when your hearing is not as good as it was . . .

I'm 68, and too much loud live rock contributed to what they call mild-to-moderate hearing loss. So.

What will no longer make a difference in terms of my components? What can I sacrifice, because I can no longer hear it? 

Will Bluetooth sound the same from my DAC vs going through my preamp for example? 

Can I hear the diff between a tube (Freya) and solid state preamp? 

Can anyone share their experience and if they've done anything to their systems? 


It’s the high frequencies that you lose first. I can’t give you any advice about any gear you can do without now, though. I think that’s a little too specific to you, your system and your hearing for anyone to give you any realistic advice. There’s a long discussion about equalizers (link below), which can help by boosting the frequencies you’re not hearing so well anymore.

Equalizer in a HiFi system?

Don’t fret - the heart of music is 1K..the almighty magic midrange…. but do ask your audiologist about the nature of your hearing loss, frequency and prospects for hearing aids to improve….

Best to you.

Yes, I have Jabra Essence Select hearing aids, but it is less fatiguing to listen to music at home w/out wearing them. They are good hearing aids, but "high fidelity' is not their purpose. I appreciate the comments about adding an equalizer to the system. Thanks

you can use it to your advantage:

No need to get expensive equipment or listening to it and tweaking and upgrading it. You will only listen to just music.

This doesn’t directly answer your question. At 63 I’m certain that my hearing isn’t as good as it once was, but I’m also fairly certain that I’m better at recognizing problems areas within a system. I’m a more experience and more patient listener than I once was too. Hearing is a sense, but listening is a skill, and it can be honed with practice and experience. Even if I can’t hear above 10K, the vast majority of music occurs within a range that I can hear.

While I’ve done nothing to my system intentionally to make up for any hearing loss, I have gone after several minor knit picks over the years by trusting my ears, and now have what I feel is better sound across the board.

FWIW, it ain’t the same kind of sound as you’d get in a high quality 2 speaker system properly set up, but a good set of headphones, amp, and source can go a long way in getting you a sound were you can hear those HF’s you are losing.

Other than that my experience mirrors knotscott. BTW, I tried high quality hearing aids and did not like them at all with audio systems, I’d rather have the reduced highs than endure the hearing aid artifacts.

We all loose high frequencies perception with aging ...

But music and even sound qualities are first qualities , meanings, non linear wholeness which are not contained in the Hertz -decibel number linear windows and map ...

My ears had lost their acuity as it is normal for 72 years but i can perceive very distinctly minute differences in sound qualities because they are meaningful for me ...

If i was wrong , audiophiles passed 35 years old must give back their club membership because passed over 35 we perceive :





I am 65  and suffer audiometric notch ,aka "noise notch".

Listening with hearing aids sucks. and I have moderate priced and expensive (widex & oticon).

One of the things that is significant is cupping my hands behind my ears. Its amazing how effective this is. Obviously this is impractical.

But I have often thought about fashioning some contraption like this:



Update: I just ordered the cups off the Amazons , couldn’t pass it up they were so cheap.

Mendef, join the party!  I'm 68 and have hi frequency hearing loss as well as tennitus.  I recently added a equalizer to boost the upper end.  I also play my music louder than 'normal'.  It helps.  I can not hear crickets, tree frogs, birds chirping.  But, I can tell the difference between SS and tubes, as well as digital (CD) vs HQ vinyl, so all is not lost.  Keep the faith!

I’m 64 and I can directly attribute my hearing loss to one specific concert, a great garage band by the name of Netherworld when they played at a community college campus in Los Gatos CA.   Anyway, I love music.   Don’t lose heart.   I equalize to gently elevate the higher frequencies that I don’t hear as well.   That’s the key for me.   I’m not deaf, just don’t hear the high frequencies as well.   So, boost them.

YMMV, but it works for me.

I have been tested and certain upper frequencies not quite as sharp as it once was 

a bit rolled off on tip like hearing a cymbal fade instead of 4 times 3,

and even  certain parts of the midrange,, midBass not so much , That  being said 

better audio equipment for sure helps especially the dac and cabling to give it That extra definition .

It’s normal to loose ability to hear higher frequencies with age. The good news is 10 kHz and above is mainly where “air” occurs in music meaning cymbals lose their sheen and sparkle, etc but most music occurs well below that frequency. On the plus side a lot of noise and distortion that can make listening fatiguing also occurs at those higher frequencies so older ears will naturally filter that out.

Other than that, what one hears or not and what differences can be discerned or even matter will vary case by case. A hearing test is really the only way to know. The good news is that once does know and up to a certain point equalization might be applied to compensate. Modern Digital Signal Processing for example like that included in Roon streaming makes applying equalization for a variety of purposes easier than ever.


At 67 I can still hear the higher notes, it’s the tinnitus after listening that sucks.  Might be speaker induced, too.

Check ot the Widex 440 Series. I did a lot or research when i was lookng for my hearing aids.  It seems like the Widex 440 is used by a lot of musicians.  It has a 10-Band equalizer that the doctor sets up and a three-band equalizer that you can adjust and save the settings. Sound, to me, is very natural. It opened up my music enjoyment again and I cna't be happier.


