Onset of Tinnitus After Using Noise Cancelling Headphones

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

    1. Roscoe22

      Roscoe22 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/3/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NC headphones
      Hi Everyone,

      I received the Bose A20 aviation NC headset as a gift at Christmas. I am a pilot and have been flying for 18 years using regular aviation headsets. On Jan 3rd, I flew a 2.5 hour flight with the Noise canceling activated on the headset. Ever since this flight I have had ringing in my ears and pressure. At times it feels like my ears are going to pop but they will not clear. This has lead to dizziness and at times even vertigo and nausea. I found this forum after doing a google search. I will be returning the headset as any device that could potentially cause a pilot vertigo has no reason to be in an aircraft. This is very alarming to me. Interesting to hear that others have had similar experiences. I am hoping that over time the symptoms go away. My ears are ringing as I type this post. What a terrible experience. Headed to get acupuncture tomorrow.
       
    2. Kelvin Smith

      Kelvin Smith Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Dec-17
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NC headphones
      I was using cheap regular USB headphone for about 6 weeks without problems. Got some QC35 as they sounded great in the store. Used them and after a few days I had a whistling in my ears. This has not gone away. Everytime I use the headphones the whistle get more noticeable but quite downs when I have not used them for a few days.

      It could just be a coincidence, but I believe that they have caused my permanent T. I'm going to stop using them altogether, now spring is on its way, to see what happens long term but I will miss the 'quality' of the music you get using them. I only use them on up to half volume.

      I have suffered with T after going to concerts. It normally lasts about 1-2 days but has always gone away...
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    3. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      When I use my (NC) headphones on my Mac, I find half volume to be too loud. Perhaps that explains your problem.
      The good news about NC headphones is that you don't have to play music loud as there is no need to drown outside noises, since the NC technology does that for you.
       
    4. Starthrower
      Wtf

      Starthrower Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2002
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Dental Surgery

      You may want to look into BPPV.


      http://vestibular.org/understanding...isorders/benign-paroxysmal-positional-vertigo

      The dizziness and nausea are usually symptoms of this disorder. In short little crystals become dislodged and move into the ear area.

      Since you are a pilot I tried to find a good site to explain the disorder.

      The headphones could possibly be defective. But do stop using them if you believe this is the cause for your symptoms. Defective headphones can sometimes put out this weird high pitch noise.

      I have not had an issue myself and use them for my therapy. I did have the BPPV after a dental procedure not too long ago. All of a sudden the room started spinning. I felt sick.

      Good luck!!
       
    5. Roscoe22

      Roscoe22 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/3/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      NC headphones
      Thanks for the information! In the last few weeks my conditions are much improved! I have been using standard aviation headsets or worst case, NC headsets but leaving the NC feature off for the flight. Although this leads to more noise, the discomfort is gone after the flights, and I have not had vertigo at all. Seems like it may have been a defective headset or just my reaction to them.
       
    6. Lyph
      Question it

      Lyph Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Plantronics Savi 720 NC??
      I too never had an issue a consistent issue with tinnitus till I started a IT position at a call center with about 10 other staff members in area and I work from home 2-3 days a week. I utilize Plantronics Savi720 (both ears). I have had this position for 4 years and notice all other staff members have hearing issues. I researched call centers and see this is a common occurrence. I am notorious for complaining about others speaking loudly and for my volume on the phone being turned down to low when someone sits at the same desk. I specifically keep it very low.

      I have had the occasional ringing after a loud show 20 yrs ago with no known residual effect. But I have always since about 12 yrs old (read a noise level chart that scared me. mower =dbs airplane=dbs walkman=dbs etc) and have very protective of my ears. (ear plugs plus ear protection headset mowing grass).

      I started researching to see if the headset itself could be causing the issue and this was closest I could find to my inquiry. Was actually surprised when I saw the thread spanned more than a few posts and a few years.

      • I can't help the nawing thought I have never had this issue before. Even if I work at home for all shifts will the headset still be the demise of my hearing and if should I look for another position sans headset sooner than later.?
      • So ultimately, I wonder if the Noise Cancellation process of these devices are causing unknown/untested damage that may be masked by incorrect assumption that it is the high environmental background noises or Acoustic Shock etc.??? (Any studies found yet? Not holding my breath to get one from manufacturers)
       
    7. Tom G

      Tom G Member

      Location:
      Switzerland
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise cancelling headphones... possibly
      My Tinnitus (left side only. high pitch whine) started the same day I wore my new noise cancelling headphones. I did not listen at high volume and have never been exposed to loud noise sources through work or pleasure.
      I have always had supersensitive hearing, able hear a very wide spectrum at very low levels.

