Ringing in the ears

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by NMSquirrel, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    don't know where else to post this..seems like the correct forum..

    I have ringing in my ears constantly, the (one) doc says there is nothing that can be done about it..

    I have wondered if i got a hearing test to find out what the frequency and amplitude of the ringing (determined by voids in my hearing range) would i be able to create a frequency and amplitude of the specific frequency 180 degree's out of phase with it would it cancel out the ringing?(noise canceling technology)

    this is such a simple idea,i would think it has already been tried and tested, anyone know of anything about this?
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  3. leopold Valued Senior Member

    apparently it's nothing serious.
    i've had ringing in my ears for a very long time.
    comes and goes, sometimes shifting frequency while it's happening.

    i don't know but it seems to me the "voids" will actually be HIGHER than the rest due to the fact the amplitude of the test signal will have to be higher than the amplitude of the ringing to be noticed.
    the "voids" will be where you have exceptional hearing.
    i assume the instrument will measure how much of a test signal must be applied to be heard.
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  5. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    mine is constant..

    im thinking the voids are when the frequency gets absorbed by the ringing frequency thereby masking the tone generated by the machine.
    when this 'mask' frequency is found then there is a frequency to test out of phase.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    It's called tinnitus, from the Latin word for "tinkling." (Compare "tintinnabulation.")

    It's important to understand that what you feel like you are "hearing" is not actually a vibration in your cilia generating a signal in your auditory nerve; in other words, it is not sound. It is a disorder somewhere in your auditory system: either damaged cilia (from too many heavy metal concerts without ear protection, too much time on the shooting range without ear protection, or working around jet engines or other loud equipment without ear protection) or some other damage or failure in the eardrum, cilia, nerves or other cells in the hearing circuit. When this reaches your brain it is processed just the same as sound, but it is not real sound.

    This apparent "sound" is generated inboard of the actual hearing mechanism, so there is no way to cancel it. It does not have a "frequency" or a "phase." Tinnitus usually has a frequency range, but not anything close to a precise pitch. Physics does not provide any solution to this problem

    It's common among rock musicians, especially us bassists who stand next to the cymbals. It's also common among us rock fans who have attended concerts that were much too loud. That repeated abuse of the components of our anatomy that process sound eventually causes them to break down and malfunction.

    But even though today that is the most common cause of tinnitus, there are other causes, such as infection or physical trauma within the ear canal.

    The bottom line is that in all but a few cases there really is nothing that can be done for it. Fortunately the human brain is a marvelous organ and it eventually learns to compensate--just as people who vounteer for vision experiments are given eyeglasses that turn the world upside-down and one day they get up and it's right side-up again. I've had tinnitus for six or seven years and most of the time I don't notice it. My brain simply blocks it out.

    My brain drops its guard and I notice it again whenever somebody starts talking or writing about tinnitus (thanks a lot dude

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    ), but I guarantee it will be forgotten five minutes after I finish this post.

    This is a common experience, so hopefully you'll be like me.

    People with tinnitus have reported various experiences:
    • If the background sound level is higher, it masks the tinnitus. I can vouch for this. I do not prefer quiet environments because I'm more likely to notice my tinnitus. Summers with the windows open and the woodland critters chirping and squeaking are really nice. I'm perfectly delighted to be in the middle of a city with all the traffic, and I always have music on when I'm not playing my own axe.
    • Some people find their tinnitus soothing, because it sounds like waves breaking on the shore or a summer night in the woods.
    • Some people report that the pitch of their tinnitus rises with their blood pressure. I have this experience also. It's kind of handy. When it gets loud and high-pitched I realize it's time to drink some water. (Dehydration is the most common cause of high blood pressure and the easiest one to fix.)
  8. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    i think mine was caused by use of my Hilti (it uses a 22 shell to drive nails)
    does this mean there have been tests for what i am suggesting?
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    I have relatives with tinnitus, so I am interested in the topic. After a google search (I am good) here is a thread from a Thai board, with the same idea as the OP.


