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Re: painfully loud sound

I have experienced a similar sensation while experimenting with analog
electronic music circuits. For me, the best triggering stimulus tends to be
fairly intense, high-pass, with a low fundamental (very "hollow" sounding),
and one ear experiences a sort of "fluttering" or "pushing" sensation,
synchronized with amplitude modulations in the stimulus. It's not painful in
the same way that very loud sound is, but definitely uncomfortable. I
wouldn't describe the sensation as "warm" or "full" though, and it definitely
ceased after I turned off the stimulus. I've guessed at a middle-ear
mechanism but it's outside my expertise. I haven't even done any careful
testing with a calibrated sound source.



G. Christopher Stecker, Ph.D.
Research Psychologist, VA Research Service
cstecker@ebire.org / 925-372-2000 extension 5073

Human Cognitive Neurophysiology Lab
VA Northern California Health Care System
150 Muir Road, 151-I / Martinez CA 94553

On Friday 12 November 2004 10:21 am, Bob Masta wrote:
> This may be unrelated, but I have on occasion experienced
> what I would call "uncomfortable" sounds.  They were not
> very loud, but were distinctly distorted.  The symptoms
> were feelings of warmth and fullness in the ear canal,
> which persisted for many minutes after the end of the
> sound.  My working hypothesis at the time was that perhaps
> the middle ear muscles became activated by higher centers
> due to a perception that the sound was obnoxious enough
> to need muting.  I never got around to testing this, and I
> have long since disposed of the one source I owned that
> could induce the phenomenon:  A really cheap portable
> radio.  (The other instance that I recall experiencing this
> was at a dance recital where the sound system failed and
> they brought a "boom box" onstage to continue the performance.)
> It got me wondering about a phenomenon that "golden ears"
> audiophiles sometimes complain about, which they call
> "listening fatigue".  I have never heard any real description of
> this, let alone an explanation or hypothesis.  (I guess that
> audiophiles never ask about it because, hey, if you have to
> ask, you certainly aren't one of the cognoscenti!)  Anyway,
> assuming that it has some basis in fact, this might be the
> same phenomenon I experienced.
> Any thoughts on this?
> Bob Masta
> audioATdaqartaDOTcom