Woops, I posted this in the wrong thread earlier.
First of all, you need to see your audiologist to confirm the source of your hearing loss. If it is conductive hearing loss (i.e. your cochlear is the source of the lack of sensitivity of the ears), thenlistening at louder than normal volumes will not result in additional hearing loss.
If it is nervous (i.e. the auditory nerve is the cause), or if it is due to exposure to loud noises, then you will damage your hearing further by listening loudly
. I suspect due to the profound nature of your hearing loss (or severe by definition, cant remember which), it is conductive, but double check anyway. Your use of an amplification device suggests it might be conductive too, however its odd that you havent been suggested surgery, so it indeed might be nervous.
I would like to recommend the ER4P first of all because of the supreme isolation, and second of all because of the frequency response. The frequency response is quite flat with nice treble and this will help with diction at quiet frequencies (typical loudness frequency loss is around about 6khz and 16+ khz). If I am not mistaken, the etys also have a slight peak at ~3 khz (round about where the sheen on "t" and "sh" is pitched, which is generally reduced in mixing). They are extremely sensitive.
I'll go into something that is not particularly accepted science regarding the isolation, however documented cases exist of people giving themselves mild hyperacusis by limiting their exposure to loud sounds - which is where your hearing aids come in, as well as the ER4s. When listening to the ER4s, I suggest turning down the sound 2 dB or so every time you feel comfortable (1dB is supposed to be an "inaudible change", so 2dB is slightly audible, technically - although I dont agree with these stats). Once you are comfortable with the listening level (for example, if you CLEARLY hear yourself click lightly [or if a loud click overrides the music] NOTE: The click test might not apply to you - maybe use a clap [as I do not have severe hearing loss]), you can turn up a few dB (2-4) and you will have the impression of listening louder and the feeling will last as your ears will not become desensitised at such levels. Combined with this and the sounds, you should develop a sensitivity to environmental sounds (hyperacousis), which will allow you to listen to levels that are not damaging as though you were. What it will do, however, is create an irritation at environmental sounds such as doors closing, fans, or even engine noise whilst driving. Thats where the volume function on your hearing aids comes in. ;) You might already have hyperacousis, however, due to your condition (probably likely), so you might not end up listening as loud as you need to.
This might not be the best suggestion you'll get, and probably the hardest to work with, but I would seriously consider the first part of my post about contacting an audiologist if you value your hearing.
I agree with the sentiment of panning. If you like, I can help you set foobar to pan each channel to your audiogram.
Edited by MrGreen - 5/8/10 at 1:26pm