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Thread: Taking care of our ears

  1. #1
    yeecn Guest

    Default Taking care of our ears

    It is gross, but funny nevertheless. Some of the ear cleaning procedures are not intuitive at all, and using Q-tips is bad. This is a discussion forum, so it would probably be prudent to verify the facts.

    http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/...howtopic=76262

  2. #2
    Vlado Guest

    Default Re: Taking care of our ears

    ohhhh,

    cables, ear cleaning procedures, antiresonant devices.............

  3. #3
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    Default Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Anyone dealing with "tinnitus"? No issues with this through my forties, but it has gradually caught-up with me. As I inquired around the internet I began to see that tinnitus is a big issue for many. Some sufferers even have trouble sleeping unless they have some "white noise" in the background. Like many health issues that present with aging, there is no "cure" for tinnitus per say - but there are measures which may help lesson the symptoms. For those among use who are still relatively young, I urge you to learn about tinnitus and protect the hearing that you now have. Not to be an alarmist, but a cautionary note is in order for those who listen to their music loud (and especially those who use headphones to do same). Listening to music at high volumes is certainly not the only precursor for tinnitus, but it is one cause over which you have control.

  4. #4
    yeecn Guest

    Default Re: Taking care of our ears

    Quote Originally Posted by Vlado View Post
    ohhhh,

    cables, ear cleaning procedures, antiresonant devices.............
    I guarantee that it is nothing like that all all. The hydrogenaudio forum was setup by the guy who developed LAME, which many considered the best MP3 encoder. The forum is about different audio encoding. It is mainly about mathematics and computer algorithm - and nothing about XYZ brand of amplifier/cable/interconnect and whatnots.

    Apparently the forum is really no-nonsense. Nobody can get away with claiming one encoding is better than another without the proof of double blind experiment.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Yes, I have it to a degree. I listened to large amounts of heavily amplified music in my teens and early to mid-20s (live rock concerts, clubs with live bands, discos, etc.), without hearing protection of course, and I remember being at one show in my later 20s and the tinnitus just hit me, and has remained since. I rarely notice it unless I think about it specifically.

    I've had my hearing tested and have been told I have very good hearing acuity, better than normal, so the tinnitus doesn't seem to correlate with hearing loss per se, and I certainly enjoy and appreciate listening to music as much as ever. But I tend to avoid shows or environments that I know will be unduly loud, and if I have to go for whatever reason, I wear earplugs at least for part of it and usually all of it.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    ...I remember being at one show in my later 20s and the tinnitus just hit me, and has remained since. I rarely notice it unless I think about it specifically...
    I attended a trade conference, and was standing at the bar with another delegate in conversation when we both overheard someone mention hearing damage. We stopped talking to listen-in on their conversation.

    One said that his hearing had "never been the same after a live rock concert in about .... 1973...". At this, my friend said that his hearing too had been permanently damaged in approx. 1973. He asked the first person if he could recall when, where and the name of the group. "Yes, it was Jethro Tull at the Brighton Dome".

    My friend said "Yes - same as me. Same concert, probably same evening". I added - 'that's incredible, because I have a school friend who attended the same convert at the same venue and who also consequently suffered permanent hearing damage'. So that's three people that we know of whose hearing was ruined from that one night's concert. How many of the entire audience were equally crippled? I understand that loudness is now regulated (or should be by the local council) and that there are enforceable rules about how loud these concerts can play; but as I don't attend them I'm not sure. Always take cotton wool to be sure: nobody can see it in the dark.

    Listening too loud is not clever, not a badge of honour. It frustrates and annoys me when I see questions about how loud our speakers will play etc. etc.. You only get one set of ears and we design for a good sound at a moderate, safe, responsible loudness.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    About 15 years ago I visited a Motorhead concert. It was a wise decision to wear hearing protection. It was so incredibly loud that you couldn't distinguish between instruments or voices without ears protection (what I tried for some milliseconds or so). I'm sure that I would have lost most of my hearing without anything in my ears.

    But here is the funny thing that I will never forget. After the concert was over, a really dangerous looking rocker approached us quite quickly and I first thought that he has a problem with someone of us. But when I looked into his face I saw the tears in his eyes. He asked us very friendly to help him getting his ear protection out of his ears ...

    So it doesn't matter who you are or where you attend a concert, it's no shame to wear ear protection!

  8. #8
    macraddy Guest

    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    I?m 34 and have suffered for two years. Luckily I?ve always protected my ears with industrial ear plugs when attending amplified concerts (both as audience member and performer,) and stopped attending such events altogether when the tinnitus started. I can still enjoy classical concerts, so I?m happy. There are a couple of broad causes, one is due to a shock, e.g. the Jethro Tull concert, leaving behind possible nerve damage (which can be detected via MMR scan) hence the ringing is from damage to some part of the ear system. The other is ?auditory memory? I think, where one?s brain believes that there is a signal from the ears that doesn?t actually correspond to an external sound. My hearing itself is very good, so I haven?t damaged my hearing, however the most common cause is from a high SPL event. The other issue associated with prolonged exposure to high SPL is permanent threshold shift, so another good reason to keep the volume down!

