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What does ear fatigue feel like?
Old 11th May 2010
  #31
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rhythmtech's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by otobianki74 View Post
when I come home late at night and the wife is talking but her words dart right through me....
i must be suffering with it 24/7

heh
Old 26th February 2013
  #32
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I had some ringing in my ear until I went to sleep. I was noodlin around for about 10 hours at low volume. Lesson learned....I think that might have been more than ear fatigue.
Old 26th February 2013
  #33
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graphs's Avatar
10 hours is a pretty long stretch!

I know this thread is old, but Robo's description was the one that resonated with me the most. My ears have always been sensitive but they get fatigued really quickly these days. I maybe have an hour or two at moderately low volume before I need a long break. Even the sound of my friggin laptop fan starts bugging me after a while!
Old 27th February 2013
  #34
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Ooh, it was more like 12. People read about ear fatigue but dont exactly know what it is. Including myself. It seems people have different reactions. I think my reaction is a ringing sound.

I need to go into one of those anechoic chambers or whatever there called. That would be different, strange to hear your heart beat like that. The silence...
Old 27th February 2013
  #35
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graphs's Avatar
I actually get a sort of whooshing sound in my left ear sometimes. Sometimes I get it from nothing at all but sound exposure can def trigger it. I've had my ears tested fairly recently and my hearing actually pretty good for my age. I think the sound and sensitivity to mids is from a build up of scar tissue on my ear drum. I had a bunch of bad ear infections when I was a kid and they put those "tubes" in my ears that didn't come out when they were supposed to so I had to have them removed and it effed **** up in there pretty good.

Sometimes I think it's maybe a blessing in disguise because I would certainly rock out much louder if it didn't hurt and tire my hearing so quickly... would've probably done much more damage than I have.
Old 27th February 2013
  #36
Im 25 and for years I was religious about having high SPL systems in my car, haven't had one in a couple years, but I have an eerie feeling that was a contributor to my ears being so "sensitive" and easily fatigued at only 25 yrs of age, but usually I mix somewhere between "mid-low" volume and after about an hour I try to take a break, then ill mix for about 15 mins on high volume just to "sound check" my mix at higher volumes, but personally my ear fatigue feel like pressure in my ears that makes me "pop them" you know when you change elevations and you open your mouth to relieve the pressure? Its like that, almost to the point my ears "reject sound" and make my face cringe....that's my personal feel on ear fatigue ...

CL

Sent from my SGH-T959
Old 3rd March 2013
  #37
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Lately, I have been trying to get as much peace and quiet as I can. My hearing feels good. If im not working on music I try to limit the noise.

Weird, that people react differently.
Old 3rd March 2013
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 ton splash View Post
Ooh, it was more like 12. People read about ear fatigue but dont exactly know what it is. Including myself. It seems people have different reactions. I think my reaction is a ringing sound.
a 'ringing sound' is tinnitus and it is far more serious than simple ear fatigue
Old 3rd March 2013
  #39
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Makes sense, I got that feeling last time. That it was serious. I learned it just isnt the volume but the duration also.

Joeq, what are the symptoms you look for?
Old 4th March 2013
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 ton splash View Post
Makes sense, I got that feeling last time. That it was serious. I learned it just isnt the volume but the duration also.

Joeq, what are the symptoms you look for?
the main symptom is the ringing.

tinnitus is from the latin word for "bell"


Quote:
Symptoms
By Mayo Clinic staff

Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears:

* Ringing
* Buzzing
* Roaring
* Clicking
* Hissing

The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.
Many first-person tinnitus stories start out with someone getting a ringing in their ears after exposure to loud sounds - and it going away after a few hours or a day or so.

Then one day, the person gets the ringing and it doesn't go away. Ever.

You will not know ahead of time when that day will come, but for some people it can happen in a single event. There seems to be no correlation between the person's general "strength" and "health" and the susceptibility of their inner ear to this kind of damage.

Most of the people I know who play music seriously own a set of musicians' earplugs and use them in any high-volume situation.
Old 4th March 2013
  #41
Gear Head
 

I dont understand how some claim that ear fatigue makes you turn up the high-end while mixing/producing. To me it is exactly the opposite - annoyance of any music that has more high frequencies.

Listening to Rock/Metal or Electronic music feels like razors scraping my ears which is a shame since I produce mainly electronic stuff and I need to take breaks very often :c.

Otherwise I get the usual tinnitus for a few hours, but sounds more like a hiss similar to white noise, than ringing.
Old 4th March 2013
  #42
Gear Maniac
 

... you start to frown

--- you feel some pressure growing in your temples

__ __ you make a 2nd mistake that is worse than the first and have to do some fixes

====== you're getting crankier

************* start thinking about somewhere you'd rather be ....... and turn up the level .......


too late!!
Old 4th March 2013
  #43
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyuben View Post
I dont understand how some claim that ear fatigue makes you turn up the high-end while mixing/producing.
I find it makes me want to turn up the volume, not one particular frequency band.

