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Hearing loss with headphones?
Old 9th June 2008
  #1
Gear Nut
 
shilshoolon's Avatar
 

Hearing loss with headphones?

Hi there, I was wondering how you guys protect your ears when working with headphones for long hours. I find that from time to time I get peaks and other loud sounds which would potentially damage my hearing if haven't already. How would you guys protect your ears in this case? Should I put a limiter on the master just incase or would that make peaks distort and cause and even bigger damage?

I've been trying to work with the lowest levels and with the best headphones i could find but I have found myself falling a sleep and waking up with a ringing in my ears from the long hours of working with headphones. It was suggested here on the forum to mute the loud parts when ever possible which is a great advise!!

Thanks,

Shil
Old 10th June 2008
  #2
Gear Addict
 
Dean7's Avatar
 

Well, I have done some research on this in the past and basically found that yes, headphones pose more of a risk than regular speakers/monitors. I believe the best kind of headphones for your ears are circumaural (which most studio headphones are). The thinking there is that they block out more ambient noise which will allow you to keep the volume a bit lower.

This might be of interest to you:

HeadWize - Article: Preventing Hearing Damage When Listening With Headphones (A HeadWize Headphone Guide)

Also, this is a tad off-topic but somewhat related:

More headphone use leading to hearing loss - More health news - MSNBC.com

Anyway, good luck trying to find a system/protocol that works for you! I struggle with this stuff a lot myself, because I love playing loud (I keep my AC30 cranked all the way up pretty much all the time when I jam), but I don't want to completely hose my ears. For that problem I'm going to get some custom-molded ear protection (you can attenuate the signal without cutting any frequencies).

-Dean
Old 10th June 2008
  #3
Gear Nut
 
shilshoolon's Avatar
 

Thanks Dean
Old 10th June 2008
  #4
Lives for gear
 
danijel's Avatar
Why do you have to use headphones so much? From your previous posts, I'd say you're doing sound post, so I just wanted to check if you are aware you don't have to use headphones at all.
If your budget is what's keeping you from getting decent speakers, I suggest you get a pair of non-decent ones (20-100$), and then switch back and forth between them and the headphones, spending the majority of time on the speakers. Not only will you save your ears, but you'll get better mixes - judging levels using headphones is just guessing.
I had to be headphones-only for two years when I started out - man how it hurt! That was in a multimedia studio, with other people in the room, so speakers were out of question.
Old 10th June 2008
  #5
Gear Nut
 
shilshoolon's Avatar
 

Hi Danijel,

I also have to work in a room with others and when I come back home it's really late and my boyfrind is already snoring in bed.
Old 10th June 2008
  #6
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danijel's Avatar
Then it's a no-win - I went mad with headphones.... I feel sorry for you even more now that I know you're a girl (sorry, I have two daughters, so I can't help it).

Have you seen this program:
Workrave (for win/linux)
or this one:
AntiRSI - TECH.inhelsinki.nl (for mac)

They can schedule regular breaks for you. They're both anti-RSI, but they could save your ears as well. I'd try making a 20 second break every 5 minutes, and then 5 minute breaks every 45 minutes. I know you're not listening to the sound all the time (there are times when you edit visually etc), but getting headphones off the head often could help too (for the ear-shell to get rest).
Might save your back and wrists as well
Old 10th June 2008
  #7
Gear Addict
 
Dean7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
Then it's a no-win - I went mad with headphones.... I feel sorry for you even more now that I know you're a girl (sorry, I have two daughters, so I can't help it).

Have you seen this program:
Workrave (for win/linux)
or this one:
AntiRSI - TECH.inhelsinki.nl (for mac)

They can schedule regular breaks for you. They're both anti-RSI, but they could save your ears as well. I'd try making a 20 second break every 5 minutes, and then 5 minute breaks every 45 minutes. I know you're not listening to the sound all the time (there are times when you edit visually etc), but getting headphones off the head often could help too (for the ear-shell to get rest).
Might save your back and wrists as well
Good call. I'm not sure if ears are the same (I'd imagine they are), but I know with your vision it's a good idea to take a break from staring at your computer screen every 30 minutes or so and look out a window and focus on something that's far away. So, for your vision's sake it's a good idea to take breaks (I imagine you're staring at a computer screen), and it might help with the hearing as well!

-Dean
Old 10th June 2008
  #8
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Geert van den Berg's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shilshoolon View Post

I also have to work in a room with others
Is this unavoidable? Are there no other places in the building to make a small setup with speakers?
Old 10th June 2008
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean7 View Post
Well, I have done some research on this in the past and basically found that yes, headphones pose more of a risk than regular speakers/monitors. I believe the best kind of headphones for your ears are circumaural (which most studio headphones are). The thinking there is that they block out more ambient noise which will allow you to keep the volume a bit lower.

