending me everything with the gaps amplified.   

even in music mode is is doing a lot of digital signal processing.  I've yet to figure out what model I'll try next.


Appreciate of music through a high end system has little to do with the details of your actually hearing specs unless they are severely compromised. Yours are not. Ignore it. 

My hearing has always been compromised compared to my partner… most of us are… females have better hearing. I have taken her to most major auditions of equipment over the decades… she always had an opinion… “that sounds better… that hurts my ears.” But she always differs to my deep knowledge of the details and differences. 

The only thing you need is a balance control. Forget about the measurements, work towards a system that makes you happy. 



99.9 percent of everyone on here has hearing loss. Don't listen to any of them. 

@ashlypm ,  true enough but not everyone has the same level of deficiency.  I enjoy my systems much less now  that my hearing has gone way downhill.

Then get what I have?? Selah Audio xt8's with classe cam600 amps. You will have no problem hearing everything at 110 db. Line arrays all day everyday!!!    Look at the high end McIntosh!! Line arrays!!

Only you can decide how much to spend with your hearing loss.

I have had slight upper frequency hearing loss in my left ear since I was 25. I didn't effect my ability to perceive a solid image when listening. At 53, I lost about 75% from the left side. That completely eliminated any acoustic image and listening to music was bittersweet. Luckily it was a temporary condition that lasted 6 months.

This experience made me appreciate how important listening to music was so I 'threw down' on some Tannoys. Tannoys have the ability to raise the high frequency level on each speaker so I bump it up a vit on the left speaker and it helps a bit.

This is where vinyl shines. I prefer cartridges with a tipped up upper end now. Lot's of things you can do.

One lesson Iu learned is to never give up on your body.


My hearing's top frequency range has diminished but my hearing taste just gets better. Decades of loud guitar and I still mix live shows and play all the time. My hifi rig keeps evolving and it seems my brain just adjusts and everything is just  there...run it flat with no EQ generally, just added a Pass XA-25 which is mind altering, I can notice differences in preamp tubes, cables, blah blah. Tinnitus means you're never alone...heh...don't worry, get great gear to compensate for your losses.


hearing loss is not measured in %!

Hearing loss ,as a function of frequency , is displayed on an audiogram and expressed in a decibel value whereas zero decibels is normal hearing sensitivity .

Thus right or left ear responses that are between 0 to 15dBHl are WNL. Any deviation from that range expresses hearing loss.

Hearing loss is categorical from mild to moderate to sever to profound!

mild is from approximately 20-45, moderate 45-65, severe 65-85 and profound above 90dBHL. 
It is difficult to conclude the % what one will 

miss !

Hearing aids do not correct for the loss-they make things louder 

clarity is not guaranteed with amplification!

the advice to try different systems -good advice and get what seems helpful.

Recall, making things louder to an impaired ear may produce distortion with or without amplification.

Personally I have S/N hearing loss bilaterally along with constant tinnitus. For me louder is distorted and too soft is not clear.

My major use of HIFI is to mask the tinnitus ,but I do enjoy what I hear-

Not all sounds good!

nevertheless it is a challenge!






Get a quality hearing aid. It will help you in the other thousands of situations you will be in, outside of listening to music. Trust me!

audio and life advice,,,,dont focus on the negative, focus on the positive....identify what sounds good to you, no on what you "think" you might be missing....though high frequencies do indeed have importance, if you understand music and voice, little primary frequencies are above your area of deficiency, only overtones....much of the enjoyment of good hifi still remains, so audition, and chose what sounds good to you....life goes on!!

Amused at comments about the balance settings .  If you have hearing loss in your right ear boosting the signal to the right speaker will only mean that the stereo signal to that speaker will be louder, you still will not hear the left channel any better. 

I have Phonak aids that have different channels for conversation, music and crowded places. The music setting amplifies all frequencies according to my hearing loss so I can hear a big improvement in my music listening. It may change the sound , I do not know, but I certainly hear the highs and mids I was missing.

I can't recommend the Anthem STR highly enough. As someone who also has loss in one ear, it gives lots of flexibility to compensate. And it just sounds wonderful. Huge soundstage (much better than the tube amp it replaced.).

I am 73 and have had hearing aids for over 15 years. I am on my third set of aids. These are over the ear and highly programmable by me through my iPhone. I also have a TV device that allows me to listen through the aids. As far as my stereo system, I can adjust the tone controls on my McIntosh preamp as needed. My hearing loss is mostly high frequency in both ears coupled with very severe tinnitus. FWIW.

The best possible amplifier you can get for hearing loss is a set of the amazing new hearing aids that are now available.  I urge you, and anyone suspecting loss, to investigate this matter.  The best of the new devices are simply astonishing pieces of micro technology.  

They are customizable to your individual hearing profile, each individual ear.  So the high frequencies or whatever is needed can be brought up, (though some highs you can never regain) similar to a graphic equalizer or room correction software, and leave whatever is whole alone.  Think of it as laser eye surgery for the ears... though it's not surgery.  

They are light and inconspicuous, far moreso than eyeglasses.  

And the sound is incredible and natural.  The sound is actually MORE natural than trying to hear through diminished ears because the devices regain the natural sounds that you are otherwise missing.  Furthermore, they have the side benefit of helping diminish or eliminate that annoying tinnitus...  

You might not really realize what you've been missing.  Far from ruining your audio experience, the devices will be an absolutely critical component in the chain; once you hear through the best, you won't want to go back, and you may find yourself waxing evangelical.  

I was very concerned, downright depressed, when I realized I ought get some (I got the Phonak Paradise T9- waterproof), and thought they'd ruin my audiophile experience... FAR FROM IT.  I'm astonished and my audio systems suddenly sprung back to life as I recaptured that high frequency magic... I hear better now than I have for decades; I never even knew what I was missing.

These are not your grandpa's or daddy's aids, unless your daddy is up to date.  Just in the last couple years, the tech has made exponential gains and the best ones are also firmware updatable as the tech continues to evolve (but the best ones are so good now, there's no reason to wait).

They will have more benefits for your audio experience, and your life overall, than any other new amplifier could even possibly approach, no matter how much you spend on the amp.  Get your hearing right FIRST, and then investigate other new components if you even want to because your old components will sound new or better than new with your new ears... wait on any other upgrade... get yourself right first... 

Investigate Widex Moment (a favorite among MUSICIANS, including for use in the studio...) and the Phonak Audeo Paradise... The Paradise is a Swiss-made device coupled with Silicon Valley computer tech...

Get referrals to the BEST audiologist that you can possibly find.

I think you will be amazed and utterly delighted.  

@ larryro2

you said "hearing aids do not correct for the loss  - they make things louder"

This is an absolutely false statement these days when it comes to the high-quality aids.  Cheap ones, maybe, but the best are extremely effective at correcting... they do not just make things louder.

This one is so easy. If your right ear has the problem, turn your head so it faces the left speaker.  Shazam!  Works for me.

Really think you are looking at this the wrong way.  You need equalization to help you.  Either a miniDSP or something with Roon to allow you to boost the relevant frequencies.  No amp /cable combination will do this for you alone.

You might be really happy with Dali speakers though, which have market bumps up top.

Oh boy. Good topic. I can’t hear anything above 8k and I have tinnitus, but that doesn’t stop me from really enjoying music. I have several things to say about what has been said so far:

• Hearing aids: most of them are truly junk. They, and audiologists, focus on boosting perception of the human voice - all else be damned including the quality of that sound. If you think bad audio sounds bad, you haven’t heard bad yet. I have two pairs ($6000 and $6500 - one is Phonak Audeo) sitting in a drawer because they are irritating at best, and listening to music with them is like going back into the stone age of solid state music repro (think bad transistor radio in 1962). And if you have tinnitus like I do, they just aggravate the hell out of it. I am aware of Widex but have not been able to listen to them yet. Maybe....

