Low Frequency Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Rachel Murray, Jul 17, 2014.

    1. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      I felt the same way as you, and I hope that is somehow the case. I am just seeing too much correlation with people who have low frequency tinnitus and people who have spent a lifetime with loud sounds or have other forms of tinnitus.

      Can you tell me a little more about your particular case? I'm collecting and correlating info on the topic, because for a long time I believed there had to be some form of unique cause. Assuming you have a lot of same interactive symptoms as all of us? How old were you when you got tinnitus? One side or both? Etc.
       
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    2. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I was 27 when it first started, out of the blue. It is unilateral, only in the left ear, although last year when it lasted for half a year, I got it for a couple of days in my right ear and the left one was silent. Until 2020, an episode of the low hum lasted 2‐3 weeks then went into remission.

      Mine is very low, probably under 100 Hz, but cannot match the frequency perfectly. Stops if I put my palm on my ear, if I swallow, yawn, talk, or shake my head. Plugs don't stop it, putting my head against a pillow doesn't stop it. I have on/off days. Otherwise really loud and also has a vibrating quality to it.

      Also, what makes me think that this is entirely different than my high frequency tinnitus is that when I have fleeting tinnitus, I have a couple seconds of silence which eliminates all my tones, before the fleeting tinnitus starts. Except for the low hum.

      (I call it "hum" for the lack of a better, more descriptive word. It is not exactly a hum, but hard to explain how it actually sounds.)
       
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    3. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      Yeah sounds like what most of us have. Did you have any more exposure to loud sounds after it first came on or did it get worse by itself? How long would yours go into remission at first?

      I'm finding that my low hum has become more frequent too, pretty much on and off throughout every day now and very occasionally quietly in the other ear like you. The only good sign is that it stops when holding tilting my head down - doesn't make any sort of muscle noise. It just stops it. I know @GDK had success with mouth guard so there's always a chance that it could be some kind of nerve cause for some of us.

      Did you have hyperacusis with the low hum? Did you ever hear distant/quiet bass sounds amplified in that ear?
       
    4. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      First time I experienced it, I did not think much of it, and it went away in approx. 2 weeks. I went to an ENT though, who just told me to not worry about it, because it would go away. Told nothing about noise exposure or probable causes. So I did not change anything about my lifestyle, continued using earphones almost daily but not loudly, etc. I thought that the low hum was a side effect of the antibiotic I had used earlier, I did not know that tinnitus can be permanent.

      Next year, I got it again, but it went away too. In 2018, no low hum, then in 2019 all hell broke loose. I do not have any idea what triggered it. But that time it was much worse, much louder, vibrating. I could not sleep more than 1-2 hours a day, eat, drink or do anything. It also went away in a couple of weeks, but 3 days later I got the bilateral, high pitched tinnitus.

      With the low hum I never had hyperacusis, with the high frequency tinnitus, I had loudness hyperacusis, but that got much better.

      When I don't hear the hum, I often faintly hear a bass sound, like when someone has a party in the distance and you cannot hear the music, but can hear/feel the bass, but I don't perceive bass sounds particularly amplified.
       
    5. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      Oh so for the most part the low hum isn't there/overwhelming you anymore? Or it's permanent now and fluctuating in volume?

      Mine is pretty up and down but every day these days. :/
       
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    6. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      No, the low hum comes and goes, it is not permanent. I still hear low frequency sounds, but they are faint, so normally they would not bother me, but the low hum induced PTSD is very severe. In 2020, I had the low hum for 6 months and this January‐February I had it again for weeks. So loud and so bad that it elevates my tinnitus induced suicidal tendencies and I am very anxious and worried about it becoming permanent. But right now I am hum-free.
       
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    7. SB1981

      SB1981 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multifactorial
      Yes the hum definitely makes me suicidal too. I was fairly habituated till this popped up. My body feels like it’s vibrating too. Kind of feels induced by my rumbly hum, but not sure. Sorry you have this too.
      I think the faint bass sound may be our pulse. Mine seems to make the hum perceived as even more annoying. @Greg Sacramento said he thinks the hum is pulsatile. God I hope not. Really need something like Auricle to get rid of this when it comes out.
       
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    8. Audiophile_bg
      Furious

      Audiophile_bg Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Olanzapine/MRI
      Low frequency tinnitus is just disgusting. My entire head vibrates with the tinnitus.
       
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    9. SB1981

      SB1981 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multifactorial
      Has your low drone improved or subsided?

      Does or did it give you a sensation of vibrating your head or body?

      What does it sound like?
       
    10. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Yes, that part has definitely improved to a degree where it has more or less subsided. I could feel it physically too when at my worst, but it's really hard to explain. It was also in combination with TTTS.
       
