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Topic: OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

  1. #1

    Question OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

    Hi Gang,

    I have a high frequency hearing deficit (increasingly worse hearing as frequency goes up), and would like to tweak my studio setup to compensate. I'm thinking of either adding a 31 band EQ before my monitors, or an EQ plug before the output of my master mix. So, if my hearing is down 8 dB at 6kHz (relative to say 1kHz), I'd boost 6kHz by 8 dB. This would let me mix and hear music like a person with normal hearing would, in proper frequency 'proportion'.

    Have any of you used any software that would allow one to use his own computer/studio to map his own hearing? Once I had such a curve, I'd know how to dial in the EQ compensation to match my ears. Without such a curve, I'd only guess. Google turns up some possibilities, I haven't a clue if any would be worth bothering with.

    Sure, I could go to an audiologist and get another test. But I have a suspicion that their results are slanted more to selling hearing aids than giving an objective, accurate result.

    Thanks for any thoughts,

  2. #2

    Re: OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

    It makes intuitive sense, but wouldn't do that. Your brain compensates for hearing loss, and this would just throw your reference way off.

    If you're in doubt about what you're hearing, run it through a spectrum analyzer and check it to see if anything looks really weird. Or better yet, compare your mixes to commercial ones in the same vein if that's possible.

    By the way, your hearing may not keep tapering off as you go higher - it could just be down around 4-8kHz, which is the normal range to lose as you age.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

    Cross post. Great minds...

  4. #4

    Re: OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

    Good input, thanks gentlemen. And no, I don't mix for a living - anything final for public consumption goes to a mixing/mastering engineer. I'd just like to get closer to the right thing in what I do, and not have glaring errors evident that I'm unable to hear myself. I do employ the A/B technique, but obviously that only works for what you can hear :-)

    The whole concept was triggered by having a mixing pro listen to some draft mixes of new pieces I'm working on for my next CD. He found that I made mixing 'mistakes' in the higher frequencies, like hi hats, for example. Too loud, open hat not balanced with closed hat, cymbals loud, that kind of thing. I simply don't touch any high end EQ in any event, I just pretty much trust that my libraries and plugs are 'about right' in that range, and I leave it alone for the golden ears to take care of.

    You may well be right - if the brain has learned to compensate for what's missing, I suppose one could really screw things up by changing the 'reference' at this point. It might still be an interesting exercise to try the EQ boost, just to see what it sounds like.


  5. #5

    Re: OT: EQ'ing to Compensate for Hearing Deficit

    I own a hearing protector that passes or amplifies normal sounds, then shuts off whenever the sound is too loud. Response is nowhere near flat, and the noise level is considerable. The first time I tried it, I thought it had pulled out or failed after a few hours, because I thought I could hear normally again. Then I turned it off, and found it had been working just fine. In those hours my brain had done some adaptation. With more experience, I'm now aware of what's missing when I use that device, and will probably try to build a better one, but it was a neat lesson in adaptation.

    Someone with a good deal of patience could EQ a system to mimic the response of one class of hearing ability, either better or worse than the mixer's ears. The next hours or day would be spent listening to various material on that system. Once some reasonable adaptation has occurred, the mix in question would be checked. If it worked, it could expand the usual principle; a good mix sounds good at home, on the computer, in the car, in young ears, and in old or injured ones. Unfortunately, the adaptation would have to be undone later.

    I doubt this will result in anything useful, but I find this topic vastly more entertaining than cleaning the living room.

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