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Hearing Health .

Discussion in 'Recording' started by speakeasy, May 25, 2006.

  1. speakeasy

    speakeasy Guest

    Without wanting to state the obvious,
    I would like to suggest some advice for those who happen to have embarked on their home recording projects. It may also serve to remind all of us of the importance of looking after our precious hearing.
    Our hearing is THE most important element in our work.
    But much more important - it is part of our very being.

    I have a condition known in medical terms as
    Asymetrical Low Sensorinuel Hearing loss.
    This means that for me, while hearing in my left ear is normal, hearing in my right ear certainly is not.
    I have lost most of my natural bass frequency responce to my right hearing due to damage to my right inner ear Auditory Nerve. This is inoprerable and permanent. Accompanying this condition I have mild Tinnutus which has been a side effect of the sudden trauma damage that occured. Tinnutus is a constant and audible humming similar to static interference which varies in volume and sound, but which I also now have to live with for the rest of my life.
    It is also inoperable and permanent.
    The conflicting ways in which my left and right ears now receive sound is
    hell to live with, and at times downright painfull.

    ALWAYS work at sensibly audible volume levels.
    In fact better still, adapt to working at LOW volume levels, and only turn it up when you really feel you need to.
    Sure - allow yourself the thrill of hearing the final results of your work loud if you really want to.
    But DO NOT OVERDO IT. Maintaining your hearing is all about how long and how often you expose your hearing to unnecessarilly loud volume levels. TAKE GREAT CARE.

    The damage to my own hearing was the result of headphone use.
    Over time I have learned to adapt to my condition and I continue with my recording work. Luckilly, as effectively as I was prior to my hearing impairment. But I now go about my work with great care.

    NEVER use closed headphones.
    If you do, TURN THEM DOWN. The sound that you hear inside closed headphones has no where else to go but directly into your ears.
    Semi closed headphones are safer.

    ALWAYS TAKE A BREAK. Your hearing is your precious gift.
    Just like you, it needs to rest.
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Well I am not a doctor but I do know that many people have hereditary problems already built into their hearing. I have monitored quite loudly from speakers and frequently through headphones throughout my professional careers spanning over 35 years. For those people that like to listen/monitor at "ear bleeding" levels, congratulations! You're there man and/or women. I also believe that many of us audio engineers suffer less from hearing loss at high-volume levels as we are actually "LISTENING" as opposed to trying to "tune out" background noise in noisy places. Our brain is the most powerful DSP in existence which has memory built into it and if you customarily experienced a lot of noise, your brain will figure out how to filter most of it out. Eh voila'! Loss of hearing.

    Of course there are those little hairs inside the inner ear that help to transmit sound to our auditory nerve and if you are losing the hair on top of your head, does that include your ears as well?? Maybe? Thankfully I am a woman and the only hair I have lost on top of my head is the hair that I pulled out over incredibly difficult audio jobs! NOW PLEASE TURN DOWN THE SOUND SO I CAN HEAR MYSELF THINK?!?!

    Unfortunately, I'm also experiencing a gradual loss of level and high frequency response as part of the normal aging process at 50. My hearing is still better than most as I am A CAREFUL LISTENER BY TRADE.

    Listening to George mispronounce "Dubbaya"
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    I said Ms. Remy Ann David

    Ms. Remy Ann David! Geez, weren't you listening?
     
  3. speakeasy

    speakeasy Guest

    Re RemyRAD's reply Hearing Health

    If you are stating, as you appear to in your reply that listening to recorded music, and or monitoring recorded work at, as you put it "ear bleeding levels " is OK, then you are an utterly foolish and irresponsible fool !!
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I did not mean to imply that I regularly listen at ear bleeding levels. I don't. I'm generally monitoring at conservative levels and on occasion, usually requested by a rock and roll musician, I have brought the level up in the control room to boogie down.

    Listening has its ups and downs
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  5. speakeasy

    speakeasy Guest

    :roll: Perlease....cut the "boogie down" crap.
    Have another read of your first reply . You state : "For those people who like to like to listen/monitor at "ear bleeding" levels - congratulations".
    ....Hell !! ...congatulations huh ? I see that you are a moderator of this forum . You of all people should well know that that is hardly what you should be suggesting to ANYONE and particularly audio / recording people.
    ....hey boogie on down.
     
