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Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

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Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:48 pm

Hi guys for a while now in my studio i have felt like there is an in balance in my stereo feild when mixing. For while i thought maybe its a dodgy cable, faulty monitor etc etc. Its not any of that in fact I have a pair of brand new PMC Result 6 and all new high end cables.

So, finally i go off to have my hearing tested and sure enough I have some damage to my inner ear on my right side only. They printed off the graph to show and it scared the life out of me.

From 2K to 8K its a steady decline and at its worst its 25DB less.

Apparently in their terms its only classed as moderate and sure enough in my day to day life i can not tell so thats fine but when i mix i really can.

So my big question is this:

Is there anything wrong in applying the opposite curve in frequency to the right side only of my monitoring output to compensate. I appreciate this may not be an exact science but if i could get it back on balance roughly speaking that would mean a lot to me.

Anyone got any good advice on this i would really appreciate it.

Here is a link to my results: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ddqdbufru6sg ... T.jpg?dl=0

Thank you
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Kwackman » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:06 pm

First point is that I am NOT an audiologist, so take nothing as gospel here!

Your right ear seems to be 10 dB lower at best, so adding 10 dB to the right speaker will help a fair bit, up to 2kHz anyway.

Then, I suggest you listen to a mono voice, (a spoken male voice seems to be the weapon of choice for most tests I've read about). Grab your monitoring pan pot, and without looking at it (close your eyes!) pan hard left, hard right, then slowly move it until you "hear' the voice central.

Look at your pan pot, and either note where it is to keep it there, or adjust the level in one of your speakers and try again until the pan pot is central. Do this a couple of times (pan right, then left then find the middle) until you're happy the voice is consistantly in the middle.

The brain can compensate a fair amount, although I'm not sure if it'll make up for all your difference above 2kHz.

All the best, and I hope you find a good compromise that works for you.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:28 pm

Matthew Seed wrote:Apparently in their terms its only classed as moderate...

And in terms of understanding speech -- which is the criterion they are working to -- it is.

Is there anything wrong in applying the opposite curve in frequency to the right side only of my monitoring output to compensate.

YES! For a start, you'll stress out the tweeter massively which will result in early failure. More importantly, it won't actually work, because both ears hear both speakers, which is kind of important in the way stereo imaging from loudspeakers works!

Your inverse curve idea would work more successfully on headphones, but a 10dB or more boost at HF is asking a lot, and there is the strong possibility that sending ever-louder HF noises into your inner ear will cause the existing damage to worsen still further! To be bluntly honest, in your situation I'd be reducing my exposure not increasing it!

I have long argued for the need on monitor controllers for a 'balance' control. Sadly, very few commercial designs offer this facility but it was considered an essential feature in my BBC days. Everyone has slightly different hearing sensitivities side to side, and when training sound assistants and studio managers we taught them to put mono speech on the speakers and adjust the balance control to get a central image for them. It was unusual for any two people to set the control in the same place!

So I'd suggest adjusting the balance control of your system -- of if you don't have one, adjust the input sensitivity of one speaker -- to centralise the image as best you can on speech. It won't stay central for higher frequency sources because of your falling HF response, but it should help with your imaging placement judgements.

Anyone got any good advice on this i would really appreciate it.

Best advice, is learn to live with it and work around it -- plenty of people do. At the AES trade shows in America they usually have a hearing testing truck in the venue, and I've seen big-name mix engineers walking out of the truck holding their test plots, some of which have been far worse than yours! (no names -- don't ask -- but you would be shocked!)

The brain is amazing at learning to compensate, and the critical thing about a mix is the overall balance, not the stereo positioning. So work in mono to adjust the balance (from a single speaker, if possible), and then when you're happy tweak the pan-pots by eye to place things where you think they need to go. Many experienced mixing folk argue for 'cardinal panning' where everything is either in the centre or hard to one side or the other, rather than anything subtle in the mid positions... which makes things nice and easy!

Note, though, that because of the effect of the panning law you might then need to readjust the (mono) balance slightly after setting the panning.

