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Went to a concert at the weekend....did the bass cause my balance issues?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fassa Albrecht, May 23, 2011.

  1. Not even sure that this is even related to anything, or even if this is the right forum for this. Here goes.

    Anyway, went to the Rush concert at the weekend. It was an amazing concert and the bass was so loud, even from where I was sat about half-way back the floor was shaking!

    But ever since then, I've been feeling light-headed and have also had balance issues, as well as not being able to hear all weekend (which I expected, but seeing as it's Geddy, I don't care). Now I know from the principles of physics that bass sound penetrates further than treble range sound, and I'm wondering if this is the cause of the problem. I don't normally have problems with balance so this is the ONLY thing I can think of which may have caused the problem.

    Anyone know if this might be the case? I'm already planning to see a doctor in any case.
  2. jruberto


    Dec 23, 2008
    Denver, CO
    Staff Producer / Audio Engineer: Blue Tower Studio, Denver, CO & Mighty Fine Productions, Denver, CO
    wow, that is nuts. hope everything is okay.

    my only similar experience was at a rave in london sometime in the mid 90s. industrial building, 5 different rooms throbbing with techno. i was walking around and went down a set of stairs (think normal switchback fire escape-ish concrete stairway) and the whole stairway was just alive at probably around 45Hz, really loud. i have never felt more spatially disoriented and did not know which way was up and almost fell down the stairs. it was interesting to say the least. i couldn't get out of there fast enough, and nearly had an anxiety attack in the 10 seconds i was in there, but i was back to normal as soon as i escaped.

    were you wearing any hearing protection? low frequencies are much more damaging to your ears than the high stuff, but in the moment you can't really tell -- if there's way too much 1k or higher, that's the stuff that hurts and makes you want to plug your ears. but unfortunately too much low frequency doesn't really have that same effect.

    the good news is that our ears are pretty good at protecting themselves -- when presented with damaging levels of sound energy your ears will actually "compress" the sound by contracting the little muscles in your middle ear, thereby protecting the inner ear from damage. (see Acoustic reflex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) perhaps your extended exposure just fatigued those muscles and you'll be okay once they recover.

    will be curious to hear what the doc says, and again i hope everything is okay. cheers ~j

    p.s. another unfortunate truth is that there is evidence that alcohol has been shown to diminish this protective effect... there's some cruel irony for ya.
  3. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    If I don't wear earplugs I can get lightheaded at very loud venues.
  4. purpletornado


    Aug 5, 2009
    Never had balance issues but I once saw Soulive open for Robert Randolph at the Electric Factory in Philly and on the floor where I was the bass was so loud and deep it was actually making me nauseous. I really thought I was going to vomit for a while.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It's probably vertigo caused by the bass vibrations shaking the little crystals in your inner ear loose.
  6. jruberto


    Dec 23, 2008
    Denver, CO
    Staff Producer / Audio Engineer: Blue Tower Studio, Denver, CO & Mighty Fine Productions, Denver, CO
    robert randolph = one of the loudest shows i think i've ever been at. soulive really brings it too.

    i feel like an old man saying this, but MAN rock & roll concerts are just too loud. i make a living with my (admittedly already somewhat compromised) hearing and it bums me out that i have to wear earplugs at shows, even way in the back it's just crazy loud.

    i saw andrew bird a while back and that show had the BEST sound, it was at a perfect reasonable volume and i wasn't even tempted to put in my earplugs once. but his audience is pretty special -- during the quiet parts of songs you could hear a pin drop in that sold out 1100 person room.
  7. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I hope things are OK, and please wear hearing protection when listening to loud music. PA amplifiers are much more powerful than they used to be, and concerts are much louder. You never know how much of the damage you are experiencing will be permanent.

    That is false. Mid-hi frequencies are the most damaging, at the peak of your ears' response, around 3k-4k. This is also the area that allows you to distinguish one vowel from another, so the first thing to go is speech recognition.
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I can vouch for that, except it's consonants that get blurred. I can't tell B from C to D to E or G when someone calls out a key onstage. Alee I hear is the EE part. (try listening to a conversation with hearing protectors in--that's how you hearing will be in about thirty years). The worst thing is sitting around a table out to eat with friends and not knowing what anyone is talking about.

