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Compressed music causes ear loss?
geekrock
post Jan 9 2008, 06:51
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I read where compressed music causes hearing loss.

"He also said the use of "compressed" sound in modern media in which weak signals are boosted to the level of stronger ones is changing the way people speak.

This is from

http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/bud...9554654519.html

What do you think of this? When they say the signals are boosted to the level of stronger can that also apply to EQ settings?
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Light-Fire
post Jan 9 2008, 06:54
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I think you can aways lower the volume. If the sound is compressed or not wouldn't matter.
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Axon
post Jan 9 2008, 07:39
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rohangc
post Jan 9 2008, 09:32
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All complete nonsense. People who listen to any music at high volumes are prone to hearing loss.
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xmixahlx
post Jan 9 2008, 09:44
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this is so true! i just recently lost my left ear listening to country music!

damn you garth!


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PoisonDan
post Jan 9 2008, 10:06
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I think several of you are misinterpreting the meaning of "compressed" here. The article is not about MP3 compression, but about the lack of dynamic range in today's music ("clipression", like some people call it here).

And actually, I think there may be some truth to this. Since no dynamic range is left in the music, there are no quiet parts anymore. It's just LOUDLOUDLOUD from start to end. And since hearing damages occurs by prolonged exposure to loud sounds, it could be a contributing factor.


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slks
post Jan 9 2008, 10:13
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I imagine you'd need sound waves at least strong enough to generate hurricane-force winds to cause the loss of an ear.

Hearing loss, though, probably requires less than that.


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Nick E
post Jan 9 2008, 10:16
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QUOTE (geekrock @ Jan 8 2008, 23:51) *
I read where compressed music causes hearing loss.

"He also said the use of "compressed" sound in modern media in which weak signals are boosted to the level of stronger ones is changing the way people speak.


Specifically:

QUOTE
"Young children used to watching cartoons with compressed sound can end up speaking in the same loud, monotone way."


That's interesting but also, I suppose, expected. No one, particularly not children, is immune to any outside influence. This is how someone moving into an area picks up the local accent: it's likely mostly an unconscious process--just what you're hearing all the time.

However, I'd have thought there'd be forces pulling back the other way--namely, normal speech around them not on the TV. But Professor Huggonet's the professor here not me. (Is he an audiologist, too? The others quoted--the Australians--seem to be, but it doesn't say what Professor Huggonet's field is.)

I haven't got a TV and, frankly, now I'm used to their absence I find I dislike them. It's not just the cartoons where there's constant shouting (dynamic compression or not). Sports commentators in particular seem to think they have to speak as if they are in a state of permanent unmanly hysteria--mostly about nothing at all. Do they think viewers will switch off if they don't try to convince them with their voice that what's going on is exciting? Then there's the thumping rock music pushed in behind almost everything, often one snatch following another none longer than a few seconds. I hear with interactive TV there's a move to allow people to "push the red button" to cut this crap out on nature programmes and the like, because TV companies have had so many complaints from viewers.

Thanks for posting the link. It's interesting. I'm sure hearing problems, which the article also mentions, are an important issue. A few years back it was said that discos were a threat to people's hearing; now portable players seem to be current worry. Maybe that's well-founded:

QUOTE
Audiologist Rebecca Verhoef ... acknowledged that the hospital had seen an ... increase in young people presenting with hearing problems such as tinnitus, a ringing sensation in the ears.


I tend now not to listen to my portable player in noisy environments, such as walking down the street. The temptation to turn the volume up in order to compete with "background sounds" is too great. In any case, it's best to do one thing well rather than several indifferently, so if music is worth listening to at all, it's probably worth giving your full attention to it. As the Zen saying goes:

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bug80
post Jan 9 2008, 10:40
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QUOTE (Light-Fire @ Jan 9 2008, 06:54) *
I think you can aways lower the volume. If the sound is compressed or not wouldn't matter.

In fact, when the dynamic range is low, you don't have to play it loud to hear all the different parts.

So, dynamic range compression might even prevent hearing loss. biggrin.gif

By the way, what a BAD article. Two different things are linked:

1) Compressed sound is changing the way we speak
2) A number of studies have pointed to MP3 players and "earbud" earphones as harming people's hearing.

I think they are mixing up the meaning of the word "compressed" here.

