If you occasionally experience "ringing in the ears" after exposure to loud sounds or concerts, you may be losing your hearing. To find out where you stand check out Digital Recordings' hearing test CD. It can be used to set a baseline of your hearing, and if you're geeky enough, retest yourself the day after attending a loud concert, working with power tools, or riding a snowmobile. A few hours or even a day later your hearing acuity will be significantly reduced. It's kinda like a preview of what's to come, if you don't stop abusing your ears.
That short-term deafness is sometimes referred to as Temporary Threshold Shift (TTS). But repeated episodes of temporary hearing loss, with insufficient recovery times between exposures will eventually lead to permanent hearing loss. At that point there's no need to keep reading the Audiophiliac blog.
Just kidding, but other than hearing aids there's no "cure" for deafness. Blasting your ears with ear buds day after day may in the long term do your ears in. You've been warned. And that's why using noise blocking or reducing headphones is so important--since they block outside noise you can listen at much lower volumes. Your ears will thank you. Check out my review of the Etymotic ER-6 noise blocking headphone here.
The Digital Recordings' Audio CD--Hearing Test is more comprehensive than the standard audiologist listening test that uses a fairly narrow range of test frequencies, from 125--8,000 Hertz. Properly used, the Audio CD test extends to the full range of frequencies humans can hear, 20-- 20,000 Hz. All you need to perform the test is a CD player and a good set of headphones.
I've used the CD many times over the years and I remember my first impression was that it was easy to useand highly accurate. I say that because every time I repeated the test, the results were essentially the same. It's a great tool and for us audiophiles it's especially nice to know we're not going deaf.