Perceived tinnitus pitch tends to resemble the frequency content of the loud sound that induced the tinnitus.
Solid, laboratory-controlled studies to the perceived pitch of temporary, noise-induced tinnitus ("ringing in the ears") are ethically questionable, because researchers have to deliberately expose study subjects to potentially damaging loud sounds. Therefore, data on temporary noise-induced tinnitus are scarce and confined to a small handful of studies done in the 1960's (Henry & Meikle, 2000).
In one of these studies (Atherly et al., 1968) the authors exposed the study subjects to loud acoustic stimuli of various pure tones. The subjects reported to experience tinnitus pitched within a certain frequency band around the tonal stimuli received. The stimulus frequency and perceived pitch approached a 1:1 relationship, such that the tinnitus pitch was e.g. 4 kHz when the noise frequency was 4 kHz. Between-subject variability was, however, considerable. For example, at a stimulus of 6 kHz, the range of perceived pitch was 4-9 kHz.
The other study I found based on the review by Henry & Meikle (2000) showed that the perceived tinnitus pitch increased when the frequency of the loud tonal stimulus or frequency content of broadband noise increased (Loeb & Smith, 1967). Basically this confirms the data from Atherly et al. (1968). However, the perceived pitch did not coincide with the stimulus frequencies, and there was considerable variability between subjects. For example, some subjects reported multiple frequencies in their tinnitus, some reported a hissing tinnitus, while others did not develop any tinnitus at all (Loeb & Smith, 1967).
In all, your suggested perceived tinnitus pitch of 17 kHz is unexpected, given that noise-induced hearing loss (by loud music exposure etc.) typically results in a 4-kHz notch in the audiogram where hearing loss is greatest. Hence, tinnitus would be expected to occur around this frequency as well. But again, variability is very high and it may well be possible it is higher pitched in your case. Also note that 17 kHz is very high and near the upper audible frequency limit for humans (e.g., the sound an old CRT screen makes, i.e., hardly perceivable for many adults).
Most research on tinnitus has been done regarding patients with chronic tinnitus complaints that suffer from sensorineural hearing loss (i.e., damage to the hair cells in the cochlea). Typically, the perceived tinnitus pitch in this group is associated with their hearing loss. In other words, the pitch of the tinnitus generally matches a frequency range within the region of frequency loss (Eggermont & Roberts, 2004).
- Atherly et al., JASA 1968;44:1503-6
- Eggermont & Roberts, Trends Neurosci 2004;27:676-82
- Henry & Meikle, J Am Acad Audiol 2000;11:138-55
- Loeb & Smith, JASA 1967;42:453-5
- What's the Frequency of the ringing in my ear?
- Can humans perceive sounds above 20 kHz?