Originally Posted by John Robert
As we get older, many of us Boomers suffer hearing loss, more prevalent at higher frequencies(sample graph attached). With the advent of automated DSP-based room correction, would a device make sense that used EQ to restore "flat" frequency perception? Kind of like Audyssey, but individually customized to correct for hearing rather than room anomalies? And given the gradual decline over the years, would such a device sound painfully bright?
One of the relevant characteristics of hearing loss is that it varies with level. Hearing tests are taken at levels that are characteristic of conversation, not listening to a full symphony orchestra or rock band. At higher levels some of the lost HF sensitivity is not lost. I'm 63 and I can hear 18 KHz very well, just play it loud enough!
Some forms of hearing loss create an interesting conundrum - the individual can't stand music at loudnesses that most people find loud but tolerable and sometimes even pleasureable. "Turning it up" or "turn up just the treble" can't be an useful option for them.
Another situation with hearing loss is that it varies for the individual depending on other circumstances, such as what you listened to throughout the day and your general health and tiredness.
Finally, we want things to sound natural. If you have hearing loss than what you think is natural includes that hearing loss. If you compensate for the loss in an unnatural way, it will make things sound unnatural. Do you want a stereo that has great treble but sounds totally unnatural to you?
The current state of the art puts the most effective forms of compensation for hearing loss into little portable audio systems we call "hearing aids". Some of the practical problems I mentioned above can be addressed that way.
Most of the better hearing aids have computers and DSPs and can be programmed to do some quite sophisticated things. They can be programmed by skilled professionals who have a lot of data about the ears of the person being treated. I think it is going to be while before consumers are do this for themselves.
Trying to put these same kinds of compensations into an audio system and for one thing, you've got an an audio system that can only possibly sound good for one person.
Since most audio systems don't have level-sensitive equalization, they can't possibly really do a good job of addressing some of the problems I mentioned above.