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pain while listening to music

BPaustin at aol.com BPaustin at aol.com
Sat Jun 19 09:35:11 EST 1999




I hope that I have not damaged my hearing permanently, but I have
managed to cause pain in my ear without realizing that the music was
nearly loud enough to cause damage. I love music, and enjoy sound
quality above all else. I have traditionally played the music in my car
at levels sufficient so that I get that sensation of fullness or
presence in the music, and not any louder (my car is not one of  those
that sound like bombs are exploding inside. These are levels where I
would still be able to easily carry on a conversation with the
passenger.)

When I adjust the EQ, I find that frequencies in the area of 3.5k cause
me sharp pain in my right ear.  This effect occurs at overall sound
levels that seem very low.  Now, I can barely turn the stereo volume
above the level of road noise before I feel pain or atleast irritation
in my right ear. That is, my ears are very sensitive now. Why?

This is a high powered system, and the speakers are custom mounted in my
car doors.  I suspect that I am getting some type of resonant effect
that is causing an amplitude peak in a narrow band...That is, the
overall sound level does not seem loud, but yet it hurts my ears. My
door panel resonates pretty good to the touch while the music is
playing.  Could this be resonating such that disproportionate pressure
levels are being propagated in a certain frequency range?

My ear has a sustained sensation of irritation several days after I
first noticed this problem.  While I will indeed be very cautious for
now on, can you tell me what happens *physiologically* when the ear
registers this type of pain?  How dangerous to my hearing are incidents
like these? How well does the hearing mechanism recover to this?

                    Regards,
                    Brian



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