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Measurements helped me to finally find audio bliss!

arancano

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Feb 10, 2020
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I've been searching for accurate sound reproduction since 1975. I've been fortunate to work in high end audio stores and had friends whose multi-thousand dollar gear I could borrow any time. Somehow, no gear combination, no matter how expensive, brought me full satisfaction.

Two years ago I got a hearing test. The results finally explained why all the gear acquisitions I made in my audio journey always fell short of full satisfaction. I still feel cheated of all the time lost where I could have enjoyed music so much more. Granted, hearing loss happens gradually and in my younger years I enjoyed music to a greater extent. Still, my hearing ability was not optimal and it could have been.

Well, better late than never. I can finally hear what reviewers say when they universally agree that a particular audio device excels in its performance. I no longer wonder why music lovers often disagree on the merits of a piece of audio gear. The reason is simple. We don't all hear the same thing. There are plenty of ways to assess hearing ability. Yet, most people are not aware of their hearing deficiencies. So much discussion, so many arguments that fail to enlighten because we simply do not hear the same thing.

My hearing loss was significant. In my right ear, it started at 250 Hz with 10db of loss. I kept losing hearing ability up to 30db at 1 kHz. It then improved linearly to a 10db loss at 4.5 kHz and stayed steady from there. My left ear was truly problematic. From a 10db loss at 250 Hz, it went down almost linearly to a 70db loss at 8 kHz. If you are one of the few individuals with normal hearing, EQ your music to those parameters and get an idea of what I was hearing before taking remedial action.

Am I unique? My ear doctor tells me that 2 out of 3 children are born with detectable hearing loss. About 1/3 of adults report hearing loss, mostly because they have difficulty with speech. Men lose hearing more than women. Consider that a lot of hearing loss goes unreported because we often hear good enough to understand speech. Music, well, that's another story.

The truly sad part is that hearing loss can be easily treated. High-end hearing devices have been available for years, the newer models can be finely tuned by frequencies. There are some models that are specially tailored to musicians. Glasses help me to see. Hearing aids allow me to have normal sensory perception and enjoy music like I never have before. I think of hearing aids as ear EQ.

I now realize that even a mild hearing loss can significantly impact how we all hear music. I'll never ever again doubt what somebody hears musically. Is there enough bass? Is the high-end overly harsh? Reviewers give their takes on so much audio reproduction gear. Yet, they fail to disclose how well they can hear. How can we trust their impressions? That is but one reason why objective measurements of audio gear are important. We should take seriously the most important measurement of all, how well we can hear the music that can bring us so much joy if our sensory equipment is functioning well.
 
Last edited:

ozzy9832001

Senior Member
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Feb 19, 2023
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A lot of people don't even know they have hearing loss unless they are tested. I have about a -5dB loss in my left ear from about 600hz to 1500hz.
 

Barrelhouse Solly

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
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I've been searching for accurate sound reproduction since 1975. I've been fortunate to work in high end audio stores and had friends whose multi-thousand dollar gear I could borrow any time. Somehow, no gear combination, no matter how expensive, brought me full satisfaction.

Two years ago I got a hearing test. The results finally explained why all the gear acquisitions I made in my audio journey always fell short of full satisfaction. I still feel cheated of all the time lost where I could have enjoyed music so much more. Granted, hearing loss happens gradually and in my younger years I enjoyed music to a greater extent. Still, my hearing ability was not optimal and it could have been.

Well, better late than never. I can finally hear what reviewers say when they universally agree that a particular audio device excels in its performance. I no longer wonder why music lovers often disagree on the merits of a piece of audio gear. The reason is simple. We don't all hear the same thing. There are plenty of ways to assess hearing ability. Yet, most people are not aware of their hearing deficiencies. So much discussion, so many arguments that fail to enlighten because we simply do not hear the same thing.

My hearing loss was significant. In my right ear, it started at 250 Hz with 10db of loss. I kept losing hearing ability up to 30db at 1 kHz. It then improved linearly to a 10db loss at 4.5 kHz and stayed steady from there. My left ear was truly problematic. From a 10db loss at 250 Hz, it went down almost linearly to a 70db loss at 8 kHz. If you are one of the few individuals with normal hearing, EQ your music to those parameters and get an idea of what I was hearing before taking remedial action.

Am I unique? My ear doctor tells me that 2 out of 3 children are born with detectable hearing loss. About 1/3 of adults report hearing loss, mostly because they have difficulty with speech. Men lose hearing more than women. Consider that a lot of hearing loss goes unreported because we often hear good enough to understand speech. Music, well, that's another story.

