Audio tip for aging male audiophiles

Frequent viewers on the Audiogon forum have the opportunity to read many, many suggestions on how to improve the sound of their audio systems. As a rule, the suggestions are directed at the general membership. Well, I can't resist starting 2002 with a suggestion for fellow 'philes who are -- how do I put this delicately? -- closing in on their golden years".

One of the best "tweaks" I have found for for improving the sound I hear (as distinct from improving my system) is (trumpet salute...): trimming my ear hair!

If you think that this public suggestion reflects a total lack of good taste, or that references to personal grooming habits are totally inappropriate for such an august forum, please consider: excess ear hair blocks the transmission of high frequencies to the inner ear.

Come on, guys, you all know you've seen gaffers with shrubs sprouting from their ears! If you happen to be an older audiophile with hirsute ears, then try this simple experiment: listen to a recording with good high-frequency content, then trim your ear hair and listen again to the same recording. I'm willing to bet money that you'll quickly hear a difference.

Yes, there's a story behind all this. For Christmas 2000, my wife gave me a "gag" geezer gift: a battery-operated, Conair ear and nose hair trimmer. Initially, I was offended, but when I actually used the trimmer and got rid of the excess ear hair, I noted a distinct improvement in the sound I heard from my audio system. During the past year, the trimmer has become a regular part of "tuning" my personal audio system.

So, a word to my fellow, older audiophiles: lose that ear hair and hear what you've been missing. It may be the best, low-cost "upgrade" you can make to your system at this point in life!
:o) Helps to clean the wax out of your ears too.

One suggestion please consider the younger crowd at night. Its hard to sleep with the music screaming in the background.
Sd, for whatever reason I don't have hair in or on my ears and at 40 I guess I may never sprout it. I am fanatical about cleaning my ears though, do it daily to make sure they are squeaky clean. Q'Tips are very cheap tweaks.
Yeah, I've been using that $6 Conair for a year...every month or so. Seems that it's so friggin LOUD though that I wonder how long I have to wait for my auditory apparati to recover from this artificial Toro razing my canal?!
Truly, I think the temporary masking effect may WAY overwhelm any hf least in the short term.
So how long should one wait post-trimming before settling in the EZ chair?
Happy 2002 to's GOTTA be a better one! Ernie
scott: most excellent thread to which i can very much relate. about the only place on my body where hair doesn't grow is the top of my head. that's why i've sported a full beard for the past 30 years. got tired of gettin' screwed at the barber shop. now, as i too move from silver centrum to gold, i have my barber trim my ears and eyebrows. in between visits, i use a panasonic nose and ear groomer. much higher quality and not as noisy as the conair. ernie, you ought to change brands, too. -cfb
Ernie, it takes 80-100 hours for the ears to "adjust and stabilize" to an "ear job" by Conair :>)-- sort of like breaking in ICs. Cheers. Craig
LOL, I hope you guys can appreciate why this muses me. One day, I'll have to remember this one! I just got off of Flinestone chewables, I have a few more years!
Cfb; I have a full head of hair, but have maintained a full beard for the last 20-25 years. The beard really helped to soften the upper mids and low treble during my earlier mid-fi days. The Best of New Years to All. Cheers. Craig
Like Cornfed, I have the barber shop trim my ear hair when getting a hair cut.

In spite of the fact that I am more Centrum Gold than Flintstone chewables, I have a full head of hair. Never had a beard, and my son was frightened by my moustache when he was very young so it was shaved long ago.

This trimming makes me wonder. Any chance trimming nose hair would help sniff out great audio deals or new music?
I agree! But don't go with the battery operated model.
I have the plug in and I upgraded to the Lightening Power cord from You won't believe the difference!

FWIW, my ears are about the only place I don't have an abundance of the stuff. Even tho I will pass the half century mark this winter, I'm still a hairy guy. However, both my wife and son swear that my overall hearing loss (too much live 60s/70s R&R) results in me blowing their eardrums out when I get the rig even cranking a little. An Tim, I must admit I'm getting just a wee bit tired of you flaunting your youth ;). I can already tell, I am going to be one cranky old SOB.
Using vibrapods under your head when trimming your ear hair helps lower the noise floor. I've replaced the battery with a King Cobra Powersnake on my Panasonic nose and ear trimmer and even my wife noticed the difference.
Vibrapods worked fine for me, until by chance I found out, that resting my head on my lady's busom, helped to get a better defined low end.
Don't forget to remove your glasses for serious listening. They are hard, reflective surfaces right near your ears. Try it - you will be surprized. Old Don
Detlof, I've had a similar experience, and have found that in addition to low end definition, extension seems to be improved.
1) I have installed a pair of NOS ears to replace my original stock. After biasing myself, I now enjoy better frequency response and my midriff bloom is much less noticeable.

2) My 4 Ohm children have twice the impedance of my 8 Ohm children, as it is much easier to wire 8 Ohm children directly to a Nintendo when you want to listen without interruption, whereas the 4 Ohm kids seem to have a fascination with pushing in the cones on my speakers while I'm listening to them.

3) Surround sound makes more sense as your hearing deteriorates: you're bound to be able at least 2 of the 5 speakers at any given time.

