Q. Is my hearing muffled due to listening to loud music using earbuds?

Answered by
Dr. Satyabrata Panigrahi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 18, 2020 and last reviewed on: Sep 15, 2020

Hi Doctor,

Im 16 years old and for the past month, I’ve been experiencing tinnitus in my left ear. For some background, I also experienced tinnitus for about 2 weeks a few months back. When it started, I was listening to music louder than I should have during a good part (about 80%) and I felt what was almost an intense stabbing pain in only my left ear. Several days later, my hearing was sort of muffled but it gradually faded along with the ringing 2 weeks later. My parents and ENT said that it probably was not related to music since I’m so young but I was a little skeptical, so from then on I never went above the volume warning when listening to music with earbuds.

Fast forward about 2 1/2 months and my left ear gets muffled again. I got a little worried but didn’t panic because I figured it went away before, it will go away again. I stopped using earbuds completely because I didn’t want to aggravate it, but now it has been one month and it’s not showing any sign of going away. Occasional but daily inner ear pain in left ear. At its worst it is around a 6-7, but it only occurs in short bursts that last for less than a second (like someone took an icepick to my ear). More often, it is usually a dull throb than lasts a little longer (5-10 seconds). Tinnitus in left ear. It sounds much like a tea kettle, but greatly reduce the pitch. It's neither super high pitched nor low pitched.

I’ve been tested for pretty much everything. Had an MRI, tested for TMJ, perfect hearing test, etc etc. I am currently taking amoxycillin because they believe it could be a sinus infection since I have been having congestion and ear pain along with the tinnitus, but it doesn't seem to be helping. My parents are saying over and over that it’s not hearing damage, but I don’t know at this point. If it was damage from headphones, wouldn’t it be in both ears? I apologize for the long text but I really need some answers. Thank you.


Hi Icliniq user , Atleast am happy that you are now not crossing the warning sign while listening to music. Step-1. Don't use earphones for taking calls and music , use it in speaker mode and at moderate volume. Step-2 . Sometimes Puretone Audiometry (hearing test) doesn't reveal the intial minimal loss which is at micro anatomical level of cochlea but it can be evident in DPOAE test ,please go for it. Step.3 For tinnitus ,Use resound tinnitus relief app which has so many mixture of different frequencies shooting sounds. Use it during quiet . Start practing some breathing exercises. Step 4 . Add multivitamin in to routine . Add tomatoes and carrots which has lycopene in it, research reveals it helps a lot. step.5 Steam inhalation and intake of lukewarm water sip by sip is a must. Don't worry! Am here to help you heaing better. Give me a feedback if it helps.

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