Usually if I come back in the morning to pick up "right where I left off", I am a bit shocked at the volume I have the monitor speakers set to the night before.
Old 4th March 2013
  #44
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Scary ish.... be proactive! Thanks to gs for all the informative posts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
the main symptom is the ringing.

tinnitus is from the latin word for "bell"




Many first-person tinnitus stories start out with someone getting a ringing in their ears after exposure to loud sounds - and it going away after a few hours or a day or so.

Then one day, the person gets the ringing and it doesn't go away. Ever.

You will not know ahead of time when that day will come, but for some people it can happen in a single event. There seems to be no correlation between the person's general "strength" and "health" and the susceptibility of their inner ear to this kind of damage.

Most of the people I know who play music seriously own a set of musicians' earplugs and use them in any high-volume situation.
Old 5th March 2013
  #45
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
I find it makes me want to turn up the volume, not one particular frequency band.

Usually if I come back in the morning to pick up "right where I left off", I am a bit shocked at the volume I have the monitor speakers set to the night before.
Then I guess it is different for each person.

In my case when I feel that my hearing gets tired, any sound except low freqencies really irritates me and makes me turn down the volume or at best - completely shut it off.
Old 5th March 2013
  #46
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It's when that mix you worked on all day until it sounded amazing sounds like crap the day after.
Old 5th March 2013
  #47
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JAZJETSON's Avatar
 

i thought it was when you think you have everything perfect then you want to just run through it one last time than 3 hours later your mix sucks worse than when you first recorded.
Old 5th March 2013
  #48
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Melodic Wave's Avatar
Yeppy

Quote:
Originally Posted by los marbles View Post
For me it almost feels like I have my hands cupped over my ears as I'm listening.

Exactly, I feel like my headphones are crushing my head, even when I take them off to listen to the monitors. And that freaking ringing when I go to bed lol
Old 5th March 2013
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robo View Post
Well, to me ear fatigue just feels like your ears are annoyed by all sound, they want a rest from listening, and the natural compression of the ear can feel like it's in spasm / in a panic or over-reacting in some way.

This 'annoyance' results in not being able to concentrate on specific parts of the music - parts gel into each other and become indistinct, EQ is hard to judge (as said before), as are other subtleties.

You should know when you have it - you'll just realise you can't make mix or EQ decisions easily, and if it's really bad you'll just want to turn off the monitors and listen to some silence before it turns into a headache.

Similar idea to when you're trying to stay awake and you force your eyes to stay open even though they are trying to close. You're forcing your ears to listen when they don't want to, or aren't able to properly. I think the ears are probably trying to reject the sound in some way, which is why you can't concentrate on sounds very well.

Cheers
Robo
This.
Old 6th March 2013
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melodic Wave View Post
Exactly, I feel like my headphones are crushing my head, even when I take them off to listen to the monitors. And that freaking ringing when I go to bed lol
FWIW, it takes a LOT longer for my ears to get fatigued working on speakers than working on headphones.
Old 6th March 2013
  #51
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
FWIW, it takes a LOT longer for my ears to get fatigued working on speakers than working on headphones.
Agreed, after I finish tracking my vocals (45 mins give or take) I usually step back and step outside and enjoy the calm quiet neighborhood, but the few times I've convinced myself to do a "rough mix" for about 15 minutes immediately after tracking I can definitely tell my ears are fatigued, weak feeling would be a better description, they make that "piping noise" similar to when you switch elevations while drinkin and open your mouth wide to pop your ears....almost like my ear drums are wincing and trying to curl up into the fetal position ...

Sent from my SGH-T959
Old 6th March 2013
  #52
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Usually when my wife barges into my studio at midnight and complains that I never came inside to watch some romcom ive been mixing too long.
Old 2nd August 2016
  #53
Gear Maniac
I experience listening fatigue first in the stereo image, as if it's unstable and shifting; at worst, it has that sound as if one channel is out of phase. So once I start having serious trouble making stereo imaging/panning/balance decisions, it's time for a break.
Old 3rd August 2016
  #54
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aclarson View Post
Ear fatigue = brain fatigue
Yeah. Big part of it.

-

Ear fatigue .. when I've been exploring options for too long (composing/mixing), I get this numb strange feeling in my mind. Kindof what I feel like when I've a few strong drinks, but without the feelgood factor. You exist my more inside your head, kindof, as opposed to feeling like a part of everything around you, sober.

It doesn't make anything sound different, not in the moment. It's when you pop on one of your reference tracks, that you know very very well, and notice that it sounds very unexpected. That's how you can notice it, soundwise. But usually you feel it, long before you notice it soundwise.

