I woke up with cold ears

I've been doing a lot of critical listening, with a new amp (Luxman 507ux) and new DIY power cable. I've been trying to find an audible benefit or difference in either.

Regardless of my findings, I wanted to share something else, coincidental. I woke up, listened to music and it sounded horrible. Very tinny. Very bright. Gave up and decided to run the dishwasher instead... and guess what? The dishwasher too was too bright!

What I mean is, I was being irritated by the sound of it. To my ears that morning the dishwasher sounded like a chalk board.

What do I think I learned? That my ears are not consistent devices. That they too have their own sensitivities and behaviors which I need to take into account when listening.

Already told you the DIY power cable was a waste of time. Remember the story about my friend who ruined his whole system? To the point he couldn't hear any difference between cables until he tried them in mine, and then even he could hear everything clear and obvious. 

Here https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis9ai4h-synergistic-research-a-c-master-coupler-power-cable-5ft-a... get one of these. Can't trust your own ears, may as well trust mine.
Hi @millercarbon:

Can't trust your own ears, may as well trust mine.

Nowhere have I ever ever meant to say this. I trust my own ears above all else. I may write about how easy it is to muse something is better or worse when it is not, but please, back up and take a seat because asking you to tell me what I hear is not on the menu.
DIY power cables are just fine if materials are quality.

My thoughts on the matter are I wake irritable sometimes, bad dreams, whatever. Sometimes I just need quiet. Don’t be so critical first thing, it’s kind of like hoping your 'mental' filter is in place when you’re aggravated.
TBC: I do trust my ears and my experience. I don't need other people to tell me their hearing is better so I should buy stuff.

My posting here is that because I trust what I hear, I know my own hearing is variable.
Hopefully you're not developing hyperacusis.I suffer from that malady.Nobody else seems affected by the brightness,sibilance,or crackling of plastic bags that make me cringe.
It’s got nothing to do with DIY power cables. Talk about trolling, and from a different thread. I don’t think the guy likes you, Erik.

It’s believed that our hearing is much more acute in the morning since our ears have rested and weren’t subjected to any real sound for an average of eight hours. Even the smallest of noises can trigger memories that can dictate the course of dreams.

When I first awake, I find sounds to be more direct and irritating, even if on the slightly loud side of normal. When I grind my coffee beans, all bets are off: it’s irritating no matter the time of day. 😄

All the best,
TBC? Help me out here, or leave me at googles explanation...*chuckles
It’s got nothing to do with DIY power cables. Talk about trolling, and from a different thread. I don’t think the guy likes you, Erik.

That seems clear! :) Given how little A'gon matters, overall, sometimes I feel like vendors feel I am attacking their complete livelihood by questioning an industry. They certainly make me feel much more powerful than I think I am.

If I'm that powerful, I should get paid. Some one pay me for a stupid hot take!!
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Talk about grinding coffee.... Miller carbon is grinding Eric's nuts!!
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Just make sure you use distilled water. Several have died from amoebas found in drinking water having a quick path to the brain.


Could it be that a lack of UL approval on DYI power cords causes "cold ears." :-)

I think our bodies come to stasis overnight. Things balance out. Our feet get shorter; our spine decompresses. It's no wonder our aural canals might change, too.
Over the years of working in a loud environment of manufacturing, I was required to take a annual hearing test. It was explained to me that the overall baseline hearing level can vary as much as 10 decibels over short periods of time for no particular reason. As Elizabeth stated, the eustachian tubes in your ears can become plugged, or partially plugged and can wreak havoc with your hearing including hyper sensitivity to sharp quick sounds which occur around you throughout the day. Fluid behind the eardrum can also be quite nasty.
Reading more, from these posts, I wonder if all the blood that builds up in our heads as we lay for a third of a whole day, takes just as long to exit the ears as the rest of the body.

Puffy eyes and redder faces take about half an hour to disappear as our blood moves southward so why not the pressure built up around our ears? 

That pressure may account for some anomalies in our hearing that can't be explained but point to something at play.

