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Hi, I am an Audio Engineer. I do some audio related works at my church too. I used to make the sound arrangements at the church. Last day, I was asked to reduce the overall stage volume in the church. The people over there told that sound was way too loud. I was asked to reduce the volume of speakers too. It was a new experience for me. This incident made me realize that I had some serious issue with my ears.

One of my friends suggested consulting a hearing audiologist in Toronto. A test was conducted and it was confirmed that I have got a noise-induced hearing loss. I can’t properly hear anything over 10 KHz. Being an audio engineer, I am worried about my future. Anyone else here had this kind of hearing loss? I was thinking about having hearing aids. Has anyone been through such a situation? Please share your advice/suggestions. Thanks in advance.

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Hello there,

I wish we could meet under happier circumstances, but I want you to know that you’re not alone: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is far more pervasive than you might think, and up to 1 in 8 young people (u. 30) are affected. While it’s extremely common, most people don’t realize it’s happening until it’s too late, much like yourself.

Additionally, as you age past 50 or so, the range of frequencies you can hear also diminishes, starting from the highest to lowest. It’s perfectly normal for people without hearing damage to start to lose hearing in higher frequencies as they age.

This must be a heart-wrenching time and I wish I had a quick answer that could make everything better, but unfortunately I can only offer a few workarounds.

  1. 1) You may want to test levels in the church by sitting in the pews with a dB meter, and trying to get the level up to about 75dB. That’ll ensure that everyone can hear. If you get complaints, move up or down 3dB accordingly
  2. 2) If you’re worried about tuning frequencies, you may want to invest in a cheap mic and spend some time learning about Room EQ Wizard to take some of the guesswork out. The software is free, and it allows you to measure frequency response in the room you’re trying to EQ.
  3. 3) This one’s important: familiarize yourself with NIOSH’s sound exposure limit guidelines (page 2, I think) and attempt to take stock of how long you should expose yourself to sounds at different loudnesses. You can absolutely turn the volume up to hear things, but you will need to limit the time you spend around it so you don’t damage your hearing further. I suggest setting timers on your phone with the vibrate setting on.

Many of the people I know have NIHL, so you’re not alone. My mother, for example lost her hearing in one ear about 10 years ago, and has rapidly diminishing hearing in her remaining ear.

Definitely talk to your audiologist if you have any more questions, but a hearing aid sounds like it might be an option for you—assuming your doctor agrees, that is.

Hope things start to look up,

Chris

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