S I H T N O L SWIVE It was a nice change to have Jeremy Skaller step in for my column last issue. I knew he would bring it, and I loved what he had to say. But this month, I’m taking back the reigns and going to be talking about something so few of us in the industry (and out) pay attention to. Hearing. And to be more specific, hearing protection.
» We have nothing without it. It’s the most important piece of this puzzle, and many of us (myself included) often take it for granted. We bombard our ears with all sorts of noise, a never ending attack on our precious cilia. Nightclubs, football games, construction, and even something as simple as your car window down on the highway. Each and every time we push our ears a little too much, we lose a little bit of it. How many of you go to bed at night, and hear the little ringing that never seems to go away? Most of us can’t hear it during the day because of all the other noise we’re paying attention to, but it’s not until we turn the lights off that we realise it’s there. And for some of you, it might be getting louder every day, loud enough to really become a problem. I’m in the same boat. I want to protect my hearing, but I never want that to get in the way of life. When was the last time you said no to going out with your friends because the bar was a little too loud? I’m guessing for most of you, never. And when was the last time you went for a hearing test? If you ask me that question, I’m a little embarrassed to say, never. For God’s sake, I’m a professional audio engineer, how have I gone ten years in this business without a proper hearing test? It’s ludicrous! Well, I finally decided to change that, so I went to visit Dr. Julie Glick at Musicians Hearing Solutions, here in New York. Julie is a Doctor of Audiology, and the top choice for musicians like Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Maroon 5, and many more. She’s created a very unique practice for herself, catering mostly to musicians and audio professionals like myself. I visited Julie at her office over on Park
Avenue, which is not unlike your average doctor’s office, except she’s got a whisper room in hers, basically a recording booth, where we get to take my ears for a spin! We talked a little about her background and practice, new technologies in the space (mostly innovated by the hearing aid industry), and even her ability to diagnose a brain tumour simply from a hearing test. I didn’t realise how much our hearing can tell us about the rest of our health! After a little chit chat, I got the rundown of what to expect today. First, I’d be doing my hearing test, then we would go over my results, and finally Julie will take ear impressions for an eventual build of earplugs and in-ear monitors, provided by JH Audio.
LISTEN VERY CAREFULLY So now it was time for my hearing test. I entered the whisper room and sat down. Boy was it quiet. I’m used to a quiet room in the studio, but knowing I was finally going to find out exactly what my ears are hearing, and if I held any major damage, was a little frightening, and the silence was deafening (pun intended). I put on the cans, and Julie was going to start playing tones at different volumes isolated in both my left and right ears. Following that, she would ask me to repeat words; she was talking into my ears to ensure my speech legibility was accurate, too. We started with the right, and each time I could hear the tone I would click a button. We started with midrange frequencies, went to the lows (as low as 125Hz) and then up to the high frequencies (maxed at 16k). I started clicking away, thinking to myself I was doing fairly well. These sounds were so quiet, sometimes I wondered if I was clicking at a tone, or the bit of ringing in my head. Julie could tell if I was cheating and clicking at nothing, so I did my best to only click when I heard something. Once we got to my left ear, I felt like it became a little more difficult, and thought maybe I had a little more damage in my left. Finally, after about ten minutes, we made it through to the speech test. I learned that a high frequency hearing loss in combination with poor speech discrimination in
DR. JULIE GLICK
“ANY PAI R OF J H AUDI O I N- EARS YOU GE T IS G OI NG TO F EEL L I K E A WH O LE NEW L I ST ENI NG EX P ERIE N C E , B UT OF COURS E I L I K E M Y BAS S , S O I HAD TO G O WIT H T HE ROX ANNE. . .”
Headliner Issue #7 Featuring David Gray