    11. SB1981

      SB1981 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multifactorial
      Thanks for following up.

      How long did it take to subside? Was it responsive to residual inhibition?
       
    12. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      @SB1981, I would say it probably faded slowly over time, and more or less gone after 1.5 years or so. Hard to recall though as I didn't keep a journal.
       
    13. Simona
      Sleepy

      Simona Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Does anyone have experience with the active ingredient Betahistine? Apparently it is prescribed for signs of Meniere's disease. High-pitched tinnitus doesn't necessarily seem to respond to it, but in another group someone was able to control his low-pitched tinnitus by taking Betahistine.
       
    14. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I took it for 2.5 months, it did nothing. Maybe it is good for dizziness and vertigo, but for the tinnitus sounds, I highly doubt it.
       
    15. Simona
      Sleepy

      Simona Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for sharing. It's interesting to see how experiences sometimes differ so much. What helps some people does nothing at all for others.

      I've recently bought a sleep aid with different fan sounds, which is a real blessing! I highly recommend it.
       
    16. Frayact

      Frayact Member

      Location:
      Greensboro, NC
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've posted my story in other threads, but this thread is specific to our common enemy.

      In April 1996, I started hearing a high-pitched hissing in my head. After countless medical and hearing tests and MRIs, no cause or abnormalities were found, and I had no hearing loss. Eventually, I habituated to it and was able to ignore it most of the time.

      A few months later, I started hearing (and feeling) a low-pitched hum, mainly in my right ear. This was the beginning of a downward spiral that nearly drove me to suicide. The humming was so loud, I couldn't sleep or enjoy anything in life. It was also reactive, meaning that it would get louder and more aggressive whenever I talked on the phone, strummed my acoustic guitar, or played music through my stereo. Another round of doctors and exams commenced, but absolutely nothing was revealed. My depression grew worse, and I didn't feel like the same guy I once was. The irony is, I had been an avid health activist who had been going to the gym regularly for nearly ten years, ate all the "right" foods, never smoked, drank, or did drugs in my life. But despite my conviction to living a clean life, I now wanted to end it all. The noise in my head also caused a physical sensation as if my inner ears and head were vibrating. It was very painful. Shaking my head from side to side would momentarily stop the humming. Like some of you have mentioned, sticking a finger in my ears would also block it. But as soon as I removed my finger, the humming was even louder. My brain would go looking for the hum over any masking.

      In 1999, I reluctantly got on an antidepressant. The first one I tried was Effexor XR. Miraculously, within a couple of weeks, the humming in my head faded away. And nothing revived it! I could do all my old activities again without fear of igniting that horrible hum. I thought I was free and clear. But in September of 2000, I woke up one morning only to be greeted by my old friend. The humming had returned for no discernible reason. One year of virtual silence (even though I still heard the high-pitched hissing), and now it was over. I increased the dosage of the Effexor, but that did no good. I eventually weened off it and tried other antidepresants (Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Wellbutrin), but none had any effect on me.

      In 2006, I tried a newer antidepressant called Lexapro. This was the most effective antidepressant I had tried. The humming in my head stayed away 95% of the time, and I felt like it was all behind me (again). I would occasionally have short relapses that got me down, but they only lasted a couple of weeks.

      Back on March 27 of this year, I had a relapse that trumped all the previous ones. The humming had returned with a vengeance after being silent for three years. Within a few days of its return, I fell back into that dark, bottomless well of despair. The first week, I barely ate anything, and I had no desire to even get out of bed. I had to force myself to fulfill to my daily obligations.

      I went to my doctor (who is the finest physician I've ever encountered in my 61 years) and told him what had been happening. He told me that 15 years is a long time to be on the same antidepressant. He said they can peter out after a few years. So he switched me to a newer one called Prestiq. I don't expect any miracles, but I'm hoping that the pattern I've experienced in the past 26 years of the relapses being temporary doesn't change. I don't want to be walking around feeling like the nightmare has returned for the rest of my life. But if it has, I'll have to persevere and take it one day at a time.
       
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    17. brynon

      brynon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have the exact thing happening to me, tinnitus made up of two alternating low frequency tones in one ear, driving me crazy - I could deal with one tone but the way it switches back and forth making me nuts. If I stick my finger or close my tragus then the sound stops - but not with ear plugs. Tinnitus started a week ago (right after I got a shingles vaccine booster, but that might be coincidental)... How are you doing with yours has there been any relief or any ideas or hope for the future...? Thanks.

