Hearing Loss & Equalization

I'm looking for advice on the use of an equalizer to compensate for some hearing loss. I've considered myself an audiophile for many years, but age, abuse, and genetics have finally taken their toll. My hearing now starts to drop off at about 1500-2000hz, bottoms out about 40db down at 3000, and then comes back up at around 8000. In the real world I use hearing aids, but they don't do much for musical enjoyment. I do a lot of headphone listening using a Woo Audio tube headphone amp, and am wondering about whether a good equalizer in front of the amp could compensate somewhat for my curve. Any opinions, or suggestions for a good, high-quality equalizer that won't add too much distortion of it's own?
A query like this is posted every six months or so. The problem is that there is no way to do it since neural adaptation will make the shift from real world to EQ-ed phones/speakers wrenching all the time. I have done this for a friend with severe losses and, after a short and enjoyable honeymoon with it, he always goes back to more general tone controls as the tailored EQ is "unnatural."

Google for past discussions.

40db down at 3000hz is not something you can restore with any equalizer I am familar with. You may find one with a 16db boost potential but I'd think it would be accompanied by a lot of distortion. 6db boost is probably do-able. Sounds like an inexpensive ten band one octave equalizer might succeed in giving you a modest broad band boost using the control at 1500/3000/6000 (+/-) bands. But that is all, modest. I fear your steep dip at 3000 hz may not be recoverable.

I'd check out something like an Audio Contol 101, a decent 10 band equalizer and see what it does for you. Used on A-Gon or E-Bay they are fairly inexpensive. If that works for you at all you could consider getting a parametric equalizer of the 3 band variety, they are usually much more expensive, but you can be much more selective in bandwidth and amplitude.

Good luck, I don't envy you for your loss.
First, I'd get a careful audiogram. The usual noise-induced hearing loss is a notch around 4 kHz. Your loss may not cover as wide a frequency band as you imagine, given that you seem to have good high frequency sensitivity.

I am hearing impaired also, have been for over 50 years, still enjoy the music. Antommb, take a clue from the digital hearing aids, the latest units do a good job at being a parametric equalizer. Since these new units can be programmed, it provides many opportunities to find something that works for you. The key is to find an audiologist that has many musicians as clients. Also, look into the products and work that Meade Killon has done. Meade's commercial products are the ER line of earphones. Also, the next time it comes to purchase new hearing aids, look into the Finetone line that uses the K-amp circuit.
Thanks for everyone's input. Dbphd, I've had an audiogram from a good audiologist, that's where the figures come from. Buconero117, I can't seem to find a website for Finetone, do you have any more info on how to find out about them?

Check with Norm, Tbg, about the hearing loss phenomenon.
As a hearing aid provider for several years I will say your loss looks noise induced. When noise is the culprit we find the lowest response point at the ears natural resonant frequency of 3K. It varies based on ear size shape but is usually 2.7-3K

The second thing I'd say is most audiologists and providers don't set aids well, even more so for a "music program" where the compression and speech enhancement should be turned off.

Even though you are -40db @ 3K a 40db boost wouldn't sound good to you. This is because you lost your hearing over many years and your brain all the while was compensating for it.

The best thing is to find an audiologist that will make adjustments in real time while the aid is in your ear (very,very few do!) at your house with your system playing.
Again all the extra crap for speech processing must be turned off for a good sounding music program. Good aids often have 3 or 4 program settings. An open fit aid with the receiver in the canal would be best for music.

Feel free to email me with any other questions.

oh and use the phones less! They'll continue to worsen your hearing at an accelerated rate. Keep the volume as low as you can when you do use them.

Electroid- your input can be invaluable here. How does one find a hearing aid provider who is competent to address these kinds of issues?
What is the general rule for sound pressure levels while enjoying music that will do no harm from the listening position? No higher than 70 dB? 80 dB?

Thanks Swamp. I'm sorry I can't answer that other than to say it's got to be 1 percent of them at best. Audiophiles with a little computer smarts and the interface device needed between the PC and the aids (called a HI-PRO) could adjust aids themselves. Too bad manufacturers don't offer this. I can understand why with lawsuits and all.

I always take private emails to answer any questions I can for people.

Stevcham: the level is higher than 80 dB - but how high depends on the length of time you are exposed to the sound. A lot of sites on the internet can provide this info - try sites such as the Mayo clinic, audiology society etc.
I found out that 85 dB seems to be the "cutoff" for unlimited extended listening, but what is not mentioned is that peak dB or nominal or average listening level?

I try to keep it under 80 for most of my listening. What I regret the most is those few times as a kid my Dad took me skeet shooting with a 12 gauge and not providing me with ear protection. I believe that probably knocked off a few dB permanently. Also, all those rock concerts I attended in Boston Garden while in high school in the 70s, yikes the sound quality alone if I heard it today, regardless of SPL and relative to today's PA systems, would have me running for the door!

Also high bass levels are very damaging due to the displacement such SPLs place on the eardrum, bones and hair cells.
Assuming you found the 85 dB at a site that simply referred to spl levels and time, then the 85 dB means constant - like standing 30 feet from a jackhammer all day and all night with the jackhammer never shutting off. A short term value will be higher - for eg. if you stand next to a cannon - one shot at 140 dB can permanently damage your hearing.