It didn't even seem that loud at the time!
June 5, 2011 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I went to a concert over the weekend, and probably stood too close to a speaker. I've had a light ringing in my right ear for around a day now, and have hadn't really experience anything like this before. I have no history of hearing loss, and have always tested well on hearing tests for various physicals/jobs. Sound seems slightly muffled on that side. Should I see a doctor, wait it out, or am I overreacting? I have insurance, but it's not very good.

That seems like everything relevant, but I'd be happy to provide any other details.

I've read this previous thread, but I'm not diagnosed with anything at the moment, and trying to decide how to proceed.

for the curious, the concert was Against Me! They were great, and I'd recommend them to anyone who likes that kind of music
posted by codacorolla to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not a doctor, but I certainly went to metal shows back in the day where my ears were ringing the whole next day. I'd give it a few days to clear up, personally.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2011

I've had that happen, and it's always gone away. I suspect it means a little damage was done. I try to protect myself from overly loud stuff now and I don't have that happen anymore.
posted by fritley at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2011

Yup, that's happened to me many times before. Definitely not something you want to put your ears through regularly and indefinitely, but you'll probably be fine if this is the first time it's happened.
posted by ignignokt at 6:58 PM on June 5, 2011

Best answer: Go take some magnesium. Yes, it will be effective even now. I've seen a study suggesting antioxidants would help, too.
posted by adipocere at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2011

Best answer: You are fine unless you also have nausea or vertigo or something like that. It'll clear up.
posted by empath at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2011

Give it a few days, it should resolve on its own.

And next time you go to a show, take ear plugs.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2011

I've heard the same thing adipocere relates. Not sure that there is anything that can actually be done, but it can't hurt.

And wear hearing protection! I've only 35 and I've got some tinnitus from mistreating my ears, and it is annoying.

Get ear plugs from the hardware store, it makes concerts and all other loud things much more tolerable.
posted by gjc at 7:06 PM on June 5, 2011

Response by poster: No other symptoms, so I guess I'm getting old, then. I might try some magnesium as well if it persists through tomorrow. Perhaps I will also stand by the sea and contemplate mortality, with this new knowledge in mind.
posted by codacorolla at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oops, I had something else I wanted to ask: is there a certain point in time where the ringing still persists and I should begin getting concerned? I'm not really worried, but that seems like a good thing to know.
posted by codacorolla at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2011

That's Numberwang!: "And next time you go to a show, take ear plugs"

PLEASE! If you go to shows (especially in smaller clubs) on any kind of regular basis do this.

I'm 45. I went to my first concert in 1978 and my last one in 1995, and countless in-between. Most of them were loud, and most of them were in small clubs. I now have moderate-to-severe hearing loss in both ears -- the kind associated with exposure to loud noises -- and would get hearing aids if insurance covered them. I also had a Holy Fuck That Was Loud And When Will The Ringing Stop Moment: L7 at Rajis, 1985. I think about them every time I switch on the closed captioning.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:17 PM on June 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

After the first concert I went to, I had the muffled thing for a couple days afterwards too, but I think it was in both ears. My hearing's always been good before and after that concert, so you should be fine.

Assuming you're still a librarian as your profile says, that's probably a good job to have while your ears recover after being shot. Well, unless you keep having to ask others to speak louder.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2011

Best answer: My first concert was The Ramones, and I stood right in front of the speakers. Took three days for my ears to stop ringing. I've brought ear plugs to nearly every show since.
posted by zippy at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even if you do have tinnitus (the name for the ringing in your ears - which I have), they have no way to do anything about it. Just got told this by an audiologist last week when I got my hearing tested.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2011

Last year I did a fairly large review of the literature on tinnitus and its etiology for a course in auditory neuroscience. I would say the most important thing you can do in this situation is to NOT freak out. Tinnitus is a very complex disorder that is linked to the same brain areas as audition and attention. When you get tinnitus, your tendancy may be to hyperfocus on this new, disturbing sound. DONT. Do not spend any time listening for it in quiet rooms, or testing to see if it's still there. Use a white noise machine at night so you don't hear it. Let it fade into the background and focus on other things. In the week after you get tinnitus you are forming new brain circuits between auditory and attentional areas that can make this new sound permanant as your brain struggles to recalibrate it's auditory apparatus after a trauma to the sensory organs in your ear. Focus on other things and hopefully the circuits responsible for tinnitus will not become permanant.
posted by smokingmonkey at 7:58 PM on June 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

I go to shows without earplugs, and it usually takes a day or so for the ringing to stop.

I should really buy earpluts.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:04 PM on June 5, 2011

In my younger days I had a few episodes with ringing, and I can definitely remember the first few being multi-day affairs. It was distracting but not permanent. I almost never wore earplugs afterward, either.
posted by tremspeed at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2011

I survived my front-row punk-rock teens and early adulthood without a single bout of this. But now that I'm, um, of a certain age, when I've gone to especially loud shows I've had the post-loudness tinnitus persist for as long as a week. A week! Crazy-making, but nothing you can really do about it. Except bring earplugs next time. Which some of us just never remember to do...
posted by chez shoes at 9:23 PM on June 5, 2011

I'll add another "hell yeah earplugs!" - my hearing isn't as shot as it could be, but I used to have my ears ring for up to a day or so after particularly loud gigs, and I now have some minor permanent tinnitus that I could do without...

one thing that surprised me about wearing earplugs to shows is they actually seemed to make it easier to have conversations while the band is playing without having to yell 2 inches from someone's ear... I'm assuming that's something to do with the frequency spectrum of the human voice, and the exact characteristics of the plugs, or something like that...
posted by russm at 10:37 PM on June 5, 2011

Don't just get earplugs, get a pair of Etymotic Research earplugs. They're $13, will last pretty much until you manage to lose them (which is relatively tough, as they come with both a plastic case and a string to go behind your neck), and they actually make loud shows sound better. The foam ones always pissed me off because they muffle the music, but I like wearing these and would much rather put them on than go without.

As for forgetting to bring them, I keep a pair in the car and another in my everyday shoulder bag, so I have 'em handy in case heavy metal breaks out...
posted by vorfeed at 10:58 PM on June 5, 2011 [7 favorites]

As someone who's always had great hearing, up until recently, I cannot agree with earplugs enough. In the last year (at 34 or so) I've noticed that I'm having trouble hearing in busier places than I used to. I can hear all of the background noise, but none of what I'd like to be listening to (like, say, my wife talking to me in the supermarket). Get some earplugs and wear them the next time you go to a concert. Don't worry about seeming uncool, the people who mock you will be stone deaf when all is said and done.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2011

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