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One of my ears hears much better than the other. How to balance/tweak my headphones?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello!
In the course of tinkering with the gains levels on my amp, going through a number of headphones, and using a variety of sounds, music and tests - I've discovered that my left ear not only hears a wider range of sound, but it also hears quite a louder volume compared to my right ear.

With my speaker system, this is no real concern -- a little click to the right side balance pretty much takes care of this. But with headphones, where each ear gets its own feed, it's quite unbalancing.

What can I do to compensate - while introducing minimal inaccuracy/distortion into my music?

Thanks!
post #2 of 9
You don't have a balance/channel config (a la Rockbox) on your player? Crossfeed may also help...
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I can alter the balance easily, but that doesn't do anything to help the extended dynamic range perceived by my left ear over my right ear. Everything sounds "richer" on the left side. I've tested this by flipping my headphones around so the sets are aligned mismatched, to the wrong ears - it's the same no matter what I do.
Highs sound crisp and lows sound deep, on the left - on the right, it's just all kind of mushed.
post #4 of 9
Been to the doc? May just be a case of serious wax if you haven't had an injury, recent or otherwise, or hearing imbalance in childhood...


F'r example, I don't hear the highs too well in one ear, but that's because I got a burst eardrum a long time ago...it's improved over time, but it'll never match the other.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I had significant ear problems as a child - chronic infections, multiple surgeries, etc. I've recently extracted far more wax from the "defective" ear than the better ear, so I don't think the wax issue would be it.

Do you do anything to compensate for your hearing impairment? Is there any way to tweak EQ, for example, in just one channel?
post #6 of 9
Sorry to hear about your hearing problems, but if your ear is not capable of hearing the highs and lows (dynamics) in the music, then you can tweak or EQ your music as much as you want, to no avail...

Hearing can not be restored if the small hairs in your ear are broken and I am not talking about the visible hair that sticks out of many elderly mens ears, it the hairs that vibrate and transfer the sound to your sensory system.

I would try to get my ears cleaned by a doctor to see if it helps if I were in your shooes, at least this will only hurt your wallet (not nearly as much as headfi though) and can really do no harm to your hearing..
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion, Claus. I'll see the doctor about it.

Additionally, I've noticed that the same sounds seem to be higher on the octave scale in my left ear (the better one) than in my right. I can listen to identical samples of a drum or hi-hat, duplicated so that two are playing played alternatingly, one isolated on each channel, and invariably the one playing in the left channel sounds slightly "higher".
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyface View Post

Do you do anything to compensate for your hearing impairment? Is there any way to tweak EQ, for example, in just one channel?
Nah, I've kinda got used to it! Plus it has improved where I can now (just about) hear a watch ticking w/ my left ear.And luckily most drumkits are set up right-handed!

(When I first joined Head Fi Tyll @ Headroom gave me some useful info about putting together some simple circuitry to address this, but I never got round to it, & it wasn't so much about EQ, IIRC.)
post #9 of 9
The higher notes are usually the first to disaper in "normal" ear-damage, this is because the high notes at the same volume has more energy (db) in it, and because of that are more damageing..

I have taken a messure of a squiking door some years ago and it was 80 db !!!
it did not sound that loud, but it just goes to show that we (or rather our brain) are cheated by the high notes, and that it is something that we all schould be aware of....

Maybe that is why the Shure IEMs has the treble rolloff, so that they can protect your ears better....

The worst thing about hearingloss is that it comes slowly and develop over time, so we do not really notice it before it is too late...

I have been looking into this subject, because I work in a noisy inviroment and do not want to damage my hearing, and still, after using earplugs my hole workinglife, I have what they call a "dip", this means that there is a small portion off the scale that i can not hear, this was caused by an airvalve that had a screaming sound every 15 minutes all day, eventhough I only worked at that place for ½ a year, so folks take care of your hearing you will thank yourself for it when you get older....

The samething happens to our eyes, we loose some of the spectrum over years, if you want a prime example for this look at Monét´s pictures, they get more and more brown over the years....
I do not think that it is possible to protect your eyes against that, but you can protect your ears....
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