Tinnitus, hearing aids and composing/mixing

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  • #37786 Reply

    Hi Guys,
    I’ve finally reached the age where congenital deafness and playing in too many rock bands in my early years
    (without ear protection) has caught up with me.
    My hearing isn’t bad yet but I’ve decided to get hearing aids to see if it will help….especially with the Tinnitus.
    Question…..Do I wear the hearing aids when I mix/compose or will they give me a false mix. I’m losing the upper frequencies which will be boosted by the hearing aids……
    Any advise or links on this one greatly appreciated.

    Also and this is important…..my brother is a retired ENT surgeon and he said that any time your ears ring after experiencing a loud noise/band etc you have done ER-REPARABLE damage to your ears. Some silica in the ears die off…..and they don ‘t grow back. You have so many to start with that you don’t notice and your brain compensates but over the years it takes it’s toll. Sting/Eric Clapton/Santana/Al Di Meola/Phil Collins/the late George Martin to name some of the many who suffer from this
    Look after your ears you only have two.

    Thanks guys again any advise about hearing aids much appreciated.


    #37787 Reply
    toby tune

    From my experience over many years, audiologists only test up to 8 Hz. My hearing has lost most of my high end. I keep asking if they can test up to 12kHz and above and the answer has been no. I have looked into hearing aids and the best they can do is go up to 7 KHz. My hearing curves down after 5Khz. I have other people do my mixes. Looking into bone convection, it seems it might help the low end but not the high end. SOL.

    #37788 Reply
    Art Munson

    Hi Bob, we have similar histories and hearing problems. Hearing aids are problematic as they are mostly designed for speech. There is also a lot of processing going on that can affect what you are really hearing. I found this article a few years ago from Rick Ledbetter that you might find interesting. https://musicandhearingaids.org/2017/01/03/musician-hearing-loss/. He ended up programming the hearings aids himself.

    I ended up using a spectral analyzer and my wife’s ears (she is also a musician) to work around my hearing problems.

    #37791 Reply

    Thanks Toby tune and Art for feedback. Much appreciated!
    I’ll check the link thanks Art.
    I kinda thought that might be the case on the processing side. I’ll def try out the spectral analyzer.
    Bone convection…..sounds interesting.
    I’ll let you know how I get on over the next few months.
    Thanks again.

    #37799 Reply
    Thomas Recher

    Hi Bob!

    A good friend of mine invited me to this thread.

    I’m an audiologist in NY and also a recreational musician. There can be an argument to say that when wearing aids that are tuned to your hearing loss, you may feel off from the true mix. However, from what I’ve found through my experience, your best bet is to amplify. Certain frequencies are weighted differently (higher Hzs are softer naturally and require more sound pressure) so you would really need to crank up your monitors to feel like you’re getting everything.

    My recommendation – Widex hearing aid brand is great for musicians – the most widest frequency spectrum. I would have your audiologist make sure you have a program that turns off any sort of noise reduction, wind noise reduction, impulse noise reduction, speech in noise settings – and have the MICs in omnidirectional mode so when you’re mixing your hearing aids aren’t clipping anything out. It may be good to have the MPOs raised up slightly (the max output) so that there’s no clipping of louder sounds.

    I do a lot of counseling for tinnitus. Would be happy to answer any questions anyone has.

    Dr. Thomas Recher

    #37801 Reply
    Art Munson

    Thanks Thomas for that great post and information! It certainly is an issue many of us have to contend with after spending decades in the music business.

    #37832 Reply

    Thomas, thank you again from me. I’ll check out all those points.
    It’s strange how the Tinnitus first appeared. At first I was hearing a very high pitched frequency when mixing a classical piece. I checked my speakers and various connections to see where the feedback was coming from. Then it mysteriously went away. Only to return about six months later…intermittently. It wasn’t until one night in bed that I realized what was going on. But the whole process took about 5 years to where I am now with the constant high pitched whistle.
    Luckily I can sleep…..but composing/mixing an Olafur Arnalds type album is posing a quite a struggle. However with the right aids and as long as things don’t get too worse I think can win.
    There’s also a lot of mind control involved I feel. With relaxation techniques and therapy.
    Again thanks for input.

    #38087 Reply

    I’ve had hearing loss for probably 20 years but finally got behind the ear hearing aids 2 years ago when I got tested again and was categorized with “profound” hearing loss about 2000Hz. But I just can’t use them when mixing. I use headphones exclusively because I would miss too much without them. So far I have not had any negative feedback about my mixes so I guess I’m doing okay. I do know that I rarely use high frequency instruments such as cymbals, shakers, bells, etc etc, because I can’t hear them in the mix anyway.

    #38089 Reply

    @bobsstudio If you have Tinnitus with no corresponding hearing loss try checking your posture, especially sleep position. I know it sounds unlikely but it has helped me tremendously. I had terrible Tinnitus, the kind where you think your head is going to explode, that started during a nasty flu and would not go away, but I had no accompanying loss of hearing. For almost 2 years I tried every remedy I could find, eventually to an energetic alignment by a remote chiropractor who recommended I keep my neck straight, both while sitting at thre monitor and also sleeping, especially to put more pillow support when sleeping on the side and less pillow under the head when sleeping on my back.. Remarkably it made a dramatic difference. Now when I have ringing or hiss I also realize I have been sitting leaning forward with my head tipped up at the monitor or some other misalignment. Hope this helps

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