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Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:31 pm
by sluggo
I have tinnitus as well. It's a pure tone at 7200 Hz that the audiologist said effectively masked tones that were up to 8dB above ambient.

I can't recall exactly when the tinnitus began, but it's been at least 10 years that I've been living with it. It's present 24/7, although it seems to get louder with caffeine use.

Because of the frequency and the fact that this came on later in life, I suspect that the tinnitus may be actual physical damage to some hearing mechanism caused by exposure to 7200Hz noise. Specifically, disk drives. I worked for a large server manufacturer doing disk drive qualifications in the early-mid 90's, and the Quantum Atlas (SCSI) drives of that era had a piercing tone that started to cause real pain after a few weeks of exposure. It got so bad that I had to use both earplugs and external hearing protectors to do my job. I felt a little silly about it, and I had no tinnitus at the time. When I was away from the test racks I was fine, but when I got within range I had to protect my ears.

I don't think it's a coincidence that my tinnitus is centered at 7200Hz and the drives spun at 7200 rpm.

Has anyone else had this sort of experience?

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:32 pm
by MikeC
sluggo --

I'm sure the Quantum Atlas was a noisy drive. This was way before fluid dynamic bearings, and most drives (even 5400rpm ones) had some high pitch tonal noise components. I remember this well.

Still there's no direct correlation between 7200rpm spin speed and 7200Hz. The former is revolutions per minute. Hence to get the fundamental frequency of the noise that the spinning makes, you divide by 60, which gets you 120 cycles per second or Hz. Certainly, there will be multiples (harmonics) of this fundamental tone further up in frequency... but 7200Hz is a long way up.

It might be interesting for us to check a few old ball-bearing 7200rpm drives with our sound gear in the anechoic chamber and see what kind of frequency spectrum readouts we get. I have my doubts whether 7200 Hz will figure prominently in all of them.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:36 pm
by ElderTech
The responses to this thread have been most interesting, not the least of which is the number of fellow tinnitus sufferers that follow SilentPCReview. There have also been some posts that refer to my experiences as posted by Mike in the original article. I'd like to respond to some of these accordingly:

Strongbad writes: "Richard's story is interesting, but confusing also. He claims to be bothered by 'noises' in the RF spectrum which just isn't possible,"

Unfortunately, that's simply not correct. To clarify, what's occurring is these electronics create an increase in my tinnitus in either the same constant frequencies I perceive all the time, or in different ones including harmonics of the constant ones, that persists for quite some time, up to a day or more after removing the source. The investigation into this problem has been a years long process which began about 25 years ago when I started getting serious about finding what was causing my increased sensitivity. And this wasn't just starting from scratch. I've been involved with audio and electronics from an early age, building sound systems as a budding musician inherited from parents who played professionally during their early careers. This continued with a job as head recording technician at Indiana University language laboratories, and then as a freelance audio tech and audiophile including involvement with Crown International and Pyle Industries, both located in Indiana.

Initially, none of this bothered me as my tinnitus didn't become noticeable until my late twenties, and was much more subdued for several years. However, over time and with more noise exposure, these issues have become a serious source of exacerbation to my tinnitus, and often the most serious negative stimuli I encounter. This is true with a variety of electronic devices including the previously mentioned Intel G2, the iPhone 4 with 3G active, and Linksys G wireless routers, as well as other sources such as certain power supplies, etc. This isn't a simple one time experience either. It's a repeatable experience that comes from hours of researching the various devices involved, including contact with a variety of technical sources including the product manufacturer's engineering experts.

Sunrise writes: "Since tinnitus is a noise one hears when there is a lack of actual sound, couldn't Richard's problem with SSDs and 3G be be psychosomatic? As in, worry about a new gadget causing the tinnitus to get worse having a real effect. This should be easily testable with a blind test."

Frankly, your skepticism is exactly what's been difficult in dealing with most people when this issue comes up, including family members. Unless you are experiencing it, it's difficult to sympathize or understand. And that's what I've had to endure in a wide variety of situations and circumstances, where I'm not comfortable as others are. It has meant a substantial adjustment to my personal environment and living conditions over the years.

As for the "blind test", that's exactly what's been done to attempt to determine the specific cause of the problem, and to convince others that it actually is a problem for me. In the case of my sensitivity to the iPhone 4 3G, while traveling with 2 family members, one of which had the phone, they were both skeptical that I could determine the difference between EDGE/2G and 3G. They went through several hours of "blind testing" me before they finally became convinced I could tell the difference. And they surrepticiously tried the test on me again the next day without telling me to see if I was somehow cheating! Actually, it was easier to do so the next day because my tinnitus has subsided somewhat from the excessive exposure the prior day. Now the one with the iPhone automatically switches it to EDGE/2G when they're around me. NICE!

And as for your comment that: "My mother is "electrosensitive" and also says 3G is worse than 2G, my phone disturbs her even when it's turned off etc." Please don't ignore her concerns. Whatever the actual reason, there's something going on there, whether electronic or her relationship with you. If it's actually the phone that's causing the problem, it's possible the initial stimulus of 3G has triggered her problem and it persists even when the signal is no longer there. In any event, don't write her off so easily, and in either case I suggest you delve deeper into her problem. The brain is truly an uncharted frontier for mankind in most ways, as this recent article on the effects of GPS use describes: ... al_health/

Whispercat writes: "This kind of idiosyncratic response to certain electronic noise seems somewhat similar to how migraine sufferers describe their experiences with regard to visual or air pressure stimuli." and also "I wonder if Richard could be hearing something that the Intel G2 is interacting with, rather than the SSD itself?"

In response to the former, after dealing with a wide variety of medical professionals regarding tinnitus and other sensitivities, it's apparent that there is a huge variety of variables that impact each individual in vastly different ways. Ultimately, the consensus seems to be that internal stresses build up in the body in such a way that a threshold is exceeded and the malady is triggered. This seems to be consistent for migraines, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, and similar diseases.

In response to the latter, as I hopefully have conveyed previously, the process I've gone through to isolate the variables is done from a scientific perspective, since science and math were my majors in college. I've always approached everything in life from an analytical and problem solving perspective, with great tenacity and attention to detail. That trait has caused me some serious relationship problems over the years, but that's another topic! Suffice it to say, the process I used to isolate the problem to the Intel G2s was extremely thorough, including every possible available interface and type of equipment that would work with it. This includes internal native motherboard SATA and external eSata on the described Puget system, internal SATA and external eSATA connections to an older Intel IDE motherboard via PCI conversion cards, multiple native SATA laptops, and even SATA to USB external hard drive case from StarTech. They all exhibited the same problem. And as the article mentions, this was also experienced by another family member who has tinnitus, while they were using a Lenovo laptop with the OS installed on a G2 without knowing it.

Finally, Mike writes: "This is the reality of noise damping: Most noise-blocking materials are not linear in their effect and most noises are also not broadband, there tends to be peaks. When you block out most of the noise from a machine, there might only be the faint trace of a tonal sound, just the top of the peak(s) that is left. Which is why sometimes, in a very quiet computer, it's better to leave a little bit of broadband noise from a fan or two. Otherwise you might be plagued by that little remaining tonal sound that can drive you around the bend."

Excellent advice! As I mentioned in the original article, when in environments like Best Buy, I'm not immediately bothered by an uptick in my tinnitus, although staying there for a long period causes my tinnitus to eventually be overwhelmed by the environment, and I feel exhausted afterward. Also, some environments are more difficult than other, depending on the extent of their equipment. As mentioned, BB isn't too bad for short periods, but the ABT retail location is much more severe, probably due to the vast quantity of electronics on display. But even with these, the severe focused tinnitus stimulation from such electronics as the G2 in a quiet environment usually isn't present. It's in normally quiet environments such as homes and similar, that these stimuli become most apparent and difficult to live with. And even though I do use white noise in a variety of situations to mask objectionable audible sounds, it's ineffective for the electronics that seem to emit electronic "noise" that is likely causing the problem for my tinnitus.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:34 pm
by Enzo_FX
Lately I've been hearing some high-pitched ringing. I've always had something like this when, say, after experiencing loud noise throughout the day, never a big deal however, was gone by the next day. Lately, I think the problem lies elsewhere. Been under some stress, also a new med for something un-related. Stopping the meds for paranoid reasons lol (also not a big deal), and been trying to relax. I am however worried. I can't help but doubt it's electronic noise, my setup hasn't changed in a long while, and nothing seems to make it worse at any given time, just constantly there like the past few days. I think it's the stress, but... I mean I've been stressed before... =/

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:23 pm
by ElderTech
What you're experiencing is most likely intermittent tinnitus and is often an early sign of hearing loss and/or more pervasive tinnitus. Stress is one of the most unexplained yet frequent triggers for tinnitus, perhaps kicking the body over the threshold of other factors such as those that cause hearing loss. As Mike indicated in the initial article, the American Tinnitus Association is an excellent resource to answer many of your questions. You can find much more info at

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:09 pm
by nutbar
Silence is deafening.

In the days following September 11, 2001, my dad came by and we went camping. All air traffic was grounded at that time. Dad commented that he could notice the noise difference: it was more like when he was a child, before there was any significant amount of air traffic. We don't camp in campgrounds, generally, so we were far from anything but natural sound. At least one night there, the wind was still, and the amount of silence I experienced was unlike any other time I can recall in my entire life. This also meant I could not sleep due to the "deafening roar" of my tinnitus. I cannot experience, and thus cannot enjoy, silence. People without tinnitus would likely be able to find great peace in that type of quiet environment.

I do enjoy quiet. I try to make my environments as quiet as possible. Ironically, the closer I get to silence, the less quiet it is for me due to tinnitus. There's no sweet spot, either. There's no point at which there's just enough quiet and just enough background noise that it feels "right". As quiet increases, so does the ringing. Even right now at my desk, the whisper of my computer is nice, since I turned up my quiet old yate-loon fans to max. There's some other noises coming from elsewhere in the house, yet I can hear the ringing. Actually, there might be a sweet spot, but it's hard to duplicate. A nice solid and consistent rainfall might do it. It was raining hard earlier today, and I opened my window all the way just to hear it. That was nice.

My tinnitus is similar to what electronics squeal sounds like, but constant. The less external sound, the more noticeable it is. I think I've had tinnitus for about as long as I can remember. I had several ear operations when I was very young, perhaps they are related. I remember in 1st and 2nd grade being able to clearly hear the florescent lights in the classroom when the teacher would make everyone be quiet. I can hear most CRT TVs when they're muted. CRTs in poor condition drive my ears nuts. I can often hear wall-plug-transformers squealing away. I have to be more careful about electronic noises in my computer equipment than mechanical.

It was said in this thread that there's no way the wireless communications can effect human hearing. I would say you can't make that determination so easily. I had a coworker who could tell when her cell phone was going to ring, because she would get a nervous twitch in her leg or foot (I forget exactly which body part). I'd say EM communications can most definitely affect some humans with physical manifestation, based on this experience. Our bodies use electricity for internal communication. Somehow, it was probably interacting with her nervous system's "electronics". I could easily take from this that it's possible for nerves in one's ear(s) to be affected as well, thus potentially becoming entangled with tinnitus. Many types of EM emissions can affect humans in many ways. I'd bet we have not even scratched the surface of all the possibilities.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:46 am
by flinx
strongbad wrote:Richard's story is interesting, but confusing also. He claims to be bothered by 'noises' in the RF spectrum which just isn't possible..-sniip-
Actually it's not only possible, but a known phenomenon. You don't even need a lot of power for it:

Amusingly, this might actually be a case where wearing a tin foil hat may help.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:05 am
by edh
There are also cases of people hearing radio broadcasts in their heads without being crazy, most commonly because of metal dentistry work that they've had done:

It has been said that some wire fences near big transmitters do pick up radio broadcasts.

Nowadays there are quite a number of people who claim that wifi is bad for there health too and some schools have come under attack from such groups for offering free wifi in school, something they claim may be bad for kids.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:38 am
by flinx
edh wrote:Nowadays there are quite a number of people who claim that wifi is bad for there health too and some schools have come under attack from such groups for offering free wifi in school, something they claim may be bad for kids.
That's just FUD in effect though. They don't understand the phenomenon, so automatically assume that it's bad for their health. For those people more sensitive to MAE, I do agree that it sucks, but it's not going to kill you or even give you cancer, like some of those people you mentioned suggest.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:35 am
by Oli ... _Challenge
To clarify, what's occurring is these electronics create an increase in my tinnitus in either the same constant frequencies I perceive all the time, or in different ones including harmonics of the constant ones, that persists for quite some time, up to a day or more after removing the source.
So you can 'sense' that there are certain noises in the above audible spectrum? If you are convinced you can prove this, I'd get this studied because with conventional science, this isn't possible.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:55 pm
by ElderTech
Don't know if this is even worth a response, but I'll try anyway:

Oli writes:
"So you can 'sense' that there are certain noises in the above audible spectrum? If you are convinced you can prove this, I'd get this studied because with conventional science, this isn't possible."

Oli, evidently you don't understand what tinnitus is, and haven't thoroughly read this article and forum discussion. As I said, the undefined "noise" these electronics are generating, which I cannot hear audibly, creates a problem with my tinnitus as described above. This is not a "supernatural" or "paranormal" situation or occurrance as described in the link you provided. These electronics mentioned generate a wide variety of "noise" in a wide variety of frequencies. Just because the average human hearing is within a rather narrow frequency range doesn't mean other frequencies can't be perceived by us in ways other than normal audible perception. Other animals are able to perceive much different frequencies than we do, including dogs at the higher ranges and sea mammels at subsonic levels. There is nothing "paranormal" about this prospect.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:29 am
by colm
I am glad someone is pursuing a better way.

I thught of myself as having tinnitus, working with old jets, tractor trailers (maine extreme versions) and of course electronics.

my silence was broken after learning wedling on my automobile. The weld changed a thing called "resonant frequency", and I simply caught on. For some there is no such thing as tinnitus, it is not a disease, a human really found a frequency, and it is really annoying.

ity is funny in a way to ignore electronics and noise.. it is nothing but a screaming frequency attempting resolution in materials engineers still experiment with to get correct, or to a market...

one gets more than the other, and that is a real shame.

great article, I hope his letter gets taken seriously...btw, I still use pata, and even found extra grounds to utilize. I have opainted my case (smothered) in two part auotomitive urethane.. it has calmed the outside interference, but the gadgets still do what they got to do.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:14 pm
by Arbutus
It is possible for sounds to be created inside the human head by pulsed microwave transmissions.

From Wikipedia:

' “Project Pandora” conducted by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, WRAIR, included externally induced auditory input from pulsed microwave audiograms of words or oral sounds which create the effect of hearing voices that are not a part of the recipients own thought processes.'

