Tinnitus in Head vs in Ear

Discussion in 'Support' started by T Bone, May 28, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. T Bone
      No Mood

      T Bone Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      9/2013
      Hello,
      I hear many people say that their t fully comes from their brain and not the ears. How can you tell if it's in your brain vs in your ears, is there a different feeling/ sound?
       
    2. Chrisarti
      Thinking

      Chrisarti Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      I have had tinnitus come from both ears recently or just one ear, or just the other ear, then there are times when the sound seems to be coming from the back of the head or all around the head meaning you can not specifically locate the sound to one or the other ear or just the ears alone. I think its a generalized sensation of sound all around the head as opposed to just one or both ears.
       
    3. Sound Wave
      Curious

      Sound Wave Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably headphones
      Well... ALL sensations of sound come ultimatelly from the brain. ;) Maybe you mean the sensation of sound and how it's perceived to originate from the ear or from inside of the head? My T varies like that - sometimes I hear it from the left ear and sometimes as a general 'ringing' inside the head.
       
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    4. Zechariah

      Zechariah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hi,

      Like most of us know, tinnitus can be hear "in your ear" or "in your head". What makes the difference where you hear T coming from or is there any explanation to date?

      The reason I gave this a thought was last night when I had hard time sleeping last night. T in the right side of my head is the one I keep hearing loudly all around the day but it is more in my head than in ear. This sound doesn't bother me so much when I go to bed. This may be because I hear it all the time so I'm more habituated?

      T in my left ear bothers me much more even tho I can't hear it most of the time and it's milder. When I try go get some sleep it gets really loud and have woken me up couple of times and when it gets loud it almost covers up my " head T" in the right side even though they are different frequency. It feels like I could almost dig it away with qtip from my ear.
       
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    5. Marlene
      English

      Marlene Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Poole Dorset England
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bacterial virus
      Hi Zechariah ,I get this in the head to ,it's a nightmare of a day with it ,I get this when ear is to high or to low the high feels like it's an my left ear mostly and in head at same time ,when low T it's as it's inside head ,hate that day ,that was me yesterday all day ,today it's the Opposite Day . Just can't win with those days .makes me even more off balance .
      I think it even takes me longer to get off to sleep when it's low. Now that I sure don't understand .
      As we say T does it's own thing ,when it wants ,we don't have a say in it period .
      Will I give in to it Never .Wishing you all the best
       
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    6. MattK

      MattK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/13/2014
      Maybe since you're not used to you're ear T as much since you hear it less frequently it bothers you more.

      I have head at that can switch from the left or right side of my head, and it can almost sound like it comes from my ears. It sucks. It's almost like being surrounded by cicadas.

      As far as I know there isn't a theory. Maybe it's because the head T is in the brain while the ear T is in the cochlea... But that's just a guess.

      Glad to hear about your improvement with head T at night though. Maybe try to play some white noise while you sleep so that you don't hear it and it won't be the first thing you hear upon wakening.
       
    7. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Tinnitus is always a "brain thing." Sometimes it is actually "heard" in the brain, but more often than not you hear it in your ears - because that's where you hear stuff. It would be pretty odd to hear it in your toes, no? :)

      More to the point of your very good question, @Zechariah, one authority points out that your brain "assigns" your tinnitus to your ears, with most of your tinnitus generally being assigned to the weaker of your two ears.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
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    8. jeannie
      Stressed

      jeannie Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced, Ear Infection, Medication... Who knows?
      mine goes from ears to head, every day is different, how do we habituate to it when it does that? also different noises, sometimes screaming loud and sometimes lower... no way to habituate:(
       
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    9. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Habituation has nothing to do with loudness, pitch, timbre, location. Habituation has to do exclusively with reaction.

      You can habituate regardless of loudness, pitch, timbre, or location. What it takes is Strategy, Determination, Flexibility, and Insight.

      All the best -

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
    10. Zechariah

      Zechariah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hi, thanks for the answers, I guess there is no exact explanation why tinnitus can be heard sometimes in the head and sometimes in the ear. I was thinking that T-sound coming from the ear might have something to do with hair cells keeping releasing excess glutamate after noise exposures even after long period of time.
       
    11. AntonR
      Balanced

      AntonR Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Redwood City California
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      I don't know, but mine has always felt like it was in the center of my head. Recently I've noticed when laying down, depending on what side of my head is on the pillow it sounds like the sound is dedicated to the side thats being muffled by the pillow. But the second I switch sides, it also switches. Other than that though it stays in the middle of my head, never switches from ear to ear when I'm up and about.
       
    12. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Earlier in this thread I talked about the concept of your brain's assigning your tinnitus to your weaker ear. That's exactly what's happening in your case, wherein blocking your external auditory canal with your pillow in effect makes that ear weaker.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
    13. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Wouldn't a simpler explanation be because the tone's in each ear are exactly the same so if each ear has the equivalent noise or tone then it would seem to be emulating from the head!

      My T is a different volume and pitch in each ear so seems to me, to be coming from my ears and not my head!

