Onset of Tinnitus After Using Noise Cancelling Headphones

Discussion in 'Support' started by HiFreq, Jul 20, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. HiFreq

      HiFreq Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/20/2015
      This year I have used my noise cancelling Bose headset every time I cut my lawn with my riding mower. And I had been using them at work at my desk. Suddenly, a few weeks ago I got tinnitus in my right ear. Has not gone away. I don't turn up the volume except when cutting the lawn.

      I'm wondering if there is a population of people with Tinnitus whose first onset was following the use of noise cancelling headphones. Naturally, this would be a difficult correlation to establish, but the web provides a potential medium for ferreting out such a cause / effect through a statistically significant common experience.

      I expect many will find the question rather odd, but the signal processing techniques used in these noise cancelling headphones are not perfect and I am wondering if they might mess with auditory nerve responses or subject ears to some kind of undue pressure.

      This is, of course, total conjecture at this stage. I want to use my headphone, but when I switch them on I notice a certain kind of pressure and it led to my wondering....

      Thank you,
      HiFreq
       
    2. Nucleo

      Nucleo Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2011
      Noise cancelling headphones are not substitutes for proper ear protection. I don't know how loud your lawnmower is but I strongly suspect this is the cause and not the headphones. Unless you've listened to music on the loud side of things with those headphones.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    3. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
    4. Beessie
      Relaxed

      Beessie Member

      Location:
      The Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      21-01-2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress? + badluck? Clubbing? IDK!
      My Tinnitus started on the same way.. When I was wearing my Noise cancelling headset and my desktop went out because by accident I pushed my foot on the red power button were my desktop is connected to.. I used Steelseries Siberia V2. Volume always on safe level
       
    5. ChrisJ

      ChrisJ Member Benefactor

      Location:
      London, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      PT since 1988. T with H since June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have been wearing noise cancelling headphones for maybe 10 years now and I have been wondering the same thing.

      They create a static pressure against the ear drum by playing the inverse wave of the external noises. I can't find any research on it but it creates a light pressure against the ear drum. Thinking back before my T got a lot worse 3 months ago there were times after wearing them where I would hear a slight noise, but it was so faint I didn't think about it.

      I would also have long sessions on Google hangouts wearing them and come after after speaking with them on with a similar headache and ringing that I now get permanently. I do not know if it was the noise cancelling headphones or whether it is something that would have happened anyway due to noise exposure but I had the same thought. I would often wear them without any music playing just to protect myself from environmental sounds like planes and traffic, which I appreciated at the time.
       
    6. Frank101

      Frank101 Member

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Same here. I have tinnitus for about 5 years now. Always a high tone and the same loudness. The last two years i'm using the Bose QC15 noise cancelling headphones. A really good headphone. Nice sound en really quiet. For one and a half year everything was fine. I used it almost every day. But since a couple of months the tinnitus got louder, alot louder.

      I checked everything and i’m starting to believe that the headphone is the cause. Now after a half houre use the tinnitus is getting louder. And it takes a couple of days to get softer again. Now i’m not using the anymore for a couple of weeks and the tinnitus is alot softer again.
       
    7. Paul N.

      Paul N. Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1991
      I am very interested in talking with everyone that has experienced tinnitus in one ear after using sound cancelling earphones. I had barely detectible tinnitus in both ears until I used noise cancellation earphones, and now have tinnitus so bad, I barely sleep more than a few hours at a time. I would like to hear from anyone with this problem, or the same issue to a more or less degree. I'm going to file a lawsuit on my own behalf (I'm a lawyer), but noticed that other people have suffered the same injury. Also, if anyone knows of professionals or scientist that can explain how the energy causes the damage without the perception of sound, that would help me a lot.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Fairy
      Cool

      Fairy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Well, interesting thread. They were saying on here Headphones are good for tinnitus.
      Oh well, you save $200.00.
       
    9. aniketpatil
      Balanced

      aniketpatil Member

      Location:
      Pune
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I always hated noise canceling headphones. It used to give me headache Everytime.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    10. Purple Parrot
      Bookworm

      Purple Parrot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2015 - 3/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multiple: anxiety, childhood ear infections, loud music
      I can't use noise cancelling headphones at all, they make me feel ill and unbalanced.

      Agree with one of the posters above that the lawn mower could be a culprit. You should use industrial ear muffs for ear protection and not noise cancelling headphones.

      Give your ears a rest and hopefully the tinnitus will clear up on its own.
       
    11. Nonna
      Barefooter

      Nonna Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/17/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Allergies
      I was wearing noise cancelling headphones plugged into my tv the morning my ear started to scream. I woke up, jumped up to the sound of a crowd laughter, and my screaming ear. Threw off the headphones in a panic. Went to Dr said I had middle ear fluid. Almost 3mos in I'm not sure which is the cause. My ear is better even though it is still there sometimes, causing me anxiety. I threw out all my noise cancelling headphones, and all my earplugs.
       