Attached is a link to a paper that I came across in my research - Hope it helps


+1 @hilltoppa 

At 74 I am on my third pair of aids. The first two were so bad that I couldn't stand to wear them. Expensive well known brands - but awful, particularly with music. Now using Widex 440 and couldn't be happier. Very natural sounding: no edginess, no grit and grain, no fatigue. 

+2 @hilltoppa 

Getting Widex hearing aids helped. The three band equalizer in the user software less so. I use Roon software to stream and the parametric equalizer built into the software was more helpful in zeroing in frequency ranges needing a boost. But in the end the hearing aids were the most help and the audiologist can retune them. 

Each person has different levels of loss so seeing an audiologist who can offer a high quality hearing aid is to me the first step. Don’t know how the Jabra’s compare to the Widex, but the latter are pricey, as much as a very decent preamp. 

I can still hear the difference between good and bad recordings, better interconnects and speaker cables vs. less effective ones, but I do still miss some very high frequency details over about 7,000 Hz. You can only recover so much with technology. So sit back and enjoy the music. 

I'm also 68 and my hearing is about average for someone my age. I recently played a test CD and I can still hear 12K Hz but that's about it. I went to many loud concerts in my youth but I learned early that earplugs make the experience much more pleasant. I smoked in those days and tearing off the filters from a couple of cigarettes and stuffing them in my ears worked reasonably well. Later I discovered Etymotic earplugs and wore the religiously at loud events..

To answer your question - no, my high frequency hearing loss has not led to any changes in my system. I will readily admit that I can't hear the subtle differences that other audiophiles seem to hear but that has always been true. I can't hear the difference between interconnects but I couldn't hear the difference 30 years ago either. I've got several DACs, two transports, and a couple of players ranging in price from $800 to $20,000 and they sound extremely similar. I couldn't guarantee that I could tell them apart in a blind test. But I've been to three audio shows and I can certainly tell you that I can distinguish between mediocre systems and very good ones. I also discovered that my system holds its own against most of the six figure systems I've heard even though my speakers, amp, and preamp, are late 90's vintage.

I had an interesting experience in the Synergistic room at AXPONA in 2018. They had a very nice setup with big Magico speakers and they did 3 before/after tests. For the little HFT thingies I couldn't hear any difference but I would say that most people in the room felt they could hear the effect. I talked to several other people who were younger than me who couldn't hear the effect either so I don't think age was a determining factor. But when Ted turned off the Atmosphere gizmo the difference was astounding (at least to me). The soundstage collapsed from 3 dimensions to a flat wall of sound. I was absolutely blown away but some of the others in the room went, "meh." What I drew from this is that I am probably very sensitive to soundstage issues but maybe not so much on frequency response.

One more note about how we process sound quality. At the same AXPONA they had a room with very large Wilson speakers and D'Agostino electronics. This system sounded terrible to me. It had an etched character in the high freqencies that made it sound more like a lab instrument than a stereo system. I talked to several people about this and reactions ranged from, "I couldn't stand to listen to an entire song on that system," to "Best sound at the show. Incredible." Age didn't seem to be a factor with the people I talked to in whether or not you liked this sound of this system. 

Check out speakers like a Martin Logan's with a Folded Motion Tweeter.

I have a pair of ML 15i and they seems to keep the hi frequencies more noticeable  as compared to a soft dome tweeter. Electrostatic and Magnepans speakers will also be an improvement in this area.

I too wear the Jabra Enhance Select H.A. and it is hard to dial them in while listening to music. I just upgraded to the new Select 300 and for me they sound better overall YMMV.  

I'm 72 and had my hearing checked a few years ago and it was 12/13k With my stereo rig I took the approach making sure my system was truly full range My tower speakers have built-in subs and I also use two SVS Ultra 13 subs with their upgraded plate amps  I also have a pair of Magnepans that I listen to also  I must say many songs that I've heard before, now sound more impactful with much more inner detail dynamics   I know that l have lost some upper frequency but I can't get the smile off my face when I listen to my stereo equipment! Oh l listen to everything from Frank Sinatra to Odesza 


That is interesting that you have had sensitivity issue with soundstage as I recently had a similar reaction.

About a month ago I replaced the stock J&J tubes in my Rogue RP-1 with NOS Mullards and immediately noticed a widened soundstage. After a couple nights of listening, the soundstage expanded to a point of near saturation. It seemed as though there was one upper frequency that was screaming in my ears in a constant state. My ears ached at the thought of that frequency! I could hear it at work the next day and was hesitant about listening the next night.

So I removed the silver interconnect that I had from my Schiit Yggy DAC and Rogue Preamp and replaced them with a pair of mostly copper interconnects and the overly saturated soundstage went away! In return I also got more bass and the music is now more controlled.

The only change I had made in the past number of months was the swapping of the valves, so the NOS Mullard and the silver interconnects were clearly not a match. 

The big dent in my ego is that I actually spent too much time listening to something that was not just bad, but bad for my health!

It's a dangerous hobby!

Yup- Other than that my experience mirrors knotscott. BTW, I tried high quality hearing aids and did not like them at all with audio systems, I’d rather have the reduced highs than endure the hearing aid artifacts.

I agree. 

Everybody's posts are much appreciated. Thank you