Hearing loss as you age

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by BarryE, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. BarryE

    BarryE Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    What are the expected hearing losses as you age. I just did some tests and found I cannot hear anything above 12khz. up to 8 I am fine however. I am 55 so wondering where I fit in the expected ratio.

    Done enough testing with instruments to at least know my pitch differentiation is still pretty good. That is good to know.
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    It all depends on your exposure to sound and for how long at what levels.
    Some hearing loss is hereditary, some by ear infection, but mostly by exposure to sound, especially overdoing it with headphones or playing at extreme volumes.
     
  3. teleman55

    teleman55 Member

    Messages:
    3,285
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    Athletes use their bodies and get wear and tear. Musicians the same. I avoid in-ears if I can, only use if I have to. Watch it with headphones too. Keep your ears away from speakers being real close and cymbals. Ever play on a small crowded stage with a drummer who liked his cymbals up high in the air? Gotta watch that s**t. I seldom use ear protection, but if you have any doubt, use it. You are also going to get some hearing loss with age, musician or not.
     
    FFTT likes this.
  4. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

    Messages:
    4,035
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Location:
    Denver CO
    That's where it starts, with the high end. I had a tone generator on my phone doing it's thing. It became inaudible around 12-14K for me (44), whereas the guys 20 years younger than me could still hear the 16-18K tones.
    Oh well, some of it is age, the rest is years of drumming and guitar.
     
  5. loudboy

    loudboy Member

    Messages:
    27,421
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Location:
    Sedona, AZ
    58 - anything above 10K is gone...
     
  6. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,996
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    At 37 mine is worse - my right ear was damaged at birth, and my left by years of loud music and then a recurrent infection. Not much going on over 8k for me.

    What's interesting though is that whilst I can't hear 9k sine wave, if you play me a lower sine wave then introduce the 9k I can instantly 'hear' it because of the change in timbre to the original wave. So in the context of music you don't entirely lose those top frequencies due to the way the brain is able to interpret the information available.
     
  7. Help!I'maRock!

    Help!I'maRock! Member

    Messages:
    8,868
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Location:
    Smoke
  8. bob-i

    bob-i Member

    Messages:
    7,441
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Not hearing above 10-12k doesn't really cause problems but the typical loss in the 4-8k range can be a big problem. In that range we hear sounds like F and S, SH, T and B and get the, mixed up. Many people say they can hear fine but don't understand the words people are saying.

    For example I introduced my new dog, Reese to an older man, he kept repeating Reef, I said no Reese, he said Reef. This mans hearing is fine below 4k so he thinks he doesn't need help, but in fact he's missing conversations because he can't understand, and he thinks people are mumbling, especially his grandchildren.
     
  9. bob-i

    bob-i Member

    Messages:
    7,441
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Location:
    Central NJ
    Oh, and 64 and I'm good to about 12k with about a 3db roll off.
     
  10. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    My ENT was one of the top guys in the country at John's Hopkins.
    His associate at U of Michigan was working on using stem cells to regrow the microscopic hair cells that get fried with over exposure to sound. Human trials still a long way off.

    My hearing loss was primarily due to ignoring ear fatigue while recording using headphones for hours on end.

    My doctor was also working on a paper about the effect of opiated pain killers like Percocet, morphine etc.
    Those pain killers work by deadening nerve endings. Continued use or abuse can also cause irreversible hearing loss.

    The people at the greatest risk are solo artists who wear all the hats during the recording and mixing processes.

    Live band volumes where you have that cushion of air to buffer and diffuse sound waves are in my opinion safer than using IEM's. Just try not to beam yourself with excessively loud volumes and use hearing protection with higher volumes. If you are using IEM's be extra careful about volume and be sure to give your ears a silence break as much as possible.

    Also power tools, air tools, yard equipment, fire arms, can cause damage with as little as 2 hours exposure.
    Then there are sound accidents like forgetting to turn off your monitors and getting slammed with feedback.

    I went from perfect hearing and perfect pitch to stone deaf in my right ear with about 50% loss in the left ear.
    Now my remaining ear gets fatigued very easily to the point where I start losing pitch recognition, my lifeline
    as a musician who has always played strictly by ear.
    This is compounded by raging tinnitus coming from my deaf ear. Like the sound of a Learjet taxiing down the runway,
    non stop since the late 90's.

    I don't want anyone to end up like me.
     
  11. Paleolith54

    Paleolith54 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Thanks to folks like this for the frank warnings. I now get levels set when playing out, and insert the ear plugs for the rest of the gig. Yes they have disadvantages, but none as bad as an airplane in my ear.
     
