Have you tried matching a stereo to your hearing?

Have you ever had a hearing test done to determine your actual hearing curve? It is my understanding that the average human hearing range is essentially an arc that tails off at high and low frequencies, but isn't necessarily a smooth line. It might be possible to tune a system to compensate for dips or peaks in ones personal hearing. It might sound terrible to everyone else, but perfect for you.

Has anyone ever tried or thought about this concept? I wonder how similar the hearing curve is for people that commonly enjoy a particular system above all else.
The "perception curve" is more difficult. We hear with our ears, and listen with our minds.
Mceljo - Speaker might have perfect frequency characteristic measured with individual tones but horrible sound (phase shifts, wrong harmonics summing).
Unless the hearing change in one's ears was a sudden change, the person would hear the normal for them sound from perfect system, becaue only a correct to real system would sound to them, normal.
Any change to compensate would sound bad to the person. It would take quite a special person to want to listen to the distorted system to supposedly hear a normal sound of music as heard by non damaged hearers.It COULD be possible, but it would be crazy as hell... IMO.
However, some folks who enjoy moving coils with the tilted up treble are, in effect, doing just that.
Elizabeth, with all due respect, I beg to differ. Don't many use different corrective lenses to compensate for different viewing circumstances? Don't many listen in the dark? Why not hear things the way they were meant to be heard, rather than in an otherwise distorted fashion, when a remedy might be readily available? I suspect customizable equalization might be a better route, than trying to find a distorted system to compensate for human error. Of course customizable high fidelity hearing aids might be the best remedy.
I suspect a problem with doing it, assuming an sensitive enough EQ was available, would be the recorded media would likely be mixed based on the sound engineers hearing so every recording would be different.

On a more macro scale, could the speakers be adjusted left vs. right for people with hearing problems in one ear? There is at least one forum member that has very different left and right channel speakers with this very issue.
Considering how poorly some of today's pop recordings are made, Mceljo might have a very legitimate concern.:-)
IF it was a wanted thing it would be being done, wouldn't it? SINCE no one is doing it (and it is easily possible and certainly someone or more have tried it), no one wants to do it.. simple. The logic which wants to 'fix' things for folks who don't want the fixing, is faulty. Mostly because of the reason I mentioned. The people with a hearing problem are either already wearing hearing aids, or are used to what they hear, and would NOT LIKE the sound if it was corrected to allow thier damaged ears to put the sounds normal folks hear into thier head. AND altering the sound enough to MAKE the damaged hearing seem to hear as normal, would damage the persons hearing much much more, because the very frequencies they have lost, are going to be extremely loud to make the ear hear it as if normal, AND that really loud frequency will destroy what is left of that frequency response in the ear.
A bad idea.
Personally I think everyone does without knowing that's what they are doing. There are people who like certain brands of equipment and others who don't care for that brand because of the sound. It doesn't really matter if it's cables electronics or speakers. An example - me personally can't stand Klipsch speakers because they are too IN YOUR FACE forward in the mid range. Others think they are great.
That's my opinion
OR, one COULD lower the SOUND of the frequencies THAT are heard, TO balance the FREQUENCY. PERHAPS, it's not being DONE because they haven't CONSIDERED IT. An idea worth considering.
go for it.
The easiest way would be a digital EQ box like a $300 Behringer, between the CD and DAC.
The natural sound of things is our reference. Our natural hearing curve is our reference also. If we "compensate" for our hearing curve we are actually throwing the balance of natural sound way, way off. We'd have pounding bass and excruciating treble.

The analogy to eyesight would only apply to people with significant hearing loss, but even then the correction should be made at the ear, not in the system.
i believe you are simply describing how each and allmost everyone puts together a stereo system, sans a visit to a doctor.

we use our own two ears and pick out the gear what we enjoy, hence matching the stereo to our hearing.

indeed, some people do like measurements, i.e for equipment, but these measurements might not dont matter too much or even help or explain the joy we experence when it comes down to playing back music.

There was a study a few years back in a Japanese journal of physiology that documented that although the accepted upper limit for human hearing is 20KHz (although most of us come no where near hearing that high up), the human brain actually responds to signals up to 45K. Although not 'heard' in the traditional sense, there was increased blood flow and cellular activity in the auditory lobe. When these ultra high frequencies were present in audible music the music was perceived and reported as more pleasurable/enjoyable.
Having been hearing impaired since birth, I have a lot of experience with hearing aids and audio. Needless to say, current SOTA hearing aids, some costing over $5K each, try to match a hearing curve to the device. The problem is that few aids, even costly ones, do it effectively. I do think it is a good idea for any serious audio person to get a comprehensive hearing test. Watch out, typical tests don't go over the 8K band. So, find a real professional audiologist and tell them you want a 'broadband' test. If they ask what is that, move on quickly.
I think that three different things are being talked about here, which are not being adequately distinguished:

1)Adjusting the system to compensate for the Fletcher-Munson Effect. This is what I interpreted the original question as referring to.

2)Adjusting the system to compensate for particular hearing deficiencies an individual may have.

3)Adjusting the system to compensate for deficiencies in the recording.

Regarding item (1), in general you don't want to do that. If the goal is for the system to recreate a live performance as closely as possible, and assuming that the listener has reasonably normal hearing, and assuming the system is playing at volume levels close to those of the live performance (as perceived at the listening position in both cases), any compensation for high or low frequency rolloff that our hearing will have at that volume level will cause the reproduced sound to be perceived differently than the live sound.