This post has been edited by bug80: Jan 9 2008, 10:43
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Lyx
post Jan 9 2008, 12:28
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I cannot comment on the hearing loss issue. However, oversaturation in general (not just aural) does have an influence on peoples behaviour - noticing that day in day out as someone, who avoids oversaturation like the plague (which among other things, is the reason why i have no TV, no Radio and read no mainstream media at all - after you got used to some distance from this crap, it becomes difficult to understand, how the majority of people can expose themselves to so much hyped bullshit).

This post has been edited by Lyx: Jan 9 2008, 12:31
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Vitecs
post Jan 9 2008, 15:45
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QUOTE (Nick E @ Jan 9 2008, 03:16) *
I tend now not to listen to my portable player in noisy environments, such as walking down the street.

Hey man, why do you have your portable for then? Buy IEMs - even with disconnected player person will have 10-20 dBs less street/transportation noise. But if noise floor is reduced - why not put some music in free space?

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When walking, just walk. When sitting, just sit. Above all, don't wobble.

When eating, just eat? But when listen to the music?
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pepoluan
post Jan 9 2008, 17:53
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QUOTE (slks @ Jan 9 2008, 16:13) *
I imagine you'd need sound waves at least strong enough to generate hurricane-force winds to cause the loss of an ear.

Hearing loss, though, probably requires less than that.

My thought exactly when I read the title of this thread biggrin.gif


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HydroFred
post Jan 9 2008, 20:24
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QUOTE (xmixahlx @ Jan 9 2008, 10:44) *
i just recently lost my left ear

Ever heard of a guy called Vincent van Gogh? He was the first victim of ear loss due to compressed music.
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xmixahlx
post Jan 9 2008, 20:30
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hilarious... such a great thread title


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audiologist
post Jan 9 2008, 23:12
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Yeah, really, this is an interesting thread and especially for those of us professionally involved in the medical aspects of sound and hearing.

As a practicing audiologist I first became aware of the issue approximately six/seven years ago when it was proposed within an auditory e-list. The underlying rationale wasn't convincing but as a clinician I decided to withhold judgment until submitting it to former classmates involved in both research and teaching at various universities across the USA. Their response was that no existing objective evidence supports the probability that digitally compressed sounds either causes or contributes to hearing loss. The subject admittedly was discussed in terms of lossy psychoacoustical reduction of auditory stimuli as opposed to dynamic range, but I question if such would have altered my academic friends' conclusions.

The linked article states, "Audiologist Rebecca Verhoef from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital said more research into the effects of compressed sound on speech was needed before drawing such a conclusion." Nice doctoral dissertation in the making? Currently I'm unaware of anybody who has taken the challenge. Any other audiologist reading this aware of it being done? Perhaps those of us with the dissertation challange behind us should take it up on a post-doc basis? rolleyes.gif

Finally, the posting that connects noise induced hearing loss to "oversaturation in general" surely contains some words of auditory wisdom -- at least from my personal and professional experience. My human nature wants more and more of a good thing . . . be it sugar, salt, or loud sound. Despite my training I crave loud music and it's a constant battle reminding myself to 'Turn it down, already!'. Fortunately I've been successful yet having the diagnostic equipment to check my hearing routinely has been helpful.

Once again, thanks for beginning an interesting thread.
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Borisz
post Jan 9 2008, 23:28
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QUOTE
"Young children used to watching cartoons with compressed sound can end up speaking in the same loud, monotone way."


This made me lol. You can't expect a childrens cartoon with perfect dynamic range, its supposed to be played on a medium tv set in a complete chaos childrens room. So the lack of dynamics actually makes the cartoon more understandable, you can just crack up the volume without worrying about sudden loud parts. And believe it or not, cartoons are a perfect way of learning another language as a child.

I shudder to think what kids may learn from toons like "Totally Spies" that features a different sexual fetish in every episode. Sure, kids may not percieve it as such... but it plants the roots.

OK, I'm getting way off topic here.


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Woodinville
post Jan 10 2008, 09:41
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This is talking about level compression, not coding.

Just so that's clear.

I have, anecdotally, seen some evidence that people who used the older kinds of walkman tape players were doing their hearing harm.


