So a few days ago, I started noticing that when I was listening to music via my Shure E4c earphones, I wasn’t able to hear anything from my left ear (stage right). I was like, “OH *@!#!$@!#*$!” I pull the right earphone out and turns out I was not completely deaf in my
right ear as I could still hear music in my left ear.
Anyway, I was going to attribute this to the fact that 2 weekends ago, I had drop a bag of glass bottles (about 15 bottles worth) at the bottom of my stairs (a small confined space) and it started bouncing on my ceramic floor tiles for ~10 seconds and it was one of the most painful experiences for my ears ever. My ears were ringing for quite some time after that, but eventually went away.
So thinking it might be my computer, I plugged the earphones into another computer, and it was the same results. My left ear was definitely not hearing as much audio. I decided I would need to go see my doctor and ask for a ear specialist referral.
So today when people were talking, I would tilt my head left and right to see if their voice actually got softer if I faced the weak ear toward them. I didn’t really notice much difference, but given that it was in an open environment, it wasn’t really a good test to begin with.
So I decided to try to change the audio left/right balance, but apparently in Vista, the balance thing is no longer in volume control you get when you double click the volume icon in your task bar. Took me a bit to find it, but apparently you have to go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Sound. You can also go directly to this from the context menu of the sound icon in your task tray. Under Playback, select the speakers and click properties. On the Levels tab, you’ll be able to control the left and right audio balance. After a quick configuration, I can now hear music from my left ear again.
Then it hit me today, I haven’t really tested if it was the earphones. I had just blindly assume it was my ears drums were damaged after a quick test or 2 and the fact these were some expensive earphones. I inserted the right earphone into my left ear and vice versa. It turns out my left ear was NOT damaged, but the left earphone was definitely outputting at a lower volume. I was overjoyed.
Looking at Shure’s website’s How To Use Earphones, I’m hoping it’s just that I need to clear up some earwax. These earphones weren’t cheap to begin with…
NOTE: Nozzles can collect cerumen (earwax), which can clog the earphone and lower the sound quality. If you experience sound loss, check the nozzles for clogging before sending the product in for service. There is a service charge for removing wax.
Cleaning out the earwax did fix the problem. There were also these earwax guards which didn’t really have much or any earwax, but the left one was in the wrong place, probably the main culprit of all this. For some reason, I think the left ear now is hearing better… I’d take some pictures of the earwax I dug out, but you’d probably be grossed out by it.