Hearing sensitivity increase?

So I’ve only fairly recently (within the past year) started listening to a lot of music via headphones and buying nicer headphones, but lately it seems like my ears are becoming more sensitive in general.

I’ve always hated the sound of someone chewing their food and lip smacking, for example (misophonia!)…and now when we sit on the couch to eat dinner it sounds like my wife and child have been amplified 5 or 10 times compared to before. I have to plug one ear and get something started on TV and turn it up before I start eating my own dinner. (yeah, we eat in the living room, because we’re fancy)

A few other things it seems like sensitivity might be improved, but it’s the annoying things you notice the most.

I guess this at least means I’m not completely blowing out my hearing by listening to things too loud…

Anyone else?

I also detest chewing noises lol. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. Even hate the sound of my own chewing.
And I do believe that if you start making yourself pay attention to details more in things like music, your brain will start picking up on other things as well.
Have you thought about getting some hearing protection earplugs? You can buy different levels of isolation. Some just block out noise enough to where you can still hear people talking quite well. Just a suggestion. :wink:

I’ve thought about it, there is a set that keeps popping up on Massdrop that looks promising.

I usually end up plugging one ear while I turn something on TV. My wife does not understand why it is a big deal.

Funny thing is I don’t care about fingernails on chalk boards and never have. But high pitched noises of a certain type really set me on edge. I can’t listen to a song if you can hear someone’s fingers sliding on the guitar strings, for example. HATE that sound.

Yeah the ones on Massdrop are pretty good, although Etymotic also makes really good ones that are sold on Amazon. Etymotic is a really good company that does a lot of research about hearing protection.

Have a few beers, spark up a BBQ and welcome to tubes and the warmer side of audio and eating lol.

This reminds me of the “DACs and the placebo effect” thread that went up recently too:

There’s a discussion about hearing acquity in that thread that is relevant here too. Here is one of my contributions:

“Unless you have physical hearing damage due to some trauma or overexposure to noise, you very likely don’t have bad ears. In fact, assuming good ear health, I don’t think audiophiles have meaningfully better physical hearing acquity than the general population - in other words our ears don’t work any better than average. Listening to music is more about memory and pattern recognition. We audiophiles tend to care more about and pick out patterns and slight changes in the patterns of sound(s) we’re hearing in the music. To say one DAC sounds different than another is really to say that our ears are perceiving a difference in the sound pattern(s) through one DAC as compared to another (or through one amp vs another, etc). It also takes time for the brain to memorize patterns (of any kind, not just sound) to the point where it will detect slight changes to those patterns. To do so new physical connections have to be created in the brain - new synaptic pathways have to form - and that takes time. If you’re new to the hobby and can’t tell the differences yet, don’t fret, your brain is working on it. Give it time.”

In the context of this present thread, the answer to your question is “no”. Your ears are not actually hearing more. Your brain is recognizing more. Your brain has become more acustomed to recognizing aural patterns. Similar hearing differences happen in my house too. I’ll hear something well before the partner and kids do. Once I point it out, they hear if it’s a repeating sound. Most likely, you’re not any more weird than the rest of us audiophiles :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Yeah, that’s actually pretty much what I thought–didn’t think there was any physical change in my ears, because that would be a bit ridiculous. Just wondered how many other people get the same effects.

I know some things I’m into people describe sorta similar stuff and it never happens to me–like people who do a lot of VR report seeing screen door effect on real objects, or suddenly becoming unsure as to whether their furniture is real or not. That’s a bit more like the Tetris effect, though (which also never really happened to me).