I hesitated to post about this b/c it's kind of embarassing to come on head-fi and talk about your ears going haywire ... the immediate assumption from many members is going to be noise-induced (i.e. headphone) hearing loss. In my case, I can (about 99% ) attest that is not the cause. Anyway, here's the story as short as I can tell it ... my oldest son made the US Army All-American marching band this year, on snare drum. He's a real baddass on the thing. The band marched in the halftime show at the All-American Bowl on Jan 9th in San Antonio. And it was awesome. But on the night before we flew out, in a hotel room in Columbus OH, my right ear suddenly "filled up" and I instantly got a very-high pitched, painful ringing that would not go away. Right ear only. Normally I would've called an ENT the next morning, but this wasn't an option as the flight was for 6am and it was my kid's big moment ... I couldn't bow out. So, we flew, and the ringing got maybe 5x worse by the time we got off the second flight in Texas. I spent 5 days 'vacationing' around Houston and San Antonio, afflicted with severe tinnitus and some minor pain deep in the ear canal. The crowd noise at the ballgame was pure torture. Then we had to fly back. By the time we landed back in Columbus, I could hear nothing from my right ear but the ringing tone, some cricket chirps, and what sounded like tree branches cracking. I called an ENT right away, and they were so jammed up with surgeries that they couldn't get me in for a week. Anyway, my hearing checked out as 'normal' despite the tinnitus. I have some mild high-frequency loss mostly coming from hunting and skeet shooting shotguns when I was a kid - I don't think my dad even knew what earplugs were back in the early 70's. But I've known about that since I was a teenager, and I was told that below 12.5 kHz or so, my hearing was, "as good as a child's." Above 12.5, I can still hear some but it tapers off. Not too bad for a 42 year old male with a history of shooting firearms and too much Judas Priest back in the 80's. I was assured that I showed no signs of recent traumatic hearing loss, but my right middle ear was possibly damaged by this acute inflammation. Great. I've been on prednisone and Nasonex nasal spray (also steroidal) for a week now. After he heard I had H1N1 swine flu in December, the ENT supposes it may have messed up my eustachian tube function (I learned I have a deviated septum, too) and clogged everything up, leading to infection. No way to know for sure though. At this time, I no longer hear the ringing but there is still a soft, "leaking air hose" sound that wasn't there a month ago. I am pretty bummed, but hopefully this minor residual tinnitus I'm experiencing now is due to the tissues of my middle ear still being 'sore'. Compared to what I was enduring a couple weeks ago, this is bliss. I go back for follow-up next Tuesday. No headphones for me right now. I've been listening to low volume music a bit over loudspeakers ... it's only been possible to enjoy music again for the last 3 days or so. I am hoping I dodged the bullet, but only time will tell. Just needed to tell the story ... it's so hard to impress on anyone who hasn't encountered tinnitus just how depressing and life-altering it is. I got it by accidental/honest means, but since we're all headphone junkies PAY ATTENTION! the warnings are real. Tinnitus sucks. I feel I've been given a blessing in disguise ... a precious reminder as I enter middle-age (I'm 42) just how delicate and precious the sense of hearing is.