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Dave, what about your ears?
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AIRChoco
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23rd September 2004
Old 23rd September 2004
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Dave, what about your ears?

In the past, When you were in a lot of bands, all the gig's, loud amps, cymbals over your shoulder.... your ears didn't suffered all of this? I mean i got a certein degree of tinnitus and i'm only 23.
Does big time mixers could have tinnitus? they know it but never tell anyone about it? Do guys like me have a chance, still, to develop the ear?

Sorry, too many questions.... first post. Thanks in advance Dave.






Note.- sorry for the bad english. i'm from mexico.
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23rd September 2004
Old 23rd September 2004
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Other than foam earplugs in live situations and reasonable studio volume levels, there isn't much else you can do. But....

Question for Dave Pensado: Do you have a certain "bread and butter" monitoring level, at which you do a good percentage of your mixing? We've had threads on GS before about trying to get an average 0VU level to sound at 83-89dB (C) SPL. With a 20dB crest factor, the peaks would still be 10dB or so below the threshold of pain.

I know some of you people out there have golden ears and mix really quietly or really loudly, but i've had nothing but bad luck cranking or cutting the volume. I always found my mixes to be too bass heavy when monitoring at low volumes with both eq settings and bass instrument levels. I also tend to make thin mid-rangey mixes when it is too loud (and especially when having to use the far fields "because they sound so cool" to the band in the room).

BTW, it seems my ears experience a threshold shift before many other people do (or i'm just aware of it). It happens well before tinnitus levels. The shift is actually unconfortable to me, so it is easy enough to tell when it is getting too loud. It is almost like a light switch. Common sense and using earplugs around loud live music has allowed me not to have had a tinitus fit since they tore down The Stadium in Chicago. Every ear is reacts differently though; i've become convinced some people are just born with glass ears, while other people can sleep in front of a blaring PA cabinet for decades and not having lingering issues.

Now, to take a stab at the original question "Do guys like me have a chance, still to develop the ear?" I believe critical listening is an exercise; the more you do it the better you get at it. If you work out alot, your cardiovascular system will basically grow new and bigger arteries and veins to handle the need for increased blood flow to the working muscles. You aren't born ready to run a marathon or lift 700 pounds, but if you worked diligently enough you can achieve that goal (or at least as well as your heridity and determination allows). I would hazard stating that by developing your listening skills, you are actually programming (or literally rewiring) your brain to deal with sounds in a more efficient manner. The eardrum itself is just one piece of the puzzle. With experience and dedication to listening, slightly flawed hearing can be worked around. Even Evelyn Glennie found work in the music industry (although I don't think she'd ever be able to mix music with the best of them). Developing the sense of appropriateness of sounds is going to be the bigger issue to work through. If you know what an instrument is supposed to sound like (so you can make a qualitative judgement concerning its state of being good or bad), you'll be miles ahead (sorry, KM) of the people with 20-20kHz hearing that have never bothered to sit down and listen.
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24th September 2004
Old 24th September 2004
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Re: Dave, what about your ears?

Quote:
Originally posted by AIRChoco
In the past, When you were in a lot of bands, all the gig's, loud amps, cymbals over your shoulder.... your ears didn't suffered all of this? I mean i got a certein degree of tinnitus and i'm only 23.
Does big time mixers could have tinnitus? they know it but never tell anyone about it? Do guys like me have a chance, still, to develop the ear?

Sorry, too many questions.... first post. Thanks in advance Dave.






Note.- sorry for the bad english. i'm from mexico.
Yeh, I would like to hear dave comment on this. On one of his posts (not a quote) he said domething like "If your ears dont hurt". I'm thinking he monitors pretty loud.

I have lost some high frequencies in my left ear but it doesnt seem to bother me much now. I remember exactly where and when it happened A Poor Paying DJ gig with the worst monitors I have ever experienced. Dj'ing is a risky business for your ears no matter how careful you try and be.

At first when I got back in the studio I was in a total panic

Just got used to it now i supppose.

Is there a pill, a cure for loss of high frequencies. Anyone?



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24th September 2004
Old 24th September 2004
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I emailed Bob Clearmountain about this last year . . . he basically replied, "don't listen too loud for too long and take breaks. " Hmmm . . . very helpful.

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24th September 2004
Old 24th September 2004
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If you really want some facts about hearing loss, you probably google OSHA and get the low down from the government research on the subject of safe ocupational noise exposure levels. It's hard to equate noise with music, but it's something to think about.

