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Thread: Loss of Hearing

  1. #1
    Aging Smartass
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    Loss of Hearing

    I had totally forgotten that I had several Stereo Review Test Records, which I never used. One of them has identified frequencies, from 20,000HZ down to 20HZ, so I thought it would be interesting to see what I can - and can't - hear. I was a bit surprised, but not totally so after this "test."

    I hear up to 12,000HZ, and nothing beyond. My wife clearly heard all the frequencies above 12,000HZ, but not me. The 12,000HZ tone was clear as a bell, but the higher ones were non-existent to my ears. I heard down to 35HZ, and didn't hear the 20HZ frequency, but that could be my system too, though the Definitive Technology subwoofer claims to reproduce that frequency.

    I have no idea if I've lost hearing ability above 12,000HZ, or if I never had it in the first place. I'm totally unaware of not hearing anything, but I can't deny the "test" results. I'd be curious as to how many others don't hear anything above 12,000HZ, but insist on speakers that go beyond 20,000HZ, or else they feel somehow cheated. This "test" would also explain why I heard so little difference when I replaced the super-tweeters in my Dahlquist DQ-10's, as they don't even start until 12,000HZ. My wife did hear a big difference, though.

    I can remember graphs printed over the years, with the 20 to 20,000HZ spectrum, and the various ranges of instruments within. Almost nothing went beyond 15,000HZ, and the lowest frequency went, not to a pipe organ, but to a grand piano at 19HZ. I wonder if such a graph is still around.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Certain pipe organs can reach down to 16Hz, and I've also heard speculation of 8Hz.
    As for pianos, certain Bosendorfer models have an extra bass octave.

    I believe most peoples hearing rolls off increasingly under 30Hz, not to mention that most subs cannot reach under 30Hz without a lot of roll-off. If you combine these two facts, it's no wonder that people don't hear much of the sub 30Hz content.
    Age decreases high frequency sensitivity, and low frequency not so much.

  3. #3
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    My hearing rolls off at 13000. I attribute this to the many years spent standing in front of guitar and bass amps, as well as drum kits. I would imagine that my concert-going experiences ( Hendrix, Who, Blue Cheer...) haven't helped either.

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    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    It's interesting isn't it? The fact that most people have no clue about their hearing ability, yet insist on buying the greatest reference equipment.

    If you can't hear its full performance, kind of a waste. I think alot of people would be surprised to find out that they don't have golden ears.

    My hearing is awful from years spent as an active musician. In terms of audio, it means I don't have to spend top dollar, I won't get the value anyhow.

  5. #5
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    My wife clearly heard all the frequencies above 12,000HZ, but not me. The 12,000HZ tone was clear as a bell, but the higher ones were non-existent to my ears. I heard down to 35HZ, and didn't hear the 20HZ frequency, but that could be my system too, though the Definitive Technology subwoofer claims to reproduce that frequency.
    That's about my cutoff as well - which still encompasses most of the *sparkle* of bell trees and other instruments with HF content. As for the first octave, you don't really *hear* 20 hz. It is really felt and does require some amplitude. There was a bittersweet moment many years ago at my father's memorial service at the church. I was in the foyer and could hear the organ quietly playing in the sanctuary. The organist then hit a low pedal note that I merely sensed from the other room and it was sublime. Like the low fundamentals that close Gustav Holst' Saturn, I associate that subtle, strong and firm bass in a reassuring way.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    I have no idea if I've lost hearing ability above 12,000HZ, or if I never had it in the first place. This "test" would also explain why I heard so little difference when I replaced the super-tweeters in my Dahlquist DQ-10's, as they don't even start until 12,000HZ.
    I did when I was 19. The hi-fi shop where I worked used a piezo tweeter for its ultrasonic burglar alarm. I found it painful when it was running. We sold the DQ-10 which is likely why I preferred those who disconnected the piezo.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    Almost nothing went beyond 15,000HZ, and the lowest frequency went, not to a pipe organ, but to a grand piano at 19HZ. I wonder if such a graph is still around.
    Likewise, I don't find anything missing by no longer hearing all the way out to 20 kHz. Having said that, I find more air with the stats which do have more extended response than do the Advents which top out around 14 kHz. As AA indicated, the 64' stops on pipe organs deliver 8 hz and are capable of delivering more pressure than a piano. Recently, I heard the massive Mormon Tabernacle organ which has 32' (16 hz) stops.

    rw
    Last edited by E-Stat; 11-12-2009 at 07:07 AM.

