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In your normal work routine as a sound engineer is there anything to look out for? I began to fear about my hearing ability. I don't even know that right now am I hearing the same thing as others? (compared to same age range)

I began to question my self after my friend lend me his Yuin PK1 earbud, which he tell me it's the best earbud everyone using. But I think it's sound is no match for my WAY cheaper AKG K313 earbud. Am I missing something in my ears?

I generally don't exposed to obviously dangerous sound like construction site or factory but I'm still in doubt.

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In your normal work routine as a sound engineer is there anything to look out for? I began to fear about my hearing ability. I don't even know that right now am I hearing the same thing as others? (compared to same age range)

I began to question my self after my friend lend me his Yuin PK1 earbud, which he tell me it's the best earbud everyone using. But I think it's sound is no match for my WAY cheaper AKG K313 earbud. Am I missing something in my ears?

To me that sounds more like individual preference. I cannot claim to know the medical or biological basis, but we could informally state or believe that everyone's hearing is (physically) different. And it's easy to see empirically that e.g. people working on sound prefer different types of music and sound, playback systems and gear. Some things just sound better/best to some people, but not for everyone.

I generally don't exposed to obviously dangerous sound like construction site or factory but I'm still in doubt.

As Chuck says, avoid environments where you might be exposed to loud sounds (e.g. loud concerts, clubs, places with loud machinery) or if you do go to such places, then always bring hearing protection with you and use it.

Also, do some reading about hearing safety when exposed to loud or prolonged sound, because the sound profession entails that you might be working with sound 8-12 hours or more on an almost daily basis and there are guidelines and scientific knowledge or estimations regarding how loud sounds are safe, how long is it safe to be exposed to a certain loudness level and how much time your ears need to recover from the exposition. Knowing how the human hearing works should also benefit your own work, because you'll be able to calibrate the loudness of your listening system, take appropriate breaks and work in a way that doesn't exhaust your hearing (after which you don't hear clearly until your ears recover [unless of course you've caused permanent damage]) and lead to fallacious decisions in sound production and especially sound mixing.

  • To elaborate on this, CAL-OSHA regulation in the US is 8 hours @ 85 dBSPL (constant) before hearing damage can occur. Each time the energy is doubled (thus, 3dB hotter), the time effectively is cut in half. – Stavrosound May 10 '13 at 9:02
  • @Stavrosound Yes. But that's just the regulation regarding when hearing damage can occur. The level and time at which your hearing becomes exhausted (e.g. one's ability to hear treble gets dampened by several dBs) is probably also interesting for the working sound professional. As is the ability to spot, when that exhaustion happens, or being able to control/avoid it by taking breaks and by controlling one's listening levels throughout the day. – Internet Human May 10 '13 at 9:12
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If you think you're hearing is not as good as it should be for your age range, then get checked out by a hearing specialist.

To try and maintain your hearing: Limit exposure to loud sounds as much as possible. Calibrate your monitor system to a sane level. When working, monitor at low levels as much as possible. Wear earplugs in loud environments (concerts, clubs, bars, ext). And don't wear ear buds and limit headphone use, people tend to overdo the volume levels and exposure times when using ear buds and headphones.

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I think you should look at the frequency response curves of headphones.. Might drop a fair chunk of your worries..

frequency response http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=4031&graphID[]=1083&graphID[]=1893&graphID[]=753&scale=20

common sense regarding loudness (you only get one pair of eardrums) and watch out for emergency vehicles passing by close.

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