Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 22nd, 2013, 07:11 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New Zealand, Rapaura (near Blenheim)
Posts: 434
Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

A question I have been meaning to ask, is how do we evaluate the quality of the sound we are recording if your hearing is not as good as it once was? I worked in engineering until I took early retirement, and sometimes in some noisy environments. My hearing is OK, but my wife can hear things that I can't, and when using sites like the following to check my frequency range, I can just about make out the 10Khz tone, but nothing beyond it. (using HD280 headphones btw)

What is your hearing range? | egopont

So I wonder how valid is my ability to monitor sound as I record it. I can hear a very noticeable difference in the type of sound from the NTG2 and K6/ME66 mics I own, and I can clearly hear there is a noise floor in the quiet periods using an EW100 G2 system. (Note I have only just got the G2, and was using it with mic level inputs into my XF300. I am guessing it would be better to increase the G2 output and use line level input into the XF300?)

Bottom line is that my hearing is what it is, and that's what I have to work with. I just worry that other folk will hear problems that I missed while recording. Any thoughts?
__________________
Stills at: www.flickr.com/photos/trevor-dennis/
Trevor Dennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 22nd, 2013, 08:26 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Interesting test! With cheap earphones, I can hear up to 15kHz. I've always wondered too how hearing affects people's perception of sound. Recently, there was an old DJ playing music (he was about 70 I think) and he turned down the bass and REALLY cranked up the treble until my ears hurt! Maybe it sounded good to him, but it sure sounded awful to me.

My dad did a lot of firearms practice when he was in the Army. He said his hearing is almost gone because of it, but he can hear low frequencies very well. But things like birds chirping or a cell phone ringing, he can't hear. In a recent test for his hearing aid, he could hear 20-1Kz. Anything above that, he's deaf. The audiologist printed out a bar graph of his hearing capability. I thought it would be really cool if I tuned a parametric equalizer to match how he hears, just to listen to his perception of his audio world. I think if we did this, we would be shocked at what other people hear!

I do notice a lot of young people with headphones on, playing their music so loud that I can hear the lyrics 10 feet away from them. I've always wondered if my hearing is better than theirs, even if I'm decades older.
Warren Kawamoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 22nd, 2013, 10:54 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NYC Metro area
Posts: 579
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Losing my hearing has been my fear for some time. I know my hearing isn't what it used to be, plus I suffer from tinitis.
My father was a gun collector, and we even reloaded our own ammo, everything from .38 cal to .45 cal, to 30.06, 9 mm, .223 cal, 30-30, .357 magnum, and 12 and 20 ga. shotgun. We never hunted; just target and skeet practice, but I had fired every one of those by the time I was 13 years old. At the time, I'd score better than most of the policemen who would join us. Now, I doubt that would happen. I haven't fired a weapon since my teens, and that was decades ago. But that was in the 60's, before the wisdom of hearing protection was widely spread. So that, and probably too many rock concerts in my teens and later years hasn't helped.

I took the test, also with relatively cheap headphones, and anything above 12000 Hz was nothing but a short"click". It's depressing.
I've been protecting my hearing for about 20 years now, e.g. wearing protection while mowing the lawn, using the power-washer, even when running the shop-vac, but I think the damage was done early on. All I can do now is work to preserve what I have left.
In editing and recording, I find I rely more on meters than I used to, and dread the day when all I have left is working only with images and not the sound.
Words of wisdom to the younger folks out there: turn down the volume.
__________________
Denis
------------
Our actions are based on our own experience and knowledge. Thus, no one is ever totally right, nor totally wrong. We simply act from what we "know" to be true, based on that experience and knowledge. Beyond that, we pose questions to others.
Denis Danatzko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 03:05 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

I am so glad that I have used good quality headphones for over 25 years mainly the sony 7506 but in the old days it was the V6 and V7's.

That goes for monitors too and I think both has allowed me to hear clearly but not have to turn the levels up too much.

I think this has helped me have a good range still up to around 15k at the age of 52.

I worry that the latest generation that are sticking earbuds in their ear canals will be doing major damage but at least low cost monitoring options are now available that give good full range quality at reasonable levels.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:33 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
...
I worry that the latest generation that are sticking earbuds in their ear canals will be doing major damage but at least low cost monitoring options are now available that give good full range quality at reasonable levels.
I've occasionally been on the subway or waiting to cross the street and found myself standing near someone listening to music through their earbuds with levels so high that I can clearly hear it from several feet away. That's bound to be causing severe damage very quickly and I have to shake my head in disbelief that someone could be so stupid as to abuse their hearing so badly
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 10:03 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NYC Metro area
Posts: 579
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

FWIW, I took the test without the cheap headphones, playing the sounds through the speakers of a laptop, and I was able to hear the 15000 Hz tone, but no higher. Others who take the test should keep that in mind.

