Tinnitus scare last night makes me rethink this hobby. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Last night I was awaken by a very loud ringing sound in my ears, mainly my left. It lasted about an hour and honestly scared the sh*t out of me. During that hour I was seriously thinking about selling my Captivator that I've owned since May.

Here is some background. I first noticed my tinnitus when I was 27 years old (I'm now almost 38) back when I had a JL Audio subwoofer in my car and would crank the music pretty loud (with overblown bass of course) on my daily 30 minute one way commute to work. It scared me enough to never crank my car stereo to that level again, in fact I don't even have a sub in my car now.

The level of the ringing has stayed pretty consistent since it first started over 10 years ago. I sleep with a recorded fan noise playing in the bedroom stereo at a low volume and also have the same recorded fan noise playing through a speaker designed to be placed under the pillow to mask the ringing while the head is sideways with the ear on the pillow. I've done this for the past 10 years and it has worked fine, and my tinnitus has not gotten any worse (or any better) until last night. The ringing was at least 10 times louder and it wasn't the type of ringing after a concert. After a concert your hearing is a bit muffled but last night my hearing was crystal clear which made the ringing that much more pronounced and obvious.

Since I bought the Captivator I have been listening to a lot of music, which has always been one of my favorite things to do. I'm a teacher on summer break so almost every night I'm listening for around 2 hours on average after everyone else is in bed. Last summer when I didn't have the Captivator it was more like 30 minutes and often times not at all.

I have a radio shack meter and I usually have the volume at 80-82, but there are breif parts of songs that I'll crank to 90 or sometimes higher. Overall though I don't like to go above 85db. Although there have been moments that I've gone as high as 116db on bass heavy music.

As far as movies go, I'll watch a bass heavy type movie maybe once or twice a month at around 15 under reference with the bass anywhere from 3-6 hot.

I really love to listen to music on my system, so it's depressing to think that I may have to stop. For the time being I think I will NEVER go above 85db when listening to music and back the average level down to between 75 and 80. Even with that I'm going to take at least a few days before I turn the Captivator on again.

Also, I had been under the impression that low frequencies don't do the same kind of damage that higher frequencies cause, which always made sense to me (and it was a nice justification for how I run the sub hot) since bass doesn't seem to hurt your ears much. (wow, while typing this my left ear just cranked up some ringing like last night... I had to stop typing and I waited for about 30 seconds and it slowly faded away - man, it's impossible to think or focus on anything but the ringing while it is happening). After doing some reading today it appears that is not the case. SPL level is all that matters when it comes to hearing damage, the frequency is irrelevant.

This may be the wrong place to post this kind of thing, and I'm not preaching to anyone to turn the volume down. I'm just curious if any of you guys have experienced anything similar and to be honest I'm scared by what happened last night (and just now!). If that level of ringing were to become permanent.... well it's easy to understand why tinnitus can cause major depression issues and even suicidal thoughts etc. Sorry if I'm bringing anyone down, I'm a bass-head so I understand if some on this forum don't want to read a thread like this.


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post #2 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:16 PM
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Yeah that sounds pretty serious. As soon as I start noticing my ears hurting even a little bit, I turn it down. Not worth the risk in the long run...


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post #3 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:19 PM
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Hey carp, sorry to hear you're dealing with this, hopefully some of the members can chime in with helpful suggestions on tinnitus. I too__ was under the impression that loud lower frequencies weren't as harmful to your hearing. This is why I have to ask you a few questions like were you ever in the military where you were exposed to a lot of gunfire,cannons or mortar fire??? Do a lot of hunting or target practice? Played an electric guitar, drums for years or been in a band ? (this happens to a lot__ of musicians) Even day in day out work around machinery and can take it's toll after so many years. Honestly,I always figured it was mid range frequencies that did the most damage.
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post #4 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:26 PM
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116 dB? That is ridiculously loud, particularly with music where it is sustained. I like to crank my system at times, but never close to those levels.

My advice is to aggressively protect your hearing from this point forward. Nothing you can do about the past. Carry ear plugs wherever you go, just in case and never listen to loud music again. That doesn't mean you need to stop listening, but you have to get accustomed to enjoying music at low volume.

