Synth sounds causing ear issues


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I've recently noticed some ear issues that seem to result from playing with software synths (Korg Legacy Collection synth plugins). After a short while of playing I always get some minor pressure in to my ears which is accompanied with high frequency hiss (tinnitus) even when I'm playing with a very low volume and via speakers. This really keeps puzzling me. I'm having some sort of hiss in my ears otherwise too but this seems to boost it up for a while. And it seems it's not only between my ears, cus my friend noticed that the synth made some sort of pressure feeling on her left ear too. She compared it to the feeling one gets in the aeroplane.

I've been noticing this issue especially with some of the Wavestation sounds (f.e. Southern Pole patch, which is also one my favourite one). And there is like something "extra" in many other sounds and synths too that makes my ear tired. Of course I have tried to clean the sound with EQ, but even after taking away the highest (and lowest) frequencies it seems to result the same ear irritation. It's like there still would be some nasty "extra element" in the sound that I can't really comprehend. I also dowloaded frequency analysing software into my phone and used it in front of the speakers. It didn't notice any specific frequency peaks between 3-19000Hz so everything should be kinda allright? Though, I haven't been able to check if there are some peaks above 20kHz. I don't know if there are any free analysers for that.

I'm using Macbook Pro (13-inch, mid 2012) and the softwares seem to run without any problems.

So, what kind of options do i have for resolving this case? I personally love Korg's Legacy synths and they are perfect for making exactly the music i want. But I'm worried if there is a risk of ear damage or tinnitus. How can I avoid this without quitting playing? I would really like to know if anyone else has encountered the problem or knows some solution or explanation for this.
 
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happyrat1

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You should be seeing your doctor for a referral to an audiologist with this question.

This is not a synth question. This is a medical question.

Gary ;)
 
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Welcome.

The human ear is basically a mechanical device and as such it is more susceptible to some specific frequencies than others.

So it may well be a form of resonance is being induced in your ear and that of your friend, the resonance being caused by a specific frequency or harmonic thereof.

Totally agree with Gary, get yourself referred to an Audiologist.
 

happyrat1

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One more point.

If you only notice this with headphones then you have them cranked up too loud.

Either turn down the volume or else stop using headphones.

And still you should get your hearing checked by a professional. It could be the onset of a medical issue.

Gary ;)
 

Rayblewit

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I've recently noticed some ear issues
That tells me a possible virus could be present. Sinus and mucous build up affect hearing even if minimal. Some allergies like hayfever can last weeks or months.
"Recently" tells me that it may not be permanent.
I'm playing with a very low volume and via speakers.
Speakers are the weakest link in any sound system afterall. If your hearing is okay then try a different set of speakers. The fact that your partner hears the same anomaliy could be a clue that the problem is speakers.
Ray
 
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That tells me a possible virus could be present. Sinus and mucous build up affect hearing even if minimal. Some allergies like hayfever can last weeks or months.
"Recently" tells me that it may not be permanent.

Speakers are the weakest link in any sound system afterall. If your hearing is okay then try a different set of speakers. The fact that your partner hears the same anomaliy could be a clue that the problem is speakers.
Ray
I've tried with headphones too but the same problem occurs.

And yes, i've met the doctor and there wasn't anything weird with my ears. So the problem really seems to be in the software or the computer itself. This problem doesn't occur with other synth softwares, which is weird.
 
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happyrat1

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Have you scheduled a proper hearing test with an audiologist or did your family doctor just peek inside your ears with an otoscope?

If the ear canal is clean as a whistle and there's no sinus infection that still doesn't rule out nerve damage or other neurological issues.

How loud do you like to listen to these sounds? Anything over 90dB could start to cause permanent damage.

Forget about frequencies above 17,000 Hz anyway. Unless you're younger than 25 (or a fruit bat) chances are you can't hear them anyway.

My guess is that you're simply playing your music too loud. I attended a Ted Nugent concert once in my 20's and upon leaving the venue my friends and I were all stone deaf for for a full 20 minutes.

That kind of stupidity leads to total deafness in your old age and I've always kept my listening levels reasonable ever since.

Listening to music at reasonable levels should never result in any feelinig of pressure or pain in the ears.

Gary ;)
 
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Have you scheduled a proper hearing test with an audiologist or did your family doctor just peek inside your ears with an otoscope?

If the ear canal is clean as a whistle and there's no sinus infection that still doesn't rule out nerve damage or other neurological issues.

How loud do you like to listen to these sounds? Anything over 90dB could start to cause permanent damage.

Forget about frequencies above 17,000 Hz anyway. Unless you're younger than 25 (or a fruit bat) chances are you can't hear them anyway.

My guess is that you're simply playing your music too loud. I attended a Ted Nugent concert once in my 20's and upon leaving the venue my friends and I were all stone deaf for for a full 20 minutes.

That kind of stupidity leads to total deafness in your old age and I've always kept my listening levels reasonable ever since.

Listening to music at reasonable levels should never result in any feelinig of pressure or pain in the ears.

Gary ;)
Thanks for your answer. But actually, I'm playing with very low volume, even so that it is hard to hear the sound properly. And still it makes my ears irritate. So this really feels weird.

I have to mention here that it can't be neurological issues as 3 of my friends had exactly the same feelings when I demonstrated this issue. So it's nothing in my ears, i suppose. Doctor didn't find anything either. She peeked into my ears, and then i made the audiology test. The test didn't show anything alarming, though there is some kind of drop in hearing after 6kHz (in my left ear) and 8kHz (in my right ear).
 
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happyrat1

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Do you work for the state department? Maybe the Russians are bombarding you with a ULF Sonic weapon? :D :D :D

Seriously though, what about other soft synths? Does it only occur with specific soft synths from the same company? What about on someone else's hardware running the same VSTi? It could be something as simple as corrupt samples in your particular setup.

Gary ;)
 

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