Inevitable hearing loss / test your hearing

Barden

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I like me ears and have been pleasantly surprised at the range that I could hear in the past, but I know that age will
gradually reduce this. I also know that loud drums without protection will not help.

I've recently been geeking out on some audio elements and just tested a small listening setup for what range I could hear. It makes sense to me to make a record of this personally as I make future decisions.

This link takes you to a tone generator where you can sweep through the frequencies until you don't hear anything when you stop and start:
tone_generator

Not being able to hear a frequency could be your listening setup and not your ears, but on my current setup I think my ears are the limiting factor. I think I have lost the 16,500-20,000 due to age and "experience".

Do you all worry about this, track this? What range can you hear?

Some of you have indicated that you have very high end IEM's in other threads so that shouldn't be a limiting factor in the signal path. Maybe some of you are in for an encouraging reading.
 

dboomer

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Take a trip to Costco and get a free real hearing test. You will be shocked
 

eigentone

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Yeah, high frequency extension is one of the easiest hearing tests we can do at home. I should stress that these kinds of tests can tell you at least how high you can hear. Due to limitations in monitoring and conversion parameters often beyond our control… the extreme high end may be rolled off or unnatural. Using my MacBook Pro's internal headphone jack, I can eke out a little more high end when using a Logic session at 96 kHz, compared to the linked web tone generator. Additionally, you may need to adjust the headphone/monitor volume as you go beyond 6 kHz because our ears do not hear frequencies evenly. When doing these tests, I often look for the point where my ability to hear high frequencies drops considerably.

Testing using Logic Pro, good headphones, and the MacBook Pro's internal conversion and a session at 96 kHz, my hearing dropped off around 18 kHz. But I did have to turn up to hear it. Above 16.5 kHz, I had to turn up a fair amount as the frequency increased. Maybe with different monitoring equipment or a different audio system, I would have done better in the test. I really don't know if I was at the limits of my hearing or play my monitoring or conversion chain. Not that I am disappointed with the results or anything. I suspect an audiologist would determine my hearing extended to somewhere between 16.5 kHz and 18 kHz.

Using the figures here, I have the hearing of somebody about half my age and better hearing than people my age and older:
  • 12,000 Hz is hard for anyone over 50 years of age to hear
  • 15,000 Hz is difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to hear
  • 17,400 Hz is a frequency that only teenagers can hear. Most people over the age of 18 cannot hear this tone
I'm nearly 40. I have played instruments since I was 12 and been in several bands and recording projects over the years. I have a degree in audio recording/production. Worked in the field for several years. And (not for the weak stomachs) I have more earwax buildup than I'd like. I'm more a multi-instrumentalist and recording guy than "a drummer." But I love playing drums and I have been really getting into them in recent years. Yes, I "worry" about this and I protect my ears/hearing. I also have a small amount of tinnitus.

But drummers and people that do a lot of live work have to be extra careful. I can imagine hearing loss significantly impacts how much someone enjoys music. And hearing loss makes communication difficult. Hearing damage is usually permanent.

I don't record or chart changes over time. I just know about where my limit is.
 

eigentone

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Take a trip to Costco and get a free real hearing test. You will be shocked
Costco is not the first place that came to my mind for hearing tests. Why Costco and what was shocking about your experience?

Does Costco have good monitoring systems? I imagine a kiosk near an aisle in the store, where the ambient noise can impact the results. A bit like a blood pressure testing station at the drug store. Have you compared the test results from Costco and an Audiologist and were the results similar?
 

dtk

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last year Mass Eye and Ear was looking for musicians for a test/study involving tinnitus.
I went it for the 1st step and...only have some loss of hearing in the high register of my right ear (they were looking for folks w/perfect hearing).

The doc giving the test/running the study was shocked...my hearing was better than his...and he doesn't play.

I use ear plugs when I go to concerts, mow the lawn, use a chain saw etc....don't abuse your ears...you only get 1 pair
 

dboomer

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Costco is not the first place that came to my mind for hearing tests. Why Costco and what was shocking about your experience?

Does Costco have good monitoring systems? I imagine a kiosk near an aisle in the store, where the ambient noise can impact the results. A bit like a blood pressure testing station at the drug store. Have you compared the test results from Costco and an Audiologist and were the results similar?
You get a test that takes about an hour from a real audiologist ... free. The shocking part is I’ll bet almost everyone estimates that their hearing is better than it actually is.

