A giant explosion goes off, then -- silence. In the eerie pause, we see the action continue but only hear a high pitched hum. Gradually fade in small arms fire, yelling, screaming... suddenly everything returns to full volume and the character scrambles to get back in the action.

Sometimes paired with a slow motion sequence, either to show off what's going on or to reflect the traumatized mindset of the main character. Sometimes the humming will be a ringing noise, like the onset of tinnitus.

An example of TruthInTelevision, as explosions and even prolonged gunfire can cause hearing loss. It's correctly called trauma-associated tinnitus, and rates of affliction are highly variable. A 2012 NCBI study found that in a random sample of Iraq War veterans, 71% had experienced close-range loud noises, of whom 15.6% reported developing tinnitus. However, transient traumatic tinnitus is actually fairly common: a loud noise causes temporary ringing, often with partial or total deafness. Recovery times and degrees vary by incident and individual, although for cases where intense ringing and/or substantial deafness occur, recovery time is usually on the order of days rather than the handful of seconds portrayed in most films. Of course, as with tropes, there are aversions to this "typical timeline," again due to differences from person to person.

''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' is arguably the TropeCodifier.

Compare ThousandYardStare, the visual equivalent. See also MomentOfSilence.

Contrast StunnedSilence, SteelEarDrums. If it happens in a video game, it's an example of an InterfaceScrew.


* The [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqSg7WO4tT4 traumatic D-Day scene]] from ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan'' seems to have made this trope popular in the action movie genre.
* Used for great dramatic effect in ''Film/TheLifeAquaticWithSteveZissou''.
* The movie version of ''Film/MasterAndCommander: Far Side of the World'' has this during the first attack of the phantom ship.
* ''Film/ChildrenOfMen'' has this occurring to the main character during a terrorist bombing: Theo witnesses a bomb go off in the street and we hear a sort of dull ringing in the background.
-->'''Julian:''' Y'know that ringing in your ears? That 'eeeeeeeee'? That's the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it's gone you'll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts. [[note]]In case you just freaked out because you've heard that sound, you can relax. It's not true. Everybody hears that from time to time, and there are at least a half-dozen reasons for why it happens, none of which are bad news.[[/note]]
* The first ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'' movie has this happen to Meyers right after Liz Sherman goes PersonOfMassDestruction in Rasputin's clockwork funhouse.
* Used in ''Film/IRobot'' after Detective Spooner "experiences a car accident" as a result of being attacked by NS-5s. As he crawls from the wreckage, all sounds are muted until he spits out a mouthful of blood.
* Manny in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge2TheMeltdown'' tries to cross a geyser field and is deafened when one goes off near him.
* Happens in ''Film/SherlockHolmes2009'' after a warehouse explodes.
* Occurs during the Allied air attack at the beginning of ''Film/{{Valkyrie}}''.
* Invoked in the BBC {{docudrama}} ''Film/{{Krakatoa}}'', during the moment of the famous [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1883_eruption_of_Krakatoa#Climactic_phase loudest noise recorded in historic times]]. In the film, people kilometers away find themselves momentarily deafened with a ringing in their ears that gradually fades. In reality, the blast was heard as far away as Perth, Australia, 3500 km away. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPqOQVX1pXE Dramatization]].
* Epically done in the 1985 Soviet war drama ''Film/ComeAndSee''. After our protagonist gets caught in a bomb raid, everything gets drowned out in a howl of tinnitus; it gets better, but it takes a full half hour for the sound to come back completely.
* Used in ''Film/TheReturnOfTheKing'' when a lightning strikes from the spire of Minas Morgul, everything goes quiet in the middle of the massive crack of thunder that accompanies it, indicating that it's so loud that the characters are briefly deafened by it.
* In the 1970 version of ''Film/TheOutOfTowners'', JackLemmon's character experiences tinnitus after a manhole explodes and the cover crashes to the street right next to him.
* Happens near the end of ''Film/TropicThunder'', just before they get to the bridge.
* When Katniss blows up the Careers' stash in ''Film/TheHungerGames'', we're treated to this. Some variants also occur throughout the movie.
* The not-incense in ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' leaves the Operative suffering from this temporarily, allowing Mal and Inara to escape.
* Used in ''Film/TheTown'' when the SWAT team tosses some flashbang grenades during a shootout in a parking garage.
* Played with in ''Film/WelcomeToThePunch'' (2013). A detective tackles a civilian at gunpoint whom he mistook for the criminal who shot him three years ago, an event from which he's still traumatized. His partner can be heard faintly yelling at him to stop even though she's right next to them, but she's drowned out by a ringing sound (he was shot in a concrete tunnel, so the temporary deafness may be a flashback).
* A similar concept is the subject of the Australian film ''Noise'' (2007), about a police officer who suffers from tinnitus due to psychological damage from witnessing the aftermath of a massacre.
* In ''Film/EdgeOfTomorrow'', the hero has two of these moments. First when his drop ship is hit and later when he is overwhelmed by the terror on the battlefield and all sounds go mute for a moment.
* Happens to Jason in ''Film/GalaxyQuest'', when he is shot down by Sarris during the movie's climax. The sound goes almost mute as Jason watches his fellow crewmates being slaughtered one by one.
* Several time after explosions in ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'' does the sounds drown out, especially during the Final Battle.
* In ''Film/TheRevenant'', this happens towards the end of the opening BigBadassBattleSequence. The battle sound drowns out, leaving us with the horrible visuals of the massacre along with a low-pitched sound from the soundtrack.
* Used in combination with an aversion of SteelEardrums in ''Film/CockneysVsZombies'', when Mickey fires off his combat shotgun inside the van.

