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Hearing loss after seeing one concert, 2 days later no better - any hope? - help!
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666666
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#1
27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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Unhappy Hearing loss after seeing one concert, 2 days later no better - any hope? - help!



I had to record a club gig the other night, I had my musician's ear plugs in with the 15db filters. Yes, I should have had the 25db filters in, but I had foolishly left them at home. The 15db filters usually are enough though for most cases.

There was a loud guitar amp pointing toward my left ear, granted, it was over 25 feet away, but it was LOUD... and piercing... I had to stay in that position in order to man the recording gear.

Driving home after the gig, I noticed I could not hear out of my left ear, and bad ringing in that ear. Ok, in my lifetime this has happened before and usually went away after 12 hours or so. But in this case, the next morning, I still could hear only 50% out of the left ear at best and still bad ringing.

Now nearing 2 days later, it's not any better. I am getting VERY UPSET AND VERY SCARED. I'll call a doctor tomorrow.

In the meatime, any thoughts... ideas... experiences? Did I permanently destroy my hearing and end my audio career while recording a one hour club gig? Or is there hope that this loss of hearing in the one ear will come back?

This is some REALLY scary stuff here... if my ear heals and I can actually continue on with my audio career, I will surely never again go to another gig without not only my 25db filter ear plugs, but ALSO a set of super high-attentuation rifle-range style headphones to put OVER the 25db plugs!

The amplifier at the gig I was at was indeed unusually and inappropriately loud and very focused in a very piercing upper mid-range frequency, seemed to just cut right through the ear plugs like a knife. It did cause pain during the gig, but I was stuck at the recorder / microphone position. I was foolishly assuming that the 15db plugs would be enough to "protect" regardless, but... the feeling of pain should have been an indicator for me to get out of there. I SHOULD have just aborted the mission and walked away, but... lesson learned. I hope I didn't just end my career because of one small gig.

So, again, I'm here at almost 2 days later, still with only 50% hearing and a lot of ringing in the one ear... do I have a chance? Yesterday I still felt hopeful, but I've never had hearing loss and ringing persist for almost 2 whole days before.

#2
27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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Sadly, hearing loss is 'accumulative' over a lifetime, and is usually irreversible. You will probably recover to some higher percentage over the next few weeks than now, but not back all the way to where you were before the gig. The ringing is a bad sign - indicates damage- and the amount of ringing that 'never goes away' will indicate the amout of permanent damage. I know cause I have permanent ringing in my ears due to similar times I left my ears protected. It sucks, but you learn to deal with it - gets worse with age. To all who read this - if you value the fidelity of your hearing, keep those listeners protected!
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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You've obviously done some damage but try not worry about it - impossible i know but the stress will only make things worse. the chances are the ringing will subside and the hearing loss will improve. I highly recommend resting your ears completely (maybe wear foam plugs when out , no talkin on the phone and so on.) Try and get some exercise (it can help as you increase blood flow to extremities), drink plenty of water and maybe look into vitamins and supplements that are relevant to the ear - specifically the nerve and circulatory systems. Avoid caffeine. There was another poster who found magnesium supplements helpful after a similar experiance - it's in the remote forum. I know different people have different vunerbillity to volume induced hearing damage but it seems unlikely you will have really severe damage from a one hour gig with plugs in.- i'll keep my fingers crossed for you - Good luck man!
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post


I had to record a club gig the other night, I had my musician's ear plugs in with the 15db filters. Yes, I should have had the 25db filters in, but I had foolishly left them at home. The 15db filters usually are enough though for most cases.

There was a loud guitar amp pointing toward my left ear, granted, it was over 25 feet away, but it was LOUD... and piercing... I had to stay in that position in order to man the recording gear.

[...]

The amplifier at the gig I was at was indeed unusually and inappropriately loud and very focused in a very piercing upper mid-range frequency, seemed to just cut right through the ear plugs like a knife. It did cause pain during the gig, but I was stuck at the recorder / microphone position. I was foolishly assuming that the 15db plugs would be enough to "protect" regardless, but... the feeling of pain should have been an indicator for me to get out of there. I SHOULD have just aborted the mission and walked away, but... lesson learned. I hope I didn't just end my career because of one small gig.
I read this and shake my head in a combination of anger and disgust. Were there any people in the club? Did they all stand more than 25 feet away from the amp? Did they all have 25dB hearing protection?

