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Is you hearing symmetric?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I get only portion of pleasure out music because I subconsciously check if I hear both channels on the same level. It is really annoying. I decided to test my hearing. Results are good: my both ears are equally sensitive.

I tested myself on this website. The procedure is very simple: set volume the volume of your computer to ~25% (for better stepping), then check what is the lowest value of db that you can hear with each of ears. The optimal frequency is 2khz. Obviously , you should be able to mute left/right channel.

Also, after this test you will have better imagination about S/N ratio.


Even though my ears are equally sensitive , I still have the discomfort when listening to music because my left ear perceives sounds farther from center, while the right ear hears closer to the center of my head. I suspect it is due to difference in ear canals.
post #2 of 34
I'm not sure it works like that. I would have thought the brain would account for minor differences in each ear. For instance - if you have one heavily pierced ear, or one ear bigger / a different shape than the other ( I doubt anyones' ears are identically shaped left to right ) - can you notice an audible difference? No. The ear/brain combo is a sophistated and accurate system that does amazing things - much of which you aren't even conscious of. Unless you have actual damage to one eardrum ( which you should probably get checked out if you reallt are convinced you have a problem ) I think you will be unable to detect a natural 'channel imbalance' in you ears.

Maybe wax build-up? Recording / source / amp / headphone imbalance?
post #3 of 34
I've been to the audiologists. I already know my hearing isn't symmetrical and I have the graphs from the audiologist to prove it. (are you allowed to admit that your hearing isn't ideal here on head-fi?)

Even though my hearing isn't symmetrical my brain has adapted. I can listen to full size headphones just fine with no annoying difference between the sound in each ear cup. IEMs are different though. My brain doesn't do its magic balancing act so well when I use IEMs. Odd. But I don't like IEMs anyways (annoying plugs in the ear).

The times that the effects of my hearing imbalance does become noticeable are when trying things like HRTF effects like computer processed cross-feed or virtual surround sound. The normal HRTF functions (is that like an ATM machine?) don't work for me. I suppose I could experiment with EQ that corrects for my hearing imbalance before the HRTF processing. I may play around with that at some point, just haven't bothered yet.
post #4 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgt-Pluck View Post
I think you will be unable to detect a natural 'channel imbalance' in you ears.
What do you mean by that? Do you mean the recording imbalance , like Beatles soungs?
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAndre View Post
What do you mean by that? Do you mean the recording imbalance , like Beatles soungs?
No you should be able to pick that up easily. I meant the brain - unless you have an actual problem - will adjust to any slight imbalances in your eardrums, and you'll never know ( unless you go to an audologist ) that the issue exists.

Interesting what Ham sandwich says about IEM's though.

Pluck
post #6 of 34
I chose this.



That bad?
post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmd8x28 View Post
I chose this.



That bad?

Are these thresholds of your hearing at each frequency?
post #8 of 34
Yes, to me, each sounds the same loudness as the 1KHz...
post #9 of 34
This affects me as well, things on one side sound different than the other. And the soundstage when using headphones is affected, where one side seems closer than the other. This is especially evident when trying out HRTF software which throws things out in surround space. One side is farther than the other.

I think it's because some of us have ear shapes that are slightly different left to right, and the brain has had years to adjust the processing for the slightly different input stimulus. But when you insert IEMs, you bypass the ear shape differences which the brain has already adjusted for and now you hear imbalance.
post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
bcwang, very interesting opinion.


I thought I am the only one who suffers because of asymmetric sound.
post #11 of 34
I retook the test because I was kinda in a noisy envrionment, fans running, servers, etc.. I retook it in my car parked at a quiet parking lot, with my laptop, and tried two different headphones. The result is worse But also interesting that two different headphones, two different results.

My Maximo IEMs


My RatShack Cans
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmd8x28 View Post
But also interesting that two different headphones, two different results.
Different results with different headphone/earphones would be expected. Consumer headphones/earphones have lots of dips and spikes in the frequency response. None of them are flat (even something like an HD800). Go look at the frequency response graphs for various headphones at HeadRoom.com. And realize that the HeadRoom graphs have actually been smoothed. The raw frequency response is even more jagged or lumpy.

You need to go to an audiologist if you want an accurate test. They have headphones/earphones that have been designed to have a flat frequency response for hearing tests and they can correct for other quirks as well.
post #13 of 34
How much would that end up costing me? I don't have a job or income right now.

PS: HeadRoom.com brought me to Manhattan real estate website.
post #14 of 34
Oh oh, here's a good question.

Wouldn't in theory, applying the results in my equalizer, flatten the frequency response to my ears and headphone combo, so I'm hearing it flat to how I hear "flat"?
post #15 of 34
Ooops. Sorry bout that. HeadRoom's web site is actually headphone.com.

You can use a combination of pink noise and sine wave sweeps to help equalize your headphone to a flat frequency response (flat as in flat as you hear it, not flat as in truely measureably flat). See the "how to equalize your headphone" sticky thread in the main headphone forum. That would be better, but the process of equalizing your headphones like that (since you're doing it by ear) would tend to alter some asymmetrical hearing issues if your ears aren't equally sensitive. Better than nothing though.

If you equalized both of your headphones like that then you should get a more consistent result on the hearing test with both headphones.
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