Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is a hearing test needed after a loud concert?"
I attended a VERY LOUD concert a few days ago. My ears are still slightly ringing. Should I get checked out?
I would recommend getting a thorough otologic examination from an otolaryngologist (ENT aka ears nose throat) physician, with a baseline audiogram (hearing test) after acute noise induced otologic (ear) trauma. While the research shows that there may not be any intervention that can improve your hearing if there was sensorineural damage ("nerve damage"), you will at least have a baseline exam to compare future audiograms to to see if there is progressive hearing loss. With that being said, let me explain a few things about hearing...Sound waves normally pass through the external auditory canal (EAC) to the tympanic membrane (TM aka ear drum) and cause it to vibrate. The vibrations are then transmitted via the bones of hearing (malleus, incus, and stapes) to the cochlea where there are hair cells that are the nerve receptors in the inner ear. These convert the mechanical signal into a nerve signal which is sent to your brain, and that's how you interpret sound. Unfortunately with acute acoustic trauma (loud noise...like your concert) there can be irreversible damage to the cochlea which is called a sensorineural hearing loss. This typically gives characteristic signs on an audiogram (hearing test performed by an audiologist). The reason that I would recommend an ENT consultation is to make sure that there are no other problems with your ears before the hearing test, and then the ENT will be able to follow your ears and give you good advice for hearing protection in the future. I hope this information helps. Best of luck. I can't over-emphasize how important hearing protection is in the future, especially if you already have some hearing loss.
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