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13 dBHL of hearing loss. Continue using IEMs and headphones?

kpshredder

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audiogram_1.jpg


These results are superimposed from the PTA audiogram test I had and it looks like I have low-frequency hearing loss in both ears (13dBHL right ear and 12dBHL left ear), and my right ear has lost some high frequencies.
This makes me wonder, how long can use IEMs and headphones until it reaches critical levels? What amplitude would be considered safe and for how long should the exposure be?

The audiometrist advised me against the use of any audio equipment close to my ears, that feels a bit extreme to me. Anyways, please share your experiences and how you have protected your hearing.
 

Talisman

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View attachment 317045

These results are superimposed from the PTA audiogram test I had and it looks like I have low-frequency hearing loss in both ears (13dBHL right ear and 12dBHL left ear), and my right ear has lost some high frequencies.
This makes me wonder, how long can use IEMs and headphones until it reaches critical levels? What amplitude would be considered safe and for how long should the exposure be?

The audiometrist advised me against the use of any audio equipment close to my ears, that feels a bit extreme to me. Anyways, please share your experiences and how you have protected your hearing.
In my experience I have always used any headphones or iems for short periods of time, not every day and certainly not many hours a day.
Using them I realize that the low distortion and ability to turn up the volume without disturbing anyone, combined with the lack of tactile bass to make you feel the power, it's incredibly easy to turn the volume up to levels that are absolutely dangerous to hearing without almost realizing it I count.
 

NTK

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Welcome to ASR!

This is from Dr. Toole (source: AVSForum post). Our ears are most fragile at their most sensitive frequency band of around 1 kHz - 8 kHz. Outside of that range, they seem to be able to take a bit more "abuse".
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One thing we need to be extra careful about is the "hidden hearing loss". It is called "hidden" because the typical audiometry test will not detect it. Hidden hearing loss was discovered relatively recently, and it is currently a very active area of research. Below is from:

Hidden Hearing Loss

Most of us have experienced temporary threshold shift (TTS) at some time or other, such as after a very loud sporting event or rock concert. The phenomenon is often accompanied by a feeling of wooliness and, possibly, a sensation of ringing, but it usually resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours. However, recent physiological studies have suggested that the long-term consequences of TTS may not be as benign as previously thought. A landmark study by Kujawa & Liberman (2009) in mice revealed that noise exposure sufficient to cause TTS, but not sufficient to cause permanent threshold shifts, can result in a significant loss of the synapses between the inner hair cells in the cochlea and the auditory nerve. These synapses effectively connect the ear to the brain, so a 50% loss of synapses (as reported in many recent animal studies; e.g., Kujawa & Liberman 2009) is likely to have some important perceptual consequences. The surprising aspect of these results is that a 50% loss of synapses does not produce a measurable change in absolute thresholds, meaning that it would not be detected in a clinical hearing test, leading to the term hidden hearing loss (Schaette & McAlpine 2011).

The questions currently in need of urgent answers are: (a) Do humans suffer from hidden hearing loss? (b) If so, how prevalent is it? (c) What are the perceptual consequences in everyday life? Finally, (d) how can it best be diagnosed? A number of studies are currently under way to provide answers to these questions. Indeed, studies have already suggested that some of the difficulties encountered by middle-aged and older people in understanding speech in noise may be related to hidden hearing loss (Bharadwaj et al. 2015, Ruggles et al. 2011). In addition, some consideration has gone into developing either behavioral or noninvasive physiological tests as indirect diagnostic tools to detect hidden hearing loss (Liberman et al. 2016, Plack et al. 2016, Stamper & Johnson 2015). Although it seems likely that people with more noise exposure would suffer from greater hidden hearing loss, the results from the first study with a larger sample of younger listeners (>100) have not yet revealed clear associations (Prendergast et al. 2017).

It may appear puzzling that a 50% loss of fibers leads to no measurable change in absolute thresholds for sound. There are at least three possible reasons for this, which are not mutually exclusive. First, further physiological studies have shown that the synapses most affected are those that connect to auditory nerve fibers with high thresholds and low spontaneous firing rates (Furman et al. 2013). These fibers are thought to be responsible for coding the features of sound that are well above absolute threshold, so a loss of these fibers may not affect sensitivity to very quiet sounds near absolute threshold. Second, higher levels of auditory processing, from the brainstem to the cortex, may compensate for the loss of stimulation by increasing neural gain (Chambers et al. 2016, Schaette & McAlpine 2011). Third, theoretical considerations based on signal detection theory have suggested that the perceptual consequences of synaptic loss may not be very dramatic until a large proportion of the synapses are lost (Oxenham 2016). In fact, with fairly simple and reasonable assumptions, it can be predicted that a 50% loss of synapses would result in only a 1.5-dB worsening of thresholds, which would be unmeasurable. Taken further, a 90% loss of fibers would be required to produce a 5-dB worsening of thresholds—still well below the 20-dB loss required for a diagnosis of hearing loss (Oxenham 2016). However, if the loss of fibers is concentrated in the small population of fibers with high thresholds and low spontaneous rates, then a loss of 90% or more is feasible, and may result in severe deficits for the processing of sounds that are well above absolute threshold—precisely the deficits that cause middle-aged and elderly people to have difficulty understanding speech in noisy backgrounds. In summary, hidden hearing loss remains a topic of considerable interest that has the potential to dramatically change the way hearing loss is diagnosed and treated.

 

DVDdoug

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It's not the IEM's but the loudness. It's hard to measure SPL from IEMs but you might want to get an SPL meter just to get a "feel" for how loud you're listening. (There are charts on the Internet showing what's "safe".)

If you don't have a baseline from a previous hearing test there's no way to know if you have "hearing damage" or if you've always had slightly-poor hearing.

