You can hear below 40 and, mebbe, above 16kHz. It is normal to have elevated thresholds at the frequency extremes and you need a very low noise environment to measure at the extremes.
As for reviewers publishing their hearing test results, you would have to settle on a specific test and, even then, it would not necessarily be informative. Progressive loss of with age and/or exposure to high levels is common but is accompanied by adaptation. I have tested people with severe loss who still are quite acute in making audio distinctions.
Kal (who is color-blind but has published info on his hearing test results)
If your diet is redbook CD and your hearing rolls off at 10K (ugh!) you are only shy but one octave of sound, just as you are with being unable to hear from 20-40 cycles. We can argue about the importance in judgeing audio gear but it would only seem to be of very marginal importance from a musical standpoint. If your diet is LP, open reel tape or one of the new higher bandwith digital formats the implication are surely different.
I too suspect that the 20-36Hz material comprising your test wasn't reproduced correctly. A low freq loss is highly unlikely. However, if you're a normal middle-aged male you probably have a rapid falloff above 12-14kHz. Pretty normal.
Certainly publishing a standardized curve for a tester/criris isn't a bad idea, principally to rule out gross anmolies. My interest would be more to notice the actual subtle nonlinearities (some caused by the pinna, so no headphone testing allowed!) each of us has. Personal deviations are usually much greater than those of preamps and amps, for example, and perhaps many transducers (cartridges and speakers). Somehoe our earbrains all accomodate to our personal onterpretations of perfect linearity AS WE EXPERIENCE IT, but it would be interesting to try to replicate a trusted writer's hearing with a speaker who's nonlinearity matches it just to know what it's like to hear with someone else's ears, eh?
Perhaps this acoustic research has already been done, but I'm not an AES member....
I think the reviewers are publishing their hearing tests. It is evident whether they can hear or not, by the review that they write. If they give a good review of a product that we know is not so good, then we know what their hearing is like.
No. More important that they publish their qualifications, education, training and experience.
Also important that they describe their listening rooms (which few do). A lot of these guys have no idea what they're talking about. What's more appalling is that many of them have no idea or do not wish to discuss the effect of their listening rooms on the sounds they do hear.
Hearing test results are misleading anyway because the high frequency loss that many (eventually all) of us have really isn't relevant, so many people might erroneously discount the opinion of a reviewer who tells them he can't hear above 13khz.
Paul, I agree that the HF rolloff could become the red herring...like tweeter extension, maybe.
But seeing the undulations between 100 and 10k, for example, could give readers an idea of whether a reviewer has a midrange dip, a low-treble "hardness" sensitivity, etc. I also wonder if soundstage height sensitivity is correlated with pinna size, too?!
Well, Ernie, I am not an md or audiologist, but I wasnt aware there was much variance in hearing acuity between 100 hz and 10 khz. If people have varying degrees of sensitivity to parts of the frequency range that just about everybody hears, that would be very interesting, perhaps making everyone else's opinion completely irrelevant.
Regarding soundstage height, stereo just isn't designed to capture that information, so say JG Holt and others (and I beleive them). I have noticed different miking techniques give more or less of a sense of height, but never a difference between two components playing the same recording. What does happen without stringent controls, is that people think they're hearing more height when all they're hearing is more size from simply playing a little bit louder.
You wrote: "Well, Ernie, I am not an md or audiologist, but I wasnt aware there was much variance in hearing acuity between 100 hz and 10 khz."
It depends on what environmental noises they are exposed to. My wife is 15 years younger than I am and has more extended HF sensitivity BUT: She has a huge sensitivity dip between 3-4kHz because, I believe, she has taken the NYC subway to work for >20 years. Although some have advanced the idea that auditory haircells can regenerate, many people suffer suck-outs at specific frequencies if they have been exposed to high levels for a long time or extremely high levels for a short time.
Very interesting, kr4. I knew the hard of hearing had uneven sensitivity, but I hadn't thought about loss of sensitivity in specific ranges due to trauma. Maybe reviewers should have their hearing tested and disclose anything unusual.
Possibly, some do not know or want to know.
BTW, neural adaptation probably compensates well for incomplete losses.
Regardless of trauma-induced suckouts, people each hacve their own response "signaure", as all ears are NOT created equal.
Paul, the aural height information is a function of your pinna, NOT the musical software. It's true that stereo reproduction won't often provide visual soundstage cues, but your pinna certainly help tell you whether you're sitting in the balcony or on the floor, for example.
With headphones there's no vertical cueing.
I too forgot this aspect of our hearing apparatus a few weeks back when out at Symphony with my acoustician-guru and friend Tom Horrall, who responded with a "What'd you do, cut off your pinna?" after a comment I made about not being able to locate a an extraneous noise source up near the ceiling. I won't forget again!
Oh no. That's true for hearing real life sounds. But stereo doesnt have height unless it's on the recording somehow. As I said, so say JG Holt, Robert Harley, REGreene, and a host of experts who have been involved with hifi for over 40 years. Really, if you have a reference work or url or something where somebody who knows what he is talking about says that hearing sensitivity varies between individuals within the normally audible frequency range, I'd like to see it. Not disputing what you say, it's just that I've never heard that said before. If true, then that might explain why some people like NAIM and Krell and Wilson speakers.