What kind of idiots get up on stage, only to destroy the hearing of their adoring fans? (Or worse, destroy the hearing of a bunch of unsuspecting non-fans who are only there for the cheap drinks and dates?)

I think it is an ethical issue that club owners and sound engineers should be held accountable to. Look at all the places that are now smoke-free because we now know the health implications of second-hand smoke in confined environments (and especially the effects on those who are tied to those environments by their paychecks, not because they love the smoke). I think we should promote safe sound, and that a responsible sound engineer will no more turn the volume up to dangerous levels than a bartender would serve a 21st drink to a patron who has already had 12 drinks too many.

I am sorry for your (hopefully temporary) loss, but its up to all of us to change the game, not just look out for ourselves. Might I also suggest that you travel with a sound pressure level meter...that way you can measure whether 15dB or 25dB is even remotely enough protection in your next gig environment.

And in full disclosure, I am angry that this still happens because I, too, suffered damage when I was younger and more foolish, and it just sucks that there's not stronger education and enforcement about damaging levels of noise. It sucks!
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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while many people accumulate hearing loss and tinnitus over a long period of loud gigs, it is indeed possible to do permanent damage in one event.

my guess is that you may need a few more days to know for sure if the ringing will subside, but I am not a doctor.
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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27th July 2008
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If you value your hearing I would not be posting on an internet message board but rather I'd be at an ENT's office being treated / counseled by a professional.

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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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Been there, in a few weeks you'll be much much better. Go away and sin no more. (really, don't ever do that again, and be very paranoid about your ears for the next weeks.)
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27th July 2008
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the last couple years especially I've been super protective of my hearing but I've been in the business for 15. What took me so long? did I not know it was bad to be in a little bar with a blasting band or DJ whos deaf himself and has those bullet tweeters just cranked? the real answer is two twofold:

A: Going by how other people act. Other people seem to pack the bar and be having a good time. They go to Pink Floyd or U2 concerts without a second thought to their hearing. They jam with other musicians in tiny warehouses or basements.

B: Lack of confidence to tell people "look I can't be here" or stick ear plugs in my ears cause I'm wherever it is with my friends. Lack of confidence to tell some of my customers to turn down their volume when I'm engineering a session at THEIR studio. I'm generally an unselfish person and in attempts to stay nice I have put up with way too much over the years.

The answer for me became a change in attitude, that is now simply: My hearing is more important than any person im talking to, show, or social situation I could possibly be in. The second it gets too loud I put the ear plugs in or leave. Would you stay with a wife that once in awhile requires you to stare into the sun?

PS the MACKIE BIG KNOB is a dangerous thing when it's in inexperienced hands I mean. People send to it's inputs way too hot. the pot is big and smooth and people often crank it unexpectedly which deliver giant volume in a split second.
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27th July 2008
Old 27th July 2008
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If you are, try not to test your hearing to see if it's getting better. You're still straining it by seeing, "It is back yet? How about now?"
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28th July 2008
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This is probably different to your situation, but once I did sound for a really loud gig and I forgot to bring ear plugs. Then the next day my ears were ringing and hurting a lot, and I put ear plugs in just to try to give my ears a complete rest, even though I wasn't doing anything. Then my hearing stayed bad for a few days, and I thought something was wrong. I went to the doctor, and after looking in my ears, they discovered that there was heaps of ear wax in there and putting my ear plugs in must have squashed it all up against the ear drum. After syringing
my ears out, my hearing was fine.
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28th July 2008
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when i was 19 i went to see queensryche, first row, stage right, no earplugs. i was 10 feet away from a 12 foot high wall of speakers set to stun.

afterwords, my right ear wasn't just ringing, it was badly distorted and conversation-level sounds were painful. 2 days later, little had improved and i was truly worried. i left foam plugs in both ears all day and all night with occasional breaks when things were silent. that ear was fried, i never knew such distortion was possible.

it did get better, about 98%, although it took nearly a week to get the first 50% and another month to get the last 48%. my ears still graph very well and almost identically, although i hear quite differently in each one so god only knows what my brain is actually doing to equalize the two channels.

i'm 38 and i can still hear 18k so i'm counting my blessings. the body is an amazing thing; stay cool, give it time, you'll be back up to speed soon enough.


