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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes temporary loss of hearing after exposure to sound?

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Dr. Sumit Bhatti

ENT Specialist

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 2569 Questions

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Posted on Tue, 14 Mar 2017 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: hello doctor

I have sensitive hearing; always had; but I otherwise feel great and use hearing-plugs when necessary.
I'm have fearing for my ears and fear hard and high pitch sounds; afraid they will destroy my ears.

I want to know this:
today i was about to do a home hearing test on my iPhone; and accidentally the iPhone volume was on it's loudest settings ; and I used headset DT-880 - studio phones
you can see the frequency range here: http://headphones.reviewed.com/content/beyerdynamic-dt-880-review/science-page

the first tone that came out of the headset was a high pitch tone around: 8000-9000 Khz
it felt very strong and like the tone hit my brain; also because I was very choked by this; and took the headphones of immediately; like the tone sounded in my hear in 1 second or less.
my ears didn't ring after, but feels like they're are blocked little or it's just a feeling.

I'm not sure how hard the sound pressure is inside a headphone, but I took my db-meter and put it inside the headphones and played the exact same tone again with volume full; and the level was about: 74,6 decibels; but directly into your ears feels bad.

I just want to know if I have anything to be scared of and if a small second event like this can damage my ears permanently ?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Temporary Threshold Shift.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. You are experiencing a Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS) in your hearing.

2. This should settle down in two to three days.

3. It is unlikely that this incident has damaged your hearing. The decibel (dB) is a logarithmic scale and sound pressure does rise exponentially, however a few seconds exposure to a high frequency tone of about 75 dB.at 8-9 kHz is not expected to cause any permament hearing damage, even by barotauma. Exposure to 80 dB noise for more than 8 hours may lead to hearing loss. At higher decibels, the safe exposure time keeps decreasing.

4. In addition, this is outside the normal speech frequencies.

5. If this feeling persists after three days, do get a pure Tone Audiogram (PTA) done and upload the report for my review.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Sumit Bhatti 40 minutes later
thank you very much for your professional and detalied answer.

one thing more:
even I have sensitive hearing; and I have been to ENT specialist two times, and he didn't see anything wrong with my ears, other than I did have a mild ETD.

can you tell me;
are normal sounds and abnormal loudness sounds like sounds over 80 or 90 db more damaging for people with sensitive hearing than people with normal sensitivity or is it the same ?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 20 hours later
Brief Answer:
You can have better hearing sensitivity than other people.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. The Pure Tone Audiogram is based on the average hearing derived from a large test population. There is also a minus 10 dB hearing level in the standard graph. This is because some people can hear better than the average.

2. Is your diagnosis of the mild ETD based on an Impedance Audiogram (Tympanogram) or is it a clinical diagnosis? Middle ear pressure changes can affect hearing sensitivity.

3. No.Normal and loud sounds are not more damaging to persons with sensitive hearing.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Sumit Bhatti 13 hours later
I think its a clinical diagnosis; he did use some kind of endoscope into my nose and long way into my nose; where he did see I didn't have polyps; but thought I might have mild ETD:

doctor
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 27 hours later
Brief Answer:
Mild ETD should settle down with treatment.

Detailed Answer:
Hi,

Thank you for writing back.

1. It will be better to establish the ETD with tests.

2. Mild ETD will settle down with treatment.

I hope that I have answered your query. If you have any further questions, Ai will be available to answer then.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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