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Church and H.O.W. Ė Forums for HOW Sound and AV - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Church and HOW Forums => Church Sound => Topic started by: Jean-Pierre Coetzee on June 09, 2019, 01:35:24 am

Title: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Jean-Pierre Coetzee on June 09, 2019, 01:35:24 am
Going to get right into it. I have an older worship leader that seems to be suffer from noise induced hearing loss. His monitor levels tends to start quite loud at the beginning of our rehearsal and as the rehearsal progresses threshold shift kicks in and it only goes downhill from there, he keeps asking for more of himself.

I have tried the usual stuff like re-adjusting other instruments in his mix and such but he notices very quickly that it has changed and will then ask for anything I drop slightly in his monitor back within a few minutes. He know exactly what he wants to hear and pretty much starts to struggle with intelligibility more as that rehearsal goes on.

Any suggestions on how to handle the situation? I will try to have a discussion about hearing health and possibly getting him to have a test done but I can't promise that that will change behaviour.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Luke Geis on June 09, 2019, 03:34:22 am
An artist with hearing loss and the ability to actually hear is a really tough member to work with. Two reasons for that. One is that they can actually hear and determine a difference has been made. Two is that they are picky enough and stubborn enough to make you work to suit their needs/wants.

Short of going full dick mode and saying you get only what I give you, you are left with few options. You can either make them happy, or you can try and get them to go in ear or a hybrid of both in ear and conventional monitoring. The later is costly and labor intensive but can get both of your needs met. Where the line in the sand has to be made is for him to understand that you ( which means the audience and other band members ) have needs that are just as important as his and there must be a middle ground. You can't just say he is a problem and that he will no longer be allowed to be a problem. Objectively, solving the problem of acquiring his needs while also meeting yours is the goal. If hearing really is a problem and he knows it, hopefully he is receptive to solutions that improve things for everyone; including himself.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 09, 2019, 11:22:52 am
The first step will be getting him to admit he actually has hearing loss/issues.


If Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Brian Johnson to name a few can man up to their hearing issues so can he.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Jean-Pierre Coetzee on June 09, 2019, 11:42:12 am
Thanks for the responses. Will have a chat with him for sure. He wont go in-ears, we have tried going that route before he was the only one that refused to do the switch. It's not that his monitor level is bothering me at FOH, we have a big venue and the seating is a good 4.5 m from the stage to start with.

I'm mostly just worried about the other people on stage, the monitors are at a level where threshold shift is starting within 15-20 minutes and there isn't much downtime between our rehearsal and service so really don't think it's good for both his and others long term hearing health. Obviously the ideal solution would be to get him to try in-ears again since we can tailor that a bit better to his specific needs without killing other band members hearing.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Ken Webster on June 12, 2019, 07:42:42 pm
Aside from people management:

You are probably aware and may even be doing some of this already but Iíll say it anyway.
There are in most jurisdictions legal or recommended noise exposure limits.  These limits are usually based on exposure time vs noise level.  Your exposure time can be quantified easily by adding up practice and worship time.  Looking up the above documentation for where you are gives you the maximum legal safe level you can run stage sound.  Sure, it isnít continuous and that allows some leeway but treating it as a continuous session means you are below the safe threshold.  You then put a sound level meter on stage and say we canít go above ÖÖ Therefore, everyone understands what the limit is and can signal what they want within that limit ad you can respond within the limit of not disrupting FOH sound.  These limits need to be communicated.

Legal sound level is usually given in dBA.  The sensitivity curve of dBA is parabolic and falls off to practically unmeasurable at 20 Hz and 20 kHZ, so doesnít meter the true levels near the ends of the spectrum.  Why they use dBA for legal definitions is beyond me but it explains why a system can be under the legal definition and people can still find it too loud, seems irresponsible to me but it is what it is.

dBC has a broader spectrum sensitivity curve that is closer to human hearing but is still not very close at all.  This makes dBC more useful than dBA for analyzing some aspects of PA setup.  The problem is that you canít convert from dBA to dBC unless you know the frequencies and their individual levels.  I did some basic calculations for pink noise conversion from dBA to dBC just to get some kind of estimation of the differences for full spectrum sound.  My result is that for pink noise dBC is about equivalent to dBA + 9.5.  Still, itís only an estimation for pink noise, if most of your sound is mid-range, itís not going to be an appropriate estimation at all.

Well, I have done my best to research this but, that doesnít mean its error free, hope itís useful in some way.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Kevin Maxwell on June 13, 2019, 08:36:25 am
Thanks for the responses. Will have a chat with him for sure. He wont go in-ears, we have tried going that route before he was the only one that refused to do the switch. It's not that his monitor level is bothering me at FOH, we have a big venue and the seating is a good 4.5 m from the stage to start with.

I'm mostly just worried about the other people on stage, the monitors are at a level where threshold shift is starting within 15-20 minutes and there isn't much downtime between our rehearsal and service so really don't think it's good for both his and others long term hearing health. Obviously the ideal solution would be to get him to try in-ears again since we can tailor that a bit better to his specific needs without killing other band members hearing.

If everyone else is on IEMs and they have the kind of earbuds that block external sounds then aren't they protected? It sounds like this leader is too old to teach a new way of doing things so there is not much you can do for him. And if the monitor levels aren't influencing the house sound (which I find hard to believe) then what else can you do. Replace him?
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Jean-Pierre Coetzee on June 16, 2019, 12:45:02 pm
So part of the problem is that when he leads worship they all tend to follow and not use in-ears and we generally end up dropping the click for the service because he can't hear the click etc. In that situation there are one of two people who want to run ears but most of the people just switch back to wedges.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Fred Dorado on June 17, 2019, 06:17:16 pm
I had a problem with stage volume and couldn't go to in ears. I ended up going with some speaker stand mounted monitors to help control the volume.

Not sure this will work for you as you need something loud for him.

I don't know what your in ears or wedge monitor situation is, but it might be an option. And depending on how picky they are about sound quality, may want him to move to in ears.

I ended up having a galaxy audio hotspot for each person with they own mix. I went that way because I could buy them cheap used near me and had tons of free power. One of the keys I think with those are to run massive amounts of power through them. Or you could run powered versions like a Mackie srm150.

This got the monitor much closer to their face/ ears. In fact, one guy we had it off to the side pointing at his good ear :)


closer to musician - lower overall stage volume
With Hotspot - needed ton of power to get volume (maybe because 16ohm)
Sound quality - no low end at all  and just ok sounding overall - no idea on powered stuff
really do need one for each person - sharing was harder

This helped our stage volume issues and everyone started to play lower.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Mike Caldwell on June 17, 2019, 08:03:11 pm

This got the monitor much closer to their face/ ears. In fact, one guy we had it off to the side pointing at his good ear :)



At this point is his "good ear" still a good ear?

Hot spots need to be high passed as well to keep them from flying apart and they'll sound a little better as well.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Fred Dorado on June 18, 2019, 04:57:15 pm
We did have them high passed, I don't remember at what. I am not a sound guy, but the few times I tried to use them in the past, we could never get any volume out of them. The time I did this, I knew a little more and had a couple laying around that I tried with a ton more power and they did pretty good. I bought more off craigslist and when to work. I think we were running 8 channels. Been a couple of years since I have been at that church. I just looked it up and we were running amps that were 600 per channel at 8ohms, so maybe not that much power at 16ohms.


He kind of fit a profile I have experienced a few times at church.  The 55+ old school rocker who plays electric guitar. Plays mostly be ear or chords, pretty decent player, loves to worship, has one predominant style of playing. Usually needs it louder.


At this point is his "good ear" still a good ear?

Hot spots need to be high passed as well to keep them from flying apart and they'll sound a little better as well.
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Karl Maciag on July 18, 2019, 11:33:10 am
It sounds more like a people issue than a tech issue. I would try to take a gentle approach, and try to steer towards in ears, for his, and really everyone's benefit.

Maybe try introducing using the ear buds by getting him a pair of good IEM's, and letting him just use them at home for personal use. The basic single driver ones might not cut it here. Let him get used to having them in his ears, and also let him get used to how good the music sounds in them. Hopefully he'll want to achieve that level of fidelity when he's leading worship, and will be more open to using them on stage.

I've had this scenario dozens of times, and it comes down to how willing he's going to be wanting to improve the situation. He has to really understand the "why" behind the change. Also, if you're the one guiding this, be prepared, and be willing to spend a lot of extra time with this person to make sure you can make him as comfortable as possible going through this transition. It might take one on one time getting his voice, and his guitar sounds as close as you can in the IEM's that he's used to having on stage. Mic placement on guitar amps are critical for this, and it's going to be a lot of trial and error.

Setting up the IEM's stereo will also make a world of difference. You'll be able to demonstrate how well he can separate different instruments in his mix, instead of the sludge that he's fighting on stage now. Clarity like he can't even imagine can be achieved. Don't let him do one in ear, one ear out. That will only further the problems, and risk further damage to the ear that has the IEM in.

Don't try to work this out on Sunday morning rehearsals, that's not the time for that back and forth. I hope you're doing rehearsals during the week, if you're not, try to get some together for a short season to move this process along. Spend weekly rehearsals during the week to work on the tech, and let Sunday be focused on Sunday.

I hope this helps!
Title: Re: Band hearing health advice
Post by: Keith Broughton on July 19, 2019, 08:06:54 am
The first thing to do is get a hearing test and see what the problem actually is.
"I can't hear it" covers a wide spectrum of problems from left to right imbalance to specific frequency hearing loss in one or both ears.
When you know what you are up against, it might be easier to solve.
I know this sounds counter intuitive but it might be worth trying custom molded hearing protection with around a 12 db filter.
it surprises me what I can hear when using mine. That, combined with EQ to match the loss graph might do the trick.
Loud monitors are not helping his hearing loss either!