    For me, about 30% of the time the ringing is loud enough to distract me from my hi-fi. (Classical music played quietly.) In this case I switch to headphones which masks the ringing more effectively. (But means I can?t enjoy my Harbeths!) I?m currently under the care of new consultant, my second visit to him is in a couple of weeks, so my fingers are crossed.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    There is good reason to air this subject which is not given any attention amongst hi-fi enthusiasts. I truly believe that I have not only respected my ears, but as I do not listen to music daily, live in the countryside and enjoy silence, they have received an average exposure lower than most people today.

    That said, for reasons unknown, my right ear has a dip in its frequency response at about 8kHz, recovery to normal above this frequency which was not there a few years ago. How this came about I don't know: I wish I did and assuming it's exposure related, I'd avoid that exposure. It came to light about five years ago on a routine check. It's high enough up the scale and in one ear only (excepting this blip, they are both thankfully remarkably flat I'm told, even for my age) to make no difference to my work or enjoyment of sound. If I knew the reason for this I'd pass it on to you as a warning. Please do take care of your own ears: I value all our ears and design for a full, natural, warm sound listening at a moderate level - other don't.

    Audiologists can make two tests on hearing acuity: one using headphones where they are testing the conversion process through the drum, inner ear (tiny bones) and on to the nerve cells. The other, the bone conduction test, clamps a small speaker onto the skull behind the ear and this transmits sound through the skull to the nerve cells. If both tests show a similar result, then, sadly, the nerve cells have been damaged and cannot be repaired, restored or replaced. Once they're gone, they're gone.

    If we receive any more questions about playing speakers at extreme levels I'm really tempted to delete them. Harbeth users do not need to play loud to enjoy perfect quality of sound. I through our loudspeakers do not want to be party to damaging anyones hearing.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  10. #10
    macraddy Guest

    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    TW - I've seen Motorhead at least 6 times and you're not wrong about protection being necessary! I understand they play at 130dB(A), which is 10 above the threshold of pain. Plus a doubling of sound energy is such an environment would only increase the SLP by 3dB so I can't imagine the damage it'd do. I saw them in Leeds once and they turned the volume up after the guy from the local council had left with the sound level meter! I wonder what exposure is allowed by law nowadays? Maybe an 8-hour average [LAeq] with a similar criterion to the noise at work regs?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    If I had my way, they'd face criminal prosecution and a long jail sentence. Playing that loud is as socially irresponsible as dousing the audience with radioactive dust - incalculable long term damage.

    If you find yourself in such a lunatic asylum get out as quickly as you can. It only need seconds of exposure for your ears to be permanently destroyed.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #12
    macraddy Guest

    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    On the subject of tinnitus, Eustachian tube - the tube that balances the middle ear and the back of the throat, malfunction can also play a part. This can be measured easily by an audiologist using a device that gently pressurises the ear. It takes a couple of seconds only and can determine if this is a factor very quickly.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Do you know what this procedure is called?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Just as an aside - Tinnitus can be caused by Blood Pressure **********, in particular Diuretics like Frusemide and Bendrofluazide. If you're on these and being driven up the wall, you should speak to your Physician.

  15. #15
    Jon_R Guest

    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    I used to go to quite a lot of rock concerts when I was in my 20s and one in particular that stands out is a Metallica gig at Wembley Arena around 12 years ago. I was sitting high up at the side, towards the front of the venue, almost in line with the stage, in fact. Directly above me was this huge bank of speakers. Needless to say, the music was LOUD - very loud. I could have sworn I heard whistling in my ears for around three days afterwards, after which it died down.

    I hesitate to say it's back to normal, though, because it was around that time that I recall experiencing what I thought was tinnitus for the first time - I definitely recall a 'ringing' in my ears, at home at a time of extreme silence. At night I usually have the radio on anyway because I often have trouble sleeping and I think I was also afraid I'd hear the ringing again at night. It was eerie enough during the day time, but at night...!!

    I have to say that these days, I haven't experienced the ringing sound in my ear since that time, which makes me wonder whether what I heard was tinnitus-related at all or simply my brain working overtime one day. All I know is, I'm glad I found Harbeth, because what I need is a pair of speakers that will give me all of the music at low-to-moderate volume levels - it is good to know that Alan Shaw makes this requirement one of the key factors of his design brief.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    There is good reason to air this subject which is not given any attention amongst hi-fi enthusiasts. I truly believe that I have not only respected my ears, but as I do not listen to music daily, live in the countryside and enjoy silence, they have received an average exposure lower than most people today.

    That said, for reasons unknown, my right ear has a dip in its frequency response at about 8kHz, recovery to normal above this frequency which was not there a few years ago. How this came about I don't know: I wish I did and assuming it's exposure related, I'd avoid that exposure. It came to light about five years ago on a routine check. It's high enough up the scale and in one ear only (excepting this blip, they are both thankfully remarkably flat I'm told, even for my age) to make no difference to my work or enjoyment of sound. If I knew the reason for this I'd pass it on to you as a warning. Please do take care of your own ears: I value all our ears and design for a full, natural, warm sound listening at a moderate level - other don't.

