Crazy? (HiFi Music Reproduction Helps Hearing?)

I am now at an advanced age, with tinnitus and high-frequency hearing loss according to the audiologist.

Maybe it’s crazy, but I have the impression that listening to high resolution, quality reproduction at reasonable volume has a positive effect on my hearing. Perhaps due to brain plasticity I am devoting more brain cells to listening, interpreting and analyzing music. In any event, I am more sensitive to low resolution reproduction (can’t stand it). Of course, this may just be a rationalization for the costly investments I have made in audiophile equipment and headphones over the years.

I honestly believe that critical listening to pristine music reproduction has either improved my hearing, or at least delayed the deterioration of same. May be the placebo effect.



This reminds me of my friend’s journey with eye sight. She’s been doing exercises that amount to (in my limited understanding) looking more from the back of the eye than straining only the front, and her hearing has dramatically improved as a result. Why would it be any different to improve hearing by listening to complex musical passages, and in a relaxed, open, and engaged way? At the very least, it seems like a strong theory to me!

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It’s an interesting idea, but I doubt there is any real research on it.
If it is the case there are lots of possible explanations, most on the perceptual side.

Maybe it was just the audiologist I spoke to, but there is just a general acceptance of you get old and your hearing deteriorates, and a lot of not very well understood ways that happens.
I’ve been listening to hifi for 30+years, and my hearing measures exceptionally well for my age, I still hear to 15+K and I’m in my mid 50’s, with most of the frequencies I still hear down to the resolution of the test. And yet I have started to find it harder to pick conversations out in significant background noise.
This is apparently not unusual, while the physical side of hearing is well understood (though there have been some changes in understanding even there in the last 20 years) what happens after the little hairs wave backwards and forwards, isn’t very well understood.


There’s an app for that. :wink:

Seriously though check out Audio Cardio app:

Not sure if there’s an Android version. I’ve used it with some success. It basically plays high frequency sounds designed to improve your hearing.


Based on my extensive experience in unrelated fields, the latest science with which I’m barely familiar and an experimental sample of one, I’m sure you are correct. No doubt our physical equipment itself deteriorates in a way which becomes disturbingly obvious after a half century of use, however since we don’t experience our senses directly (even as capable meditators), our brains continue to adapt the processing - not just to compensate for the deterioration, but to the changing environment.

While our biases are real, once we have adapted to a “better” quality thing, experiencing a “worse” quality can be quite obvious and unpleasant, particularly when we are expecting the quality to which we’re accustomed.

While I do not suffer from tinnitus, I regularly start to hear high pitched tones - usually late in the evening - which stop after a few moments. I have no insight into what starts or stops them, but if they did not stop, then it would be tinnitus.

You might be interested in Sonarworks’ SoundID, It’s effectively an EQ which can work with a variety of sources (players and platforms) and outputs (headphones, IEMs, speakers) which combines the results of a hearing test, a preference test and the output device. It has some real limitations and annoyances, but I use it consistently on my Android device with hearing test results collected with an IEM which works directly with SoundID substantially correlated with results by an audiologist.

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I share this theory. It could also explain the “goldenears” phenomenon where experienced audiophiles can hear things that others cannot. It’s not that they were born with better hearing, but that they have trained their hearing over time.

Tru tru :grimacing:

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