Can Listening to High-Frequency Sounds with Bone Conduction Earphones Make Tinnitus / Hearing Worse?

Discussion in 'Support' started by JFR, Apr 9, 2022.

    1. JFR

      JFR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      15 November 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loss of hearing
      Hiya all, my tinnitus is currently spiking after about 5 years of habituation, which makes it harder to sleep at night. I am currently experimenting with bone conduction earphones that emit a very low volume high frequency sound of about 12,500 Hz to my right ear, the one that seems to be affected the most. I have somatic tinnitus. It seems to have an effect where if I turn it off after 10 minutes it almost feels like things are silent again. My simple theory as a non-scientific investigator is that my brain gets more lazy in generating a phantom sound since one is already being emitted externally and so it somehow could help in the medium term in rewiring it.

      I know, this is shaky theory at best, but my specific question is: do I run the risk of further damaging my hearing or making my tinnitus worse over long term use? I have searched online, and it seems that decibels are the main factor.

      Any facts or theories about that?

    2. ajc

      ajc Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      I don't know if there have been studies but I would be conscious of the fact that bone conduction headphones bypass the eardrum. Can that make them more dangerous?
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It all depends what originally caused your tinnitus @JFR? On your profile it reads tinnitus caused by hearing loss. If this is the case and you were fitted with hearing aids to restore your hearing to optimum, then as long as you are careful with the volume through the bone conduction earphones, high pitch frequencies might not make the tinnitus worse.

      I think you need to be careful and I advise that you don't listen to any type of audio through bone conduction earphones, normal headphones, earbuds, headsets or AirPods, as you risk making your tinnitus worse even when the volume is low.

      You have said that your tinnitus is currently spiking after 5 years. This is usually (but not always) a sign that the original cause of the tinnitus was noise-induced. Even though it reads on your profile hearing loss initially caused the tinnitus which is possible, exposure to loud noise or listening to audio through any type of headphones at too high a volume can cause hearing loss and tinnitus too.

      Before the onset of your tinnitus in 2016, if you regularly listened to audio through any type of headphones or were exposed to loud noise, then it's likely you have noise-induced tinnitus. Coupled with the fact that your tinnitus is now spiking makes me believe this this is what you have.

      I have read your thread of 2018. You mention the tinnitus was 95% gone and as you began to habituate you used AirPods to further distract yourself from hearing the tinnitus. I congratulate you on your self-help techniques. Whilst I don't advocate anyone with tinnitus to use AirPods for sound therapy, they clearly worked for you.

      However, if my suspicions are correct and the original cause of your tinnitus is noise-induced which caused some hearing loss, my advice remains the same and not to listen to audio through any type of headphones even at low volume.

      You also say that you have somatic tinnitus, which can be caused by increased muscle tension in the face, jaw, neck and spine. If this is the case, you really need to see a doctor to see what treatment is available. You have a lot going on. My advice before you start using bone conduction headphones is to see an ENT doctor for tests.

      Please click on the links below and read my posts. Go to my started threads and read: How to Habituate to Tinnitus, The Habituation Process.

      All the best,

      Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
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    4. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      There’s been studies demonstrating that noise stimulus, especially around tinnitus frequencies did help TEMPORARILY.

      I would be careful with headphones at all...
      • Agree Agree x 4
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    5. AUTHOR

      JFR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      15 November 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loss of hearing
      @Michael Leigh, thanks for your answer Michael. I am careful not to raise the volume on earphones too high, actually I never go above 50%. My tinnitus 5 years ago started when I was listening to music through earphones while studying under stress for an exam. So you might be right. For my second onset though, it might also be noise induced (although I was careful when using headphones the night before). The other two possible triggers I was able to isolate were a booster Pfizer shot for coronavirus and having started treatment with a Chiropractor. He was especially being forceful on the right side of my upper neck (the one where tinnitus is more present). Right after the treatment I almost felt better but a couple of nights later I woke up at 5 am with a high pitched tone in my right ear.

      It’s complicated. I also started having tension headaches a year ago which woke me up at night and found out that I have sleep apnea for which I bought a CPAP machine. This solved the problem of headaches at night. During daytime when I feel tension in my upper scalp I am able to release it by stretching and massaging my neck and head. Somehow I sense that both the neck and head tensions are related to the tinnitus.

      I also tried acupuncture, which makes the tinnitus go away for about 12 hours.

      Sleep helps with my ability to cope, but more often than not it’s worse I’m the morning like many people here.

      The thing that has more impact is exercising for about an hour (high intensity) and yoga. That reduces the tinnitus for about 12 hours.
    6. Travis Henry

      Travis Henry Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      1 Moderna Vac, Noise and stress I guess, its killing me

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