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Hearing loss after constant loud low frequencies
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jblus posted:
Hello, I've recently had severe hearing damage over the past few days. I hurt something in the inside of my ear thanksgiving weekend with a q-tip, never went to the doctor so I feel like I may have worsened the healing process. I am a musician, but have not taking care of my ears I will admit. Earlier this week I was working on a song that has lots of low frequencies boosted, I'm talking about 10hz to 200hz range. I would listen to the track I was working on with studio headphones for on average of 3 hours at a time. After the first day I noticed a deep uneasy feeling kinda sore in the pit of my right ear. Second day I felt it slightly worsen so I eased off the loudness (had the volume at 80-90%). I started then to feel a mild similar sensation in my left ear, right ear got worse. So the 3rd day I was driving around listening to the track in my car (the system isn't so good) at a loud level, and started to notice the highs being heard unusually louder in my right ear. Later that night I went to a music club that has nothing but low frequency sounds. Since I new it was a loud low frequency music playing club I put an ear plug on in my right ear; just one since I could only find one at home. When I got there i stuffed my Left ear with tissue paper to help deaden noise. Toward the end of the night I took off the right ear plug for just a second and noticed I was picking up the Low frequencies from it anymore. The next day in class I noticed that I could barely pick up what my classmates were saying to me that were right next to me. I do hear the tinnitus ringing at this point but thought it be really unusual since I've never had a problem with hearing really. Is it possible that I may have perforated my eardrums? Can my hearing also be restored? My doctors appt. isn't until Monday is there any special care I can use for my ears? Medicine, etc.

Thank you for reading!

-A horrifically concerned music lover.
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
I can understand your concern, but until you have your ears properly examined, there is really no way to be know if you ruptured your eardrum (not an uncommon occurence in people who use Q-tips), have a wax impaction against your eardrum, or have acoustic injury to the sensitive inner ear structures (common in musicians and people who are exposed to loud noise/music).

There is really not much you can do until Monday, other than avoid getting water in your ears during shower (if you had a ruptured eardrum) and avoid loud noise/music. In addition to see your doctor, you may need a referral to an ENT specialist and have a comprehensive hearing test (audiometry).

The body has a remarkable way of repairing damage. Eardrums heal and hearing may return to normal again, but it is really unpredictable at this point, since the medical facts of your case are not know.

Please let me know what your doctor has to say on Monday.