High Frequency Ear Blast

Hi all,

On the train home last night i was randomly clicking some buttons in the renoise instrument panel and my synth instantly turned into a painfully loud high frequency pulse. I pretty much pulled my earbuds out in pain as soon as i heard it, but I’m wondering if I’ve screwed my ears up permanently somehow. My hearing is normal, but it’s a little bit painful to listen to music with earphones at the moment. Maybe I just need to rest them?
I’d really appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Note to self: do not experiment with random buttons with earbuds on!

Thanks guys


Didn’t your mother teach you to use limiter on master? :P

Right, that maximizer thingy’s going on my song template I think! Nice one!

But seriously, should I start learning sign language yet?

Your hearing is most likely fine, but if it still persists after a few days just go see a doctor about it. Short-lenght exposure to loud noises doesn’t often cause problems, unless you go above I believe 140dB or something like that. It might take some time, even months to completely fade away, but I’m pretyt sure it will eventually.

btw I’ve “suffered” from tinnitus all my life, so you have my sympathy.

Ears heal themselves naturally, best you can do for them is to let them rest for few days/weeks

They will repair a bit but seriously, look after your ears!! Having been DJing for 10 years my left (headphone) ear is definitely suffering from having to be up louder the master in any DJing situation.
Custom hearing protection for clubs/raves etc is something I’ve seriously looked into but its quite expensive (£120+) and will only ever limit damage a certain amount. Anyone here have any experience or recommendations regarding this??

This is a major source of worry to me:

Quite how it’s justified or legal to damage the health of young people in this way I don’t know, but I definitely found one of these in Edinburgh and found it to be quite disturbing. I might have tried to take it down as well! :unsure:

Anyway whatever you’re doing, look after your ears!!

Nice one, thanks for the replies guys. guess i’ll stick to ambient music for the next few weeks on the headphones. :P

I’ve heard about that mozzy thing. It does sound like the kind of thing you’d find in a dystopian novel.

Hey arecibo, I’ve f***cked up my ears, in the same way as you did, except that it was nearly willfull in my case, now I’ve got a an odd internal response curve with constant slight hyperacusis for the very high freqs and also a hearing loss in the low frequencies, and different levels between left and right for the mid range… it’s not that difficult, concerning hyperacusis, I apply a filter most of the time, or I simply lower the volume when I play music, however with these little ear problems mixing correctly my musical things is just a pain in the … in the brain, well. Hopefully I’m not a professionnal musician, or a sound engineer.

I too have tinnitus and hyperacusis. I have partied too much without earplugs in the past, and I regret it every day. If your ears are already damaged, they are much more fragile and will damage even more quickly than usual.

I own a pair of Exinore ER15 (15 dB filters), and it’s honestly my best investment in years, if not ever. These plugs will not make any of the above symptons go away. However, it will not let it get worse. The beauty is that you don’t feel them. After only 5 minutes, you are used to them and don’t notice they are there. It might be a bit getting used to the first night, since you seem to be “underwater” when you are in a quiet environment, but that will be over when you get to the dancefloor.

But wait, there’s more! When you go out clubbing, you must have noticed the “wall of sound” coming at you. Sometimes it’s so loud, that all you hear is one harsh/distorted mess. When you wear earplugs, everything just gets toned down to a more comfortable level, and you can actually hear all the details and refinement in the music. You actually hear what people are playing, and enjoy it more. Scared that you will hear no bass? No problem, you can feel the low frequencies in your chest (and it sometimes even makes your pants wiggle ;)). Also don’t be offended by people saying stupid like “lololol Y R U WEARING PLUGZ?! What a shaaame/waste!!!”, just feel sorry for them having severe hearing issues later on in their life. There actually is a young generation of people coming up with very bad hearing, due to lack of warning by the goverment and greedy club owners that push the sound too hard (remember, louder venues attract more people. Louder is “better”).

When the night is finished and you go home, you pull out your plugs and your ears are… normal. Its a miracle! It’s truely wonderful to not go to bed with this weird hum in your ears.

I’m actually considering to get 21dB filters (yes, the filters are replacable). Going out with -15dB is the norm for me now, but I am actually thinking it is still too loud some times. I never stand infront of any speaker, I’m usually in the middle. I think I’ll just do it, my ears are priceless, and so are yours. Buy the damn things!!!

I’ve got those Exinores too, costed me around €120,- but it’s been more than worth it. Dour festival was awesome thanks to my dear pluggies ^_^ (and so have been many other concerts; rob zombie, kyuss, vitalic, venetian snares, monster magnet, etc!)

I know there was a call to ban them from Europe due to them being against your human rights by the Council Of Europe. Guess that never came to fruition then?..

Not really. The initial symptoms of overexposure usually go away after a few days, but if you experience such symptoms, it is very likely that some irreversible damage has been done. It usually isn’t a big deal if it happens only once or twice, but the damage accumulates, so it’s best to avoid overexposure to loud sounds at all costs.


I just can’t understand the whole “Louder is better” mechanism. I hope you will get your hearing back to 100% soon. All this loudness mess looks absolutely mental to me…

Make some loud noise in the nature, animals will stare at you.
They will watch carefully in the direction of the noise during 30secs max, and then after this instinctive reaction, they will try to attack or retreat.
This natural reaction can be exploited.
I think that making loud tracks and making noise has a musical interest, but also a commercial impact.
When you watch an ad’ on tv you can notice it : the sound is loud, overcompressed.
This is willfull. You’ll stare at the product during the fucking 30secs.
Because they want you to notice the sold product.
The louder it is the better the consumer will have chances to watch it with big eyes and check what’s happening and remember the viisuals and the slogan.
And because it’s an economical war, a competition between products every announcement is louder and louder.
And because big productions and big mainstream music has to be sold like a product,
when it’s the time for your music to go through airplay and broacasted
you’ve got to catch audiences within 30secs
of loud and overcompressed music.

yes Kurtz, I know what you are talking about and I agree with you; I was just saying that I don’t like when the volume is too high, even if it is not at a damaging level. Now that I am 34 years old, this is even more true, anyway I have never liked higher volumes, although I listen to metal since I was 16. I’m perfectly fine with a nice volume level even while listening to the most extreme music, and I don’t understand people looking for noisy dance clubs

Using earbuds is the single worst thing you can do to your hearing. Horrible, horrible things.

Do you know about any research that confirms that? I ask because I’ve never found any myself. There are two opposing opinions on the subject: one is that earbuds are bad, the other is that they are preferable to headphones because they isolate sounds better, so you can keep the volume at lower levels, and it’s volume and exposure time that count. I’ve never seen any convincing evidence for either view, but I find the latter more convincing from a theoretical point of view, and the reason I use earbuds with my mp3 player is that they allow for better listening at low volumes.

I really can’t see why earbuds are a bad thing. Unless they physically touch your eardrum, or something.

Source of your statement?

Since you still haven’t replied, I’m guessing you couldn’t support this bold statement with any facts.

Please don’t listen to this guy. Buy those earbuds! Protect your ears!