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What does ear fatigue feel like?
Old 11th May 2010
  #1
What does ear fatigue feel like?

Is there a physical sensation when you get ear fatigue or is it that things don't sound right? How long does it last for usually?

Thanks
Sean
Old 11th May 2010
  #2
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Sigma's Avatar
what???????????
Old 11th May 2010
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
what???????????
Could you speak up, please?
Old 11th May 2010
  #4
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MicDaddy's Avatar
 

Working FOH at too high levels, with stage amps blazing at muso's rear ear knees (and straight on at my face) left me feeling thick, dampened, pluggy, not too far off if one were to drive into the mountains.

I read a trick once, before you are going to do any monitoring/foh/mix etc, throw some earplugs in an hour before hand... so to bring the noise floor of your inner ear doooooown, and maybe be a bit more sensitive or receptive allowing your perception to be clear and not muddied. I've been doing it and I like how it works for me.
Old 11th May 2010
  #5
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sleeper1400's Avatar
 

huh???

did you say 'film release sill bike'?

(rim shot)

yes. i have a "soft vibrating" feeling in my ears. equal amounts on both sides.

its usually accompanied by the need to turn the audio up, and about an hour w o a break.
Old 11th May 2010
  #6
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nbenford's Avatar
 

I know my ears are fatigued when I can no longer hear subtle differences in EQ, compression and level when compared with what I know I should expect to hear.
Old 11th May 2010
  #7
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Old Goat's Avatar
 

I know my ears are fatigued when they start yawning...
Old 11th May 2010
  #8
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your ears get tired your nerves need rest. ear fatigue is usually a sign something is either not right could be your ears are overworked. Be careful. My ears started to fatigue I didn't rest them now they ring constantly. People think you need to go to loud concerts to hurt your hearing. Not true you can farg up your ears by simply listening to music for long stretches of time even at low volumes. Headphones make this worse.

Not trying to overstate anything but let your ears rest. You could have an ear infection or some kind of wax thing. It could be nothing big, it could be nothing at all. But you never know. My ENT told me there was nothing really wrong and I had a sinus infection. Then 2 months later I got tinnitus. So I wouldn't take any chances. You have to take precautions

your ears need rest
Old 11th May 2010
  #9
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ExtremeSound's Avatar
 

If YOU think your ears are fatigued then they probably are. Take a break.
Old 11th May 2010
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringwraith View Post
Is there a physical sensation when you get ear fatigue or is it that things don't sound right? How long does it last for usually?

Thanks
Sean
Sean, Mike here....yes, ear fatigue symptoms, have you ever stayed up all night with a favorite lover and been completely exhausted and wasted feeling afterward, and your you-know-what is sorta numb, not really truly numb but unable to feel much of anything? Ear fatigue feels like that, except on the sides of your head.
Old 11th May 2010
  #11
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MicDaddy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTrax View Post
Sean, Mike here....yes, ear fatigue symptoms, have you ever stayed up all night with a favorite lover and been completely exhausted and wasted feeling afterward, and your you-know-what is sorta numb, not really truly numb but unable to feel much of anything? Ear fatigue feels like that, except on the sides of your head.

Nailed it
Old 11th May 2010
  #12
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For me it almost feels like I have my hands cupped over my ears as I'm listening.
Old 11th May 2010
  #13
LOL Mike gets my vote for best description! heh

Sean
Old 11th May 2010
  #14
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 

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.
Yuppers
Old 11th May 2010
  #15
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Ear fatique feels like........Common Sense Seriously. And ear fatique and impotence has nothing in common.(To whom ever did the comparison)
Old 11th May 2010
  #16
Ear fatigue = brain fatigue

i.e. I just don't give a sh!t anymore. Time to go to bed.
Old 11th May 2010
  #17
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amishsixstringe's Avatar
 

I get physically nauseous and dizzy in addition.

Neil
Old 11th May 2010
  #18
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Robo's Avatar
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
Old 11th May 2010
  #19
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mikethedrummer's Avatar
Depending on the day and mix at hand, sometimes I notice fatigue as early as 30 minutes into the mix, other days it takes hours if it occurs at all.

The key is monitoring at low levels and taking LOTS of breaks. I used to take smoke breaks and that was perfect but since I quit its been coffee breaks, food breaks, even just a couple minutes to bs w the client.
Old 11th May 2010
  #20
Ear fatigue varies by context. Ear fatigue when mixing is when you can no longer make reasonable judgments about the mix. Ear fatigue when listening is when you want to change the radio station, etc.