      I haven't had any tinnitus before this or hearing damage. I do use earbuds a lot to listen to music, audiobooks and fall asleep with them on but very softly. This came out of the blue. I had triple heart bypass in February and changed my diet completely and taking beta blockers and Atorvastatin and baby aspirin every day for the heart disease. Just recovering nicely from the open heart surgery and then bam- this happens and it's making me feel very frustrated and depressed. I went to my GP who couldn't see anything obvious in my ear and referred me to ENT in three weeks. I'm glad I found this forum to discuss this with others that have the same symptoms, it gives me hope.
       
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    18. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I am sorry you are going through all the health problems.

      Mine still comes and goes as it pleases. When it is on, it is hell on earth, but luckily goes away. I am getting longer and more frequent "episodes" though...

      Unfortunately, I still don't know what causes it, went to many, many ENTs, neurologists, rheumatologists, they don't know either and don't care in the slightest bit: Tinnitus, just deal with it.

      Meds can cause tinnitus, but I suspect that our low hum is different than the subjective types of tinnitus. I have that too and the low hum behaves completely differently.
       
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    19. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      I too have seen many cases popping up.

      I have several theories that I’m working through. But first and foremost we need a way to be able to correctly determine if there is any hearing loss in that range. I’m not sure that a test currently exists even on extended audiograms. Which has made it hard to rule out the classic cause of hearing loss/damage.

      If we could see that correlation then we’d have a possible answer. Whether it’s treatable is another thing.

      Even if it’s not what we want to hear, I would personally like to at least know if it is noise or damage induced so we could avoid making it worse.

      Something many of us probably aren’t too weary of considering many of our perfect audiograms above 150 Hz.

      If it’s not hearing loss related, it could be a myriad of things. Some of which have been mentioned before, some of which haven’t.

      If it turns out to be loss related then its unique symptoms might simply be that hearing loss in the lower register/apex reacts differently to high loss due how vastly different and slower low frequency oscillations are.

      Think 80 oscillations per second vs 4000. This may play a role in why we can interact with it and its long length of inhibition - 2 traits unique to low-frequency tinnitus.

      People with high-frequency tinnitus can often get a few seconds/minutes of residual inhibition when playing the tone of their tinnitus. Whereas low-frequency tinnitus can have days of inhibition after a flight or going to a club. There might even be a formula that could correlate inhibition time and tinnitus frequency/oscillations.

      It could also be that low-frequency hearing responds more obviously to a temporary threshold shift from loud sounds. Which is why it comes back roughly a few days latter exposure (length of normal temporary threshold shifts after a club).

      We can look at all this more once we know if it is hearing loss related.

      If anyone has a sure fire ways to test, let me know. I’ll update everyone on a few other theories I’ve been looking into soon.
       
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    20. brynon

      brynon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thanks so much for your replies!

      Using this frequency generator, I have two alternating tones at 154 Hz and 218 Hz. They shift at random for seconds at a time. Moving my head or clenching my jaw has no effect. Sticking my finger in my ear stops the sound but not earplugs. I can't think of any event that provoked the symptoms initially but have completely changed my lifestyle/diet after my heart artery bypass surgery.

      Searching with Google about tinnitus sounds at these low frequencies gives very little information about what could be causing this. I see that higher pitches are much more common. Well hopefully my tests will shed more light on this and i will keep you up to date.
       
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    21. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      This is super interesting as I haven't seen many others with this type of reactive low-frequency tinnitus measure their frequency above 100 Hz. It's making me re-think a few things.

      As you probably know, regular (common tinnitus) doesn't stop when blocking the ear, talking etc or is inhibited for days from louder exposure.

      I would have categorized anything above 100 Hz or so as normal tinnitus, but this isn't clearly the case for you as it reacts the same as all of our ultra low-frequency tinnitus. I think this also unfortunately reduces the chances that this is a physical vibration such as a stapedius spasm. As you clearly move out of that vibrational range when you're hitting a tone of 218 Hz.
       
    22. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      • Like Like x 1
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    23. Frayact

      Frayact Member

      Location:
      Greensboro, NC
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Your symptoms and experiences are almost identical to mine. (I go into more detail in my post above).

      I just got home from work, and I can barely hear the humming. But as the night progresses, it will get louder and louder with or without noise exposure. Last night it wasn't that loud when I went to bed. But about an hour later, I woke up to the sound of a chainsaw in my head. I've spent 26 years wondering what causes this misery. But I'll probably go to my grave never knowing the answer(s). Medical science just hasn't gotten there yet.
       
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    24. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      It's pretty amazing that it has disappeared many times in your life though! You should have faith that it will continue to and while it's there you can manage it - playing the right masker at bed time for 2 hours etc. Focusing on enjoying life knowing it will soon be gone again.
       
