Can You Get Tinnitus When Unconscious...

Discussion in 'Support' started by Zimichael, Jul 26, 2014.

    1. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      I was intrigued by what happened to Rhea a short while back where she got a big T spike from a loud peal of thunder while sleep.
      It generated the obvious question of whether T and hearing damage can occur if you are unconscious. If so, then I of course began to ponder the whole "T is all a Brain Thing" school, versus the "T is from Physical Damage" to the auditory system/audile nerves/hair cells, etc....This is a back and forth tomato throwing event between the "Faulty Software" (Brain) side of the class, and the "Trashed Hardware" (actual physical damage) side of the class.

      Of course I'm simplifying it and as many accept, it's kind of a mysterious combination of the two... sometimes...mostly...God knows!

      However, back to Rhea and getting "whacked" and a T spike while asleep. This below is about all I could find without digging too deep. I figured I would leave it in the "question/answer" format that it was originally. Obvioulsy it's from a chat baord, so I am not going to vouch for it's "truth"...But do note the comment about making a noise to protect yourself from noise...Kinda interesting!!!

      Can noise exposure, even when unconscious, affect hearing? 04/06/2008

      Aaron Carr asked the Naked Scientists:

      Hey guys, probs and obvious question...

      Just wondering, say you crashed your car and you were left passed out with
      your head on the steering wheel. Would the constant noise from the steering wheel horn affect your hearing, even though you are passed out and not actually hearing it?

      Cheers, Aaron from Canberra, Australia.

      What do you think?

      Reply #1 on: 04/06/2008

      I doubt a car horn would be loud enough to cause any permanent hearing loss unless your head and ear was pressed up against the sound generator itself.

      You hear sound when an object moves or vibrates, these vibrations are passed on to the air molecules around us and in turn travel to our ears where they hit our eardrum which then passes the vibrations on to tiny little hairs inside our ears. As these hairs vibrate they turn the vibration into an electrical signal which travels to our brain.

      Too loud a sound and the tiny hairs can get damaged and knocked down, if they can't repair themselves their ability to feel sound vibrations is reduced which then reduces our ability to hear.

      This process continues even if we arr asleep and the only effect of being unconscious would be the inability to turn our heads or cover our ears to limit the level of sound.

      Reply #2 on: 04/06/2008

      There is an autonomic mechanism to protect the inner ear from loud sound called the "acoustic reflex",
      it is analogous to pupil constriction reducing the light entering the eye, [or AGC in an electronic device].

      The vocalization-induced stapedius reflex can indeed be used for hearing protection purposes. Just before an impulse noise (door slam, electromagnet lock slapback, gun shot, pound of hammer on nail) one could vocalize (or cough or hum) to protect one's hearing from the sound pressure that the impending sound would create. The reflex is not a perceptual reduction in sound; the reflex is a real reduction in sound level reaching the inner ear — an actual reduction in how far one's delicate hair cells will be bent by that sound. An identical hammer blow when one engaged in no vocalization is more damaging to one's hearing than that same hammer blow if one began vocalizing just a few tens of milliseconds prior to the blow.

      So the seven dwarfs advice to “whistle while you work” was correct, although the line “it’ll prevent hearing loss” was omitted. smiley.gif

      Reply #3 on: 09/06/2008

      Yes of course, actually tympanic membrane vibrates with the sound waves and it also occurs even when the person is unconscious just the perception is lost. So in cases like fire explosion and when typmanic membrane is damaged, there will be the same level of damage in the unconscious person too.

      OK...there's my last "ponderings" for tonight. I'm still somewhat unconvinced that as much damage, or T at least, could happen if unconscious, as for one the "T is Brian Camp" would be goofing off elsewhere.

      Best, Zimichael
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    2. Rhea

      Rhea Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hey Zimichael....

      that one really got you plexed didn't it? lol x

      I am still of the belief that damage to the inner ear via noise can occur anytime with loud sound exposure...awake or asleep, even if you are asleep those tiny hair cells/nerves are still physically being moved with the presence of noise.....I guess the brain then goes on to play the part though of either blocking the t sound or amplifying it etc

      Rhea x
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    3. bill 112

      bill 112 Member

      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      Suppose its a bit like the tree in the forest analogy"if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it does it still make a sound"which we all really no the answer is quite obviously yes,just because we werent there to perceive it doesnt mean the sound didnt happen and its a bit like this,just because you werent there i.e you were asleep or unconscious doesnt mean the car horn or thunder didnt happen,you just weren't there to perceive it or acknowledge that it happened,but it happened and if so that means the sound waves were indeed picked up by the haircells in your ear which dont turn off when your asleep and neither does the auditory part of the brain which is why we wake up when somebody calls our name.I believe its possible to damage your hearing whilst unconscious and next to damageing levels of noise but to develop T as a result is an unanswerable question as modern research doesnt know if its the ear thats even responsible for T.But for the sake of it lets look into it a bit more,if indeed T is created by the inner ear then yes its entirely possible to get T whilst unconscious.If T is created by the brain then its a bit more tricky to answer.Whilst asleep or unconscious our brain activity reduces includeing the auditory brain which is why it takes somebody like 10 ten times to wake you by just calling your name,so if the brain is underactive by its state of consciousness does this mean it will prevent the voltage gated potassium channels developing a state of overactivity as the brain is currently in an underactive state.Possibly but at the same time it could have no effect in prevention but I dont believe this is the case.Excellent question though guys would make one wonder.Best Wishes.Bill.
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