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Question and debate, it is well known that our hearing diminishes as we grow older, so with that in mind, is our ongoing quest for the perfect and highest quality sound system a waste of time after we reach a specific age - maybe 60 or so?   I mean, at a certain age we loose the ability to discern the higher frequencies (and maybe have a more narrower range of frequencies in our heating spectrum) - so why do older people spend large amounts on very nice equipment, when in fact their older ears may not fully “acknowledge” or appreciate the ability of that equipment?  So should we all stop our searching and upgrading for better equipment after we reach 55-60?

 

is this a fair question? 

 

anyone care to comment?

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It’s a fair question and has been discussed many times in other ways. At 60 for average males and better for females hearing ability is still good enough, with high frequency loss at about 12000-14000 hz, and most recorded music reaches about under that. At around 75-80+ it starts to reduce greatly but can still be enjoyed on average even with no more than 10000hz ability. 

 

One in five of the general population have hearing loss problems depending occupation, disease and health, male or female. Heaps of online info out there, free online and private free hearing centre hearing tests available.

 

Reason why older people spend big is they have accumulated wealth and years of experience to know what to buy.

 

Some graphs below 

 

 

4CF6589D-0CF8-4715-ADE6-73BCFED22AAC.jpeg

D5613292-ADCF-41FB-8662-36B73E5125C2.jpeg

8EBDE76C-BC69-4374-A868-8C9B4285683A.jpeg

ABEE2F9A-2809-40F4-A9B4-56FD156DA370.jpeg

Edited by Al.M
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Youth is wasted on the young 🙂

 

but yeah, basically this 'Reason why older people spend big is they have accumulated wealth and years of experience to know what to buy. "

 

Slower reflexes but now can afford the Ferrari and Porsche.

 

Taste diminishes but can now afford the expensive wines.

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I think your statement " perfect and higest quality system" says it all. The range and combinations of equipment that SNA members have could be related to the differences in hearing and hearing range/age / social standing/ level of income, and dedication in chasing the perfect system, or just enjoying the music. lots of other considerations, WAF, room sizes, ability to audition/location, brand support..........

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I'm sure my hearing has declined with age and tinnitus, so I accept that my upper hearing limit's not as high as it used to be.  However, I have evidence that I can still appreciate good hifi and discern differences: 

When visiting the hifi show I can certainly detect differences between different equipment.  I could appreciate the naturalness of the sound, the dynamics, depth, the staging, etc. - everything that makes the difference between high-end, hifi, and low-fi.  I can certainly appreciate the difference between my TV's internal speaker, and the TV audio when it's diverted through my 2-channel system.  I have been able to do equipment comparisons with a friend's collection, with my opinions correlating with what he reports hearing. 

 

So although I might not be hearing as well as I did in my earlier years (when unfortunately I didn't have the hifi I wanted to go with it), I feel that I can still enjoy my hifi, and I can still enjoy improvements/upgrades when I'm fortunate to do so. 

 

 

 

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I think there are 2 parts to this question.   one for music / audio  ( and the main sail no doubt ) and the other for movies which is not part of your query but still very relevant to your probe :

 

1).  Yes, as we get older our hearing does diminish ( as is well established by scientific research )  but let me say unequivocally that our discernment of music does NOT diminish........ it is not some cold mathematical equation that says that scientific hearing measurement equals musical enjoyment........    as I have journeyed on  my quest for great music ( always within the bounds of your monetary and time restraints )  I have found that carefully selected equipment, well informed discussion and some leap of faith diy tweaks ( thank you stereo net for the majority ) have provided me an evolving system that provides with a wonder and joy in music regardless of age.

2 ) Bloody Hell .....    TV broadcasts ( regardless of ABC, Netflix, commercial etc are pretty terrible for above 60 viewers .......  I have spent high money on AV receivers, centre channels etc etc .....    just go   titles        and suck it up ...... works for me )

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16 hours ago, Rockford said:

Youth is wasted on the young 🙂

 

but yeah, basically this 'Reason why older people spend big is they have accumulated wealth and years of experience to know what to buy. "

 

Slower reflexes but now can afford the Ferrari and Porsche.

 

Taste diminishes but can now afford the expensive wines.

