Hearing Issues

Hi, as a 69 year old my hearing certainly isn’t as good as it was in my 20s. However, while I feel it isn’t to bad, I have noticed that my left ear is slightly deaf compared to my right. When using Roon, I can increase the level of the left channel by about 4 or 5 dbs. This seems to work. However, the quality of music through Roon isn’t as good as that coming via other sources. Given my Dynavector pre amp has no balance control are there any suggestions on how else I can alter the channel balance to compensate for my hearing issues. Any thoughts greatly appreciated.


You might try turning your chair to the right as little.
Or maybe toeing the right speaker out a little more than the left one.
It may be the room itself that is affecting the perceived volume too. My last house had the listening area open on the left and also had the same issue of the left channel seeming quieter than the right channel.


One of the benefits of my new DS MKll DAC is that it has balance control built in, something my preamp doesn’t have. I use a hearing aid in my left ear pretty much only when I’m listening to my system. I require a bit more on that side the last six months or so. If I turn up the hearing aid to compensate I suffer some listening fatigue. If I boost the left channel output by 2.5 db instead I get the same effect without the fatigue, and I think it just sounds more natural.

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Depending on your set up I can think of a couple of ideas.
I use a miniDSP SHD to manage a couple of room modes but it also includes very capable digital domain channel mixing functionality than can be used to set channel levels.
At the opposite end of the spectrum I recall reading somewhere of someone using a pair of Schiit SYS passive preamps for balance control.

At 79 years, I am thinking of getting a hearing test, believing my left ear is weaker than my right. If I schedule an appointment how should I couch my reasons for wanting a test: I am a demanding audiophile and want to sit in my listening chair without occasionally tilting my head. I hear bass well but am interested in frequency range above 4,000. What would the doctor think I am missing, etc. All suggestions appreciated.

Having a hearing test at our age is completely normal. No reasons needed. My provider asked me to schedule one when I passed 65 (even tho I had had one only a year or so before that :slight_smile: )


When I went in I was transparent about my reasons. I even got a hearing aid with a music mode. That was very helpful.

I posted my experiences on hearing/aids 17 days ago in another thread. Here’s that…

I visit my audiologist at least yearly for an in-the-booth computerized hearing analysis. Then I sit down with my audiologist and we compare on her computer how my hearing has evolved over the last 12, or so, years. We look at my hearing aid compensation curves over the years vs my deficiencies……and then, with my current feelings about my hearing, we adjust my several hearing aid correction programs and then load them into my aids. Luckily my hearing hasn’t changed much in recent years……so, it’s just fine tuning now. I’ve determined, (with Chris Brunhaver’s advice) that the ‘latency’ that my aids have in the higher frequencies is not affecting my perception of my listening program. I have a specific ‘music’ program that is free of the various “environmental listening accommodations” that my other programs believe are beneficial. My “Music” program/setting is pretty pure and it sounds great, to me, when doing more serious listening. At 80 years old I’ve got a lot of musical history that I’m still able to enjoy ……. In the fullest….I’m hoping it continues.

Hope it helps…


Can you expand on what pure is with regard to the setting - straight amplification of medium to high frequencies? How would this differ with headphones?
Also, do you have any issues with the dome of the hearing aid occluding direct sound?

Hi Michael…By ‘pure’ for my Music program setting I mean simple amplification of my music-specific audio frequency correction curve. That particular correction program is free of the many ancillary ‘features’ present in all my other correction programs…for instance: “loud sound suppression” (or peak limiting), suppression of ‘intruding sounds’ from behind and to each side of me, attempts to clarify voice reception by manipulating some local sounds…newer hearing aids boast even more. All those ancillary “features” are ok for general listening/voice perception environments…but, each one also take the particular digital program some amount of instruction/processing TIME. And added time translates to more LATENCY (the amplified/processed signal arrives to my ear canal a few milliseconds later than if that process weren’t executed). My current aids (Widex Evoke 440) have about <7ms latency. I am told that <7ms latency is not perceptable…I hope that’s true…it is my experience. I’m thinking that adding the ancillary processing/CPU cycles would increase my latency, and potentially introduce phase issues.
I’ve tried all 3 of my various hearing aid programs and my Music program is definitely the most satisfying/musical/emotionally involving.
As for my hearing aid domes, the ones that come with the Widex aids have relatively small holes (in order to let in ambient sounds without provoking feedback). I replaced the Widex domes with Oticon domes (fit the same) that have more/larger holes for letting in more ambient sound…since I only need correction in the mid and upper frequencies. The downside to using Oticon domes is more susceptibility to feedback squeels.
As for headphones…My Beyerdynamic phones have sufficient room in the cups to accommodate the aids. I’ve experimented with aids on/off while inside the cans…they can work inside the Beyerdynamics…For other headphones (wireless) I take my aids off…there’s usually an EQ function in the app I’m listening with.
I hope this helps…


Thanks for taking the time to provide the detail. I tried Oticons and was unimpressed. Getting ready to explore a new set of aids once I get rid of my stuffed Eustacian tubes - I assume you researched Widex aids before acquiring them? What should I look for?

