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elizo

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Hi,

I'm trying to make audio files to do my own audiogram hearing and LDL tests using my computer and my closed-back headphones. I know by no means that could give a reliable result because nothing would be properly calibrated. However, once I had my first test done this way I could know my Hearing Level and LDL progress comparing with my previous tests.

As you know, our ears don't hear equally well at all frequencies; we need much more acoustic energy to hear 125 Hz than 1000 Hz. That's why audiologists use dB HL scale instead of dB SPL. I have the dB SPL to dB HL table conversion but I don't know how to edit audio files so that I can respect the relationship between both scales. For example, I have a 1000 Hz tone audio file at -33 dB (very low amplitude, almost inaudible). If I'm not wrong, I should add 37.5 dB (45 - 7.5 dB) to 125 Hz tone audio file at -33 dB in order to get the dB HL value. But this is not working because this is overamplifiying the signal over 0 dB and I also hear the 125 Hz tone much louder than the 1000 Hz at the same volume, which is not my case according to real audiogram hearing tests.

Any ideas about what I'm doing wrong and how I can solve this?

Thanks in advance.


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Johnloudb

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, I don't think you can do this test by just making audio files. I mean you could create the files recorded at different SPL levels so that it would give a flat SPL HL response, but without some kind of meter you don't what levels you're actually hearing when you adjust the volume to hear each tone. 

What is it that you're trying to do? And I don't think you can test your own hearing too accurately due to the placebo affect. Just my opinion.

There may be computer programs already out there designed to test you hearing. You might try a google search?

But still best to just see an audiologist yearly. hearing does not change much over a year unless there is something really wrong I think.

Just my thoughts,

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Johnloudb

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Reply with quote  #3 
your math looks fine though based on the table you linked to.
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elizo

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Hi Johnloudb,

Thank you for your answer.

Quote:

I don't think you can do this test by just making audio files. I mean you could create the files recorded at different SPL levels so that it would give a flat SPL HL response, but without some kind of meter you don't what levels you're actually hearing when you adjust the volume to hear each tone.


You’re right, but as I said, I don’t expect this to be as accurate as a real test in no way. A single test done with my own audio files is quite useless. However, knowing from a real test that I can hear 1 Khz at 5 dB HL I can make an approximate calibration.

Quote:
What is it that you're trying to do? And I don't think you can test your own hearing too accurately due to the placebo affect. Just my opinion.


Well, I don’t agree. A hearing or LDL test is a subjective test. You can lie to the audiologist or to yourself if you want, but it doesn’t make any sense, right? I want this to be useful.  I’ll just write down the volume when I can clearly hear a tone, and I’ll just write down the volume when I fell it uncomfortable, just as I did in a real test by pushing a button.

Quote:
There may be computer programs already out there designed to test you hearing. You might try a google search?


You’re right, but I want to do this mainly for two reasons. Firstly, I like to do things by myself. Some people may think: “What’s wrong with this guy? He just has to make an appointment with an audiologist.” I perfectly understand their point of view and I don’t expect them to understand mine, I just love to be self-taught, that’s all. Well, I also developed my own sound therapy protocol for treating very severe hyperacusis but that was only because doctor’s didn’t work. Secondly, I want to measure frequencies above 8 Khz, up to 16 Khz. As you know, it’s not uncommon that hyperacusis sufferers have a very good hearing between 125 Hz and 8Khz but I suspect we would find interesting things above 8 Khz. But audiologists don’t usually measure frequencies above 8 Khz, at least not the ones I visited.

Quote:
But still best to just see an audiologist yearly. hearing does not change much over a year unless there is something really wrong I think.


Hearing doesn’t change quickly but I want to measure LDL’s as well. And I can see improvements in my sound tolerance sometimes in less than a month.

