Headphone-Related Injury

I’d like to preface this by saying that I know that none of you (as far as I know) are doctors, and I’m not trying to solicit medical advice or anything.

I got my Pendant SE in the week, and was marvelling and the low noise floor by turning the volume all the way to the max in the High-Z port with the HD800S connected. I then, of course, forgot that I had done that, and hit play on a track, subjecting myself to a second or two of deafeningly loud and incredibly distorted sound. The headphones, thankfully, seem to be totally fine. My ear is not.

I didn’t initially feel any pain or anything like that - it was just very loud and distressing. However, in the days that have followed, I’ve noticed a sort of hot feeling in my ear when hearing certain sounds (the sound of me typing on a mechanical keyboard is doing it now). I’ve also noticed a slight reduction in hearing from that ear (the centre image has moved across when I listen to headphones) and the soundstage seems small and close on the that side of my head. I don’t think I’ve perforated my eardrum, but something isn’t quite right in there, and listening to music sets it off, so I’m taking a break from music for a few days to see what happens.

Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? Also, maybe some people have some good stories about injuring themselves in the pursuit of audio excellence.

if you have enough money for an HD800S, you have enough to get you treated. Consult an ear doctor immediately, hearing damage is no joke. The best, that can happen is, that he tells you, you don’t have hearing damage. But if you have, you will be glad to have had it checked because it can get worse and you have to treat your ears more carefully in the future.

Having said that, i had the experience of starting the chord mojo with line out-levels while wearing IEMs a couple of times and having the sound crushing your drums and ripping the deeply inserted IEMs out of you ear canals with force was equally horrible.

6 Likes

Would have to agree.

If the case is that the doctor tells you that your hearing is not damaged, don’t worry, you are not crazy. Just a normal case of paranoia.

While I cannot relate to hearing damage, I do know that I went through a similar paranoia case after hooking up the equipment wrong or when I was doing something wrong — you start questioning whether there is a problem within the gear itself (in your case you are questioning whether you have damaged your hearing, and this most certainly requires immediate medical attention. Do not play with your health!).

2 Likes

I guess I thought I’d wait and see for a few days as I’m not in any pain. It’s Easter weekend in the UK, so everything is closed until Tuesday anyway - I’ll give it until then and see how I feel.

if it gets worse or stays bad, go to a hospital.

1 Like

Man if you go to hospital in the UK you end up contracting Covid, I’d go to a private audiologist or your GP, speaking of GP’s you’ll need a hospital referral first or they won’t do anything.

2 Likes

Ahh yes the UK medical system where doctors make you feel you’re wasting their time.
I’d make an appointment with your GP to at least discuss it.
If it gets worse go do the sit in an ER for a few hours thing.

The odds are the damage is probably temporary, and you probably just don’t want to expose the ear to any more stress, the Dr can probably give you anti inflammatory ear drops that might help.
But it may be a while for the ear to naturally heal if it’s damaged.

I went to a Motörhead concert in the late 80’s, and my ears rang for a week afterwards.
I also had my left ear drum perforated while sparring when younger, it did eventually heal, and I’ve had my hearing measured since and my measured hearing is considered exceptional for my age.

2 Likes

Pardon…can you speak up lol…#me too

4 Likes

My story is a little different, my headphone obsession may have saved my hearing.

About 6 months ago I was listening at my desk, nothing new about the music, headphones, amp. Just a regular listening session. And out of nowhere the music started sounding distorted and sibilant in my left ear. I took the headphones off and noticed that my left ear was ringing very loud. I turned off the music and called it a night. But over the next few days the ringing never stopped, constant and loud, even impacting my sleep.

I went in to see an audiologist and he confirmed this sort of sudden onset ringing isn’t normal and likely there’s something going on with my ear. We did a hearing test and found that my left ear had significant hearing loss across all frequencies, and some servere hearing loss at high frequency in the left ear. Based on this he referred me to an ENT doctor.

After completing some diagnostics the ENT doctor suspected the sudden onset hearing loss was likely due to a virus in my ear causing inflammation around the auditory nerve. The alternate was possibly a tumor near the auditory nerve, but that’s very unlikely. The doctor prescribed strong oral steroids to reduce the inflammation. After one week of this there was no improvement.