All the best,
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And what a clever moniker it is! 🤗
My hearing is quite variable. I have tinnitus that comes and goes, and high frequencies suddenly disappear then reappear. The result of 1- being in bands with guitarists who turn up their amp too damn loud, especially the Fender Twin Reverb, an amp I HATE!; and 2- soundmen who make "mistakes". I was on stage at The Pantages Theater on Hollywood Blvd., about to start a set with some of the guys in the core band that backed Emitt Rhodes at his "comeback" appearance at the Poptopia Festival a couple years earlier (video viewable on You Tube), when suddenly there was EXTREMELY loud feedback. I instinctively covered my ears with my hands, but the damage had already been done. All the high frequencies were gone, everything sounded muffled. I was suppose to sing harmonies that night, but that was now impossible. My hearing eventually returned to normal, but the anxiety about it didn't.
What a horrible thing to go through. It reminds me of the scene from 2001, A Space Odyssey, when the monolith sends it's signal to a moon of Jupiter. The the astronauts could hear through their helmets but  couldn't cover their ears, despite their attempts.

I'm glad your hearing eventually returned.

All the best,
Very interesting thread.
It's hard to tell tbh as I would not dream of attempting anything useful or definitive until at least 2 cups of coffee have been consumed.
By that time any hearing imbalance has already been rectified I think.

I normally throw some music on about 1 hour after rising at the earliest so should be equalised.

It is likely that hearing is more acute early rising as I know my eyes are better after a few hours sleep. I can usually successfully type in my email password early am sans glasses which is not the case later in the day.
Caffein can cause slight and temporary hearing loss in some individuals too.
I thought that everyone goes through similar experiences and wondered why people were writing very firm/absolute statements about their music-listening findings. It has been silly and enjoyable to read them.

At some recent point, in one thread full of those absolutes, I suggested that taking Afrin before a listening session may be beneficial.

The only response I got was from geoffkait…

"Glubson, you realize there’s a very thin line between being stupid and pretending to be stupid, don’t you?"
So girls/guys, be careful with these theories. Even if you are right, someone less adept at understanding may challenge your intelligence.
Squire- Check back about 6 months or so and read the responses
I received to my post "Am I hearing Things"? 
It may be of use or perhaps not applicable. 
I too feel I love the sound in my speakers and other times I am wondering why they are so harsh, bright and painful to listen to
and know I need some very polite British Speakers. 

This is the thread firstnot mentioned. Once you sift through the non-sense, it is informative and could be helpful.

Here I thought I discovered something unique and special. Since I did not, I'm bored with this thread! :D
You discovered something unique and special to you. Now you can rest assured you are just fine.
I’ve written in several forums about how much I enjoy my Sony Noise Canceling BT Headphones.  I flew to the East Coast 2 days ago and was dismayed at how awful they sounded.  The sound was muffled, distant...Exiting the plane I sneezed, both my ears had loud explosions, and suddenly my hearing returned...it was Eustachian tube dysfunction induced by the pressure changes
That is very common, I fly a lot for work.

Best way to fix is to yawn deeply and repeatedly until it pops.

Equalises the pressure again.
I truly believe when I first wake up in the morning my hearing is more sensitive. I turn on my bedroom receiver to listen to my FM station and the music sounds more amplified. I go into the bathroom for five minutes and then renter the bedroom and the music sounds as if someone turned doen the volume a tad.
My inner nerd loved reading all of this. I may need to seek professional help. 
I think the hearing thing is not just "more sensitive" but also imbalanced. I loose treble and midrange. And not every day.

But I know this happened!

Of course, I also recommend regularly using lotion type soap and a syringe on the ears. :)

You aren’t alone. The first thing I thought was “I hope Erik hasn’t developed Hyperacusis” (seems like he didn’t as he’s no longer complaining about it).

Like you I battle Hyperacusis (and tinnitus) - currently going through a very dispiriting relapse. It’s bad enough for anyone to experience it, but it really tears at the soul of an audiophile.

Can you still enjoy music?
Hi everyone,
My hearing went back to normal after I showered. :)

I have tinnitus on a fairly constant basis. Some days worse than others. It took a few years, but I guess I learned to listen "around" it, if that makes any sense....


We can learn a lot from machine learning and neural nets which can see around optical issues to detect disease.

I find myself doing this, and aghast when other audiophiles do it in ways I don’t. :) I think a lot of this is why some don’t mind horrible rooms, or are so cable sensitive.

Which then makes me wonder about how much do I want to train my own neural pathways? Do I want to reach the point where I can tell whether an IC is gold or silver? How does that make me happy? Is this a video game, where I pick up skills to collect coins?

It isn’t. At some point I have to ask how and for what purpose I want to train my ear/brain mechanisms.