Learn more in this article:

Cellphones with Wi-Fi modems transmit data packets, at low signal strength, at microwave frequencies.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:44 am
by rareEntity
We're detecting a high frequency in the Seattle area at about 13 kHz. This is both measurable with a sensitive microphone and with the naked ear when all is quiet. Our hypothesis is that there are two RF carriers that are creating this 'beat' frequency or heterodyne. We first noticed its presence by ear following the digital television conversion in June 2009.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:20 am
by MikeC
rareEntity wrote:We're detecting a high frequency in the Seattle area at about 13 kHz. This is both measurable with a sensitive microphone and with the naked ear when all is quiet. Our hypothesis is that there are two RF carriers that are creating this 'beat' frequency or heterodyne. We first noticed its presence by ear following the digital television conversion in June 2009.
So you're saying this is a generalized phenomenon all over the city?! :shock:

This 'beat' frequency is also referred to as Intermodulation Distortion (IMD).

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:16 pm
by Roger Wilco
This is an interesting article on tinnitus and I think it is great that silentpcreview chose to write about it!

There is some research I wanted to point out that helped me tremendously as someone who suffered pretty badly from tinnitus only a couple years ago. I was told to "live with it" and that there was not really anything that could be done by medical professionals.

Unfortunately, this is the worst type of thing they can say to anybody experiencing tinnitus. For more information please see and

But to shortly paraphrase: A neuroscientist named Pawel Jastreboff worked out the real mechanism behind tinnitus. This became the neuro-physiological model of tinnitus. In it, he claimed that tinnitus is not due to damage that cannot be fixed. Rather, persistent tinnitus depends on a conditioned response to the tinnitus sound. This response is part of the subconscious brain and automatic. It is therefore the reaction to tinnitus rather than the tinnitus itself that causes the distress. The type of tinnitus and the loudness are irrelevant.

The degree to which the dislike and distress is experienced, dictates the severity. We have over 2 million neuronal cells which act as filters between the ear and the brain. Because tinnitus sufferers perceive tinnitus as a threat, these filters start to amplify the tinnitus. This is also the process behind "hyperacusis", which is hypersensitivity to sounds.

Everybody can experience tinnitus. Most folks will hear some form of ringing, buzzing, whooshing etc after being in a very quiet room for a while. In the absence of noise the filters will start focusing on internally generated sounds. In the Heller and Bergman experiment, these sounds are identical to the ones tinnitus sufferers experience.

Absence of sounds or being in absolute silence will actually promote tinnitus. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy deals specifically with retraining the brain to avoid the dislike (the conditioned reflex) and the filters will start to attenuate the sound, also known as habituation.

I cannot stress enough how much of a difference it has made for me. I did not enroll to a specific TRT course, but applied the principles myself with sound enrichment. In the course of a year to 18 months, I went from being chronically bothered to not even be able to register it anymore on most days.

It may be that some people who claim that specific events or noises exacerbate their tinnitus are simply too much aware of their filters (think Heller and Bergman). On the site, it is also mentioned that any noise which sounds like the tinnitus (like many high pitched electronic signals) will also result in some of the aversive reaction.

Personally, I used to be very bothered by some computer high pitched noises, but now that I no longer am suffering from tinnitus, I have found that my irritation (reaction) to these noises has greatly subsided.

I do highly recommend to read the tinnitus information, the information is very accessible and really sheds some lights on the mechanism behind tinnitus.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:31 am
by gbeichho

I think it's great that you're tackling this topic here at SPR, there are few more appropriate places.

First, I certainly believe the people who claim to be affected. I will not even attempt to guess at explaining how or why they suffer, but since the things we understand about the body are far less than the things we do, I will side with assuming they are mostly correct in describing their problems with specific devices. My experience with people who have self discovered that they suffer from any sort of environmental sensitivity is that they are usually correct (and often quite rigorous) in identifying the source of the issue, even if they can't explain the cause.

I have suffered from tinnitus in the past, but for me, it is a transitory problem and very specific to the circumstances. It only occurs if I am run-down or sleep deprived. An acupuncturist I spoke to in the past told me that in Chinese medicine, hearing problems (including tinnitus) were related to weak kidneys or kidney problems problems. I have no experience to support or contradict that statement but I thought I would throw it out there in case it triggers some sort of discussion.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:12 pm
by MarkD
I can only hear it in the car, also. I don't know why, but the sound makes me think a wheel bearing is going bad. Nobody else hears it, and I hear the noise on all the cars I drive, so it is not a wheel bearing going bad. Once I figured out what it was, it doesn't bother me nearly as much. It isn't intolerable, so I just live with it.