* Surprisingly, Taylor Anderson uses this during the battle of Baalkpan in the third book of the ''Literature/{{Destroyermen}}'' series. After [[spoiler: ''Mahan'' self-destructs in the side of ''Amagi'']], the setting is described in this very fashion: silent except for a buzzing, everything somewhat blurred and slowed-down.
* Doug gets this during one of the last chapters of {{Literature/Parellity}}, during [[spoiler: the battle of Harborage]].
* Just like in the movie, ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' has Katniss describe this happening in the immediate aftermath of blowing up the Career food supply. In fact, her hearing only comes back in one ear, leaving her vulnerable for the rest of the titular Games.

* The episode "Mayhem" of ''Series/CriminalMinds'' starts out this way.
** Unlike some of these examples, Hotch, who is close to the explosion, suffers significant hearing damage which stretches into the next episode.
* The Season 6 premiere of ''Series/{{LOST}}'' after [[spoiler: a possible nuclear detonation.]]
* In the premiere episode of ''[[Series/TheWalkingDead The Walking Dead]]''. The lead character fires a Magnum revolver at a zombie right next to him inside an enclosed tank, leading to this, in the form of a loud ringing.
* Used on ''{{Series/Fringe}}'', when Olivia fires a gun right next to Peter's ears, so he wouldn't be susceptible to a sonically-induced brain melt.
* The ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' episode "Into The Silence" features this for a significant portion of the episode, as it follows Meredith after she is badly beaten and hospitalized. Her injuries include temporary deafness, and the episode's sound is accordingly replaced with a low drone for almost the entire first half of the episode. Eventually it gradually fades away and the sound comes back as her hearing returns.
* In a late-season episode of ''{{Series/JAG}}'', after Harm is right next to an explosion he spends the rest of the episode without hearing. It comes back in fits and starts, so after a little while Mac starts communicating with him by shouting.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''. Root after she's momentarily stunned during a truck crash in "Mors Praematura", but it segues immediately into the ClimacticMusic as she wakes up and starts kicking ass. Played straight in "Matsya Nyaya", when a bomb goes off underneath an armoured car Reese is guarding.

