How do you all manage mild hearing loss?

I’m 37, and have done a significant amount of concert going, clubbing and loud music listening in my life. As a result, I have what I perceive to be 3-6db of permanent hearing loss in my left ear. I don’t notice it as much when listening to my headphone setup, or home theater, but with 2-channel I end up needing use the balance controls in order to get a perfectly centered image.

I don’t particularly like using the balance control, because I see it like any other tone control, as affecting the output negatively.

So my question is, how do those of you with some hearing loss handle this situation? I’ve noticed that if I take my left finger and push my left ear about 3mm outward, I can center the image that way, without the need for the balance controls. This has led me to start experimenting with pieces of foam, shaped like a C with a graduated wedge that I can fit behind my ear to make it pop out a few mm. I’m wondering if a solution already exists for this problem? If not, I’ll probably keep playing with my design until I have something that works really well, and then have my brother in law 3D print it for me when I arrive at a final design.

Did you ever consider trying a good hearing aid? People claim they can do wonders!
I have almost the same issue with my hearing.
For the most part, I just endure it. At worst, I will use the balance to compensate. 
And, since I mostly listen off axis, I really don't get too bothered by it.
Ya know they use to make BIG ears, for hearing issues, could use them and cut them down, one smaller for the better ear..

They had a few different names...

The best thing you can do.. Take care of what you got left.. You can learn to listen around it.. believe it or not.. You’ll learn... I’m a retired HD mechanic, you know how many of my fellow mec friends are deaf, A LOT. NO MORE LOUD.. plug those babies... I lived with muffs and plugs my whole life....Still do in my personal shop.. I never waver.. Take care of them FIRST....I’m 65 and still hear above 16KHZ, and some lose in the 60-200hz region, very little... No leaf blowers, lawn mowers, gunshots (especially magnums), heavy equipment idling or just running.. concerts (partial plug um). Be wise....

You're 37. That means realistically you could be looking at another 50 years. You want to spend it like this? Stuffing crap behind your ears? You know where this is headed. There used to be a stereotype of the old codger with a great big horn going into his ear. You could come up with something like that. If you keep on going this way.  

Reality check: no ones hearing is what it used to be. We all lose it. There's a fool-proof cure that will stop hearing loss dead in its tracks. Its called: death. Until then its all downhill. 

At least as long as you view your ears as microphones and your brain as some guy with a lab coat and clip board checking off the variances as they come in. In that case you may as well start working on the horn.  

The alternative is you accept it, learn about and understand it, and instead of lamenting what never will be you learn to appreciate what you still have. Which hopefully you love music. Because if you love treble extension you can kiss your musical enjoyment goodbye. But if you love music, well the feeling in that comes across just fine almost no matter how bad your hearing gets. I had one old guy with two terrible hearing aids tell me he never heard anything so good or enjoyed listening to music so much in years.  

Keep in mind there's people here who are such lousy listeners they think all wire is the same. They can't hear the difference between fuses, let alone the direction the fuse is going. They are that bad. But I bet their hearing tests just find. They can hear. But they don't know how to listen.  

There's the rub. And the solution.
Thanks for the feedback so far. On the upside for this entire community, there are promising technologies working their way through R&D that may be able to regrow the cilia (hairs on your eardrum) that vibrate and signal your brain that you're hearing things.

May be another 15 years until something is available according to an ENT that I know..

Anyway, I'll see if I can get my OCD to chill long enough to "hear" my way around this, while I work on contraptions.
At the next few concerts make sure your right ear is closer to the speakers.
Reality check: no ones hearing is what it used to be. We all lose it. There's a fool-proof cure that will stop hearing loss dead in its tracks. Its called: death. Until then its all downhill.

LOL, holy going deaf, Batman!! You learned to get around tendonitis, MC, Big ears, made me quite the barrel of laughs for the kids..
I never needed them. But I had a few close to deaf buddies, and a few cousins that were stone cold deaf.. love to dance though.

Something you got to LEARN to live with. Protection from now on will go a long way towards you future hearing, loss. Those little hairs in your ears can recover, A LOT, with rest. Don't drive with your windows open. Gargle with salt water. Take care of your throat, don't smoke cheap weed, make sure it's cured, no really fresh pot.. cure it.

Watch any tobacco, smoke or chew, CHEAP smokes are even worse.
If it has a filter, don't smoke it at all.  Get good pipe tobacco.  It is the best if your gonna use the stuff, and add a filter in your pipe or roll your own and add a filter.  Like the old guys use to say, they add filters to cheap tobacco, to make it taste better. LOL

Watch the boozin' it will cook your throat too, where your ear canals are, you know, ears outside, there are canals on the inside to take care of too.

I wish you well, young man.


I have mild loss in one and moderate in the other and tinnitus, to many years working around jets. ( With hearing protection )

As far as listening to music its not horrible yet, I am sure there are some details I miss. I can compensate by turning the volume up but then I may be causing further loss faster so I try not to do that. To often. Where its apparent to me is conversation, I miss words or have to ask for them to be repeated and the person is standing next to me.

