Can ANR/ANC (Active Noise Reduction/Control) Noise-Cancelling Headphones Cause Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by MRItechssuck, Nov 26, 2019.

    1. MRItechssuck

      MRItechssuck Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI

      I have read a few reports of people thinking their tinnitus was worse after wearing an active noise reduction headset.

      Some believe that some ANR headsets don’t have as much passive protection and the ANR has limits as far as what frequencies, especially higher ones, can be eliminated. Some also believe the hiss created by the technology aggravates the tinnitus.

      I’d like anyone to chime in if they have an opinion on this.

    2. DITB

      DITB Member

      Hong Kong
      Tinnitus Since:
      2018 (unsure)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. I have started to suspect ANR technology ..
      Here is my opinion:

      Just got Bose QC20 ANR headphones recently. I have the ANR circuitry suspected of using a 16 kHz pilot tone, possibly similar to how stereo FM uses 19 kHz as a pilot tone (although the latter to indicate stereo available).

      The QC20 are really effective - at least in the normal audible range for speech, and most music. But if the cost is a constant 16KHz tone in your ears, then it has a nasty side effect.

      This could be what causes some to get tinnitus AFTER getting Bose ANR products. Maybe also from other products? Presuming the underlying technology of ANR is using the same principles.

      Read the forums of Bose themselves. Any post where people say something along the lines of "I just bought a pair of SleepBuds, and now I have this high frequency tone that I didn't have before" (ie tinnitus). Bose will paste in some standard replies about "oh we are sorry to hear that" and "our products are tested" and "contact Bose directly on 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx" and finally "go to your doctor/specialist".

      They closed some of these threads for further comments. Obviously a sensitive area, and subject to lawsuits of ginormous proportions, should Bose (and maybe other ANR suppliers) be found to make products that create or worsen tinnitus.

      In these Tinnitus Talk forums, Bose won't be able to mark a thread as "solved" (as they do after they write "contact your doctor"), and close the threads for further comments.

      See also - I just joined here for just this reason: Does (some) ANR headsets incur/accelerate tinnitus, rather than keeping it from getting worse?

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