Archive for the ‘hearing’ Category


March 18, 2013

Occlusion effect is a more bassy hearing of one’s own voice when something is in the ear. You can experiment with this yourself but simply pushing the ears shut with fingers and humming.

Most earplugs are not linear in frequency reception, so, yes with foam earplugs, you might sound flat. There are several products that will can solve this. The best I’ve seen are Etymotic’s–preferably custom Musician’s earplugs or the less costly Musicians earplugs.

With the standard Musicians earplugs ($15 US), these will not get rid of occlusion, but music will sound great.

If getting custom made ones, request deeply inserted custom made earplugs ($225). These come with different filter strengths (5, 15, 25 db). The deep insertions will significantly reduce occlusion (I believe by over 85%). When shopping for deeply inserted custom earplugs, find audiologist who really knows what he or she is doing. These go deep into the ear canal.

Hearing is mental as well as physical. So, for example, if one puts in earplugs for some time, surprisingly, the ears will actually want to hear better, so mentally amplifies sounds. The earplugs will protect much of the physical frequencies coming in from the direction of the ear canal (but not the bassy sounds coming in from the bones). But, the ears mentally wants to hear better still.  So, I guess it’s possible that you will hear tinnitus (mental) even after wearing earplugs.

Anyhow, the answer is custom made, deeply inserted earplugs.   You can also reduce tinnitus by using nature sound machines.

>>>>Basically, the occlusion effect as I understand it is the resonance that builds in the ear canal when plugs or in-ears are worn, as sound is plugged like a tub inside. This can cause flat pitch perception, but more frighteningly, hearing damage. As you can imagine, the very reason I would wear/do wear ear plugs is to protect my hearing, so thinking I may do the opposite is really scary.

My last band practice I started without plugs (we don’t play that loud, but I am pretty close to the drums) and then I switched to plugs (some ones I found in my house, silicon, with the spiral cones, no attenuation add on far as I could tell) which gave me a a significant DB reduction. On the outside anyway. The thing is, I don’t know how accurately I was singing. It felt a lot better, I wasn’t straining at all because I could hear exactly (or I thought exactly) what was coming out. I know there is no way besides asking my band members (who were also mostly plugged) and recording to hear if my pitch was compromised. I suppose I could crank the vocals so I can hear them better from the outside.

But even if I am singing as well as I thought, it does not ease my concerns of the other component of the occlusion effect, hearing damage. I felt like my ears might have been ringing later that night, which is something that never happens when I play unplugged. If I am damaging my hearing from the inside from the resonance of my own voice, that is no good. Though, I guess it means my technique is fairly good, haha!

I noticed a couple threads on this topic, but it related more to the pitch perception side of things than the hearing damage (which as a musician and music enjoyer) is higher priority.

What are the experiences and opinions of our very own Modern Vocalist Forum members? Maybe you have this figured out. Maybe have some plugs you could… plug. Or maybe you have further worries you could impart onto me about this seemingly unavoidable hearing damage.


What is tinnitus?

October 10, 2012

Tinnitus, in many cases, is a warning that the ear has been negatively impacted.  Loud sounds, in particular.

But, what about the cases where tinnitus continue, and there’s no hearing damage?   Clearly, something is wrong with this tinnitus warning system idea.

I believe that tinnitus is more alike a tension.   When loud sounds are heard, the ear-mind hearing mechanism tenses up and produces the high pitched warning.  This is normal.   What happens in tinnitus is that the hearing tension is not rapidly released.   That is, once tensed, the ear-mind hearing remains (in cases of tinnitus).

The tension can be alleviated by all kinds of tension-release mechanisms for hearing.

hyperacusis, tinnitus, posture, resonance, vocal shape

October 20, 2010

It is not necessarily the vocal shape that directs all the sound, and obviously, the posture initially affects the direction of the sound.   If posture is not straight, it is possible that the sound starts going toward the ears, from starting at the vocal tract and then resonating within the skull.

The straight alignment can better assure that the sounds emit through the mouth.

Result is lesser volume of sound to ears and reduced tinnitus and hyperacusis.

This returns to the concept of Maya and also Alexander Technique.   Hearing is never right or accurately established, until the vocal apparatus is sitting in a regular vocal sound pathway–which in our case, is a detensed throat and inner mouth pathway.  This begins the cause of Maya in hearing.

