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Mosquito for iPhone - How's your hearing?
Old 22nd December 2011
  #1
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Mosquito for iPhone - How's your hearing?

I installed this app called Mosquito Sounds on my iPhone. It's a simple little app that plays tones at different frequencies.

At 16k I can't hear the tone. I was at CPK with some young friends to see how well they could hear the tones. At 16k they could barely hear it.

To my shock, the girl sitting at the next table kindly asked me to please turn it off because she has sensitive hearing. My 22 year old friends could barely hear it, but this 25 or so year old girl 8 feet away was annoyed by it in a noisy restaurant.

What do you make of that? Does she have super human hearing? Are my days as an audio engineer numbered?

~Jay
Old 22nd December 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay M View Post
I installed this app called Mosquito Sounds on my iPhone. It's a simple little app that plays tones at different frequencies.

At 16k I can't hear the tone. I was at CPK with some young friends to see how well they could hear the tones. At 16k they could barely hear it.

To my shock, the girl sitting at the next table kindly asked me to please turn it off because she has sensitive hearing. My 22 year old friends could barely hear it, but this 25 or so year old girl 8 feet away was annoyed by it in a noisy restaurant.

What do you make of that? Does she have super human hearing? Are my days as an audio engineer numbered?

~Jay
get her number and ask her to mix your next record!


I am guessing you and your friends are musicians. Maybe the girl is into knitting and lives alone in the woods. People's hearing is different genetically and then have different exposures on top of that.

But what IS your exposure? Loud gigs with no plugs every weekend? All day mixing sessions at club volumes?

At 22, people should still be able to hear 16k.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #3
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The girl didn't look like the knitting type, she looked like the type that goes clubbing every weekend. But I seriously would like to know more about how she hears music.

My friends are not musicians, one is a nurse, and the other is a materials engineer. They live fairly quiet lives.

I'm 41, and my wife is 36, neither of us could hear 16k. When I was in my 20s I played drums in hard rock bands, but always with ear plugs.

At work I'm in a very quiet studio and keep the levels low. Coincidentally, I have my levels the same as SPMTE or AES recommendation based on some test material on the AES web site.

How effective can I be if I can't hear 16k? Should I plan on retiring and opening a bar in Bora Bora next year?

~Jay
Old 22nd December 2011
  #4
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ScratchNSurf's Avatar
 

Well bora bora sounds nice...

Heh back on subject.
I've heard that the older you are the more squashed your frequency range is from the top. So like you wont be able to hear 20k for long, 18k after, 16k, etc.

I personally can hear fairly sensitively but working in my boss' studio is really giving me some rings sometimes. one of the artists mixes at intense volumes... he used to go to a lot of electronic shows when he was younger.

Anyways.. I'm only 19 what do I know hah

I do have my theories about hearing loss.. maybe this can be asked in this thread.. are higher frequencies easier to lose than lower ones? I've noticed my ears are a lot more sensitive to high than low. I can sit next to subs that are pounding but put me next to that mosquito app and I almost immediately want to punch someone in the throat

Sent from my DROID Pro using Gearslutz.com
Old 22nd December 2011
  #5
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The higher frequencies tend to be the ones that go with age. If you're an average sort of male, you're likely to have lost pretty much everything above 15k (12k if you're unlucky) by the time you get well into your 40s, or certainly your 50s. Or so a friend of mine told me a few years back - and he was a medic, used to be an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) consultant.

Not sure what the pattern is for women.

Hearing damage due to loud noise (music or other) can often hit further down the frequency scale, around 3-6kHz. Or so another audiologist told me when I went to get my failing ears tested last year and he found a definite dip around 4k or so.

So listen up all you young 'uns - take care of your ears!! I didn't and I'm starting to regret it now (at my ancient and dusty 46 years).
Old 22nd December 2011
  #6
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Red Black's Avatar
Definitely nothing amazing about hearing a 16k tone . . I'm in my 30s and I can hear up to about 19k, and that's with years and years of touring and live music before I started protecting my ears . . . I asked my lady friend to try the same test and surprisingly (to me) she could not hear beyond the range that I could . .

Here's some tests if you wanna try it yourself . . they become audible to me at 19k and painfully loud at 18k . .

@44.1k

@48k

Last edited by Red Black; 22nd December 2011 at 10:20 AM.. Reason: links
Old 22nd December 2011
  #7
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Damn that's depressing, although it just confirms what I already knew - just becomes audible to me when it gets down to around 12k at the end.

Like I said earlier - take care of those ears boys and girls. You'll miss 'em if/when they go.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #8
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I got to 17k and I could hear that quite clearly, but the 18k was just not audible at all. And I'm only 16.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #9
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filipv's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Black View Post
@44.1 i could clearly hear 17k

but @48 i could hear barely 16k

how come?
Old 22nd December 2011
  #10
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Red Black's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by filipv View Post
@44.1 i could clearly hear 17k

but @48 i could hear barely 16k

how come?
No idea?

