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Old 21st November 2002, 12:59 PM   #1
bob4 is offline bob4  Germany
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Unhappy tinnitus

Hey guys (and also the ladys),

I just read this statement by circlotron:

Originally posted by Circlotron
BTW, I can ony hear to 9.5 kHz now.
We all know the pleasure and excitement one can sometimes get when listening to music at higher volumes. Although we all know very well it can damage our ears permanently, we expose ourselves every now and then such sound pressure levels, not to mention environmental noise.

I've already got a slight tinnitus (at the age of 20!), and would like to know what you think about it.
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Old 21st November 2002, 02:23 PM   #2
setmenu is offline setmenu
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Hi bob4
Matters of ear damage have been on my mind lately[again!].
Sorry to hear about your tinnitus..bummer.

I too was shocked to read circlotron,s statement about his
extreme top end roll off!

I am a headphone enthusiast and post at head-fi,there have been quite a few posts there on the subject.

Largely irreversible 'sporting injury's' due to enjoying ones music
hobby are a real downer .

I too suffer from mild tinnitus in the right ear[began about a year ago] and have been carefull ever since.
BUT it seems I may have gotten complacent as just in the last week the other ear has developed some anomalies,now I cannot
be sure sound has been the cause here [for various reasons]
but I does seem rather a coincidence that I have been doing some heavy auditioning of a new audio design.
Even though the levels have seemed sensible perhaps the LENGTH of exposure time has taken it,s toll.

As usual with perception related matters it is difficult to tell
what changed when or has it always been like that etc.
I am aware my hearing has never sounded the same through
each ear [i suspect this is usual,humans being asymmetrical etc]
but the recent symptoms pointed to some sort of irritation
or trauma in the ear and made me analyze its characteristics more

The symptoms experienced were a slight fullness with a low
hum present.
When tested in this state the top end curtailed quickly after about
15K but more worryingly the LF performance had suffered in such
a way that roll off occurred from 100hz and at a 40hz test tone[all played from a test disc through stax 4040 system]only the highest
harmonics could be detected .
This kind of performance robs music of all its fullness.
Things have improved today though and 40hz is now sounding like bass again,but 20hz is still very very attenuated.
top end has improved as well.

My 'good' ear[ironically the one with HF tinnitus] is able to detect
the low notes as soon as the Stax can produce a sound on to
20K[though not without age related roll off..I am 39]

How much of this asymmetry is normal to my personal set up I cannot tell but the LF roll off seems new.

Sorry to go on somewhat, but matters of the ear can panic me a bit

So all I can add to readers of this thread who,s ears are fine is:

Look after them! you only get one pair

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Old 21st November 2002, 02:42 PM   #3
jag is offline jag  United States
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I used to travel a lot (atleast 2 flights a week for over 3 years), and was almost certain of permanent ear damage. But, was pleasantly surprised when I put in the stereophile disk in my system and could hear all the way upto 20kHz (not with PSBs, but with Axioms certainly). Actually, at 20kHz, it is quite a lot of discomfort in ears at the spl that seems very reasonable at other levels. I do not know about lower frequencies though (my setup does not produce any - appt living).

Now, as far as music is concerned, I listen at quite reasonable levels. And there are times - when weather is perfect: no AC; and the hour is perfect: no traffic on the nearest road, about a mile away, the baby is asleep; and I unplug the referigerator - and listen at extremely low levels, there is a magic in music that is very hard to explain . This is the reason I decided on Axioms, only they seem to play real well at exceedingly low volumes (comparing below $500 speakers only). And offcourse, you need a microprocessor controlled volume control
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Old 21st November 2002, 03:00 PM   #4
herm is offline herm  United States
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Default High freq roll-off

My hearing stops at about 11k. Could be from my three years
tour on Tanks (M1 Abrahams).

I think I actually appreciate great equipment now more than
when my hearing was better.

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Old 21st November 2002, 05:11 PM   #5
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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I got it about 10 years ago after working for a year or so in a very noisy enviroment. It's very unpleasant. What made it worse was alcohol. Double trouble!
I had it for about 2 years badly, and it was accompanied by a wierd psyco-acoustical effect where my "sound stage" was distorted - sounds on my right front appeared to come from behind me.
Fortunately, it faded over the next 5 years, and now there's no real sign.

