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Too much freq loss at early 30
Old 24th October 2019
  #1
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Too much freq loss at early 30

Hi,

Im thinking of stopping producing. Im in the early 30s and my ears are broken it seems. Did test them 2yrs ago at a specialist. 12,5khz on one ear, then hard fall, 14,5khz on the other one. Now tested at home on studio monitors it got even worse. 12 and 13,7khz on normal volume.
Doctors didnt care as this is not affecting the speech. They dont care about highs, even the specialists.

Im so driving crazy with knowing that my hearing is worse than a lot of old aged persons (reading from 50-60yo olds with 15khz or at least 12,5khz)

Im wearing earplugs outside, in car, everywhere where could be some noise but it doesnt help as it seems...Maybe driving car 9hours a day is too much? Is speaking with ear plug affecting the fibre hairs?

Im more than sad as Im doing music more than 3/4 of my whole life but cant live with the thought to be hearing impaired after the next 10 yrs. I need to hear the highs :(

Is anybody in a situation like this and handles it?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
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pre55ure's Avatar
 

A couple things to think about.

Our hearing varies on a day to day basis, I have tested myself on consecutive days and with stable hearing, I have had variations of 6+ db in certain frequencies. I get all worried and then do the test the next day and everything is back where it was.

If your hearing is truly getting worse and there is no reason for it - then you should see a doctor.
It is hard to find ones that are concerned about frequencies above 12k (or even 8k) but if you can show that your audiogram has actually gotten worse, they will pay attention.

Buy a sound level meter. Check all of the environments you are normally in. Anything over 85db can cause hearing loss if exposed long enough.

Assuming there isn't anything else wrong and your hearing isn't deteriorating, there are lots of professional producers and mix engineers that likely can't hear much above 10k.

Lastly - there are at least 3 different medicines that are currently engaged in clinical trials that are aim to restore hearing. It's very likely that there will be some type of medical solution within the next 5 to 10 years.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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It even got worse than I thought!

New hearing test: left ear has lost nearly everything over 8k and also falls down to -25db at 8k

Right ear lost a lot too, 10k is end of normal hearing

Doctors dont care, its normal for some persons. Maybe its city life, maybe genetics, maybe age...so it seems my producer career is shortly before its end with early 30s
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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act01's Avatar
Did they actually test your hearing above 8k and how far down was it? I recently had a test with an audiologist who specializes in musicians and engineers - my hearing is fine and I'm down -25dBHL in one ear at 8k and like -50dBHL down above 10k in both. The audiologist wasn't concerned at all - said some of that is natural from age, noise exposure, being a musician, etc.

The part that I didn't understand before is that dBHL (hearing level) is NOT the same as a dBA measurement (like you would get from an SPL meter). And the ears don't function like an EQ curve. I was confused thinking that 25dB loss at 8k meant that I had a huge notch at 8k and needed to be compensating in a mix. But that's not how an audiogram works. It's showing the threshold (in dbHL) at which you can't hear a frequency anymore. As long as you're listening at a safe listening level (ie not too loud and causing damage) all the frequencies will be there. But, if you're mixing classical music at a very quiet point in the piece, then you may lose 8k or 10k or whatever. But unless you're de-essing vocals at a super low level it's never going to matter.

The thing about wearing earplugs all day - we can have 8 hours of exposure at 85dB without hearing damage, which is actually fairly loud. Unless you live next to a subway or listening to music insanely loud in your car it's useless to wear earplugs all day. The culprit to further hearing damage is going to be loud noise exposure. The best thing you can do is work in a calibrated studio, don't go above 85dB (or mix even lower, if you're comfortable), get a dB app for your phone so you can check when it's above 85dB then wear earplugs if it is.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Yes, they tested up to 20khz. After 10khz my right is going down to -50db and more. Left there is nothing to hear at 10khz.

2years ago it looked much much better and I was just driving car the whole day in this time. With earplugs! No extreme loud situation or exposure over 85db over 8hrs.

I was told by another audiologist that ears get damaged already by levels of over 65db for more than 2hrs a day. Also he mentioned that the problem while driving is not the loudness, its the constant noise. Long time drivers one of the risk groups for hearing loss.

I dont know what else I can do. Wearing ear plugs didnt stop the loss. Its not a normal loss in 2 years, I nearly lost a range of 4khz on the left ear.

Quitting the job is not possible currently.

Music Im doing at very low volume.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Addict
 
FlyingMusician's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onboard View Post
2years ago it looked much much better and I was just driving car the whole day in this time. With earplugs! No extreme loud situation or exposure over 85db over 8hrs.