    12. jeanb

      jeanb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noice Reduction ?
      Hi there

      I bought noise cancelling headphones two weeks ago.
      The main reason I bought them was to protect my ears from every days life noise (not really for music). I had no problem with my ears at all before.

      Three days ago I got woken up by a noise in my left ear. It never happened before. I did stop using my earphones but the noise is still here. I'm a bit scared.
       
    13. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      I see a danger in NC when you wear them inside a car and slam the door or there is a sudden change of air pressure like driving inside a tunnel - they in turn create a strong pressure wave that hits the drum real hard and may cause permanent damage.
      I noticed this everytime I was wearing my bose 15
       
    14. thomasbaker

      thomasbaker Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi everyone,

      I was diagnosed with tinnitus a month ago. I noticed it a month before on a low level in a realy quite environment (right ear). Ringing got a bit louder since but has never been annoying or realy noticeable (also left ear joined in on lower level). Now what got me on this forum is rather loud ringing after using akg n60 noise cancelling earphones for four days. They also made me a bit nauseous and I feel pressure on eardrums when not playing music. I kept using them because I red of few forums that people got over nausea in some time. Also they did a realy good job at office by cancelling and muting noise. I will not use them now for some days and see if ringig will subdue. Probably will take them back to store.
       
    15. Hillyman

      Hillyman Member

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      Spring 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise cancelling headphones?
      This past week or so, I've started to notice that I have a high pitched hiss in both my ears. About a month ago, I git a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones (the model with the silicone buds in the ears), and while I cannot prove it, I have the sense that using them might have something to do with getting this hiss. The reason is that when I turn the headphones on without any music, there is the feeling that my years are somehow being tampered with, as if the ear's sound detecting systems are tamped down. (The in-ear silicone buds seem to make this effect more pronounced.) I've never had any problems with my hearing before. I'm going to stop using those headphones and see if the hiss can fade away by itself.
       
    16. Hillyman

      Hillyman Member

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      Spring 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise cancelling headphones?
      Further to my comment yesterday, I have a conjecture (100% pure speculation) that the hissing in my ears after the the use of the noise cancelling earbuds (Bose QC20) is due to a--for lack of a better word--"panic" response by the auditory system. With the noise cancelling on, the dead silence is very striking when you first try it on. Much like people having hallucinations when they are in a sensory deprivation chamber, the brain starts to "hallucinate" to the dead silence by creating a hiss as a way to ground the auditory system--it senses this dead silence as the underlying layer as you listen to the music through the earbuds. So a way to reverse this would be to listen to very good music through regular speakers (ironically through a regular Bose sound system!) but with attention, to remind the brain that the normal auditory landscape has not disappeared.
       
    17. hartje5
      Wishful

      hartje5 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      4 december 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Verapamil, Flecainide, Apixaban, stress
      I tried noise canceling headphones from my nefew when I had mild tinnitus. Had to take them off because it brought my T to my attention (I had completely habituated to that T).

      I was wondering now I have big T o_O if they would be ok to use at work (I work in noisy office but am on sick leave now). Reading this thread made me decide not to.
       
    18. Hopeful1
      Depressed

      Hopeful1 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud Music
      @Hillyman Go to a wood and listen to birds songs and you might be cured..it goves me relief
       
    19. Aaron Muentz

      Aaron Muentz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1985
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ACDC concert
      I have had T since 1985 (ACDC concert) but I'm fairly certain that noise cancelation headphones made it worse. I could always hear ringing in both ears at all times, but after using noise cancelation six years ago the ringing because harder to ignore. I gave away that pair of earphones. However, last week, after hearing that earbuds are worse for hearing than full ear cuffs, I briefly looked up information on NT. I read a web site that said they would not make hearing worse. However, I tried them at work (to drowned out the sound of copy machines) at first they sounded great, but fairly quickly the ringing sound seemed to be louder. I thought it was all in my head, the quietness just made me notice it more. However, today when I went on my break after wearing the headphones for a second day it was very obvious to me that the ringing in both ears had become louder. There must be something about the technology that only effects a certain type of T. I'm going to go back to putting an ear bud in one ear with gun range ear protection over the ear bud to block out sound.
       
    20. ErikR

      ErikR Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I've had tinnitus for many years now, likely caused from exposure to loud music (I've been in bands for 30 years now). Typically I wear earplugs when going to concerts, but usually don't when I play, as it is isn't all that loud. So regarding noise-cancelling headphones - YES - I am a firm believer that they are responsible for inducing tinnitus! It literally just happened to me (again) sitting here on a quiet day...thus why I did a search and found this forum. I was listening with a good pair of Sennheiser Momentums, which sound great, and at a very very low level, but it only took about 2 songs for it to kick in. The persistent ringing and loss of all higher frequencies...just in one ear though, and surprisingly, the ear that is typically LESS susceptible to tinnitus. Wish there was a scientific study about this - and warnings if proven true. I don't see how it could NOT be true though....
       
