Self-Generated Hearing Test Tool

I’m beginning to understand that I have a progressive frequency dependent hearing problem. For example, C5 (523.2511 Hz) and C6 (1046.502 Hz) are perceived as a beat-free ‘octave’ to normal ears. I hear the interval as ‘sharp.’ Even B5 (987.7666) sounds sharp to my ears, but A♯5/B♭5 (932.3275) is slightly flat.

A quick experiment suggests that for me, the octave is very close to 960 HZ.

I figured out how to generate a 10-15 second long tone and preview it.

When I generated a new tone, it overwrote the previous one in the work-space.

Can I generate and lay down two sequential tones and listen to both in the same stereo track?

Can it be done left ear/right ear independently? The left and right ears may respond differently.

Even better would be generating and overlaying two tones, playing a ‘synthetic octave.’

Ideally I would like to generate the lower tone and then add the higher one and zero in on the beat-free combination.

How much of this doable?


When you generate a tone, the track remains selected and if you generate a different tone, it will overlay. So generate one tone and then click below the first tone to deselect it. Then a generated second tone will occupy a new track.

You can select the top track by clicking just right of the up arrow.

and use the top track drop-down menu to Make Stereo Track.

Alternately, that drop-down menu will allow you to independently assign each tone to Left or Right. You can also use the two mono tones LR sliders to push a tone left or right. That one gets a little magic because Audacity is creating a stereo track “in the background” without telling you.

I don’t know of a way to manufacture custom tones during playback.

The last hearing test I took manufactured tones and told me to keep pressing the button until I couldn’t hear them any more. My hearing response was the inverse of the button pushes. If I never pushed the button, my hearing sucked at that tone value. I can’t think of a way to force Audacity to do that.


I should open by saying that I am still working with 2.2.2 under Win7/Pro x64. The recent Windows forum has threads suggesting that users are having problems using 2.3.0. I don’t have the bandwidth to work with significantly new software if 2.2.2 should still work for the next couple of months.

I managed to open and then to select and deselect a track (documented process in Word) and then to Import Audio and open a second track. So I had a 500 Hz track and a 960 Hz track both open. I selected both and used Tracks>Mix and Render to New Track and a third track appeared.

I selected the track (which looked different) and exported it and opened it in a new project window. When I play it, all I hear is 500 Hz. I had hoped to hear both 500 Hz and 960 Hz.

In Analyze I noticed a dropdown item called Find Beats. Would this allow me to see beat frequencies?

I did all of this in the ‘spirit of empirical experimentation’ and admit the words did not reassure me I was doing the right thing.

What did I do wrong? Why do I hear only 500 Hz.

I think I’ve managed to upload a couple of images, there are more if they might help. One shows only the portion of the Audacity screen containing tracks and menu, the other the whole screen of the new, merged file.

I think I am making progress but clearly I’m not ‘there’ yet.


I think you’re being unnecessarily cautious there. As a QA tester I have been boldly using the 2.3.0 test alphas on my W10 laptop gor production use with no real problems. It’s a different story for folk on Linux who do need to stay on 2.2.2 - but that’s because of a bug we introduced in the Linux 2.3.0

For a start you really don’t need to use the Tracks>Mix and Render to New Track if you just used File > Export > Export Audio all of the audio would be temporarily mixed and then exported - so you don’t need the mix track for that.

  1. I made a 500 Hz track and a 960 Hz track - pressed Play, I head both tones (sounds like a klaxon)
  2. I used Tracks>Mix and Render to New Track and just played that track (using its Solo button) that I heard both tones as in 1)
  3. I unmuted all three tracks and played - I heard both tones but much louder (expected behaviour)

  4. I exported just the Mix track to a WAV file, opened a new Audacity project and imported that WAV file - when it plays I hear both tones, at same loudness as in 2) (expected behaviour)

I suspect that you may have selected the 500 Hz track and then used File > Export > Export Selected Audio

Or you had muted the 960 Hz track and the Mix track and usedFile > Export > Export Audio - note that muted tracks are not exported


Thank you for the reply. You pointed me in the proper direction.
This time I opened the saved 500 Hz file and imported the 960 Hz file.
When I sent the cursor Home and played, the 500 Hz signal was dominant, but by setting the gain on the former down to -20 dB and tweaking the gain on the latter up a bit I can play them mixed and hear them both even without saving them.

When I next have time I will play with Generate>/Tone with the lower (960 Hz import) and overwrite it. If this works I believe it is exactly what I’m looking for. It should allow me to ‘fine tune’ by successive approximation with a set of tones slightly above/below 960 and listen to hear if the higher tone sound more like the ‘apparent octave tone’ I am seeking. It will save me a lot of time.

Does what I say make sense to you, my notion that Audacity is allowing me to hear a ‘mixed without saving’ pair of tracks?

Are both the upper and lower tracks monaural but playing in both ears?

My final goal is to check a range of starting frequencies, e.g., 250, 375, 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, and 4000 with the goal of seeing if the problem is linear or if it gets progressively worse as I suspect. If it is the latter, perhaps I can plot it and find an equation to describe the frequency correction I need to make music sound right again. It seems to me that with digital hearing aids such a correction might be possible, but I’m a chemist, not an EE or digital programmer.


Phew, that’s good

Yes that is what Audacity is meant to do - it will play a mix of all tracks that are not muted in their Track Control Panel to the left of the waveform. Explicit mixing is not required.

Yes that’s what most players, and Audacity, will do.