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Thread: Audio equalizer for old guys with hearing loss.

  1. #1

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    Audio equalizer for old guys with hearing loss.

    In a couple of weeks I'm going to be 68 and my ears are very aware of it. I have a little bit of the high frequency hearing loss thing. Can't hear a thing over 11,000 hertz, in fact. It is getting harder to hear and understand ATC and other pilots, especially when I'm climbing in my SC or when the signal is weak or noisy. I talked to one of the audio panel engineers at PS engineering and he said that the FAA mandates a flat frequency response over the important frequency range, so they can't do anything about this problem. I looked for a way to shape the audio curves on an audio signal prior to my headphones. There's nothing specifically for this out there as far as I can tell, so I thought I would try an electric guitar EQ pedal.

    I velcroed a Boss GE-7 EQ to the wall beside the front seat and wired it it in line with the front seat headphone input. Guitars use the same 1/4" plug that mono headphone inputs use, so all I needed was a $10 3" patch to go from the wall socket to the pedal input. The headphone plugs directly into the pedal output. The Boss pedal is 9V battery powered and I need to remember turn it off with my elbow at the end of the flight. I'm sure to forget this, so now I carry a fresh 9V battery in the back seat pouch. When the power is turned off, the audio signal goes straight through the pedal with no processing.

    Seems to work pretty well when I increase the dB's on the high frequencies. Voices sound more intelligible to me. I can even crank up the volume with this pedal, but it seems to amplify noise too when I do that.

    I suppose that wearing frequency compensated hearing aids under my headphones might work too, but I'm not ready for that hit to my self image. Anyway, I thought I would share this.

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    Last edited by Tennessee; 02-13-2022 at 09:32 AM.
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  2. #2
    JWE's Avatar
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    Are you using noise cancelling headphones?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWE View Post
    Are you using noise cancelling headphones?
    Bose A20 set to mono with internal switches.

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    jrussl's Avatar
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    I am always impressed with the ingenuity of this group. Nice job!


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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Comes in handy if you need to give Ted Nugent a ride, too.

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    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Wow, that's a brilliant solution! Never thought to use a guitar pedal to fix or boost cockpit audio.

    Now I'm going to have to try a flanger, delay, and some distortion to spice things up in the pattern.
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  7. #7
    frequent_flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    In a couple of weeks I'm going to be 68 and my ears are very aware of it. I have a little bit of the high frequency hearing loss thing. Can't hear a thing over 11,000 hertz, in fact. It is getting harder to hear and understand ATC and other pilots, especially when I'm climbing in my SC or when the signal is weak or noisy. I talked to one of the audio panel engineers at PS engineering and he said that the FAA mandates a flat frequency response over the important frequency range, so they can't do anything about this problem. I looked for a way to shape the audio curves on an audio signal prior to my headphones. There's nothing specifically for this out there as far as I can tell, so I thought I would try an electric guitar EQ pedal.
    Being able to hear anything at or above 11 kHz would have no impact at all on radio operation. I don't know the audio passband of ATC AM transmitters but I doubt it is higher than about 3 kHz. I recently started using a Bose A20 headset and it has a significant problem. It has excellent bass response. This is great for music but totally unsuited for voice communication. When receiving some signals the undesired bass pickup from ambient sounds can mask the voice frequencies, particularly if the mic is not close enough to the lips for effective noise cancelling.

    I suspect that the biggest contribution to clarity is the bass cut you have implemented, not the treble boost.

  8. #8
    SJ's Avatar
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    I've actually got one of those laying around. Have to give it a try in the airplane sometime!

    Noise cancelling thus far has done the trick for me.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    NoFlaps's Avatar
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    Well done.

    Cry baby Wah and Heil Talkbox will have you transmitting and receiving like Peter Frampton.

    “Do you feel like we do?”


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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    What a Mind Bender.

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by frequent_flyer View Post
    Being able to hear anything at or above 11 kHz would have no impact at all on radio operation. I don't know the audio passband of ATC AM transmitters but I doubt it is higher than about 3 kHz.

    I suspect that the biggest contribution to clarity is the bass cut you have implemented, not the treble boost.
    Actually, it seems to be both to me. Cutting the lowest frequencies and boosting the treble at the same time seems to be the ticket. High frequency hearing loss cuts across the spectrum, including well into the speech range which goes from about 125 to 8-9000 Hertz. Most younger kids can hear up to 20,000 Hz.

  12. #12

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    I used to fix TV's when I was a teenager. I could easily hear if the horizontal oscillator was working (15,734 Hz). I'm 73 now and my hearing is still okay, maybe because I never flew a radial engine Otter. My wife says I have "selective hearing", whatever that is.
    Last edited by NunavutPA-12; 02-13-2022 at 10:34 AM.
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  13. #13
    mvivion's Avatar
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    If you’re having trouble hearing/understanding ATC while using ANR headsets, I’m betting you’re also missing a lot in conversations outside the plane.

    the latest generations of hearing aids, while not cheap, have some magical features that REALLY help in both circumstances, including adjustable (via Bluetooth) graphic amplification, as well as directional settings.

    I’ve been using hearing aids for ~16 years now, and the improvement in the tech is incredible.

    MTV
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