You can think you can hear 16k, but how many dB down compared to your overall hearing? Aberage middle aged adults can only hear to 12k. Drummers as a group are well below average . Only 10 year old girls can hear 16k
 

Barden

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Yeah, high frequency extension is one of the easiest hearing tests we can do at home. I should stress that these kinds of tests can tell you at least how high you can hear. Due to limitations in monitoring and conversion parameters often beyond our control… the extreme high end may be rolled off or unnatural. Using my MacBook Pro's internal headphone jack, I can eke out a little more high end when using a Logic session at 96 kHz, compared to the linked web tone generator. Additionally, you may need to adjust the headphone/monitor volume as you go beyond 6 kHz because our ears do not hear frequencies evenly. When doing these tests, I often look for the point where my ability to hear high frequencies drops considerably.
Nicely put!

I just got a new external DAC that is contributing nicely. I was noting rolloff as I extended to 16k as well.

Given your well written description I went back and boosted the volume above 16.5k and was able to hear up to 17.9k!! Thanks for restoring my hearing!!!:D:D:D
 

eigentone

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Nicely put!

I just got a new external DAC that is contributing nicely. I was noting rolloff as I extended to 16k as well.

Given your well written description I went back and boosted the volume above 16.5k and was able to hear up to 17.9k!! Thanks for restoring my hearing!!!:D:D:D
For graphs and explanations of how the human ears perceives different frequencies at different volumes, see:

At comfortable listening levels, human hearing can drop off by nearly 15 dB from 4 kHz to 10 kHz. That's a range of just a little over one octave. So don't get the idea that a sharp dropoff after 5 kHz (or thereabouts) is unusual or indicative of hearing damage when using the web test and test oscillators in general -- that is actually perfectly normal because most of these tests follow a constant voltage rather than a constant loudness.
 

eigentone

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You get a test that takes about an hour from a real audiologist ... free. The shocking part is I’ll bet almost everyone estimates that their hearing is better than it actually is.

You can think you can hear 16k, but how many dB down compared to your overall hearing? Aberage middle aged adults can only hear to 12k. Drummers as a group are well below average . Only 10 year old girls can hear 16k
You get all that at Costco for free? I never knew. I should go in with my aunt and uncle next time I visit them.
 

dcrigger

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Costco is not the first place that came to my mind for hearing tests. Why Costco and what was shocking about your experience?

Does Costco have good monitoring systems? I imagine a kiosk near an aisle in the store, where the ambient noise can impact the results. A bit like a blood pressure testing station at the drug store. Have you compared the test results from Costco and an Audiologist and were the results similar?
Nope in my experience - they're totally up to spec. First off - never done a hearing test that didn't require use headphones. Not listening to speakers free air - just was too many wild cards with room reflections, positioning, etc - all at least minimized with using proper headphones.

The only free air stuff I've seen/heard was for testing how well hearing aids are actually working. Little mics are placed deep in the ear - then facing a loudspeaker - burst of noise are analyzed. First with the just micc n the ear - then with the hearing aids in place (with the mic in the canal - between the hearing aid and your ear drum. This way the tester can confirm that the hearing aids (adjusted per th results of the earlier hearing test) are actually producing what they are supposed to be producing.

IMO hoping to learn anything very useful from just listening to tones is kind of a stretch. As a real hearing test consists of testing by tones in each ear separately and then by testing word recognition of dozens of words played at various volumes... again - testing each ear separately.

So no, in no way are the Costco hearing centers in any way like the blood pressure machines at CVS - though frankly they aren't bad themselves. The big problem with those is having no operator instructing the "patient" how to properly take a blood pressure test - posture, talking, etc.
 

TheBeachBoy

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Not too long ago I could hear up to 20k, with a dip at about 18k in my left ear, but I could still hear above that. It was weird, I'd hear the frequencies rise, it would drop out at about 17.5k, then come back at about 18.5k up to about 20k. Now I just turned 38 and I'm having a hard time hearing above 16.5k on speakers. I'll try later with studio headphones, but I use to hear those high end frequencies just fine even on my phone speaker, so I'm guessing it won't be much different.

I use earplugs at concerts and my IEMs at the lowest comfortable volume at gigs, plus earplugs when mowing the lawn or using other loud equipment, and never really crank the radio in my car. I used to have my car window rolled down since I didn't have A/C for years, so that most likely affected my left ear.
 

dboomer

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Just driving in cars is very hard on your hearing. There’s a lot of consistent very low frequencies, too low to even hear, that over the years add up to a lot of hearing loss.
 

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