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Do people hear differently at different times of the day? Thinking about it, I think I do. When I wake up, I'm not hearing as clearly as later on say 5 or 6 hours later. I wonder why?
Maybe, when we dream, or are asleep, we are hearing things a lot differently.

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6 Answers 6

Part of it may have to do with the sound propagation through air - the colder the temperature, the further sound travels (hence, we hear things at night more clearly, like traffic drone, that otherwise are nearly masked during the day).

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What you hear is normally judged against the background. Early morning and late at night ambient sound levels are lower so sounds tend to stick out. Also the air is cooler and sounds propagate more easily so you start hearing distant trains and such. So things sound different, and they're easier to hear.. When I'm just about to wake up, my hearing is the first to start up so all of a sudden everything sounds incredibly loud. It's just how my brain is wired I think..

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I'd say when we sleep our hearing would be more sensitive, acting as a 'defence mechanism' in order to wake us up if our sub-concious detects 'danger'. I'd say something similar is likely to happen generally at night when light levels are lower as your brain processing power will shift to focus on other senses, and less on sight (if you're in a dark place), and hence our hearing would seem heightened.

Other than wave-propagation in air in areas with significant night-day temperature changes as @georgi.m and @Stavrosound mentioned, all other differences in hearing will be purely psychoacoustic. If you don't hear as clearly at the start of the day, that's likely to be related to how awake and alert you are at that time, and hence how your brain handles the information it's receiving at that time.

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Great question! I have rather sensitive ears (we probably all do in here!) and I respond differently throughout the day. Around 11 o'clock everything seems to sound best to me. I don't have any explanation for it, besides the psychoacoustic tricks my brain pull.

There's one lesson learned at Art School about sound that i never forget: Bass sounds get 'softer' to the ear/brain the evening. When i was working on projects back then most of them where late nighter's, to get everything to sound 'perfect'. Well needless to say, everything sounded horrible the next morning, too much bass and muddy mixes :)

Nowadays when under time constraints and rapidly approaching deadlines I avoid mixing in the evening exactly for this reason.

Would love to hear some scientific evidence for this behaviour!

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the weirdest thing for me has been working on music mixes from the early morning til early the next morning: my perception of speed changes ----- as I get tired in the wee hours a slow slow track can start to sound quite pacey.

and then back to normal the next day. I wonder if it's something as simple as the brain slowing down as you get tired.

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I guess lying down, brings a lot of blood to the head and definitely creates a kind of rhythm.

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