My Intel G2 SSD is quiet, as far as I can tell.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:50 pm
by Arbutus
My tinnitus is usually at a low constant level and is less noticeable during the city's daytime ambient noise. I usually notice the 'squeal' in the evenings when I'm inside and things are quiet. At those times the tinnitus effect is mildly annoying. The 'squeal' is louder and distressing when I have a fever during influenza infections. Lately I have been training myself to ignore it.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:04 pm
by Das_Saunamies

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:16 pm
by CA_Steve
I was catching up on my email subscriptions...and came across this Jan 11 Spectrum article on disrupting Tinnitus.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:11 am
by Das_Saunamies
Even though this was just in mice, I thought it was interesting: ... Study.aspx.

I'm not sure I'd want to alter any chemistry in my brain to get rid of tinnitus... but I would be intrigued to actually be able to "hear silence". So far I've thought it to be an unrevertable, mechanical sort of damage in my case.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:56 am
by MikeC
I was reminded of this article & discussion by an email that came this morning from a new (?) non-profit org called Canadians 4 Safe Technology. At their site --, domain name registered Sept 2012 -- I found a definition for a term that would be of interest to everyone who read my original tinnitus article: Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity -- ... ivity.html The stages and symptoms described on that page will be familiar to some of those who participated in this discussion. EHS was recognized and defined by the World Heath Organization in 2006.

C4ST claims...
C4ST wrote:Health Canada has manipulated the outcome of a safety review of radiation from cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters.

“We have uncovered documents that prove Health Canada is controlling the so-called ‘independent’ safety review by the Royal Society of Canada,” said Frank Clegg, now CEO of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST). “Health Canada is ignoring the science that explains why some Canadians are getting sick from microwave radiation.”

The Royal Society of Canada is holding the public meeting in Ottawa to hear from Canadians who have developed symptoms such as insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations from everyday wireless devices. Doctors and researchers will also be testifying, and calling for stricter safety measures.

The Royal Society panel reviewing microwave safety has been dogged by controversy. The chair of the panel resigned in July after he was exposed for an undeclared conflict of interest.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:56 pm
by RIchardF
I'm really annoyed because I kept spending more money making my new computer more and more quiet in the hopes of being able to have a gaming and video encoding PC that doesn't cause tinnitus.

But nothing has worked. I bought a 1200W PSU to reduce the fan noise. I put together a 480mm + 360mm radiator to be able to run the fans slower. I suspended the pump. I took off the GPU shroud and put a 140mm fan onto it. I don't even have the computer in the same room! But, apparently the frequencies it gives off go through the wall enough.

The dishwasher. The microwave. The air conditioner. The washing machine. The dryer. I can handle the louder noise from all of these without getting nasty tinnitus. They can increase the more gentle "hiss" type that I hear when awake but they don't cause the horrible "electronic squeal" kind I get when I try to sleep after using the computer.

The more I use the computer the more powerful the "squeal" becomes. I can hear it when awake if it becomes really bad but it's when I try to sleep that it becomes suffering. I can use my Macbook Pro (for non-gaming since the fan is very loud if you try to game on it) all day with no trouble but the computer I built is a no-go.

This was a replacement for another I built that also gave me problems. I also move it into another room. The new one gives me more trouble than the old one did.

I guess I'm going to have to give up on 3D gaming altogether. It's weird to barely be able to hear the computer and end up with horrible tinnitus while being able to tolerate a loud dishwasher and air conditioner. It must be ultrasonic emissions. EK said their Vardar fans are tuned to emit frequencies that are inaudible. I wonder if that means ultrasonics.

