Hearing loss more prominent in one ear

I recently visited an audiologist to get some custom molds made, and had an audiogram done for the hell of it. While the hearing loss in my left ear is consistent with most people in my age group (mid 40s), it turns out my right ear is much worse. In some frequency ranges, to the tune of 20 db or more.

In all honesty, I never noticed this (in daily life, or in my listening)–probably because my brain has long compensated for it. But I’d like to address the difference in software. Any suggestions for EQ packages (ideally for MacOS) that will allow me to boost the volume in the right channel for specific frequencies?


I have hearing imbalance also.

As you said, your brain has compensated for this so it’s not a given that boosting your right side will give the best results for you.

You may find that no balance adjustment works better.

The separation of left/right when using headphones presents a different situation than normal where sounds are heard in both ears.

At the risk of making things more complicated there is a feature called crossfeed that mixes left and right to approximate how sounds are heard normally. Some people find this essential while others find it doesn’t work for them at all.

You won’t know until you try things since everyone’s hearing is different.

I might add that I started using headphones somewhat recently. At the beginning the sound was unnatural and on the verge of disorienting.

Over time I have adjusted and things are much more enjoyable now.


Thanks for this. Will definitely look into crossfeed and will do some experimentation. Glad to hear your disorientation subsided, that must have been annoying!

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It did put a wrinkle in the plan. Nothing for it but keep charging ahead!


I have a one-sided condition that’s a bit different - tinnitus that’s worse on the right. This might sound strange, but I’ve been experimenting with using an IEM that has changeable “tuning filters”. I have the TRN STM, and I keep the gold filter on the left and the red filter on the right. It helps! Probably does interfere with the music sounding the way it’s supposed to, but I use them when my right ear is particularly bothersome. There are several IEMs on the market that have these filters, or that have DIP switches you can use to change the settings. The STM is pretty inexpensive, though - worth a try, perhaps?


Interesting. Thanks @brian Will look into this.

You said you wanted to solve this in software on the Mac - I came across this company recently, a $19 app that sounds like it might meet your needs: https://staticz.com/soundcontrol/

I had another thought about this issue, though - a hardware solution. What if you put 2 inexpensive equalizers into the signal path, one for each side? You could alter the settings to suit your affected side, then perhaps adjust the other side as necessary to compensate. You can get pretty cheap ones from Schiit: their Loki is $149. Not sure what you’re using for a source (your Mac?) or for an amp, but you might need a dongle that does 3.5mm -> dual RCA, then run the L side to one equalizer and the R to the other. Same idea for the outputs from the equalizers: use only one cable on each, then L & R are reunited at the back of your headphone amp. You might be able to get away with just one equalizer to alter the R signal path, but I wonder if that equipment asymmetry might introduce some subtle phase issues in the music.

The same idea should also work to independently adjust the gain for L/R, if the issue included volume sensitivity as well as frequencies. I don’t know if independently adjusting the L and R volumes is exactly the same thing as adjusting the balance - maybe it is. I swear I have no affiliation with Schiit :slight_smile: but their “SYS” device is $49. Two of those, using only the L connectors for one and only the R for the other, would allow independent volume adjustment. Ideally, you’d then run these two outputs back into a headphone amp, so you’d have a single volume knob to adjust loudness w/o messing up your balance settings.

This is starting to add up, even with Schiit’s pretty low per-device prices! But this would give really good control, without doing a deep dive into your Mac’s audio settings. And it would always work, no matter what device you use for a music source.

I’ve used this frequency tool for general headphone assessment as well as its intended use of addressing hearing issues:

Also see this thread (and more):

I purchased a new laptop which has a fairly capable speaker in reproducing high frequencies, and went to my favorite website for tone generation.

Here are some findings – strictly to the way I perceive the whole thing:

  • Although I was happy listening to 16-18 kHz tones at my age (low 40s), my brain “cancels” those tones in a matter of seconds (1 to 4 – with higher frequencies being cancelled shortly). Can’t avoid (younger) wife complaining about the tests though. :smile:
  • Ears start ringing after tests above, as it is some kind of tinnitus activation. Not a good experience;
  • As weirdest as it may sound (pun not intended), I like this experience as I feel the brain kind of activates the hearing of other nuances, environment-wise.

Note I’m not trying to come up with any theories or anything. Just sharing.

But getting back to topic, make sure your headphone can deliver the frequency response that you’re trying to hear. I plan to do a hear testing soon and this is probably the very first question I’ll inquire the tester/Doctor.