    Here is the quick, technological answer (beside Fraggle's psychological answer, tinnitus not being a real sound)

    "Unfortunately it's not just the frequency that needs to be correct
    In order to cancel the offending signal you also need to match the phase (actually anti-phase). Unless you get EXACTLY the right frequency (within <1Hz or so) then the cancelling wave will constantly drift in and out of phase producing a (likely) even more annoying effect"

    Now if you read the whole thread, post#15 gives you a solution, using a hearing aide:

    "I have had tinnitus for well over 20 years. I really can't remember how long. I started wearing hearing aids about 4 years ago and immediately noticed my tinnitus had diminished but not disappeared. For me the quieter the environment the more likely I am to notice the ringing in my ears. So any situation that introduces sound to the ears seems to help me. If you have tinnitus you probably have a hearing loss as well and though expensive, getting hearing aids was one of the best investments I ever made. It opened up the world and cut down the inner buzz as well."

    Others seem to agree:

    "That has been my mom's experience as well. I now also suffer from tinnitus and asked a specialist in Thailand about hearing aids and tinnitus and she also agreed, saying that hearing aids mask the sound."

    P.S.: The keywords I used in Google were: "tinnitus frequency canceling"
  10. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Another info, you might want to check out, using the same google hits:


    "he Tinnitus Phase-Out™ System is a patented treatment method based on sound cancellation principles and is fundamentally different from all other tinnitus treatments currently available.
    Using Tinnitus Phase-Out™ proprietary computer software, a healthcare professional analyzes the audio characteristics of the patient’s tinnitus. The sound pattern is matched to the patient’s specific pitch and volume levels. The healthcare provider then applies the phase-shift audio technology to create a treatment program that significantly reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the patient’s perception of tinnitus. This unique solution is programmed into the patient’s own Patient Treatment Device (PTD)."

    Another discussion thread:


    "The question is "which effect is achieving this... is it residual
    inhibition ... or phase cancellation ?"

    With residual inhibition, the tuning for such a device is not critical (I've
    tried it). When the interfering tone is in the general vicinity of the
    tinnitus frequency it has the greatest effect.

    (a) But if phase cancellation is at work, we would expect to hear a
    'warbling' (beat) effect as we approached the tinnitus frequency. This
    'warble' would become slower and slower and eventually stop when we exactly
    matched the tinnitus frequency.
    I did look for, and found no evidence for this warble/beat effect when
    trying a sound generator with my own tinnitus. And this should not be
    surprising; see (b) below...

    It's worth remembering too that many peoples' tinnitus is not a single tone
    but a compound tone (further complicated by the interaural pitch difference,
    when present). Effective phase cancellation would then become a very complex

    (b) It's true our ear/brain system can indeed distinguish between incoming
    _stereo_ sounds which are in phase or in antiphase. However sounds entering
    the ear/brain system in antiphase do _not_ cancel out to silence, they just
    sound 'different' (hard to describe unless you've heard it but useful to
    know when you're phasing up loudspeakers!). This would indicate that the
    effect of trying to cancel tinnitus with another antiphased tone might not
    be so straightforward either.

    Of course actual sound waves out in the outside world _can_ cancel out to
    silence when in they meet in antiphase. But we are considering here what the
    ear/brain system makes of antiphased signals, not what happens according to
    physics in the outside world.

    So, my view:

    1) At least for stereo sounds, antiphasing just doesn't produce silence in
    the ear/brain. Instead things sound 'strange'.

    2) I know of no evidence of any 'beat' effect against tinnitus produced
    internally by the ear/brain. Such an effect would be observed first if true
    phase cancellation to silence were possible. Even if it were, it would
    then be incredibly hard to maintain this phase relationship with the high
    (and often multiple) tinnitus frequencies.

  11. keith1 Guest

    blood flow
    loud tv/music
    noisy social interactions
    noisy equipment/worn motor bearings (refrigerators)
  12. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I have it. Loud music, the Hilti, the bass & cymbals, check, check, check. I had a hearing test decades ago that was unsettling to me because it showed losses in the speech band (400-4k Hz), especially at the high end. When equalizers became standard gear, I noticed that I was always compensating in the other direction (boosting bass) and to this day I am sensitive to shrill sound.

    So it's not exactly the same as hearing loss, but the ringing is most notable in dead quiet. Also, since sound perception is apparently logarithmic, the sensitivity to ringing increases under less ambient sound.