      I noticed the whine when trying to sleep but over several weeks it reduced.
      I visited a specialist who confirmef the condition and suggested many causes. I mentioned the headphones and my suspicion about the timing but she had never heard of tinnitus being linked to headphones.
      Many people do not appear to have any problems at all but i think there is enough people posting here and other furums who also appear to find a correlation with either changes to an existing condition or in triggering the onset of tinnitus to advise caution.
      I think the manufacturers should include warnings about some risk or prove otherwise.
       
    8. jsweaz

      jsweaz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I purchased Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Wireless, Noise Cancelling Headphones back in October of 2017 for the sole purpose of using them while I work as an application developer in an open-style office environment. I typically do not play music at all and when I do it is low volume level. Almost immediately I started complaining about tinnitus in my left ear only, but didn't make the correlation with the headphones right away. I had a hearing test at my physician's office and according to them have not experienced any hearing loss. My doctor mentioned that it would be stress-related or due to a lack of sleep.

      I have never had any hearing issues or tinnitus prior to owning noise cancelling headphones.
       
    9. Ento
      Wishful

      Ento Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Northern Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma? Stress? Both?
      Could it be the noise cancelling headphones are more quiet than ordinary ones, and that some people notice a T that was there previously but was masked by background noise?
       
    10. Contrast
      No Mood

      Contrast Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      in a better place
      Tinnitus Since:
      late 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise injury
      Complete total silence for a long period of time can induce tinnitus due to the brain increasing neuronal activity to compensate for the lack of auditory input. Noise cancelling headphones can induce this
      http://www.tinnitus.org/HB_Nov00.pdf

      However it is always suppose to go away soon after hearing is restored. (or atleast in the majority of cases in which the brain isn't stupid)
      upload_2018-6-19_15-40-41.png

      Because you mentioned balance disorders like vertigo itclearly indicates you have damage to your vestibular system (for balance) which is right on top of the cochlea that allows you to hear. If vestibular crystals and hair cells are damaged it could also be likely you have hearing loss
      logspot.com%2F-qZJZok1klmI%2FT9JaztNtk_I%2FAAAAAAAAJw8%2FvelxM0upYhM%2Fs1600%2FVestibular_System.jpg

      Maybe you had prior hearing damage because of something else in life or noise cancelling headphones volume may have been too loud when listening to music.

      Hidden Hearing Loss: M. Charles Liberman PhD

      Here is research that suggest you most likely have hearing loss even if a 0-8000hz tonal audiogram (only measuring the human voice range without background noise) does not detect it.

      The only proven cause of tinnitus is hearing loss but neck/jaw disorders may be a own separate trigger
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4208401/

      Don't use headphones anymore, masking can help the annoyance of tinnitus, practice mindfulness and stress relief.
      melatonin and Clonazepam may help reduce the volume of tinnitus.

      https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20060224/melatonin-pills-may-help-ease-tinnitus
      Melatonin
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22626945
      Clonazepam (Klonopin)

      Future clincial trials which may significantly reduce or even cure tinnitus
      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/new-university-of-michigan-tinnitus-discovery-—-signal-timing.2805/
      Vagus nerve stimulation that targets areas in the brain producing tinnitus

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/frequency-therapeutics-—-hearing-loss-regeneration.18889/
      a Hearing loss regeneration trial that is showing impressive results which may cure tinnitus

      https://cochlearpro.com/

      More research news on hearing loss, vestibular disorders tinnitus and more above.
       
      • Like Like x 1
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      • Informative Informative x 1
    11. Lyph
      Question it

      Lyph Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      6/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Plantronics Savi 720 NC??
      Thanks for the replies. will have to take some time to digest that info.
       
    12. addot

      addot Member

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      Jan 2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      So, I thought I'd chime in with my experience because, even though this post is years old, this is one of the first google hits for "active noise canceling tinnitus." As such, I know folks often read through these posts looking for information. I know I do.

      I have noise-induced T & H. A while ago I got a pair of Sennheisers BTNC 4.50s at a very good price. I used them mainly to distract myself while washing the dishes and commuting to work. I live in a small town (so traffic noise levels aren't absurd) and my commute is pretty short (< 20 minutes total, to and from). I used the headphones for about two weeks. I rarely wore them for longer than an hour a day and kept the volume low at all times. How low? To give you an idea, I tried to set up the volume so that I could hear people speaking in the library if they were sitting at a table close to me.

      After those two weeks, I noticed a significant increase in my noise sensitivity and feeling of pressure/hotness in the ears. I took a break from the headphones and my ears went back to baseline in a couple of days.

      In the following week, I decided to try the headphones again, this time with the ANC turned off. I experienced the same symptoms. Again, after a couple of days, my ears went back to baseline and remain so until now.

      On the weeks where I used the headphones, I slept pretty poorly and drank lots of coffee I know, not recommended, but it's crunch time at work, unfortunately. However, I also drank lots of coffee and didn't get good sleep on the week I quit using the headphones, and my T & H still improved. Literally, the only factor that changed was headphone use.