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28th July 2008
Old 28th July 2008
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go to the doctor otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat) doctor immediately. there is a possibility to do something but it has to happen within a week !!!!!!!!!!!!! best. vlado


Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post


I had to record a club gig the other night, I had my musician's ear plugs in with the 15db filters. Yes, I should have had the 25db filters in, but I had foolishly left them at home. The 15db filters usually are enough though for most cases.

There was a loud guitar amp pointing toward my left ear, granted, it was over 25 feet away, but it was LOUD... and piercing... I had to stay in that position in order to man the recording gear.

Driving home after the gig, I noticed I could not hear out of my left ear, and bad ringing in that ear. Ok, in my lifetime this has happened before and usually went away after 12 hours or so. But in this case, the next morning, I still could hear only 50% out of the left ear at best and still bad ringing.

Now nearing 2 days later, it's not any better. I am getting VERY UPSET AND VERY SCARED. I'll call a doctor tomorrow.

In the meatime, any thoughts... ideas... experiences? Did I permanently destroy my hearing and end my audio career while recording a one hour club gig? Or is there hope that this loss of hearing in the one ear will come back?

This is some REALLY scary stuff here... if my ear heals and I can actually continue on with my audio career, I will surely never again go to another gig without not only my 25db filter ear plugs, but ALSO a set of super high-attentuation rifle-range style headphones to put OVER the 25db plugs!

The amplifier at the gig I was at was indeed unusually and inappropriately loud and very focused in a very piercing upper mid-range frequency, seemed to just cut right through the ear plugs like a knife. It did cause pain during the gig, but I was stuck at the recorder / microphone position. I was foolishly assuming that the 15db plugs would be enough to "protect" regardless, but... the feeling of pain should have been an indicator for me to get out of there. I SHOULD have just aborted the mission and walked away, but... lesson learned. I hope I didn't just end my career because of one small gig.

So, again, I'm here at almost 2 days later, still with only 50% hearing and a lot of ringing in the one ear... do I have a chance? Yesterday I still felt hopeful, but I've never had hearing loss and ringing persist for almost 2 whole days before.

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28th July 2008
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D'ont freak out. Give it some rest and it'll get better. I am the living proof.
I used to work long hours at the studio and head directly to the club where I was playing drums. In most clubs the drums were at the corner with a huge low frequency build up. I always use 3M foam ear plugs but they are no good for low frequencies. To top it all I was smoking like a Turk that I am and drinking like a russian. I had constant ringing very loud. After living like that for years, one morning I woke up and the whole f..... room was spining around me. I was nauseous all the time and I had no balance. I could not walk. I was throwing up when the hard vertigo attacks hit me. I took an audiometry test and I had serious permanent hearing loss. I completely freaked out. My wife was pregnant with our second, and let alone work, I wasn't able to stand still. In a very timely manner, They did not renew my wife's contract at the place she was teaching. We moved to our parents and suspended our lives. I did do everything the doctor told me: stopped smoking, drinking, puffing and drinking cofee, and took the medication he prescribed religiously. It took me five months to recover. This was last year june.This june I took anther audiometry test and I scored slightly better than last year. I've started to play again, but this time I use Peltor optime III's, the same ones that the guys at airports use. They look funny but they protect allright and the sound is good through them.
What I want to say is don't let it bring you down. Give it some time and do what your doctor tells you to do. In my experience, things have a natural tendency to get better.
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28th July 2008
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Thanks for all the replies. Been trying all morning here to find a good ENT doctor on my insurance plan that will see me right away... no luck yet... lot of docs on vacation now or are booked up for weeks in advance, etc, not good...

My left ear is still not good... still ringing, can't hear at all above maybe 8k or so.

Though it didn't make sense to me that I could have encountreed an instant severe wax build-up in one hour, I did still suspect that wax may have been an issue... I have had wax issues before... I picked up a new wax removal kit yesterday and tried it several times, no deal... no evidence of wax in the ear at all.... seems clean.