Hopefully the tinnitus will subside over time. Also, see an Audiologist. Good luck.

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post #5 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:47 PM
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Have a doctor check it out. Though, I was always under the impression that low frequency soundwaves moved too slowly to cause any ear drum damage.
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post #6 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:47 PM
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I am sorry to hear that. As much as we love this hobby, your health is always the first priority.

Is it possible the Cap is not to blame? Maybe your regular speakers are causing your problem. Since you like what the Cap has added to the overall sound, maybe the overall volume increases and duration of your listening sessions is to blame. Just a thought.

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post #7 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 01:50 PM
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Kind of freaking me out there, HTFanboi1200. Most of the time I wear hearing protection during these activities.

Hunting or target practice: Check
Military gunfire, cannons, mortar fire, Claymores, grenades: Check
Play drums: Check
Day in day out work around machinery: Check


Carp, I have a ringing in both ears around 4000 Hz. I actually got it from a neck injury in a car accident. I have annual hearing checks and my hearing is actually very good. Just that persistent ringing. Most of the time it is easy to ignore, it is low enough in level that a low speed fan drowns it out. Other times it can seem quite loud, sometimes just one ear decides to go off, ringing away. That is nerve damage.

Do your ears ring after a listening session, Carp? If they do, you need to turn it down a bit, you are listening too loud. I keep an SPL meter not only for simple measurements but to track my long term listening levels. 85-95 dB is about as high as you should go for a 2 hour listening session, IMO. Any louder than that is no good for anyone. Keep in mind, these are peak readings, not steady state, so those levels should be ok. I'm not a doctor, though, you need to judge this for yourself. Find your comfort level and stick to it. It wouldn't be a bad idea to see your doctor.

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post #8 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 02:10 PM
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Lol, didn't mean to freak you out there tesseract67. Good you wear the ear protection when you're doing all that, knew a lot of guys who didn't and it's catching up with them, especially musicians unfortunately. By the time they hit their 30's they started noticing a problem in one of the ears.
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post #9 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 02:10 PM
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After doing my last set of upgrades, I really killed my ears with demo sessions almost daily. Never got ringing, but did get fatigued. I'm glad that period is behind me now.

I listen loud. Near reference. But I figure in most movies that equates to a grand total of not more than about 10 minutes above 100db, and probably less than 5 seconds at 115db. So in any given month now I'm exposes to about a minute total at 115db. Compare that to a demo session that may give me a half hour at those levels.

My point here is that if we use the system for watching movies (even loudly), as opposed to trying to see how loud it goes, you have far less exposure.

Sorry to hear you're having troubles. It's got to be miserable.

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post #10 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 02:17 PM
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I've had it for 20 years .. my hearing is fine, just a constant test tone .. too may years of playing in a band, running a large PA system and shooting .. back in the day, only wimps used ear protection ..

There really is no cure ..

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post #11 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 02:32 PM
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Due to my occupation I get tested yearly for hearing. Part of that testing is education. We are told that tinnitus is the first sign of a hearing problem. I would see a doctor soon and carry at least earplugs as others suggested. You can still enjoy music, just not at crazy levels. Good luck.

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post #12 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HTFanboi1200 View Post

I too__ was under the impression that loud lower frequencies weren't as harmful to your hearing. This is why I have to ask you a few questions like were you ever in the military where you were exposed to a lot of gunfire,cannons or mortar fire??? Do a lot of hunting or target practice? Played an electric guitar, drums for years or been in a band ? (this happens to a lot__ of musicians) Even day in day out work around machinery and can take it's toll after so many years. Honestly,I always figured it was mid range frequencies that did the most damage.

No, nothing like that. I think mine is mostly because of music. In college my roomates and I got pretty crazy with the volume on our system in our house and I did crank the car stereo back then for a few years as well. I've been to a lot of metal and rock concerts too. Also, I do have to use a whistle quite a bit during PE classes. Fortunately I only have a couple PE classes a day, the rest of the time it's health and weight training where I don't need a whistle.