<a href=””></a&gt;, Houston Strategic Web Marketing

<a href=””></a&gt; ,a web invention prototype

Hyperacusis-tinnitus and body-head posture

October 13, 2010

When singing, if the sound-resonance is sent a bit far back in the mouth, it can resonante in the head-skull, and if the jaws-mouth are wider than more longer-oval, the sound can easily reach the ears.  This causes major problems for those with hyperacusis and tinnitus.

Solution– a better posture such that the sound is sent automatically more forward (more toward the teeth).   Longer-oval shaped mouth also helps solve, but the better solution is through posture.

<a href=””></a&gt;, Houston Strategic Web Marketing

<a href=””></a&gt; ,a web invention prototype

Hyperacusis, tinnitus, and singing resonance

September 25, 2010

Hyperacusis or tinnitus can be aggrevated when one is increasing head resonance.

My solution as of 9-25-10 is to uplift the chest more, such that the throat is uplifted (straight, lengthened) and the chest uplifted.   This sends the sound path more properly through the parts of the back mouth, such that the sound doesn’t resonante to the ears.

This won’t won’t work if the throat muscles remain taut–because these tensions diminsh the vocal tracts’ flexibility.

Getting rid of tension before accurate singing

June 22, 2010

Alan Greene is mostly accurate in that one’s vocal practice does little good until the tension is gone.   He’s saying that the practice can develop bad habits.

This is somewhat accurate–that tension causes other types of sounds to emerge.  And because hearing remains inaccurate with bad posture; such that, due to Maya and even accompanying music, one continues to believe that one is singing accurately.

However, this Vocalposture’s detensing involves the entire body and can take a very long time.   Also, the optimal goal is flexibility to tonal and body changes, such that the practices can easily change to a new style, due to detensed tissues.

Hence, Vocalposture’s methods differ from Greene in that vocal exercises start early, before all tension disappears.   Vocalposture is concerned about excessive tensions that may injure voice, so harmful singing should not be part of its initial exercises.

Tinnitus, hyperacusis, and singing techniques

January 6, 2010

It’s well known that the major cause to tinnitus is loud sounds.   Also, a related condition, hyperacusis (painful amplified hearing), is also affected by loud sound.  Lastly, tinnitus and hyperacusis are often precursors to deafness.

Singing techniques can affect the travel of sound throughout the head, and obviously to the ears as well.  The ways of head resonance amplify these sounds as well.

So, it would seem that singing techniques can affect the degree of affected tinnitus and hyperacusis, and possibly even reduce the likelihood of losing one’s hearing.

Though it is known that some tinnitus and hyperacusis suffers’ singning can cause these illnesses, I didn’t find much research on this topic or how singing techniques can reduce tinnitus or hyperacusis.

Does anyone have suggestions, knowledge, resources for research?

Maya and hearing

April 12, 2009

Maya is an Indian concept that is similar to delusion.   Hindu concepts are concerned with how the Maya mind tricks the individual into not seeing the real.  Then, Hindus and Buddhists practice meditation to bypass Maya and RESTORE one’s real self. 

Vocalposture is comparable here–it’s saying that the Maya mind tricks the individual into not hearing his real voice.  Straightening the posture (comparable to meditation’s focus on straightening the spine) is also used to bypass the Maya hearing.

How do we hear singing?

April 12, 2009

Response to question on singing and hearing….

When singing, I believe the mind uses the ear drum’s sensations together with other bodily sensations and the mind’s own desired heard sound to synthesize the mentally “heard” sound.

If one’s mind can affect one’s hearing of one’s voice, then, it seems
possible to retrain the mind to accurately hear one’s voice better.
If this is possible, it is possible self-teach oneself how to sing.

Let me give a example. I have weak highs, but, when sing highs,
somehow “psychologically hear” my highs’ volume is just right. Is it possible to remap my hearing such that my “heard” highs volume
becomes accurate?

It seem this can be a type of vocal training—training by getting
rid of mishearings instead of practicing one’s voice.  If such trained, all one has to do is to hear how one matches to the music and other singers—in order to sing better.

This is somewhat “Buddhist”, “Hindu”, “meditation” in approach—that is
getting rid of mishearing in order to sing better, instead of
practicing scales to sing better. Can someone advise me how this may
have been tried as a vocal training technique?

Problem with tape recorders is that microphone technology is usually

Chen Sun