    21. DebInAustralia

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Team Research

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
      Tinnitus Since:
      30/12/13
      Blocking external input to your brain is going to crank up your internal gain i think? Hence, louder t percept
       
    22. thomasw80

      thomasw80 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      No idea
      I found this site just today as my tinnitus has become louder over the last couple of weeks. I was looking for information on the subject. I have had tinnitus for many years but have been able to deal with it as it was not that disruptive to my daily life. The one thing that has change in my daily routine is that I have been looking for a good pair of Bluetooth headphones (thanks Apple for removing the headphone jack : ) ). The headphones I have been trying are all ANC (active noise cancelling) headphones. I use regular open back headphones all the time without issue. But it "seems" as if these new ANC headphones may have affected my Tinnitus. At this point I will be returning the two pair I'm trying out and wait and see if the Tinnitus subdues. I thought it was ironic that after getting my login for this site, the welcome email said I was entered into a drawing for (you guessed it) a set of "Nose Cancelling Headphones)!
       
    23. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @thomasw80
      Sorry to hear your tinnitus has become more intrusive and I hope it calms down soon. I don't recommend anyone that has tinnitus, especially if it was caused by loud noise, to listen to audio of any type through headphones, no matter low the volume is set. Some people with tinnitus do use headphones without any problems and that's fine but It is something I strongly advise against.
      Michael
       
    24. GregCA
      Crappy

      GregCA Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      I use Bose ANC headphones (Quiet Comfort) regularly and haven't noticed any change in my T. When I don't play anything in them and just use the noise cancelling feature, T seems louder, which I attribute to the lack of other sounds drowning it (it's the same as when I plug my ear).
       
    25. Noproblemtillnow

      Noproblemtillnow Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-cancelling headphones
      I always thought noise-cancelling headphones were a great idea. But I had never tried them until about 2 weeks ago. I don't have any (known) hearing loss, have not been exposed to unusually loud noises, and had never had tinnitus. But we switched to 'Skype for business' at work using noise-cancelling headphones. The very first call I made lasted perhaps one minute. When I took the headphones off I immediately noticed an hissing sound in my ears which I quickly worked out was not coming from outside me. It went away after a while, but the next time I made a call, the moment I put the headphones on the hissing came back. Our IT department turned the noise-cancelling volume down (I believe) to zero, and since then I have used only one of the two headphones when making the few phone calls I have made. But a few nights ago I was at home, it was fairly quiet, and the hissing came back without any trigger. Last night I woke up around 4am and had the same hissing. And I have it now.

      I suspect the contributor to this thread who wrote that if you cancel out external noise you increase your 'internal gain' may be right - the ears/brain strain to hear a sound and create one (or if there is one already there which has been tuned out until that point, tune in to it). And now, once in a while, I involuntarily listen to see if I can hear the hissing again, which I suspect brings it on/magnifies it.

      So I am extremely hacked off with the noise-cancelling headphones! And hoping that there is a way of tuning out so as to get rid of the tinnitus (my own diagnosis - I have not seen anyone about it yet - but it seems indubitable to me). I suspect any such treatment would have to be psychological/therapeutic in nature. Has anyone got any comments or suggestions?
       
    26. Aaron Muentz

      Aaron Muentz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1985
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ACDC concert
      I am certain that noise-cancelling headphones made my tinnitus worse. I've had tinnitus for many years and I am aware of how my ears react to noise. Normally I wear gun range ear protection over regular earbuds to block out noise so I can keep the volume low. After just one day of using the Bose noise canceling headphones the ringing in my ears became louder and after 3 months my ringing is still worse even though I stopped using the headphones.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    27. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      If your tinnitus was caused by loud noise exposure, in my opinion you are taking a risk of making it worse when listening to audio through headphones even at low volume. It is true, some people that have "noise induced" tinnitus, use headphones and notice no difference in their tinnitus. However, I don't think it is a good idea.
      Tinnitus comes in many different levels of severity. When it is loud and intrusive it can be seriously debilitating. I have counselled people in distress when their tinnitus has become worse due to headphone use even when the volume was low. Why anyone would want to take such a risk with their health, and use headphones is completely beyond me.
      Michael
       
    28. Hab
      Curious

      Hab Member

      Location:
      jordan
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Noise cancelling headphones will not make tinnitus worse unless ofcourse you pump some music through them. I've been using them for about two years with no change in tinnitus, I only use them without music to block out noise in airplanes and other noise places and they work great.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    29. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      This phase inversion stuff is highly unnatural, that alone will make me stay away , apart from the fact that after years of audio engineering i am highly sensitive to phase , makes me want to throw up.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    30. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      You did not experience this worsening so no one will ? That's not how it is, unfortunately. Many people report a worsening of their T after the use of noise-cancelling headphones (with no music).
       
      • Informative Informative x 1

Share This Page

Loading...
If you have ringing ears then you've come to the right place. We are a friendly tinnitus support board, dedicated to helping you discuss and understand what tinnitus treatments may work for you.