Age and hearing - any of the other oldies here suffer?

As is alluded to by my avatar, Yorkeman is old. With age often comes reduction in hearing acuity, and indeed that applies to me. I suffer from (1) high frequency range reduced (2) asymmetric loss i.e. L not same a R, and (3) loss of low frequency range.

I have set up a testing framework in Live using waveforms generated in Adobe Audition. Such tests are only relative, since I have no calibrated headphones, but it gives me a reasonably good picture of the issues. I am least worried about (1), as I can assume that the samples I use will have some top end sparkle. I can adjust for (2) to some extent in mixing. However (3) is more problematical. I hear the loss when I listen to records like “Equador” by Sash or “Come up and see me” by Cockney Rebel having listened to them a bazillion times when I was younger.

Hearing aids are no good because they screw up the frequency range. There are consultants in London who provide special aids to musicians (it’s apparently quite a big problem for music professionals) by effectively inverting the loss curve to normalise it.

I get the feeling that many on this board are, if I can put it so, beyond the first flush of puberty, when an individual’s hearing is probably the best. I’d thus be interested to learn if others have this issue and how they are dealing with it in their compositions and workflow.

PS: This is something that inhibits me from ever posting anything to Soundcloud and linking to it from here, imagining people recoiling from some ghastly mix which is either an obscenely bass heavy or light. If I ever did I’d entitle it “Ambient Trance EDM” so @ClaudioPorcellana would not listen and I would escape his derision :smiley:


Well, i understand you because i suffer from the same problem. Clinically proven. But i don’t care really. I trust my AI tools for mixing and mastering and i hope nobody will lose pleasure of listening my occasional posts on SoundCloud. I don’t know any more what the cymbals are, but looking at the curves in iZotope tools, i know they are present in my recordings. So, just don’t stress, it affects the hearing, too. :grinning:

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Well, I’m pleased to hear I’m not the only one. I have my hearing tested during my health checks, so I do have calibrated curves going back a few years showing the deterioration.

My approach so far has been rather as yours, using tools (although all the pundits say ‘use your ears not your eyes’, but they probably don’t have the same problem. I have been using for some time, which enables me to feed in a track which I can (vaguely) recall what it used to be like as a reference, and Har-Bal will match balance and loudness.

Having nothing to spend my money on these days (my biggest single expenditure in retirement was travel - the ‘bucket list’) , I have toyed with speaking to but I need to research them more.

I’m pleased to hear (pun not intended…) that you have adapted and are happy with that, and I need to develop that approach more. I do all my monitoring through Sennheiser HD650 headphones, and occasionally through a pair of Spirit Absolute 2 nearfields.

Any other tips or tools you might have would be useful !

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In my case, it is not only my age (starting with 6 and I am not a school boy lol), it is also inherited, according to the ORL specialist. Progressive and inherited - not a good combination. My dad lost hearing on one ear very young, after an accident and never accepted his hear loss and started wearing a hearing aid until he was well over 80. But he lost hearing, progressively, on his other ear, too. This is what will eventually happen to me, but i don’t stress because of this and enjoy in music every moment in my life.
I have so called perceptive deafness, which results in trouble to clearly hear people in a noisy environment. With my Sony WH-1000XM3 , although I don’t hear them, I know that very high frequencies are there thanks to transients. Although a doc told me that I’ve lost also some low frequencies, I am quite good with basses. Simply, I don’t care about what I don’t hear.
When doing my music, I hear enough to make something that is not awful and leave the rest to AI.
So, my recommendation is to focus on the creative part, to what your produce and not how it sounds. Let the technology be your friend for the sound. Oh, yeah, once I presented one of my songs to a friend of mine and he complained that the cymbals were annoying. Lucky him, I had to add a lot of highs in order to hear them and for him it was too much :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
Since then, I only trust the AI.

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I suffer from (1) high frequency range reduced (2) asymmetric loss i.e. L not same a R, and (3) loss of low frequency range.

I think I have all the 3 losses but I never did an ORL exam

like Miki, I use Izotope tools like Visual Mixer and Tonal Balance Control that let you see “visually” the amount and spatial distribution of sounds, so I am quite sure my “sound” is fine enough for amateurs (it’s clearly scarce for professionals, but the reasons are different)

So I would suggest to try the demo of Neutron


Just found googling


I have proper tests when I go on my ‘mature health’ check ups, so I can see the difference over the last few years. It’s subtle because the brain is very good at adjusting to such things. As @Miki mentions, the extent to which aural discrimination deteriorates in noisy environments is another factor.

I have a simple test mix in Live

which of course is relative only, but I can see how things are changing over time. The channels are panned hard left and right and I adjust the balance to get an equal sensation of loudness and then record (as in pencil and paper) the db values.

What’s quite interesting is how L and R pink noise can change in sound (even though the perceived balance may be the same) when the ears have asymmetric responses.

I should add that to make things worse I have bad tinnitus, which is almost certainly largely down to the Streptomycin pumped into me when I had serious TB when young.

I also have tinnitus that certainly masks some of the high frequency range. However, in our age it generally represents the “swan song” of damaged hair cells in the inner ear as we get older but there are also other reasons, see Mayo Clinics. I know that even my bone conductivity is weak for some frequencies. As i mentioned, i enjoy till it lasts as this is progressive and not overnight change.

Yes, trying a demo of Neutron and waiting for Black Friday to pay substantially less :slight_smile:

I have worked closely with a very well known major act for many years and they/them don’t have range above 11.2kHz and their top end is second to none. The brain does a wonderful job of filling in the rest. I always say don’t worry too much - if it didn’t trouble Beethoven it shouldn’t trouble the rest of us!


I’m 67 years old and I also have 1 and 2 for sure (clinically), but I don’t know about 3.
I think I have tinnitus too, but I think my brain has dealt with it. I think my 6dB cutoff freq. point can be around 8kHz now.
I still enjoy myself making some music (just for me and my family). I have been using Reason (11 now) and Scaler (since 1.x) for years now and I have been able to produce more than 170 songs, which at least I liked very much.
As I don´t make anything pro, I don’t care too much about mixing and nothing about mastering.
But I don’t worry too much about it and when I start to think about it, I like to hear 2 songs: When I die, Blood, Sweat, and Tears and Não tenho medo da morte, Gilberto Gil.
PS. Beethoven knew so much (theory & practice) about how to express himself with music that his hearing loss didn’t make so much difference. But for us, poor mortals, that will not be the same.

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That’s why we have Scaler. It makes difference in our lives.

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It helps a lot.