Deafness/Hearing Impairment/Auditory Fatigue

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QUESTION: Hello Dr. Linton I have looked everywhere online for answers and you really are my last hope. About a week ago I experienced Auditory Fatigue after a concert. My hearing got muffled to protect the hearing as I have read and the next morning everything went back to normal. My hearing was great and I didn't notice any kind of tinnitus for about 4 days after. After about 5 days I noticed a slight ringing but not as bad as most people describe. In contrast to other Tinnitus sufferers I actually hear it more with background noise like that of the air condition blowing through vents or a computers noise but I also hear it somewhat when it is quiet as well so it is definitely in my system. Based on your experience do you think my ringing can still go away I don't think I damaged the hair cells too badly since my hearing was fine the next morning after that night. Is there anything you recommend for me to do or take... I am losing my mind over this. I will follow everything you tell me as you may know getting information from other websites is a bad way to go. Please help me doctor.

ANSWER: Max,

If the concert was loud enough that you had to raise your voice to talk to someone an arms length away (which most concerts are) then you potentially caused damage to your hearing.  Not everyone that goes to a concert ends up with hearing damage, but it is always possible.  Sometimes it depends on your body health and your metabolic content....in other words....how healthy are you on the inside and was your ear nerve "strong enough" to withstand the damaging exposure.

Usually the tinnitus will start immediately following exposure and is usually more intense when things are quiet so your symptoms sound different than the normal pattern.  It may be that you damaged the really high frequencies (pitches higher than what we test) and it's not affecting your communication ability but  causing the tinnitus.

Another possibility is that the tinnitus is caused by something else.....medications, circulation problems, impacted earwax, dental problems, cervical spine issues....the list is long.  If it continues to be bothersome and you can't explain why it's there, then seeing a doctor and having your ears checked out is a good place to start.

Thank you for your question.
Kelley Linton, AuD
Doctor of Audiology
centerforhearing.net

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Doctor. What would have caused damage to the really high frequencies? Would it be a very high pitched loud sound that caused it? Also Is there any kind of imaging test like mri that can see if I have damaged the hair cells in the chochlea and to what extent? Thanks again Doctor.

Answer
The high frequency damage could be from the loud sound exposure.  Noise or loud sound causes high frequency hearing loss.  There is no routine way to image the hair cells....the audiological testing we do gives us an image of cell damage and cell location of damage.  A full battery of testing is more than just raising you hand for the beeps.  If you see an audiologist they will often do a battery of tests.

Deafness/Hearing Impairment

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Dr. Kelley Linton

Expertise

I'm an audiologist in private practice in Arkansas. I graduated from the University of Florida medical school. I specialize in hearing loss; hearing rehabilitation; hearing aids; noise induced hearing loss; occupational noise exposure; OSHA guidelines and regulations; hearing protection; tinnitis; newborn hearing testing; children and hearing loss and diagnosis and etiology of hearing loss.

Experience

I've been a practicing audiologist for 20 years and have owned a private practice for 14 years. I am also an audiologist in the United States Army where I teach DOD hearing conservation regulations and manage 3000 DOD employees at an army industrial facility.

Organizations
Arkansas Academy of Audiology American Academy of Audiology Academy of Doctors of Audiology American Speech and Hearing Association National Hearing Conservation Association

Publications
Journal of the Academy of Audiology Southwest Times Record, Fort Smith, Arkansas Press Argus Courier, Van Buren, Arkansas

Education/Credentials
Au.D. - Doctor of Audiology, University of Florida American Academy of Audiology fellow member Audiology Board Certification American Speech and Hearing Association certification Arkansas State Audiology license-current CPT United States Army Medical Corps

Awards and Honors
American Speech and Hearing Association "ACE" award x 7 years United States Army Accommodation Award Arkansas Academy of Audiology elected board of director x 3 years Better community award, Fort Smith, AR for volunteer audiology service to free community health clinic

Past/Present Clients
Serving newborn to geriatric ages.....unable to provide specific names.

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