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    speakeasy, don't be ridiculous. Every PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER has their own way of doing things and listening to things. If you are listening for something in particular you have placed low in the mix, you may turn things up to listen into the mix better. If you think you're hearing some kind of audible anomaly, you'll turn things up to listen for it. If you get your best mixes while monitoring at high sound pressure levels as opposed to lower listing levels, that's cool. If you prefer lower monitoring levels that you believe gives you your best mix, that's very nice. And I don't use stupid test devices such as SPL meters in my mixing process. SPL meters are more applicable to live PA, not to recording engineers in the studio control room. And I can safely say after more than 35 years in the recording/broadcast industry, I still have superb hearing even after doing camera for loud rock-and-roll concerts where the director can barely be heard yelling in your left ear while you are being inundated with screaming teenagers from the directors microphone and from your ear facing the audience. Just like OSHA established their criteria for loudness levels, one can be exposed to some substantial DB's over short periods of time. That should not be confused with exposing one's self to undo long duration noise like a day at the NASCAR track. Nobody needs that.

    I have been to some live large venue rock-and-roll concerts in my past, where the sound pressure level was so extreme, you became nauseous! It's enough that I wanted to go up and smack the sound engineer up side of the head. Generally I don't go to live concerts UNLESS PEOPLE PAY ME TO DO SO. I'd rather be sitting in the control room.

    Still hearing beyond 16,000 hertz at 50 years of age
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    speakeasy, don't be ridiculous. Every PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER has their own way of doing things and listening to things. If you are listening for something in particular you have placed low in the mix, you may turn things up to listen into the mix better. If you think you're hearing some kind of audible anomaly, you'll turn things up to listen for it. If you get your best mixes while monitoring at high sound pressure levels as opposed to lower listing levels, that's cool. If you prefer lower monitoring levels that you believe gives you your best mix, that's very nice. And I don't use stupid test devices such as SPL meters in my mixing process. SPL meters are more applicable to live PA, not to recording engineers in the studio control room. And I can safely say after more than 35 years in the recording/broadcast industry, I still have superb hearing even after doing camera for loud rock-and-roll concerts where the director can barely be heard yelling in your left ear while you are being inundated with screaming teenagers from the directors microphone and from your ear facing the audience. Just like OSHA established their criteria for loudness levels, one can be exposed to some substantial DB's over short periods of time. That should not be confused with exposing one's self to undo long duration noise like a day at the NASCAR track. Nobody needs that.

    I have been to some live large venue rock-and-roll concerts in my past, where the sound pressure level was so extreme, you became nauseous! It's enough that I wanted to go up and smack the sound engineer up side of the head. Generally I don't go to live concerts UNLESS PEOPLE PAY ME TO DO SO. I'd rather be sitting in the control room.

    Still hearing beyond 16,000 hertz at 50 years of age
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Hear this:

    Those little hairs in the middle ear are like so much fresh hay, and once they're mowed down by blasts of high SPL, they're gone and they don't come back, period. What is ultimately left behind is scar tissue, like any other part of the body subject to repeated beating - worn out knees, hip joints, etc. (Lung tissue scarring/emphezema are another. It's a stretch, but it's somewhat similar.)

    Like un-weighted noise curves, there are more hairs for the upper end - similar to white noise - so there's more hairs to beat up on, and the damage is not so noticable over short time spans. But it IS insidious, and the hairs for freqs above 5-10K or so (again, many more than the lower freqs), go away, sooner or later with abuse.

    Old age takes its toll too, and things begin to worsen here, as well, although it's more likely the three bones in the middle ear that are atrophying; the hammer, anvil and stapes. They can actually become calcified and not properly conduct vibrations so well after time.

    There are some studies/claims that the body can "Shut down' in a self-protective way, under exposure to high decibel levels (moreso with lots of bass than high freq), but again, what comes back after exposure to punishing SPLs is arguably not the same as prior to those exposures. (This is the 'temporarily deaf' or shifted-threshold syndrome, where people experience all the symptoms of hard-of-hearing after loud concerts, explosions, gunshots, etc. HUH!?!??! Say WHAT????)