Our son has a set of high-priced cans that I want to try, to see if there's any difference.

(I found it interesting - and perplexing - that the 12000 and 15000 tones were higher-pitched than the constant pitch of my tinitis).

I also had my wife and daughter take the test, both with and without headphones. Our daughter (35) could hear the entire range. My wife couldn't hear the tones above 12000.
__________________
Denis
------------
Our actions are based on our own experience and knowledge. Thus, no one is ever totally right, nor totally wrong. We simply act from what we "know" to be true, based on that experience and knowledge. Beyond that, we pose questions to others.
Denis Danatzko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 12:24 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 958
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Trevor - that is a very good question, how to handle the audio.

Unfortunately, I'm kinda in the same boat as the rest of you. Last spring my hearing was tested at a chain store, Costco, that also sells hearing aids and the test showed a definite loss in both sides but more on the left than the right. My wife demanded that I had my hearing tested and I finally caved in. She accuses me of having selective hearing but of course I deny that.

While audio meters are a good tool the basic ones are no substitute for good hearing. Having said that, those of us with less than good hearing have to use what we have. Meters that show a spectrum would be more helpful than those that just give a single db reading but then one would have to know how to interpret what they say and know what to do with the information.

Plan B might be to find someone who can hear better (the wife? a kid that still knows it all and hasn't lost their hearing yet? and train them to help.

As for those kids using the earbuds where you can hear what they're listening to from 10 feet away, they're going to be stone deaf if they ever reach 50.

Bethoven wrote some very good music while he was basically deaf so if one has a good feel for what they're working with, is there a way out?
John Nantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 01:52 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

You do need to put the upper limit test into a context. Everyone talks about 20-20K, and having your upper limit at 10K does sound very poor - but as we're dealing with a logarithmic scale, 10K as a limit means you are missing the top 12 notes (one octave) of the piano keyboard. If you produce some pink noise with or without that last octave, there's not much up there, apart from harmonics. My hearing stops about 14.5K and I can still set eq in studios and live with no problem. I just keep in mind that if I do any HF boosting that goes up higher than I can hear, then others could think it too bright. My latest upgrade to Cubase 7 introduces a neat graphic display showing spectral content into the eq window - so before you cut or boost anything, you can see where the energy is, and this lets you see that top bit that I you can't hear.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 23rd, 2013, 10:40 PM   #9
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 4,093
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

This is a great topic, but just a caution that if you want your hearing checked and the results properly interpreted, have it done by a qualified audiologist. To get reasonably accurate, repeatable results, the audio booth equipment needs regular calibration and each test needs to be done properly. As the EgoPont page that Trevor linked even says, it is not a substitute for a proper hearing exam, and it looks to me like the main value of it is to amuse people and then try to collect their email addresses.

To barely scratch the surface on the huge topic of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL):

The classic NIHL appears as a "4K notch" on an audiogram. The notch in the audiogram expands in both height (number of dB of loss) and width (frequency range, generally more higher than lower) as continued noise exposure causes further damage. As Paul said, for most people it isn't particularly a matter of what is the highest frequency you can hear, but rather lo

Vowels have most of their frequencies well below 4K but consonants are generally higher pitched and have even higher harmonics, so typically as people start to suffer NIHL, they start to lose lock on consonants, thinking someone said, say, "thick" instead of "kick." As it gets worse, they become more aware of things sounding muffled, especially if there is background noise, but may still understand speech, especially male (lower pitched) voices, quite well if the environment is quiet.

If your hearing loss is mild, you can probably do a pretty good job of EQing sound recordings without any special accommodations because we get used to the change in the way we hear as time goes by. Basically, the brain remembers what things should should like and does what it can to compensate perceptually, at least up to a point.

As things get worse, you'll know you aren't hearing everything and won't be able to be sure what's "right." So leaning on some technology as Paul suggested ought to help keep you with the headphones on.

