Tinnitus Caused By White Noise App on iPhone 6? (One Ear Only)

Discussion in 'Support' started by Brian Walker, Feb 24, 2016.

    1. Brian Walker

      Brian Walker Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      About two and a half years ago, I was being woken up often by the neighborhood dogs barking throughout the night. While I tried to run fans at their highest settings in order to block out the noise, I was not getting any relief.

      I decided to try a white noise app for my iPhone in order to block out the barking noises. This is the app that I have been using (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/white-noise-free-sleep-sounds/id292987597?mt=8) and I always used the "Crickets" sound — as it was always soothing. I put it on the floor next to my bed about three or four feet away.

      While I still got woken up from the dogs' barking at times, my sleep was much more restful and I felt as though I was falling asleep much more quickly. The highest I ever ran the white noise app was at 50% of the iPhone's volume. The MAJORITY of the time I ran it between 35% to 45%. This was for eight hours every single night for two and a half years.

      Since it was under 50% of the iPhone's speaker volume and it did not seem overly loud, I never thought much of it. I had always heard that listening to an iPod or iPhone with earphones at loud volumes was dangerous, but the idea of damage from listening at a volume under 50% using the speakers never even registered to me.

      Around two weeks ago, I was in a quiet room and noticed a hiss in my right ear only. My OCD instantly kicked in. In addition to the hiss, I can ear intermittent ringing in the background. The ringing is hard to explain, but the volume is not constant and there appears to be breaks in it. The hiss is more of like a static sound, and it doesn't really bother me.

      I had an appointment with my primary doctor the other day. He said both of my ears look fine. There is no excess wax and no signs of any infection. I have an appointment scheduled with an audiologist and ENT next week.

      I have always hated loud noises and only attended a few concerts in my life — the last being at least six years ago. From 21-26, I was probably in loud bars at least 50 times. My ears would ring after, but the ringing never persisted. I have never played an instrument and rarely in my life listened to music via headphones or earbuds (they never fit in my ears).

      I remember last June when my power went out for a week, I laid in my bed in complete silence a lot. There was no ringing, so I am guessing and hoping that the ringing is fairly new and that I just didn't notice it before.

      Since I have not been to a concert in years and rarely go to loud bars these days, I am guessing the cause is not from a sudden loud sound.

      I decided to download a Decibel meter on my iPhone in order to try and figure out how loud the white noise app is. Since the Decibel meter app lowered the white noise app a tad when I open the meter, I have to then adjust my volume to try and match the sound of what I run my white noise app at. I feel as though I found the range, and it appears I have been listening to the white noise at 74-82 decibels every night for eight hours.

      I am shocked that the white noise app produces such a loud decibel amount at less than 50%! I am done with the app now, but is it possible that eight hours a day of 74-82 decibels over a two and a half year period could contribute to my tinnitus and possible hearing loss? I am seriously furious with myself that I was listening to it as loud as I was. It never hurt my ears and I could talk to people at a comfortable volume, so I never thought anything of it :(

      * I lift weights a few days a week and often my right ear —the problem ear— will sort of pop or get clogged. When I breath I will hear the air coming through that ear for around 20-30 minutes until the ear returns to normal. It is a weird sensation but the ear that I am hearing the ringing in seems to always feel a bit more fuller too and prone to issues with getting clogged.

      - Ran white noise app on iPhone 6 for 2 and a half years at 35% to 50% of the phone's volume via the speakers.
      - Noticed a hiss and a ringing in the distance two weeks ago in my right ear only
      - Primary Doctor said my ears look fine and there is no excess wax/infection.
      - I am seeing an Audiologist/ENT next week.
      - From a Decibel Meter app it appears as though the white noise app was running between 74-82 decibels.
      - My problem ear also feels fuller and gets clogged in the gym when I do not breath properly.
    2. EddieMar

      EddieMar Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wish I knew
      What was the diagnosis?
    3. AaronRoger

      AaronRoger Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      White and Brown noise
      Hi Brian,

      I created an account just so I could post to your thread and add some info.
      Like you, I was tired of not sleeping too much and got insomnia due to flatmates banging the door in the middle of the night, so I was so ecstatic and really happy I found a solution from youtube (so I thought) - white noise and brown noise! (and any other colored noise, I tried them all). First, I used the fan at maximum, even put something in between like a paper to get hit by the propeller and make brrrrrr sounds, but it didn't help, so I tried these colored noises, downloaded all of them, and for a couple of years, used them as often as possible esp. at night, so at least 8 hours a day. First, the white noise seemed to cause minor tinnitus, so I switched to brown noise because of the minimal hissing and better bass. This went on for a year. I noticed then that both of my ears are now having tinnitus, but I thought this would just be temporary. Later, I found out that it is getting worse, so I searched youtube again and found a CAVE noise, something similar to these colored noises but much more "contained", so I've used it for 6 months, but at this time I've been switching to both brown and cave noise.

      One night I woke up with a ringing sound that got me alarmed! The earphones got off of my ears. but the ringing sound was a bit loud that it got me alarmed and worried! I stopped using these noises thru earphones for a week but instead switched to an external speaker that covered the whole room, in a moderate noise level. The ringing hasn't gone away, so I switched to nature sounds and use the earphones again, but can't sleep as well because I was not used to these sound, so I switched to using earplugs, then use brown noise but using my headphones. So you see, I have earplugs together with headphones (not earphones because the don't have any space in my ear to hold on to...) while listening to brown noise. That gave me a bit of relief for a couple of nights, but the tinnitus is now irritating when I use earplugs, so I switched back to external speakers again.

      Point being, these colored noises DEFINITELY causes Tinnitus! I never had one before, but now I'm afraid this could be for life when I've been using these colored noises for only 3 years!

      For anyone who think of using one of these colored noises or something similar, PLEASE DON'T!.

      I even advised my sis to use one of these since she was having issues with neighbor's and our own dogs barking at night, to my regret! So I immediately advised her to stop and and thank God she didn't use these colored noises frequently.

      I hope you found a solution to cover/mask the external/environment sound so you can post it here and I can use it to get a goodnight's sleep.

      Keep us posted of the findings.

    4. Nikopol

      Nikopol Member

      Bratislava, Slovenská republika
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (sinuses, stress or cervical...doc opinions differ)
      Hi Aaron,

      just wondering because you wrote that you have been listening to white and brown noise for 3 years with headphones - is it possible that prolonged exposure to this, or any, kind of noise is what caused T as opposed to specific white and brown noise by damaging ear drums or even inner ear? Just two questions regarding that - at whole noise level have you been listening to? And what did audiometry said? Do you have any hearing loss at certain frequencies?

      Hi Brian:

      Expose to that level of noise for 8 hours a day for prolonged amout of time can certainly damage your ears. Just to explain - 80dB is equivalent to freight train running at average speed 15 meters from where you stand. Results of audiology would bring much more light to the manner, but hopefully yours wont be permanent. Just for now, probably best that if you use white noise, or any noise, that during night you keep it below 70, even best if you try at 60 if you have trouble falling asleep with current T.
    5. Ghazy

      Ghazy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3 yrs
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anti mosquitoes app in iPhone
      I listen to white noise daily because of tinnitus, mine was caused also by iPhone's mosquito repellent app. I am furious about too. Can we sue apple or the app company? My wife got too, 8 hours of 20k did the damage.

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