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    25. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      Tegretol is not usually considered ototoxic in that it doesn’t cause damage to your hearing. Do you know what the incidence is of people reporting tinnitus while on Tegretol? I think that’s the thing that people need to look at when evaluating medication; the incidence rate. If even one person reported their ears started ringing when they took a medication they have to report it as a potential side effect. Is it listed as a common side effect? A rare side effect? I know for those of us with tinnitus we don’t want to put anything in our bodies we think is going to make is worse. This is Hell for many. Myself included. I happen to be taking an antacid (Famotidine) because I was having a lot of GERD. And I looked it up and sure enough people on the medication have reported having tinnitus. Then I looked at the incidence rate and it was very small. So while I know that the chances are very minimal that it would harm me or make my tinnitus worse, I’m now suffering from GERD risking esophageal cancer.♀️
       
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    26. Simona
      Sleepy

      Simona Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've also made a few observations in the last few weeks that I'd like to share (though I'm afraid there's no more active sharing here).

      So neither a special jaw therapy, nor a mouth guard have helped me, not even a little bit. I also tried Betahistine, also without success. Already a bit frustrated I went on vacation and had really almost given up all hope at this point. And lo and behold, my hum was completely gone for almost 3 weeks there. I know how that may sound: on vacation you are relaxed and stress-free, so not surprising. Unfortunately, the opposite was the case... my husband caught a nasty stomach flu and it was very stressful.

      What was very noticeable, however, was that the region we traveled through had a hot and dry desert climate. I was there 3x since I suffer from the hum, and it went away every time. But what influence does dry and hot weather have on our body? Does it promote blood circulation? Do the blood vessels contract? In any case, I will investigate this phenomenon... Of course, it could be another dead end, but I still can't and won't give up hope.

      Have others noticed a weather connection as well? It seems a bit far-fetched to me, and yet I do not classify my experience as a coincidence.
       
    27. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      My low hum is not constant and I have had bouts with it in every season, except summer. And it is most probably not because I am relaxed then, because I hate summer heat with a burning passion. I don't have an explanation either, this is just a personal anecdote.
       
    28. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      Hey, this is my experience on holidays too.

      I know I don’t notice my hum when spending more time outdoors which we do a lot more of on holidays.

      The constant roar of 45/50 dB background rumble helps keep it suppressed longer too. You’d be surprised if you bring a frequency meter outside - most of the background sound is under 100 Hz. Same in a car, same in a plane.

      So there is some connection with the ear being fed low frequencies that keeps the hum away.

      Side note:

      I noticed a few people on here got their hum around when they started over protecting in louder environments e.g., 30 dB + protection. I sometimes wonder if this causes some kind of imbalance as earplugs block high frequencies but not low frequencies under 150 Hz (which is why they don’t show that range on the packaging) and maybe that can cause an imbalance with how the ear/brain amplifies/suppresses bass sounds.

      I freaked out about high frequency tinnitus in 2020 which was a non-issue and consequently started wearing 35 dB earplugs in loud places, noise cancelling headphones whilst driving etc and coincidentally got the hum within a few months.

      Hard to know if it’s related but strange that this came on only 3/4 months after freaking out and protecting.
       
    29. JLH

      JLH Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I've noticed that after a flight, the hum goes away (or is inhibited) for a period of time. I've also noticed that just being in a louder environment (i.e. a restaurant or long car ride) can similarly suppress the hum once I return to a quieter setting (though not always). Perhaps on your vacation if you took a flight and were in louder settings, that could have caused the hum to go away?

      I work in a fairly quiet desk environment but I'm wondering if I played a low frequency noise generator in the 55-60 dB range, if that could replicate the airplane effect and keep the hum at bay. I'm not sure though if this could cause other issues / damage.
       
    30. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Nov 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Likely long term noise exposure, combined w pandemic stress
      It most definitely would, for many 55 dB would instantly stop it but the length of time it would suppress it varies depending on length of time and volume of the input. The answer in my experience is:

      30 minutes - 1 hour of louder (90 dB+) bass will suppress for days.

      Lower volume for longer lengths of time - 3 hour car ride or 8 hour flight (80 dB @ 60 Hz) can do the same.

      Ben Winders mentioned by sleeping with a 50/60 dB masker it kept it away the next day.

      The same effect can be achieved from spending time outdoors due to constant background noise/hum.

      Often the suppression effect doesn't go into action until after sleeping and the brain consolidates the input/activity.

      I, like you, am wondering whether temporary suppression = more damage. If the low hum is caused by damage, then going to bars/clubs with ear plugs, quite possibly. Being outside with background noise under 60-70 dB I can't imagine would.
       
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