Equalized Headphones for Music


#1

Hi All! I live in the Houston area. I have no hearing issues on a day to day basis. But, I have age related high frequency hearing loss that detracts from my enjoyment of listening to recorded music. I know that using the inverse of my audiogram as the EQ settings in iTunes, along with nice headphones gives me the results I’m looking for in the short term. I’d like to find a doc in my area who will help me work with dialing in my high frequency settings, and help me make sure that I won’t damage my ears. Any recommendations? Anyone on this forum have experience with this?

The 2 audiologists I’ve been to really couldn’t relate to my problem, since I can understand speech perfectly well. I’m interested in the frequencies from 4-20kHz. I will need a lot of boost in that range. Headphones are not really linear in this range. I’m worried about over boosting some frequencies as the result of applied boost plus a peak in the headphone response. Thanks.


#2

You’ll get the most of what you’re saying from analog aids. They are still made by some manufacturers. There are also custom makers. Overall, it a bit clunky. The aids are a good size and molds are recommended.

Audiophiles, musicians, etc. all struggle a bit with aids. Many get satisfactory results by “dumbing down” the aids. For digital, an entry level aid works as well as the top of the line because features are disabled to get OK results. RIC doesn’t perform as well as BTE because of speaker size.

Headphones are probably your best bet. Look for those that can amplify and adjust. Bose has such a set.


#3

Just to be clear, I’m not interested in hearing aids, and I only want to boost high frequencies when listening to music (maybe an hour a day).

Also, all headphones can be amplified and equalized. Wired headphones have to be hooked to an amplifier, whether that be the amp in an iPod, or your home stereo. Wireless headphones have to have their own built in amplifier. A very few headphones come with adjustable frequency response. But these are crude relative to available software equalization that can be loaded on to a computer or smart phone.


#4

This is a paid app, but it might be worth checking out. They just released a PC version. Not sure how high the frequency “correction” goes, but the app tests your hearing and apparently applies the EQ adjustments to your PC if you want that SonicCloud on Twitter: “NOW you can use @SonicCloud on your Mac computer! Transform @netflix @YouTube @hulu @Spotify, podcasts and more using your SonicCloud hearing profile! 👂🖥… https://t.co/0EEAZivQaI”


#5

jtw: You’re not 15 anymore. You’ll never regain what you used to have. Fact of life. It sucks. Amplification or equalization will only take you so far. We physically lose the parts that respond to sounds as we age. Or something like that. :slight_smile:
Enter your audiogram here so we can see where your ears are at.
I use my computer to listen to music. Usually using headphones. I use a software equalizer to separately equalize left and right due to different characteristics of either ear. I use my audiogram as a guide to making those adjustments. Like half or so of the numbers in the audiogram. It’s adequate.


#6

That IS an interesting product. I wouldn’t like to be paying a monthly subscription. I didn’t see where there’s a Windows version. Iphone, Android and Mac is all I saw.
How about their main link instead of twitter.

Some Samsung phones have a built-in “hearing test” too.


#7

What about these ? Sennheiser Set 840-TV - Wireless TV Headphone Stereo Stethoset - TV Listening System


#8

Don’t get me wrong. I welcome and appreciate ALL input. But this is exactly the reason I’m having trouble finding a doc that can relate to what I am trying to do. Hearing aids and associated professionals are focussed, as they should be, on hearing conversation. The Sennheiser and software products mentioned are both focussed on hearing voices. They may help, but won’t get me close to what I am trying to hear.

I don’t have my audiogram available, but my test song right now, is “Sailing” by Christopher Cross. I know there are soft tinkling bells in that song. But I can’t hear them until I bump up the EQ in iTunes.


#9

Fortunately, the comment about not being able to regain what is lost doesn’t seem to apply to me, In the short term, applying the simple little EQ in iTunes and good headphones brings back my hearing in the same way as getting a new prescription for glasses.


#10

Well I wouldn’t say that the software equalizer I use is “focussed on hearing voices”. I use headphones that don’t seem to alter the sound. They seem to be just flat. So that then the equalizer controls the sound.

I am not entirely hard of hearing. I’m fortunate to just need some boosting. If you are losing higher frequencies then you ARE losing. Turn up the volume high enough and hearing losses can be overcome. That’s what I suspect you’re experiencing.

So I’m left wondering…what are you doing here? You seem to have it all figured for what works for you. Which is great.


#11

It actually says in the Sennheiser bullet points that you can set the ‘treble emphasis’ according to your needs. That’s not tuning just for speech that’s tuning to compensate for a HF loss.