On the other hand, if circumstances force one to listen at much lower than real-life volumes, then perhaps some electronic compensation for the Fletcher-Munson Effect can be appropriate, if the particular circuit implementation is of sufficient quality to not do more harm than good.

Regarding (2), electronic compensation would certainly seem to be appropriate for some listeners, who may have significant hearing issues.

Regarding (3), there is no one right answer, and in previous threads lots of diverse opinions have been expressed about this. It comes down to individual preferences, and the kind of material that is listened to.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al - I wouldn't have come up with the Fletcher-Munson Effect specifically, and I'm not sure that it's exactly what I was thinking. Let me propose an option (4) and see if it is different from the option (1) you describe.

(1) adjusting the system so that the audible frequency response curve matches that of a particular listener. There isn't an audio system that produces a perfectly smooth frequency response, especially when room accoustics are introduced. Ideally, one could adjust the nearly infinite EQ to allow the complete system to have a response that would match the hearing response curve for the listener. The goal would be to eliminate "loud" or "soft" areas in the two curves compounding.

This is similar to what the room optimization software doesn't now to match a system to a particular room, this would just be the next step requiring specific user input. Essentially, the user would provide the "goal" for the system to match rather than whatever baseline Audyssey or other company used.
but what about other factors...such as the mood we are in when listening at any particular moment and how that will affect our listening experience..or changes in the atmospheric pressure, or changes in our hearing...why not just put together a staireo and enjoy playing music over it. why complicated a very simple thing...maybe.

i understand this is all just acedimic.
Bad idea in my opinion.With the system equalized to your hearing,that is going to be your reference for everything.You will adapt to it and call it normal.Then if you listen to anything live,it will sound wrong.Even live unplugged music. We all hear live music and sounds with these flaws.Our body is used to it.Keep the live music as a reference,not a adjusted audio system.Nature takes care of this for us.
08-11-10: Buconero117
Having been hearing impaired since birth, I have a lot of experience with hearing aids and audio.
Is it possible this might correlate with some of your positions on audio topics, e.g. your viewpoint regarding the lack of audible differences among cabling?
Mceljo, your option (4) is expressed a little differently than what I was addressing as option (1), but I think that similar reasoning applies in both cases.

My thought was essentially that an electronic correction for the response curves of a particular listener will cause him or her to perceive an accurate reproduction of an original performance differently than that same listener would have perceived the original performance. Which would seem to be contrary to what we try to accomplish in striving for high quality music reproduction.

Of course, use of electronic equalization, digital room correction, etc., may be called for in many cases in order to make the reproduced sound as neutral and accurate as possible, or as subjectively pleasing as possible to the
particular listener, or to compensate for particular hearing deficiences, or to compensate for having to listen at low volume levels. But those are separate issues.

Some of the others who responded above appear to me to have expressed essentially the same thought.

You raise an interesting question, though.

Best regards,
-- Al
Elizabeth said, 08-11-10: Elizabeth
"IF it was a wanted thing it would be being done, wouldn't it? SINCE no one is doing it (and it is easily possible and certainly someone or more have tried it), no one wants to do it.. simple."

Hi Elizabeth, DONT SAY NO ONE :)!!!!

I would imagine that, though such compensation might best be done (at least theoretically) through individually tailored hearing aids, due to the actual scale of the equipment needed, it might actually be more likely to be successful with a more typical room eq device.
...it might actually be more likely to be successful with a more typical room eq device.
Unsound (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Ding! Ding! Ding!

Prize for the simple, and obvious solution goes to Unsound!
I try to have my stereo match my curtains
Interesting posts. Another factor that has not been mentioned is that science has proven that the brain registers audio signals beyond what the ear can hear, so I am pretty dubious about tuning a system to your personal hearing, as our perceptions of music are not limited to what the ear hears alone. Basically, I am in agreement with both Elizabeth and Almarg here.
As a point of clarification, I'm not suggesting large scale adjustments, it might be within the range of what my receiver does when run in direct vs. stereo where there is obviously some internal processing going on. It seems that everyone is thinking about a much more significant change than I intended. Many claim improvements with the change of a cable, so it shouldn't take a significant adjustment in an EQ to make a nice difference.
IT HAS been done. AND discarded. TONE CONTROLS.
Tone controls used to be 'required' then they got banned. NO self respenting audiophile would allow tone controls anymore. (Whether because every one else is that way, or because all the companies have forced the issue). almost no one has tone controls.... the standard way to modify the sound to suite one's own ears.
Elizabeth - recording deficiencies are usually more complex than Treble & Bass. Tone controls can do more harm than good.
With or without the help of an audiologist, Isn't this what we all do anyway, match a stereo to what sounds best to us?
On further note, wouldn't your listening room have to be part of the equation?
I would say yes. I'm thinking an Audyssey type project where instead of trying to match a set response the user would have an interface to input their personal hearing curve. I'm not sure where the hearing curve would come from, however. It might take a special set of test tones to determine the curve.
How about an equalizer?
It might be possible to tune a system to compensate for dips. It might sound terrible to everyone else, but perfect for you.
This is EXACTLY how I tune my system!!!