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Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

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Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Reds » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:31 pm

Hi all,

I've had constant tinnitus on the right side for a while now. It's quite mild and not too intrusive and I finally got round to getting a hearing test yesterday.

I had a "Pure Tone Audiogram", and the results weren't great, I have typical indicators of noise induced hearing loss.

I thought I'd post this, as a courtesy to others on what the test is about, and why you shouldn't leave it too late to get YOUR ears tested.

Men being men, are typically reluctant to go to the Docs, because we are hardy macho hunter killers, (Monty Python - "it's just a flesh wound" sketch comes to mind). Get over this ridiculous reasoning and get em checked!! I wish I had 10 years ago.

The Audiogram test consists of you sitting in an iso booth wearing calibrated headphones.

The doc plays white noise noise in one ear, and a sine wave pure tone in the other.

When you can hear the sine wave - you press a button on a little handheld thing.

The test seems mainly concerned with your ability to hear speech clearly, especially in the presence of background noise like a pub, or bar. Hence the tones are played at a range of frequencies that cover this sort of spectrum.

My tests were @ 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 4000 & 8000Hz, which is the norm I believe.

The tones are played at various intensity levels and when you start to deliver inconsistent results pressing the button - you've reached your hearing threshold for that frequency and the level is marked on a graph. You can't cheat - you either hear it, or you don't! or you think you do, and that's where the inconsistent button pressing starts I guess.

The scale on the graph is dBHL (dB Hearing Level or Loss I think), which is a scale normalised for 'normal hearing'. I can't get too medical about it, as I'm obviously not a doc, but basically there's a range in which you have normal, or better than average hearing, and then lower levels show reduced sensitivity to whatever the frequency was.

'Normal' is in the range from 0 to about 20dBHL, and better than average would be -10. (The negative figures are above the zero line on the graph).

My results showed a drop down in sensitivity (i.e. hearing loss) from 1000hz to a big notch at 4000hz and then it got better again going up to 8000hz. The doc says this is typical of noise induced damage, as the bits of the ear that are most easily exposed to noise damage cover these frequencies. The higher and lower bits are physically more protected somewhere in the ear apparently.

So that's about it. Get your ears tested, like you would your eyes and the rest of your manly (or girlie) bits!!

........ because..... and here's the IMPORTANT bit

You don't feel any pain as your hearing is slowly damaged.
The degradation is slow and you might not notice it at all.
(Excepting obvious ringing after club nites, gigs etc).

My results are in the range of 'mild hearing loss' - Any more and I'd be in to moderate. But the thing is, even now I don't really notice it - it was the tinnitus that made me go to the docs in the first place, not any feeling that I was going deaf, or couldn't hear certain frequencies, or speech clearly - but I clearly have some probs according to the graph, so now I wonder what I'm missing hearing!! and for how long it's been like this.

Anyway, don't want to sound depressing or anything, but if maybe you get your ears checked and find out that you have small/tiny problems starting to show now - you will be shocked in to looking after your ears better for the future eh. And will have some time to do something about it.

I'd like to maybe suggest a SOS article, on things like tinnitus and hearing tests. Especially for Pros in the industry who might need more extensive tests. i.e. What kinds of test there are etc. Just some general info would do, or maybe a more detailed article with contribution written by an appropriate medical expert, should that be feasible.

Luckily my hearing isn't that bad, I can still hear the Eurovision song contest winning entry ;)

p.s. I didn't mind sharing this personal info, as I'm not a Pro in the industry - I don't rely on my ears for a living. I do this for (admittedly wallet denting) fun, gearlust and a love of music.

I've worked around noisy construction sites, noisy data centres, loud rehearsal rooms etc. Who knows where the damage comes from over time. Is your iPod deafening you! The doctor did say that this type of result is becoming more frequent now in people my age. (wrong side of 30s, just)! I'm sure all the Pros here already ensure that you have your yearly hearing test booked well in advance. :)
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby jacknicmusic » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:38 pm

I agree with your encouragement!

I went to get moulds for my custom IEM's and got an ear test for free! (This was at David Ormerod Hearing Centres... which is basically your local Boots.)

It brought up some alarming info about my ears which I've since taken measures to protect if it wasn't for the test.

So I really reccomend doing it!

Jack

PS - A downside is that now (in my twenties) I get hearing aid leaflets through from David Ormerod Hearing Centres advertising me of their latest offers... Not ready for one of those yet haha!)
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Reds » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:47 pm

Nor am I (ready for a hearing aid) yet. But apparently having one wouldn't help my type of hearing loss, as they bring up all the lower frequencies too, so the problem is still there anyway. When I am ready for one in my autumn years as my bones turn to dust, I want a lime green Nike one that doubles as a Bluetooth headset and wireless headphone.

p.s. The 3-4k range is where the consonants are, which is the key to understanding speech clearly.

The vowels are in the lower frequencies, which is why hard of hearing people can hear you - they just can't make out what being said very easily. I'd need a reverse de-esser it seems!
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby jacknicmusic » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:54 pm

Reds wrote:I'd need a reverse de-esser it seems!

Could you imagine fitting something like that to your ear!! :P
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Reds » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:57 pm

"The Acme 19" head-mounted re-esser"

Actually, joking aside - you can't 'fix' these problems, or compensate with EQ. Once it's gone - it's gone.