The truly sad part is that hearing loss can be easily treated. High-end hearing devices have been available for years, the newer models can be finely tuned by frequencies. There are some models that are specially tailored to musicians. Glasses help me to see. Hearing aids allow me to have normal sensory perception and enjoy music like I never have before. I think of hearing aids as ear EQ.

I now realize that even a mild hearing loss can significantly impact how we all hear music. I'll never ever again doubt what somebody hears musically. Is there enough bass? Is the high-end overly harsh? Reviewers give their takes on so much audio reproduction gear. Yet, they fail to disclose how well they can hear. How can we trust their impressions? That is but one reason why objective measurements of audio gear are important. We should take seriously the most important measurement of all, how well we can hear the music that can bring us so much joy if our sensory equipment is functioning well.
One of the things about hearing aids is that their frequency response is a bit better than a strong AM radio signal. Considering the size of the hardware it's pretty good. I have "moderate to severe" hearing loss and have pretty good hearing aids. I can hear the cat drinking from her bowl from 15 feet away but I know I don't hear much above 8 to 10 KHz. Essentially I'm missing the top octave. I can tell a huge difference with music between hearing aids out and in. Mine come with an app with bass and treble controls and rudimentary compression and expansion. There are also presets that are more sophisticated than what you can do with the app. I'd love to have the software the audiologist uses. It looks like audio post production software minus effects like chorus, flange, auto-tune, etc.
 

DVDdoug

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Reviewers give their takes on so much audio reproduction gear. Yet, they fail to disclose how well they can hear. How can we trust their impressions?
And a lot of these famous reviewers and "audiophiles" seem to be "old guys" so they most likely have some high-frequency loss...

Blind listening is rare and subjective reviews often use a lot of flowery-meaningless terminology. I don't mind listening tests if they are "scientific", and it's helpful if their listening impressions are backed-up matching-measurements, and hopefully "scientific" or "engineering" descriptions of what they are hearing.

I've been searching for accurate sound reproduction since 1975. I've been fortunate to work in high end audio stores and had friends whose multi-thousand dollar gear I could borrow any time. Somehow, no gear combination, no matter how expensive, brought me full satisfaction.
I was never really satisfied with vinyl. Some of it sounded good but it can't compare to digital with zero background noise.
 

CapMan

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And a lot of these famous reviewers and "audiophiles" seem to be "old guys" so they most likely have some high-frequency loss...
You wouldn’t hire an electrician without a certificate of competence - audio reviewers should provide hearing test results .
 

CapMan

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We should take seriously the most important measurement of all, how well we can hear the music that can bring us so much joy if our sensory equipment is functioning well.
Glad you found the music again :)
 
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A

arancano

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Glad you found the music again :)
Thanks, Capman. It's really hard to put into words the joy that listening to my rig now brings me. I regret the loss of satisfaction for so many years. I wrote the post because I sincerely hope to motivate, even if it's just a few audiophiles, to fix any hearing deficiencies sooner rather than later. Time lost cannot be regained, but better late than never.
 
OP
A

arancano

Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
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119
One of the things about hearing aids is that their frequency response is a bit better than a strong AM radio signal. Considering the size of the hardware it's pretty good. I have "moderate to severe" hearing loss and have pretty good hearing aids. I can hear the cat drinking from her bowl from 15 feet away but I know I don't hear much above 8 to 10 KHz. Essentially I'm missing the top octave. I can tell a huge difference with music between hearing aids out and in. Mine come with an app with bass and treble controls and rudimentary compression and expansion. There are also presets that are more sophisticated than what you can do with the app. I'd love to have the software the audiologist uses. It looks like audio post production software minus effects like chorus, flange, auto-tune, etc.


Hi, I don't hear above 10 kHz in either ear. However, what I do hear with the hearing aids is so totally satisfying that I don't even think about what I can't hear.

I have the Oticon Opn 1 hearing aids. It has two programs. One is for conversation, the other for music. Volume can be controlled independently for each ear. It seems that your app does more. Would you mind sharing the type of hearing aids and phone software you use?
 

Barrelhouse Solly

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
347
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333
Hi, I don't hear above 10 kHz in either ear. However, what I do hear with the hearing aids is so totally satisfying that I don't even think about what I can't hear.

I have the Oticon Opn 1 hearing aids. It has two programs. One is for conversation, the other for music. Volume can be controlled independently for each ear. It seems that your app does more. Would you mind sharing the type of hearing aids and phone software you use?
Phonak. I don't know the model number. Generally they prescribe hearing aids based on your hearing loss. I actually use the presets and the app infrequently although the app came in handy for a while when I had a feedback problem. The only thing I use is the volume controls. Occasionally I use the noisy crowded room preset in restaurants. The music preset can be fun.
 
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