Anyone else have ear damage?

Figured on a guitar forum there must be a fair few who have suffered for their art either listening or playing too loudly, wondered if anyone else has the same as me?

About 2 years back I was stood next to someone in, of all things, a chapel choir. He was absolutely blasting out the high notes and my left ear was ringing. Ever since, music above a certain volume sounds like it’s distorted in that ear. Exactly like the amp is breaking up, is how I’d describe it. No issues at all at quieter levels, though it seems quite specific to pitch as well - it doesn’t need to be super loud to trigger.

I’m aware this isn’t a place for medical advice this is just a post curious if anyone else has similar - or other interesting - hearing issues. I waited a few months to see if it would settle down before visiting the doctor, then Covid came along and I’ve been putting off non-urgent visits or had other health concerns crop up every time I think about getting it checked! Rest assured I will see the doctor, this is just general chit-chat. I’ve not come across it before and it’s quite interesting.

I have the slightest ringing in both ears. I don’t know when it happened. Probably listening to my Walkman too loud as a kid. I remember when I first really noticed it. I was in high school and at a boy scout winter camp. I was in the woods by myself just taking it all in. It was extremely quiet… except for that ringing in my ears. Probably some minor tinnitus. Luckily other sound drowns it out.

I have mild chronic tinnitus, like most of us start to get as we get older. Generally, I am able to ignore it, but in the quiet, like now as I type, I can hear it.

There is a little hope for you. Some years ago I used an electric leaf blower without ear protection. Big mistake. Tinnitus increased substantially and became louder, to the point of discomfort, after listening to music or any prolonged louder sound. Worse the louder I played it! Fortunately it faded back to a more modest level. Took 3 years, though. Hope you have the same fortune!

I am a neurologist and know a bit about tinnitus. Unfortunately there are no great treatments. There are, however, desensitization programs. See an Otolaryngology group that specializes in it. I don’t really know how successful they are, but worth a conversation at least.

I consider myself very fortunate not to have any real level of tinnitus, other than for very short periods and I’m not sure that counts as tinnitus.

I am always very careful using power tools and doing music for just that reason. Seems crazy to have hurt my ear in a purely acoustic setting with a chap singing next to me!

Hi John and Welcome to the Community.

Not experienced the kind of things you mention but years of riding bikes and listening to loud music has left me with tinnitus as well. It does not effect me too badly and I am only really aware of it when things are very quiet.

One disadvantage of, living in the country we get the occasional issue with rodents around the wheat and corn harvest. The house was built in 1860, so they will always find a way in. We got some ultra sonic anti-rodent alarms which do the trick but this summer there were a few getting past our defences. My daughter found some 12 hour rodent deterrent videos on YouTube (I won’t link then here or more folks will be adding to this topic!). I loaded them on to a couple of strategically placed tablets, boiler room and loft and they did the business. But when we first played them, my daughter covered her ears and said something like shoot, then looked at my blank face, What ? I said until, I realised it was about the same frequency as my tinnitus so I could not hear it ! Every cloud !



Yup, tinitus here on both sides. I got it from listening to music at first. It started with a loud ring. It healed (for as far as it can) 3 times. I never remember to take ear protection to family parties, I don’t expect to need it there. :sweat_smile:Since the last party the ringing is soft but pretty much constant. I don’t think it will heal anymore. I also can’t hear soft distant sounds that well and seem to have hidden hearing loss.

Hidden hearing loss is something most musicians have. It doesn’t make you not hear certain sounds but if you’re in a crowded space you may have more trouble hearing what someone says for example.

Or high frequency hearing loss due to…don’t say it….:older_man:
My 11 yo daughter hears a lot that I don’t. My wife who is 7 yes younger than me as well, but not as much as my daughter.

My wife keeps wanting to turn off my guitar humidifier because it is to loud. I just tell her it isn’t. I can’t hear it…

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I’ve got tinitus in both ears from playing in Rock and Metal
bands, going to loud concerts and working construction when
I was younger. Usually doesn’t bother me unless it is really quiet.
Also have a hard time hearing conversation in noisy places like
bars or restaurants.
Comes in handy when I don’t want to talk to someone :hear_no_evil:

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This topic is close to my heart as I have been getting hearing loss over the last 10 years or so. Probably more if you ask my wife!! I think that this is hereditary (my Dad is deaf) and too much loud music/concerts when younger. I now have plastic ears (had them about 5-6 years) which help no end but never sure I am hearing what others are hearing.

My wife thinks I suffer from DSHD !

Domestic Selective Hearing Disorder :rofl:


I have major tinnitus in my left ear. I attribute it to 38 years of driving with my windows down and my left ear getting pelted by the wind at highway speeds. It’s gotten to the point I’d estimate the intensity of the ringing to be the equivalent of 80 or so decibels.

I have tinnitus and high frequency hearing loss, I can mostly ignore the tinnitus but the high frequency loss can be a problem, I can’t hear the timer alarm on the cooker and some other appliances (including the smoke and CO2 alarms) which bothers me! I have problems with hearing speech in noisy areas, particularly the females voices as they tend to be at a higher pitch (selective hearing disorder - so my wife says!). Fortunately it doesn’t affect my playing too much but I have to be careful with listening to music especially using ear buds.

21 years of Army artillery cut down the high freqs quite a bit and left me with a mild tinnitus. Crowded rooms and conversations don’t mix well, but I’m fine in a quiet place and can still enjoy the woods full of birdsong or a beautiful acoustic guitar and voice!

I’ve had mild tinnitus for a couple of decades, now. I blame it on the small alternative rock club I went to in my early twenties where the PA volume probably exceeded the legal decibel limit.

I’ve always had problems following conversations in crowded environments but it hasn’t affected my ]enjoyment of music. Having said that, my wife can clearly hear high frequencies that I can’t – and like others I have trouble with DSHD. :expressionless:

I also recently went to my first indoor concert since January 2022. It was great to hear music being performed live again but for the first time, I experienced the distortion that the OP refers to. It was caused by the loud high-pitched whistles of other audience members when the band finished a song.

I have a touch of tinnitus, but the biggest problem is high frequencies. Hearing loss runs in my family, so I think it’s mainly genetics plus advancing age, as opposed to abuse in my misspent youth.

Hearing conversations in noisy environments is a problem, and I have to turn the closed captions on when I watch TV.

Inherited some hearing aids from my mother, and they really helped - easier to understand conversations, and could hear a lot more detail when listening to music (vocals, hi-hats, etc).

But unfortunately, they failed about a year ago, and they are so ridiculously expensive here in Canada ($1000+ per ear) that I haven’t replaced them. I have an electronics background, and know there are probably only $50 worth of parts in them, so it really feels like a scam.

However, they really did help, and I hope to find a more reasonably priced alternative. I’ve heard that much cheaper over-the-counter hearing aids will be available in the US soon, so maybe that will be a solution.