I have a print out that Bruce Swedien gave me years ago. Here is what it says:

90db 8 hours per day
92db 6 hours per day
95db 4 hours per day
97db 3 hours per day
100db 2 hours per day
102db 1.5 hours per day
105db 1 hour per day
110db .5 hour per day
115db .25 or less hour per day

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24th September 2004
Old 24th September 2004
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Ears

I'm 43. Been playing electric guitar in clubs for 20 years through a Fender Deluxe Reverb. Had my hearing checked by an audiologist. She said my hearing was "above average for my age", but the most damage was in the 4k range. Funny how I always want to boost the 4k when I mix... I got fitted with some Musician's Earplugs to try to save what's left. I recommend getting tested. They also found out that like 3/4" of wax was occluded against my eardrums and cleaned that mess out, too.
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25th September 2004
Old 25th September 2004
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Re: Re: Dave, what about your ears?

Quote:
Originally posted by Chrisac
Is there a pill, a cure for loss of high frequencies. Anyone?
Not for at least 20 years.

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25th September 2004
Old 25th September 2004
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Re: Ears

Quote:
Originally posted by bloodstone
I'm 43. I recommend getting tested. They also found out that like 3/4" of wax was occluded against my eardrums and cleaned that mess out, too.
Yep, I plan on doing this.

Its highly doubtful that they can resurrect my lost frequencies. The wax clean out sounds interesting. Im sure to have a build up of that stuff.


Did you notice any difference after that process?

Do I need a specialist for this, or will any GP do?
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25th September 2004
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Re: Re: Ears

Quote:
Originally posted by Chrisac
Yep, I plan on doing this.

Its highly doubtful that they can resurrect my lost frequencies. The wax clean out sounds interesting. Im sure to have a build up of that stuff.


Did you notice any difference after that process?

Do I need a specialist for this, or will any GP do?
For insurance reasons, I had to go to a my primary care physician, then referred to an audiologist. GPs can do the cleaning, but it's probably better to get a specialist. After cleaning, I definitely felt I regained some "HF response" in my ears. I recommend an audiologist for the testing and fitting of the musician's earplugs. I wouls get -6DB or -9 inserts. Anything with more attenuation is pretty useless. Good luck. Protect what's left!!!! I sometimes feel unqualified to mix and master due to my hearing issues.
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26th September 2004
Old 26th September 2004
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wicked loud

i have -25db fitted plugs and sometimes feel they are useless... as in NOT QUIET ENOUGH for loud loud stuff. some live shows and playing drums are just still too loud for me.

recording-wise they are pretty cool for checking a bands sound out in the room. they also help isolate myself more when using headphones to find a sweet spot on a cranked cab.
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26th September 2004
Old 26th September 2004
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Re: Re: Re: Dave, what about your ears?

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26th September 2004
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Re: Re: Re: Ears

Quote:
Originally posted by bloodstone
For insurance reasons, I had to go to a my primary care physician, then referred to an audiologist. GPs can do the cleaning, but it's probably better to get a specialist. After cleaning, I definitely felt I regained some "HF response" in my ears. I recommend an audiologist for the testing and fitting of the musician's earplugs. I wouls get -6DB or -9 inserts. Anything with more attenuation is pretty useless. Good luck. Protect what's left!!!! I sometimes feel unqualified to mix and master due to my hearing issues.
Thanks I'll look in to it. After cleaning I would be delighted if I noticed any HF difference.

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27th September 2004
Old 27th September 2004
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Some good replies, I learned something

Last time I had my hearing checked, about 10 years ago the doctor said it was "perfect". I think the reason live bands did not do any damage is I HATE the sound of cymbals. I usually bury (or Mute them!) in my mixes when I can. I always stayed a long way away from the drummer, and even put toilet paper in my ear facing the drums. I think there is a big difference between the damage 120dB of noise can do and 120dB of music. I read where most of the hearing loss tests were from industrial noise, and never music. Supposedly the sine wave (or other periodic waves like square and saw) push and pull your ear drum much like a speaker going in and out in a smooth fashion. Hence the damage is a LOT less than Noise that just vibrates very random and the ear doesn't have time to "rebound". If someone can research this and report back to us, it would be greatly appreciated.

I love to monitor loud, but it isn't very good at telling you much except for what your mix sounds like loud! I like to mix it up. I think I already explained this in another post. Remember I talked about the 3" speaker in the Studer 2track. I use Ausberger dual 15's with TAD components tuned by Bob Hodas. I put them medium loud for judging some levels, and mostly lo end. I use old NS10's at various levels, and also try to listen off axis. My background vocals sometimes seem correct when monitoring in the center, but sound lo when off center, so I turn em up. I NEVER monitor at the same level for more than 20-30 minutes. I think mixing it up shows up the flaws better. Also check out the thread about checking your lo end on little speakers.