So go book your test and avoid being a rubbish mixer in the future.
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Tui » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:55 pm

My hearing on the right ear is pretty lousy, I'm not sure where that came from. I had otitis media as a child, and later became a pro drummer, so that probably didn't help either. God, when I think about the noise levels created by some of the bands I played with... Madness. These days, it is another reason why I mix mostly in mono. That way, both ears get to hear the same signal, and the brain seems to somehow compensate for the differences in high frequency content.
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Dinkleberry » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:29 pm

My mate tested out his sub the other day and both me and another guy left thinking [ ****** ] - there's something iffy with our ears, ever so slightly muffled for a while. The sub was loud, but you don't tend to notice when your listening to just bass.

Nice one for posting about this, perhaps worth a prominent sticky?
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Neil C » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:21 pm

Reds wrote:
So go book your test and avoid being a rubbish mixer in the future.


But if you do all you can to avoid damaging levels already then that is all you can do avoid harm - having a test will not change anything.
As you say a test isn't going to restore any existing loss.
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Reds » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:47 pm

You can have be predisposed genetically to develop hearing loss like this anyway, even if you are being sensible. An example might be two guitarists in a band where one doesn't have a problem and the other does, when exposed to the same levels over time.

The point about being a rubbish mixer was slightly tongue in cheek - but main point still holds. There might be a medical reason for hearing loss, and you'd want to know about that wouldn't you? The same reason you should get your eyes tested regularly.

I think that being aware that you are less sensitive to particular frequencies, might help you understand a potential problem you might be having with mixing - I guess the best thing to do, is keep comparing your mixes to similar genre commercial mixes which we all do anyway.

I bet that my room and acoustics are playing more havoc with my mixes than my ears even now !
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Neo-Classical Guitar Man » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:15 pm

I'm only 36 but for years I have worn ear plugs when attending concerts, although I wish I had worn them to band rehearsals too etc. Anyway I really recommend looking after your hearing because like some have already said, once it has gone......it has gone!

I'm quite interested in knowing how good my hearing is too, because when I point out certain noises to other people they are clueless as to what I am hearing. Examples include the infamous Mosquito tone and the high frequency pitched sound that comes from CRT TV and computer sets. My TV can sometimes cause me a little pain when the programme noise doesn't sufficiently mask the high frequency pitched tone. I once returned a CD to HMV due to it having a constant high pitched tone running throughout the entire album, making it completely unlistenable for me. Needless to say the shop staff were unable to hear the tone.

I'm off to see Queensryche perform Mindcrime 1 & 2 in their entirety tomorrow in Leeds, so I will be taking my ear plugs for sure!


NCGM :)
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Dan LB » Sat Jun 14, 2008 2:46 pm

I recently had custom ear plugs made and had this test. I got the ear plugs made obviously because I was concerned about my hearing. They weren't cheap but as I always say, you can't put a price on your hearing. I play in a band so they are great for rehearsals and gigs. Even attending gigs that I'm not playing.

Anyway, I have have been working in television studios for the past 4 years as a sound op now and I wear talkback headphones for most of every day I'm there. The headphones are enclosed, and as I also need to hear my surroundings I only wear them on one ear (my left). When I took the hearing test, I found I have bit of a dip around 6kHz in my left ear which I don't have in my right ear. I reckon this is down to wearing cans everyday on this ear.

As a result of doing the test I'm now taking measures to minimize the effects of the talkback cans. I try to only wear them when I really have to, and I also switch ears throughout the time I am wearing them.

Also, I'd highly recommend Elacin custom moulded ear plugs to anyone who needs good SPL reduction without the loss of intelligibility or high frequency.

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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby morganjohnson1232 » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:16 pm

It seems like I'm not alone, I just turned 40 and like many people on here, I've been playing guitar since I was a kid. Over the last 10 years I've been careful to use earplugs, but not so much when I was younger. I just got a new job at a local factory and had my hearing tested. Actually, they used an iPad hearing test called SHOEBOX (I found their website - www. shoebox. md), and it turns out that I do have some hearing damage. I have a follow up appointment in a few weeks, I'm hoping it's not that bad. Thanks to everyone for sharing, I'll post an update once I have more information!
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby 3rdConstruction » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:23 am

Neil C wrote:But if you do all you can to avoid damaging levels already then that is all you can do avoid harm - having a test will not change anything.
As you say a test isn't going to restore any existing loss.

I understand your point if one is already careful about noise exposure :thumbup: , but I suspect many typical naive young folk (such as myself a few decades ago) take robust good health completely for granted & likely do not worry about noise exposure if there's been no obvious immediate consequences :thumbdown: . I would argue that identifying hearing loss early brings the problem to your attention that you can then take steps to minimize further damage, if it's noise induced.

I first recognized I had hearing problems in my early 30's. Mine's a combination of otosclerosis & noise induced. At least identifying it then made me much more conscious and careful about noise exposure.
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:56 am

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

To anyone about to respond to earlier posts just be aware that this thread is over 11 years old.
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Re: Just had a hearing test (Pure Tone Audiogram).

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:30 am

Indeed... it may well be just a drive-by spam poster pushing the Shoebox app... We shall see. :-) I've deactivated the link, anyway...

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