Top 5 Tips for Wearing Hearing Aids and Making Music

Amateur Pianist Joyce Morton Shares Her Experience

For every decibel that amateur pianist Joyce Morton has lost in hearing, she has gained double the wisdom about how to keep on making music despite her hearing loss. In this exclusive interview with GRAND PIANO PASSION™, she shares her top five tips about playing an instrument while wearing hearing aids.

1. Accept your hearing loss.

A diagnosis of hearing loss often comes with denial (at first, Joyce was only willing to wear one hearing aid although her audiologist told her she needed them in both ears). But coming to terms with having a hearing loss and wearing hearing aids eventually led to deeper connections with the people around her.

For subtitles, set the subtitles parameter at top right of video to “English.”

2. Persist in wearing your hearing aids.

With a new pair of hearing aids, the world will initially sound different—perhaps even unpleasant. Joyce’s advice is to view the first few months as a necessary trial period to “break in” your hearing aids and get accustomed to wearing them.

3. Create a custom setting on your hearing aids for playing music.

Even if your hearing aids come with a music setting, Joyce explains that the setting is geared towards listening to music, not playing an instrument. Work with your audiologist to tweak the setting based on your practice and performance needs—a solution may be to simply lower the amount of amplification, or volume.

4. Recognize that your instrument may sound different when you’re wearing hearing aids.

When you first go back to making music while wearing your hearing aids, you can expect your instrument to sound different to you; the quality and tone of the notes, not just their volume, may be affected. In fact, Joyce’s assessment of her own Steinway L piano changed completely after she began practicing while wearing hearing aids.

5. Celebrate the musicality that your hearing aids make possible.

Persist through a trial period with your instrument as well as in everyday life and conversation. If you have any doubts that you can continue to enjoy playing music and playing it well, observe Joyce as she performs Liszt’s Un Sospiro.

Don’t miss my full interview with Joyce Morton, interspersed with her playing the second movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata.

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2 Comments

  1. As a percussionist with moderate to severe hearing loss I can totally relate. Hearing loss was found 20 yrs ago as mild to moderate, however at 62 I now wear high power resound digitals(RIC). A music program has been added and modified several times in the past couple of years . Drums being very different than grand pianos, emit a slurry or package of sound that includes hi-decibels and a wide array of frequencies and timbres. I now play and teach rhythms on hand drums exclusively. I cannot use my digitals due to severe distortions. I have gone back to wearing a old pair of BTE Sonic Ions they reduce the distortions, however they also eliminate many of the the wonderful timbres an nuances of hand drumming and they don’t work for speech very well . I have had to reduce my expections of today’s high-tec hearing aids. I would like to try a pair of Digi_k, analog HA,s just to see if they would be a better option. Hoping someone in this group has had som experience with these or or other options …

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