Tinnitus, ear fatique, Near Field Monitors

If there are pictures postet around here, you almost exclusivly see that people are using near field monitors.

Personally I suffer from Tinnitus in 3 different frequencies, which I almost certanly got from playing in Punk Bands for years. My hearing is general is pretty good, but the tinnitus and a general pretty fast ear fatique bothers me.
I would like to know, what other music making people experienced in this regard and what could be done to avoid further harm.
I have adam a5x nearfield monitors, and I think they are problematic. It´s not the volume it´s more some kind of frequencies which lead to ear fatique I think. Or Maybe it´s the fact, that near field monitors directly penetrating your ears. For me it´s way less problematic to hear produced music on Floor Standers that say Eurorack stuff on Near Fields. Why might that be?
I´m thinking of switching from Near Field Monitors to Hifi Floorstanders which are positioned to fill the room and not just the stereo triangle.

Any thoughts and experience?

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That might be good to have some kind of filter or EQ set to lower these frequencies that bother you.
My experience is that monitors are better than headphones regarding ear fatigue.

I would say let them rest for a while, don’t push this too much and listen to your body when you’re tired.

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That’s 2 very different things, isn’t it? How does produced music sound on the monitors?

If your favorite big name artists don’t sound good on your monitors then these are not the right ones for you, regardless of tinnitus.

Ear fatigue: work at low volume and resist the temptation to gradually turn it up during long sessions. When you feel discomfort take a break. Even if that means waiting till the next day.

I struggle with both tinnitus and ear fatigue as well (used to play guitar in bands, done much techno clubbing, now AV artist and stage technician). I always have ear plugs on me and use them whenever sound levels get mildly discomforting (also when using power tools etc). I give my ears much rest, meaning I’m rarely listening to headphones music while commuting etc. My tinnitus rises and falls in intensity (never disappears). When it’s up a lot I won’t work on my music to give it time to recover.


Produced Sound on the Monitors is way better. Even Listening for hours to produced Stuff on Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones doesn´t give me any Problems. Somehow it appears to be raw Stuff on Monitors, even on Low Volumes.
Will try Hifi Floor Standers for making Music. If it comes to mixing one could always go back to near fields for that.

But can´t test all that at the moment, because I fucked my ears up a week ago by playing guitar trough a relativly loud amp. Don´t know when my ears are better, but they will I guess, because they always did before.
I had EarPlugs while rehearsal almost always. But I think with loud bands, those levels penetrate your skull and therefore your ears. Ampeg 8x10 Bass Tower with 300Watts Tube Amps are just killing everything that lives in front of them.

Is anyone here producing on Hifi Floorstanders filling the room with sound? Or is everyone on near fields?

Have suffered with tinnitus for about 15 years. It’s a mixture of too much Merzbow and Eustachian tube dysfunction.
I have floorstanding hifi speakers in my lounge and I have all sorts of trouble with them and can only watch TV or listen to music for about 1 hour before fatigue kicks in.
I have nearfield monitors for making music and they’re ok, but I’m still done after about 1 hour or so. Weirdly, I find headphones the best for using for longer periods, but they definitely make the tinnitus worse afterwards for a few hours.
Luckily for me I mostly make horrible, imprecise noise, so the tinnitus doesn’t really impact the quality of what I’m producing.


Strange enough I have a pretty heftiy THX 5.1 System in a seperate room with Beamer. Even watching a movie where the House shakes doesn´t give me big problems ins this regard. So it must be frequencies and Nearfield. I´ll keep watching it when my ear get better from this stupid guitar action.

I REFUSE to use in ear headphones. I think THATS the killer.

I pretty much have music on all the time. Whatever im doing. And my ears are still happy. And lets say ive been listening for a LONG time.

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Agreed. Unfortunately I only figured this out after 15 years using in ear headphones

My ear surgeon told me it is proximity and loudness of the sound source and amount of exposure that causes the damage. Ear buds are a strict no no. Headphones use at low volume for limited periods . Speakers are fine just dont sit too close. Keep an eye on time. Dont go over the 1 hour mark. Take regular ear breaks of 15 minutes.

If certain frequencies aggravate your tinnitus, avoid those frequencies. For a friend of mine with tinnitus, this meant leaving the band he was in , and playing acoustic guitar with no drummer instead.


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Most people here will be on monitors. But if something else works for you then it works for you. Near field monitors are meant to let you hear the details and problems in your mix without (or with less) coloring by room acoustics. But no speaker is ever absolutely objective. You have to learn to ‘hear’ them. Close listening to your favorite music in the style your working on is a good way to achieve that. If you can learn to use your hifi setup for analytical and precise mixing, then that’s totally fine.

Though if your raw eurorack sounds sound harsh on your monitors, it might just be that they are indeed harsh… They might sound less harsh on the hifi but how will they sound on your neighbors laptop speakers or on a big live stage PA?

Perhaps it’s the sounds that need tweaking, not the speakers.

Just to add that I find Adam monitors quite fatiguing myself! I think it may have to do with their Ribbon technology they use to produce the high frequencies. People laud the Adams for that, but to my ears the highs are much too sharp/rough - I guess it depends on one’s hearing. You may wanna give another set of speakers a try and see how that affects your fatigue.


Im thinking of two things. First of the tweeter. As far as I red, the best tweeter for not having harshness is a non metallic soft dome tweeter. And second the space between the ears and the monitors.
I‘m thinking of trying ks digital c5, c8 or even c88(which might be overkill). They have a soft dome tweeter and also are point source speakers which to my knowledge should be able to operate at higher distances while still don‘t diffuse in itself, just from the room, which you can treat.
But then I ask myself if this is overkill because I don‘t really need to mix for money on them. Just want to hear what Im doing without wear an fatigue.

Do you guys use an SPL meter to measure the current dB you’re currently listening at in your room/studio? I’m thinking it might help to listen at a comfortable volume.

There may be several reasons why a film is easier on your ears:
A. A film usually has very long passages with just dialog and background sounds. The passages with loud music and sfx are rather short so your ears get a break.
B. When watching a film the brain isn’t concentrated so much on the aural aspects. Part of the fatigue is from concentration.
C. Lots of hi fi and home theater systems have deep dips in the mid range. Hearing damage comes first and foremost in the high mids, so these speakers will be easier on your ears. Whether you can produce decent mixes on them is another question. Same is true for Dr Dre Beats headphones, and several others.

I use midfield monitoring instead of nearfield exactly because of this. Haven’t had ear fatique in ages.

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Which monitors do you use? And which distance?

I have tiinutus bad for 30 years. Like a jet engine. I’ve got used to it. But i’m interested in this ear fatigue. Is it headphones only?