• Audio systems: I guess equalizers might be helpful, but I find that even with my hearing loss I am easily able to discern the quality of gear and recording quality without making adjustments like that. A few specifics: The top tier series of Fyne speakers have a presence control that includes your hearing loss frequencies, though I keep mine at slightly minus of neutral. GaN based amplifiers are very clean in the upper mid to high frequencies which make it easier to perceive (avoid Pass and the like). Very high resolution gear, like ARC preamps, are also helpful (I have a REF 6SE on order). Yes, tubes!

Bottom line for me is I really enjoy quality music reproduction in spite of my hearing problems. Hope this helps.

I will not repeat this excellent advice from ghdprentice....I will only add this...

If you own a dedicated room work with basic acoustic/psycho-acoustic principle...This work marvel for me...Use your "impaired" ears to tune the room for what you are able to hear yourself and enjoy about timbre and imaging ...

My best wish for you in this journey....

Appreciate of music through a high end system has little to do with the details of your actually hearing specs unless they are severely compromised. Yours are not. Ignore it.

My hearing has always been compromised compared to my partner… most of us are… females have better hearing. I have taken her to most major auditions of equipment over the decades… she always had an opinion… “that sounds better… that hurts my ears.” But she always differs to my deep knowledge of the details and differences.

The only thing you need is a balance control. Forget about the measurements, work towards a system that makes you happy.

Curtdr is absolutely correct! I have fairly compromised hearing that happens to everyone in my family. The biggest improvement in my system was a pair of Oticon hearing aids. I have no idea why so many are so reluctant and advocate trying to tune your system to your hearing loss. What a waste of time and money.Hearing aids are programmable and your hearing will probably change over time. It pains me to see these threads when the answer is so obvious, just try it!

For sure you are also right...

It is relative to the specific individual and the level of impairment...

And hearing aids with an acoustically tuned room by the user himself and for himself  with his hearing aids in place  will be optimal...

Curtdr is absolutely correct! I have fairly compromised hearing that happens to everyone in my family. The biggest improvement in my system was a pair of Oticon hearing aids. I have no idea why so many are so reluctant and advocate trying to tune your system to your hearing loss. What a waste of time and money.Hearing aids are programmable and your hearing will probably change over time. It pains me to see these threads when the answer is so obvious, just try it!

This is a great thread.  I've been thinking about starting a similar discussion.   I too have some hearing loss and tinnitus, more so on my left ear.   I use my 2 separate gain controls on my preamp to boost the left channel.   For my 5.1 HT, I crank up the center channel so I can hear the dialogs better.

I'm on the borderline in terms of needing a hearing aid, but I think I will eventually.  I'm always curious if hearing aids will or will not affect the perceived sound quality coming out of your stereo system.  There seems to be some conflicting experiences here.  

So whoever is reading this, please continue to chime in with your experience if you use hearing aids regularly for your daily routine,  do you keep them on for music or remove them?  and if you use if for music, do you find that it degrades or enhances your music listening experience?  If you find it enhances your experience, please let us know which brand/model hearing aid do you use.

Anyway, don't mean to change the subject here.  Please do help out OP on his question on Amp choices.  Thanks.


Honestly this has been the most informative thread for me ever almost here. I am near the end of litigation with work to cover hearing loss and of course in the ensuing discussions with Dr.'s et al. my info has been sold and I have been inundated with offers and appointments for hearing aids- real true info has been hard to come by such as cost of good tech, brand names to check out and etc. ; as for my listening habits for 2 channel; I just turn it up. Tho currently I just use some Harbeth 30.1's (love em) and a Nova 300 (passable) or headphones(Grado GH2). Anyway, thanks again y'all and especially curtdr for what sounds like some news I can use.