There is nothing more satisfying than really blasting a mix when you are done. You don't learn anything, but you feel GOOD hearing it that loud. I keep some lites in the room (hippie type stuff) just for such an occassion.

If I failed to answer all your questions on this subject, please remind me, and I will try again tomorrow.
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27th September 2004
Old 27th September 2004
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Dave, what about your ears?

Quote:
Originally posted by Innominandum
http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,61646,00.html

http://www.tearingpill.com/

Argh, the forum changes "h e h" into that emoticon. It's "t h e h e a r i n g p i l l . c o m"
From the website of the hearing pill:
"The active ingredient in “The Hearing Pill” TM has been demonstrated in laboratory studies, and along with anecodotal evidence suggests, its ability to help protect and restorate damage from acute (near-term) noise induced hearing loss. It has not!!!! been shown to demonstrate those same capabilities for genetic, tinnitus!!!!! or autoimmune disorders."

A major bummer but for a cure against tinitus, we have to wait for recombenant DNA techniques to be found to work and be aproved by the FDA (FDA aproval usually takes 7 years minimum).
The hearingpill is prevention, which is a good thing if it works, which is not tested in the field!
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27th September 2004
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dave, what about your ears?

Quote:
A major bummer but for a cure against tinitus, we have to wait for recombenant DNA techniques to be found to work and be aproved by the FDA (FDA aproval usually takes 7 years minimum). The hearingpill is prevention, which is a good thing if it works, which is not tested in the field!
My tinnitus drives me crazy when I lay in bed at night. Anyway, it's a step in the right direction. It seems it may help with prevention, and it's only 35 bucks a bottle. I guess we'll see when they complete their military trials. They emphasize it as a tool in prevention – but hint it may have therapeutic value (in hearing loss, not tinnitus.) I don't endorse this or anything, just thought you guys might be interested.
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27th September 2004
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>.. of noise can do and 120dB of music. I read where most of the hearing loss tests were from industrial noise, and never music. Supposedly the sine wave (or other periodic waves like square and saw) push and pull your ear drum much like a speaker going in and out in a smooth fashion. Hence the damage is a LOT less than Noise that just vibrates very random and the ear doesn't have time to "rebound".<

@dave,
I think, you are very right to judge the kind of sound that is possibly detrimental to he human ear. Maybe it is not so simple, but from my experience it is much about the perceived musical quality of the sound. A sine alone is not good because it stresses only one cell in the inner ear (in very simplified description).
It must be the harmony in the sound, and a very well-balanced spectrum with no sharp sounding peaks, or face-breaking mids and window-breaking bass. We humans have an instinct for the beauty of sound, even if it is somewhat different with every persion.
Noise is noise and standing alone it does not satisfy our instinct and does no physical good to our ears.
Jazz musicians have the skill to make music even of cymbal crashes, you see.. Jazz fans are not said to have hearing challenges. So I think it is the balance.
If your mixes are good, they will not hurt your ears, so simple.
Seems they are
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27th September 2004
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Dave, what about your ears?

Quote:
Originally posted by gko
From the website of the hearing pill:
"The active ingredient in “The Hearing Pill” TM has been demonstrated in laboratory studies, and along with anecodotal evidence suggests, its ability to help protect and restorate damage from acute (near-term) noise induced hearing loss. It has not!!!! been shown to demonstrate those same capabilities for genetic, tinnitus!!!!! or autoimmune disorders."

A major bummer but for a cure against tinitus, we have to wait for recombenant DNA techniques to be found to work and be aproved by the FDA (FDA aproval usually takes 7 years minimum).
The hearingpill is prevention, which is a good thing if it works, which is not tested in the field!

What about the guy in your avatar?.....wonder what kinda pill's he's on.....
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27th September 2004
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Sine waves (in fact, anything that centers around a small frequency range in the mids and highs) is most damaging because it reaches the ear's receptor cells without interference and full power. In broadband noise all those frequencies come at once, so none is nearly as loud as when being heard seperately.

