For years I've been meaning to get myself some really good audio equipment. I just got a new job and bought myself some expensive headphones to listen to music on - ones that cover the entire ear.
However, I have found that listening on these headphones makes my ears hurt. An annoying pain in my ear-canals, almost a burning sensation or like I've given my inner ear a good scratch. Almost immediately I set my volume lower, but it still occurred, so I set it lower again and it still happens, although it takes a little longer. But I can't get through a whole album of music without it happening.
I also get the same feeling from watching movies in the cinema. But I often get a bit of a headache too, so I'd been assuming it was part of an overall sensory overload from the big screen experience.
Normally it goes away almost immediately after I take off the headphones (or leave the cinema), but the other night it hung around for a few hours afterwards. So yesterday (I've only had the headphones a week or so) I decided to limit myself to just a few songs, and otherwise listened only on my speakers at low volume. This worked fine.
But this morning I woke up with a feeling like my ears needed to be popped. It's got me worried, because it seems to have occurred quite some time (more than 24 hours) after the last time my ears hurt, and it's been with me all day (at least I think - I work in an office with a lot of computers and the constant humming of the machines kinda covers it up).
I don't want to damage (or to have already damaged) my ears, but I also want to enjoy my headphones. I've been using cheap earbud headphones at fairly loud volumes for years and can remember having a similar pain only rarely, after prolonged music listening, which I'd assumed was discomfort from having a piece of plastic stuffed in my ear for a few hours.
The new headphones I've only had for about two weeks, and only started using them regularly in the last few days (got a new album), and would have only clocked up eight or nine hours total listening time over those weeks.
"cheap earbud headphones" That didn't hurt you because it probably couldn't produce high frequencies perfectly, or some were missing. With the new expensive headphones, all high frequencies probably heard mad clear.Even some frequencies that cheap earbud couldn't produce. Just, tells someone to use those headphones to see if they get that feeling. (I am sure you probably tried that)
This might be your problem at the moment. You might have sensitivity going on in your ear(s) in some Frequency(ies). Once you hear that trouble Frequency(ies), you can't tolerate it. It hurts, fullness in ears so on. Good thing is that, this is temporary. You can improve your sensitivity if you rest your ears. But bear with me, it might take a month, 6 months, 2 years, depends. If you listen to music loudly, it will be hard for you to recover your sensitivity.
Sorry, I didn't check back here for a while because a) I was a little worried about what I'd read and b) my condition got a bit worse, then it got much better, and its just gotten worse again.
My ears started ringing the day after my last post. Extremely high pitch, only noticable when everything else was silent, and possibly I only noticed it because I was paranoid about tinnitus, but it still seemed slightly too loud for me to have not noticed it before.
So I took it really easy for a week or so. I didn't listen to any music at all. I kept the TV on low volume, and only used my headphones to watch the odd TV show late at night, again on low volume. And the ringing seemed to fade into an all-but-imperceptible background noise.
But my ears remain very sensitive. That burning sensation comes back very quickly if I listen to music at what I consider "normal" volume. Also, my ears felt "swolen". Not the whole ear, but the inside, like the ear canal was narrower because of swelling or something. And not painful, unless I poked at it with my finger. My left ear especially. And finally, I was eating an apple one day (and I eat a lot of apples every day) and it suddenly felt like I'd pulled a muscle on the left side of my jaw, right up under my ear. Chewing became fairly painful for a day or so.
I've done a few things in the last week or so that probably haven't helped matters. I've been out to bars where the crowd noise was very loud a couple of time, and I've been to the cinema twice (one night I saw two movies in a row, which made my ears - and my eyes and brain - hurt).
The other night I went out drinking, and got quite drunk. The next day I woke up with a fairly bad cold, and a couple of days after that the sinusy part of the cold came along. I blew my nose, and my left ear started ringing.
This morning I was woken up early by the ringing in my ears. It was the original ringing, in both ears, but it felt like it was back with a vengeance, and it's the first time it's woken me up, it seemed much louder than it has been before, but I can't think what might have set it off anew, except for the cold. But the ringing in my left ear is a second, lower-pitched and distinct sound.
Which is really freaking me out.
The kicker to this story is that this coming Sunday and Monday I have tickets to see my favourite band. The tickets were bought four months ago, well before I was having any trouble with my ears, and the word is that this will be the band's last ever tour, so I feel like it would be a crime to miss them (I did the last time they toured because I was a dirt poor student). But the concerts are likely to be the loudest and worst thing I could do for my ears. I've bought myself earplugs from the hardware store, the good ones used by people who use loud powertools everyday, but I still don't think they'll be enough.