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Rob

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Reply with quote  #5 

Elizo –  

Don’t try to determine your own audiogram.  Don’t try to administer your own LDLs.  Your efforts will not provide a reliable result.  You could hurt yourself.  An LDL exam is easy.  A hearing test is easy.  Both of these things need to be administered by someone else, by design.  You say you like to be self-taught.  Teach yourself how to find an audiologist who can measure hearing over 8 kHz.  More specifically, find an audiologist who can administer a distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) test, the gold standard of hearing tests that measures above 8 kHz.  Find an audiologist with the equipment to administer LDLs up to 12 kHz.  

Rob      

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elizo

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Hi Rob,

Thank for sharing your thoughts, it's always good to read your opinions, but I don't agree with you this time.

I don't know what you mean when you say I could hurt myself doing this test. I'm a musician who mixes and masters songs so I have some skills working with sound, and I'm not a newbie on hyperacusis. You start at a very low volume and increase it until you feel it uncomfortable (not painful). How could I hurt myself doing that? I can make my hyperacusis worse just by opening the window and letting traffic noise in for too long, but not listening to pure tones for a few seconds with a controlled volume. You have to expose yourself to 100 dB for at least 15 minutes in order to cause real damage to your inner ear. I also know approximately how may decibels I hear with headphones (I asked that on another thread). It's quite easy, if you feel something goes wrong, you stop it. As a matter of fact, I think everybody could do his own test if he follows the proper instructions and has a real audiogram and LDL test done previosly.

Anyway, thanks for the information about how to measure hearing above 8 Khz.




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Rob

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Reply with quote  #7 
Elizo -

If you really want to know the state of your hearing, get a DPOAE test.  This is a passive test, meaning unlike a basic hearing test, the results of a DPOAE do not depend on your answers.  The test also provides a more accurate account of one's hearing.   

Maybe you explained this earlier and I missed it, but I'm not clear why it is important to you to try to self-administer a hearing test or an LDL test and what you hope to gain by doing so.  Would you say more about that?  Even if you had the equipment to administer your own LDL test, how could you get around biasing the results?    

It seems to me the more important thing is to be in therapy to treat hyperacusis.  How has that been going for you?

Rob
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elizo

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
Maybe you explained this earlier and I missed it, but I'm not clear why it is important to you to try to self-administer a hearing test or an LDL test and what you hope to gain by doing so.  Would you say more about that?


I didn't say this was important for me. If it's not possible it doesn't matter, I just want to try it. There'll always be an audiologist waiting for me.

If when I start sound therapy I have trouble tolerating pink noise at a volume of 12 for 10 minutes, and a month later I can easily turn the volume up to 17 for the same amount of time, then there's a quantifiable evidence that there's been an improvement in sound tolerance. Paying attention to the volume we set on our music player would be a very simple way to track sound tolerance progress by ourselves. Well, I just want it to be more sophisticated, as close to a real LDL test as I can.

In addition to personal satisfaction of doing this by myself, I could test my hearing state whenever I want, comfortably, with no cost, although I'd keep visiting an audiologist from time to time to get accurate and real results. That's it, no need to split hairs.


Quote:
It seems to me the more important thing is to be in therapy to treat hyperacusis.  How has that been going for you?


Of course, that is the most important thing. Well, once I found how to treat my very severe hyperacusis at the end of february my sound tolerance has improved quite a lot. Back then, my LDL's were around 40 dB. I couldn't watch TV fore mor than 15 minutes at the lowest volume, I had to let my ears rest a couple of hours after taking a shower, I had trouble tolerating even a whispered voice, speaking on the telephone was absolutely impossible, and I was homebound, all day confined in a small room. Five months later, I can do the vacuum cleaning, I go out on the street and expose myself to traffic noise (only for a few minutes, though), I can use the telephone again, or I can play my piano, guitar, even bass (what made me get hyperacusis, I guess that's why low frequencies are my Achilles' heel) at a low level, all of this without hearing protection. So far so good, but there's still a long way to run.