Vlado, you mention that there is something that could be done to help but it has to happen within a week... can you be more specific please. At this rate it looks like I will not be able to see an ENT until possibly over a week from now. Though if it was truly urgent that I see an ENT right now, I can of course make a greater effort to find one that will see me now even if I have to drive 70 miles or whatever. But I don't want to go nuts if it's not truly necessary... because the ENT might simply tell me, "go home and rest your ear, have a nice day". So please explain what exactly you are referring to... what is it that can be done within a week that can help?

Thanks.
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28th July 2008
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Quote:
it did get better, about 98%, although it took nearly a week to get the first 50% and another month to get the last 48%.
i've had similar experiences on several occasions. take it easy on yer ears for a bit & lay off intense sounds for a while. give em some time.

if you encounter this type of scenario again take control of the levels or refuse to work with them & gtfo.
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#18
28th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevil View Post
if you encounter this type of scenario again take control of the levels or refuse to work with them & gtfo.
Good advise. My current situation is definitely my own fault... I should have had my 25db filters in my plugs, not the 15db filters... though the amp was so loud and piercing I have to question how much better the 25db plugs would have been, but... I'm sure they would have been at least slightly better.

As well, I should have just left the position I was in once I started feeling pain... but I guess I felt the need to complete my recording task successfully... if I would have left it would have ruined the recording... it was one of those situations where I was trying to "hold out" in the name of just completing the job... but as I have now learned the hard way, I should have just walked away the moment pain was felt.

As I said before, I will never leave again without not only my 25db filter plugs but ALSO my Peltor 30db earmuffs... between the two, I'd like to think I'd be covered for the very loudest situations. I think I will keep a set of both in my car at all times and have several extra pairs on hand as back-ups... this stuff is just way too important to be without.
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28th July 2008
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You need a high flash of steroids.
i've used the steroid ear drops before for ear infections & they work well for the ringing i got from that. thats a different brand of hearing damage though.
yaay for polluted oceans.
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28th July 2008
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Was it a cheap solid state amp?
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28th July 2008
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I don't want to go nuts if it's not truly necessary... because the ENT might simply tell me, "go home and rest your ear, have a nice day".
Sometimes you go to a specialist hoping to hear just that.

See an ear nose throat specialist. Now.

That's not a joke.

For those inexperienced who read this thread, please protect your hearing. It's easier to abuse it when you are younger and we all did it up to a level. You really don't know what you've got until it's gone.

M.
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28th July 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soundsundergroun View Post
Was it a cheap solid state amp?
Actually it was an excellent tube amp that normally sounds excellent, the artist just had it cranked way too high, was a situation where monitoring was poor, no PA, the artists were doing their best to mix themselves on the fly, I had actually asked the artist to lower the amp at one point and he did, but it was not enough... and I did not want to keep badgering the band while they were performing... but I suppose I should have.

Live gigs with no PA can be very tricky... bands really need to have a guy in the audience constantly monitoring what's going on and actually adjusting levels or telling the artists how to adjust.

Guitar amps especially are tough to deal with because speaker cones are extremely directional... when a guitarist is standing right in front of an amp and the speakers are down near his beltline or whatever, he's not hearing even half the energy that is being released from those cones... I suspect that this was the issue that occured at the gig I was at... I don't think the guitarist ever realized how loud the amp was, the way the stage was arranged, his head was NOT in the direct path of the speaker cones.

I finally got an appointment to see a general doctor tomorrow morning, and I had to kick and scream to even get that... hopefully he will be able to make a determination on how urgent it is that I get in to see an ENT asap... and perhaps can force an ENT to take me asap... because I can't seem to get any ENTs to see me right away.

I know worrying doesn't help, but man... day 3 and no improvement... it's super scary. I've spent my whole life honing my audio skills, I love audio and I'm really good at it... it's my strongest talent... audio and music are my life... to think that it's all over now... oh boy, I can't even begin to fathom the personal devastation that will take place. If my hearing does not improve from where it is now, I'm truly finished. I'm a musician too and I wasn't even this upset when I chopped off a small piece of my finger with a power saw... that was bad enough but I knew I'd be able to play one way or another even with a messed up finger... and I can... but without EARS it's truly all over. This whole experience has made me realize how critically important our EARS are... a lot of people, even musicians and audio people may take it for granted. Ok... I'll stop worrying now... ain't gonna help.
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28th July 2008
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I hope your hearing is ok; this is an important lesson for most of us on this board.