      Rich
       
    14. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I may be misinterpreting your statement, but it seems to me that for you to be correct tinnitus would actually involve ringing of the ears. And I do not believe that in tinnitus your ears actually ring at all. Rather your ears are merely where you hear the ringing.

      Perhaps think of it this way. When your alarm clock goes off, you hear the ringing in your ears - but you know that it is actually the clock that is ringing. Well, when there is no alarm clock (i.e., in tinnitus) it is natural to assume that the ringing you hear in your ears is actually coming from your ears - but most of the science these days points to the brain rather than the ears as the source of tinnitus.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
    15. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Yes you are misinterpreting my statement, I know the ringing isn't actually coming from your ears but your brain, when it interprets sound, that's where you hear it., in your ears!
      I don't really want to get scientific about it, Tinnitus is something you hear and you don't hear it with your head!

      So one would have to say that if your T is pure tonal, and it was of an equal pitch and volume in both auditory cortex on either side of your brain then it would make sense that it would seem as though it was in your head!

      Rich
       
    16. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      You may be 100% right, Rich.

      But I see it differently. Tinnitus is detected exclusively in the head in 5% of cases. And I just don't see the brain's being able to achieve that kind of symmetry 5% of the time. We are talking about a lot more than the auditory cortices here. There are the dorsal cochlear nuclei, the superior olivary complexes, the inferior colliculi, and all the crossing fibers in addition to the auditory cortices. Like I say, you may be right - but to my way of thinking it's asking an awful lot of a brain to achieve the necessary symmetry 5% of the time.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
    17. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      Hello Stephen.
      So T is a brain disorder, right?
      What do you think about this theory of overactive neurons?
      And why is the T frequency most often, if not always, on a frequency where we have hearing loss?
      I am just curious about your scientific opinion and the latest research.
      I am also wondering why the brain just suddenly starts making this noise?
      I know in my case it was stress. But why does stress start my brain making noise?
      Thanks for your answers,
      Martin

      PS: The theory with the weaker ear makes sense to me. I usually hear my T in the head. I guess then it is both ears that hear the ringing. But sometimes I hear T more in my left ear than in the right one. According to my audiogram, the left ear is the weaker one.
       
    18. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      Hi @Martin69 -

      I am struggling with how to respond to your post.

      On the one hand, your questions are very good ones - and quite thought-provoking. So part of me wants to jump right in.

      On the other hand, not long ago when you asked me on one of the boards what I thought your next steps should be, I said that if I were you, I would work on prioritizing and keeping things simple. At that point you referred to all that was going on in your life with your tinnitus, your wife's illness, and trying to be strong for your kids. You said that your life was anything but simple.

      So here's the thing, my friend. I think that your very lowest priority should be wondering about various theories of tinnitogenesis. Your tinnitus claims so much of your time as is - why devote even one minute more than is absolutely necessary??!! Not only do I believe it is time poorly spent, as a physician I feel that your doing so is unhealthy. You really do need to "keep it simple," and clearing your head of clutter (the how and why of tinnitus is, for you, a perfect example of what I mean by clutter) is one very good way of keeping things as simple as possible.

      So as much as I might like to address your five good questions (the answers to which will undoubtedly raise other good questions in your mind), in so doing I believe that I would be sending you exactly the wrong message.

      You and your family have been on my mind. I have been keeping a good thought for you and wish you all well.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
    19. Martin69
      Artistic

      Martin69 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      (Health) Anxiety
      @Dr. Nagler

      Thanks Stephen. Of course you are absolutely right.

      Most of my time is spent with my family. I took vacation and care for my kids. We have the best doctors caring for my wife and we visit her daily. Things are very difficult as you know. Spending some time here on the board doesn't make much difference.

      I do not post much at the moment. On yuku only, since the veterans there help me a lot.
      Here, I raised those questions because I wanted to understand what exactly Tinnitus is. I thought it help me better understanding why I have Tinnitus and maybe it helps me better accepting the condition. That was the reason for my questions.

      I absolutely do not know (and probably no one knows) why stress/anxiety can cause T, what happened in my brain chemically and why T has chosen a frequency of 14 kHz. Here I was jus curious what your opinion is.

      Maybe it is my scientific/educational background that I want to understand this in each and every detail.
      Thanks for having us on your mind. It is much appreciated.

      Martin

      PS: And I do not talk any word about my T with people at the moment, in particular with my wife and family. All our energy is on her recovery. Of course she still sees me not in the best shape, but I do my very best being positive and keeping things running.
       
    20. Dr. Nagler

      Dr. Nagler Member

      Location:
      Atlanta, Georgia USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1994
      I don't think anybody really knows exactly what tinnitus is. There are a lot of very good theories - but that's about it. Indeed, the research community has yet to agree on a precise definition. Frustrating, no?
      Again lots of theories, but nothing you can really sink your teeth into.
      When I was going through what you are going through, I felt the same way. It took me quite a while to realize that as far as habituation is concerned, it just doesn't matter. And more than that, as far as habituation is concerned, pondering that sort of thing is counterproductive!!!
      You're a good guy, Martin.

      Dr. Stephen Nagler
       
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