The ear also seems to be able to "learn" to accept more noise without getting permanent damage by being permanently exposed to moderately loud background noise over a longer period of time: In a recent study in China people living in urban areas proved to have siginificantly better hearing than country population. One explanation seemed to be the city's noise floor making people less vunarable to harmful firework noise on New Year's Eve, a protection the country people did not have.
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29th September 2004
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This is an interesting thread. As a singer I've always hated how loud it was on stage with amps blasting and the drummer smashing away behind me. Early on I decided to go more the singer songwriter route. It's more appropriate for my music anyway, and without thinking I saved my ears for the recording work I'm now involved in. I may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, but I might have something better: a million dollar pair of ears. Now, I just need to learn how to use them. LOL
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29th September 2004
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Gearchick: Custom-fit in-ear monitors have come along ways in the past few years. The biggest improvement has been in the digital consoles, which can do all the required brickwall limiting on multiple mixes without requiring expensive outboard gear. If everbody is on them, you can signifigantly reduce stage volumes making the FoH engineer's job easier. Add a rumbler on the drum throne or attach them under the risers, and even the bottom dwellers will be satisfied (sometimes).

About the brickwall limiting. There is a scene in the movie "The fifth element" when zorg's henchman is eavesdropping using a mic'd robotic fly. Every time I see the headphones fly off the guy when the bug gets smashed with a shoe makes my hair stand on end.
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2nd October 2004
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Paranoic sometimes

I´m so crazy about the SPL stuff that everytime I enter a pub or dance club, I put cotton or anything that may block the shit from my ears.
If I stay too much time mixing without pauses and without lowering the control room mon level, I feel my right ear gets somewhat blocked.
What has really helped me to mix faster and not so loud was to listen prior to mixing session a 1- minute - dat tape with some mix I did that really had that OOOOH factor.
Not the mastered version, which would tend me to mix overbright, but a simple mix sample.
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2nd October 2004
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good stuff

What you are saying makes sense. Instead of sine wave I should have said a periodic wave. I didn't mean a single frequency, necessarily but rather sound that has equal positive and negative periods. But I didn't know a single frequency sine wave was as bad as noise? Good to know.
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2nd October 2004
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ah you mean sound that shows a good symmetry in the wave display?
I didn't think about this before, but seems quite reasonable..
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2nd October 2004
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One very important thing associated with hearing damage is the ''speed of attack" of the sound. The muscles connected to the tiny bones inside your ears can actually tense up and reduce the amount to damaging energy transmitted to your cochlea (nerve). This process of tensing up takes about a second. So loud sounds with sharp attacks like gunshots, explosions, jackhammers, DRUMS, CYMBALS, etc. are particularly damaging to the ears.

So your hatred of cymbals has likely been good for your hearing Dave!

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2nd October 2004
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me too

Funny, I also tend to hate trumpets, heavy cymbals, bells..
LOL
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2nd October 2004
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good stuff

...good info, and I guess genetics is also important. My Dad is 82 and his hearing along with everything else is still amazing. Not just for an 80year old, but for an adult.
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5th October 2004
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I lost the link, but I had read an article about the military testing a common mineral or amino acid (can't remember what it was, I'll try to find it) That worked well in preventing hearing damage from artillary, explosions ect. I'll post a link a link as soon as I find it. It was very interesting.

Cheers,
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5th October 2004
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Re: Paranoic sometimes

Quote:
Originally posted by Alécio Costa
I´m so crazy about the SPL stuff that everytime I enter a pub or dance club, I put cotton or anything that may block the shit from my ears.
I like to have a few pairs of Etymotic ER-20s stashed in spots where they're likely to be handy if I need them (jacket pocket, in the car, in the bag I usually carry around the city). Pretty solid reduction in loudness and pretty evenly attenuated, and not so expensive that I can't keep those few pairs in my "just in case" spots.

Peece,
T. Tauri
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5th October 2004
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Doh! The article I read was about The Hearing Pill. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), was the amino acid used. Commonly available at health food stores.

B
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7th October 2004
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Re: good stuff

Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Pensado
...good info, and I guess genetics is also important. My Dad is 82 and his hearing along with everything else is still amazing. Not just for an 80year old, but for an adult.
That's the thing, some people genetically have hardy hearing while others will start to lose it early on, even if they lived on a deserted Island all their life.

I believe that some of your hearing potential (good/bad) is passed on from your parents.

And now for a general question: Anyone know if low bass signals (at high db's) are worse than mid-high range high db levels? This might be a tricky question as the low bass db readings are quite different depending on whether you 'A' or 'C' weight it (etc.).

It just seems to me that since are ears (hearing?) are less sensitive at the low end, we can crank it pretty high db wise (hello nation of sub-woofers out there) in the low end w/o
apparent pain in our ears, but the db meter says "DANGER"!

OTOH we can't seem to handle the piercing mid-range (1-3k, etc.) sounds at even 1/2 or less of the low bass db's.

Which is more damaging?
??

Fleaman
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