The Audiophile Upgrade Easiest to Ignore

Common wisdom when putting together an audio system is to first choose the speakers. It makes sense except speakers are not the last device in the audio hardware chain. Our ears are.

My audiologist tells me about two-thirds of the individuals he tests have a hearing impairment. My left ear significantly dips in the mid-range. My right ear takes a dive at 1kHz. As an avid audiophile, I finally realized that I could never build a truly high fidelity system unless I could properly evaluate audio gear.

I thought that because I could hear voices ok my hearing had to be good for music as well. How wrong I was! Ear infections began to erode my hearing acuity until I had to take hearing tests, treat the problems, and get hearing aids to make up for my deficiencies.

I'll never forget the day when I tried my new pair of hearing aids. I could carry on a conversation without uttering "What did you say?" with great frequency. And I could hear music in its full glory. It's as if I had bought a new piece of audio gear, which in fact I had, and tonality, instrument separation, and the rest of the attributes often used to describe an excellent piece of gear had made an appearance

I regret not having corrected my hearing much sooner. I missed on a great deal of joy for many years. I'm writing this post to urge those of you fellow audiophiles, even if you have no problem hearing normal speech, to get a hearing test. There are good ones in free apps that are a good first step towards a professional test. One called "Hearing Test" is quite exceptional and available on Android phones.

Doing a hearing test takes just a few minutes and is extremely easy to do. Don't cheat yourself of all the subtleties and nuances that music offers when it is so easy to do something about it.

And let the community know. Perhaps then print and video audio reviewers will follow suit and improve the credibility of their reviews. God knows what they often say about gear performance sounds nothing like what I hear, even allowing for differences in equipment synergy and room acoustics.

If would be awesome if reviewers published their own hearing tests and what they have done to correct any deficiencies they have. I don't think it's asking for too much given the influence they have on the audio equipment we spend a great deal of money to acquire.


Went through a similar journey

I've been in bands 

Seen tons of live shows 

and hunted my whole life 

I went and got my hearing test at age 59

and ended up buying a pair of Widex Moment 440s

these were the only aids that only fed my Deficiencies

and it was like I was 21 again

I you are in a similar situation I would read Michael Fremers review of the aids

and give them a try   
definately life changing and everyone will eventually have to

face the music

Goof luck Willy-T



wearing hearing aids my whole life and yes I can tell the difference in speakers, amplification, record quality ... yet I often have to ask my wife or kids, what did you say, etc ... I often wonder how I can be more defined and truly tell a difference, I have to imagine that folks without hearing loss either find my systems even clearer and more amazing than I do. As for brands of aids, had them all Beltone for probably 20 years, they were good/ok but brittle, any kind of drop and back to have a crack fix with remold; Starkey's have been great, more durable, tuning is tough regardless of the aid ... Finding a audiologist that is willing to spend time is key, try to find that one setting and use it 99% of the time ... the 1% for me is 6 db less for loud areas were I want spacial awareness but don't need to hear it all.

Here are a few spec questions that you will now need when choosing Audiophile Hearing Aids.  
Bluetooth connectivity:

Can I connect my digital sources directly to the hearing aids bypassing my external DAC and speakers?


Class A:


Frequency Response:

Power output:

Damping factor:

Digital filter, Bit Perfect:

Clock speed:

A/D, D/A Chip used:


Are there “Less is More and More is Less” options.

High end Audio companies will be releasing new hearing aids soon Im sure.  All with new names.  Like:

Ear Shiit or Grado Aids.  
And of course special fluids for ear cleansing. 
Optional resonance free isolation ear canal mounting frames for the hearing aids. 
oh yes I could go on!

I have the same problem.  I have been holding off because I worry if I get hearing aids my sound system will sound unnatural and tinny.  I wonder if my tweeters will sound too bright.  Perhaps we should all have our hearing tested before investing in speakers.  I also wonder how many audiophiles have to replace their speakers because they sound too harsh.  Perhaps they realize others who listen to a sound system with good hearing could listen to a system we designed.  Certainly a different way of thinking about the perfect system we are trying to design.  We are in affect creating a system for us rather than for everyone to enjoy.  

thanks for sharing.  I still wonder how a sound system would sound after purchasing hearing aids?  Do hearing aids make music sound unnatural?

I as well have had to go that journey. Too many missed words  my partner talking about sounds from my  speakers like brushes or cymbals I wasn’t hearing  Testing showed a deficit at around 8 k if I recall.

i ended up getting Phillips aids at Costco. They have a music setting which I use when listening to both live and when listening to my system, but I turn the setting  down so I get boost in high frequency but not so much that it sounds tinny and bright.  That  is the compromise for me