* Happens to you in the ''{{VideoGame/Uncharted}}'' games whenever an explosion goes off near you.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' and ''[[VideoGame/MassEffect3 3]]'' introduce this effect whenever a sufficiently heavy explosion (usually a rocket launcher) detonates near you. Lacking a similar effect for the guns is justified by the guns being [[MagneticWeapons miniature railguns]] instead of propelled by explosions, so they'd understandably be quieter.
** At least two DLC packs in the second game feature enemies using flashbangs grenades. One of them introduces a teammate who can use them. The [[InterfaceScrew flash]] part can be mitigated by turning the camera, but the bang part will get you regardless.
** There's also an example in the opening cinematic of the third game, where after a Reaper blows up an entire wall, Shepard is thrown against the opposite wall and all we hear is muffled, discordant sounds for at least ten seconds before Anderson's shouting becomes audible.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' has this when the player takes damage from an explosion.
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRow2'' has this, along with a very annoying ringing noise whenever someone sets off an explosion right next to the player's character.
** There's even a flashbang grenade that does minimal damage but stuns enemies/allies (or the player who throws it too close to themself) with this effect.
* Happens in the first D-Day mission of ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty 2'' when a shell goes off near your boat, and for nearby artillery strikes in other missions as well.
** Also during both ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' games and ''[[VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps Black Ops]]'', the effect of getting flash-banged.
** In ''3'', whenever you get caught in a blast that doesn't send you into critical mode but still goes off close enough.
** Standing near War Pig's turret as it's fired in the mission named after it in ''Call of Duty 4'' has this effect, as well as [[InterfaceScrew throwing off your aim]]. Oddly, RPG's and frag grenades don't have this effect, at least in the first ''MW'' game.
* In ''VideoGame/CallOfCthulhuDarkCornersOfTheEarth'' this is invoked deliberately in the final battle, as you must deafen yourself from the final boss' song by blasting your {{BFG}} on a huge gong while standing next to it, but avoided at other times despite of having extremely realistic weapons in every other way, lacking an ammo counter and forcing the player to rely on the iron sights.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Vietcong}}'', firing a gun, getting shot or standing close to an explosion will result in some seconds of tinnitus. In the "Tunnel Rat" mission, your commanding officer even tells you to stick to using a pistol while in the tunnel, as anything else would make you go deaf.
* ''VideoGame/{{ARMA}}'', where you can be rendered temporarily deaf by loud sounds such as explosions and rockets be fired nearby (try it from a helicopter!) The ACE mod introduces ringing ears as well, as well as earplugs to counter those sounds.
* Used extensively in the freeware game ''Soldat'', where every close grenade explosion, even if it's not deadly, will mute the sound for a few seconds.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} Battlefield 2]]'' plays this pretty straight. Being near anything explosive, be it grenades, C4 or even artillery or tanks firing their barrels (plus high-caliber gunfire from attack choppers and jets), players will literally lose game audio and ring for a few seconds (complete with visual dazing).
** A little awkwardly implemented in ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany 2'', at a distance tanks will make the standard bang sound effect that most players are familiar with, but up close it simulates this trope by muting all sounds when the turret gun fires, it's a deep bass thump, followed by a ringing sound that fades as sound slowly returns. This is all nice and realistic except for the fact that you can hear the metal scraping of the loading system cycling, and the fact that you hear the initial explosion as the bass thump, as if you were deafened just before the shell is fired. In the PC version before some of the early patches, it's possible to stand at certain distance from a tank and hear both the ShellShockSilence sound effect and muting as well as the sound effect used at a distance.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' and ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'' started doing this with flashbangs, which will completely deafen players if they're caught in the blast. Averted with actual explosions, however.
** Much as the ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' example above, an explosion close to you will make you walk a lot slower and the only thing you will hear is a strong low-key tinnitus briefly overlaid by a high-pitched one.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'', if you throw down a flash grenade too close to where you're at, Chris will end up stunning himself as well, with a brief moment of ShellShockSilence accompanying it.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Rift}}'', getting stunned will blur your screen and muffle sounds briefly.
* Flashbangs in ''VideoGame/RainbowSix'' do this and temporarily blind the player, but not frag grenades, at least in the early games.
* If you're too near an explosive enemy you kill in VideoGame/{{Hammerfight}}, the game will cut the sound and fade it back in, with a ringing noise.
* ''VideoGame/{{FEAR}}'' does this with grenade explosions.
* In ''VideoGame/HaloReach'', grenades, Fuel Rod Cannon shots, and other explosive ordnance have this effect on the player, tinnitus included, if they don't kill him outright. The InvisibilityCloak also mutes the sound effects while active.
* In ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorVanguard'', explosions close enough to the player cause the sound to muffle as well as cause a ringing sound and the player's vision to blur for a few seconds.
* While it doesn't go totally silent, ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorAirborne'' muffles the sound and applies a [[RedFilterOfDoom red filter]] when you are low on health or an explosion goes off too close to you, with ear ringing accompanying the latter.
* ''VideoGame/GhostRecon: Advanced Warfighter'' has this alongside [[ImpairmentShot HUD interference]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', if your head becomes "[[StandardStatusEffects crippled]]", your sound will periodically be replaced with a tinnitus effect while [[ImpairmentShot your vision blurs]]. In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'', the sound of an explosion can also cause a concussion.
* ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonVsAceAttorney'': The CuteButCacophonic mail lady Lettie Mailer shouts so loudly (which is saying something) that this happens to Phoenix if he's the next to speak or think. This even happens to Barnham at one point.
* ''VideoGame/FarCry'' combines this with blurred vision and a HeartbeatSoundtrack if an explosion occurs nearby.
* ''VideoGame/KillingFloor2'' does this to players who are running low on health (less than 25) or get hit directly by a Husk's fireball. Sounds more like you got a bucket stuck to your head for the duration.
* ''VideoGame/WarThunder'' introduced this for ground vehicles as of their v1.61 update; when a member of a player vehicle's crew is wounded, the player will hear a ringing ears sound and/or have the normal audio become muffled.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Referenced in D&D campaign podcast ''Almost Heroic'' when one PC hits another with the ''booming blade'' spell inside a crowded casino, blowing out several windows and the target's eardrums.
-->'''Sammael:''' I lean in and just say "Don't. Move."\\
'''DM:''' All Murmur hears is "eeeeeeeee..."