Let us know what the doc says.
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#24
28th July 2008
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Go to an ENT (or whatever) right now! Come on even if it's not in your insurance plan! You spend a whole lot of money on gear

Now go spend it on your ears. I wouldn't trust a general doctor with your problem.

When I was in school when I was young I was stupid enough to play drums in a very (and I mean very) small room with my band. 2 Guitar amps, Bass, Keys and vocals all screaming loud. 3 hours a day. 2 years! I had big problems.

I went to the ear doctor, and what he said was REST YOUR EARS. You're 16!
My left upper mids were totally blasted. It's better now, but thats 15 years away!

So really go to a doctor who knows that stuff!

Good luck man!
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28th July 2008
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I will indeed get to an ENT asap one way or another... I'm going to my general doc tomorrow, very early in the morning, just in hopes of having him force an ENT to take me asap. The receptionist at one good local EMT said they'd take me asap if my general doctor felt there was a need and called in for me, etc... otherwise they're booked until next week... so by tomorrow I hope to have an appointment with an ENT for as soon as possible.

I also used to severely abuse my ears when I was younger, over 20 years ago... I didn't know any better... I used to play in a super heavy band, we rehearsed 3 times a week, 3 hours a pop, two full Marshall stacks cranked to the hilt, etc... everything blasting... I don't remember ever using ear plugs at all... Also used to ride motorcycles all the time, even rode cross country with no windshield and no ear plugs.... yeah, my ears were ringing like crazy after each 800 mile day... back then didn't think much of it though.

But in the past 10 years I've never once abused my ears, I wear plugs all the time, and I feel my ears have been in great condition. I can often hear things that nobody around me can hear. I feel I can hear incredible levels of detail in all sounds. I've had my hearing tested about a year ago and the results were excellent, I don't remember the details, but I was on the high end of the scale, the audiologist was very impressed. So... this all makes me feel a bit better, if I had abused my ears so severely years ago and yet in the past ten years have had excellent hearing, that's a sign that hearing can repair itself to an extent. But I'm wondering if this degree and rate of "self-repair" may be age dependant... perhaps when you're young things heal quicker and better, when you get older things do not.

Well, I'll follow up here with the outcome of all this.

What is interesting though... in the past when I had occasionally "abused" my ears, I'd have equal ringing and equal degradation of hearing performance in BOTH ears... so after a while I'd tend to not notice the degradation, you get used to it... and thus it's not as noticeable. With my problem now, it's JUST the left ear only... so the problem is VERY obvious at all times since I'm having a stereo balance problem... I have one good ear to compare the left to... so the whole issue is just that much more noticeable and upsetting.

Even once I had started feeling pain during the gig, I had placed my hand over my left ear to further attenuate the sound... it seemed to help but I could not hold my hand over my ear the whole time. It still amazes me that I have this problem now even though I DID have 15db filter plugs in the whole time. Imagine those who had no plugs at all. I'm wondering if there's any way the filters could have "failed" somehow, like if they perhaps could break down at a certain frequency and either just let sound in at that frequency or worse yet resonate at that frequency and thus amplify it... ? I did not notice such performance, but... ??? Well, another lesson yet learned... 15db of attenuation is simply not enough for heavy-duty situations.