    Many people THINK they're fine the next day after exposures to extreme SPL, because the effect has worn off and they're feeling better again, their bass levels have returned to normal, and they can hear high freqs again as well. But there's always a change, however imperceptable, and something is indeed lost. Over time, regardless of who you are, and what you do for a living, it all adds up to reduced and uneven freq response inside your ears.

    I played in loud bands for years, and did live PA work as well. I was lucky in those band days, I guess. I always wanted my keyboards in a nice, clean, full-range box that didn't distort and I never let the guitarist(s) put an amp behind my head onstage. Everything else went through the PA or monitors I could control. Possibly the worst noise I was exposed to was cymbal noises from behind me. (Full Time professional Truckers who drive with their windows down experience measurable loss in their left ears from similar constant exposure to wind noise, btw.)

    These days, I crank it up only to hear certain things in certain passages (room rumble, soloists intonation, tricky edits in quiet sections, etc.) The rest of the time, I'm working at safe, sane levels. It's been a long time since I had a client who wanted it louder than I could stand, and even then, I let them hear it at the level they wanted it, while I left the room for coffee. There's not enough $$$ in the world to pay me to sit in on lethal SPLs these days. (I made it THIS far ok; I'm not starting now. I even take hearos with me to ANY live event, just in case it gets out of hand......)

    Even with inevitable hearing loss, many professionals (myself included someday, I fear), learn to adapt and compensate for uneven "response curves" happening in their own ears. In addition, those in our crowd, er, profession, have learned to listen better anyway; we hear things that most don't, and we know how to track them down, isolate them, and work with them.

    Even so, you can NEVER be too careful. Until they come up with "line inputs" for our ears, you've got to take care of what you got, because that's all there is, and there ain't no mo'.

    Get tested by a professional as soon as possible, and find out where you are on the spectrum/curve. That way, you'll know where you are, where you should be for your age and exposure history, and what you can do about it if you're not.

    No one wants to end up like Vanderbilt on F-Troop. :cry:
     
  9. philsaudio

    philsaudio Active Member

    Hearing Aids

    I was wondering how many of you out there have crossed the road and emerged with HEARING AIDS?

    I for one have been using them for a couple of years all the time now. When I got them it was not because I could not hear well, it was only to hear what my wife was saying and to hear the TV late at night without waking the dead.

    I found that I had to re learn to listen but I'll tell you what, taking them out now is like putting my fingers in my ears. I feel deaf without them unless I forget to put them in and go out without them. In that rare occurance I feel like I can hear but miss quite a lot of life, music, and what everyone says.

    I admit it is hard for me to deal with the stigma but my mixes are SOOOO much better with them there is no denial that they help. I would just as soon leave them out as I would read without my glasses. All the denial in the world would not let me see the small print as equally as not wearing the hearing aids would not let me hear the short wavelength frequencies.

    peace
    Phil
     
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    philsaudio, very funny that you mentioned the hearing aid thing. How do you know your mixes are better if you're hearing is so flawed to begin with that you need hearing aids? Don't you think this has affected your perspective? You didn't indicate whether your mixes sounded better with or without your hearing aids? I mean that's like being blind in one eye and going to see a 3-D movie while exclaiming "WOW that 3-D was so realistic!" ???

    Really I'm such a smart ass myself, that after hearing a commercial on the radio for " Bell hearing aids" where they would send you a "$10 sample nonfunctioning hearing aid", I thought I might purchase 2 of them and when sitting down to a mix with the client, I would then pull them out of both of my ears and exclaim "OK, I'm ready!" But my professional sensibilities got the best of me and I didn't do that. I still think it would be extremely funny to do?? Let me know if it gets some good laughs?

    No, really now, I have a professional musician friend who got into the recording business into his retirement years and he has "computer adjusted hearing aids". I think his work sounds quite awful but I've never told him that, since he thinks his computer-controlled hearing aids are so good. Quite frankly I think when you get to that point in life (which isn't necessarily from mixing too loud or singing opera but may in fact also be based upon hereditary background), you should enjoy recordings already made by others and get into television instead. Doing audio for television, at most stations, is pretty miserable since much of the audio comes in from the field. You don't need no stinkin' hearin' to do TV sound, since nobody knows the difference or cares.