Which is why they also ride Harleys.. no need for the sharper reflexes... LOL

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On 26/09/2020 at 10:45 PM, captain starlight said:

Question and debate, it is well known that our hearing diminishes as we grow older, so with that in mind, is our ongoing quest for the perfect and highest quality sound system a waste of time after we reach a specific age - maybe 60 or so?   I mean, at a certain age we loose the ability to discern the higher frequencies (and maybe have a more narrower range of frequencies in our heating spectrum) - so why do older people spend large amounts on very nice equipment, when in fact their older ears may not fully “acknowledge” or appreciate the ability of that equipment?  So should we all stop our searching and upgrading for better equipment after we reach 55-60?

 

is this a fair question? 

 

anyone care to comment?

Just remember what part of the hearing diminishes. I can no longer hear the 15kHz tone that you used to get from the old CRT TV's - I think the last one of those we had was back about 15 years ago, and I'd lost that already. I can still hear it  (annoyingly) when I'm listening to a frequency sweep, but it has to be louder and I find it uncomfortable to listen to.

 

So, sometimes you can have appreciable hearing loss in the upper frequencies, yet still have as good hearing in the midrange.

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1 minute ago, Cloth Ears said:

Just remember what part of the hearing diminishes. I can no longer hear the 15kHz tone that you used to get from the old CRT TV's - I think the last one of those we had was back about 15 years ago, and I'd lost that already. I can still hear it  (annoyingly) when I'm listening to a frequency sweep, but it has to be louder and I find it uncomfortable to listen to.

 

So, sometimes you can have appreciable hearing loss in the upper frequencies, yet still have as good hearing in the midrange.

I have that 15Khz (like) tone ringing in my ears, pretty much constantly, more of a square wave than a sine wave from the sound of it.. It would be interesting to see my results from an audiogram these days, after working on and around military jets for nearly 30 years. Even though I left that working environment 13? years ago.

 

Actually the tinnitus sounds very similar to standing beside the intake of a Canberra Bomber, but at a much reduced level.

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14 hours ago, mfforever said:

but let me say unequivocally that our discernment of music does NOT diminish

True, I’m 66, suffer a big hearing drop out at 12.5Khz right where the tinnitus takes over 😖 but am happy to spend because I still want the bits I can hear to be great.

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As an example if ones hearing test audigram looked like this (first picture), one has significant loss and if the left and right ear were more uneven, then likely to have issues with appreciating stereo imaging, very rolled off highs and the hifi system sound balance you might prefer is a very bright sounding one.

 

Average males around 60 with normal age related hearing loss would be up to 12-14khz limit at normal levels and overall the audigram loss of about 10-20dB, which is not significant enough to impair music enjoyment and the volume can be adjusted upward to compensate.

 

Second picture of average loss by age and gender.

 

 

4DAC40C8-4C01-487D-8202-01A0540EB557.jpeg

 

754B107E-CD70-46A2-BEA3-4D9857DB92DC.jpeg

Edited by Al.M
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An interesting and potentially useful topic started by captain starlight.

 

When I started thinking about investing in what will be our last system, I got a proper hearing test, organised by my Doctor, and done with Attune Hearing Pty Ltd.  They have hearing labs in some 60 locations around the country (including one in Coffs Harbour, close to where I live).

A proper hearing test, giving graphed results much like those posted by Al.M.

Definitely worth having done - in my own case my hearing loss was much less than I had feared, and I got useful advice about the various causes of tinnitus and how to minimise it with lifestyle changes etc.

 

Can definitely recommend Attune if there is one near your location (or any alternative company which provides same sort of service). 

 

Only need some border restrictions to change in order to complete the auditioning I would like to do, before making the final decision. 

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what was that i didn't quite catch that, jokes aside i definitely fit into the older category,been into hifi for 50+ years,
i still enjoy my music session's on a regular basis,still play around with different components and cables and enjoy what i hear, that's what happens to you when you start down this hifi journey,in the end though it is about the music that we love as i am sure most of us got into hifi to make the musicians sound so good,as an example was not that really into the carpenter's but lately have realised just how beautiful karen carpenter's voice was,sure we (older folk)don't hear what we did when we were younger but still love to have a few beers and crank her up🎼

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On 26/09/2020 at 10:45 PM, captain starlight said:

so why do older people spend large amounts on very nice equipment, when in fact their older ears may not fully “acknowledge” or appreciate the ability of that equipment? 