I have to agree with xcool, a great thread and informative. To the OP's original question, are high end amps a waste of money if you have hearing loss, my experience says no. I developed tinnitus in 2011 and went to an audiologist who measured my hearing. Other than the high frequency loss from old age, I have a moderate loss at lower frequencies (around the typical vocal range). Not severe enough to "require"' hearing aids but easily measurable.

Both of my 25 year old amplifiers quit last year so I made an upgrade when I purchased new this year. I could hear the difference, better detail and bass are obvious even with my somewhat defective hearing. So, for me, the extra expense was well worth it.

Jim S.

Expensive hearing aids from an audiologist are very different from cheap hearing amplifiers at Costco or wherever.

I use in-ear hearing aids for TV, music, and even headphones. Life was so vastly improved (and music started sounding so much better) when I started wearing hearing aids about 15 years ago. Glasses help the vision-challenged, hearing aids help the hearing-challenged - it's all good.... 

Not sure what you call cheap hearing amplifiers from Costco ?  Costco  ( not a member) but I am sure has varying grades. Hearing aids from audiologists have insane mark ups, sure, you get some support, but $4k to $6k for that support. The fact is, you need a good hearing test, then find a retailer or on line source to sell you your hearing aids according to the test. I am on my 3rd set now, currently Phonak Boleros, and from the first set on was astonished at what I had been missing.  If you need service you will find some so called audiologists that will not help, they have a racket going and hate to lose it. First question they ask is "Where did you buy?"   If not from them they will refuse to help, even if you are willing to pay.

If you work with the audiologist who is fitting your aids, their response curve can be adjusted to your needs and/or preferences.

Mine can be adjusted without a trip back to the office, btw. You could potentially have a test record or app running concurrently to ’dial yourself in’, so to speak.

Given that many here spend more on their systems than a good pair of aids, what’s the point if the last 1" from ear to gray matter is the most compromised?

Think of them as a good pair of headphones you wear all day.

Surprised me what I’d been missing just being outside...I could hear birdsong again....

Priceless, that...

@arro222 ,

 I’m not sure if you mentioned a price you would be willing to pay, but finding an amp with a balance control would be the place I’d start.

hi ,everybody,i am 68 now ,i use hearing aids from phonac paradise they brought back my music up to 9600 hz  .Here in France the top ones from phonak ,the paradise,  costs about 4000$ for a pair ,to suit your hearing you must choose the right audiologist very very carefully too ,because he is the one who adjusts the aids to what you were missing (on 16 different frequencies for the most accurate model) ,he musts take his  time to receive you for tests 3 or 4 times at least during  the first 6 months .The first  15 days, you must get used to the aids ,then you will  rediscover your music with the subtilities you even forgot ,the birds outside and so on .Please consider this as a  friendly advice and don't waste time and money in a new system .Invest in a (only)best  hearing aid,( i tried different ones and it is absolutly worth it)as you would for amp and speakers .I don't know if it is possible to have one for a month  trial where you live but if i was totally reluctant even to the idea before the trial  i am know and since 2 years so happy with it .

arro222, there's a difference between having a frequency related notch and having a 20-25% hearing loss in the ear in question. Very many people encounter age related loss between 2 and 4KHz - it really depends on how severe it is. Also, what is the performance of your other ear like?

As has been suggested above, changing your system is not the way to go. An equalizer is worth experimenting with or ultimately hearing aids if the problem is really severe.

First of all I am NOT changing out my system. My integrated suffered a catastrophic failure.

I posed the question to help flavor my next purchase of an amp. I am not at the stage for aids as yet or so told to me or I should say unless i am immersed in certain situations such as a crowded restaurant, but I am interested in terms of what possible alterations of my previous sound tastes, may have occurred with these new to me findings.

To wit: I used to feel the highly articulated, detailed sq of certain amps as "sterile". Is that still in evidence I ask myself? Unfortunately, the jaunt to the next audio salon that used to be an hour ride round trip, has now turned into a 6 hour journey so I would have liked at least a "clue" (before I venture into this realm) as to what effects in personal preferences may have occurred for others.