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Vitecs
post Jan 10 2008, 10:14
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So, can we talk about "compressed music helps preserve your hearing"?
With compressed music/talks in noisy environment I do not need to make it "louder" to hear nuances - it right here.
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PatchWorKs
post Jan 10 2008, 11:23
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OOOld discussion:

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/12/20/2029212
http://lists.xiph.org/pipermail/vorbis/200...ary/009942.html

Don't seems so mutch realistic, BTW i prefer lossless !
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PoisonDan
post Jan 10 2008, 13:33
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PatchWorKs, please re-read the posts from me and Woodinville, you misunderstood what this topic is about.


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plnelson
post Jan 10 2008, 21:42
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QUOTE (PoisonDan @ Jan 9 2008, 04:06) *
I think several of you are misinterpreting the meaning of "compressed" here. The article is not about MP3 compression, but about the lack of dynamic range in today's music ("clipression", like some people call it here).


Today's music has more dynamic range than most previous music.

The average LP in the 70's could handle maybe 60-65 dB dynamic range between the clipping on the high end and having the content get buried in the record surface noise and rumble on the low end, so sound engineers had to squeeze the 80-90 dB of a symphony orchestra into a much smaller range. (BTW I still have an old analog rack-mount dBx unit left over from those days if anyone is interested).

Yet LP's were dynamic range kings compared to broadcast FM which gets crammed down to 45-50 dB to satisfy US FCC frequency deviation limits. Philips cassette tapes were good for maybe 50-55 dB debending on the NR system being used.

I listen to mostly classical music and most of today's CD's have WAY more dynamic range than anything I could buy in 1975. This is actually a problem because to hear the full range of music you need to have perfectly silent house - no background noise, furnace fan, PC fan, etc, or you won't hear the quitest passages, and if you turn it up to hear the quiet stuff, the loud passages hurt your ears! And of course, you can't listen to classical music in the car, driving at all because the noise floor is too high. Most people have no idea how W I D E 80 dB really is.
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pdq
post Jan 10 2008, 21:48
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QUOTE (plnelson @ Jan 10 2008, 16:42) *
Today's music has more dynamic range than most previous music.

I would change that to "Today's media has more dynamic range than previous media". How much of that dynamic range is actually used is the issue.
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greynol
post Jan 10 2008, 21:57
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QUOTE (pdq @ Jan 10 2008, 12:48) *
I would change that to "Today's media has more dynamic range than previous media". How much of that dynamic range is actually used is the issue.

With the vast majority of these "clipressed" recordings, all of the dynamic range is actually used.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jan 10 2008, 21:59
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Woodinville
post Jan 10 2008, 23:41
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QUOTE (plnelson @ Jan 10 2008, 12:42) *
QUOTE (PoisonDan @ Jan 9 2008, 04:06) *

I think several of you are misinterpreting the meaning of "compressed" here. The article is not about MP3 compression, but about the lack of dynamic range in today's music ("clipression", like some people call it here).


Today's music has more dynamic range than most previous music.


Ok, I would like to see some statistics from you. Can you show me a modern pop CD recording that has a 100 millisecond variation in intensity of more than 20dB, other than at the start and stop of a song?

How many, as a percentage of total CD issues?

Dynamic range does not refer to the ability of the playback mechanism to reproduce a wide dynamic range in the context of this discussion, rather it refers to the actual dynamic range, using the term in the perceptual sense, that is RECORDED on the medium.

In that light, it is provably false that there is more dynamic range today than in 1999. There are better players, the POTENTIAL for better dynamic range is certainly there ...

QUOTE (greynol @ Jan 10 2008, 12:57) *
QUOTE (pdq @ Jan 10 2008, 12:48) *
I would change that to "Today's media has more dynamic range than previous media". How much of that dynamic range is actually used is the issue.

With the vast majority of these "clipressed" recordings, all of the dynamic range is actually used.


So, then, I can go out and buy a modern pop CD with music RECORDED on it that has a 40dB dynamic range between PPP and FFF?

Show me.

Certainly the medium can accomodate it. That's not in dispute.


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greynol
post Jan 10 2008, 23:50
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QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jan 10 2008, 14:41) *
Show me.

Define dynamic range first.

PPP and FFF do not apply to any technical definition of dynamic range that I have ever seen, sorry!

To give you an example of something that moves towards the direction you seem to be heading, I offer up Wings For Marie (Pt 1) from Tool's 10,000 Days:

Min RMS power: -65.13 dB
Max RMS power: -4.79 dB

These figures were calculated using Audition's default statistics settings.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jan 11 2008, 03:33


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