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Low frequency hearing loss

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by lumify, Oct 2, 2011.
  1. Lumify
    About a month ago, I woke up and found that I was suddenly half deaf in my left ear. My hearing was also obviously impaired in my right ear, but not as much as the left. In addition, I could hear no deep bass in either ear. I have no idea what could have caused this.
    My hearing response got lower and lower below about 200Hz and dropped suddenly after 100Hz. I could hear absolutely nothing at any volume below 40Hz. I used to be able to hear clearly down to 15Hz. I saw a doctor about it and finally was referred to an audiologist, who I saw a week ago. The audiologist tested various frequencies, from 250Hz up. She did not test below 250Hz, but she said that based on my test, my hearing was better than most 5-year-olds'. To this, I told her that most 5-year-olds must be deaf (expletive), and asked if she considered my deep bass response to be important. She said to come back in a week if I'm still having problems. I had been having the same problems for over 3 weeks at that point.
    My hearing has slowly recovered, but it is not anywhere near what it used to be. It's like I'm hearing my whole life through a cheap pair of "detailed" or "neutral" headphones, and it causes constant misery. My hearing response constantly changes. Sometimes I can barely hear what people are saying over the phone, and sometimes it isn't too terrible, but it never reaches what it was.
    It seems like I shouldn't be complaining. If my current hearing tests so well right now, then my ear must have been more golden than the pot at the end of the rainbow before I lost most of it. Now I'm normal, I suppose. I don't really know who to ask, other than a community of audio lovers. What should I do, Head-Fi?
    edit- I don't know if this is in the wrong section; I'm a nub. My ability to hear low frequencies has recovered the least. The rest of my hearing is bad but still existent.
  2. NA Blur
    Did someone actually look inside your ears?  Was there too much wax in there?  Was your eardrum ruptured?  Were you ill recently prior to the loss of hearing?  Are you a swimmer?
    I do not think you need to go to an audiologist simply to retest your ears again for frequencies below 250 Hz.  You can easily find tests online for this.  When conducting online tests it is important to understand the limits of your listening gear such as headphones and sound card.  I did a test a few weeks ago and it accurately reflects my hearing abilities.  As with any test of this nature be sure to completely lower the volume prior to running the test.
    I did find a link about sudden hearing loss and I claim to be no expert myself on hearing loss.
    My wife has superb hearing and at our age we expect our hearing to start decreasing, but she can easily hear from 20Hz up to 20kHz without any problems.  My hearing is somewhere between 30Hz and 14kHz.
    Here is to better hearing.
  3. Lumify
    Yeah, my general doctor looked inside my ear and couldn't find anything wrong. No wax build-up, no sickness, no swimming. Just a sudden loss when I woke up one morning. He referred me to an ENT. The ENT (ear nose throat) doctor did the same thing, then had the audiologist at his office test various frequencies 250Hz and above.
    I have tested myself before and after, and I could hear from about 15Hz to 20kHz before (I was really sensitive to bass), and now I can only hear from 35Hz to a little under 18kHz. The rest of my hearing range is affected to varying degrees. Maybe it's not too bad, but it's really shocking when it happens so suddenly.
    Any other ideas/comments/suggestions?
  4. Head Injury
    Are you using the same equipment you used in those previous tests?
    We really don't "hear" 20Hz or below. We feel it.
  5. RPGWiZaRD
    ^ I can barely hear 15Hz, 16Hz is more clear though (and it's not distortion or any mechanical noise), not only feel it, very few headphones will let you "hear" it thought without also raising volume quite a bit and possibly just sound distorted too, Sony XB500/700/1000 will allow such testing with ease though and you don't have to raise the volume cuz the extension is so great. ^^
    Talk about sudden loss of hearing when waking up, I've noticed some days I think (can't say for sure) I hear a little better than others. I've been having a cold lately though and my ears usually get clogged up a bit so it's difficult to say how it's been as of late. Once I even thought I had very faint tinnitus when waking up to the point it needed a very silent room and I still couldn't quite make up my mind if I heard anything or not but I was going bonkers about it anyway trying to figure out if it was it or not (which I didn't hear anything of when going to bed and I'm not the guy that goes to concerts etc either and doesn't overdo the volume at home either) but it went away after a couple of days unless it was just my imagination. Scary when it happens during sleep. :p
  6. nikp
    Hearing will get worse as you grow with age. And if you're exposed to loud music frequently, hearing will deteriorate quickly. Once, I ever had this loud ringing in my ears and I'm worried that I have a permanent hearing loss. After I listened to some peaceful classical music and went outside enjoying the sounds of nature, the ringing doesn't happen anymore. Although there is still a little bit of ringing, ignoring it helps a lot. 
  7. Lumify
    I used the same equipment to test both times. I usually use an equalizer and obsessively adjust the settings for each gear setup, so it should be more or less neutral. I adjusted the bass up to neutralize the frequency response according to the Headroom graph for my current phones, the Sennheiser HD650s. I usually use the Fiio E7 as a dedicated DAC for my La Figaro 339, but the 339 sorta blows when it comes to the very bottom. It produces more volume in overtones than it does in the bass tone. I used the E7 as a DAC/amp for the test.
    I noticed the hearing loss right away when I couldn't hear my footsteps. I couldn't hear my phone vibrate on the desk. I got on the bus which usually annoys me with its ridiculously loud low roar, and I found that it was eerily quiet. I only recovered a little bit. The sound of the bus' engine which was a deafening roar is now a soft hum. When I'm in the basement of my house, I can no longer hear my family move around above me.
    And yeah, I could definitely hear below 20Hz. I'd hear it before I'd feel it. I can't now though. Now I feel it before I hear it for anything below 40Hz. 
    I've been like this consistently for about a month. I'm only 18, and I'm already partially deaf.
    edit- So, is it possible to get hearing loss more strongly in some frequencies than others? I've only heard of people losing their upper frequency perception.