Hope yours fades,
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Old 21st November 2002, 06:18 PM   #6
Christer is offline Christer  Sweden
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This thread is somewhat confused since it discusses two
different phenomanae, tinnitus and HF roll-off. These are
quite different things although they might, perhaps, be related
in some cases. I suggest posts make clear which of the
problems is discussed.


which of the problems did you suffer from? I assume it was
HF roll-off since the problem has gone away, but if it was
tinnitus it makes it all the more interesting, since this is usually
considered irreversible.

HF roll-off can be due to physical damage, in which case it is
probably irreversible, but it can also be of a non-physical
nature. Depression tend to cause an increased sensitivity
to LF and decreased sensitivity to HF, for instance. This is
reversible to the extent the depression can be cured.
There seems to be several theories about tinnitus, but no
consensus about what it really is. The usual explanation is
a physical damage in the inner ear, but perhaps there are
different kinds of tinnitus? I have had problems with tinnitus
for a number of years, but it is not constant. It comes and
goes. It gets worse or better in periods, but it can also
switch on and off sporadically, for no apparent reason more
than some subtle change in the sonic environment. This has
caused me to wonder, is it a physical damage that the brain
can mask sometimes, or is it entirely a mental phenomenon
that is genereted in the brain? The amount of tinnitus clearly
is correlated to how tired my brain is, but that could be
reasonable in both cases. What are your experiences?
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Old 21st November 2002, 06:57 PM   #7
bob4 is offline bob4  Germany
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Originally posted by Christer
What are your experiences?
In my case it's unfortunately permanent, I have been to an otologist who made an audiometry, and on my left ear I definitely do have decreasing HF sensibility due to tinnitus.
Fortunately the tinnitus is very moderate, e.g sitting next to the desk-top pc of my mother writing this, the hum from the computer covers the tinnitus completely. But in a silent environment, I immediately sense it.

To prevent further damage, I've bought some custom- made ear protection that damps 25 db, but is designed to give a very linear sound. A set costs ~ 165 EUR.
It sure is pricy, but nevertheless worth the money.
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Old 21st November 2002, 07:05 PM   #8
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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I was talking about Tinitus. I do suffer from HF rolloff to an extent: 15KHz for 52 Years is not too bad!
The symptoms were not fully diagnosed, as there being no cure, doctors, unless you are paying them by the hour, lose interest rapidly.
The effect was like the sound of a very loud sawtooth waveform of (perhaps) 3KHz. The amplidude varied according to my physical and mental condition.
The fact that alcohol excasserbated the problem suggested to me that the sound I was hearing was blood passing through vessels near or in my inner ear. I believe everyone can hear this to a greater or lesser extent, but mine, at the time was sometimes so loud that I couldn't hear others speak. It affected only one ear.

As far as the psyco-acoustical imaging was concerned, it was wierd.
I did undergo medical tests for frequency response and for sensitivity. Although one ear was very slightly lower than the other for sensitivity, both were well within the range of normality.
Incidentally, the lower sensitivity ear was the same one as had the tinitus.

Both symptoms have gone completely now. It is a great relief.

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Old 21st November 2002, 07:09 PM   #9
dhaen is offline dhaen  Europe
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Default PS

I have been left with one remnant:
Very loud sound - such as a live pop concert, distorts prematurely in my ears.
Fortunately, classical and jazz stuff rarely gets that loud!
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Old 21st November 2002, 07:44 PM   #10
timo is offline timo
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What do I think about tinnitus? I think it sucks.
Had I known in my youth what I know now I never would have subjected my ears to the abuse that surely has contributed to my current state of auditory health.

I'm not sure what my response "curve" is but I do suffer from periodic tinnitus in both ears. Mine takes the form of a continuous 10K tone which at times can be so loud as to be distracting.

What is insideous about tinnitus is that there is no predicting who will get it. Of course you can be carefull with your exposure to high SPL's (as everyone should) but out of a group of people exposed to similar noise conditions, some will get tinnitus and some won't. I'm not one of the lucky ones.

My advise is to do everything possible to protect you hearing at all times. I carry disposable plugs in each of my cars, most of my jacket pockets etc. I use higher quality plugs at concerts. Basically I've become hyper-cautious and try to be aware of any high noise condition.

You would be surprised how loud some airplane and car interiors are, lawn mowers, power tools etc. Even hammering on metal can create peaks over 150 db. Keep in mind you are only an arms length away from the noise source when you are using hand and power tools.
It all adds up. In my case I've got the double whammy of higher than normal hearing loss AND tinnitus.

Protect you hearing and you'll have something to enjoy the music with!
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