Monday, February 08, 2010

Ringing In The Ears: Part I

My ears are ringing. That's been a true statement since before I knew what it meant. When I was little I used to ask my folks if they could hear it too. The closest approximation I could come up with was that it sounded like the crystal in my Dad's Timex only higher.

Later on in life I deduced that I have tinitus (Pronounced tin-eye-tus or sometimes tin-i-tis). It's not hearing loss caused by loud noises, although that can make it worse, it's something wrong with your brain that affects the way you hear certain frequencies and makes you hear some that you don't.

There have been articles popping up now and then that say you can take supplements to fight it, but somehow I'm a little doubtful. That, and it's pretty hard to find lipoflavanoid at your local pharmacy. The really interesting articles say that scientists are doing studies that involve playing back white or pink noise, or music that's been modified that are having some good results.

The frustrating thing is that these articles never say exactly what it is that they're playing for these people. Well, the Times finally let it slip that the secret is notching the material at the frequency that the sufferer is "hearing". Listening for a couple hours a day to material with that frequency missing get's the brain to relax whatever kink it's got that's causing the problem.

So with an app on my iPod I located the frequency my ears ring at (9.2 kilohertz or a super high C#). While playing it back in headphones I actually knocked the ringing out for a few seconds. It just stopped. It was the first few seconds off total quiet I had ever experienced. Then I downloaded some pink noise, notched it, looped it, and now I have some pleasant bedtime listening material for the next few months. I'm going to record my current condition here and check in periodically to see if it's working.

Since there's no way to meter the ringing in my ears I'll just use my finely honed sense of loudness that my years as a sound engineer have provided me with.

Quiet Room: The ringing has an apparent volume of about 85dB.

Watching TV:
The ringing is down about 6dB from the program material at normal volume, slightly higher when the set is turned up.

Listening to speech: It's difficult to interpret speech if there is any background noise. Running the faucet or the microwave partially or mostly obscures intelligibility. Power tools or other machinery totally obscure it. (As a result I'm pretty good at reading lips.)

I plan to listen to pink noise, notched at 9.2kHz for two hours each night on earbud headphones at low volume. Part of the time I'll be awake and the rest I'll be sleeping. I'll bring this back for an evaluation after a week, two weeks, a month and two months to see if it's helping.

Subscribe in a reader Subscribe in a reader

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean...