Listening Fatigue: Are Your Ears Tired?

listenerfatigue

We’ve often debated here at C. Crane what exactly listening fatigue is, but then Bob (yep, Bob Crane, founder of C. Crane) mentioned something that struck a chord. Bob has some hearing loss due to years of working around loud equipment and growing up in an era where the louder the music, the better (and Bob is REALLY excited we’re making a public announcement to everyone – yes that’s sarcasm). He said “Listening fatigue is real. It’s caused by your brain trying to piece together the missing parts of the audio. Having hearing loss does not help but if an audio source has poor bass response I find myself trying to fill in the missing low tones and make them whole. If an audio source has poor mid-range then voices are muffled and difficult to understand.”.

Wikipedia’s definition: Listener fatigue (also known as listening fatigue) is a phenomenon that occurs after prolonged exposure to an auditory stimulus. Symptoms include tiredness, discomfort, pain, and loss of sensitivity. Listener fatigue is not a clinically recognized state, but is a term used by many professionals.

C. Crane has always tried to tailor our audio for voice clarity. Meaning that we manipulate the bass and tone to accentuate consonants which can make voices more legible. Since it seems many of you are listening to talk a good percentage of the time, having clear words is a no brainer. We’ve also heard a lot of people say things like “I’m finally able to hear the words to my music” or “Your radio is the only one I can listen to all night” and “Your pillow speaker is a life saver; I can now fall asleep listening to my audiobooks”. In our research we found some great sites that give far more in depth explanations that we could, but these quotes from a site about hearing loss in relation to listening fatigue really stood out “…Processing and constructing meaning out of half-heard words and sentences. Making guesses and figuring out context…. ’s like doing jigsaws, Sudoku and Scrabble all at the same time. And “…with the addition of hearing loss, the brain has to work, think and concentrate harder than it would with normal hearing and this teamwork is disrupted, increasing the challenges of communication and leading to listening fatigue.”

We believe that comfort also plays a role in the fatigue. If something is irritating or doesn’t fit well, energy is expended to compensate or negotiate that factor. If it’s really uncomfortable whether due to poor audio quality (think harshness or distortion), additional noise (like noise in a line or hum or buzz) or poor fit, the timeline to listening fatigue can be shortened dramatically. This is where figuring out the correct tool for the job comes into play. Much like being a craftsman and knowing when to use which tool, the same can be said for listening. While some of it is subjective, some isn’t. If you’re listening at night, a pillow speaker might be a great choice. This allows you to keep the volume at an appropriate level, have the privacy you desire and eliminates the discomfort of wires in your ears and around your head. If you plan to sit and listen for an extended period, headphones might be a better choice for comfort of your ears. If you’re in an area without a lot of background or other noise, a radio may be better. If you walk or jog, finding a good pair of earbuds that don’t introduce noise in the cables is a big deal.

Last but not least, consider turning down the volume and/or taking a break. It seems counter-intuitive but your body is amazing and will do things to protect itself including shutting down. Keeping the volume at an appropriate level, especially when listening to earbuds, can make a huge difference.

Have you experienced listening fatigue? Enter your tips for preventing or reducing it in the comments below.

How To Get Your Groove On

Senta_Ally-0901While the long daylight hours of summer give us a chance to enjoy the outdoors, many people use that opportunity to tackle those outside chores that just can’t be accomplished during the other wet, cold seasons. Music, news, audio books, or talk programs can make those monotonous tasks like mowing, weeding, painting, or cleaning seem to go much faster. And a lot of research has been done that support what most folks already know from experience; listening to music relieves anxiety and improves your mood.

Earbuds are good for listening during some activities, but the wires tend to get tangled up in gloves, tools, and handles while gardening or working in the garage. And while smart phones, tablets, and notebooks offer access to your favorite music streams, audio books or podcasts, the audio from those small built-in speakers usually leaves a lot to be desired for voice and lyric quality.

The Senta Ally Bluetooth Stereo Speaker is a great solution that gives you crisp, full range stereo sound with bass performance. It is unique from similar models because of the varied ways you can connect to your audio source: USB, SD card, auxiliary input through a 1/8” jack, or paired with a Bluetooth enabled device. It is small enough to sit on a window sill, and would easily fit in a work cart. The 6-8 hour battery life means you will probably be done with your chores before requiring a recharge!

Don’t miss out on getting audio clarity when you are taking care of those summer jobs around the house and yard. And when you are done, use the Senta Ally while lounging out on the deck or entertaining. This speaker is loud enough to fill the area with rich audio that everyone can enjoy.

Tell us your favorite “Summer Song” in the comments and you will be entered into the drawing for a FREE Senta Ally! One entry per person. Drawing will be held July 8th.

Congratulations to winner l w c!

25 Days Of Christmas

Congratulations to Terry, winner of the Senta Ally Bluetooth® Stereo Speaker w/ FM

Senta9 EarbudsToday’s giveaway are the Senta-9 Earbuds with Mute Button.

For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment on today’s blog.

Today’s blog question: What was the least favorite Christmas present you ever received?

The winners will be selected in a random drawing and will be announced Monday morning. Good Luck!

C. Crane’s Been Busy!

C. Crane took a short blogging break to work on exciting new radio and audio projects. We sure do feel like hard working elves in our tech shop but the work pays off. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up too.

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The CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Black

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CC WiFi 2 with remote, in Cherry

The new WiFi Internet Radio; the CC WiFi 2 was released in October. This radio took us some time. We wanted to create a WiFi radio that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The CC WiFi 2 uses TuneIn and is app based driven. There are thousands of stations available and hundreds of hosts to listen to, so that aspect of WiFi Radio hasn’t changed. WiFi radio still requires a broadband internet connection but the CC WiFi 2 has a built in FM tuner to receive local FM stations. We integrated Bluetooth® into the WiFi 2 so you can play your Bluetooth® devices like your smartphone or tablet through the radio’s speaker. We also include a full size remote control for easy access. The CC WiFi Radio 2 comes in black or Cherry finish.

 

CC Skywave

CC Skywave

The CC Skywave project has also been completed and is on the way now. The CC Skywave is a small, travel size radio that has AM, FM, Shorwave, Weather and Aviation. The Aviation band allows you to listen in to nearby air traffic controllers. This radio is the ultimate travel radio. The reception and audio is remarkable for the radio’s small size and the operation is straight forward and easy to understand. It took us a while to make sure it met our standards, but it was worth the wait.

New projects continue to be in the works for all of you C. Crane fans and we can’t wait to share them with you.