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Rob

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Reply with quote  #9 
elizo -

Improvement in sound tolerance has to do with the volume.  It also has to do the particular broadband noise presentation you use.  I appreciate your desire to be a bit more sophisticated, and I think it is achievable, but I think the way to do that is to obtain an accurate reading of your LDLs from a professional and then to adjust the broadband noise presentation you use.  I can tell you from experience, that is what I did -- and it works.  I relied on a professional to administer my LDLs and I relied on myself to make adjustments in the broadband noise I used.  I understand that a feeling of personal satisfaction in dealing with hyperacusis is very important to you.  It was important to me too.  For me, I felt a strong sense of achievement by educating myself on the condition, determining my options, and customizing the broadband noise I used to treat hyperacusis to accommodate my LDLs and creating a protocol that helped me address ear pain.  Best of luck as you move forward, elizo.  I am thrilled you are making progress.  Keep going.

Rob
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elizo

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thank you for you good wishes, Rob.

Quote:
Improvement in sound tolerance has to do with the volume.  It also has to do the particular broadband noise presentation you use.


I would add that it also has to do with time of exposure. The most knowledgeable ENT I found prescribed me only 30 minutes of white noise to treat hyperacusis. Obviously, it wasn't enough. Sounde tolerance rely on intensity, time of exposure and frequency. My sound therapy focuses on those three factors among other important aspects.

By the way, I may be wrong but I think a good sound tolerance test should involve those three factors but LDL test does not take time of exposure into account. According to the soundmeter, now I can tolerate around 80 dB SPL sounds for a very short time, so it's likely that my LDL's are close to that intensity (before they are converted to dB HL). However, my sound tolerance is not as good as when my LDL's were in the 60's. Back then I easily tolerated longer times of exposure for the same volume and kinds of sound.

Quote:
I appreciate your desire to be a bit more sophisticated, and I think it is achievable, but I think the way to do that is to obtain an accurate reading of your LDLs from a professional and then to adjust the broadband noise presentation you use.  I can tell you from experience, that is what I did -- and it works.  I relied on a professional to administer my LDLs and I relied on myself to make adjustments in the broadband noise I used.


I know what you had to do with pink noise in order to tolerate it but fortunately, I didn't need to reduce the high-end of pink noise. I was able to listen to broadband noise of 1-22.050 Hz from the very first day. As I said above, and unlike most hyperacusis sufferers, I don't feel particularly uncomfortable with high frequencies. Low frequencies instead, like the ones coming from an idling engine of a truck, can startle me badly.

Quote:
I understand that a feeling of personal satisfaction in dealing with hyperacusis is very important to you.  It was important to me too.  For me, I felt a strong sense of achievement by educating myself on the condition, determining my options, and customizing the broadband noise I used to treat hyperacusis to accommodate my LDLs and creating a protocol that helped me address ear pain.


I read your story as well as a lof of your posts and I do know you understand me. It was certainly quite helpful to get down to business to find an effective treatment for my malady instead of complaining about doom of life. Although, to be honest, I threw in the towel many times, and a deep and sincere wish to quit existence came up.

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Rob

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Reply with quote  #11 
elizo - 

I strongly recommend working with broadband noise for at least 8 hours per day.  

Another way to customize broadband noise is to increase the amplitude of the presentation at specific frequencies or frequency ranges.  I found it extremely helpful to do so.  The broadband noise presentations created by General Hearing Instruments are good examples.  

Some clinicians think broadband white noise is a bit more effective for hyperacusis treatment than broadband pink noise.  I agree with these clinicians, provided the patient can tolerate it.  It took me a long time to be able to do so myself, but I got there.  

Rob  
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elizo

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Quote:
Another way to customize broadband noise is to increase the amplitude of the presentation at specific frequencies or frequency ranges.


I guess I should increase the amplitude of those frequencies I tolerate better, right?


Quote:
Some clinicians think broadband white noise is a bit more effective for hyperacusis treatment than broadband pink noise.  I agree with these clinicians, provided the patient can tolerate it.  It took me a long time to be able to do so myself, but I got there.


I'll give it a shot, then.
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Rob

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Reply with quote  #13 
elizo -

My answer to your question is you may want to increase the amplitude of frequencies where you are having a challenge. 

Rob
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