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  #1  
Old 06-06-2009, 05:51 AM
Doyvid Doyvid is offline
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Default Ear Maintenance

Hi Guys and Girls,

A bit of an odd question here, and this is really the only forum which it could fit into. If there is a more appropriate one which I have overlooked, by all means move it there.

Now obviously everyone has awesome gear and awesome speakers and whatnot, but it all means diddly-squat unless you keep your ears in good check. I'm just wondering what you guys use to keep your ears clean, clear and to the best of their hearing abilities?

I ask this because I've finally graduated university, and am starting to get into Sound Designing full time, and I want to make sure that my ears are hearing exactly what they're meant to be. I sometimes feel that I'm missing out a bit on hearing the difference between things, and I think that this is the problem. I've never been to any loud concerts, barely ever have my headphones/speakers up loud (and if I do, it is only for short bursts, not sustained sessions), and I wear earplugs whenever I'm out at clubs, so this is the only conclusion I could come to.

So basically, any tips or tricks which you'd like to share on making sure that your hearing what you're meant to be?

Thanks in advance for helping a newbie out.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2009, 08:57 AM
docbop docbop is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

I'd say it more about doing lots of listening and A/B gear. Listening with others and discussing. Yes, you need to take care of your ear and sound like you are. I know some engineers who get their hearing tested every year or so to see how its doing.
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2009, 05:42 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

It sounds to me like you are already on the right path. Protection is the order of the day. I wear ear protection when I mow the lawn or use any power tool louder than a cordless drill. Getting an ear test every few years is a great idea and the earlier you start, the better, as your first test will be the benchmark for every later test(and hearing never gets better). As for "hearing as you should", I think hearing is as individual as a fingerprint and what sounds perfect to one person, may sound terrible to another. Keep those plugs handy and you'll be fine.
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  #4  
Old 06-08-2009, 02:44 AM
Craig Connell Craig Connell is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Never ear wank, and dont keep them religously clean. A bit of wax is a good healthy thing that will help prevent infection.
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:15 AM
Murt Murt is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Quote:
Never ear wank, and dont keep them religously clean. A bit of wax is a good healthy thing that will help prevent infection.
Haha, haven't heard that expression for a while. It's just the relief when you do it is soooo good...what am I going to do now.
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2009, 06:05 AM
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Stig Eliassen Stig Eliassen is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Try to stay in good health generally. May sound stupid, but it's true. I've also read that if you quit smoking, that alone can reduce tinnitus for those of us that suffers from that pain.

Keep those ear muscles in shape, and the blood vessels clean. Quit smokin'.

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  #7  
Old 06-10-2009, 12:21 AM
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DrFord DrFord is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Well, first thing you should do is Ear Training. By that I mean you should start doing blind tests where you have frequencies spiked and dipped at random (by a friend) and you need to start picking them out. Learn to identify frequencies without need of a spectrum analyzer or an eq.

Now if you are talking about physical maintenance, I have a friend who used rubbing alcohol on q-tips to clean his ears from time to time. I know he liked this method, but I have never used it. My God-Mother is a nurse and she always told me that ears tend to take care of themselves. As in they exude wax as needed to purge. I have found during severe colds when I am clogged in the sinus area, that a quick trip to the health food store can purchase some "ear candles" which are VERY COOL! You stick them in your ear and light then end on fire. The result is that as the hollow candle burns down, it pulls all the nasty junk out of your ears. And they really work!!

I also use a "netty pot" which is a small ceramic pot that you put tepid water and sea salt in (purified) and a drop of goldenseal if you desire, and you slowly pour it in one nostrel. It will run through your sinus' and out the other nostrel. It's really bizarre but it also really works.

2 very nice homeopathic cures. All things in moderation!!!
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  #8  
Old 06-10-2009, 12:43 AM
peppertree peppertree is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

I hope all my competitors use ear candles. Ssshhhh...don't tell them any of the horror stories!

But assuming you aren't a competitor. Generally, the best thing to do to your ears themselves is nothing at all. And that includes damage or so-called "maintenance." Consult with an audiologist to get a audiogram and make sure everything's OK. Q-tips etc. can cause wax buildup in there...but to be honest, even a tiny hole through the wax should give you nearly all of your hearing.

But perception capability is more important to focus on than the hearing itself...the hearing may put a cap on perception ability, but assume the hearing is OK. The monitoring is every bit as important as the hearing...and that includes the room and relative placements of the monitoring system.

Being able to hear frequencies isn't very hard and if you can identify 1.5KHz vs. 2KHz that's more or less a parlour trick...just as perfect pitch recognition would be. In the former case, you can sweep your EQ, and in the latter, relative pitch is more important and more useful than perfect pitch. Perfect pitch can even be crippling as you are fighting what's there rather than going with it.

Being able to hear dynamics is much harder. I.e. the effects of compression on an envelope. This can take a couple years to really hear the details of, and you will continue to improve at it as you go. Setting the right attack and release times, thresholds and ratios...these are incredibly important to that finished professional sound. And when you're starting out you most likely can't hear them at all...even though your ears and monitors are working totally fine. You will notice that somehow the commercial mixes sound more "professional" but it will take a long time to discover why, and even longer, how.

But leave your ears alone. Unless you are a competitor of mine of course. If so, grab those candles, and please at least have a handheld recorder going when you do it.

I'd like a copy of the screams.
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  #9  
Old 06-10-2009, 05:54 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Well said boys and girls. Including the comment on quitting smoking. But you left out a more important one(and one that will disappoint a few). Quit drinking. Alcohol dulls your hearing(like any other sense you may still have).
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2009, 07:04 PM
BaileyBass BaileyBass is offline
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Default Re: Ear Maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyvid View Post
barely ever have my headphones/speakers up loud (and if I do, it is only for short bursts, not sustained sessions),
If you want to remain that "pristine", never attend an Andy Johns (and many others) mix session. Genetics seem to play a big part in hearing loss as well. SB
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