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116 dB? That is ridiculously loud, particularly with music where it is sustained. I like to crank my system at times, but never close to those levels.

My advice is to aggressively protect your hearing from this point forward. Nothing you can do about the past. Carry ear plugs wherever you go, just in case and never listen to loud music again. That doesn't mean you need to stop listening, but you have to get accustomed to enjoying music at low volume.

Hopefully the tinnitus will subside over time. Also, see an Audiologist. Good luck.

All good advice Goddoc. I have only done 116 once when Archea was over and we were testing the limits of the sub from the listening position. That's not something I regularly do. The thing is it wasn't painful at all, it sounded really damn good.

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I was always under the impression that low frequency soundwaves moved too slowly to cause any ear drum damage.

It really sucks that this isn't true, it should be dammit - then we could all let loose as often as we wanted!!

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Originally Posted by tesseract67 View Post

Kind of freaking me out there,

Carp, I have a ringing in both ears around 4000 Hz. I actually got it from a neck injury in a car accident. I have annual hearing checks and my hearing is actually very good. Just that persistent ringing. Most of the time it is easy to ignore, it is low enough in level that a low speed fan drowns it out. Other times it can seem quite loud, sometimes just one ear decides to go off, ringing away. That is nerve damage.

Do your ears ring after a listening session, Carp? If they do, you need to turn it down a bit, you are listening too loud. I keep an SPL meter not only for simple measurements but to track my long term listening levels. 85-95 dB is about as high as you should go for a 2 hour listening session, IMO. Any louder than that is no good for anyone. Keep in mind, these are peak readings, not steady state, so those levels should be ok. I'm not a doctor, though, you need to judge this for yourself. Find your comfort level and stick to it. It wouldn't be a bad idea to see your doctor.

No, they don't ring any louder after a long session. Last night and a couple of times today was the first time it's gotten any louder.

Tesseract, what you said about nerve damage, "Other times it can seem quite loud, sometimes just one ear decides to go off, ringing away." That is exactly what I am talking about! It was mainly the left ear last night and then again a couple times today - it just goes off. It is so loud though!! I'm sure I could hear the ringing at that volume over any outside noise. So that is nerve damage? Is that any different than what is going on with normal tinnitus?


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post #13 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, I did have my hearing tested last Spring because ever since my tinnitus started years ago I have had to turn my right speaker up a little louder than my left speaker to balance things out. I was curious and wanted to make sure my right ear was doing ok.

The test came back fine, my hearing was actually pretty good for my age. However that was all pre-Captivator, so who knows now. I'll definitely go back if this continues. 60 dollar co-pay for a specialist makes you think twice though, a couple years ago it was 15!

Should I have my Radio Shack meter on fast instead of slow? I'm really not going to go above 85db's for quite awhile on music and see how that goes.


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post #14 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matman1970 View Post

I am sorry to hear that. As much as we love this hobby, your health is always the first priority.

Is it possible the Cap is not to blame? Maybe your regular speakers are causing your problem. Since you like what the Cap has added to the overall sound, maybe the overall volume increases and duration of your listening sessions is to blame. Just a thought.

Could be, I'm also thinking about using just the Magnepans for awhile so that could test your theory. It will be tough to adjust to the weak bass though.


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post #15 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:28 PM
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My understanding was that it was the higher pitched sounds which harmed hearing, not bass. Where did you read that high output bass can hurt your hearing as well? I would like to look at your source for that.
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post #16 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

No, they don't ring any louder after a long session. Last night and a couple of times today was the first time it's gotten any louder.

Tesseract, what you said about nerve damage, "Other times it can seem quite loud, sometimes just one ear decides to go off, ringing away." That is exactly what I am talking about! It was mainly the left ear last night and then again a couple times today - it just goes off. It is so loud though!! I'm sure I could hear the ringing at that volume over any outside noise. So that is nerve damage? Is that any different than what is going on with normal tinnitus?

Most tinnitus is from brute force noise exposure. The reason I brought that up was in the off chance that you have some kind of cervical injury you might have forgotten about. Lifting weights while turning your head, car accident, wrestling injury, so on. Any of that?

