You hear that ringing? Maybe it’s…

all in your head. Some comments on my article “10 Tips for My Fellow Mass Transit Riders” reminded me of some more dangerous effects of listening to loud music.


Since college, I’ve had this persistent ringing in my ears. I can actually hear it over other sounds in a loud room or even when I’m listening to music via headphones at pretty low volumes.

Can you hear ringing? It may sound like buzzing, or even like a chorus of crickets.

According to Wikipedia’s article on Tinnitus:

Tinnitus can have many different causes, but most commonly results from otologic disorders the same conditions that cause hearing loss. The most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss, resulting from exposure to excessive or loud noises.


There are many treatments for tinnitus that have been claimed, with varying degrees of statistical reliability

The key word there is claimed. The article goes on to list dozens of methods, but keep in mind that most are unsubstantiated methods (i.e. little or no evidence of effectiveness).

Life with Tinnitus

Perhaps you or your child does not yet have a ringing sound in your/their ears, but many of us are on the fast-track to getting it. I don’t know exactly when the ringing in my own ears started, but I can tell you that I can never have true peace and quiet. Even if I’m in a completely silent room, I’ll always have a loud noise distracting my concentration. I can’t escape it. It’s in my head, follows me around everywhere, and no one else knows it’s there.

I don’t know if it’s getting worse or will lead to further hearing damage or even loss, but I’m personally afraid of going deaf. I still listen to loud music sometimes, but nowhere near the amount I did in my early to mid-twenties. I don’t want it to get worse.

So please, turn the music down. If your loved ones, friends or coworkers listen to loud music via headphones (or regular speakers), ask them firmly to turn it down and back up your request with evidence. Unfortunately, though, teens and most twenty-somethings won’t listen to any advice until it happens to them, but at least you can say you tried to warn them.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • ALthough there is no cure for tinnitus, there is only one product on the market that has 30 years of scientific research behind it’s name. Premier Micronutrient Corp. has developed a biological solution for our troops who suffer from haring loss and tinnitus. The Hearing Health product was just released to the general population in Oct. 2007. It reduces inflammation and protects the cilia in the inner ear from damage by boosting cell strength. It also reduces the loudness of tinnitus giving relief to the relentless ringing. It truly changed my life. Check it out at

  • is it very high pitched? Cause I have a faint, yet very high pitch ringing that I can hear when it’s relatively quiet. I’m wondering if I have it also…

  • I understand what you are going through. I have tinnitus and have lived with it for a good 20 years now. I can’t stand the fact that I will never have another moment of silence in my life. I agree that we should definitely encourage those we know to turn it down. I got mine from a combination of the original Sony Walkman and the local swimming pool. If you find something that works, please let me know too.

  • I have the same thing as Tom. Quite and high pitched. I only notice it when I’m in a quite room. I’ve had it as long as I can remember. The hum of a computer is enough to drown it out, but at night when I’m trying to sleep I have to have some kind of white noise like a fan going to distract me from it. I work ina sometimes noisy environment and always use ear plugs when I can. Good luck finding a solution!

  • I recall when the tone was only audible in complete silence. Well after tours in Bosnia it got really loud after a few land mines. Today it owns me.

    If you hear that tone, it will NEVER get quieter. If it does not bother you today, keep t that way. Protect your ears. it can only get louder.

  • I’m sorry to learn that you have this. I have a little bit of tinnitus too, although I don’t think I’ve ever admitted it to anyone before. I’ve had it since I was in elementary school, I think, but it’s not as bad as what you describe. I do echo all of your recommendations – this is not a fun condition to have and, while not life-threatening, really isn’t treatable (last I heard, the best they could do was train you to ignore the ringing).

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