Making music and hearing loss

I’m seriously old and inevitably my hearing is going. I can’t hear anything under 250Hz or above 5 kHz. Normal hearing aids are not much good for mixing as they do so much (bad, from a music perspective) signal processing.
So I went to a company in London who specialise in hearing services for musicians (all that standing in front of Marshall stacks) , and effectively they map your hearing loss and invert it, and bring it up to an optimum flat looking response profile as if I were 18 again.

This is hopeless for normal everyday use, so I have two profiles (a) normal and (b) mixing. Early days, and I’m very much getting used to it, but at least I don’t have to rely 100% on Ozone to do the final mix.

So far, so good.


Good to hear, I work with some artists in their 60’s and 70’s and some of them have been exposed to some big rigs on a daily basis. Needless to say they are non existent above 10kHz. They seem to do an excellent job in that area regardless. The brain has a very good way of filling in octaves above and below. Sounds like there’s hope for the rest of us when we are (seriously) older.


Yikes I’m already in the 60’s category but avoided the big rig auditory abuse lol, so my hearing seems ok…

I think one problem is that it can be very subtle, in that it can change slowly over time at frequencies which are outside the normal speaking range. So you are not continually saying ‘pardon?’ to people, but the mixes are getting distorted by, say, compensation for low frequency loss.

I knew mine was weakening from tests done on my routing health check-ups, but the last was pre-covid.

Oddly, I was triggered to do something when I started to add reference material into Izotope’s new ‘Audiolens’ product. These included Make Me Smile (Cockney Rebel) / Equador (Sash) / Walk of Life (Dire Straights) / Ray of Light / (Madonna). As soon as I listed to the first one (which I hadn’t for a long time) I realise the distinctive Bass line had almost vanished.

The Audiologist marked me down as having ‘moderate’ loss, largely because the bit in the middle of the range was not too bad, and also because she uttered the words which have become all too frequent of late “At your age…” She made me a profile which is broadly flat in their measurement system at 10dB from 250 - about 6k.

Of course, if it’s gone it’s gone, but what’s left has radically changed what I hear.

[As an aside , we have all got kit to measure the relative (but not absolute) hearing profile. ]

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how rude. We are not old, simply vintage,


or just evergreen :grin: :rofl:



Good luck with the new system. Having a good baseline on what you can and can’t hear is useful. Here’s another good thing to have.

The free Voxengo plug-in called Span is very helpful for frequency hunting and checking in your tracks and mixes.

And see the excellent YouTube video by Dan Worrell on setting it and using it.

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Such an important message!

I’m much closer to 70 than 21 and profoundly deaf.

I don’t have any hearing in the right ear and little in the left. With an implant and an external mic, I hear the World in some strange sound landscape, which is now normal to me.

When recording, singing or anything to do with music, I’m plugged in via the implant in my head. It’s like having my own recording studio built in. Nothing like Abby Road!

It doesn’t give me back anything; it mimics sound, the stereo field and lost frequencies. It is very clever how this works because your brain does play along. No pun intended!

But what I would give to be able to hear again. I don’t think you truly miss something till it’s gone.

We must spread the message, turn it down and get the balance right. Volume does equate to quality.

As you say, it is subtle before you get to the point of realising and then it’s gone, never to return as it was! They boost the middle range, and you get a bit more volume.

Hearing is often thought of as an age-related problem, but that’s simply because when you’re in those productive middle years, you don’t give a … and ‘it’s never going to happen to me anyway!..’ Does that sound familiar?

I like the reference, just evergreen. From the inside looking out, I’m most definitely evergreen, with a positive outlook on life. From the outside looking in, I think there is more of an Autumn Hue!


Well, my old DAW (Ableton Live) and my new one (Bitwig Studio) have both a stock spectrum analyzer, so I suspect that all DAWs have one, but it’s often missed by users :wink:

And another cool stuff is Izotope’s Visual Mixer that lets you place instruments in the space (front/back and left/right)

And also Tonal Balance that lets you understand if the tonality range is suitable for many musical styles

And I am also finding useful the new Ozone Imager that lets you widen the stereo effect

P.S: all the Izotope’s work in a visual form, so they are all useful for hearing losses

BTW, if you missed them, 3 Izotope’s are for free


It looks like there are quite a few of us in our autumn years with various hearing problems, thankfully mine is nowhere near as bad as some of yours. I am not musically trained in any way, the furthest I got was grade 1 piano many years ago, but I just love messing around in Scaler trying to make some sort of tune. What I struggle with is when I watch a YT channel about mixing, plugins, eq, compression etc, when they make alterations and say how much better it is I can’t hear any difference. But hey, I’m having fun and enjoying making “music” ,to my ears anyway :joy:


I thought when I got the aids it would have the effect of bringing up the bass and top end, but in fact it changed everything, which I suppose I should have thought of. The reason is the sort of synth sounds play with in mid-range have a myriad of overtones and harmonics, and of course I didn’t hear them - so now many of the patches sound completely different.

… and of course 99.9% of the people who buy / stream the music can’t hear such nuances and don’t care anyway. Would any of top selling records not have sold without all the anal twiddling which seems to go on in studios ? (Except Samplify, of course, @davide, who I am sure do not anally twiddle. :smiling_face:)
The stuff on my desk is a couple of orders of magnitude better than anything studios had in the 60’sand 70’s, but that music sold millions upon millions.

I read an interesting article about top mastering engineers . and a lot of then are ‘old-ish’ enough to be suffering age related audio loss … but they mix with other factors and experience

Youngster, eh ? I’ve got a few years on you…

Then music must be very special to you. I’m sure Scaler will be able to enhance what you have now, by facilitating creation.

Could you say again? I missed that. :slight_smile:

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I agree with you some of the :cd: ng ‘improvements’ can be subtle and often only heard via headphones rather than monitors