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.


....most of them....

I only have to please and amuse self...

Given a winning Lotto, that would likely still be the case.

Abusing SOTA would simply be a self-serving overkill...except....

...some yrs. back B-G assembled a batch of their line source units in an array that could be heard "a quarter of a mile away, clearly....driven by a modest receiver...’

I find that....appealing on some levels....although the rest would likely get me merely arrested...😏

That got removed from their website...

Gee, I wonder why....


I've been wearing hearing aids for almost 3 years now. They are expensive Phonak models.

Are the perfect NO. Are they better than not using them yes. You have to realize that most hearing aids are designed to improve hearing speech. Mine have several settings and the music setting is not bad.

The audiologist is very important in getting it right. Try to find one that uses real ear measurement to check the performance inside your ear while wearing them.

If you live in Texas check with the Texas Workforce Commission. Mine were free going through them.

I let my hearing loss go way too long.  I started to appreciate how fatiguing it was for family to keep repeating/speaking.  One day, with grand kids in the back seat, trying to order lunch thru the drive thru, ,, I was trying to get kids orders relayed to the speaker,,and not being able to understand anybody involved.  I truly lost it and realized how foolish.  Phillips hearing aids thru Costco.  The music menu works well.  I then realized how loud I was playing music thru my system when friends came over.  Couldn’t figure out their lack of enthusiasm.  
I use an Isonic for ultrasonic record cleaning.  When I hit the degas button, I gotta vacate the room.  Can’t describe what the hearing aids do.  Reminded me of Cousin Eddy in Christmas Vacation, describing the metal plate in his head when he stands too close to the microwave.  Time is a thief 

See attached audiogram from a decade past. Purple region is considered "normal" hearing. Check out the mid to high frequencies! Probably worse now. Past history of loud live (mostly) rock music - from Hendrix to the recent present Front Line Assembly show.

Wearing hearing aids during speech (usually) and not while listening to music - although these do help somewhat.

Have had minimal success with signal processing (Schiit Lokius). Headphones (Sennheiser HD650) help the most.

Looking forward to (but not in my lifetime at 67 years old) for hearing aid manufacturers to specifically manufacture high quality hearing aids geared to "our" community.


I am 69 andI have high frequency loss pretty substantial between 4k to 7k.  After getting my hearing aids I started hearing lots of the high frequencies that I knew had disappeared.

I am currently using a Signia AX hearing aid rebranded through Truhearing.  These are very good, cost is very reasonable through the insurance.  I selected these because they work and don't cost a ton of money.


BTW I have never thought about the issues with DA conversion but I do enjoy hearing more of the detail that I had lost.


Just saying.  Let's try not to be too anal retentive at the end of the day it just takes away from the enjoyment of the activity