One more encouragement to get a proper hearing test if you think you might be developing hearing impairment: although noise exposure is the most common reason, there are other causes and many of them are treatable.
__________________
Pete Bauer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein
Trying to solve a DV mystery? You may find the answer behind the SEARCH function ... or be able to join a discussion already in progress!
Pete Bauer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2013, 02:34 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: New Zealand, Rapaura (near Blenheim)
Posts: 434
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Pete, your comment regarding calibration has reminded me that I have tried similar web based frequency range tests, and with different results. In fact with one of them I could not hear anything beyond 8Khz. I also like the idea of using a graphic display of the frequency spectrum. It would be interesting to see how that display would look for a particularly bad recording with dramatic clipping. I have a feeling that the top end would not so very different to a clean recording from an amplitude point of view, because the resulting nasty harmonics are going to be well within the hearing capability of all but the most hearing impaired people.

I know one profoundly deaf person (she uses a cochlear implant) and several people who need hearing aids. What they all seem to say is even with their poor hearing, the quality of the sound makes all the difference as to how well they can understand it. I bet we have all heard of people with poor hearing who have difficulty with high ambient sound levels. Particularly in a live environment with lots of hard surfaces. Heck, I have problems myself in those conditions.

I do feel better about things hearing I am not the only one, and I am starting to think it is maybe not the big deal I feared it might be.
__________________
Stills at: www.flickr.com/photos/trevor-dennis/
Trevor Dennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2013, 06:05 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Your hearing is like a muscle, if you started listening (exercising) to music at a young age and looked after your ears keeping ALL sound levels within an acceptable range, then your 'muscle' will last you longer.

I have an 89yr old friend here, he's been blind since birth. He started playing pro piano in New Zealand, worked in Sydney, then went to LA about 1965 where he eventually got work at Capitol Records as a staff arranger. He worked with all their recording artists including concert arrangements for Sinatra.

He was great friends with blind avant garde pianist Lennie Tristano and 2 weeks before George Shearing passed away he rang my buddy from London, to say goodbye.

I've know him for 30yrs and unfortunately he had a stroke about a year ago and is in a wheelchair, but he still has perfect pitch and his mind is unbelieveably razor sharp. We talk on the phone a lot, we both like music by Gordon Goodwins Big Phat Band, and Bob Mintzers band.

So his ears are his life, they feed his mind and he's always told me about exercising your muscle regularly. He does this by listening to music and he copies out the arrangements in his head. He still has students, but only twice a week now, he says they help keep him sharp.

Being allowed into his world is a real privilege and over the years he's taught me a lot. At the end of every phone call he says, 'Al, keep practising' A good sense of humor helps too.

Cheers Jules.
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2013, 07:43 AM   #12
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 4,093
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Your hearing is like a muscle, if you started listening (exercising) to music at a young age and looked after your ears keeping ALL sound levels within an acceptable range, then your 'muscle' will last you longer.
There are two separate concepts here:

- If you continue to study and practice your music, you'll become a better musician.

- Make it a practice to avoid excessive noise exposures. Although the ear actually does have two tiny muscles in it (stapedius and tensor tympani), NIHL is more comparable to radiation exposure than muscular exercise; the more exposure, the more damage. I just wouldn't want anyone to misread Jules' comments and think they would be helping themselves to deliberately expose themselves to noise. That is not the case.
__________________
Pete Bauer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein
Trying to solve a DV mystery? You may find the answer behind the SEARCH function ... or be able to join a discussion already in progress!
Pete Bauer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2013, 02:54 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 958
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

Trevor - Perhaps what Warren Kawamoto mentioned might be an idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
The audiologist printed out a bar graph of his hearing capability. I thought it would be really cool if I tuned a parametric equalizer to match how he hears, just to listen to his perception of his audio world.
What about putting a parametric equalizer between you and the audio track where the equalizer would be adjusted based on a good hearing test printout to compensate for the hearing loss? Maybe some kind of mix of attenuating the good/loud frequency area and boosting the poor frequency area? Then run that audio through your speakers or headset.

By having the equalizer essentially taking the place of a hearing aid, which I understand are problematical anyway, one could tweak the original audio track based on the modified/equalized signal one would hear through the equalizer.
John Nantz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2013, 04:16 AM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
Re: Limited Frequency Range of Older Ears

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out why one of the wireless mics sounded muffled.

Then I remembered the hearing in my left ear is better than my right. I swapped around the earbuds and sure enough, the other mic was just fine.

A test at the audiologist confirmed there's a loss in the right ear.

A proper hearing aid would compensate for the decline. Would work just fine for doing mixdowns and EQ's in a room. But for work requiring snug earphones it would mean having to get some sort of interface where the compensation EQ can be programmed.
__________________
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
Dean Sensui is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:10 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network