It's basically real-world depravacion and being physically inactive for hours, along with feeding noise into the ears. Once that feeling gets a hold, it can take a few hours to freshen up and get back to real again. Sometimes I have to make the decision to not do any more work that day.

Whenever I feel that, or know that I'm heading into it, I always make sure to not make definitive decisions while in that zone. If deadline is looming and I got alot of work, I do the practical editing work and .. all that stuff which needs no delicate color/emotional judgement.

Around new years this year, I got a hint of tinnitus, due to abusing myself like this. Got pretty scared. Lots of work, impatient people and painting myself in a corner a bit and had no intention to back down still. The tinnitus set in like a 15kHz noise in my head, and stayed with me for a 2-3 weeks.

Looking back on it, listening on very low volumes and being physically/socially active and not digging myself down into such deep long holes, seems to have been what made the noise go away.

I've learned from people with chronic hearing disorders, like tinnitus, that it gets alot worse when they drink alcohol, or alot of coffee, or are sleep-deprived or physically inactive listening for a long time. It felt exactly like that for me. Though people are different ..
Old 31st May 2018
  #55
4bp
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I believe the audio related damage can actually come from both high pressures and high slew rate signal (I'm not sure but intuitively I think that lower volume may actually enable higher slew rate but I think this is highly dependent on the speaker design and frequency involved).

The logic is that the highest possible slew rate is like if you have two states of signal "on" and "off" or 1 and 0. Then the pressure analogous to a voltage difference. (the slew rate being conceptually related to Attack in ADSR envelope).

So if you have audio signal and reproduction system that combines to output very digital-like output at high rate, my theory is that in some frequency areas, the hair follicles or some other part in the ear just can't handle this and volume or pressure has nothing to do with it.

I base this on observations made after taking a mono c64 SID song, adding some reverb and stereo effects and bunch of EQ to make it sound more dynamic and 'realistic'**. The result is very impressive but with one downside I haven't figured out : just 10 minutes of listening to the mixes, at half the normal (perceived) volume, my ears start to feel fatigued and even sort of tingly.

The initial mix of the tracks was a day long session (oops) and I had to stop once I couldn't notice small EQ adjustments any longer. I sort of also paniced a bit and couldn't feel any emotion from listening to music for next ~year. I'm not sure I've fully recovered from this but I do enjoy music again, just I'm quite certain that I don't enjoy it to the same degree. (I used to wonder why people use drugs when I can get 'high' just from some nicely mastered and otherwise great tracks, can't get those 'highs' any more. You could say there were some 'magic' frequency combinations that tickled my pleasure center... I was quite deppressed for a while after)

Now of course these sort of issues probably have come about due to more linear reproduction of sound cards combined with music that has got increasing levels of high frequency content.

While HF sine waves sound annoying, pulse like sounds have harmonics that extend to higher and higher frequencies (atleast to my understanding). So in addition to the "slew rate theory" presented above, the alternative theory is that perhaps as there's a lot of harmonics, the probability of some harmonic ending up being at particularly problematic frequency (in terms of ear fatigue or damage) is higher. eg. if you have 5 khz sine and 5 khz pulse, then somehow kept the harmonics from the pulse while modifying the 5 khz base into a sinewave, if this theory is right, the sine wave would not induce fatigue, but the harmonics would.

** attempting to attach this, don't listen more than a minute, you've been warned! (though perhaps if you add LPF to roll the top then it's fine IDK)

edit: For some reason attachments don't go through. Perhaps because I have only 1 post IDK.

Last edited by 4bp; 31st May 2018 at 10:47 PM.. Reason: note about attach fail
Old 1st June 2018
  #56
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
For me, ear fatigue is when everything I do sounds a different kind of worse.
Old 1st June 2018
  #57
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thismercifulfate's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
For me, ear fatigue is when everything I do sounds a different kind of worse.
Hear hear!
Old 1st June 2018
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4bp View Post
I believe the audio related damage can actually come from both high pressures and high slew rate signal (I'm not sure..
it's fun to make up your own "science", isn't it?
Quote:
... just 10 minutes of listening to the mixes, at half the normal (perceived) volume, my ears start to feel fatigued and even sort of tingly.
In order to have a basis for proposing a 'biological' or 'physics' theory of why this happens, you would need to show that everyone has this same reaction to this stimuli. We have already seen in the thread considerable divergence on what the sources of "fatigue" are for different individuals. As well as divergence in the symptoms.

Quote:
... I sort of also paniced a bit and couldn't feel any emotion from listening to music for next ~year.
And this was caused by the 'slew rate' of your speakers?

Quote:
You could say there were some 'magic' frequency combinations that tickled my pleasure center... I was quite deppressed for a while after)
You could say that about your pleasure center, but if it happened to me, I would suspect there may be other (more personal) psychological factors at play. Perhaps your Depression was not a result of your year-long absence of emotional reaction to music, but the cause of it.
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