I just checked and they both sound the same to me . . they both look like this too:
Attached Thumbnails
Mosquito for iPhone - How's your hearing?-test-tone.jpg  
Old 22nd December 2011
  #11
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That's a cool little app. I have a sine generator on my DAW but never thought to test my hearing with it. Luckily even at 38 and doing not-so-great things to my hearing I can hear in the 16-18k range coming from my little iPhone speakers out of both ears.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #12
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As we age we lose out on HF. When I was younger I was especially sensitive to HF and compared to a normal adult, when I was tested at about age 21, I was +18dB more sensitive at 15kHz. Today, at 43 years old, I can't hear 15kHz. Hearing damage due to excessive exposure tends to occur in the mid range, as stated earlier in this thread though ageing may also impact upon these frequencies as well.

Hearing is also very much impacted by general health and, for example, tiredness and so it is often the case that your hearing will change significantly from day to day. In most cases people don't notice this until their hearing becomes marginal at which point the notice that one day they can hear conversation and the next they can't. I believe this effect had a significant impact on early scientific attempts to experiment on hearing as some involved experiments on animals which were, of course, stressed by the experience and so not performing at all well.

Experiments were also done on animals which involved injecting them with a diuretic and this had a significant impact upon their hearing. I've no idea if tea, coffee and the like might have a similar effect on humans but suspect it does.

I've heard it said that those with asthma are more sensitive to HF than the general population but I can find no good science to support this, though am interested if anyone else can.

It is also the case that we are all different and so the normal hearing curve is just a very approximate representation of the significant variations found in the population.

Given so many complex and interacting variables it is no surprise that we all hear things differently. HF hearing loss is especially interesting with respect to those people who claim "golden ears" and to be able to hear changes at extremes of the hearing range. Most appear not to suffer from any age related degredation of their amazing talents.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #13
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Great info to know! Thanks for sharing. I'm committing that to my permanent memory (because that capacity has diminshed less than my short-term memory... speaking of age.)

BTW: I had my kids listen to the iPhone app (6 and 8) and we all heard strange resonances in the iPhone's speaker at the higher end, so I think repeating the experiment at home with good headphones and a sine generator is probably a better test.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lights View Post
I'm committing that to my permanent memory
I'd do the same, if I could remember how!

For those with an interest in their hearing and how it works the following book, which should be a standard text for anyone entering the world of audio or music, makes for good reading. It is a complex subject but is covered in a manner understandable to all. I have the 5th edition but as it is nearly 10 years old now I would imagine there might be a more up to date version:

"An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing" by Brian C. J. Moore published by Academic Press.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lights View Post
Great info to know! Thanks for sharing. I'm committing that to my permanent memory (because that capacity has diminshed less than my short-term memory... speaking of age.)

BTW: I had my kids listen to the iPhone app (6 and 8) and we all heard strange resonances in the iPhone's speaker at the higher end, so I think repeating the experiment at home with good headphones and a sine generator is probably a better test.
My wife was convinced that it wasn't doing anything in the higher frequencies, so I used my trusty old radio shack SPL meter to see if I could measure it.

With my iPhone 4 I think it was the 12k frequencies and below were about 70db at one inch, and the frequencies above that were down about 15 db.

I guess I shouldn't have attended those tractor pulls as a child.

~Jay
Old 22nd December 2011
  #16
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Moatl's Avatar
 

wow - that's great to know.
on my iphone4 I started hearing it from 19k (the right ear at 18k) and it got freakin loud when getting to 16k!

I'm 31 by the way and expected it to be worse...
Old 22nd December 2011
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScratchNSurf View Post
Well bora bora sounds nice...

Heh back on subject.
I've heard that the older you are the more squashed your frequency range is from the top. So like you wont be able to hear 20k for long, 18k after, 16k, etc.
Basically in the ear you have the Organ of Corti which is lined with hairs, each of which is connected to a muscle and a nerve.
If a sound wave travels into your ear it will bend those hairs flat which causes the nerve to fire.
A treble sound will only bend the hairs at the entrance to the organ but not the ones further down. The brain will interpret this correctly as a high pitched tone.
If all hairs the entire length bend the brain will interpret this as a bass note.

As we age the muscles lose definition and eventually fail to put their hair upright again.
Obviously the ones which get bent most often are the ones early in the organ and these are the ones which lose their hair-righting ability first hence our ability to hear treble goes first.
Essentially the auditory equivalent to age-related far-sightedness.

