Tracking hearing sensitivity over the day

Hey everybody. I found a topic I want to self-research and want to share this with the community to get ideas on how to set it up, curious whether someone has self-test experience in this area.
The angle in short is testing ear sensitivity (dB) over the day. Influence of music listening habit / environmental sound factors.
The one thing me and my girlfriend fight about is the loudness of music in the house (her ears are more sensitive). Then, I know that during the day the ear channel gets smaller because muscles that tense up around it, to prevent the cochleal cells from damaging. I noticed that when I listen to music with headphones first thing after I wake up I put it on the minimum and it sounds just as loud to me when I put it three times louder when I go to bed. Anyone else recognizes this?

The research question: How does hearing sensitivity differ at the start and end of the day?
Second research question: What is the influence of the day’s listening habits on this?

What I propose to do is do hearing tests the first time in the morning and before going to bed.
Second thing would be to measure my music listening habits and perhaps outside noise (though Oslo is quite quiet). I have to think about how to register time and dBs of music listening, as I listen a lot on different bluetooth speakers and headphones.


I like this project and I’m really interested in what you learn! (I saw from somebody’s QS talk that mobile apps for hearing tests are pretty good and accurate.)


Thanks Agaricus, I’m going to check it out - I think you might be referring to this talk by Lindsay Meyer

I think the second question is not really trivial to measure. One thing that might help if you happen to run an Apple-based setup: I noticed that Apple Health does keep track on the audio volume when I play audio through my AirPods on my iPhone, with actually rather granular noise level recordings. I don’t know how accurate those are though.

Additionally, as I outlined in this notebook, the Apple Watch additionally does perform environmental noise recordings (which are heavily dependent on whether the watch is worn under layers of cloth or not), but that might also yield some interesting data.

As I said, might not be applicable for your own setup, but might be of interest for others that try to do similar things (actually, I might be interested in doing some analysis on this myself, as I have both the dB from the headphones and the environment).

A post was split to a new topic: Headphone vs environmental noise levels

If there’s a question is about listening habits, that sounds like something one could try an intervention with, test between conditions? (This can be a lot more effective than hoping some correlation falls out of random data.)

Very cool Bastian, thanks for diving in and sharing! I will get a better look at a later time.
It surprises me that you said you don’t adjust your headphone dB doesn’t change a lot over the day (from low to high) - I always thought that was a universal thing somehow!

As of now I still have to figure out how to get my headphone dB output, I have Bose noise cancelling headphones, but the volume is adjustable on my phone (Android) and on the device independently from each other, and in practice I use both without thinking about it.

A first step is setting up standardized hearing tests over the day as you suggest :slight_smile:

And good suggestion to test between conditions mad!
I guess another test could be between working with noise cancelling headphones ON (without music), and working without them on, and measuring the environmental dB levels, and then see whether at the end of the day the hearing is more sensitive in the noise-cancelled condition (that’s my hypothesis)

I don’t have any hearing problems at all btw, I’m just interested in hearing sensitivity :slight_smile:
I remember that as a biology students after field work for example I’d hear all the cars outside my window at night, whereas normally that’d be really dim, and I’m curious whether that’s just perceptiveness, or it’s really the physical change in the ear leading to a dimming of the hearing sensitivity over the day when it’s noisy.