    And my insurance doesn't pay a dime for hearing aids. (Plus, you can't wear 'em onstage anyway).
  9. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Yes and unfortunately since this is the "vocal range" it is often the frequency range that gets the bejeezus cranked out of it -- in every venue from bars to churches -- in the name of "being able to hear the singer". I am extremely sensitive to midrange, and have found them much more devastating to my ears over the years than low end. So now I choose IEMs that scoop those freqs out and as an audience member I simply refuse to stick around any venue where there's too much of that freq range going on at too high of volume.
  10. smeet

    smeet Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I've had some hearing loss (trouble discerning speech at a noisy party, etc.) and ringing for a few decades now, from years of loud concerts and playing. :(

    I now carry custom plugs with 15 and 25 db filters on my keychain so I'm never without them. In my car I have a box of 33db foam plugs. I can't afford to be unprotected in a loud environment because it's too painful and once you have damage, it gets easier to have more. I never listen to live music or go to a movie theater without some protection.

    Loud music is exhilarating, but it's not worth the potential damage (even if it's Geddy, or Jaco back from the grave). Wear your plugs now so you don't get in the state I'm in. The dizziness will pass, but the hearing loss may not.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Today's music is often played MUCH, MUCH too loud.

    If the floor was shaking, chance are it was too loud - and in the volume range of causing hearing damage. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if your balance problem was due to inner ear trauma.

    I won't go to any more concerts without bringing earplugs - which I should NOT have to do.
  12. Drunk + Geddy lust = ?
  13. Sharp Shooter

    Sharp Shooter

    May 23, 2011
    I went to see Rush at Madison Square Garden in NYC and used a pair of Hearos high fidelity ear plugs which only costs $14.99.

    Although Geddy is like God on bass, I'm not a fan of his Fender Jazz bass. The pickups sound muddy and twangy which is a bit annoying after a while I/M/O. I wish that he still used his Wal Mach II bass instead!
  14. Phendyr_Loon


    Sep 4, 2010
    I've a similar experience with loud bass, but it affected me in different way.
    About 10 years ago I went to see a band called "Today is the Day" at a local small to midsize venue. To sound was mixed so well, it was the most clarity I've heard at a live metal show.
    Anyway, I'd swear the bass, other than thru the full stack on the stage, had been mixed thru just the house subs.
    The bass was so loud that after the show I ached, as if all my bones were somehow rattled loose.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Big +1 to movies being too loud. A big reason (besides the trashy product and ridiculous prices) that I haven't darkened the door of a movie theater for about 6-7 years now.
  16. Thanks to anyone who's replied and helped me. I've learnt a lot from this thread!

    The bass was so loud that listening to a song like YYZ was lactually painful. That's how loud it was.

    I should really have taken earplugs...it's funny, I was at band before going to this concert and actually had on me my drummer's earplugs (which I ALWAYS wear when drumming). I stupidly took them out of my pocket before leaving the house.


    Not my fault I'm in love with Geddy.

    He used his three Fenders pretty much all this concert and I actually thought that some songs like Subdivisions sounded better than his Wal or Steinberger.
  17. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    With most of the major acts (and a lot of not so major ones) now rolling with IEM's, I'm sure the artists onstage have no idea how loud some of these shows are in the house.

    I remember being at a show a few years back by a current country megastar (who is also one of the best guitarists on the planet), where the FOH sound was so loud and poorly mixed (kick drum overkill) that the songs were nothing but mush. I'm pretty sure that said artist did not give the directive to mix his show like that and in fact if he would have been out in the house he would likely have fired the FOH mixer on the spot.
  18. Problem with the Metro Arena (IMO anyway) is that it was likely designed (in terms of accoustics) with pop acts in mind, and sporting events, not bass-heavy rock music.

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