  6. #6
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    It's interesting isn't it? The fact that most people have no clue about their hearing ability, yet insist on buying the greatest reference equipment. If you can't hear its full performance, kind of a waste. I think alot of people would be surprised to find out that they don't have golden ears.
    I'm gonna have to disagree with you. I assure you that if you heard HP's magnificent review system, you would understand that there is so much more resolution in recordings that does not require hearing bats in the belfry.

    rw

  7. #7
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    It's interesting isn't it? The fact that most people have no clue about their hearing ability, yet insist on buying the greatest reference equipment.

    If you can't hear its full performance, kind of a waste. I think alot of people would be surprised to find out that they don't have golden ears.

    My hearing is awful from years spent as an active musician. In terms of audio, it means I don't have to spend top dollar, I won't get the value anyhow.
    I'm going to disagree with you. EVERYONE, and I mean _all_ of us has some hearing loss. Mine probably was caused by my formative years going to concerts to see bands like The Who, Led Zepplin, and such. Even with that I can fully appreciate a good system, especially one that has high resolution. Sure I'm not hearing all of what the ribbon tweeters in my speakers are outputting, but what I CAN hear I can easily distinguish from what I would hear in a lower fidelity system.

    Surprisingly, the "Golden Ear" is not a myth, or something that you have to be born with either. With proper training almost anyone can learn to spot differences in reproduced music quality. Even us with a slightly impared auditory function.
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  8. #8
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    .

    With proper training almost anyone can learn to spot differences in reproduced music quality. Even us with a slightly impared auditory function.
    Right, and how many do you know with that training? For the most part either you got it or you don't. It's an art to listen to music, one that's lost on many people.

    I am not saying that improvements from mid-fi to hi-fi would be lost on an imperfect ear. I am saying once you breach the upper crust of audio, that place where the differences are all but tiny and extremely subtle, bad hearing will not do.

  9. #9
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Right, and how many do you know with that training? For the most part either you got it or you don't. It's an art to listen to music, one that's lost on many people.

    I am not saying that improvements from mid-fi to hi-fi would be lost on an imperfect ear. I am saying once you breach the upper crust of audio, that place where the differences are all but tiny and extremely subtle, bad hearing will not do.
    I dunno about that, it's not like learning calculus. Pretty much it's all about listening without distraction. Do it enough times and you get to know what sounds like what.

    I'll give you a for instance;

    I used to judge at home brewing competitions. Before you s******, amateur brewers who enter competitions take the craft very seriously, so don't think it's all about getting drunk, especially for the judges! Anyway, after passing my exams and doing some local comps, I started to get really good at spotting what was wrong/right with the beers presented. It got to the point where I could tell you what hops were used, and in what order! Did I have the ability at the begining? NO, but after a while, if your REASONABLY astute, you get sensitive to what your looking at.

    So, YES I agree, if your deaf, you can probably forgo the million dollar sound room. However, I really feel that almost ANYONE can learn to appriciate a quality system without having to go through audiophile boot camp. Sometimes it only takes one listen!

    Oh and the high end equipment is so different in so many ways that one persons greatmay not be anothers even though the may both be supurb by any quantifiable parameter.
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  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    ...
    I hear up to 12,000HZ, and nothing beyond.
    ...
    I have no idea if I've lost hearing ability above 12,000HZ, or if I never had it in the first place. I'm totally unaware of not hearing anything, but I can't deny the "test" results. I'd be curious as to how many others don't hear anything above 12,000HZ, but insist on speakers that go beyond 20,000HZ, or else they feel somehow cheated. ...
    Personally I'm stone deaf above 10,000 Hz. Like you at 12kHz, emaidel, I hear 10kHz well but nothing beyond. However, as E-Stat suggests, I think one can, and I'm able to, hear some pretty subtle difference just the same.

