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Damaged hearing?


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I was listening to one of my tracks and was super bothered by some sort of "rattling static" sound I was hearing out of my right ear. At first I thought it was my headphones and was pissed because I had just bought them but I suspected it might just be me so I switched the headphones out with some shitty earbuds and the rattling was still there.. The only variable left was the mix itself so I listened to various other songs pretty loud and still had the static-y rattling though it was fainter.

So I came to the conclusion that I have damaged hearing.

Weeks ago, I was experimenting and mixing with some very harsh leads and distortion and after doing this for a couple hours I noticed my ears were aching and it was borderline painful. This happened even though I had a limiter set up. But anyway I rested my ears for a couple days and they stopped aching.

So now I'm just afraid to mix, basically. Do you guys have any recommendations to heal or improve hearing? Since the rattling is worse when listening to my own mixes, do you think there's something dangerous I may be doing when mixing, such as incorrect limiter settings?

Thanks for any advice.

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Sad thing is, as musicians, we're pretty much definitely going to bork up our hearing over time. From losing our high-end frequency response to tinitus. Can you hear the rattling all the time, or any other time apart from listening to music or your own music? Actually, hang about...

...Y'know, my girlfriend's sister got an ear infection and got completely clogged up with wax. The wax dried up, flaked off in chunks way back in her ear and began rattling about in the ear cavity. Have you seen a doctor about the possibility it's induced by a build-up of wax? It's food for thought because it sounds exactly how she described, perhaps music is making it vibrate around? Who knows, I'm speculating. Worth thinking about.

I had painful ears from TOO MUCH CHIPTUNE AND SQEAKY MONO-SYNTH; couldn't mix my own music for like a week, I'm not even kidding.

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Rest your ears (i.e stop for a while), listen to music on lower volumes... stop if they start to rattle again... pretty basic stuff but if you're worried you're damaging your hearing, stop doing the thing that you think is causing it, and go to doctor if it persists :)

Others will probably come up with better solutions, i'm no expert by any means whatsoever.

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The way to reduce a mix's level so your ears don't hurt is to turn the monitoring level down, not fiddle with the limiter settings.

Also, seconding the earwax thing. You might try cleaning out your ears with ear drops and then flushing them with something like this. Until I did this recently, my left ear's high-frequency response wasn't quite as good as my right ear's, and my stereo center was slightly off. All fixed now (although I still have mild tinnitus from an ear infection ten years ago -- can't win 'em all).

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I'll definitely try the medication stuff first, but I do have a history of ear infections. They actually got so bad that I nearly had an ear tube procedure done. Also, every time I've gotten on a plane I get nasty earaches that I guess are due to pressure.

Maybe I should have brought those incidents up, but it's been years since an infection or a plane ride so I had pretty much forgotten. I do have tinnitus, but I thought that was pretty common. It's a very high-pitched tone that I've learned to tune out of consciousness.

My hearing is pretty borked, isn't it? :(

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If you have health insurance, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a check-up with an otolaryngologist or an audiologist to check your hearing and get your ears cleaned. A good audiologist should be able to do a full audiogram to let you know the frequency health of your hearing range.

May even change the way you mix.

Most importantly, even though it seems like a passive exercise, listening to sound should be considered an exercise, and the health of your ears depends greatly on you managing how often and at what intensity you listen to sound.

Hearing damage is no joke, and nothing to mess around with, you are not doomed to losing your hearing due to being a musician, you can be aware of your hearing environment and take precautions to protect your hearing for the long run.

One time I was at a comedy show and the sound guy was retarded and had everything that was prerecorded at club levels, which was ridiculously loud, so I left the show, found a nearby drug store, and bought ear plugs to attenuate the sound. It sucked because some of the jokes I couldn't hear, but I would rather not enjoy a couple of bad jokes to save my hearing for later.

My job depends on my ears working.

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True. Loud is loud, regardless of where you set your brickwall. Unless you're Beethoven, you'll need your ears to make music.

We could all just learn to be Beethoven...

But yes, this hearing problem sucks. I would be devastated if my hearing was impaired, especially because I'm so invested into mixing and composing.

And probably the best advice on the thread is go see a doctor (special doctor for this is even better). They can tell you more than we can (unless we have ear doctors on the site)

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90% of mixing should be done at low volume. It's not only important to protect your hearing, but it's also a good way to mix different instruments to proper levels (if something is in there that you can't hear, it's probably not being mixed right).

High volume mixing is only needed when you're mixing bass.