      I myself don't know what to make of this story. I am inclined to agree that the inner-ear is origin-agnostic: a soundwave is a soundwave, no matter if it came from bookshelf speakers or headphones. I know that my story seems unscientific, but in any case, I thought I'd share it.

      So what is my conclusion? I'd rather let folks decide, while also encouraging anyone to take my story with a huge grain of salt. After all, T & H are known to fluctuate: sometimes you get good weeks, sometimes you get bad weeks, and maybe this is all just a huge coincidence. However, I am not inclined to experiment any further and will return the headphones.
       
    13. Jatin Gupta

      Jatin Gupta Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Cancelling Headphones
      Bose QC35 have really been the onset of Tinnitus for me. I listened to them for 10 minutes without any music and my head just didn't feel right.
      I took the headphones off, and started feeling wobblin vision. I go to sleep and next day I have Tinnitus. It has been almost 4 weeks now and there is no improvement in the situation.
      Can anyone who has faces this situation provide an update on it. If you were able to get some relief, kindly share what you did. Really appreciate the help.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    14. K10spot

      K10spot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3 days
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise cancelling headphones
      Hello, I have just started using some bluetooth noise-canceling headphones and the ringing in my ears is now horrible after only a few days of use at regular levels. Have you had any luck filing a lawsuit on this issue?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    15. SannaK

      SannaK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I also have (had) Bose. Now I also have a high pitched constant tinnitus. I never had tinnitus before using noise cancelling headphones. I have not listened music louder than before, so I started wondering why it suddenly came and went this bad. Who knows, but I wish there were studies about this...
       
    16. Ray van der Heij

      Ray van der Heij Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possible NCH, QC15.
      My own personal experience...

      I'm an airline pilot and I've used my Bose QC15 with a mic attachment since 2011.
      Over the years Tinnitus slowly started to creep in at times but after a short while it always went away again.

      Since about a year or two my tinnitus stays longer and longer until now it's just there.
      There were still periods of almost silence but they've gone away the last few months.
      I noticed that my left hear has a much louder tone than my right ear and my yearly medical confirms this.
      I never put two and two together until it struck me... I usually only have the left cup on my ear, the ear that is now the loudest tone... and so I started to look for a link, and I found it here.

      It's not an exact science I understand, not proven at all, but it's a LOT of coincidence in my case.
      I'm leaving my QC15 off from now and if that should help, I surely will report it here and so chip in on the proof, if there is any.
       
    17. JCNYC

      JCNYC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Feb 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi everyone,

      I am a newbie here. The reason that I found this forum is because I am suspicious that my Bose NC headphone caused my tinnitus and temporary hearing loss.
      I had my first onset tinnitus this February, after purchased my first Bose NC headphone, and used it on a flight (I only used my NC headphone on the plane), Since then, I had two other episodes and always about a week after using the headphone on flights. I did recall that the first time I used the headphone, there was this weird dull sensation/pressure in my ear that was similar to the feelings that I got from my onset tinnitus.

      Granted, there were other trips that I took using headphone that did not trigger the Tinnitus & hearing loss this year. But as the doctors that I saw have no explanations to what triggered my tinnitus/hearing loss, I am trying to connecting the dots myself.

      Just want to share my experience here and hope to find more resources on the forum.
       
    18. MRItechssuck
      Disappointed

      MRItechssuck Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Mild 2000-2018 sev 10/17/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise, MRI
      If your headphones didn’t malfunction, I can’t see how they would be the cause.

      Many people get noise induced tinnitus (like me), other have it from drugs (even ibuprofen is considered ototoxic), and some get it from an infection and some unknown.

      I’d keep researching and realize many people have mild tinnitus from normal noise exposure over years, mine is mod-severe. PSA... MRIs require ear plugs plus muffs...

      Good luck.
       
    19. DITB

      DITB Member

      Location:
      Hong Kong
      Tinnitus Since:
      2018 (unsure)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. I have started to suspect ANR technology ..
      I got a set of Bose QC20 recently. They really work well but my almost non-existant tinnitus has now become much worse.

      For this phenomena, I don't think it's about the volume you play music or other sounds. I have it suspected that for processing the noice cancelling at lower frequencies, higher frequencies are used for controlling/monitoring the ANR function. For my Bose QC20, I found this frequency to be exactly 16KHz. This happens to be the same frequency that I have my newly found tinnitus.

      If you have a pair of Bose QC20, and a Macbook with 3.5mm output for audio (maybe a PC laptop will work too?), then you can test it yourself this way:

      1) Find a page searching for "AudioNotch Tuner"
      2) Plug in your Bose QC20 to the audio port
      3) Move the slider to around 16000Hz (just above or below)
      4) Set the volume on the page to just under 50%
      5) Turn the volume on your computer up until you can hear something
      6) Change the frequency around 16000Hz.