    Hi, did your hearing improve back to normal? I currently have the same problem.
  9. Ruben123

    Hey man, could be a lot of things. Most forgotten is a simple upper airway infection (could close your eustachian tube) or an allergy.
  10. mien
    Do you have unsustainable hygiene around your ears? If your ear had a history of any problems, it might make your ear more prone to temporary hearing loss. If your blood volumes around your head effect your hearing, that could also be it too which is done my the body posture that you idle in for long periods of time. If your ear feels stiffy, it is probably because your ears are sensitive, and or under stress or pressure. When I'm seriously stressed out, I usually have problems with my perceptive functions because your head might feel unusual. 
  11. goobicii
    could it be bloodclot in brain that caused small portion of neurons responsible for bass hearing to die due to oxygen deprivation?
    mien likes this.
  12. mgb2507
    Lumify I see this original post started in 2011. Just recently I woke up and am finding, I think I have the very same issue as you did or still have. Have you found out as to what the problem is yet? Did you ever get you low sound back? 
  13. buonassi
    I have bass loss in the right ear and have been doing research after 3 trips to audiologist, main doctor, and ENT yielded no explanation. For me, it's more of a bass attenuation than complete loss. Here is what I'm able to gather about what it could be, NOT listed in any particular order:

    • reverse slope hearing loss - due to ototoxic drugs - in my case high doses of ibuprofen for long time (rare)
    • eustachian tube dysfunction - blockage or pressure issue behind eardrum (common)
    • acoustic neuroma - tumor growing and pressing against auditory nerves (rare)
    • TMJ - jaw joint issues over time alter muscles, produce swelling, pressing against auditory nerves (common)
    • otosclerosis - calcium buildup on the bones that connect the eardrum to the cochlea (don't know how common)
    • scarring, rupture, or puncture of the eardrum itself. (should be visible, but more common than thought)
    • wax buildup, but this would affect high frequencies more than low provided nothing else is going on. so this can be dismissed in "bass loss" cases I think

    In my case, I haven't really narrowed it down much, and am thinking about taking next steps (very expensive medical screening) to determine if there's really something to deal with before it gets worse, or if it's just something I need to learn to live with.

    Some tips: I am always tempted to pan the music to the right ear to play louder, but this actually has a negative effect for long term because you're training your brain and hearing hair cells negatively. Over time, that ear becomes desensitized more than the good ear. Then you pan more, and more, and never achieve a balance. I've found that brain training has helped me a bit and will explain more if more folks are interested.

    Keep the thread alive!
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
  14. Svatopluk
    I suffered from reverse slope hearing loss for about three years, I'm pretty sure it was due to my use of Ciprofloxacin, a known ototoxic antibiotic. This side effect is not common, the professional help (audiologist) I dealt with seemed to be oblivious of the possibility of a connection between antibiotics and my hearing loss. It was only through my own research I descoved the link between hearing loss and ototoxic antibiotics.

    My hearing eventually returned to normal, or normal as I remembered it. Can't say the regiment of Lipoflavinoid and lemonade restored my hearing, but it sure did not hurt.
  15. Danjen22
    Would be very interested in this. I was diagnosed with RSHL 2 years ago and after an ENT visit and MRI they couldn’t tell me why, no tumor at least and ears clean. After my own research I have come to the conclusion it’s my TMJ that has caused this. I never even considered that to be a cause! I find that sometimes will listen via headphones that I don’t notice it and other times it’s so obvious it becomes annoying. Any help in this would be much appreciated. Also any headphone recommendations would be good too.

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