This might be of interest to you:

HeadWize - Article: Preventing Hearing Damage When Listening With Headphones (A HeadWize Headphone Guide)



-Dean
Great article. Can never have enough info on protecting you ears.
Old 10th June 2008
  #10
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peeder's Avatar
 

A frequent contributor to gearslutz (no not me) lost 100% in one ear and 75% in the other from mixing with headphones for a year.

Don't do it. tutt
Old 10th June 2008
  #11
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danijel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
A frequent contributor to gearslutz (no not me) lost 100% in one ear and 75% in the other from mixing with headphones for a year.

Don't do it. tutt
Peeder, if you can provide a link to a thread where he described his loss, maybe shilshoolon can point her employers to it, so they consider getting her a separate room?
Old 10th June 2008
  #12
Gear Addict
 
Dean7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
A frequent contributor to gearslutz (no not me) lost 100% in one ear and 75% in the other from mixing with headphones for a year.

Don't do it. tutt
Eek! After a single year? Are you serious???

-Dean
Old 11th June 2008
  #13
Lives for gear
 
starcrash13's Avatar
Even in large post facilities like the one where I work, editors frequently have to share rooms and, therefore, use headphones. It's a bummer, but it's reality. I've had major ringing in my ears from cutting loud, metallic sounds or explosions with headphones.
Old 11th June 2008
  #14
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Hearing these stories scares me. A lot of time I watch DVD movies with headphones on. I watched the Kite Runner with headphones on today. They didn't offer a 2.0 mix only 5.1 and it was super low volume. I had to turn the volume knob up extremely higher than I usually do even for movies. Since I'm on my computer I was really scared a non movie computer update sound or something else would come on and blow my eardrums to smithereens. That's kind of scary stuff. I guess I should use these headphones less, only for checking and cross referencing.
Old 11th June 2008
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Hearing these stories scares me. A lot of time I watch DVD movies with headphones on. I watched the Kite Runner with headphones on today. They didn't offer a 2.0 mix only 5.1 and it was super low volume. I had to turn the volume knob up extremely higher than I usually do even for movies. Since I'm on my computer I was really scared a non movie computer update sound or something else would come on and blow my eardrums to smithereens. That's kind of scary stuff. I guess I should use these headphones less, only for checking and cross referencing.
I felt the same way. I turned off all system sounds for this exact reason. What do I need the trash can empty noise for anyways? lol
Old 11th June 2008
  #16
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Chaellus's Avatar
good post ive been using headphones for years and i mean at least 6 or more.. at my personal studio and i find them to be better than speakers in the $1000 dolloar range...the one thing i can be sure is that my mix is great sonically especially the small details.. but for levels i would always check that on fullrange speakers that i have...the only dont that i find with excellent headhpones are the levels but others i find them good when you dont have great speakers or bad acoustic envirnments....but i agree with you on the damge to your ears are more easilly prone in headphones than speakrs... thats why i have a volume knob on mine.. on both L and R channels which comes handy....so if you could afford good quality montors in or above $2000 range id get some.. i dunno thats me.. my ideal setup would be one pair of nearfiels one pair of fullrange speakers and one pair of auratone cube speakers ...
Old 11th June 2008
  #17
Gear Nut
 
shilshoolon's Avatar
 

Thanks everyone, the links and your opinion are really helpful I've taken a few days off now to recover, do nothing and try to get rid of my ear ringing. I have been cutting explosions lately and this is probably where the ringing started. I wish I could have my own room but it's not possible at the moment :-(

Thanks,

Shil
Old 11th June 2008
  #18
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peeder's Avatar
 

Get it documented that your employer is refusing to provide you a safe working environment. There's no end to where you can take this. Their insurance company will probably threaten to withdraw coverage if they are notified. etc.
Old 15th June 2008
  #19
Gear Head
 
Russ (Al) Prat's Avatar
 

I am nearly deaf in the speech range from working as a dialog editor with phones for five years. Avoid using phones for long periods, you will pay dearly, believe me. RAP
Old 15th June 2008
  #20
Gear Addict
 
Lipflap's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ (Al) Prat View Post
I am nearly deaf in the speech range from working as a dialog editor with phones for five years. Avoid using phones for long periods, you will pay dearly, believe me. RAP
I never work on headphones (I'm lucky) and I monitor at robust but somewhat sensible levels, but since I'm over 50 and have a family history of male hearing loss, I'm slowly losing my mid-highs. I can still cheat a hearing test to claim that I have no impairment (they usually test in octaves, so it's comparatively easy to guess the next tone), but it's harder to distinguish voices in a loud environment.

