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Author Topic: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing  (Read 19107 times)

maxdimario

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WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« on: January 30, 2006, 02:04:46 pm »

First of all, an article with some statements by Pete townshend regarding using headphones in studios etc.


http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060104_earbuds.html

Today I went to another doctor, and did another hearing test, because a few months ago I had an outburst of loud tinnitus.

the tinnitus has subsided enough that it is now possible for me to enjoy music somewhat, although not as long, and only music which will not create too much stress on the ears.

Although I am still able to make fine judgements regarding sound and electronics at moderate listening levels, I have definetly lost the ability to enjoy the music as much as I used to, given the constant 11KHz, 4Khz and 2K ghost tones that are now my backround noise.

My hearing loss would be technically described as 'moderate' not severe.

I just wanted to underline that I now realize that most of my hearing loss was due to my constant demo-writing in headphones, over the years, which is why I posted the article above.

The final straw, as far as I can tell was playing over a live drum kit and monitoring in headphones, for a couple of weeks, a month BEFORE symptoms arrived.

At first I could not listen to anything without hyperacusis.

So the moral of the story is: it's better to have extra loud monitors than moderately loud headphones.

throw those headphones away, if you don't want to end up like myself.

We need to make people more aware of how dangerous headphones are to hearing, I feel.

Headphones haven't been around enough for people to know the real truth: you will become deaf prematurely.

I am currently looking for some way to make the damage less frustrating.

who'd have thought it would kick in at my age? (37)
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rankus

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2006, 03:25:09 pm »



Sir George Martin also credits headphones as the main cause of his hearing loss.  (Excessive volume levels in the cans)

I make a point of only wearing them for 20-30 seconds at a time for drilling down on parts of a mix (to confirm what I hear in the monitors) then get them off as quickly as possible... I try to keep the volume as low as possible in the cans as well... still hanging in there at 47 years old... (fingers crossed)
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Greg Youngman

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2006, 06:15:49 pm »

And hearing aids are not a solution to hearing loss.  They only do more damage.
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Ronny

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2006, 02:02:01 am »




Researchers have been successful lately in regenerating hair cells in birds with certain drugs. In the past, once a hair cell was gone and we have an average of only about 16,000 of them, it was gone. Hopefully as research develops and what they are learning and doing now with birds can be carried over to mammals and humans in particular, the days of hearing aids may be numbered and may be replaced with biological reconstructive hearing repair in the not too distant future.
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tamasdragon

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2006, 05:34:41 am »

I think the main point is not the equipment, but the usage. You can easily 'achieve' hearing loss, with constant very loud monitoring through speakers too.
Regards Tamas Dragon

maxdimario

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2006, 06:13:25 am »

This is true, but the damage achieved by direct coupling of the headphone to the eardrum is devastating.

it's a lot simpler to ruin your hearing with headphones.

I'd like to stress this point as much as possible, because we are used to having laws that limit us from doing permanent harm to ourselves, but there are no official campaigns that illustrate the danger involved to the degree that the average user will be convinced of the potential for harm.

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Ronny

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2006, 10:36:55 am »

maxdimario wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 06:13

This is true, but the damage achieved by direct coupling of the headphone to the eardrum is devastating.

it's a lot simpler to ruin your hearing with headphones.

I'd like to stress this point as much as possible, because we are used to having laws that limit us from doing permanent harm to ourselves, but there are no official campaigns that illustrate the danger involved to the degree that the average user will be convinced of the potential for harm.





I've never gotten the ear damage thing, when it's loud enough to damage my ears it's uncomfortable to me and I turn it down. It's definitely not the gear that is responsible, but the person that is turning the volume knob. You can get damage from speakers or cans equally, it's just that can's are much more likely to give damage as people listen to them all of the time and a loud rock concert typically is over within a couple of hours. The cans are also flat up against the ear and no matter which way the head is turned the gain stays loud. The way it works is SPL at X amount of time. The louder it is, the less time you can listen before damage occurs, up until a point where dB does instant damage, that's around the 140dBA level, IIRC when that occurs.
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eightyeightkeys

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2006, 12:39:02 pm »

Also, wear hearing protection when you're doing any kind of construction that could be harmful. Hammering a nail, nail guns, bashing 2X6's into place, etc....
i have a feeling that this is how I've injured my right ear (though I'm not sure). Building my second studio. Just frickin' great.
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Dave T.
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Ronny

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2006, 12:53:16 pm »

Dave @ D&D wrote on Tue, 31 January 2006 12:39

Also, wear hearing protection when you're doing any kind of construction that could be harmful. Hammering a nail, nail guns, bashing 2X6's into place, etc....
i have a feeling that this is how I've injured my right ear (though I'm not sure). Building my second studio. Just frickin' great.