I think the tinnitus is worse, always there and frequently increases for periods.

Stating the obvious but do you clean them well? I use Debrox first then the Rhino bottle. I think it helps a little with the tinnitus, maybe both, at least maybe keeps it at bay a little.

Interesting about the work on repairing the cilia hair, once those are damaged thats it. I believe instead of standing up they lay down. And tinnitus is the result of those hairs vibrating.

We just have to deal with it, now if they are able to repair the cilia hair that will be huge.

Have you visited with a doctor to see what your hearing loss really is instead of guessing?  It seems like it would be easier to effectively remedy with a proper assessment of the issue.
Mr Jones, just use the darn balance control. Every Record, file, tape and CD is different. I have to adjust my balance with almost every source.

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I have hifreq loss and tinnitus. I admit it drove me nuts for awhile, but I learned a long time ago never to worry about things I can't control. My system sounds better than ever and I just KNOW(?) that my ultra-hi frequencies are outstanding! If it has bass like a duck and images like a duck . . . you know the routine.

Don't worry, be freaky!
I'm gonna go listen to my duck.
I have slight hearing loss and tinnitus in my left ear. I have my Quad ESL’s at equal distance and separation from where I sit but I’ll turn some to the left if needed. Based on the same principle as shooting photo with a fixed camera lens, I move towards or away from my speakers for balanced listening. But the best thing I’ve discovered is Gingko for tinnitus. I take about 80 mg of Gingko each day and it keeps my tinnitus in check.
Yeah, I don't go to concerts without earplugs. Otherwise, I'll just go deaf. But you only need special earplugs that reduce the sound, not block it completely. That's why it's very important to know the details of how you can find normal earplugs, very comfortable and at the same time protect them from loud sounds without difficulties and problems. Because I remember going to a concert without them and then my ears hurt for 3 days. So it is better not to take any chances, you can study here the data about earplugs for concerts, because here are the details of this case. I think it will be really useful for everyone now. From myself I can say that of course I take from the company EarDial, because they are even in this ranking first and they are really comfortable for me. But maybe you will have a different opinion and personal characteristics, so still study the details and choose the best option for you.
I recall as a young man going to the drag strip and seeing the rocket and jet cars. Visually, stunning, audibly hellish. I was too stupid/young to be prepared for the assault on the ears. I ran to the bathroom and jammed as much toilet paper into my ears a possible, then sat the entire time with my finger pressed against the outer ear to close the auditory canal as best I could. Still, it was awful. It's audibly like staring into the sun. 

I have always detested loud noises and sought to reduce them in life. I do not recommend people go to many live concerts where there will be potential for hearing loss. In the last 10 years when I have attended, perhaps 2 or 3 times, I used both foam 30dB plugs AND ear muffs. Still, the level at the concerts was irrationally loud, and even with that protection had mild tinnitus that evening, gone by morning. Imagine the damage being done when all that protection is used and still harm occurs. 

I also wear both foam plugs and muffs when using the lawn tractor. Finally, when I ride motorcycle (I intentionally do not ride a bike with loud pipes), in order to protect from the hellishly loud wind noise at freeway speed, I wear the foam plugs and bought a very expensive helmet that had the highest noise control rating. I am hopeful that all these measures will preserve my hearing longer in order to enjoy music. 

We are going to have a generation of prematurely deaf people. It's a shame, as hearing is one of the miraculous gifts God has given and it's desperately wanted when it's gone. I say all this not to chastise those already suffering; they know the price that is being paid. I say it to encourage anyone younger who has been taking their hearing for granted, abusing it without thought. 

In an effort to be helpful to dougeyjones, I haven't seen anyone mention speaker placement as a panacea. You have both placement and toe in to work with. I presume you have tried all that? If the speakers have grills you could perhaps try taking the grill off the side with the hearing loss. Experiment. 

Another idea is one that you may scoff at, given how you disdain aftermarket cables. I suggest you try doubling the speaker cable to the affected channel/ear, and in so doing improve the output of the speaker in that channel. I learned this once when I forgot to remove the second speaker cable from one channel and the sound was imbalanced. That may be a golden solution, however, it does also affect the speaker tonally. But, the fix may be better/less noticeable than the other artifacts as a result. Perhaps if you are desperate enough you will take a tip from a cable enthusiast.  :)
Thanks to Goofyfoot for the tip on Ginko.

I went through all the head-tilting and chair-tweaking too. I found that a bit of acoustic absorption on the strong side (left, for me too) and not very much on the weak side had a major effect, especially if your room is really live.
I had my speakers geometrically exact and what could be wrong? Well, when I swallowed my pride and moved my right speaker 1" closer to me, it was balanced the way I always expected.
I think my tinnitus is most obnoxious when the classical and big band music gets really loud. I'm now about 8' from my system. It's almost a "near-field" setup, but I'm able to get great sound by keeping it small, tweaked and well-cabled.
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"They can't hear the difference between fuses, let alone the direction the fuse is going."

I do hope this is sarcasm. The rest of the post was so spot on...