Hearing Experiment

at work among friends

The folks I work with did a non-scientific high frequency roll off hearing test this week. Most of us a musicians of some sort or other, but not all.

We came to some interesting general conclusions (nothing groundbreaking):

Hearing gets worse with age.
Rock/metal guitar players have worse hearing than drummers.
Age trumps instrument.
MiniMusicPlayers (MP3 iPod Zune) are more damaging than playing rock/metal on stage.
Age trumps music players.

Of the worst hearing in our group there was no expectation that I wouldn’t win (or lose) hands down. What surprised us is that send worst hearing of our group is a non-musician. He listens to music almost exclusively on an iPod.

7k left - 9k right – Old drummer (old enough to know better and not care)
11k – Young iPod listener (non-musician in his middle 20s)
13k – Young-ish Metal guitar player (late 20’s)
15k – Young-ish Metal drummer (early 30’s)
17k – Non-musician non-music-player listener (middle 30’2)
18k – Non-musician non-listener (early 30’s)

We used some super HQ studio monitors and a sine generator. We just listened to see what the frequency was when we could hear the tone go away and come back when sweeping. It was pretty loud but not uncomfortable to those that could hear the tone. As a failsafe we had a mic/scope that would show the room sound. The test while not very controlled was pretty obvious to everyone.

The same frequencies applied no matter where we were in the room. If we were doing low frequencies standing waves would have made this nearly impossible. Even in the case of short waves rooms can have nodes. To account for that we all walked around the room to see if any tones were coming and going with locations. We didn’t find this to be an issue at all. I was a bit surprised at that. Regardless, Mr young-doesn’t-listen-to-music-guy could hear all the tones all the way down the hall. We feel like his HF roll off is pretty accurate as the room mic scope was showing that the FH was still about the same gain across the board.

Crazy, baby.
I guess the enclosed, air-tight nature of Pod Plugs is tooo direct. Interesting stuff.
You got those ‘Mosquito Youth Deterrent’ gizmos around your busy shopping areas? All sorts of oddness being reported in regard to animals, babies and deaf folk.

Hi phoo:

That’s fascinating stuff… I doubt that I could hear much above 11 kHz…
The ears are tailing off at a fantastic pace…
I’d like to know how many nights I stood beside the ride and crash cymbals of the drummers I worked with, over the years…

I can remember one drummer who would smack his cymbal that I stood beside when he saw me with my eyes closed…

What a way to go…


I lose it at about 14 now. Which seems pretty good, all things considered. You should test orchestral musicians. My wife played flute in orchestras for years and years, and is in much worse shape than I am. All those brass players behind her did it.