Is there an inexpensive device that will measure ultrasonic emissions?

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:55 pm
by CA_Steve
Are you sure it's the PC in the other room and not the monitor sitting a couple of feet from you?

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:12 am
by RIchardF
I had the same problem, only less dramatic, with the previous machine which has completely different parts (Intel Lynnfield versus AMD FX) and a different monitor.

I thought it was audible fan noise that is the source of the problem but I'm strongly thinking it's some type of ultrasonic or a high frequency that is normally audible but which I can't hear normally because of my age. If audible noise were the cause then I would expect to be able to hear a significant amount of noise through the wall. I can barely hear the machine running, unlike those appliances and HVAC — none of which aggravate the squeal tinnitus. (I've also noticed a low hum/thrum type recently that accompanies it.)

I can't listen to music at all with headphones because of tinnitus. That isn't the squeal type, though — just a worse version of the hiss or ring (probably the hiss).

I have several types of tinnitus but only the squeal is disruptive for my sleep and too intense, unless I try to listen to music with headphones (even on the lowest possible volume in OS X that I have to use Audio MIDI Setup to get since it's quieter than what the volume control icon provides).

I damaged my hearing from attending a single rock concert in 1999. I've always had very sensitive hearing, probably because I needed tubes for infections caused by my father's smoking in the house when I was a baby and toddler. I think they widened my ear canal, making me more susceptible to loud sounds. Even with protective headphones and earplugs together I couldn't shoot guns as a teenager without ending up with ringing ears. I didn't want to do that either but, again, my father was determined to ruin my health.

I'm sensitive in general. I used to be able to feel the effect of power outages. When power would go out in the neighborhood I would feel a significant relaxation. Now that I'm older I've lost this sensitivity. I can also see thin horizontal lines when I close my eyes after using a PWM screen. I have to drink almost tepid beverages or I'll burn my tongue.

I can try hooking the monitor up to my Macbook Pro, though, as an experiment.

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:15 am
by MikeC
RIchardF -- you sound like a fairly extreme HSP. If you haven't encountered this term before... I am borderline HSP; used to be more, but better habits & self-management have been enough to let me live "normally". I have mild tinnitus, the ringing/squealing kind, which comes mainly when I'm stressed or tired, and isn't so high in level to be that intrusive. Noisier environments tend to exacerbate it, regardless of type of noise. I don't think I'm highly sensitive to ultrasonics, though; if I was, I probably couldn't be in my labs all this time, surrounded by computers & power electronics & monitors!

Aural intrusions are still the most upsetting for me. One reason I don't enjoy dining out much any more. Every Vancouver restaurant seems to think they need to compete with rock venues to be good. How about modern hip metal rock loud enough to make you shout across the table at 11am Sunday brunch in a "relaxed, friendly" neighborhood joint? I swear, all the young people who work in Vancouver eateries will get hearing damage (or have it already). The likelihood of a "relaxed" dinner out with the combination of highly reflective acoustics & loud music? Extremely low for just about anybody. Most of us go out to relax & be social; this is impossible when conversation is so difficult. I'm toying with the idea of doing a serious survey/research with a prof. SLM of ALL popular Vancouver eateries... for a report & call to action to the city, for publication in some major Vancouver paper, etc...

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:47 pm
by CA_Steve
Some interesting research on dampening tinnitus...

Re: Electronic Noise and Tinnitus

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:21 pm
by genegun
I read the main article with interest as I suffer from the same problem. Having spent way more time recently working from home, I have developed substantial Tinnitus. I knew I was already sensitive to ultrasound cat repellents, but this time, it got much worse. I have a bunch of SSDs gathered from older of my computers in my PC and I decided to remove them and see what happens. I will report back here if I find something interesting in terms of drive/brand. Thanks for this article, I'm glad not to be the only one suffering from this!