The ENT referred me to another specialist (a neurotoligist), basically an ENT with a focus on the “E” part. This doctor gave the same diagnosis: likely a virus, possibly a tumor. He wanted to pursue both paths and see what could be done to restore my hearing in the left ear. For the Tumor possibility we did a brain scan MRI - that came back negative - no tumor (thank God). For the virus, because it didn’t respond to oral steroids the next step was injecting steroids into the inner ear. Basically a needle through my ear drum, into my inner ear, and fill it with a solution of steroids (and other stuff). This was, to say the least, uncomfortable! We had to do this every other day for 5 total sessions of injections. The little hole in the ear drum it created would heal over each time.

After this we did a follow up hearing test 3 weeks later and my left ear hearing mostly recovered. It’s back in the normal range, but still some high frequency loss. The ringing is mostly gone. I’ll get tested again in another month to see where I’m at. But it looks like the root cause was a virus attacking my ear and the steroids reduced the inflammation it caused.

If this sort of virus isn’t caught and attend to within a month of symptoms the hearing loss is almost always permanent. So you could say my regular listening sessions actually saved my hearing: I caught it immediately and got it addressed.

Moral of the story: listen to your headphones every night, it could save your hearing :laughing:

10 Likes

Wow, what an ordeal. Amazing story. The needle through the ear drum was tough to read :laughing:.

2 Likes

My ear still doesn’t feel right and it has been about a week now. I’m going to try and see a specialist about it (thought I unfortunately can’t book anyone today as it’s a public holiday still). I still do have the slight sense of something perhaps being swollen or inflamed deep in my ear, and I feel like listening to headphones sort of irritates it, so I’m hoping that if whatever it is heals my ear will function normally again. Who knows. I’ll see someone about it and will let you all know how I get on.

3 Likes

Ok, so I saw an ‘Audiologist’ this morning. She had a look at my ears and said that both appear to be totally normal physically, and I have no damage to my eardrum that she could see. I also did a hearing test that topped out at 6 or 7 khz which I passed, and both ears were almost the same (although I did feel like I couldn’t hear as well out of my left ear - everything seemed a bit quieter - the test didn’t show this).

My ear still doesn’t feel right, and from taking a test on youtube (this one: Left - Right Hearing Test - YouTube) I can tell that at higher frequencies my hearing is noticeably weaker out of my left ear. It’s quite a crude test, but at 12 khz the left channel seems a lot quieter than my right ear. The test then jumps to 16 khz and I can’t hear out of either ear, so that’s just beyond my 35-year-old ears. Also, after taking the test, deep in my left ear just feels weird - hot and irritated.

Not sure what to do at this point. The next step would be calling up the hospital and trying to see an ENT. It’s definitely not getting any worse, but I’m obviously worried that I’ve compromised the ability to hear higher frequencies out of my left ear.

2 Likes

I think you’ll need a GP’s referral first they won’t just see you.
Hope it improves in the meantime :smiley:

Oh and here’s an online audio test for tones and frequencies might be worth trying…keep the volume low at first :+1:

I had a similar experience just the other night with the Mojo and IEMs. I hadn’t been using the Mojo for long and wasn’t used to it. So out of an abundance of caution I turned it all the way down before starting any music. (Or so I thought.) Turns out I had actually cranked that sucker up to 11 by mistake and I let it rip. I could not yank the IEMs out of my ear fast enough. It’s interesting to feel a fight or flight response to sound like that. I’m sure it also made me look like a flailing crazy person in that brief moment.

5 Likes

:flushed: oh gods lol.

given the power of the Mojo that sounds like instant death.

that were exactly my thoughts, too. It’s such a horrible experience, it really feels as serious as it actually is. You realize in that second, that you could ruin your life forever, you feel helpless, guilty and self-pity all at once, the ripping out part feels like you rip out your eardrums as well… and everything is over in the next second. After that you feel better if you realize, that it hasn’t done any instant harm, other than your aching ears. And then you look around embarassed, hoping nobody saw that. And after that you’re just pissed about how unnecessary that was. It’s like a whole emotional breakdown compressed into one second.

2 Likes

They were some pretty sensitive IEMs too so it normally doesn’t take much. I felt like I was transported to another terrible dimension. lol

1 Like

13010711_1692146594370854_7873068797672057682_n

:stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

It’s such a fast and abrupt transition, from oblivious and relaxed to terrified and anguished. It’s the larger and angrier cousin of having your IEMs yanked out by a doorknob.

2 Likes

Fight or flight is an interesting but accurate description. My dad leaves his phone connected to his soundbar at night and cranks it for his music. His notifications are at 100 though and when those hit it literally shakes the house. Itll be like 3am and LARGEFUCKINGBONK!

2 Likes