#12

The Sennheiser product has a nondescript treble boost. It doesn’t say anything about the amount of boost or what frequencies are boosted.


#13

Hi Z10. I think it would be more accurate to say that we have diminished hearing rather than lost hearing. If you lose your sight, no glasses prescription will work. Fortunately for us, we can hear some frequencies that we thought were lost, with amplification.

I was very surprised to find out that headphones don’t have a flat frequency response. Look at the curve for the fairly high end phones I use here: https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE4002014.pdf

I REALLY want to find a pro to discuss this with. Standard audiograms top off at 8kHz. And the measurements are spaced very widely. So, I guess I would first need to be tested at more different frequencies above 2kHz? I don’t know. Then, maybe I need to find something called a parametric equalizer that I can customize to a high degree, maybe? I have these variables. My hearing may have peaks and valleys and the headphones will have different peaks and valleys. If I do 1 big general treble boost, and my headphones have a peak in that area, can I possibly damage my hearing? Don’t know.


#14

I’m no expert but I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

I did a listening comparison on a site that had recordings of different headphones. The recording would start with some kind of alleged reference sound. Then played from one headphone. Then back to the reference. Then another headphone. I thought it was really good. What I found was that many headphones did indeed color the sound. I didn’t want that effect. I found a brand that when listening, I could barely if at all discern the difference. That’s what I think might be thought of as flat. Which is what I wanted.

There are some audio pros around here. I’m not one of them.
The possibility of damaging your hearing I would leave to the experts around here. I’ll say it again…sure…people with not so good hearing can hear things when cranked up to high volumes. Is it good for them? Probably not.

I would say though that sounds above maybe around 7 or 8khz are really just harmonics of notes played at reasonably normal listening frequencies. Yes, to not hear them might make the original played note seem a little thin. But you would still be hearing the original note being played. This would be particularly so for natural acoustic instruments played without amplification. Electronic and amplified…all bets are off. Particularly if played back from a recording.


#15

Just for kicks and giggles, let’s see if we can find a frequency response curve for your phones. Model/brand?


#16

Audio-technica ath-m40x.
The listening test I mentioned was not on them. But all things remain equal listening to that test through whichever headphones. My criteria was looking for sound alteration. The ones above didn’t seem to alter the sound.
As always…we ALL perceive and enjoy (or not) sound differently so don’t bother doing the big gotcha ah hah on me. :slight_smile:


#17

I’m obviously missing something, but it seems like you just want headphones and an equalizer, and advice on maximum loudness level to listen at?


#18

By gar that’s some darn fine nutshelling right there.

Hey jtw…have a look here to listen to all the frequencies going up as high as you’re asking. If I leave my equalizer on flat and don’t use my HA’s and use either speakers or headphones then the sound kinda ping pongs back and forth due to my particular hearing issues. Get up to 8 or 9khz and I got nothin’. Crank up the volume and I think I can get to 12khz or something. The spousal unit does not enjoy it though.
WATCH THAT VOLUME! I start it out at 1 but that of course depends on your other controls.


#19

Some of that MDB. I feel like I need a more robust audiogram, first. And by that, I mean an audiogram that samples more frequencies above the point where my hearing starts to roll off. Take the ath-m40x mentioned above. Scroll down on this page to find a frequency response graph: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review

Makes sense that they sounded flat for someone who has diminished high frequency hearing. Now, being an audio nut, I recognize that I am missing high frequencies, and find that I can make that music sound really good again using EQ. If I use the basic audiogram I have, it would indicate that I should boost the frequencies at 10dB/octave, starting at 4kHz. If I apply that boost on top of those 2 big peaks in the headphone, will I damage my hearing?

I’ve heard that I would only damage hair cells that respond to the location of those peaks, but I wanna hear it from a pro. If, as a result of those peaks and EQ, I blast a 10kHZ tone, will that damage my hearing at lower frequencies? Don’t know. I’d like to hear it from a pro. …and the more robust audiogram.

The other thing is that there is a guideline to limit headphones to 80dB. If I boost 4-8kHz by 10dB, what should my limits be? Surely, boosting 10dB over one octave doesn’t measure the same as boosting 10dB from 20-20kHz. Or does it?


#20

My understanding is that you can’t really use your audiogram to tell you how many decibels to add. It is not as simple as adding dB. For one there’s several different types of dB and they are not interchangeable. This is music. Basically you want to adjust the equalizer so it sounds good to you. 85 dB (spl) is a number that sticks in my head as something not to exceed for any sustained period, but I agree getting advice from a professional would be good.