    There was an anti-tinnitus pill but I never tried it since it seemed like a sham. Also look for warning signs like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and don't hesitate to get a hearing test and health exam to be on the safe side.
  13. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Much of the problem can be linked to the frequent use of loud power tools without hearing protection. Stuff like skill saws, gasoline mowers & edgers and regular hammers can do the job as well. Sharp, percussive sounds tend to break those little hairs producing a tinnitus ring in the range that the missing hair was receptive to.

    I have a bit, but not bad. I have been using hearing protection for many years, being a strong believer in safety precautions.
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    @ NMSquirrel:

    I checked my tinnitus at one point...wanting to say 15 hertz??? lower pitch than a female mosquito...which I know I can hear clearly inside a zipped 4-man tent in a state park :grumble:

    My ringing will get worse if my eustachian tubes get swollen somewhat or completely shut.

    What I hate most though is when I blow my nose, one ear pressurizes and stays that way, and then the world tries to toss me off in the direction of the unplugged ear. I have to walk like a sailor on a storm-washed deck all of a sudden.
  15. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    FYI: 15 Hz would be a very low bass frequency. Lower than any note on a piano.
  16. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

    One of my co-workers on night crew listens to his music loudly enough that I can hear the rhythm of the music from two aisles over ( approx. 20 feet) though he has his ear-buds in place.

    He may well be a candidate for tinnitus as he matures. :shrug:
  17. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

    My tinnitus began as a teen without exposure to loud noises. The number of tones and their volume and "rattiness" (more static-like, less pure tone) have increased with age. Recently, taking a shower has caused my hearing system to interpret the droplets impacting the shower floor as a room full of piercing, asynchronous Newton's cradles, and it's quite deafening. Some background noise that others can ignore seems like Grand Central Station to me, and I must resort to reading lips and asking others to repeat themselves, sometimes several times (to my embarrassment). Aspirin, dehydration and tiredness temporarily makes these symptoms noticably worse.
  18. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

    the shower masks my ringing..so much so i often thought about investing in one of those ocean sounds devices so i can sleep better at night, since this is when the ringing is most noticeable (the quietest time of the day)

    i did check the link Syzygys gave for the phase out system.. interesting, they talk about exactly what i was asking about..but i am not about to shell out 2000 dollars for the treatments and the 200 for each additional visit..maybe i will just play with my function generator when i get a decent pair of headphones..

    given the choice between hearing my ringing and hearing a mosquito buzzing around my head..i will choose the ringing..

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  19. ULTRA Realistically Surreal Registered Senior Member

    Hi NMS, i too have a ringing in my ears not unlike when one has been exposed to a concussion such as a gunshot. It may actually be related to my close proximity to various explosions and detonations over the years. Sometimes it is particularly noticable, ie. when its quiet or if I have a concussion. Luckily it's not unbearable, though ive not really noticed if anything has helped mitigate it. I'm gonna give this some thought in future and if i notice anything helping to diminish it i will certainly post it here.
  20. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Most people do not have concussions regularly. Juuuust sayin'

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  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    15Hz is the absolute lowest range of human hearing for a teenager in perfect physical condition. The human eardrum is almost too small to vibrate at that frequency. Most of us can't hear that note.

    Any reasonably talented drummer can beat his sticks on a drum head 15 times per second--that's not even a "drum roll," which is much faster. What you hear at this speed are the individual blows. They don't blend into a sine wave which your ears then interpret as a "note."

    The lowest note on a standard piano is 27.5Hz, the A three octaves below middle C. 15Hz would be almost a whole octave lower, between Bb and B. As far as I know, the only acoustic instruments that can hit this note are a handful of specially built subcontrabass tubas. Obviously electronic instruments can be programmed to produce a wider range of notes.
  22. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    My ass, if you mean one handed. The world record is 20 per second, 2 handed so that would be 10 beats per hand per second


    (1196 beats in a minute)
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Of course I meant two-handed! I'm talking about playing real music in a band, not trying to set a record in a laboratory. In a drum roll each stick bounces once so they're really only hitting it half that many times.

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