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Brian M Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:47 pm

This may also be a good opportunity for Forum members to examine sound levels both at concerts as well as in the studio.
When I researched my programme about Tinnitus, some very worrying facts came up. Iv offer the following not as an expert, but picking up form what I learned. Young people are beginning to exhibit the same hearing loss as the over 50's. it has been suggested that this is due to the widespread use of mobile phones connected to headphones but especially earbuds.
Musicians are particularly vulnerable and I was surprised to discover that this is not confined to heavily amplified gigs, if anything it is even more prevalent in orchestral music.
Moderate hearing loss can be helped with hearing aids (especially the newer digital models) but my understanding is that you can't recover the high frequencies, once they have gone.
My hearing aids boost the mid frequencies above 2kHz, much above 8kHz is totally missing.
Tinnitus (hearing noise that isn't physically there) is far worse. There is at present no cure; you can only address the side effects.
Again, although there are many other causes, high noise levels is one of the main precursors, especially among younger people. The programme we produced at Radio Harrow for Tinnitus Awareness Week runs about 30mins. Let me know if you would like to hear it and I can post a link.
PLEASE - BE CAREFUL OUT THERE.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:58 pm

Thank you all so much, it was indeed quite shocking for me to get this result today and i have to admit to being a little scared by it.

I will try the idea of male voice and panning, also the Result 6 monitors have a manual volume pot on the back so i guess I could back of the left one until it feels balanced with the right. This will of course only improve the balance up to 2K but its a start.

I take your point on mono mixing Hugh. thats a good idea indeed to make sure i'm not making any unbalanced EQ choices.

Thank you all very much.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Matthew Seed » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:00 pm

Hi Brian, yes i would like to listen to that programme if you wouldn't mind inc the link that would be appreciated.

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Kwackman » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:20 pm

Matthew Seed wrote: the Result 6 monitors have a manual volume pot on the back so i guess I could back of the left one until it feels balanced with the right. .

:thumbup:

Matthew Seed wrote: This will of course only improve the balance up to 2K but its a start.
True, although it also lessens the difference over 2K by 10dB.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Logarhythm » Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:54 pm

Hi Matthew,
You have my sympathy - I've got a not dissimilar problem so understand some of what you're going through. I too have uneven hearing, originally caused by an infection but to keep life interesting it isn't a fixed offset and seems to be quite changeable.
Just sharing this link in case there is anything useful in the thread for you - I certainly found some of the advice helpful :tup:

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=58064&hilit=Mixing%20with%20wonky%20hearing#
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Brian M Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Sorry all
Not sure if the link went through, here it again:

http://www.radioharrow.org/news/tinnitu ... week-2017/

There is a 20min live interview followed by the full programme at about 22 mins
Cheers
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Brian M Rose » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:14 pm

Sorry - full programme about Tinnitus starts at 26:00
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:31 pm

Brian M Rose wrote:Young people are beginning to exhibit the same hearing loss as the over 50's.

This is very true, sadly. The numbers of people under the age of 25 diagnosed with serious or severe deafness has risen very rapidly over the last two decades... And yes, earbuds and prolonged exposure to loud music is thought to be the reason.

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 16, 2018 6:34 pm

Matthew Seed wrote:...the Result 6 monitors have a manual volume pot on the back so i guess I could back of the left one until it feels balanced with the right. This will of course only improve the balance up to 2K but its a start.

The energy in music falls off at roughly 3dB/octave, so the energy above 2kHz is a lot less than that below. Consequently, getting the balance right for material below 2kHz will give a pretty workable result, in practice

And once you have a mix, there's no harm in asking trusted friends to have a listen and just confirm everything is as it should be. Just be very wary of boosting the HF in anything!