I was told by another audiologist that ears get damaged already by levels of over 65db for more than 2hrs a day. Also he mentioned that the problem while driving is not the loudness, its the constant noise. Long time drivers one of the risk groups for hearing loss.

I dont know what else I can do. Wearing ear plugs didnt stop the loss. Its not a normal loss in 2 years, I nearly lost a range of 4khz on the left ear.

Quitting the job is not possible currently.

Music Im doing at very low volume.
The driving might be ruining your hearing. Long sustained noise ages our hearing more than short loud spirts, your ears need frequent rest periods. Furthermore when you are tired is the worst time to be exposed to sound. When I fly I use both ear plugs and a noise cancelling headset and it makes a huge difference, but not sure if this is legal in a car.

Here is a link to some ear supplements:
https://www.amazon.com/Mason-Natural...516092&sr=8-11

These typically get bad reviews because people get these and hope for a miracle. These are primarily vitamins and suppliments and are supposed to help over a longer period by increasing circulation in the inner ear. If they do any of this, that will help to slow (not stop) hearing loss over time.

I also wanted to share some hope for you that there has been a great advancement in hearing restoration where they have a medication that grows back the stereocilia (little hair like nerves) from sleeper cells that exist. It has worked on lab animals and human trials have been underway in the UK for the past year. What this means is there is hope that hearing loss will eventually be restorable.

In the meantime you can certainly be a world class engineer even if your hearing stops at 8k. 99% of what makes someone a good engineer / producer is not frequency range but how we interpret the sounds.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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act01's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onboard View Post

I was told by another audiologist that ears get damaged already by levels of over 65db for more than 2hrs a day.
This is 100% incorrect. OSHA (who sets regulations in the US for noise exposure on the job) says:

"OSHA requires employers to implement a hearing conservation program when noise exposure is at or above 85 decibels averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA)."
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/

95 dB has a limit of 4 hour exposure (and that's the level of shouted conversation):
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/la...fety-noise.pdf

100 dB is 15 minutes exposure.

The inside of a car at 60 mph is still 70 dB, which would mean you're safe for well over 8 hours. Unless you're driving an ATV or motorcycle for work, but even then you're in the 90-100 dB range which is NOT a two hour limitation.
https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/P...px?hwid=tf4173

I'm not saying don't wear earplugs - but I would get a dB meter (even if it's on a mobile device) and get a reading of how loud it is. Then figure out how long you can be exposed to the noise. Wearing earplugs while driving sounds like potential safety hazard.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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FlyingMusician's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aprilt View Post
This is 100% incorrect. OSHA (who sets regulations in the US for noise exposure on the job) says...
I would question exactly how OSHA came to their findings and give the benefit of the doubt to the professional who gives the most conservative estimates. Just because you can't measure something from a test does not mean what you are trying to measure isn't true. It's very difficult to impossible to conclusively determine exactly what damages the cilia (hairs in our ears) in our ears over time.

It's important to think about who the human being truly is from our evolution. It's only extremely recent history that we have been exposed to any sort of loud man made sounds. So think about, for example, the noise you are exposed to on a camping trip in the wilderness for a week. That is the human condition for hundreds of thousands of years. Our ears are ultra sensitive instruments never meant to be exposed to any loud noise for any duration. That camping trip that our ears evolved for is a totally different environment to anything any of us are exposed to today with electronics.

Another fact we know is, people lose hearing with age. Everyone does. However, I have a close friend who has been extremely careful with his hearing since we were kids. He always cared for his ears by limiting his exposure to loud sustained sound. He's now 53 and can hear above 18k. He has broken all norms that we have been told about hearing loss.

As a 53 year old myself who can hear no higher than 13k now but gut says the 65db / 2hr rule is true. That means driving on the highway for 2 hrs in most cars would cause a very slight permanent wear and tear on those very small cilia that are out front (the high frequency small hairs receive sound first).

When I'm in my family room next to the kitchen and the dishwasher is running for an hour, it irritates my hearing. I think for anyone interested in protecting whatever they have left, we all need to take a VERY safe approach to protecting our hearing. I certainly wouldn't bet my hearing on an OSHA test that I don't know the details of and also am not sure such a test is even possible. So ultimately for this, as musicians, we have to each go by our gut instincts. And my instincts use the camping trip as the baseline for what is truly acceptable sound levels.

It would be very interesting to go to some of the most primitive cultures in the world today and perform a hearing test on the older generations. This would be very interesting.
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