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Age related frequency loss and speaker choice.

Dalprad

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This is my first post, and I searched this topic but didn't see too much on it. According to a few simple charts I pulled up on line, a dude my age (50) could expect to see 10-20db loss when I get up near the 5k-7k frequency range, and more as it gets higher. Wouldn't that imply that a "neutral" speaker may not sound neutral to me? For 25 year old ears it would. Maybe a brighter speaker or EQ would be necessary for me to experience "neutral". Just like the room and placement are very important, so is the ability of our ears to hear all frequencies equally. Not an easy upgrade! What do you all think?
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jcarys

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I wouldn't attempt to speaker shop based on finding a brighter sound. Your ears are going to continue to change in the future, and your brain already compensates for any minor losses. If a speaker sounds natural to you, then you have already automatically adjusted for any hearing issues just by auditioning.

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, I would get a professional hearing test, which isn't expensive, and then EQ your current setup to compensate.
 

Timcognito

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There is parametric equalization PEQ that can be applied to any good testing speaker. Some active speakers have it onboard, separate preamps can be purchased that have it and software solutions exist. The room the speakers are in robs a lot information from the speakers, that can be corrected with digital signal processing DSP, also in hardware and soft ware solutions and boxed with PEQ. Start with a hearing test, Costco and others do it for free. Also see what you hear on headphones that you miss on speakers and that is also easily helped by PEQ. If you change your speakers for yourself others may find them out of balance, so headphones + PEQ listening may be the way to go for the most revealing experience. For most, natural hearing loss is gradual and the music is just as exciting even if you are not getting it all. There are posts here on hearing loss and tinnitus posts have much information on related hearing disorders.
 

afinepoint

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Get your hearing range checked with an audiogram. Hearing rolling off around 10k means with a few exceptions like cymbals etc you can buy what you want. As tones climb above 10-12k it's second, third and such harmonics being produced. Yes they matter but are not critical to listening enjoyment.

I understand your losses at other points but the test will let you know the extent at all frequencies. It's not expensive either.
 
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LTig

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You should not buy or eq a speaker depending on normal age related hearing loss, as long as listening to live music still sounds natural to you. The brain compensates the loss and an equed speaker then would sound very bright and unnatural.
 

diablo

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I've seen charts like that before and I can't relate them to my hearing.

I occasionally play frequency sweeps though my systems to check the levels, mainly for bass and mids. Here is a simple and short Youtube one -


I'm 72 and I hear fairly constant volume levels up to about 6k. Then it drops off in volume and I cannot hear anything above 8k.

I don't choose speakers to compensate, nor do I adjust the levels of higher frequencies. In fact everything sounds normal to me. And I can't switch to my age thirty hearing to compare - so I don't know what I'm missing. :D
 

GXAlan

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McIntosh is famous for offering equalizers and today with software it is easy to add EQ like Audyssey and Dirac. I am younger so I am not yet afflicted by high frequency hearing loss. I can easily hear 17 kHz test tones and with a warble, I can hear a bit higher.

The question is how long it takes the brain to compensate. The hearing loss comes from damage to the hair-like cells in the inner ear but the compensation has to happen in the auditory processing parts of the brain.

If you look at papers on adapting to something like complete one sided hearing loss, it can be years for the brain to adapt.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2022.935834/full

This does suggest that the idea of “it’ll be compensated” is only partially true because at any given time, your brain is still in the process of adapting and may be months to years behind.

This also says that the adaptation to high frequency hearing loss can be maladaptive and lead to tinnitus. Maybe using some EQ can reduce the development of tinnitus?

This also suggests that if you restore the EQ, maybe there can be some adaptations too…

This are musings of a young audiophile who’s not THAT young…
 
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LTig

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The question is how long it takes the brain to compensate. The hearing loss comes from damage to the hair-like cells in the inner ear but the compensation has to happen in the auditory processing parts of the brain.
For normal (slow, age related) loss you don't even notice the loss for a long time because the brain compensates in the background. Do a test and be surprised. :eek:
If you look at papers on adapting to something like complete one sided hearing loss, it can be years for the brain to adapt.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2022.935834/full
This is not age related loss.
 

GXAlan

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For normal (slow, age related) loss you don't even notice the loss for a long time because the brain compensates in the background. Do a test and be surprised. :eek:

This is not age related loss.

My day job involves understanding biological feedback loops. The paper is not age related loss but is a good surrogate for study. You cannot get funding and participants to sign up for hearing tests when they don’t know they have a problem.

For age related high frequency loss
1) How does the brain compensate?
2) What is it compensating to?

Since the mechanism of loss is not neurological but the adaptation is, there is a lag. Is it hours, days, months or years? In motor function, there are upper and lower motor neuron distinctions. Here, we again have the peripheral sensory nerves failing and the central nervous system adapting.

You cannot get NIH funding to answer this question, because there are more relevant uses of taxpayer research dollars but hopefully presenting this question encourages this community to think about.

Your confidence in the brain adapting may very well be the same confidence that buying a brand name product like PS Audio electronics is SOTA. That’s said as much as PS Audio is maligned for high price, low audio performance — it probably will be hard to distinguish in ABX testing.

Someone could say, SINAD doesn’t matter. Your brain adapts. You’d be surprised how good a PS Audio DAC or Bob Carver tube amp sounds. Do a test and be surprised.
 
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