From RESET Electronics/Acoustic Volunteer Rich Repplier:
In the 1980s I was working for an audio company. One Saturday a speaker manufacturer came to our parking lot and set up a large speaker array like the ones used in rock and roll concerts. The speakers were driven with 10,000 watts of audio. The system used so much electrical power that it had to be operated from several circuit breakers in our building, as one 20 amp breaker wasn’t nearly enough to handle the load.
The guy who was running the system paused the CD player to have a conversation with someone, and while the system was silent I went up to the speakers to get a good look at them. I was within a few feet of the speakers when the guy running the system saw me, intentionally put the CD player back in Play mode, and I got 10,000 watts of audio right in my face. Fortunately I was well accustomed to loud sound and it made me jump, but it didn’t terrorize me. What did it sound like? It sounded like the speakers were 10 miles tall. It sounded like the entire Universe was collapsing in on itself.
But it didn’t hurt my hearing. I still go up to 8,000 hertz which is excellent for my age, and below that frequency my hearing is the same as a 20-year-old’s.
When you work in audio, something like this is bound to happen at some point.