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I recently had a hearing test done, and I had to listen to a tone at various frequencies and indicate each time I heard it. When the test was over, they produced a pretty detailed frequency response curve for my hearing, showing that I had significant upper frequency loss.


That got me thinking about the automatic room correction software that's found in higher end receivers, and I wondered, "Would it be possible to have a hearing compensation mode in a receiver? Maybe I use headphones and a switch that plugs in to the receiver to map my hearing, then the receiver adjusts EQ so that what my brain hears is 'flat'.


Would something like that work? Maybe a 'solo listening' mode that compensates for your own hearing curve....


I don't even know what that would sound like. I imagine that by now my brain has adapted somewhat to my ears, and if I heard music with the highs boosted to compensate it might just sound really bad now.


But it's an interesting idea. Has it been tried?
 

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You bring up a point that I find is often missing in discussions on the "bright" vs "warm" characteristics of both speakers and amps. This is often the missing element why people get confused when someone says (for example) "Klipsch are overly bright"....and another poster says of exactly the same model, "no, they are quite smooth and balanced".


Once you eliminate the other connected equipment and room treatment, you are left with exactly what you are saying: people's hearing ability varies widely.


So, some people with a slight insensitivity to higher frequencies may find that a "bright" speaker with a prominent response in that range actually sounds more balanced to them. It is somewhat compensating for the hearing loss by boosting the upper frequencies.


You know the "put your ear to the speaker to see how quiet your amp is" test that pops up as a thread every now and then? When I do that with my left ear, my amp is dead silent...when I switch ears, ooops, there is a slight hiss.


I highly recommend SPL meters and test tone disks when setting up a system. However, don't be surprised if the "technically right" settings don't always sound right. Additional tweaking within reason "by ear" is usually needed to compensate for the listener's true hearing ability.
 

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You may find that such compensation is not only difficult to achieve but entirely unsatisfying. First, because it requires careful parametric EQ. Second, because your brain has adapted to the frequency response of your auditory input and adding compensation, for the brief periods when you listen to it, will make the music sound as unrealistic as it would to anyone with extended response hearing.

We've done some informal tests of this which confirm these predictions. I suggest that you simply use tone controls, ad lib.


Kal
 

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I'm glad I'm not the only one in this "silent" minority. Due to being in plants and probably to being older than dirt, I too know that the higher frequencies are lost to me. It's a shame that no one has given this problem the attention that it deserves. There are also a lot of younger people who's hearing has been damaged due to loud concerts etc. Perhaps they make up for it by settling for just plain loud.
 

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What? (The most common response from thoughs of us that do not hear well.) But, look on the "bright" side. I can make out the dialog with movies that others can not quite hear (some lip reading.) I can also buy cheaper audio equipment.


I've considered getting the wireless Senn headphones. They have a mode for hard of hearing. Anyone tried them?
 

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very good point, and this is why I always want an EQ. I guess after 12+ years of DJ'ing, my ears probably have taken a beating as well so I do tend to favor more bright sounding systems. I often wonder just how others hear my system some times although I have nothing but excellent comments so far and everyone want me to pick and calibrate their system so I can't be that bad....yet. I'm not someone that listens to music at insane volumes at home or in the car anyways, and I never lived with a walkman attached to my head when I was younger. I had a hearing test about 10-15 years ago, and I was rated one of the best they've ever seen....but that was 10-15 yrs ago. I'd like to get it done again just to see.


When I hear someone say they find something warm or bright online, I always think about their ears. Very good points indeed.
 

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This is certainly a problem. Old farts with big opinions about sound quality with brick ears! ;-)


Solutions:


a) if you are over 50 stop commenting about sound quality- you aren't qualified anymore- sorry but true


b) consider EQ to boost frequencies (usually higher frequencies) where you are deficient. Yes, there will be an adjustment period but you will adjust.


The truth is rarely palatable.
 
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