The periodic all-of-a-sudden loud ringing is a jolt, I agree. You'll be ok and still be able to enjoy to music, you just take a little care now. I say the following to everyone, it doesn't apply in every case... remember that alcohol desensitizes your hearing, makes you want to turn it up.

I hear you on the co-pays.

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post #17 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 03:57 PM
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One thing to remember is that hearing loss and tinnitus, while both auditory problems, are not really related. You can have fantastic hearing and still suffer from tinnitus. Also, the seeming causes of and contributors to tinnitus are believed to be somewhat wide ranging and not simply from exposure to high level sound. For example, mine is believed to have been triggered by a very nasty upper wisdom tooth infection (think half a face like a balloon). Fortunately mine is very minor and only in my right ear. *crosses fingers*
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post #18 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 04:04 PM
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Bottom line? Run, don't walk and get an auditory check-up. Tinnitus is nothing to fool around with. Just did a paid outdoor gig and had my four JBL MRX 525s cranked. Guess who forgot their ear plugs? After about two hours, my ears began to suffer from fatigue. Fortunately, their was a hunter in the audience that had an extra pair. Take care of your ears and they'll take care of you.

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post #19 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 04:41 PM
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When a buddy of mine got an eD A7-900 we put it through the paces with all the well known demo material at the time. It didn't take long (about 2 hrs) and my ears started hurting. We were constantly listening at levels in excess of 120 dB (according to both of our RatShack analog SPL meters).

By the time I got home, my head felt like it was going to explode.

I didn't watch any movies or listen to any music for over a month because my ears hurt so much. It scared the *carp* out of me too. Fortunately for me my ears didn't ring. They just constantly felt like they needed to pop. I don't know which is worse though. I was miserable.

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post #20 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 05:17 PM
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I hope you find a way to keep and enjoy your Captivators. That would be a terrible loss, to have to give it up. Hope you find something to ease the problem.
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post #21 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 05:36 PM
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Sharp noises in your ears that last for a while but do no stay, is not tinnitus. It's trauma that your done to yourself at one point or another or could be a whole bunch of other reasons.
Geez man, so many of you are worried about your hearing when you probably just had a mild sinus infection

I just had my father in law look over this thread (ear, nose and throat doc/surgeon)

He says, if testing comes out fine, then your problems lie elsewhere.

Here is a bit of info : http://www.livestrong.com/article/27...-pain-ringing/

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post #22 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 06:32 PM
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Recently developed what appears to be a mild case of tinnitus after a massive ear infection that lasted about 6 weeks but was misdiagnosed by some moron "walk-in clinic" doctor here in Toronto. She told me what I had was an "allergy" and prescribed a nasal mist. 2 weeks later I went to a real doctor and he took a look in my ear and said it as one of the worst infections he's seen.

Ended up going on an anti-biotic, and a couple days after starting had a massive ringing in my ear that didn't go away for about 5 days.

Now it is still there (must be some 6 to 8 weeks now), but I only hear it at night and it it much less pronounced and I've learned to live with it. Which isn't easy for someone like me who doesn't sleep well in the first place!

FWIW, outside of the rare occasional time I actually get to listen to music or demo scenes at reference, I don't listen to anything loud.

It's is not a fun thing to have, that's for sure. Scared the sh** out of me for a while when it was really really loud.

 

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post #23 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesseract67 View Post

Most tinnitus is from brute force noise exposure. The reason I brought that up was in the off chance that you have some kind of cervical injury you might have forgotten about. Lifting weights while turning your head, car accident, wrestling injury, so on. Any of that?

remember that alcohol desensitizes your hearing, makes you want to turn it up.

I hear you on the co-pays.

No, I can't remember any injury in the neck. I was a high jumper in high school and college and obviously landed on the upper shoulder/low neck area many times but I never hurt my neck doing it as far as I know.

Oh, your absolutely right about drinking and listening to music. I hardly ever do that anymore because I would be over 95 db's for sure if not louder. Each song sounds better than the last, and therefore must be cranked a little louder!!

