Can loud tongue whistles cause unrepairable damage?

Well, something unfortunate that has bothered me since a couple of weeks since it last happened. I was at a graduation and people celebrating, and at one quiet moment, someone sitting right behind me takes a gulp of air and then bursts out whistling really loud and it stunned me for a bit so I didn’t naturally react and cover my ears with my hands. The whistle must have been for as long as a typical blow out of air (maybe 8 to 10 seconds), and being that it was coming from right behind me, I got caught in the center of all that noise.

I didn’t notice anything until a few days after that when now it feels that when I listen to music, I can’t pick up instruments as distinctively (at the same volume set as always) as I used to, and I don’t know if it’s paranoia, but it’s bothered me since that event. The reality is that you can’t predict those people doing that, but it’s a shameful hazard that we have in society and people find it funny to do that and don’t realize the dangers.

Here’s something I found on the internet that leads me to believe that well, my good hearing is gone for good…


How to Whistle Real Loud

*Get attention and dirty looks with a whistle that exceeds the threshold of pain. *


Once you have mastered the finger-assisted whistle you will hold a great power. I strongly caution you to wield this power with an equal measure of care. It can be EXTREMELY loud, well over 120 db (decibels), the commonly referred to “threshold of pain”. Prolonged exposure can damage your hearing and the hearing of those around you.


so my question is

  1. Am I right in thinking that my hearing has been damaged and there’s no returning back to normalcy.

  2. When it comes to hearing damage like these, what’s considered prolong damage?

  3. Can your ears really heal over time from these types of incidents or once it happens, it’s gone for good?

From what I’ve been reading here and elsewhere, 10 seconds of a shrill whistle would not cause permanent damage–but if you’re really concerned, visit your friendly local ENT MD–hopefully he/she will confirm that.


I agree. From what i understand, only regular noises like those experienced by construction workers etc will cause permanent hearing disabilities. But it may be good to consult a hearing professional if you are worried.