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby billr » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:03 am

A friend of mine had the same problem which he got round by purchasing one hearing aid for the bad ear to bring it up to line with the good one as much as possible. He says that this made a huge difference to his mixing ability. The problem was finding a suitable hearing aid as most are designed to maximise speech intelligibility rather than give an even balance for music. Most of them split the audible frequencies into bands, process the bands individually and then attempt to recombine them which he says sounds unnatural. He found one brand called Bernafon Zerena which works differently with good results for music. It has music programs which turn off unnecessary processing and he says sound pretty natural. It can do omnidirectional to pick up sounds all round and cardioid to pick up mostly from the front. Apparently digital hearing aids are getting better quite quickly as bit rate and sample rate keep going up for a given size of processing chip, but battery life can get less for the higher rates. It was not a cheap solution however, and finding an audiologist who understood the problem was difficult, but it worked for him.

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby garrettendi » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:08 am

I can verify that with the right digital hearing aids (or in my case a cochlear implant) you can learn to hear music with time and practice. Having a special music mode like mine does is also hugely beneficial.

I would recommend you see if the NHS (assuming you live in the UK) can provide you with an aid, but the waiting list might be rather long.

As someone who has been severely Deaf with an aid for 28 years, and profoundly/completely Deaf with an implant for 3/4 years I'd say all hope is not lost. You just might need a leg up sometimes from someone with better natural hearing, and there's no shame in that, no matter how embarrassed you may feel. I've been there and have one or two stories to tell!
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby billr » Tue Jul 17, 2018 11:26 am

Oh yes, here's a link that you may find interesting. Quite old but still relevant.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4040855/

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Matthew Seed » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:48 pm

Thanks you all for this info its all really helping me.

garrettendi I have to say my problems are nothing compared to yours, I feel lucky and like i shouldn't even be moaning at all when i read your post. So thank you for commenting in such a positive way.

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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby garrettendi » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:53 pm

Matthew Seed wrote:garrettendi I have to say my problems are nothing compared to yours, I feel lucky and like i shouldn't even be moaning at all when i read your post. So thank you for commenting in such a positive way.

I just don't want people to feel they immediately have to give up something they love when confronted with a disability. If you want to pursue this like I did, then make it happen.

[EDIT: I know you were asking for monitoring advice not saying you might give up, but I hope the sentiment of my posts are valid.]

The overwhelming response I've had from my peers on this forum and YouTube has been very positive, so I want to pass that onto you. Hearing loss is hearing loss, and it doesn't matter that someone has it "worse" than another.. When you spend your time working with audio, anything less than perfect will be an uphill struggle.

(As an aside last night I had a comment on YouTube basically telling me I might not want to pursue this... I read it, then shrugged it off. He's the only person that hasn't been encouraging).

I'm sure others might come with more suggestions, and please do let us know how you develop with overcoming the obstacle.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:58 pm

Apologies if someone else has already posted this (I didn't spot it, but hey, my eyes are going as well ;) )

As others have said, learning to work with any hearing limitations is always a good idea.

However, if your ears have differing responses, you can end up compensating too much and getting a lopsided mix you're not careful, so try swapping the stereo channels over from time to time, to make sure that your high end still sounds OK 'on the other side'.


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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Mike Senior » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:56 am

This is slightly off-topic, but it's a trick you might also find useful. My hearing is also somewhat asymmetrical in stereo, and although it doesn't usually bother me at all day to day, occasionally I can't be sure whether some source in a stereo recording is actually central in the image (say the snare in a stereo overheads recording). So I use the left-right flip switch on Brainworx's freeware Bx_solo plug-in to reverse the stereo image -- anything that doesn't change its apparent stereo positioning is centrally placed.
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Re: Hearing Loss - Monitoring Question ???

Postby Matthew Seed » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:44 am

garrettendi just ignore those like the person on Youtube, what a crazy thing to say......Just because its difficult, give up. There is negative people all over, thanks for your comments i did indeed take them in the way you meant.

Mike Senior that is also a good method, I use a UAD Apollo Twin i am not sure if that has that flip switch but it does have the mono switch. So, Hugh's suggestion of listening in mono would also be useful.

Tonights the night when i try the trick of increasing the overall volume of the right speaker by around 10DB or what audibly feels balanced and see how i get on.

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