4) Make sure your vintage gear is in another room when you want to do serious listening. My vintage gear insists on walking in during a listening session to watch Sex and the City, in the hope that she can identify with Mark Levinson's well-kept vintage gear that struts her stuff on that show. (You may also notice increased Wow and Flutter when your vintage gear watches shows such as this.)

5) Britney Spears, N’SYNC and Boyz II Men are thankfully not available on MFSL Vinyl or SACD -- your gear is in safe from pre-teen hands for now.

6) Understand that it is difficult to install a turntable in your Cadillac, Lincoln or SUV, but this might explain why old folks drive so slowly.

7) Be sure to acoustically treat your bald spots. All toupees should be sonically inert.

8) You were born before what classical composer?

9) If your system is too harsh and you suffer from digital edge, mix two parts soda with one part scotch. Great for reducing jitter.

10) Some audiophiles have rediscovered their previously lost high end by taking Viagra. Viagra can really help your vintage equipment perform like it did twenty years ago.

Is there a VPI ear cleaner on the market?
Yes, Marakanetz, but I will sell it only with the accessory mentioned above in my post. It will do everything Mes and I have mentioned to your system if properly applied.
I think we are on to something!
After reading Elgordo's tip to remove glasses before listening I got to thinking. I adhered a piece of -6db filter cloth to my forehead ( I admit I wear a size 7 3/4 hat). The results are outstanding! I think the resonant frequency of the room changed!

Another good tip. If you have large ear lobes
use clothes pins to pin them back on your head before any serious listening. Largish lobes tend to cause bright sound by emphasizing wavelengths of a wavelength equal to the radius of the lobe.

Also, remember that the inner hair cells of the cochlea (in your ear) convert acoustic sound impulses to nerve impulses.
Make sure you don't trim those cochlea hairs!!

Lorne....are you sure you're not a comic writer in disguise? Had a good laugh, terrific sense of where's that scotch? Oh, there it is next to the Viagra. I can still see it with my glasses off....
Lorne: what a great post! Thanks for the laughs -- a little humor to start the New Year is really appreciated.
ear hair...hmmm....nope aint tried it, would that be akin to buzzing your head and having a light bulb tatooed on the top????
This year is getting off to a great start! I see the whole gang is back, and in extra rare form. Thanks for the cheep tweak SD. Also thanks for that post on the Snow White DVD. That one would have probably slipped by me had you not mentioned it. Great stuff, what a classic!

I trust we will be getting more words of wisdom in the days ahead. Enjoy the time off, I'm sure you'll be back to work before you know it:~)
You guys think that adding a little or not trimming too much would soften the effects of these 2 bit ic's
Wow!,...what a boatload of great information. I was so excited about the ear-hair thing,...that I went to a local salon and had my ear-hair waxed! I'll admit it was a little painful, but the added highs and "air" from my vintage Bose 901's (the silver signature series) is just amazing.

Another inexpensive tweek that has been very helpful in getting rid of dust and static in and around my entire system...has been to spray my two cats with Endust(reg. tradmark of the Johnson Wax Company, Racine, Wi.) every morning. They roam the house all day,..and when I come home and stack up some Mitch Miller LP's on my BSR with the Shure M44e, the ticks and pops are much less than before I started doing this "low cost up-grade".
Be sure to use denatured alcohol when cleaning your ears with Q-Tips. Plain alcohol tends to bring out a rather acidic tone in the upper mids.
You guys jinxed me! I was crunching away on my vitamin(grape BTW, which is my favorite) this mourning and my ear popped it really hurt!
A true Godsend? Being a professional guy I never thought I'd EVER give a damn, but...The Pledge dusting mitts are terrific! Keeps yer gear dust-free and they are beyond easy to use. My domestic impulses have been tamed now, I can continue not giving a rat's ass what kind of bizarre science experiment is growing in my hockey bag.
Tireguy. This is why Viagra is not recommended for youngsters like yourself. Imagine if you had been crunching away one on of those.
Getting "one on", Albert? Cheers.
Thanks Sd and Detlof you've inspired me to have all ear and nose hair grafted on to my head in hopes of attracting a lady w/ really nice racing cones so that a mutually satisfying lower extension (that Tireguy is so used to) can be acieved.
Trimming your nose is a good tweak for chefs so they can better distinguish a good smell isn't it?
I can relate to Tim. Umm regarding the chewables. I HATE grape ones. But that is where the similarities ends. I am a stud but not like TIM. Thanks for the tip Pops. I will have to look for this post 15 years from now.....
Hay give me your address, I'll send you all my orange for your grape, how does that sound? If you want in to "the biz" all you have to do is ditch those Armani suits and get into some zegna then you'll be headed in the right direction :) sometimes I think I need the anti-viagra, at my age its hard to control ones self sometimes ;)
So, what you are telling me is.. If I let my ear hair grow it will cut down the glear on my Mid-Fi HT system?
Tim, Isn't Zegna style is little too british-stiff for you Or you are refering to Zegan soft? Aha, I get it: Stiff. Anyway I have de-graduated(?) to Emporio Armani (last 3 years) to now A/X style for a younger look, to get some action. Is that a right look for 'the biz'? Come on, Ron Jeremey is anything but Zegna or Bill Blass for that matter.

Back to the thread: Doesn't it hurt while trimming thoes thingies from your ear and nose?