Does your favourite '70's band still sound as good?
There's no reason why not - with the right hearing aids.
Recently, my wife and I went to see the Illegal Eagles. It's what you call a tribute band - in this case they perform songs by the original American group, The Eagles.
(You know, Hotel California and all that.)
Back-in-the day, I was used to loud music
I have never seen the original band - and probably never will now that one of their key members recently passed away. However, I was a regular concert-goer back in the day of The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd tours.
So I know what loud music sounds like. (Especially Status Quo. Wow!)
Here's a tip next time you go to the cinema
Just to take a few steps back, in the weeks before we had started to go to the cinema again. And what a change. But a truly powerful experience, nonetheless.
The main shock was the sound. The sheer volume. The films weren't musicals, but adventure movies with lots of special effects.
After a few minutes I decided to address the volume by adjusting my hearing aids. I switched them from "universal" (or "master") to "comfort". Instant relief - but I was still able to hear the dialogue and softer sounds perfectly.
Was I hearing better than someone with normal hearing?
My wife, on the other hand, complained that the soundtrack was too loud.
So you could say that I was hearing "better" than someone with normal hearing, and not wearing hearing aids.
I tried the same approach at the rock concert
A couple of weeks later, at the rock concert, as soon as the band arrived on stage, guess what? Yes. I anticipated megawatts of amplification hitting my eardrums. So I switch my hearing aid setting to "comfort". Just as I had in the cinema.
Did that work? Surprisingly no.
Sure, the sound was softer. But it was a bit like listening through cotton wool. Vocals were muffled. Guitars lacked the "bite" I expected. What to do?
The only thing I could think of was to switch to the "music" setting. And it worked.
I enjoyed the band much better than my wife
Not only was the sound sharp (but without being tinny), it seemed balanced as well. Just like the record.
My wife, on the other hand, found certain instruments - particularly the bass - too "heavy".
Again. Was I hearing better than someone with apparent normal hearing? Probably.
I mentioned the "comfort" setting earlier. Before you write it off - it came to the rescue in the bar afterwards.
It was so noisy, with excited 60-year-olds (like me?) swapping stories on what they liked best about the concert. Plus the inevitable clatter of bottles and glasses being collected and washed.
I was hearing better against background noise
The "comfort" setting did just what it said on the tin. It soothed the cacophony and brought it down to a comfortable level.
My hearing experience was perhaps more pleasant than for someone with normal hearing.
My wife agreed. On all three counts. And she's rarely wrong!