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.


I’m another audiophile that have worn hearing aids all my life. Here is my advice on hearing aids for first time buyers.

1. spend money on the high-end brands like Phonak, Starkey, Beltone. I paid $3500 cash for my Phonak with Bluetooth. You can negotiate price with your audiologist. You honestly don’t need 15 programs, just the bare minimum. "Over the ear" hearing aids will have less issues than "In the ear" and they are usually easier to repair.

2. the hearing aid programming are only good as your audiologist programming. Research the Audiologist you’re going to meet or get recommendation from others.

3.Lastly, I recommend one program set up without compression or the auto-environment adjustment. This is the program I use for music or concert listening. In fact, I use this program for everyday use.

4. Lastly, your new hearing aid will sound strange the first week, so give yourself a week for your brain and ear to adjust and sound will smooth out.

No, do not get Starkey, Beltone, or Phonex. Get the Widex. They do require adjustment via an audiologist and are slightly more than the brands mentioned above. However, if music is your priority, Widex is the way to go. The music program is not the best for speech but it’s easy to shift back. These are the only hearing aids specifically designed for music lovers.

I bought the Opticon.. Expensive and they suck. I'm going to have to see the Audiologist, see if she can tweak them. The problem is they sound digital and compressed. 

We all chase the desired sound we love.  If the last piece is compromised everything before it becomes null.  Great advice!

Got widex on review.  Have tried three other brands & almost gave up until I saw this post.  Widex is by far the most natural , consider them a major improvement to your system