Yes, I've had bad tinnitus since the mid 90's or so.  But I mostly habituated to it long ago and it very rarely has intruded upon listening to music (except that I don't want to blast at high levels which can exacerbate it).

Hyperacusis is a whole other ballgame though.  It makes sound, reproduced sound especially like music, shrill and painful.  It becomes like the equivalent of going through the Clockwork Orange-like aversion therapy in which the very music Alex loved leaves him nauseous.

I only had rare bouts of it over the last 20 years, but I've had a huge relapse.  Been something like 8 months since I've been able to truly enjoy music :(

Coming to these forums is sort of like being an amputee habitually scratching a phantom itch on the limb he has lost.

Anyway, onward and upward....


Good that it only took a shower to return to normal :) Remember how lucky you are!

I agree about the concern of sensitizing yourself to every difference there is to hear and every distortion.  Often that's something you can't roll back once you've heard it.  Some level of ignorance can aid one's bliss.

As a mastering engineer full time, meaning almost 7 days a week, this is a topic I know well ! When we sleep, out hearing recovers and in the morning things will sound different than they did at night. I think of my hearing like an hourglass full of sand. In the morning it’s as full as it can be based on the quality of sleep. As the day goes on the sand falls down, acerbated by a concert, or car window open, and eventually it’s all out, can no longer listen. Alcohol, sugar, stress, all factor into it also. In fact, just the presence of daylight vs dim night light will change our perception.

I prefer to do new work at night, and analytical fixes in the day. Others differ.

So yes our hearing is a moving target, yet in a range, and the more we know it, the better our perceptions. Listening daily with refs we know well for decades is the way to test ourselves.   And of course, listen with the WHOLE body.  Let the vibrations hit you head to toe.  Bodies remember things like smells and tastes and sounds better than brains alone.  Enjoy your listening !
And of course, listen with the WHOLE body.

This is an important point I've made before. We don't all listen with our ears alone, for some more than others the somatic experience is as important.

There have not been enough studies about how the body perceives and how to instrument and replicate that. Anyone who can afford the space and speakers needed should count themselves lucky.

Personally why I hate with a mad passion big band jazz, worse live. :)


Erik regarding this post.....I have trying to tell you that for years...and I am glad you finally showered......lol
How much you enjoy music, cheeseburgers, sex, or anything else depends on your state of mind. Don't expect to many thrills when you've just awakened...unless its sex.
I enjoy cheeseburgers with sex. 
Wonder if any others have experienced....suddenly hearing  in one ear becomes lower in volume.  Slowly my body adjusts and hearing feels normal.....until the volume comes back up minutes later.
almost like only one ear is suffering from airplane pressurization.

Well that is certainly better then sex with cheeseburgers,,,,in my opinion...
Well that is certainly better then sex with cheeseburgers,,,,in my opinion...

This makes me believe you've never had a really great cheeseburger.

That could be my problem.....will discuss with my therapist .......
there was that double patty cheeseburger...I should have gotten it to go....got kicked out of wendy's
"Caffein (sic) can cause slight and temporary hearing loss in some individuals too."
Oh no!!!!

@jacksky, I have that experience frequently. I have tiny Eustachian tubes compounded by some radiation therapy to the area. The left is more problematic than the right. I've always insisted on having R/L balance control in my system for this reason. However, recently I've found that speaker positioning is much more effective.

Other techniques that help are sniffing, swallowing, and drinking something really cold. Or my favorite, eating an ice cream sandwich. Jack & Jill. MMMM 
My hearing _perception_ changes constantly. I think the variables are countless and I'm certain mood has a lot to do with it.

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) can be a real problem. When severe you feel like your head is in a fish bowl and nothing will relieve it. When moderate it can fluctuate even with changes in barometric pressure with the weather and can be just as annoying.

Allergies are a common cause and even something as simple as Allegra or Zyrtec can help. Flonase nasal spray helps too if used regularly.

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine can work but have other precautions associated with them.

Afrin nasal spray (oxymetazoline) can work well and sometimes even work fast but using it for more than about three days will actually make things worse. A puff or two before flying can help prevent in-flight and post-flight issues.

A hearing test will not measure compliance and mobility of the ear drum and eustachian tube dysfunction can cause abnormal audiometry. A tympanogram does measure the mobility of the ear drum and can be useful in diagnosing ETD. It is a simple test with the proper instrument.