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Listener fatigue

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by SilverEars, Nov 3, 2017.
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  1. SilverEars
    I feel the need to bring this to attention. Most often around here people mention certain unbalanced FR causing fatigue.

    What I'm noticing is that coherency of what I listen to reduces due to listening to headphones over very long periods which is likely causing lister fatigue and my sense becomes "tired" perhaps and reduces focus.

    This is not all, I notice that my hearing becomes unbalanced as result. One side becomes more sensitive over the other as akin to effects of equal loudness curve response.

    There are so much that I've experienced that are relavent to phychoacoustics such as headphones sounding different at different times I listen, which is likely related to my physical condition. Also, sometimes listening at night time, I have a duration of euphoria when things generally sound better. I also belive environmental factors has to do with it as well, temperature and humidity.

    When I listen in the morning after a restful night of sleep in my work desk, things generally sound better.

    I am human.:o2smile:
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
    stalepie, ev13wt and WoodyLuvr like this.
  2. ev13wt
    "My ears are done" is a valid claim of sound engineers. And sometimes you need to turn around and listen, because if you can see everything, you are seeing the sound as much as listening to it. (if that makes sense)

    While I tell myself that I get less fatigued from uncompressed files than compressed files, I have no "proof" - so I dismiss it as subjective.

    Frequency response will fatigue too, just set up a 20Q 8dB peak at 8.300Hz and have a listen - it would probably fatigue me in 1 minute. (at +3dB some would call it "revealing")
    Strangelove424 and WoodyLuvr like this.
  3. SilverEars
    I think my eyes has effect on how I perceive sound as well. I think a real blind test would be strictly ears only as we have various sensors in our system running at the same time.

    It's within out nature to be effected by various parameters. We cannot isolate sensory like machines can.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
    ev13wt likes this.
  4. bigshot
    I get that with long term headphone listening too. I think it's humidity building up in your ears from being enclosed for so long. I never get that from listening to speakers.
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    there are many fatigues, and many causes. I tend to imagine 2 big categories but that's only me making educated guesses:
    -excess energy on our sensors (too high, too long or a mix of both). for example a chaotic frequency response could lead to setting up our listening level for the mids while some spike will be a good 10dB louder than the rest. probably making it an issue sooner than a more balanced signature over the same listening time.
    -being away from our comfort zone and the stress resulting from it. that could be anything from conflicting cues, physical discomfort, or just something very different than what we've been using in the last years....
  6. ev13wt
    Factors like driving on a highway home from work, with the windows down, are often overlooked factors. How many loud hours do you have that day tranlates directly to being "fatigued" sooner.
  7. Muinarc
    I also believe in the use of ANC headphones on airplanes. As far as I know we can't really "turn off" our hearing to any level akin to simply closing our eyes while awake. Though we can ignore the drone of the wind noise and jet engines I don't believe our brains actually stop analyzing the sound at all times. I mentally feel less tired after a flight when I have noise cancelling headphones on the whole time and I attribute that to easing the burden of the constant bombardment of fairly loud persistent sound in a plane.

    The better sound at night thing has been around for ages and I can see that being true if you can prove that taking in less visual data frees up the brain to work on the auditory data. I'd love to try listening to HiFi in a sensory deprivation tank :)
    ev13wt likes this.
  8. 71 dB
    Do you use cross-feed? Spatial distortion causes fatique. Cross-feed removes it. I never get fatique with headphones thanks to cross-feed.
    stalepie likes this.
  9. Niouke
    sound fatigue has been a problem for me when composing on fruityloops, after a couple of hours my ears are indeed done...

    When listening I have found out that the 5khz zone easily overloads my sensors, forcing me to reduce the volume to nothing, or EQ, I even changed my IEM's to pro westone's for comfort and this has done the trick, they are wonderfull for long listens.
  10. SilverEars
    Don't use cross-feed, but I read that somewhere. From what I understand, the purpose of cross-feed is to get sound opposite channels to make certain recordings sound more correct. With speakers, you naturally get that due to left and right channel sounds are not isolated per side of ear.

    Our brains are involved in determining spacial imaging of what we hear. Not sure if there are anomalies in how sound is presented, the brain over works?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  11. SilverEars
    This has often been true, but there are particular instances it was not, but I attribute it to environment factors for this. Humidity and comfort temperature(cooler less dense air the better), visual stimuli, and also how much I've been listening the whole day. But, night time is generally quieter as well.
  12. 71 dB
    Problem identified! Look my post here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/to-...t-is-the-question.518925/page-8#post-13740318

    It's estimated that 98 % of all stereophonic recordings benefit from cross-feed. My experiences support this. With speakers you always have acoustic cross-feed and recordings are almost always prodused for speakers. At low frequencies the maximum level difference between ears is about 3 dB and maximum time difference about 0.64 ms. Headphones produce level and time differences outside these limits which cause spatial distortion in our brain (it doesn't know how to interpret it) and that causes fatique together with distorted sound image. So not only do you get rid of listening fatique, the overall resentation of sound improves.

    Yes, our brain is "overloaded" while it tries to make sense of unnatural spatial information.
    ev13wt likes this.
  13. Strangelove424
    There are many forms of fatigue, but one that has really been getting to me with headphones is the organic factor. By that I mean the itchiness of the lint-prone pads, the heat and possible sweat that occurs when wearing the equivalent of thick ear muffs in summer heat, the constant pressure on the temple, worn pads, weird fits, fishing hairs out of the ear cup, etc. They are like a piece of clothing in a way. And kind of gross. Speakers don't have to sully themselves and kowtow to the human form. They exist in a sort of pristine perfection, indifferent to your grossness in animal form as a listener, and you indifferent to their physical form too.
    ev13wt likes this.
  14. SilverEars
    Has there been studies to prove that? Good papers on it? Headphone listening causing stress rather than the general idea that music listening helps in reducing stress? Sounds interesting

    But, what has been really interesting is the binaural videos on youtube that makes you feel satisfying. I don't know what it's attributed to.
  15. SilverEars
    Well, there are all kinds of things people complain about. Like weight for example, LCD headphones being hefty, some cannot tolerate it. I see this as tolerability of the user, some get bothered by it more than others. People have differing level of neurosis in particularities. For me particularly, thick air, heat and humidity stresses me out, and that probably effects my hearing as well. I like at night in a cool light air environment. Sounds the best.
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