The musician ear plugs also come with 9db filters and 25db filters. As well, I believe you could take any of these filters and just plug the hole entirely so they'd be solid... not sure of the attentuation then, of course the response will no longer be anywhere near flat. The beauty of the 15db filters is that they yield a very flat curve, it's like normal hearing but just lower... it's like having a volume knob on your ears, overall volume goes down, frequency response remains as close as possible to what is actually happening. The 9db filters give a bit more cut on the highs as opposed to the rest of the range... the 25db filters are also not as flat, extra cut in the lows etc... so I use my 15db filters most often since they are the most accurate... and in MOST cases, they offer "enough" attenuation. The little rubber ear plugs you get at the drug store.... those sound like garbage by comparison... they attentuate ok, but kill almost all the upper end and leave you with just mud frequencies... so if you're doing any kind of audio work or playing an instrument, those cheap rubbber plugs are a nightmare.
#26
28th July 2008
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First of all.... No Panic !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 666666 View Post
I know it sounds hard and unbelieveable... but dont Panic.
Like others sad, go to a special Doctor and take a break.
I had the same Thing , same means, i lost my hearing . I work the whole day at my place as an arranger and studio musician. I played all the day guitar and was sitting with only one ear to the speaker, because it was easier for me to handle all the gear, amps, etc. I was very concentrated on what i was playing and turned the volume of the speakers louder and louder. When i was finished in the evening, i thought.... Man, that was loud !! In the nighttime when i was in the cinema, i felt something is wrong with my right ear and after some hours it felt like being under water. There were no highs anymore and it stayed for at least one week.
I had one year before that a hearing loss and i learned not to turn into panic. I cancelled every work for days, put plugs in my ears and slept a lot and tried to come down. After maybe one week it started to get better and I started to work again, but with very low levels in the room. I changed my whole studio and also my life after that . I dont use plugs, i put "oropax" (Ohropax Soft - hautfarbener Schaumstoffgehörschutz) in my ears when i go to a concert. When i am in the studio, i take every 30 Minutes a break to relax my ears for 5 or 10 Minutes. I check emails or do some paperwork. BTW, it also help me to make my work better, because after the short break you hear your work from a different view. I was at the beginning with my first hearing loss very afraid bout my life (House, Kids, work etc....), but i changed my life - and guess what! it turned to the better side. I became more succesfuel after that (Emmy, Echo, Platinum and Gold Albums), because i am more focussed and carefuel with my favourite and best gear: "my ears"


hope it helps you, good luck and sorry for my bad english.

Mathias
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#27
28th July 2008
Old 28th July 2008
  #27
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ihearsounds is offline
Sorry to hear !


My friend, a very pro-musician had this treatment for his similar symptoms that you described had happened to you. He told me this treatment took away the ringing completely! He had to take the treatment for one week and the cost was 300 a day or something like that ( he´s insurance covered the costs ).. not cheap but i wouldnt bargain with the matter..

Anyway, i hope you find treatment that will help you. If i´d be in a similar situation, i wouldnt hesitate in trying this treatment, it helped my friend and i truly belive him.

Wish you best!

Check these out and ask advice from a specialist!!!
I didnt find better links for i know the treatment he got was the same they give for the scubadiving symptoms..

History of Hyperbaric Chambers - Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric medicine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
#28
29th July 2008
Old 29th July 2008
  #28
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Well, if there was indeed wax in your ears then you should be glad because that most likely prevented even further damage from occuring. Distorted guitar cabs are by far the worst culprits at damaging hearing. I used to have a 10,000 watt PA system that i would amplify my drum machines and synths through, but the majority of the music was all low end. I would crank it up to wall shaking volumes, yet no damage and no ringing. Yet, when being in close proximity to a loud guitar rig that's when the sensation of PAIN will occur. I would have indeed jetted that scene within 20 seconds of hearing what you described. There's nothing more annoying to me (and cheesy) than some idiot who feels like he needs to be that loud to satisfy his insecure ego about being a lame musician in the first place. I have turned down quite a few offers to play keys in bands with such guitar players, because just stepping into the room with them was going to do permanent irreversible damage to my hearing. Many of the guys in these bands have already ruined their hearing as part of the "gotta be loud to be cool" rock mindphuck, and so now they have to turn shit up to volumes that cause damage to other people's hearing just to be able to hear it at all themselves. I've seen so many of these types over the years now that your story doesn't suprise me at all. One guy I rented a room to(rich kid wanna be rockstar no-talent prick) actually destroyed several expensive guitar amplifiers in fits of rage. Why ? Because he claimed he could never get the sound he wanted out of any of them. The thought never occured to him that he had already destroyed his hearing permanently due to abuse, and that this was the issue

Lucky for me that in the days of (unwillingly) being exposed to those loud guitar tones, my ears were severely clogged up with tons of wax. I'll never forget the day when my ENT doc sucked all that stuff out and said "damn, that's more wax than i ever seen in anyone's ears before!" When i told him about all the loud music I had been exposed to he said I was lucky because that wax was the perfect protection.
666666
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#29
29th July 2008
Old 29th July 2008
  #29
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Update... jus got back from my regular doctor (not an ENT)... he was the only doctor I could get to see me asap.

