I hi jacked the thread below from another forum, something a lot of us music and movie hobbits might not consider until its too late. I suffer from tinnitus and believe me its no fun. Google "ringing in the ears" etc for more info.
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.