I appreciate all the suggestions and agree with many of the premises. I know what I ask is rather a "drill down" that may be too specific. But it has caused me to wonder, nonetheless, of what others have experienced in this regard that may have altered their own sound appreciations.

So here is what i’ve learned so far: 1. I should consider an amp w tone controls. 2. Unfortunately, there is not much to do with the room. I live in a log home with wooden walls, carpet and drapery. 3. There may be minimal difference and i should hear a bunch. 4. There are differences attributed to acquired hearing aids. 5. Do not take two cross country trips on motorcycles without hearing protection beyond what a padded helmet provides.

I guess it will be interesting to discover what I disdained before, becomes more appreciable to me now.



I was going to get hearing aids, but the Dr. said I would be able to hear my wife better.

Critical listening to music (or what us audiophiles enjoy with our audio gear) and having a known hearing loss in one ear is like driving a Ferrari with 1 flat tire. Yeah you can change the suspension on one side or pick flatter roads to drive the car on...but in the end the tire is the real problem and you will not realize the full potential of the Ferrari. I bought Resound GN hearing aids and it was the best improvement to my audio system in years

My two cents.


I've lived all my adult life with about 50% hearing loss in my right ear.  Scar tissue from chronic ear aches as a child.  My brain doesn't recognize the loss.  I hear perfect stereo image and enjoy my sytem fully.  I only notice the loss if I plug my left ear.  If you hear the music, just enjoy it.  Did you feel you were missing anything before they told you there was a hearing loss?  The brain is a wonderful thing and will compensate for so many issues.


I dunno. My amp tanked months before that.

You do raise a point. I thought the highly articulated amp sterile even then and I’m sure my hearing didn’t go south just now. The only reason I had the hearing test in the first place is to have ruled out why i was feeling dizzy w no blood pressure issues. So they gave me the mri to rule out tumor and then the subsequent hearing test. They think it was a residual of covid I had back in Nov. calling it some kind of nerve edema. Still haven’t gotten full taste and smell as yet.

Coming to conclusion sometimes takes the plethora of contributors for the op to come to meaning.

Of course the brain is the "it" of hearing. My tinnitus is not an ear issue as much as a brain short circuit.

I will go forth and assimilate to the directions and suggestions this thread has provided.

Thank you

i will be 71 years old in few weeks...

Probably my hearing is not what i had younger... 😁😊

Nevermind, i tuned my room by ears...( 100 Helmholtz resonators) And younger i would not have been able to do it because of a lack of attention and lack of confidence in myself...

Dont mind about any lost of hearing, especially if it is not a big one loss...

People who feel that sound impressions are only figure out by measured Hertz frequencies capabilities test are ignorant...

The brain like say bigtwin is the organ of perception about the sound not only the ears isolated from him:

I’ve lived all my adult life with about 50% hearing loss in my right ear. Scar tissue from chronic ear aches as a child. My brain doesn’t recognize the loss.

And anyway music is certainly not just sound...

Remember that some people with full hearing are unable to figure out this truth at all...

From some cars passing in our streets we know by experience that some people really think that music is perceived by the body mainly, especially bass frequencies... They are not wrong at all but.... 😁😊


«We hear meaning and dont call that an illusion»-Anonymus audiologist playing violin






I’m 69 and played in a band for 12 years with the drummer on my right side.  Needless to say I have some tinnitus in my right ear.  I have always had tube amps.  I treated myself to a ARC VSi75 and cannot be happier.  I find it to have all around great sound.  Well balanced with nothing overly boosted.  I think this would work well for you.  Of course speakers are probably the most critical choice.


From the first time I heard theVSi75 i was mesmerized. It has such a classic natural musical quality… and for the money… what a screaming deal. Wonderful sounding piece of equipment!

also to note.....as you hear less your brain gets inured to those sounds....and you perceive less.   A viscous circle.   Go get hearing aids.