Have you ever gone to a concert and noticed a change in your hearing afterwards?
Many people experience a slight ringing in their ears after attending a concert, this is a symptom that is telling you the auditory system is damaged. This is a common occurrence after loud events, as the ear can only withstand a number of decimals before getting damaged.
This is why many people are led to believe they may be suffering from tinnitus after a concert, even though it is most likely temporary damage to the ear drum. In this blog, we will be exploring why tinnitus occurs in addition to defining temporary tinnitus and how they differ.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the perception of a ringing or buzzing sound inside the inner ear. This sound is not caused by environmental factors around you, and can therefore only be heard by yourself. Tinnitus can last for 6-12 months, or in some cases it may never fade.
When suffering from tinnitus, everyday tasks can become extremely stressful and you may feel you need support from others around you. It can be a highly distractive condition and makes concentrating on tasks difficult. If you would like to learn more about tinnitus in addition to the symptoms and treatments, you can read our blog containing more information by clicking on the link.
How do our ears work?
Within our ear, we have tiny hairs which pass along vibrations from the surroundings around you into the inner ear. These vibrations then turn into electric signals for the brain to translate into sounds we recognise and understand.
When the hairs in our ears have noises passing through they bend in response. When noises are loud for an extended period of time, these hairs can remain bent after the noise has stopped. It is often they will return to their natural upright position after time, but after constant exposure it is possible for them to remain bent in place. When bent, these hairs are likely to leak incorrect signals to the brain. These signals are generally translated into high pitched ringing, also known as tinnitus.
Another way tinnitus can be caused by loud noises, is by damaging the eardrum. A perforated eardrum is when a hole or tear appears in the eardrum. This can be caused by various effects including a blow to the ear, loud noises, air pressure or ear infections. A perforated eardrum may not always cause tinnitus but it is still a possible cause of the condition. If you would like to learn more about the causes of hearing loss then you can read our blog by clicking on the link.
Temporary Tinnitus explained – knowing the difference
Temporary tinnitus is still caused through exposure to loud noises, yet, the effects only last for a period of 16-48 hours. Permanent tinnitus occurs through consistent exposure to loud sounds. It is more likely to experience temporary tinnitus after being at a concert for the night or being in a loud environment for an extended period of time.
Typically the next day you may notice a slight ringing in your ear but this is just an indication that the ear is slightly damaged and nothing to be overly concerned about, as long as you don’t keep exposing your ears to loud noises frequently. It is important to remember that your hair cells will still be recovering and trying to retain their upright position.
This is why you will often find your ears to be back to normal by the end of the next day. If you have been to a festival where the exposure may have been for a few days this recovery time may be slightly extended.
In the case of having a perforated eardrum, if the cause is air pressure it is likely it will only cause tinnitus for a temporary period of time. This can occur when travelling on a plane or going up tall mountains where the air pressure differs. Sudden loud noises should also take a short period of time to heal, depending on the extent of damage from the noise.
If your perforated eardrum is caused through direct contact such as poking your ear or putting an object like a cotton bud inside the ear, then it may take a bit longer to heal. Yet, it is still only temporary tinnitus as it won’t last for months. If you do find tinnitus to be affecting you for a great length of time then we do offer tinnitus counselling at both of our clinics. Although this treatment cannot necessarily cure the symptoms, it can greatly improve your quality of life as we help you deal with the stresses tinnitus can bring. If you would like to learn more about our tinnitus counselling click on the link.
How different sounds affect our ears
Our ears are built to withstand noises up to 70dB, for reference this is equivalent to the noise coming from inside an office area, or a regular washing machine.
Concerts are at an average level of 100dB in volume, therefore, it is highly likely that your ears will become damaged after attending one, especially when you consider the time you spend in this environment. Even if it is only temporary damage that you contract after a concert, a clear indication is a ringing or buzzing noise. This is why when watching various action films, after an explosion you will commonly hear a high ringing noise. This noise is tinnitus and highlights the damaged ears.
Aeroplanes are at a decibel average of 60-85dB. Therefore, not only can air pressure affect your ears when going on a flight, but the level of noise coming from the aircraft can also. This is why it is recommended to wear ear protection on flights, even something as small as ear plugs can make a positive difference on your next flight.
How to protect your hearing during a concert
If you are consistently exposing yourself to loud noises and noticing the effects considerably, then you should be considering what direction you can take to protect your hearing, whilst still being able to enjoy concerts or festivals.
One of the most effective solutions is to invest in some custom ear plugs. Although regular ear plugs still work to an extent. If you are an avid concert goer than custom ear plugs may be better for you as they are tailored to your ears. Therefore, giving you better protection and comfort from loud noises, whilst still being able to enjoy your favourite songs or artists. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of custom ear plugs then click on the link.
Book a hearing test
If you are concerned that your hearing has changed or been damaged from exposure to loud noises., then we highly recommend that you book a hearing test. This way one of our professional audiologists can diagnose what the issue may be in addition to finding the correct solution for you. Book an appointment today through clicking on the link or calling us on 0121 321 3153 (Sutton) or 0121 705 7177 (Solihull)