Deafness/Hearing Impairment/Tinitus after nightclub


QUESTION: Hello Dr. Linton, I just wanted to ask a quick question. I went to a loud nightclub about 6 days ago. I was there for about 3 hours and when I got out I had the common temporary hearing loss/muffled ear. The next day the hearing got better and by the third day my hearing has been 100% The only issue I have now is I am experiencing a slight ringing (tinitus) I can only notice it if everything is quiet so at night I worry about it. I can tell its not too bad because If i clench my face or jaw a certain way I can hear an even louder ringing so when I'm not clenching its not that loud. My question is will the ringing go away completely and if so how long would you say it can take? As you can imagine I am worried because its already almost a week ago since I heard the loud music. My other question is do the hair cells that have been damaged heal with time? Or is it possible for the hair cells to heal? Thank you so much for your advice Dr. I am worried about this and probably will never be going to a club again.

ANSWER: Arnold,

The hair cells do not grow back, can't be healed and do not regenerate.  So you have to protect what you have.

The ringing is usually a sign that you have caused damage to the hair cells.  The damage may not be severe, yet, but most certainly you have caused some damage.  It's interesting that you can clinch your teeth and alter the ringing.  This could be an indication that the ringing is coming from some dental problems.  You may want to have you dentist check your teeth and make sure you aren't having any issues.  Ringing in the ears can be caused by many things, but the typical reason is permanent damage to the inner ear hair cells.

Nightclubs aren't a bad thing, just take a pair of earplugs (there are nice small custom fit ones) and put them in when you feels the sound is too loud.  With a good custom set you can still hear the music and talk to people with them in.

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

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QUESTION: Thank you Dr. Linton. I wanted to ask a follow up. My question is: Wouldn't my hearing be bad if my hair cells were damaged? I can hear 100% no hearing loss at all. Can I still have damaged the hair cells even though my hearing is perfect?
The ringing is very faint on a level from 1-10 with 10 being worst I would say its at a 2. What do you recommend I do the ringing is the only thing bothering me because my hearing is fine. Thanks again Doctor.

Yes you can have ringing without it showing on a hearing exam.  We don't/can't test all the frequencies the human ear can hear. If your hair cell damage was in a range beyond what is tested, then you may have tinnitus without hearing loss.

The other possibility is that the tinnitus is caused by something other than the nightclub visit.  Maybe a tooth, new medication, impacted ear wax, etc. The list goes on and on.  If you think it might be something other than the nightclub, see an audiologist and have your ears evaluated.


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Dr. Kelley Linton


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.


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.

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

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

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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