It is currently Sun Nov 28, 2021 6:02 am

Hearing aids for organ music

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.
  • Author
  • Message
User avatar



  • Posts: 285
  • Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:23 pm
  • Location: Calne, Wiltshire, UK

Re: Hearing aids for organ music

PostTue Jun 01, 2021 10:57 am


My understanding is that it is the hair cells that are damaged after noise exposure, rather than the nerve fibres, but I will bow to Mr Ballantyne's expertise. I learnt about the physiology of the ear when I was a medical student at Cambridge in the early 1980's. I was lucky enough to be taught physiology by some of the people who had made fundamental discoveries such as how nerves work, and one of my tutors was actively researching the ear at the time. However, that was nearly 40 years ago and I expect it has been updated somewhat since then. There are a lot of aspects of it that work quite differently from the way that you might expect, and although the ear digitises sound as a series of spikes transmitted by nerves, it bears very little resemblance to any form of electronic digital sound processing.

User avatar



  • Posts: 713
  • Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:42 pm
  • Location: UK, England, Wiltshire.

Re: Hearing aids for organ music

PostTue Jun 08, 2021 11:07 am

Hello again, Julian ...

... in fact you have said what I should have said - i.e. it is the hairs or the hair cells which are damaged, not the nerve fibres. I must have been falling asleep when I typed that!

Best wishes,

Kenneth Spencer
Kenneth Spencer
Music Site:
Project Page:
Books on Hauptwerk and Computing; Novation Launchpad overlays:
YouTube Videos:



  • Posts: 83
  • Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:58 pm
  • Location: Carmichael, CA

Re: Hearing aids for organ music

PostWed Aug 18, 2021 5:40 pm

Like other posters, I have also been unhappy with hearing aids for organ playing, and had pretty much given up hope of better hearing of harmonics, without which, a stop sounds pretty dull and there isn't much difference between a flue and a reed. My aids were about 5 years old and frankly, the poor sound was causing me to lose interest in playing Hauptwerk. I do not have access to real pipes, but expect the problem would be similar. I did some research and found that the Widex brand, from Denmark, has a good reputation for music reproduction. Their current flagship is the Widex Moment, and through Google, I found an audiologist in Missouri who has started not only selling online, but also fitting via video conferencing. Apparently, this was only recently allowed by the FDA. I know you folks in the U.K. have a whole different system, but I assume my story might help anyhow. The company is, and deals exclusively in the Widex Moment, with very good pricing. I decided to get a pair and get them fitted over the internet. It is much like a regular fitting, with tones played through the aids creating the audiogram. I was immediately aware of how much better they were in general, and music sounded very good. Unfortunately, when I tried them with Hauptwerk, they were not much better than my old ones. I had a follow up tele appointment, and got two new programs, one where anti-feedback was reduced, and one where it was turned off. This helped a little but not much even with no feedback control operating. My hunch is that the mics are just not meant for sustained high pitches, maybe because you don't need that for most purposes, or maybe because the amplification needed when you are 60 or 70 db down is just too much. These aids, like most these days, can be streamed to from iOS, thus bypassing the mic and the anti-feedback circuitry. I found an online tone generator and compared playing tones normally against streaming them. The difference was amazing, with good volume streaming a 4khz tone, but poor volume when going through the mic. It turns out that Widex sells a gadget called TV-DEX that consists of a base unit to plug an audio input into, and a small receiver you wear around your neck. The base transmits to the receiver at 2.4ghz, so there is no delay. The receiver transmits to the aids via a proprietary near-field signal. You can choose to leave the mics on or turn them off. I decided to get one and see if it would help. My audio interface has two headphone jacks with independent volume controls. I kept my headphones in one for the low notes which I hear almost normally, and plugged the TV-DEX into the other, for amplification of the higher frequencies. This has made a huge difference in the sound, both with headphones, and using speakers. It's easily possible to crank up the streaming to the point of shrillness, but even then it seems distortion free and sounds like I would expect it to. The muddiness and poor definition of different stops is gone, and playing is much more enjoyable. When using speakers, even though there is no perceived echo, it almost sounds like you are inside the instrument, which isn't really a bad thing. The only hitch is that you need an electrical sound source, so if you wanted to improve what you hear playing (or listening to) real pipes you'd have to set up mics and a pre-amp to feed the device. Whether this would be better than using the mics in the aids, I don't know, but it would be interesting.

Return to General discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests