Why is there a ringing in my ears after a concert? You’ve just got home from a big rock concert of your favorite band or maybe from a dance club where the DJ was pumping. You can almost still feel like you’re at the concert when you close your eyes, but you realize it’s just a ringing in your ears from the concert playing in your head. While it’s usually not thought of as a problem when you only get ringing in the hours after a concert, frequent exposure to loud sounds could mean permanent damage, and every night will feel like you’ve just been out with your head next to a speaker.
The ringing in your ears from the concert is a symptom called tinnitus. It can occur in one or both ears. The most common form of tinnitus is called ‘continuous tinnitus’ which happens when there is damage to the inner ear; and guess what the most common cause of damage to the inner ear is? Loud noises! Concerts have decibel levels that start at 100dB (decibels) and rise to levels above 130 dB. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dB. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dB. Near total silence is 0 dB. Some common decibel ratings are (a whisper – 15 dB, normal conversation – 60 dB, a lawnmower – 90 dB, a car horn – 110 dB, a jet engine – 120 dB, a gunshot or firecracker – 140 dB).
Concert fans and band members may want to protect their ears by wearing earplugs; concert sounds are around 120-130dB and last more than 2 hrs; definitely damaging. The volume of most concerts, even in smaller venues, is usually louder than the sound of a plane taking off. That should give you some idea of what you’re exposing your ears to when you’ve got ringing ears from a concert. If you still want to go to shows and clubs, but don’t want to risk further damage to your ears, there are a number of steps you can take to eliminate the risk to your ears. Earplugs are pretty cheap and are usually available at concerts and clubs themselves, so they can be easily picked up. This means that you might not hear higher or lower pitches of sound properly, and may not get the full experience of the concert. There are certain earplugs available, however, that reduce volume while keeping all pitches even, so be sure to seek these out. While tinnitus is a real problem that affects many people for different reasons, going to a floor-shaking concert is one way to guarantee real damage to the connection between your brain and ears.
It’s normal that your ears ring for about 12 hours after a concert, but it usually disappears after that. If a ringing in the ears is audible after a considerable amount of time following lengthy exposure to a source of loud noise, such as a music concert or an industrial workplace, it means that lasting damage may already have occurred. One concert probably won’t do any noticeable long-term damage (unless you sit with your head resting on the speaker or something), but if you go to a lot of concerts, don’t sit near the speakers and wear earplugs. If you’re going to a very loud concert with a lot of digital sound, you’re most certainly going to want to have ear plugs.
Audiologists have pointed out that the most common cause of hearing damage among the young are the constant listening to music with headphones and staying in front of speakers during concerts. Some people have also described hearing “white noise” which is like the sound of static when the volume of the music is really loud or they are too close to the concert speakers. Once you have gotten tinnitus, or ringing in your ears, from a concert, there really is no medical way to cure it; but rarely do you experience permanent ear damage from attending a few concerts. Most of the time it’s simply a warning that you’ve gone past a safe acoustic limit. Remember, too much time spent at nightclubs, music concerts, and at work with loud machinery are the main causes of tinnitus.