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High Sensitivity IEM- IEM's for the partially deaf?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Newbie that previously posted this thread but felt I did not put a relevant enough title to get the reponse I was looking for.

I hope I have not broken any forum rules...

I am partially deaf and wear in the ear hearing aids - but want to listen to my music through ipod and iphone, I am considering taking out my hearing aids to listen to the music and purchasing some high end IEM's (BTW would want to use them for sport as well)

Budget 500/600 $ (My bad, I previously said that I did not have a budget without realizing the cost of the high end customs...)
However I have different levels of hearing, my left ranges -70 db to -100db (between 125 and 8000 hz)
and my right -50 to --100 (between 125 and 8000 hz).

I would need the highest sensitivity IEM's as I have 70% Binaural loss of hearing - additionaly would i need a portable amp? ( I currently use igrado through my ipod on max volume this is acceptable but not optimum for me and leaves no range..)

Thanks guys for any recommended models, I am awaiting quotes from Earsolutions and JH audio as they were kindly recommended from other folk on this forum..
post #2 of 11
If you have hearing loss, you need an IEM that can get loud. Fortunately, that basically includes the entire market. But before you make a purchase, consider getting an appointment with an audiologist. You ideally want to make sure that playing music at the volumes you're considering won't further exacerbate the problems you have, and end up leaving you worse than just 'partially' deaf.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks JxK,

I have severe loss (so maybe partially deaf is misleading..) due to a long history of problems, I have qualified with specialists and Audiologists and they have said that a reasonable level for me (although very loud for regular folk) wont make things worse.
Any recommendations please on models ????
post #4 of 11

Ok, first up. Your ears have different levels of loss, which means you NEED to pick a source with pan/balance. That limits it to either rockboxed players, or cowon players. Personally, I love my rockboxed clip for its form factor and tiny size, but YYMV. Rockbox also has a very good equalizer. You can boost/decrease by up to 24db at 60Hz, 80Hz, 200Hz, 4000Hz, 12000Hz. You can also adjust the gain to hit a wider frequency band. It will take some practice, but it opens up many possibilities to get the sound just right. For instance, if you wanted to boost the bass, you could increase the low end. Conversely, you could decrease the mids and highs. EQing is in some ways a bit of an art, and an acquired skill. Fortunately, there are lots of guides on equalizers online.


As for your custom IEM, I would honestly choose something cheap, maybe sleek audio or livewires. The reasoning is that I'm not sure you will be able to get them to sound enjoyable to you. So it would be best to hedge your bets.


But a better idea would be to first purchase a decent but inexpensive universal IEM. Play around with it using the equalizer and pan/balance. If you can get it to sound good for you, then you can consider purchasing a custom IEM, but not before.


As for the amp question, the answer is it depends. I don't think there is an IEM on the market that the clip can't play loud and well. But it is also true that multi-armature IEMs sound marginally better with an amp...and depending on whom you ask, perhaps more than marginally.

Edited by JxK - 5/6/10 at 10:59pm
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

JxK THANKS! - Great help...I will check this out...

post #6 of 11

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
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi Mr Green.. Thanks for taking the time to advise.. here are some more details on my condition.

I had a cholesteatoma (benign growth close to the mastoid) on both ears and once operated (to take the growth out) they try to rebuild the middle ear ( the bones deteriorated with the growth)  - they were quite simply unsuccessful in rebuilding the bones normally- hence my hearing loss, my inner ear is OK though, cochlear implants would be irrelevant in my case.

I use an audiologist for my existing hearing aids in France (i live there..)  and he is looking into custom options for me.

Since I have been on the forums I have ordered the ety H2 as i was told they had same frequency as the ER4? This is purely for my iphone.... I have also ordered an FiiO E5 amp and now it looks like I will get a DAP Rockboxx? I trust this will help with my particular hearing curve? I have an audiogramme which I sent to some manufacturers ie JH,(suggested I wait as they are launching a new technolgy at CanJam that might help with my situation) Earsonics (suggested the EM2 pro) - 

It seems there are a lot of suggestions on models ..this is all 1) new and 2) confusing..So when I say i appreciate the help I mean it!

post #8 of 11

My dad's hearing has drastically deteriorated over time, meaning that he now has to wear a hearing aid and when he tried the Triple.fi's that I had at the time, he went out and bought a pair for himself and also had a set of ACS custom sleeves made.


He really loves this set up and can now hear everything clear as a bell.

post #9 of 11

I don't now too much about cholesteatoma unfortunately so I cannot advise regarding whether it is ok for you to turn up or not. Definitely go by your audiologists advice (I'm only an education student who has done studies on hearing loss, I'm not studying audiology)


The ety HF2 is roughly the same as the ER4, I believe. I personally wouldn't use an E5 amp with an ety, as it will probably hiss a lot (but I'm not sure about your audiogram so it might not be an issue for you. If it isnt an issue to you all the more power to you).


I use a sansa clip, which can be rockboxed I believe (you'll have to search). I use it one tick up from silent, so I suspect it will be able to get exceedingly loud. I'm not sure if itll get loud enough, but the sansa clip is like $30 to import from the USA (which is a rediculously small amount in euros).



The JH is a good option because it has multiple drivers which (theoretically) means it has a higher maximum volume (don't quote me on this as I don't know much about balanced armatures - particularly in terms of maximum volume)


Best of luck

Edited by MrGreen - 5/8/10 at 2:28pm
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thx Guys - Will order the sansaclip and Roxbox it! BTW what does panning mean??

post #11 of 11

Panning means shifting left or right.

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