    After all, look at me, I now work for our countries government television broadcast network, The Voice Of America, where our sound is as unclear as our politicians. So I guess I'm doing my job well??
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  11. philsaudio

    philsaudio Active Member

    Hearing aids

    Getting used to hearing the world through damaged ears is not much different than getting used to listening with a damaged or sub optimal audio system. The end result is you can hear what you hear and you pretty much do not know what you are missing.

    I will bet you a dollar that most of the people on this very forum are in the process of getting used to hearing the world through damaged hearing of some kind of another today, right now. As a matter of fact it is a slow gradual process that begins for most of us at birth and for some happens faster than for others, but everyone is dealing with it whether they know it or not.

    I notice you wear glasses. Were you born not seeing well or did your eyes gradually deteiorate over time till your arms were no longer long enough for you to read? It is the same with hearing most people do not notice until they can not function at the same capacity they know they once could.

    So much of this recording racket is based on comparitive creativity where recordists try to copy the sound of their favorite hero. The process of experimentation is encouraged and a whatever works attitude gives people the freedom to create sounds and record them whether they can actually hear what is being recorded or not. In other words what they heard may be different from what you or I hear through our audio chain, but we may like or not like it based on a whole lot of things other than the audio.

    Everyone needs a reference so you all say. Listen to music you like and make it sound like that. You can compare your loudness to the pros. etc etc. Is this bad advice for people with a less than perfect audio chain?

    I mix live and record. I have people coming up to me after shows commending my work, strangers. I get repeat business in my studio from people who like my sound. Music does sound better to me with the hearing aids in. I know I hear stuff I can not hear without them. I can tell the difference between a good monitoring environment or live hall and a bad one, regardless if the quality is due to the room, or the equipment.

    On ocassion I attend seminars for engineers/producers. I am very keyed into the signs people who can not hear perfectly project. They vary among these industry giants from looking completly dumb and obviously missing what everyone is saying while they shake their heads in agreement, to those asking the speaker to repeat stuff I hear plainly with my hearing aids in.

    I simply chose to extend the life of my ears with technology, just like a lot of other people do by cranking up their monitoring environment. To me the benefits clearly outweigh the price of doing nothing and the four thousand dollars or so the hearing aids cost me add to the quality of everything I hear way more than spending the extra dough on a high bias hard disk drive.


    peace
    Phil
     
  12. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Of course Phil is correct. Reference is everything. Without it. You are without it and talent, clients, et al..

    In my younger days, even though I worked in some nice studios like Media Sound in NYC, I discovered many engineers mixes sounded way too bright for me. I quickly realized that some of my mixes were nice and warm but sounded dull in comparison. It was because my high-frequency hearing response was too acute. This was when my hair was shorter and didn't cover my ears. Bob Clearmountain did the thing with Kleenex over his tweeters on his NS10's (I could never use those things). So instead of playing with toilet paper, I put my speaker grilles back on and then I just let my hair grow longer over my ears and realized that took 15kHz down just a little bit, by the right amount. My mixes got better as a result of my hair length! Thankfully, unlike other engineers I know, I didn't get a hair up my ass, but just in the right place, where it needed to be, over my ears.

    What was that last question? Bare ass me again.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     
  13. philsaudio

    philsaudio Active Member

    Hearing Aids

    I am bringing this up because having hearing aids has improved my quality of life in every way, performing/recording/mixing/mastering just being a few of them.

    I hope that there are some people out there who will see my post and then open up their mind and give hearing aid technology a chance.

    The most difficult hurdle for me was when I was wooing a band for a mastering job. They had a girl singer with a small voice. During the face to face I had to decide whether to put the hearing aids in and have a conversation with her and risk being "found out" OR not put them in and miss every fourth word she said and just nod my head hoping I was not agreeing to be tied up and taken advantage of.

    My hearing aids are completly in the canal are not very obvious to most.
    My hair does not cover my ears so anyone looking in them can see them. What I have found is that it is totaly obvious to my close friends and family when I do not have them in. They can tell from across the room with their eyes closed.

    So for anyone who is having their world become smaller and smaller because of a gradual hearing loss, I challenge you to look into getting some professionaly programmed hearing aids into your life. You will be much more connected to the world and be able to enjoy what was once an every day occurance in your life. They aint perfect, and neither are glasses or lasik, but the my world is much better with both glasses and hearing aids.


    Glasses, Hearing aids and Viagra are the reason fifty is the new thirty, at least for men.


    peace
    Phil
     

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