EQ for Hearing Loss? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-04-2010, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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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?

Maybe some of the lower end Klipsch speakers are already a step in that direction ...

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post #2 of 13 Old 01-04-2010, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

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?

Maybe some of the lower end Klipsch speakers are already a step in that direction ...

John

I am far from being an expert of whatever, but use of EQ or anything to account for such loss has limited application to small corrections, not serious losses. Imagine pumping in 10x, 20x or more power to some tweeters so you can recover your hearing if that helps in the first place. I think that would shorten that tweeter's life rather quickly. Come to think of it, I doubt EQ can boost by that much in the first place. My thought anyhow.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-04-2010, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it's not my graph (just an example I got online), but I have been to my share of live music events, some louder than others, over the years. I undertand your point as even 3dB of boost requires a considerable amount of power. Maybe I should post this thought in the $20K plus forum as that might be the price for a customized unit...

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post #4 of 13 Old 01-04-2010, 11:21 PM
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My advice is to not correct for individual hearing anomalies. No matter how we hear or how our hearing degrades over time, our reference is always the real world, and always with the flaws we have. Attempting to correct the flaws at the source will create a un-natural experience.

If you can correct all sources (reproduced and real world) all the time (i.e. at the hearing aid stage), then there might be some benefit.

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

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.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 06:40 AM
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Like some already said, it is not a good idea. The reference is still our own ears regardless what problem they have.

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post #7 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

As we get older, many of us Boomers suffer hearing loss, more prevalent at higher frequencies(sample graph attached).

If that curve is accurate, maybe I shouldn't bother upgrading my speakers.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lmacmil View Post

If that curve is accurate, maybe I shouldn't bother upgrading my speakers.

I have seen the thought posted that, by the time in life that most of us can afford high-end gear, the irony is that we're ill suited from a hearing standpoint to get the full benefit of it. Although it is nice looking at the pretty cabinets ...

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post #9 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Robert View Post

I have seen the thought posted that, by the time in life that most of us can afford high-end gear, the irony is that we're ill suited from a hearing standpoint to get the full benefit of it. Although it is nice looking at the pretty cabinets ...

John

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post #10 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

One of the relevant characteristics of hearing loss is that it varies with level. ... [snipped great explanation]

Thanks for your explanation, arny. That helps my understanding a lot.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-05-2010, 05:52 PM
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All true. Now I worked vary hard not to go to any Who concerts stoned, always use hearing protection in my woodshop, racetrack, and range. I know I have lost several K. But, odd as it is, I find high frequency "issues" more objectionable than when I was younger. I find I am liking even more laid back balance. As I still hear well past 17K, maybe I am just not ready for a little eq yet.

The other irony is the high end gear is so "artistic" in presentation, with light gray 8 point print on silver panels, we can't see the controls either. I was listening to a Krell preamp a few years ago and both the salesman and myself were kneeling on the floor with our glasses off trying to read the print. Maybe that is why so many senior listeners buy Mac! Kind of like the i-control in a BMW. Only a 20-something can figure it out, but only his grandfather can afford the car.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-06-2010, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

The other irony is the high end gear is so "artistic" in presentation, with light gray 8 point print on silver panels, we can't see the controls either. I was listening to a Krell preamp a few years ago and both the salesman and myself were kneeling on the floor with our glasses off trying to read the print. Maybe that is why so many senior listeners buy Mac!

Couldn't agree more. It's amazing how many hi-end companies spend 6 months trying get the last .0001% of THD out yet seem to spend 6 minutes on the interface between equipment and user, remotes included. There should be a law against rows of small same-sized buttons...

John

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-08-2010, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

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!

Hi Arny,

Thanks for your insights.

In the "Over 20 kHz" thread, which unfortunately has been deleted, you corrected my misconception that turning up the volume increases hearing sensitivity, correctly stating that I had it backwards. (In other words, the spacing between the equal loudness curves increases with increasing SPL meaning that the sensitivity is decreasing with increasing SPL.) However, in the above quote you seem to be reversing your point in stating that sensitivity is not lost with increased levels.

Perhaps this is merely semantics, but isn't it more correct to state that increased levels permits us to hear better because it puts us within our threshold of audibility, not because it improves hearing sensitivity?

Thanks.

Larry
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