Your ears actually have built in compressors, which will make things seem quieter than they are. They can take some abuse, and recover when you stop using them for a while, but long, sustained volumes can cause permanent damage, especially when using headphones. Getting sick or ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss also, and may take a long time to recover from depending on the severity.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I've had Tinnitus for a long time. Ringing...........always ringing. Not usually loud, if other sounds cover it up. I usually can't sleep because it's silent, so all I hear is a high pitched ringing that never quits.

It's better than voices :D

Actually, I'd take quiet voices over tinnitus. It's really that annoying..

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A friend of mine has serious Schizophrenia. So bad in fact, he saw disturbing images in clouds and the voices told him to kill himself. Which he almost did.

It was intense.

:shock:

My god... I'm sorry for your friend. Hope he's able to sort things out.

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I'd mucho rather do my work on speaker monitors, but I need my own studio before I drive my neighbors/roommate crazy. I think once I become half decent at music they'll probably mind less >_>

But I've been concentrating totally on video and motion graphics these past few months, so they'll have to suffer a while longer.

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You need studio monitors with correct speaker placement and reflection dampening pads on the walls if you want accurate frequency response.:tomatoface: Speakers in general won't always give you the flat curve you need. xD

I don't know if you've ever been into a recording studio or not but I've been in about 2 dozen in my time. People that are serious about music production simply don't mix on headphones and with very good reason. Also with near field monitors the room doesn't matter quite as much because the direct sound is reaching you first and the reflections don't have as great a colouring effect on the sound.

Nothing in general will give you the flat curve you need unless you're prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars but least of all headphones.

Don't listen to me, look at the professionals who actually record, mix and master music for a living.

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I don't know if you've ever been into a recording studio or not but I've been in about 2 dozen in my time. People that are serious about music production simply don't mix on headphones and with very good reason. Also with near field monitors the room doesn't matter quite as much because the direct sound is reaching you first and the reflections don't have as great a colouring effect on the sound.

Nothing in general will give you the flat curve you need unless you're prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars but least of all headphones.

Don't listen to me, look at the professionals who actually record, mix and master music for a living.

Um.

:?

This is an incredibly confusing post.(especially the bold bit)

Care to explain?

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Um.

:?

This is an incredibly confusing post.(especially the bold bit)

Care to explain?

When mixing and mastering, it is crucial to get an even and unbiased frequency response from your listening environment. The reason being that accuracy counts the most when trying to balance the mix and create the final master for a variety of end user listening situations (whether people listen to your music on headphones, earbuds, car stereos, or expensive home theaters) and still maintain an optimal listening experience.

To sum up, you need a great listening environment in order to create a mix that sounds best on all potential user gear.

This listening environment is not exclusive to just your speaker system. The shape of your room can have a great effect on your perception of frequencies as well as the reflectiveness of your room can have a great effect on your perception of space/reverb and resonance.

It's important that if you're serious about spending money on great listening gear, that you also spend time and money addressing the sonic nature of your listening room.

This may mean treating your walls with absorptive paneling or diffusing arrays of reflective material, or it may mean renovating the wall shape to accomodate a non-parallel surface.

For further information, please google "Room Nodes and Acoustic Treatment"

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I don't know if you've ever been into a recording studio or not but I've been in about 2 dozen in my time. People that are serious about music production simply don't mix on headphones and with very good reason. Also with near field monitors the room doesn't matter quite as much because the direct sound is reaching you first and the reflections don't have as great a colouring effect on the sound.

Nothing in general will give you the flat curve you need unless you're prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars but least of all headphones.

Don't listen to me, look at the professionals who actually record, mix and master music for a living.

I never said to mix on headphones. :nicework:

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People that are serious about music production simply don't mix on headphones and with very good reason.
Stupid post.

Yes, it is true, monitors are widely considered the preference. When I've used our uni studio I've pretty much solely mixed with them, however headphones are bloody good at getting an intimate sound and, possibly most importantly, 90% of your audience will be listening through them. Heck, some studios mix on iPod earphones simply because most people will be using them.

You don't optimise for yourself if you're planning on other people to listen.

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I don't know if you've ever been into a recording studio or not but I've been in about 2 dozen in my time. People that are serious about music production simply don't mix on headphones and with very good reason. Also with near field monitors the room doesn't matter quite as much because the direct sound is reaching you first and the reflections don't have as great a colouring effect on the sound.

I don't know if you know this, but most studios have money. Most hobbyists... well, we kind'a don't. ;) Headphones is a lot more accuracy for the money.

Reflections always matter. Reverb and phase interference are gonna mess with your idea of what your mix really sounds like. If you've been in two dozen studios, you should know they tend not to have lots of hard, flat surfaces. :tomatoface:

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