We still hear the real world in whatever diminished form it is. Music coming out of hi-fi doesn't sound like the real world which remains our reference. The better the system, the more it will sound like the real world regardless of how good your hearing is. Think when you're walking down the street and you hear a busker playing a violin or something - you instantly know it's real. Walk past most hi-fis playing the same violin and you know it's hi-fi. When people come to the door they ask me who's playing piano or violin or whatever when I have the hi-fi going; they don't ask me what sort of hi-fi I have. That's what I'm trying to recreate, and I can appreciate it sounding more real irrespective of how dodgy my hearing gets.

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Hearing and listening aren't the same thing. I have typical diminshed hearing for an over 60, but can "hear" things that younger people can't - because they haven't trained their brains to listen properly.

 

There is anecdotal evidence that loss of high frequency hearing actually makes one more sensitive to the sounds of bright systems - they sound harsh. No one knows exactly why; one of the ideas is that the loss of ability to hear the high frequency harmonics makes the high frequencies one can hear sound harsher.

 

One of the advantages of modern digital audio is that we can use DSP to make up for some of our hearing losses. I  boost some of the frequencies that I don't hear as well. I use it as a given in my system. It probably would make it sound "off" to younger people, but it improves the sound for me.

 

I think it's also true that you don't need to hear the extremely high frequencies to fully enjoy music - they are a pretty small component on most recordings.

 

All that said, it does make me wonder if it is worth it to invest in any expensive upgrades at this point. Is it worth it, or will my hearing just deteriorate to the point where I've wasted my money on a system I can't really enjoy?

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23 minutes ago, Nordust said:

In some ways getting old and not able to hear high frequencies as good is a plus for poorly recorded discs. Played my dad a pop cd not to long ago that has a hard sound especially in the higher frequencies and he said beautiful smooth sound, I was thinking to myself what the hell😃

Maybe he was taking the p1ss LOL

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Considering that much of all perception is brain processing, you can compensate for some diminished acuity in later years by using your awareness and your 'trained' ears. Still, the diminishing returns of buying expensive hi-fi indicate that a system of the 'top of the middle range' of hi fi gear will be just as rewarding at any age. I think that much of the readership of this Forum have such a system. Some have the 'top range' all round--and good luck to them. I've heard these components at shows and they are great. No, I don't drive a high end car either...

 

Musical pleasure is available at any age and in any state of health. 

 

I think that mp3 is a blot on the scientific record and a crying shame of sonic mis-representation BUT I have enjoyed a lot of Spotify. Don't tell anyone. And then there's the car radio...for fun.

 

I have never reliably been able to discern between single and bi-wired speaker cables, or between digital 16/44, 24/96 and 24/196 coded music, or even always get phase appreciation correct. I prefer the sound of vinyl, of tubes, of single-ended amps and of hi-res music in most cases. I do trust my hearing like that--but I can't hear many things that other pundits say they can.

 

That doesn't apply to listening to live music. I am a music lover and don't have any enjoyment problems there at all even if my actual acuity (and thus some of my perception) at age 70 is poor.

 

Just like nobody should tell you what to like musically, I think it's worth ignoring any decline in ability with ageing. As long as you're having a go. Probably also why geriatric sex is so popular?

 

Just my 2c worth.

 

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, doogie44 said:

Considering that much of all perception is brain processing, you can compensate for some diminished acuity in later years by using your awareness and your 'trained' ears. Still, the diminishing returns of buying expensive hi-fi indicate that a system of the 'top of the middle range' of hi fi gear will be just as rewarding at any age. I think that much of the readership of this Forum have such a system. Some have the 'top range' all round--and good luck to them. I've heard these components at shows and they are great. No, I don't drive a high end car either...

 

Musical pleasure is available at any age and in any state of health. 

 

I think that mp3 is a blot on the scientific record and a crying shame of sonic mis-representation BUT I have enjoyed a lot of Spotify. Don't tell anyone. And then there's the car radio...for fun.