P.S.
If you are getting a TTS... If you feel temporarily "slightly deaf" when you take-out your IEMs, you're listening too loud!
 

abdo123

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If when the music stops playing your ears are ringing then you’re listening too loud.

The Qudelix 5K shows me how much voltage it is outputting at any given volume level and i can fill in my headphones’s sensitivity so i can know exactly how loud i’m listening.
 

EarlessOldMan

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View attachment 317045

These results are superimposed from the PTA audiogram test I had and it looks like I have low-frequency hearing loss in both ears (13dBHL right ear and 12dBHL left ear), and my right ear has lost some high frequencies.
This makes me wonder, how long can use IEMs and headphones until it reaches critical levels? What amplitude would be considered safe and for how long should the exposure be?

The audiometrist advised me against the use of any audio equipment close to my ears, that feels a bit extreme to me. Anyways, please share your experiences and how you have protected your hearing.
Let me suggest that this is a question for an actual expert in the field. Talk to your audiologist or other person who is qualified to offer diagnoses and prescribe treatment.
 
D

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Apples Air Pods report SPL on the iPhone
Yeah, and I think it's quite accurate as well. I've compared with my HiFi at home and it feels like it's about the same as I can measure with my UMIK. Pretty unscientific but I'm pretty sure it's in the ball park.
 

monkeyboy

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Lower your noise floor and you can lower the volume...I use etymotic IEMs and they have fantastic isolation, often I can't get the volume low enough on my android phone (the increments are too big). I also use them while biking, they cut the high frequency wind noise substantially.
 

restorer-john

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These results are superimposed from the PTA audiogram test I had and it looks like I have low-frequency hearing loss in both ears

We test frequency response using 500+ points across the audible spectrum and do FFTs to <1Hz resolution and ears are tested with just 6 spot frequencies?
 
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Lower your noise floor and you can lower the volume...I use etymotic IEMs and they have fantastic isolation, often I can't get the volume low enough on my android phone (the increments are too big). I also use them while biking, they cut the high frequency wind noise substantially.
Or you can get a pair of airpods pro with active noise cancellation. They can also be EQ'ed according to an audiogram. You take a test with the app, mimi, download the audiogram, upload it to your iPhone and voila! -You now have your own personal audiogram EQ'ed noise cancelling IEMs.

Also; they sound absolutely wonderful. Deep deep bass, crispy highs.
 
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rxp

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Yeah, and I think it's quite accurate as well. I've compared with my HiFi at home and it feels like it's about the same as I can measure with my UMIK. Pretty unscientific but I'm pretty sure it's in the ball park.
The only thing it can’t take into account fully is ear canal resonance. Although I’m not even sure with that cause it does EQ according to ear canal length I believe.

The ANC means I can listen at 75db on the London metro where average noise on one of the deep lines is 95db with 110db peaks for 30 periods. It actually ends up protecting your hearing
 

LTig

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We test frequency response using 500+ points across the audible spectrum and do FFTs to <1Hz resolution and ears are tested with just 6 spot frequencies?
Yes, this seems to be the standard. At my last test the generator could not create frequencies above 8 kHz. May be because above that it's too difficult to produce calibrated headphones.
 
D

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The only thing it can’t take into account fully is ear canal resonance. Although I’m not even sure with that cause it does EQ according to ear canal length I believe.

The ANC means I can listen at 75db on the London metro where average noise on one of the deep lines is 95db with 110db peaks for 30 periods. It actually ends up protecting your hearing
There are internal microphones as far as I know.
 

rxp

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But unless the mic is placed at the ear canal you don’t really know what the ear drum is being pressured under? I know in research studies you can deeply plant mics but I also know the air pods use the currently playing waveform to calculate ear canal length. That’s what makes them hard to measure on rigs
 

monkeyboy

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the problem with airpods, besides just bluetooth EMF, is the battery life...at some point you'll need to either try and change them or but a new pair...designed obsolescence...
 
D

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the problem with airpods, besides just bluetooth EMF, is the battery life...at some point you'll need to either try and change them or but a new pair...designed obsolescence...
Have you tried airpods pros?

Everything with a battery has a lifespan. That's not designed obsolescence. That's chemistry.
 

Philbo King

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View attachment 317045

These results are superimposed from the PTA audiogram test I had and it looks like I have low-frequency hearing loss in both ears (13dBHL right ear and 12dBHL left ear), and my right ear has lost some high frequencies.
This makes me wonder, how long can use IEMs and headphones until it reaches critical levels? What amplitude would be considered safe and for how long should the exposure be?

The audiometrist advised me against the use of any audio equipment close to my ears, that feels a bit extreme to me. Anyways, please share your experiences and how you have protected your hearing.
The nice thing about IEMs is you can listen as quietly as you like and still hear it. Especially if you have noise cancelling ones. No need to blast yourself too regularly.
 

Digby

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How old are you? Are you a young (<35) person who has headphones on everywhere you go? I ask, because I see people wearing headphones all time much more than, say, 20 years ago. I just think that wearing headphones in a noisy environment (outside in town/city) will encourage you to increase the volume over the background noise, to levels that may be causing damage, over long exposure times.
 
D

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How old are you? Are you a young (<35) person who has headphones on everywhere you go? I ask, because I see people wearing headphones all time much more than, say, 20 years ago. I just think that wearing headphones in a noisy environment (outside in town/city) will encourage you to increase the volume over the background noise, to levels that may be causing damage, over long exposure times.
Unless they are ANC types. But then wearing it in the city / traffic might be a bit dangerous. I use mine when driving. On the highway they effectively cut the noise exposure by 30-something dB. I also use them when out running. I run mostly when it's dark and in remote areas so I can easily see car lights so it's not as dangerous as you might think.
 
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