Hearing Aids, Playing Bass, and Recording Music

Being an old retired dude who has recently started wearing hearing aids, I have found it “somewhat” challenging to accurately record (and even listen to recordings) of many bass covers…. What I’m realizing is that for many years I have mixed music based on what I “heard” through my headsets and bow realize that I may have been screwing up because what I was hearing and mixing may not have been a “true” to life recording that “most” people with “normal” hearing can either appreciate or relate to….

My question is… Are there others out here in “bass world” that deal with this same issue?? If so, how (or what) do you do to compensate for it?? I know that I can’t be the only one who deals with this problem and it would sure be nice to “hear” how others compensate…

For me, most of my loss is in the upper frequencies - a lot in the frequencies of cymbals and high hat along with the higher string frequencies of guitars. There is also loss in the deep low frequencies for the kick, bot to mention some really lows in instruments like a standard double bass…

Now that I have my new “ears”, I can actually hear all of these frequencies of these other instruments and it’s like a while new world - not to mention a whole new aspect on how I have to readjust and relearn how to play (and mix) my bass to music…

Damn, maybe I should take the B2B course over for the “third” time in order to make sure I didn’t miss something I couldn’t hear the last two times I went through it!!:thinking::thinking::rofl::rofl:

Keep On Thumpin’!
Lanny

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I have bad tinnitus and some serious upper frequency loss in one ear. I usually need to spend a lot more time and effort really listening. Good monitor headphones and adequate volume help a lot.

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Apparently, it’s a thing!

I just put the following in the magic Google and got a bunch of videos, research papers etc on it.
Give it a try @Lanny -

sound mixing and hearing aids

There might be some good info in there on how to compensate. Looks like hearing aids can actually distort things too.

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I too suffer from tinnitus…. The hearing aids that the VA set up for me does take it away somehow which is really cool even though I’ve (over years) learned how to deal with it.

Granted, a good set of headphones helps along with turning up the volume……, However I’m having to deal with “lowering” volumes from what I was use to dealing with because I can hear so much more in the other frequencies - all kinda weird sounds to deal with now that I’ve never heard before…… Hell, now I can actually hear things like when I turn a light switch on or off or (no shit),… the sound if a dripping faucet….

Listening to music now has become so damn different…. So, my question, do I continue to use hearing aids to make music, or continue to do as I have before and not use them at all for recording and mixing…. Does it make a difference??

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The advice for mixing in all cases like this is to listen to it both ways :slight_smile:

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:grin::grin:. So, with hearing aids, and without hearing aids….???…:thinking::thinking::grin::grin:. Both sound different and I don’t know which is best…. Guess I’m back to square one….:crazy_face::crazy_face:. Maybe hit a good “medium”??….

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This is part of what makes mixing hard. Ideally you’ll listen to a mix on good speakers, bad speakers, headphones, etc, several different ways, and shoot for a happy medium. You simply added another dimension :slight_smile:

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Thanks @John_E - thats’s exactly what I was wondering about…. Damn, another thing to take into consideration when making music….

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I don’t have hearing aids (yet) but, almost like @howard, I have bad tinnitus and a serious hear loss in the left ear. The sound in my left ear is like I’m hearing throug a cylinder or something like a very small space, or like when you have some water into your ear. It distorts the real sound a lot. And also my left ear is very very easily tired.

But I know it and I take it into consideration when I’m mixing. I trust only my right ear when it’s about the accuracy of sound. That said my left ear is still important as it still brings me the stereo / 3D image of the sound.

My most important way of being capable of mixing with this ear problem is to have some reference records, which I consider having an excellent mix. Then I say to myself that if my mix sounds balanced like those records, it’s a good mix. Also my right ear is still quite reliable so I can somewhat double-check my mix this way.

That’s very important for me. Not too low but not too high (because of the tiredness), there is really a sweet spot where I hear everything as it should. Actually my working volume could be considered as pretty high for a non-musician, I think ; it’s much higher than when someone listens to music normally.

Also, to finish this post, I’d say that I take 4 axis in consideration when mixing (I’ll take a cover as an example) :

  • is my instrument (bass track) easy to listen too, without making an effort ?
  • is the global mix balanced between the instruments ? (including the voice)
  • is the global mix balanced between the left and right sides ?
  • is the global mix balanced, considering the frequency spectrum ?

If I’m fine with those 4 questions, then it’s a good mix for me.

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A great post @terb!!:+1::+1:. Love the 4 points you mention…

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I have some loss from my USAF days flying. My teachers at Berklee really drove home the need to get a good library of reference tracks that are mixed well and you know what they sound like. Listen to those first to help “tune” your ears and then do your mixing. There are suggestions out there for good reference tracks. Ideally, you want to mix on monitors, not headphones at first, but as @howard said, then listen to your mix on all kinds of systems once it is near completion.

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I also have very bad hearing I Worked in a loud environment for four decades back when hearing safety was up up to the employee to be careful. Compounded with my passion for rock
music Im left with less than 50% in both ears. Also high frequencies are first to go, my low frequency are near normal. Having this type hearing loss is not like turning down the sound 50% when people speak I only hear part of what they say like a different language. Playing bass does come easy for me though, thank goodness. Heres what I’ve done that I recommend. Ive had 3 sets of hearing aids the first were the in-canal almost invisible to see type the sound quality was very artificial. what someone needs for what you do is the type that has the receiver that is external tuned to enhance only what you’re loss is that sends that sound you’re ear to go with what you have. I use Oticon opn2 they’re about 6K they’re tuned to my ear and are adjustable if my hearing changes in the future. they also have a natural sound and perception. Don’t know if this helps. Rock on Lanny I hear ya.

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