The new Bernafon Music Experience

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Give your clients a richer and fuller music experience

Do you regularly make extra programs for specific listening environments that are important to your clients? With current popular hearing aid technology, the hearing aids can often function independently of the end user and adjust the features automatically based on the listening situation. This is certainly true of the latest Bernafon Alpha hearing aids. Dynamic hearing aids that automatically regulate the amplification and feature settings are optimal since we know that people don’t want to be hampered by changing programs and adjusting the volume of their hearing aids. Rather, they want to carry on talking seamlessly with their companion without considering their surroundings when transitioning, for example, from the inside of a shop to walking outside along the street to get to their favorite café on the corner.

But there are times when the benefit of a special setting is worth the effort of manually changing the program. One of these instances is when listening to music. Most of us, with the exception of music lovers, maybe don’t notice the prevalence of music in our daily lives, but it’s often there at least in the background. Just having some music playing while we’re cleaning, working out, or driving turns a mundane task into something more enjoyable. Music has been proven to enhance the lives of older persons as it offers cognitive, social, and physical benefits (Cohen et al., 2002; Lehmberg & Fung, 2010; Leek et al., 2008). Music’s power to affect the wellbeing of listeners is not limited to the older population. Indeed, music has been shown to boost one’s mood, reduce stress, and stimulate the memory (Schaefer, 2017; Collingwood, 2018; Diaz et al., 2019). Therefore, music deserves to be heard at its best.

Music has been shown to boost one’s mood, reduce stress, and stimulate the memory


Unfortunately hearing aids have traditionally fallen short of achieving a great deal of satisfaction from end users in association with music. In fact, the settings used for amplification can instead adversely affect music (Madsen et al., 2015; Looi et al., 2019). Amplification and signal processing are normally focused on speech, which of course makes sense as hearing aids should first and foremost improve speech intelligibility. However, music and its listeners shouldn’t have to suffer from a lack of specialized amplification techniques. Bernafon has recognized this fact for over a decade and has continuously strived to develop new and improved methods of music amplification. The new Music Experience program is Bernafon’s latest and most dramatic step in the progress of music amplification.

The new Music Experience program is Bernafon’s latest and most dramatic step in the progress of music amplification.


Previously music programs were modified versions of the general program 1. Furthermore, one rationale was typically applied across a hearing aid fitting. But Bernafon has developed an algorithm specifically for amplifying music. Speech rationales limit music with too much compression and a reduced input dynamic range which can distort the varying peaks of music signals (Chasin and Russo, 2004). And too much compression, while comfortable for speech, leaves music sounding dull or distorted. To address some of these issues, Bernafon previously offered a separate music program for live music and one for listening to recorded sound such as radio or TV with adaptions to compensate the differing input signals (live vs recorded music).

However, the new Music Experience program replaces both legacy programs to simplify the process both for you and the clients. You have less to program and explain while the clients are now only one program change away from a richer, fuller music experience whether they’re at a concert, learning the waltz, or rocking out while cleaning the house. It’s safe to say that almost every client would benefit from the Music Experience program even if they don’t describe themselves as a music lover, per se. Although it might not be an everyday occurrence, there are those times when we do go to the theatre or when we want to distract ourselves during a mundane task that music is important for that specific moment. So why not experience it to the fullest rather than settle for dullness and distortion. For more details on the technical improvements of the Music Experience program.

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Chasin, M. and Russo, F.A. (2004). Hearing Aids and Music. Trends in Amplification. 8(2), 35–47.

Cohen, A., Bailey, B., & Nilsson, T. (2002). The importance of music to seniors. Psychomusicology: A Journal of Research in Music Cognition, 18(1–2), 89–102.

Leek, M. R., Molis, M. R., Kubli, L. R., & Tufts, J. B. (2008). Enjoyment of Music by Elderly Hearing-Impaired Listeners. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 19(6), 519–526.

Collingwood, J. (2018). The power of music to reduce stress. PsychCentral. Retrieved November 2019 from power of music to reduce stress

Diaz Abrahan V., Shifres F., Justel N. (2019). Cognitive Benefits from a Musical Activity in Older Adults. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 652. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00652

Lehmberg, L. J., & Fung, C. V. (2010). Benefits of music participation for senior citizens: A review of the literature. Music Education research International, Vol. 4, 19-30.

Looi, V., Rutledge, K., & Prvan, T. (2019). Music Appreciation of Adult Hearing Aid Users and the Impact of Different Levels of Hearing Loss. Ear and Hearing, 40(3), 529–544.

Madsen, S. M. K., Stone, M. A., McKinney, M. F., Fitz, K., & Moore, B. C. J. (2015). Effects of wide dynamic-range compression on the perceived clarity of individual musical instruments. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(4), 1867–1876.

Schaefer H. E. (2017). Music Evoked Emotions Current Studies. Frontiers in neuroscience, 11, 600. doi:10.3389/fnins.2017.00600


About the author:

Julie Tantau
Julie Tantau, AuD Doctor of Audiology A.T. Still University, Mesa Arizona, USA. MA Audiology. California State University, Long Beach, USA.
Julie is a Research Audiologist at Bernafon. She contributes to various aspects of the development process including running clinical trials to validate the end product before it’s released to the market. Before moving to Switzerland to work for Bernafon in 2012 she worked as a Clinical Audiologist in the United States treating patients with hearing and balance problems. In her private time, Julie enjoys baking and travelling with her family.