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Q: studies of how hair / earpiercings do (/don't) affect hearing?
post Sep 25 2012, 12:19
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Links / sources, anyone? I'm curious, and a web search only led me to numerous discussions (typically uneducated ones) on whether the nerves could be damaged by a tragus piercing, and not anything on e.g. how big jewelry must be in order to be 'earplug'-alike distortion.

(And no, I won't be seen dead with a combover. Find another lab rat.)
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post Sep 25 2012, 17:11
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Any deformation to the pinna can potentially cause an audible change to your HRTF. Try listening to a steady state, broad band noise (I just used my desk fan) and squish your pinna, the external ear, into various shapes. Hear the change to the frequency response? [Pink noise or inter-station FM radio hiss would be good sources too.]

Reflections off large, circular hard discs held close to the ear canal's opening could also be audible. Hair plays a small role in HRTF too.

I doubt any modification of the outer ear, up to and including slicing it entirely off, would have any effect on the inner mechanisms, however the psychological trauma of this (or even simple ear piercing) may have a placebo effect. Also, I can also see how people hearing a change to their HRTF frequency response (due to pinna modification) could misinterpret it as "I now have a hearing loss, probably due to some nerve damage".

This post has been edited by mzil: Sep 25 2012, 17:17
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