How early this sets in is dependent on the individual and their exposure to loud noises throughout their lifetime.
I count myself lucky because at the age of 47 I have no problems hearing my supertweeter which only covers the region above 15kHz.
Last time I checked (last year) my hearing started to fall off north of 18k.
Old 22nd December 2011
  #18
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molson's Avatar
 

I can hear 16k, but anything above that sounds like a low frequency? Bizarre, did anyone else have that issue?
Old 23rd December 2011
  #19
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I kick in at 18k, considering the amount of abuse my ears have taken playing live I'm rather pleased heh
Old 23rd December 2011
  #20
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filipv's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by molson View Post
I can hear 16k, but anything above that sounds like a low frequency? Bizarre, did anyone else have that issue?
lack of antialiasing?
Old 23rd December 2011
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molson View Post
I can hear 16k, but anything above that sounds like a low frequency? Bizarre, did anyone else have that issue?
Exactly the same. 16k sounded like a fairly clean high tone, but at 17k and above I heard prominent lower tones (that I have more sensitivity to) and couldn't clearly ID the higher tone.

OTOH, where I've done similar tests lately with my test oscillator, I lose sensitivity above 16k, and 17k is pretty faint. I'm nearly 49, so that's predictable. My hearing went pretty high when I was younger. For example, when we were younger, my sister and I could not stand to go into the lighting section of a certain local department store because of the painful HF noise which everyone else seemed oblivious to.

Cheers,

Otto
Old 23rd December 2011
  #22
Gear Addict
16khz is very clear, 17khz - faint but can still hear it. After that it becomes really faint for me (HD25-1 II directly plugged into iPod touch 4g)On built-in speakers(max volume) I can hear up to 18k
Old 23rd December 2011
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasoundjunkie View Post
I kick in at 18k, considering the amount of abuse my ears have taken playing live I'm rather pleased heh
If you have given your ears a hammering over the years, it's quite possible that it won't be the top end that you need to worry about. As mentioned earlier, the top end tends to reduce with age, whereas noise exposure can often hit the 3-6kHz region. In typical cases, the first time you realise something is wrong is when you start finding it slightly harder to hear what people are saying, particularly higher-pitched voices or speech in noisy environments. Or you start having to turn up the TV 20% compared to where it used to be.

That kind of thing was what sent me to my doctor and, ultimately, a consultant audiologist a couple of years back. In my case, the top-end has gone bye-byes above 12-13kHz (which is not great, but isn't that serious a problem really). Much more problematic is the nasty big hole around the 4kHz region which he told me is a classic example of loudness/noise-related damage. It sucks, particularly when you know it's your own dumbass fault.

Ironic as well - my wife does visual arts/graphic design stuff and has some eyesight problems, while I'm more or less 20-20. Meanwhile, I'm a part-time/amateur musician and my hearing's shot, while she can hear a pin drop at 150 paces on a soft carpet. It's like my life is becoming some back-asswards version of Daddy Frank. (And if you recognise that song, then you probably are older than me.)
Old 23rd December 2011
  #24
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Drumsound's Avatar
There were hearing tests at the AES Student Summit at Webster University last spring. At 40 I had hearing that tested very well, and was above average for mid 20s. I'm pretty happy with that.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #25
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s34nsm411's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Black View Post

Here's some tests if you wanna try it yourself . . they become audible to me at 19k and painfully loud at 18k . .

@44.1k

@48k

kicks in for me right when he says "teen" in "nineteen" on laptop speakers
Old 23rd December 2011
  #26
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Has anyone compared their left ear to their right one?

That might be interesting - I beileve it was the Israeli military who discovered that, in general, the left ear is more likely to suffer damage than the right. I beileve they thought at first that this was due to soldiers shooting off one shoulder in preference to the other but it was established that it didn't matter which shoulder you shot off. It seems that people have a strong and a weak ear, just as with hand or eye dominance.

The more we know the less we understand.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #27
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Mike Douaire's Avatar
 

Right under 18k - and this is with computer speakers in an office setting

Like others have said - expected much worse from years of playing loud stages, loud rehearsals, forgetting to put in earplugs, running live sound, having an obnoxious drummer that starts playing the moment he walks into the studio while im trying to set up mics and i dont have plugs in. Oy. Drummers....

Luckily, a lot of that has changed - loud rehearsals and stages are minimal due to the change over to In Ears. So much cleaner.

Hopefully I get to keep steady at just under 18k for many many years!
Old 23rd December 2011
  #28
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I should be ok then.

I am short-sighted but both my eyes are identically bad and I am also neither left- nor right-handed.
The only reason I write with my right hand is because it is very inconvenient to write from left to right with your left hand.
When it comes to fishing I hold the rod in my left and I almost always carry heavy bags in my left.
Even if I get zits I nearly always get two: If I find one on my right shoulder I can pretty much guarantee that there is one in the same place on the left.

With 30 minutes of practice I play badminton with my left almost as well as with my right.
Old 23rd December 2011
  #29
Gear Addict
My friend responded to 19khz on iPod touch built-in speakers
Old 23rd December 2011
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caorach View Post
Has anyone compared their left ear to their right one?
According to the audiologist, my left ear is in worse shape than my right one - and they've had pretty equal exposure to too much noise, so there are obviously natural imbalances or weaknesses that come into play too.
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