 

I have never reliably been able to discern between single and bi-wired speaker cables, or between digital 16/44, 24/96 and 24/196 coded music, or even always get phase appreciation correct. I prefer the sound of vinyl, of tubes, of single-ended amps and of hi-res music in most cases. I do trust my hearing like that--but I can't hear many things that other pundits say they can.

 

That doesn't apply to listening to live music. I am a music lover and don't have any enjoyment problems there at all even if my actual acuity (and thus some of my perception) at age 70 is poor.

 

Just like nobody should tell you what to like musically, I think it's worth ignoring any decline in ability with ageing. As long as you're having a go. Probably also why geriatric sex is so popular?

 

Just my 2c worth.

 

 

 

 

Hhahaha ... Dem bones dem bones... dem rattlin' bones...

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I agree with much that has already been said, especially regarding hearing vs listening.  The latter is a skill that is developed over time with some practice and the more experienced we are at listening, the better we are at discerning quality sound.  A good listener uses experience to analyse sound rather than an ability to hear to 20kHz (although that would still be useful).

An analogy I like to use is elderly musicians.  Many conductors of orchestras reach their peak when their hearing is well passed it's best and it would be a brave critic who suggested that this conductor was unaware of what was happening in the back row of the orchestra!  Similarly many jazz performers produced their best sounds in the latter years of their lives.  Whether it be wine/food, perfume or music, the authenticity of a critic is based upon their wisdom.

Conversely, I have met few teenagers who know how to listen despite their fabulous hearing xD

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When you're young you have the ability to fully appreciate high end audio gear but don't have the money to acquire it, and when you're older you have plenty of money to acquire it, but then no longer have the ability to fully appreciate it haha.... sigh....

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15 minutes ago, bruc3 said:

When you're young you have the ability to fully appreciate high end audio gear but don't have the money to acquire it, and when you're older you have plenty of money to acquire it, but then no longer have the ability to fully appreciate it haha.... sigh....

“Youth is wasted on the young.”

- George Bernard Shaw

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Fear not fellow aged members - hearing loss is why god invented hearing aids.

I went through the process of looking at hearing aids a decade or so ago and was not able to find anything that was able to mitigate my loss. I repeated the same exercise about a year ago and there had been massive changes in hearing aid capability.

I went to Melbourne Uni audiology because they had access to nearly all the quality gear and were happy to set each up for me with numerous programs for extended (~2 week) tests. I worked with an audiologist that was happy to spend lots of time programming specifically to improve my music appreciation.

I found what worked for me, but a word of warning - the aids themselves are not where the cost stops. With my new found hearing I had to upgrade all my AV and audio gear and am still going through that process!

Now enjoying my music like I did 30 years ago.

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I haven't listened to any music for about 5 days because of blocked ears AGAIN. Happens about every 6 months , Got them syringed yesterday AGAIN.

So ! I'm in my mid 60's and know my hearing is not real flash, but, I think I know how to and what to listen for when I'm in the mood for a serious 'hifi' session - most times it's just sit back, crank the volume on favourites and enjoy the tunes..

Not sure if this is what the thread is about, because I didn't hear the first question - sorry!

 

 

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For those of us with a few years under the belt, there is much in the responses so far which I think can be useful to others.

1. Al.M's 2 posts from Sept. 27 and 28 give us an idea about what we can learn from getting proper tests done.

In my own case, I was delighted that despite tinnitus (and occasional blocked ears like Grumpy, Sept.30) my hearing has held up really well....which was a pleasant surprise, considering some of the dumb things I did when I was younger in relation to exposure to loud noises.

2. For those in the fortunate position as was Fast_Eddie, and  who are able to get tests done at somewhere like the Uni; I suggest that it is really worth it. Really chuffed for Fast_Eddie that you have been able to get the assistance from the hearing aids which has occurred.  Bloody brilliant that you are back to getting the enjoyment from music that you had 30 years ago.

3. bob_m_54, working on military jets for nearly 30 years (Sept.28).  Feel for you mate.  Would it be worth getting a new test, as you wondered?   Hopefully you may also get a pleasant surprise as did I, that the hearing has held up better than feared.

4.  Many, other interesting and thought provoking responses to this topic from many other members.

 

For all of those who are wondering "what is the state of my hearing at present?", stop wondering, get some testing done, and with luck you too may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Back to the music.

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