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Hearing Loss and the Audiophile


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I find that as my ability to hear high frequencies has deteriorated, I'm actually more sensitive to overly "bright" sounding recordings and equipment. The guessed at explanation for this seeming contradiction is that b/c we can't hear some of the higher frequencies-harmonics, this changes our perception of the high frequencies we can hear, and they sound harsh to us.

I run a digital only system (if I have analog input it's converted to digital) and use DSP. So for most recordings I  boost the mid-high end and get something that I think is compensating for my hearing loss. But I can't boost the highs too much or it sounds harsh to me. On those recordings I dial the DSP back.

18 minutes ago, mevdinc said:

Apparently, only the chickens have the ability to regrow their dead hair cells, lucky things. LoL


 I read a while back that there is stem cell research going on with the goal of allowing humans to grow new hair cells in order to alleviate hearing loss issues. Clearly it would be a big money maker if it succeeds.  It may come about, but probably not before those of us over 60 are gone....

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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4 hours ago, firedog said:

 I read a while back that there is stem cell research going on with the goal of allowing humans to grow new hair cells in order to alleviate hearing loss issues. Clearly it would be a big money maker if it succeeds.  It may come about, but probably not before those of us over 60 are gone....

AFAIK, the current status of this involves direct injections into the inner ear.  Considering how much I fear any further deterioration of my hearing, I am loath to entertain this possibility.

Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

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6 hours ago, mevdinc said:

Apparently, only the chickens have the ability to regrow their dead hair cells, lucky things. LoL

Actually, many non-mammalian species either make new hair cells throughout life or regenerate them in response to trauma.  Sadly for us, “mammalian auditory epithelium lacks the ability to regenerate hair cells spontaneously and whether it is even capable of significant regeneration under additional circumstances” is questionable (quoted from this excellent scientific summary).  Stem cell research proceeds, but we’re a long way from approved clinical uses.
 

As Kal appropriately fears, gaining entry to the living cochlea has many potential complications including total hearing loss, meningitis, cochlear fistula etc.  But the long and successful record of cochlear implants for profound hearing loss has shown that these risks are lower and lower as experience grows.  The worse hearing ear would almost always be treated first in situations like stem cell instillation for acoustic trauma, to minimize the impact of any complications.  But I join him in resisting the idea of invasive management for problems with listening to music, when the risks include being unable to hear it at all.  The potential benefit has to outweigh the cumulative risk to justify intervention.

 

There’s been a lot of work in avian audition since the ‘60s.  Some of the most significant came out of our research labs at Univ of Penna Med Center when I was a resident at Penn.  Jim Saunders led the lab group, and Bill Rintlemann led the audiology group.  Jim (now retired and living a few miles down the street from us) was one of the world’s foremost authorities on avian audition.  And Bill (sadly deceased a few years ago) was Carhart’s first postdoctoral student and did an amazing long term study of hearing loss in rock musicians.  This and a lot of other audiology research can be very interesting and enjoyable reading for the interested audiophile.

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I did come across a video on YouTube from a professor, who seemed to lead a research team on the subject of tinnitus and dead hair cell treatment, said that they were still quite a long way away from any meaningful treatment. It was the same Professor making the statement about chickens having the ability to regrow dead hair cells.
 

I would never risk any physical treatment or intervention to solve my problem. As everyone already stated the risk far outweighs the possible benefit.
My simple but seemingly effective software solution has made a huge difference for me.
A dedicated EQU unit maybe even better. Since some of the adverse effect results in echoing, a proper room treatment and eradication of any room modes could also help further reduce resonance and exhoing.
 

Audirvana+3.0 / TIDAL HiFi / Mac Mini (256GB SSD - 16GB RAM)

Lindemann Musicbook: 20 DSD, ATC EL 150ASL

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Here's an article that I stumbled on today on a potential treatment to restore damaged or degraded hearing. It discusses some very preliminary research and cites and quotes from multiple skeptical experts, but it makes for interesting reading.

 

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/09/13/frequency-therapeutics-regenerate-hearing-drug

JiLS

sonicTransporter i5 > EtherREGEN > opticalRendu > T+A DAC 8 DSD > Primare PRE35 > Primare A35.2 > PSB Synchrony Two speakers + REL T/9i subwoofers

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