      You should find there is a "differential frequency" around 16000Hz, indicating that a 16000Hz tone is generated from the ANR circuitry of the QC20.

      My concern is that the QC20 is pumping 16000Hz into our ears - but most of us cannot hear it as our hearing at this frequency is not very good. The Difference Frequency, though, should be easy to hear, as it's the difference between your chosen frequency and ... that frequency the Bose is somehow making ...

      So, if you think your ANR headset is accelerating your tinnitus, have a look into this ...
       
    20. HeavyMantra
      Bugridden

      HeavyMantra Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2017. Worsened 10/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphones and/or HPPD?
      My best friend had very mild T for 10 years, after 6 months of light use of noise cancelling headphones he has moderate T...

      Not sure that's the cause because he's on heavy meds and other things, but I don't think it's a coincidence
       
    21. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      What is a "differential frequency"?
      I'm not aware of any pilot tune as a result of ANC.
       
    22. DITB

      DITB Member

      Location:
      Hong Kong
      Tinnitus Since:
      2018 (unsure)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. I have started to suspect ANR technology ..
      If you play two tones at the same time, they mix up to create other tones. The best examples are DTMF from telephones, or the similar SELCAL system for HF communications (and others). Two engines of a twin engined aircraft - if they run at almost the same RPM, you can hear that wow-wow-wow sound. The closer the rpm, the slower the wow. If the "wow" frequency is around 1 wow per second, then the frequency of the engines are 1 Hz apart. When they are exactly the same, the wow stops. Engine synchonizers, where one engine is master and the other is slave, are used to reduce the wow (as it can be unpleasant). Even further, sychro-phasers, which no only synchronize them but even phase them (just like ANR!) so the noise is at a minimum.

      When you mix two tones, you get one frequency that is the difference, and one that is the sum. Also some other ones, certain harmonics. When you add more than two tones, or it's a complicated sound (like that of an orchestra), it get a lot more complicated.

      Play two tones of 400Hz and 500Hz. You now get tones of 100Hz and 900Hz as well.

      For the Bose QC20, it seems it's using a 16KHz signal, possibly to measure and control the ANR function. Bose might have thought that no-one can hear it, or no-one will notice. But maybe that tone is causing tinnitus at ... 16KHz ... if it's on all the time, that is a lot of exposure.
       
    23. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      Can you use/activate NC headphones with no music or sound playing at all?
       
    24. Sven
      Tired

      Sven Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Yes, you can. (At least on my model. Sony WH-1000XM3).
       
    25. Sven
      Tired

      Sven Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Isn't it quite likely that it's the quiet that triggers the idea of worse (or existing) tinnitus? I don't see how NC headphones could cause new tinnitus by themselves.

      Not that I have much experience of them, since I've only had mine for less than a week and only used them for a total of maybe 5 minutes.
       
    26. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      They don't. But, if you play music on them and you turn up the volume especially as a way to further block out outside noise....
       
      • Creative Creative x 1
    27. Sven
      Tired

      Sven Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Then you're not very bright...
       
    28. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      No, I've read stuff from practices where people do 30 days of silent meditation underground, and I've read all sorts of bizarre things happening as a result but it doesn't seem to cause tinnitus... On the other hand, people capable of that kind of discipline might be a lot less apt to see tinnitus as anything more than a boring sensory phenomenon that's just as transient as the rest of Saṃsāra
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    29. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      OK, I think what you are talking about is combination tones. When you say "you get tones of 100 Hz and 900 Hz", you should really say "you hear tones of 100 Hz and 900 Hz". There is actually no energy at 100 Hz and 900 Hz in the sound signal. The reason you hear those tones even though they are not in the signal is explained in the link I provide above:

      Sum and difference tones are thought to be caused sometimes by the non-linearity of the inner ear. This causes intermodulation distortion of the various frequencies which enter the ear. They are combined linearly, generating relatively faint components with frequencies equal to the sums and differences of whole multiples of the original frequencies.


      We perceive those tones, but they do not exist - physically speaking - in the resulting sum signal: a spectral analysis would only show energy at 400 Hz and 500 Hz.

      I do not have the QC20 headphones to run experiments, but you could, if you had a mic, sample the output of the headphones and run a Fourier transform to get the spectral distribution graph to see if there is any unexpected tone in the signal. Audacity is a free piece of software that would let you do that.

      Good luck!
       
    30. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      Are you trying to insult me? I am saying what other people have done.

      I wouldn't say that about people even if I thought it was foolish. It's sad that someone might unwisely risk getting worse - such as going to concerts or clubs with tinnitus. Keep unkind thoughts to yourself because many of us have made mistakes even stupid ones.
       

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