By Barry Keate
Barry Keate, has lived with tinnitus over 40 years and has published 150+ research articles on numerous aspects of tinnitus. He is an expert on the condition and a well-known advocate for those with tinnitus.
Most of us love live music. It can be the main event as we sing along with our favorite artists in a giant stadium. Or the music may be part of a larger event such as a festival or fair. Post revelry ear ringing isn’t uncommon. Should you be worried about permanent hearing loss?
How The Ear Works
When sound waves hit your ear canal, it causes your eardrum to vibrate. The pitch and loudness affect how it vibrates. The vibrations move hair-like nerves that send signals to the brain we interpret as sound. Each nerve responds to a different frequency so that we can distinguish many different sounds.
What Causes Ringing In The Ears?
The tiny nerves are delicate. Loud noise can bend them, causing the nerve to misfire. Once damaged, the nerve sends corrupted signals to the brain like a short in a wire. The specific bent nerve determines the sound you hear: rushing, chiming, or, most commonly, ringing.
Is It Permanent?
You’re not likely to have permanent hearing loss after a single concert, though it can contribute to existing hearing loss or a developing problem. Generally, you’ll experience ringing in your ears for 24-48 hours before the nerves relax and everything returns to normal.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Minimize Damage?
- Front-row seats are excellent, but be careful which seat you select. Don’t sit or stand directly in front of the speakers where sound waves are the strongest. Musicians have the speakers facing away from the stage to amplify sound. They perform to the side of speakers rather than crossing in front of them to protect their hearing because they’re regularly exposed to extreme noise levels.
- Wear ear protection. You may feel silly at first putting ear plugs in after you paid so much for tickets. But, you’ll be surprised how well you can hear the music even while wearing them, and you won’t miss the ringing you usually experience after the concert.
- Limit the noise level to give your nerves a break. If you do have ringing in your ears after the show, they will recover quicker, and the ringing will disappear. Continue to protect your ears around loud noises, such as heavy machinery, after the concert.
- Try tinnitus supplements that work to relieve anxiety and reduce the sounds you hear. Herbal supplements for tinnitus are proven to increase conductivity and regenerate damaged nerves, providing tinnitus relief.
What If The Sound Doesn’t Go Away?
Tinnitus lasting longer than 48 hours could indicate that something more is going on. See your provider for an examination. Other factors that could contribute to tinnitus include:
Diabetes– Diabetes decreases blood flow to peripheral nerves and can slow or stop them from healing. If you have or suspect you have diabetes, you must get your blood sugar under control. Your provider can prescribe insulin if necessary, but late-onset diabetes is often controllable with diet. Choose high-fiber whole fruits and vegetables, quality protein, and whole grains in moderation, and drink plenty of water rather than sugary beverages.
High Blood Pressure: Elevated pressure in the blood vessels around your ears can cause tinnitus symptoms. Get your blood pressure under control, and symptoms should diminish. Your provider can prescribe medication. Stress reduction and calming techniques may also be part of a comprehensive recovery plan.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Vitamins and minerals play a significant role in nerve function. If you aren’t getting enough of the required nutrients, you may experience longer recovery times or lasting damage. Be aware that some nutrients can be toxic if you take too much. Your provider can do a blood test to determine if you have a deficiency. They can recommend specific foods or supplements to balance your system based on the numbers.
Muscle Tension: Muscle tension along the side of the face and jaw can cause tinnitus symptoms. Try a massage to help the muscles relax. Roll a tennis ball against the jaw, cheek, and temple.
How Do I Handle Tinnitus While I Have It?
- Keep the sound lowered to allow nerves to recuperate. Trying to drown out the sound can be tempting, but you don’t want to do more harm than good.
- Distract yourself with other pleasant activities. The more you focus on your tinnitus, the worse the symptoms become. In contrast, tinnitus can disappear if you focus on something that interests you.
- Accept the ringing in your ears. Hopefully, the concert was worth the temporary inconvenience of tinnitus. Your attitude about the symptoms determines how annoying or disruptive they are. Accepting tinnitus as the temporary cost of a fabulous show will help you stay relaxed until symptoms disappear.
Temporary or Permanent?
While tinnitus may be a minor side-effect of a loud concert, repeatedly exposing your ears to loud sounds can lead to more permanent symptoms. Stay away from the speakers and allow yourself to recover, and your tinnitus symptoms should go away without intervention. If they don’t, it’s best to see a doctor to look for another underlying cause. For many individuals with tinnitus as a result of hearing loss, there are ways to improve their quality of life by making simple changes or adding supplements to their health regimen. Learning about your condition and the treatments available are the best first step.