I'll bet there are many more factory workers with hearing damage than musicians or audio engs. They remain exposed all day long 5, 6 days a week. Study has been done on factory workers where narrow frequency ranges are damaging. For example working near a machine that outputs a very loud narrow band of freq's. They can lose acuity in one narrow range while remaining normal in the rest of the spectrum.
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tamasdragon

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2006, 04:01:35 am »

In my case cans were protected me from hearing loss. I was mixing monitors live for a top band in Hungary for 4 years. I alway worn cans. I quickly learned how my 'mixes' translates to wedges, and in-ears. My good headphones protected me. I used a volume in them, which was comfortable for me. I muted them for periods, so headphones became a protect device. Now I'm doing live very rarely, but the doctors exam proved that I have no hearing loss. All I tried to tell you is that, if you use cans wise, than it's not more offensive to your hearing than anything else in this world.
Regards Tamas Dragon

maxdimario

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2006, 04:10:49 am »

this is true,
if you use them wisely, they will not harm you.

A lot of musicians do not use them wisely, though.

it's easy to get carried away when you're playing OVER blasting amps and drums.

there is also the fact that, if you do have hearing loss, to hear well you need to raise the level to the working threshold of your hearing. So it can easily become a vicious circle over the years.
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maxdimario

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2006, 08:36:49 am »

There's an interesting article on headwise that stresses taking the headphones off frequently, as it is very difficult to judge sound pressure in headphones, and the ear tends to become unduly insensitive after a short time...which leads to turning it up.

My tinnitus is seemingly a result of the damaged cells being 'ON' all the time, instead of reacting  to sound.


Here is an interesting link.. you'd be surprised at the amount of showbiz people who have shot their hearing because of a stage prop or something.

http://tinpan.fortunecity.com/melody/73/tinnitus.html#
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Ryan Leigh Patterson

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2006, 12:57:59 pm »

I used to work landscape construction in the summer months when i was in University and I spent days on end usning all sorts of large and very loud machinery.  Quickcuts (gas powered stone saws terribly loud), jackhammers, skidsteers, etc...
I ALWAYS wore a set of custom fit ear plus AND the largest over the ear style muffs that I could find.  I think my hearing actually got better @ work because I would have these things on for hours at a time.... here's the kicker, I was also teaching @ an audio school during the evenings and I would come in after a day on the construction site and I'd be blown away by the volume that some of the other instructors were monitoring @.  I was always turning stuff down..... still am....


People monitor way to loud, headphones or not...
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Glenn Bucci

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2006, 03:02:24 pm »

I never had my cans at loud or even simi loud volumes. Alwasy at low volumes.

Ipods are another concern as well as the public just does not care about blasting music right into their ear drums. We will start seeing lawsuits against Apple from people who will say, I did not know that loud music or noise for that matter would damage my hearing. These are the same people who sue McDonalds for being fat.
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maxdimario

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Re: WARNING! headphones will ruin your hearing
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2006, 02:01:46 pm »

It's good to see that a lot of you don't take things to the excess.

unfortunately from a musical and creative standpoint, when you listen to rock or modern music which uses volume as part of the recipe, it's difficult not to get emotionally caught up, especially when you've had a few drinks and you hear everything soft.

anyway I can't stress enough that the onset of this awful condition is NOT predictable.

Mine came one morning during the summer from out of the blue, and at the time it sounded like 90 dB.

now it's somewhere around 60-70 dB but it's NOT going away.

I have been listening to loud sources for years, but the last year or so I had been spending more time on headphones, and there was a 2 week project which was objectively loud because of the small room etc. and monitoring in cans over drums.

Had I known it would be like this I would have changed my habits.

hearing LOSS does not scare me.. what scares me is ghost tones, and sine waves that never leave my head day or night.

I hadn't really calculated on it being so severe all of a sudden.

So this is just to emphasise to the people who do use headphones but are not afraid of the circumstances.

you are making a big mistake if you are not playing headphones very quietly.... I mean very quiet..

Headphones can be more damaging than you think.

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