eli5 -​ My friend pranked me by popping a plastic bag next to my ear, cound this cause hearing loss?


My ear was muffled and rang for a few minutes, now it’s better but is this really dangerous to my hearing or should I be ok?

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You should be fine if it was a one off. The problems would start if you have prolonged exposure to loud noises.

If your ear was muffled and rang then hearing loss was caused. Your ears ringing means the receptors that can sense that frequency you hear were damaged. The tiny hairs in your inner ear vibrate when they are hit by a certain frequency. When they vibrate they send an electrical signal to your brain you interpret as sound; when they are damaged, they constantly send the signal to your brain causing you to hear ringing. Damaged hearing never comes back.

pick better friends.

It’s not good. But you’ll be fine. Just don’t do it too many times. Once or twice won’t likely cause noticable problems, even if there is some minor damage, your brain is pretty good at compensating for it, and everyone looses a bit of hearing with age anyway. That ringing is called tinnitus by the way.

The worst I had was tinnitus for a week after having a -rather large- homemade firework go off by my ear. In bad cases sometimes it never goes away.

The point is that while tinnitus certainly isn’t good, it’s not an immediate cause for concern. Many people with noticable hearing damage usually get it from extended loud noises like headphones on high, concerts, construction work, etc, without ever getting their ears ringing.