    Audiologists can make two tests on hearing acuity: one using headphones where they are testing the conversion process through the drum, inner ear (tiny bones) and on to the nerve cells. The other, the bone conduction test, clamps a small speaker onto the skull behind the ear and this transmits sound through the skull to the nerve cells. If both tests show a similar result, then, sadly, the nerve cells have been damaged and cannot be repaired, restored or replaced. Once they're gone, they're gone.

    If we receive any more questions about playing speakers at extreme levels I'm really tempted to delete them. Harbeth users do not need to play loud to enjoy perfect quality of sound. I through our loudspeakers do not want to be party to damaging anyones hearing.
    A couple years ago, I was also diagnosed with a dip around 4KHz in my left ear - luckily the bone conduction test confirmed that my nerve was fine. So she concluded it was some kind of blockage or "growth"... went for an MRI and they found nothing wrong. So it was a relief health-wise, but you can imagine the distress this caused for an audiophile like myself... resigned myself to a life with mid-fi audio! ;-)

    Luckily, I went back for another test 1 year later and this time both ears tested fine. Strange. But I am very grateful that it reversed itself. Hopefully it's the same for you.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon_R View Post

    I have to say that these days, I haven't experienced the ringing sound in my ear since that time, which makes me wonder whether what I heard was tinnitus-related at all or simply my brain working overtime one day. All I know is, I'm glad I found Harbeth, because what I need is a pair of speakers that will give me all of the music at low-to-moderate volume levels - it is good to know that Alan Shaw makes this requirement one of the key factors of his design brief.
    Hear, hear (literally). The posts in this thread have been very interesting. I remember one Jethro Tull concert in Montreal in about 1978 after which my ears were numb for about two days afterwards, then slowly returned to normal. This seems not to have been such an uncommon experience, then.

    It's really too bad, because when I think back there were a few concerts at which the volume level was more than loud enough to hear everything very clearly, even physically in the way you only can at a live concert (e.g. bass frequencies causing your pants legs to flap in the breeze), but which were nonetheless not amplified to the point of pain, and at which the sound was clear and clean and allowed you to go home afterwards not suffering from noise hangover. Unfortunately, this was the rare exception. In retrospect, I just have to shake my head at whoever it was (sound tech? musicians? management?) that thought that amplifying live music to and past the pain (and probably clipping) threshold was a good idea.

    There are many reasons I appreciate Harbeth both for its products and for its corporate philosophy, but one of them is certainly the design emphasis on making speakers that sound good at realistic, real-world, healthy volume levels. I like to turn it up just a little once in a while, but I can listen to my Harbeths at very reasonable levels and be fully satisfied with their sound. That's priceless.

  18. #18
    macraddy Guest

    Default Re: Tinnitus aka "ringing-in-the-ears"

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    Do you know what this procedure is called?
    No, but I'm seeing the consultant on the 8th, so will find out for you!

  19. #19
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    Default "Please make me deaf"

    Born deaf, but thanks to unbelievable surgery, able to hear for the first time. Video here. What a joy.

    Conversely, born with perfectly good hearing, but hell bent on deafness. Video here. Also here. Enough power to flex sheet glass here.

    Low frequencies can have immense power. They can pass through every material even granite with impunity. Remember that when investing in pucks, felt or isolators between your speakers and their stands. A millimetre or two of "isolator" is going to have no effect whatsoever at low frequencies.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  20. #20
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    Default Hearing damae in ones youth

    On encountering this thread I have to relate my own experiences over my life.

    At the age of about 4 or 5, my Father took me from Herne Hill where we lived to Waterloo Station to see the rail turntable which fascinated me. When we arrived, there was a large Pacific (4-6-2) steam train on the roundabout which was being turned around for a return journey.

    Once it had been turned it started up, and, my Father, knowing it would be shocking to me, at a distance from the large wheels of about 3 to 4 feet, held me tightly so that I could not struggle into the wheels and hurt myself. I was terrified at the steam, sparks, and wheels spinning and skidding, and at the noise levels which must have been high.

    Later in life, in my teens and as an apprentice at "Aquila", Bromley, I was living at its associated hostel in Chislehurst. The caves were nearby and as teenagers we went often to the dances with live groups there. Though amplification was at that time limited, the sound was enclosed in caves - very dense tunnels of rock, and I remember distinctly my stomach being sucked in and out with the sound pressures. They must have been high.

    In the early 70s I used to listen to a 10 watt per channel home made amp with a pair of Tannoy Lancasters 15s for a great deal of the time; I calculate about 103dBs max.

    My last folly, other than going to clubs, was that after rebuilding my pair of 100l active speakers in '97, I measured 113dbA at 30 feet in my current lounge with them.

    Philosophically naive until that point, I then realised that the real issue was one of having a speaker which was purer, more revealing, less colored, and that louder was missing the point. I now listen typically at 60 to 75dBA, and occasionally a little higher.

    I am 64 and have had tinnitus since about '90 when I was 42. Do not abuse your bodies; the flurry of youth often lacks wisdom.

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