If it's a physical sensation you're well past mere ear fatigue, my friend. WELL past.
Old 11th May 2010
  #21
Thanks for all the reply's!
I've been putting a lot of hours in recently & am now experiencing exactly what Robo describes.
They're over sensitive to everything & I can feel a slight tiredness or something inside. Mostly my right ear which has always been more sensitive. I was just wondering if it's something more severe. I took the day off recording so hopefully they'll be better tomorrow.

Cheers
Sean
Old 11th May 2010
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringwraith View Post
Is there a physical sensation when you get ear fatigue or is it that things don't sound right? How long does it last for usually?

Thanks
Sean
There's a physical sensation if it's really bad or there's damage. You may not notice outright that things don't sound 'right' -- but you'll be more likely to make mistakes, think you hear things you don't, and so on.

Ear fatigue is often associated with high volume -- it is far more fatiguing and when the internal muscles that help the ear control and regulate its operation do become fatigued, they are much less able to protect the delicate ear mechanism from physical damage, which may have effects which last for varying amounts of time or may be permanent.

But even in a controlled environment, say mixing at a carefully controlled level (as with the K-System), ears become fatigued. Sometimes -- often, I should say from my own experience -- the brain and the ear become fatigued at the same time in different ways and you can find yourself doing dumb things like adjusting something back and forth, too much, too little, is that just right? I can't tell any more... and then you realize what you were adjusting isn't hooked up to anything...


As you gain more experience, you'll begin to recognize the signs of various types of listening and work fatigue.

But, crucially, start taking care of your ears now... don't expose them to loud sounds unnecessarily. Carry professionally fitted ear protection with you. (Or at least really good over the counter.) But remember, even the ****ty ones the sell in bulk at the hardware store area better than completely trashing your hearing.
Old 11th May 2010
  #23
Gear Guru
 

It is possible to have ear fatigue and not even realize it at the time.


You think you are Tough, still going strong after a long day with your face in the speakers, then the next day you listen back to the last mix you did and wonder: "what was I hearing when I did that?"
Old 11th May 2010
  #24
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FFTT's Avatar
 

When you first get the temptation to turn up the volume, that's when you should take a break.
Old 11th May 2010
  #25
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AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

Ear fatigue = thin freaking midrange for me, no lows or highs, after mixing on KRK V8s they will get your ass.
Old 11th May 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllAboutTone View Post
Ear fatigue = thin freaking midrange for me, no lows or highs, after mixing on KRK V8s they will get your ass.
Nailed it. Also what Robo said - an indistinctness to the sound. You can't feel anything emotional from any music for the duration. Everything becomes annoying and muddy.
Old 11th May 2010
  #27
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rhythmtech's Avatar
 

as well as vanishing lows i sometimes get a dull ache in my upper jaw just under the ear.. not nice at all
Old 11th May 2010
  #28
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Fabi's Avatar
 

e.g. I realize ear fatique when i trim automation to vocals up and then down again 6 times in a row, each time thinking its too loud or soft.


If you want to know for sure, go to a cinema that still has a copy of Pandorum and listen at Dolby7 heh

I have to force myself to take breaks with an alarm clock. Also your ears get tired by listening to the same thing (e.g. song) for a long periode.
So I try to switch between songs as much as i can. (Which is the main reason why I like ITB)
Old 11th May 2010
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringwraith View Post
Is there a physical sensation when you get ear fatigue or is it that things don't sound right? How long does it last for usually?
Lots of good responses in this thread. I think of ear fatigue as being an integrative process. Even if I mix at low levels, the stress will add up if I do it long enough. But if I'm also cranking it up from time to time, those events add up faster. The physical sensation side can depend on all kinds of things, including allergies, infections, etc. About the "things don't sound right" part, that's tougher to call on the fly. always keep a copy of your standard ear calibration tunes around, so you can check. If you think you are fatigued, you probably are. How long it lasts can depend on how hard you've been pushing all of your stressors combined with your overall health. As much as I hate ear plugs, I use them daily if I'm going to be around something loud, whether audio, tools or whatever. You have to protect whatcha got!
Old 11th May 2010
  #30
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otobianki74's Avatar
 

when I come home late at night and the wife is talking but her words dart right through me....
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