He takes a look in my left ear and says there's some wax in there. I told him I tried flushing the ear several times with a wax removal kit I bought at the drug store, and he jokingly suggested that I shouldn't be trying to "play doctor" at home. He's right of course, but I've had success in the past with wax removal kits... the kit is basically just a little bottle of some type of peroxide solution and a little squirt bulb.

So he flushes the ear using what is likely a stronger solution than my kit came with and using a larger more powerful squirt device... and some wax DID come out into the drip tray... not a whole lot, I've seen worse in the past, but wax indeed came out. The doctor even commented that it was not a lot of wax.

After getting the water out of my ear, I noticed that I could now hear a bit better in the left ear! Before going to the doctor, I had been doing my own el-quicko hearing test... just lightly rubbing my fingers together next to each ear. When doing this at my right ear, I felt I could hear all the frequencies, sounded clear... but with my left ear, the very high frequencies were noticeably missing. Well now, after the wax came out, I tried my little quick test again and it appears I can hear a lot more of the very high frequencies with my left ear than before... so the wax was indeed at least contributing to my hearing problem.

But I'm still not out of the woods...

Anyway, so after the wax flush, the doc gives me a quick hearing test using what appears to be a fairly primitive test tool. It's basically an old headphone and plays test tones. He asks me to raise my hand if and when I hear a tone.... we test both ears and I hear all the tones. But the test did not seem very challenging to me. He says to me, "this test goes up to 4kHz, you can apparently hear 4k fine, your hearing is good enough to be a fighter pilot, you're fine now"... he said that the average person would not be bothered by issues above 4k and that I must be very sensitive to high frequencies. Wow, 4k is the acceptable human hearing performance limit??? That seems kinda low.

Side note, this doctor is excellent, I've been with him for years and he's always done the right thing, but of course he is not an ENT specialist. It is obvious that I still need to see a good ENT.

So he asked me if I felt ok, and I had to say yes since, in general, I DID feel ok... the wax removal DID improve the hearing performance in my left ear... but I could tell things were still not just right. Hard to assess after having water squirted into the ear... need some rest time... I figure I will not really know the deal until later in the day. So I left without a referal to an ENT.

But given this whole mini-drama and the fact that my hearing is still not 100% by any means, I will try again now to get an appointment with an actual ENT... at the very least just to TEST my hearing and assess what's going on.

So... part of me is extremely happy that I gained back some upper-end frequency performance in the left ear after the wax removal, but part if me is still a bit nervous since my hearing overall is still wacked out a bit. Like, I could not imagine trying to do a mix right now... I would not feel confident at all as to what I would be hearing, especially in terms of good flat upper-range response and stereo balance.

Though I did gain back some upper-end performance in the left ear, I feel what was gained back is not "flat". In other words, I feel like the upper range response has assorted dips in the curve... like for instance, I hear 7k but not 7.5k and hear 8.3k but not 9k and so on... and ironically, the right ear now almost seems a bit "duller" than the left, but this could be an illusion caused by the left ear having been "wax plugged" to an extent for almost 4 days. Both ears still have issues.... hopefully more rest will be the cure, but I will call an ENT now and see how soon I can get in anyway. I need a guy checking my performance at 8k and up... not just 4k.
#30
29th July 2008
Old 29th July 2008
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[QUOTE=666666;2834333 I need a guy checking my performance at 8k and up... not just 4k.[/QUOTE]

most ENTs only have test machines that go up to 8k. as do audiologists. I recently went in to complain of a dampening in my right ear. (the face he made when i said "i have a 2db discrepancy between ears across the upper midrange of my hearing"...somewhere between amusement and total annoyance) Wanted to test the higher end my spectrum....he referred me to a local university with the proper testing equipment. so you might check into that...may be free. hope this works out for you!
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