READER REPLIES: Best way to compensate for hearing loss

Here is where you, our readers, can comment on matters of mutual interest.

A1:The theory behind “stereo” requires 100% symmetrical conditions, meaning identical parameters for each loudspeaker and each channel in the chain. But are always both ears identical? I doubt! It is proven that real heads/faces never show 100% symmetry, pinnae have a different shapes, geometries and angles thus the HRTF is different for both ears. And are there studies which show that the sensitivity of both ears are identical for all frequencies? Concerning our eyes everybody can perform a simple test showing that there is always a dominant eye! Thus stereo per se featuring a doubling of an original sound source require a lot of brain processing for getting the phantom images correct. Instead of turning the balance knob I would recommend to tilt the pinna of one ear if there isn’t an exact center image as claimed. 🙂 Even tilting your head will move the phantom image concerning perceived stage height. For me listening to stereo (!) requires to close both eyes!

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A2: YES! tilt the pinna instead of balance control. When you move the balance control you inevitably alter the recording mix especially when a solo instrument is brought up in that channel. I struggle a very slight high frequency loss above 4000Hz and nerve damage in my left ear that is almost painful in a reverberant environment. Cupping a hand at that ear also brings the center image back. Don’t hesitate to experiment and refine your technique. I have never understood why, when at audio shows, the extremely high playback levels do not generally excite my condition.



f you have hearing loss, moving a balance control i does not work. Not matter where you move it, you’ll never get back those frequencies. I developed hearing loss after 2 audio related accidents – one took out my lowest hearing on the left side, the other took out my highest frequencies on that same side.

The best solution, one I’ve been using for 2 years now, is adding a Schiit Audio Loki Mini+ or Lokius equalizer to only the loss side. I found it best to use the Lokius, since it can run balanced or unbalanced. Balanced, I have it on the rack with my amplifier, centered between the speakers (my other equipment 15 feet away). There, I stand or sit between the speakers and adjust the frequency bands one at a time until the image centers. It has worked wonders to bring me more at peace with my hearing loss. Sadly, I can’t hear cymbals above a ride cymbal on my loss side.

I was considering hearing aids, but my case is odd because I can hear voices and tv fine. When I told my audiologist about my discovery, as hoping this news would help her help others. She never responded… I assume she was more interested in selling hearing aids than offering a less costly alternative to her clients.


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