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Sharp noises in your ears that last for a while but do no stay, is not tinnitus. It's trauma that your done to yourself at one point or another or could be a whole bunch of other reasons.
Geez man, so many of you are worried about your hearing when you probably just had a mild sinus infection

I just had my father in law look over this thread (ear, nose and throat doc/surgeon)

He says, if testing comes out fine, then your problems lie elsewhere.

Here is a bit of info : http://www.livestrong.com/article/27...-pain-ringing/

Thanks for the link N8DOOGG. I really hope your father in law is right, I don't want to give up bass if I don't have to!


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post #24 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 07:47 PM
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I had some wicked ringing in my ear at one time. Complete silence in a room really made it pronounced as with background noise it's less noticeable. I started doing research on it and one thing I read said that an abundance of caffeine or other stimulants can definitely heighten the effects. Weening off coffee and energy drinks for a bit definitely made a difference. I had tolerated it for awhile and was ready to go to the ENT doc but thankfully it got better. Unnerving for sure when the ring/sound gets progressively louder and you're askin people if they just heard what's in your head.
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post #25 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 08:16 PM
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what ?

All this noise about noise.
♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫

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post #26 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 08:59 PM
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Tinnitus is a very real and very unpleasant problem. I've been suffering from it for a good 12 years or so. It's always there and it tend to mask out low level high pitched sounds making it hard to hear those sounds. For me I believe the damage came from many years of loud music including listening at home, in the car, and at live shows. I remember in the 80's seeing SRV from about the 6th row and I felt like my hair was being blown back from the volume. My ears rang for days. There were other shows like that as well. When that happens, there is irreversable damage occurring. Eventually with enough nerve damage the tinnitus becomes permanent. I don't listen to music at nearly the volume that I used to. I still frequently attend live music performances, but I now use protection (Hearos) when needed. I still will sometimes watch a movie at or near reference levels, but that is not as damaging as music at the same levels because music seems to be far more sustained.

My Captivator and PB13 will stay with me. They are not the culprits.
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post #27 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 10:55 PM
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Very sobering topic but thanks for the reminder and all the stories. I just finished checking my speaker levels and listening to some music. I have the speaker/sub levels set to 76db based upon my Integra processors test tones. To get there I had to cut the LCR's and subs by approx. 11db. The surrounds required less cut 5-8db depending upon speaker.

I played some Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scotts at -15mv which should be -14 from reference and put my digital SPL meter on record peak hold (Fast, C weighted). I got a peak of 108.7db and the average was in the mid to high 90's for most songs.

I have had no hearing issues and certainly would like to avoid any by stupidly over doing the system volume. It is very easy to crank the system as it really just cruises along at reference. I did a quick Metallica (Sandman from a Bluray concert) at reference and the meter was in the 120's at times. It was concert level intense but didn't seem overly loud.

I have been backing off the MV for the last few months as the novelty of really loud wore off. I will be watching the volume a little closer from now on and probably should have kept my audiophile speakers as they would be pissing themselves at the levels I played tonight...


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post #28 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
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RMK, I'm jealous of both your system and your bullet proof ears! Do you mind if I ask how old you are? Maybe the tinnitus hasn't started yet if you are pretty young (although from your posting style I would guess you are in your 30's) because it looks like a lot of the regulars have at least some issues with it.


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post #29 of 253 Old 08-05-2011, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, BTW, if you are going to crank Metallica don't waste your ears on Sandman!! Something off of their 2nd through 4th albums would be much more appropriate!

j/k, I'll bet Enter Sandman sounds pretty damn good at 120db too.


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post #30 of 253 Old 08-06-2011, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Oh, BTW, if you are going to crank Metallica don't waste your ears on Sandman!! Something off of their 2nd through 4th albums would be much more appropriate!

j/k, I'll bet Enter Sandman sounds pretty damn good at 120db too.

Carp,

Have you taken antibiotics recently? Some of them are known to cause hearing/ringing issues for a small percentage of patients.

Happened to me last year, and it took almost a month for the symptoms to completely dissipate. Not fun...

Regardless, good luck and hopefully you find out it's not caused by your listening habits.
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