Traditionally, measurements have long been used to evaluate various performance aspects of audio components with Frequency Response (FR) being a standard measure. Can, or should, a similar type of measurement, in the form of an Audiogram (see below), be applied to reviewers who critically listen to and evaluate the audiophile equipment consumers potentially will purchase?
Image courtesy of www.nationalhearingtest.org.
Given the frequency limitations of traditional audiograms, would readers benefit from knowing how “flat” a reviewer’s hearing might be? Would reviewers willingly subject themselves to that level of transparency?
I’d like to hear opinions from both readers and reviewers on this topic. Let the discussion begin!
I’m not convinced it’s appropriate or necessary. I don’t think it’s uncommon for recording studio engineers to have hearing issues, but they learn to identify these and compensate for them without impacting the end result – their experience and ability is more important than their hearing test results. I imagine it will be the same for audio reviewers. From the reviews I’ve read by well regarded audiophiles, it’s clear that if they do have any issues it’s not affecting their ability to effectively review. And a poor reviewer is going to be a poor reviewer no matter how good their hearing is.
I guess there’s perhaps an exception for folks with major hearing issues (like the crappy tinnitus I suffer after too many loud concerts – Mark E Smith I’m looking at you), but at that point, should they be reviewing gear at all…?
Apart from all of which, how do we know that anyone experiences sound in the same way, regardless of how well their hearing measures?