AES Section Meeting Reports

New York - February 19, 2015

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The AES New York Section held its February meeting on February 25th at the New School for Jazz Performance. Our presenters were Julie Glick Au.D, F-AAA, Musicians Hearing Solutions and David Haines, independent FOH engineer. The meeting was hosted by Bill Siegmund, Digital Island Studios.

As an opening ice-breaker, the attendees were asked if they had their hearing checked recently. Interestingly, less than half admitted that they had. A brief video describing how the ear works was presented. It explained how the physical properties of our ears allow us to perceive sound.

A typical hearing test starts with a physical examination of the ear. Then, a series of tones are used to determine the threshold below which the subject no longer hears the tone sequence. According to the research, hearing loss that is a result of exposure to excessive noise shows up as a "notch" in the audiogram (the diagram of the ear's response, which can be thought of as the frequency response of the ear.) Age-related hearing loss is a broader loss at higher frequencies.

The discussion turned to the subject of tinnitus, sometimes exhibited by a noise or "ringing" in the ear. Both stress and caffeine can contribute to the onset and severity of tinnitus (something audio engineers always seem to have plenty of...)

A lively question and answer period followed, with questions about the use of in-ear monitors for "hearing preservation." The results of the data collected so far do not indicate that in-ear monitors protect the ears, but it does show that in-ear monitors result in a cleaner/quieter on-stage environment by eliminating the need for "wedge" monitor speakers. Good news for the recording or FOH engineer, but not necessarily good news for the performers.

More questions about audio intelligibility and loudness (definitely separate topics) and about what broadcasters can do to make sound better/more intelligible.

The New York Section thanks Dr. Glick and Mr. Haines for an interesting and educational meeting!

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AES - Audio Engineering Society