Take care of your ears; make them last as long as you can. But don't be too pissed off if the hearing gods decide to make you work harder as you get older.
Old 22nd July 2008
  #21
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danijel's Avatar
Shil, how's your ear ringing thing?
Old 22nd July 2008
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Some field mixers and recorders (Sound Devices, for instance) do have limiters built into their headphone amps, which are very helpful. They also automatically attenuate the 1k test tone to a low level when it is engaged. Still, trying to keep the levels low is a good idea, and I frequently shut off the headphone feed while still wearing the cans during a production day just to have a little break and allow my ears to relax for a second. Another truth is that if you are listening for a living, then you should be very careful about loud "recreational" listening on your own sound system or at concerts and clubs.

Philip Perkins
Old 23rd July 2008
  #23
Gear Nut
 
shilshoolon's Avatar
 

Hey thanks everyone for your help and concern

danijel i think my ears are a little bit better now. I'm trying to work with very low levels at the moment. I'm really scared to get me y ears checked but i guess i'm going to have to do it at some point.

Thank you so much,

Shil
Old 11th August 2008
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Hi! so sorry to hear your employers are making you wear headphones...I actually left a very nicely paid job once because I began to experience frequent ringing in my ears after editing dialogue on headphones. No job is worth my ears I figured.

Anyway, here are some suggestions. Try a pair of nice headphones from this company: Ultrasone
They are really great and use an interesting bit of engineering to sound more natural and supposedly provide a "safer" hearing experience.

Also, consider taking vitamin C on a daily basis, it has been shown in studies with mice to reduce the amount of damage caused by loud noises. Zinc and Ginko biloba have also been shown to help. Here are a few links.

It's Having Your Hearing Checked Regularly

Stop hearing loss - Ask the experts: answers to your questions from the leaders in natural medicine | Natural Health | Find Articles at BNET

Good luck, and really, don't let any job destroy you. It's better to look for new work than suffer under an oppressive company's rules.
Old 11th August 2008
  #25
I'm a studio engineer who ends up also doing location sound quite a bit. I was on my way to damaging my hearing, despite careful headphone use, until I got myself a set of Ultrasones. The way the Ultrasones work is they fire the sound from the bottom of the earcup into your ear lobe (similar to how you hear sound without headphones on), instead of firing it down your ear canal A.K.A. a pair of Sony's. For some reason you perceive sounds as being 20% louder through a set of Ultrasones as you do through a set of conventional headphones, allowing you to turn it down.

It works, I was getting very fatigued using Sony's, now I can record 8 hours of interviews in the field and not notice any ringing or ear fatigue when I get home.

Now, if my wife would just stop mumbling and use proper diction!

Oh yeah, I wear molded earplugs religiously other times, and never mix above 85db A weighted.
Old 19th August 2008
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Berolzheimer's Avatar
 

If I'm cutting raw (unmixed) material I pretty much always put a brick wall limiter in front of my monitor output to protect my ears, whether Im working on cans or speakers.
Old 19th August 2008
  #27
Here for the gear
 

Ultrasone has terrible service

Ultrasone Germany recently came in and replaced the US distributor, who had done a great job launching this solo product and who had terrific service. I guess they decided they could cash in and make more profit if they went direct.

Anyway, several stores no longer carry the product (Sweetwater has dropped the line) and I can't seem to get a straight answer on service for my $400 pair of headphones.

Be careful when buying from them now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edit machine View Post
Hi! so sorry to hear your employers are making you wear headphones...I actually left a very nicely paid job once because I began to experience frequent ringing in my ears after editing dialogue on headphones. No job is worth my ears I figured.

Anyway, here are some suggestions. Try a pair of nice headphones from this company: Ultrasone
They are really great and use an interesting bit of engineering to sound more natural and supposedly provide a "safer" hearing experience.

Also, consider taking vitamin C on a daily basis, it has been shown in studies with mice to reduce the amount of damage caused by loud noises. Zinc and Ginko biloba have also been shown to help. Here are a few links.

It's Having Your Hearing Checked Regularly

Stop hearing loss - Ask the experts: answers to your questions from the leaders in natural medicine | Natural Health | Find Articles at BNET

Good luck, and really, don't let any job destroy you. It's better to look for new work than suffer under an oppressive company's rules.
Old 23rd January 2014
  #28
I've often wondered about the effect that placing magnets (in headphones) close to the head/brain might have on health and mental functioning. I hope the manufacturers are doing due diligence & funding proper research.
Old 24th January 2014
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
Jussi's Avatar
 

Limiter! I would never edit anything on headphones without a limiter that is set properly. Editing loud transients on phones sounds so different anyway to how it will sound on stage so limiting them doesn't really matter. You're compromised anyway having to work on cans, so why compromise your hearing also?

I actually prefer editing dials and backgrounds on cans, but dislike cutting sfx because of the peaky nature of many sfx.
Old 24th January 2014
  #30
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nzl62 View Post
Really, I had no idea.....
Reported as spam... (Not you, the post your responded to ).

Alistair
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