    FFTT likes this.
  12. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    My tinnitus acts like a frequency wash affecting what I can hear in my left ear.
    I'm also sensitive to certain kinds of rooms and air handler noise or ambient noise making it tough to hear
    people speaking even if they are close up.
    Before I retired, when we had meetings, I basically couldn't hear a word people were saying.

    Recording and trying to mix with half of one ear is challenging to say the least.

    I have to turn my head and cup my ear to hear what's coming out of my left and right monitors.
    Headphones only used for necessary tracking. Back to near fields for anything else.

    My confidence as a musician and band member is greatly compromised.

    If I get lost in the middle of a song and can't hear enough to recover, I become a liability to the unit.
    Where my hearing was once my strongest asset, now it has become a burden and truly a career ender.

    I can still perform solo with a good monitor, but this has taken the wind out of my sails big time.
     
  13. Dave Shoop

    Dave Shoop Member

    Messages:
    10,583
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    My hearing has deteriorated greatly. I'm sure it's age and standing next to the drummer and his cymbals as well as just loud music. I can't hear high frequencies. Our fridge has a chime that goes off if the door is left open. My wife tells me the door is open and I hear nothing. She hears it. I go right next to it and still don't hear it. The turn signal in the car is another annoying signal I don't hear. My wife is constantly telling me my signal is still on. Ugh. I need my monitor on stage loud to the point I'm sure the band is somewhat annoyed by the volume but I have to hear myself. Tried IEM's a couple times and hated the quality of the reproduction. Not sure if it was the sound company just not EQ'ing them or they just don't sound very good. Protect your hearing, you will miss it when it starts going.
     
  14. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    While a one ear hearing aid might help me with speech, I worry about using one in a live band setting since amplified
    sound directly in my ear is what caused all the damage in the first place.

    I know the better ones can be set for various frequencies and filter out harmful frequencies but I'm still worried
    that using one could destroy what's left of my hearing.
     
  15. urizen

    urizen Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,105
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    SoCal
    Yup, and if you add any frequent and/or extended exposure to loud noises, that about covers it (my dad was an airplane mechanic in the USN during WWII, and one of his duties was starting the planes in the morning every morning keeping them running/warmed up/tuned---nobody wore ear protection---he blamed his tinnitus and hearing loss on those years).
     
    FFTT likes this.
  16. Jayyj

    Jayyj Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,996
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    I wouldn't worry too much about that - obviously it's a question to ask your doctor but you can turn them off or remove them when you're in a loud environment where you might be worried. There seems to be a more fundamental problem for musicians using hearing aids, and that's the way they distort the sound you're hearing. I've broached the subject of hearing aids with a few doctors now, but as soon as I tell them my job (I work in the violin trade and don't want to lose the ability to critically appraise the sound of instruments that pass through my hands) they tell me to try to make do without on the grounds that the distortion produced by the amplification circuit in a hearing aid will make it far harder for me to listen critically than dealing with a few dB of overall level and a roll off of high frequencies. I've tried to look into musician-specific hearing aids that might be available outside of the public health service but I haven't seen anything that looked convincing enough to pursue.
     
  17. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    If it were up to me, the Consumer Products Safety Commission would require warning labels with all products capable of causing irreversible hearing loss

    On hearing aids, yes the priority for most is speech recognition, where a musician needs to be able to hear as much as they can between 40hz and 20Khz.

    To make matters worse, the adjustable types are quite expensive, but the warranties are downright pitiful. Most only covered for a year or two.
     
  18. Skub

    Skub Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    One day hearing loss will be total,until then enjoy every sandwich.
     
  19. Zandalf

    Zandalf I don't remember Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    670
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Of course, unless you have good test equipment it's questionable what one actually can hear, at least in a "lab" setting.
    I just tried this on-line test with my $200 Audio-Technica headphones (ATH-A700 - a few years old), and around 12,500Hz (I'm 61), the sine-wave-like sound seemed to disappear. Oh well, I guess I won't be answering any dog-whistle calls!

    http://onlinetonegenerator.com/hearingtest.html
     
    FFTT likes this.
  20. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,403
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Future generations might see fully bionic replacement ears and eyes, but for now the tech is quite primitive.

    Cochlear implants may work for speech recognition, but I haven't heard of any musicians using them successfully.
    They also still require follow up surgeries to replace batteries. The tech just isn't quite there yet.
     

Share This Page