    The bigger problem affecting my music enjoyment is tinnitus. In my case it is constant and continuous. I've had this for forty years but it has gotten significantly worse in the last decade.

  11. #11
    Sure, sure... Auricauricle's Avatar
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    I am sure you are quite well aware that tinnitus may presage more significant hearing loss, Feanor, and should be examined by a profesional.

    Like you folks, my hearing is not nearly as acute as I would like to think it was. At the same time, while owning the best of the best in audio gear may not be a priority, I expect some fidelity, nevertheless. While I may not perceive much directly, I wonder if there are subtle things that happen in music that contribute to the gestalt that make the experience all the more enjoyable. For instance, I use a subwoofer in conjunction with my sats while listening to music as a rule, not because I want the tummy-thrum, but because it adds a nearly indiscernible but clearly impressionable dimension to the music....On the other hand I can forgo the extra expenses for such gadgets (God love 'em), considering them superfluous. But I don't think so....

  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auricauricle
    I am sure you are quite well aware that tinnitus may presage more significant hearing loss, Feanor, and should be examined by a profesional.

    ....
    Thanks, Auri. I certainly intend to raise the issues with my doctor at my annual checkup in a couple of weeks. However the character of the problem hasn't changed and the worsening is has been very gradual, so I'm not unduly concerned.

  13. #13
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    A lot of interesting comments so far.

    While I clearly heard the 12,000HZ test tone, and didn't hear the 13,500HZ tone, I guess that means that my high frequency hearing falls off somewhere in between. Insofar as replacing the piezos in my DQ-10's, I noticed something peculiar: with the new super tweeters in place, and the grilles still off the speakers, I blocked the regular tweeter, expecting to hear some sparkling something or other out of the super tweeter, but heard nothing at all coming from that driver, even when placing my ear right next to it. Then, with the standard tweeter still covered, I placed my hand over the super tweeter, and suddenly, the sound source moved from the super tweeter/mid bass panel, to the woofer! Obviously, I was hearing - or sensing - something out of that driver, but I can't say for sure just what it was. "Air," or "spatial dimensionality" comes to mind, but then just what do those two attributes actually sound like?

    So, maybe even if someone's hearing stops at a certain frequency, speakers with greater response capabilities may still provide an audible benefit.

  14. #14
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    Obviously, I was hearing - or sensing - something out of that driver, but I can't say for sure just what it was. "Air," or "spatial dimensionality" comes to mind, but then just what do those two attributes actually sound like?
    There is research that suggests that our perception involves more than just *hearing* by way of bone conduction. I don't find that concept highly unusual since we perceive the very lowest frequencies in a similar way of being felt, rather than heard. Here are a few references and excerpts.

    Quote Originally Posted by emaidel
    So, maybe even if someone's hearing stops at a certain frequency, speakers with greater response capabilities may still provide an audible benefit.
    I believe that to be the case, but I am not one who favors the overtly bright character of many new speakers. My stats have a tweeter level control that I run somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00 depending upon source and recording. I run the tweeter controls on the Advents usually on "normal" for uppers and "decrease" for the lowers although sometimes I run them both on "normal". Since the Polks in the HT system have no such control, I typically use -2 db treble cut on the receiver.

    rw

  15. #15
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    OK, with this test I started to perceive "something" at 16k, and without a doubt at 15k.

    http://www.audiocheck.net/audiotests...ycheckhigh.php

    Remember to check your soundcard first!
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  16. #16
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    I hear up to 19K

  17. #17
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    I hear up to 19K
    I remember when I could hear slightly beyond 20k. Your ability is beginning to slide, but don't worry - what top end you sacrifice by my age will by countered by a deeper perception of that which is there. The best is yet to come my young friend. :^)

    rw

  18. #18
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    I remember when I could hear slightly beyond 20k.
    That's quite impressive! Anything above 19 I cannot 'hear' but I do get an eerie sense and headache from.

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    The best is yet to come my young friend. :^)

    rw
    I do hope so!

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