Main Forums >> Production - Mixing, Mastering, Gear & Techniques
        Print Thread

Pages: 1
Anonymous
Unregistered




Dangers of closed-back headphones new
      #958204 - 09/12/11 06:55 PM
I've read quite a lot about the dangers of using closed-back headphones, including stories of people losing much of their hearing within a year of use.

Last year, I was experimenting with making timbres from scratch using the wave generator in Wavelab, and ever since I've had low frequency tinitus. (It could be conjestion caused by a dust allergy, but I'm not sure.)

Anyway, there are a few headphone brands on the market that claim to avoid problems caused by channeling sound directly in the ear canal, but they cost $1000s. I now try to use my monitors all the time, but it's not ideal.

I remember, when I was in a band, there was a bizarre attitude to hearing-loss, like it's the 'rock 'n' roll' equivalent of a fisherman's shark bite wound or something. Sort of, smurking proudly about how bad their hearing has got. I always found it laughable that worrying about hearing was considered uncool or whimpy. Has anyone else experienced this?

Personally I don't want to go deaf because I want to hear detail and create music all my life, that's all. Perhaps you're supposed to want to die young too, choking on someone else's dog's vomit?


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Hugh RobjohnsAdministrator
SOS Technical Editor


Joined: 25/07/03
Posts: 22431
Loc: Worcestershire
Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones new [Re: ]
      #958206 - 09/12/11 07:06 PM
The danger is not specifically from using closed-backed headphones, but of having them too loud and using them or too long at a stretch. The same dangers are present when using in-ears, open-backed headphones and high-resolution speakers (the latter because the very low levels of distortion make them seem much quieter than they really are!)

There is currently nothing that can be done to restore hearing accuity once damaged -- at least not to a level that would allow skillful audio processing and balancing -- so the only option is to look after your sense of hearing as carefully as you can, and that means minimising your exposure to loud sounds. You can do that by reducing the volume through sensible level settings and/or attenuating earplugs, and by reducing your exposure time by taking regular breaks.

I'd much rather still be able to enjoy music and converse easily in my dotage then appear 'cool' or 'hard' in my teens... which is possibly why I was never deemed 'cool or hard' when I was a teenager!

Hugh

--------------------
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Arksun



Joined: 15/06/11
Posts: 30
Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones new [Re: ]
      #958209 - 09/12/11 07:12 PM
Would be cool if there was some kind of SPL meter for headphones. That's one nice thing about speakers is that you can easily keep an eye on what the SPL (c) weighting level is and keep it under 85db.

Though speakers make me far more nervous than headphones for those unplanned blasts of noise, at least with cans you can tear them off your head quickly. When speakers blast all out its like going into shock for the first few seconds before reaching for the volume knob.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones new [Re: ]
      #958243 - 10/12/11 04:48 AM
Thanks.

Advice on avoiding hearing loss with headphones:

http://gilmore2.chem.northwestern.edu/articles/hearing_art.htm

Has anyone tried the Ultrasone headphones? They are supposed to incorporate bit of technology to sound more natural be safer to use. http://www.ultrasone.com/


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Shambolic Charm



Joined: 13/07/05
Posts: 969
Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones new [Re: ]
      #958265 - 10/12/11 11:41 AM
it's not just the pressure. The extended use of closed headphones leads to a build up of heat and humidity in the ear canal which is an ideal condition for bacteria to thrive many of which are already present in the ear. these bacteria and virii can lead to temporary hearing loss or long term damage.

--------------------
www.myspace.com/shambolic-charm


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
Posts: 10927
Loc: The wilds of Hampshire
Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones [Re: ]
      #958294 - 10/12/11 03:28 PM
Ultrasone must have been giving away headphones to all the stand holders at the last AES show I attended as they were everywhere (this was a few years ago). The only problem was that they sounded like they'd boosted the bass and treble on everything so I wouldn't trust them for anything critical. Mind you, I thought the same about Sony headphones and they're very popular too.

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
uphillbothways



Joined: 19/11/09
Posts: 190
Re: Dangers of closed-back headphones new [Re: ]
      #958297 - 10/12/11 03:49 PM
There's nothing special about any kind of sound - excessive sound pressure over time is what causes hearing loss. It's easier to reach excessive levels on headphones, partly because they are deceptively quiet due to low distortion and a lack of 'chest bass', partly because the neighbours won't start banging on the door if you crank it up.

If you're really concerned, Canford offer most models of pro headphones with in-built limiters, calibrated to a specified maximum level. They're expensive and a bit inconvenient, but they're also an almost foolproof safeguard.

We have a natural tendency to want things louder, so over the course of a session levels tend to creep up without you noticing, often to levels you would have considered painful at the start of a session. A simple preventative measure is to set your headphones to a comfortable level at the start of a session and mark up the control.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator     Back to top
Pages: 1

Rate this thread

Jump to

Extra Information
1 registered and 8 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  David Etheridge, James Perrett, zenguitar, Martin Walker, Hugh Robjohns, Zukan, Frank Eleveld, SOS News Editor 
Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is enabled
      UBBCode is enabled
Rating: *****
Thread views: 3438

January 2015
On sale now at main newsagents and bookstores (or buy direct from the
SOS Web Shop)
SOS current Print Magazine: click here for FULL Contents list
Click image for January 2015
DAW Tips from SOS

 

Home | Search | News | Current Issue | Tablet Mag | Articles | Forum | Blog | Subscribe | Shop | Readers Ads

Advertise | Information | Privacy Policy | Support | Login Help

 

Email: Contact SOS

Telephone: +44 (0)1954 789888

Fax: +44 (0)1954 789895

Registered Office: Media House, Trafalgar Way, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8SQ, United Kingdom.

Sound On Sound Ltd is registered in England and Wales.

Company number: 3015516 VAT number: GB 638 5307 26

         

All contents copyright © SOS Publications Group and/or its licensors, 1985-2014. All rights reserved.
The contents of this article are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, whether mechanical or electronic, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Great care has been taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this article but neither Sound On Sound Limited nor the publishers can be held responsible for its contents. The views expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the publishers.

Web site designed & maintained by PB Associates | SOS | Relative Media