Earlier last year I did a trial with Widex hearing aids, (do not remember which model) and
was very unhappy with the music setting, when listening to my high end system (Aspen
30 speakers, DAC II, with SACD transport). Too much distortion. I returned them. I then
took a trial with Starkey. They came close to listening without the aids but I still felt happier
listening without the aids. I’ve had my hearing tested and I do have deficiencies in the upper frequencies and I have been hoping to experience listening to my system with those deficits neutralized.
I have read that there is a new technology, MEMS coming to hearing aids. The big boys, Widex, Starkey will have this next year. The MEMS speaker technology will truly cover 20-20000 khz and should solve the problem for music lovers and elderly musicians in the future.

I have found a company that has MEMS technology and has put it in a $200. hearing aid
which I just received this afternoon. The aids are being charged and I should be able to]
report on them later today or tomorrow. The company is Mimitakara, the aids are their Good Hearing A1.


Will look forward to your experience.

Just to complicate matters :slight_smile: I have Oticon Opn S 1 miniRITE R aids from 2020 and tho I didn’t like them much at first, after I asked for a music setting, they work great for me. Tho below about 3k I’m doing a little better than average, I have severe losses above 3k in both ears - the Oticon aids give me about 60 to 70dB of boost in the highs. Unlike all of the aids my parents have had it’s almost impossible to get my aids to squeal. Their anti feedback tech works well even at this level of amplification. Like reported above the music setting gets rid of all of the fancy processing and basically just amplifies (there’s still proactive feedback cancelation, but it doesn’t interfere when there’s no feedback starting.) With the music setting I hear music pretty well. There’s a tiny bit of unavoidable delay in the high frequencies since I hear the bass directly and the treble from the aids but it doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of music - everything is still natural, impulses still have the right timing, etc. The open domes work well for me - I hear basically like normal if the aids are in but turned off. Over all I’m quite happy with them.


Thanks Baldy, I have tried a few different positionings for the speakers but not much difference. I am hesitant to try hearing aids since my wife has started to use hearing aids and has noticed a large decline in the quality of sound she hears. However, some of the other replies including from Ted seem to indicate that hearing aids might be an option. I haven’t been tested, so perhaps that’s the first step.

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Hi Mike……My current Widex 440’s are 4-5 years old and are not the current models. I’ve tried a couple newer models/brands and they were not enough improved to drop another $4-5K on. (I hear that I’m now free to end a sentence with a preposition!:rofl:)
Hearing aid technology moves quickly and there are probably better ones out there……I’ll be shopping later this year.
One thing that moves SLOWLY though, is the brain’s ability to accommodate a changed hearing frequency/balance. The brain is called a ‘plastic organ’ in that it evolves it’s ‘programming’ to accommodate current sensory inputs. eg: If one loses HF sensory capability, the portion of ones’s brain usually assigned to HFs can be “reassigned” to other duties……and it becomes used to the defficient freq range. THEN, when you first offer it a fuller/corrected freq range, it can be perceived as screechy/wrong….even though it’s more accurate than one’s un-aided hearing. BUT, being plastic, the brain can, over time, re-accomodate to the corrected freq range. I cn attest to that with my personal experience. When I first got aids, they sounded very tilted toward HF…… Audiologists know this and, when tuning a new set of aids to a new wearer, will (if they know what they are doing) initially give a lesser boost to the deficient part of the freq range so the brain’s perception of the change is not unacceptable. Then with more use, they raise the amplification over time closer to match the deficiency. That process worked on me, but did take almost 3 years for the change to sound more “normal” and natural. Now I wear my aids all waking hours…… to take them out now, the world sounds dull, distant, without detail. I understand now that uncorrected hearing deficiencies can contribute to isolation, unsociability, and sometimes early dementia.
As I said, I’ll be searching for new aids later this year as well. As to what you should search for, I recommend FIRST finding a credentialed audiologist in a stable business you trust. Let them know that you are picky audiophile and you expect custom service/products that make sense to you. A good tech will hear that and provide ongoing service that meets your needs. I’ve had 3 different brands of aids over the last 15+ years and each was better than the last due to the evolution of the art/technology. Try them out for as long as they’ll let you. Get them to tweek the programs to YOUR preferences. My tech let’s me see the aids’ programming options, the correction curves vs my deficiency and we tune ‘em together. She owns the business and is invested in getting me happy and coming back for more.
Again, I hope this is useful.


I just want to thank everyone for relating their experiences and offering information in this area. I’m turning 73 in May, and I know that very soon I will have to deal with these problems. So far, I’m only noting a decrease in volume in my right ear, which I used to blame on my audio setup. I now know better. I can control the perceived channel imbalance with my ARC preamp, but it still bugs me to have to compensate.


The two hundred dollar hearing aids: worked nicely at a dinner in a restaurant last night, today having trouble
keeping the left aid in my ear, for listening to music not great. For the money a bargain. I continue to wait for
aids that do better with music, maybe next year when the big boys incorporate MEMS technology I will be more
satisfied but the price will then be in the thousands.

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Sorry to hear about your experience - I guess technology creep will always have something just around the corner that will answer all our needs. Many had great hopes for Bose Hearing Aids given their acoustical excellence and they bit the dust almost immediately after their introduction.

Hi Mike,
I tried the first set of Bose Hearing aids several years ago and they were terrible. I returned them.
I will continue using these $200 aids for restaurants and if I go to the theater. They are pretty good for that
and a bargain in price.