* Happens in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Imaginationland", in a direct parody of the D-Day scene from ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan''.
* In the third episode of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', we are treated to such an eerie scene from the human kids' POV, as the Autobots and Decepticons wage battle over them.
* Used regularly on ''{{WesternAnimation/Archer}}'', when Archer [[SteelEarDrums operates a gun or explosive without proper ear protection]].
-->'''Archer''': Mawp? Mawp. Mawp?
* In ''MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', this happens to Applejack when she bumps her head during "Applebuck Season", resulting in her mishearing the ingredients for muffins and creating a LethalChef recipe.
** Happens again in the episode "Appleoosa's Most Wanted" to the character Troubleshoes when he's coming to after being knocked unconscious by hitting his head on a lantern.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' short "Sorry Safari", the brutish hunter wraps a gun around Tom's heard a fires it, leaving the cat deaf. This results in the cartoon going silent, and Tom picks at his ears for the sound to come back.
* Happens a couple of times during battle sequences in ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty''.
* ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' subverted this in a sketch involving a war between [[WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs the Smurfs]] and [[WesternAnimation/TheSnorks the Snorks]], with the scene in question being a parody of ''Film/SavingPrivateRyan''.
-->'''Deaf Smurf:''' I can't hear! I can't hear!
-->'''Papa Smurf:''' You couldn't hear before! Your name is ''Deaf Smurf'' for God's sakes!
-->'''Deaf Smurf:''' Oh yeah. Well, it still sucks.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'': When the gang put on a concert in one episode, their fans' cheering renders them deaf. A ringing sound is heard to the audience. At the end of the episode, Olaf tries to talk to Kaeloo, Stumpy and Quack Quack, only to get a loud "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" in response since they've gone deaf.
* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'': At the end of "Think Positive", after Benson [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech lets out his pent-up frustration at Rigby and Mordecai and tells them off]], the two are left lying on the ground, unable to hear anything.
-->'''Mordecai:''' What? What are they laughing at?\\
'''Rigby:''' ''What?!''