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Ringing in Ear

by Vorde
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Vorde
#1
Oct9-11, 08:13 PM
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I'm going to preface this by saying I know absolutely nothing about biology/medicine/anatomy, I'm a hopeful future physicist and when I ask my question all of you will probably scoff "stupid math nerd" and laugh....but here I go.

Every once in a while my ear rings. It only lasts for a few seconds, and It doesn't happen even close to enough for me to consider I have a problem (I think it's called tinnitus or something), too infrequent for me to even be able to guess how often it happens.
Anyway, I was trying to figure out why it happens, and I guessed that it's when the movement in the air just happens to cross over the eardrums resonance frequency and it keeps going until you hear a ring, is this feasible or correct?
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zoobyshoe
#2
Oct10-11, 12:44 AM
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Quote Quote by Vorde View Post
I'm going to preface this by saying I know absolutely nothing about biology/medicine/anatomy, I'm a hopeful future physicist and when I ask my question all of you will probably scoff "stupid math nerd" and laugh....but here I go.

Every once in a while my ear rings. It only lasts for a few seconds, and It doesn't happen even close to enough for me to consider I have a problem (I think it's called tinnitus or something), too infrequent for me to even be able to guess how often it happens.
Anyway, I was trying to figure out why it happens, and I guessed that it's when the movement in the air just happens to cross over the eardrums resonance frequency and it keeps going until you hear a ring, is this feasible or correct?
I get the same thing and I have never found a reasonable explanation from a medical source. It's clearly not tinnitus because it is transient, like you say, lasting only a few seconds.

Long ago I read, in a non-medical source, that it was caused by the escape of gas that had built up inside the ear somewhere. That is exactly what it sounds like: it starts off loud, as if a small dam has burst, then gets softer and softer, as if the pressure behind it is getting spent. I don't even know if that's plausible; if there is anywhere in the ear for gas to build up, but that is what it sounds like.
DaveC426913
#3
Oct10-11, 12:55 AM
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I get this occasionally. It does not sound like what Zooby describes.

For me, the first thing I notice is that one of my ears suddenly (over about 1 second) stops hearing. It's as if a giant sound deadening wall has been suddenly and silently rolled up beside me - but only on one side. This is quite a disorienting experience.

A high-pitched ringing follows that lasts about 10 seconds. Then it fades and my hearing returns to normal.

I am fairly certain that this happens to many people.

zoobyshoe
#4
Oct10-11, 01:54 AM
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Ringing in Ear

Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
I get this occasionally. It does not sound like what Zooby describes.

For me, the first thing I notice is that one of my ears suddenly (over about 1 second) stops hearing. It's as if a giant sound deadening wall has been suddenly and silently rolled up beside me - but only on one side. This is quite a disorienting experience.

A high-pitched ringing follows that lasts about 10 seconds. Then it fades and my hearing returns to normal.

I am fairly certain that this happens to many people.
You are describing the same thing that happens to me. It hasn't happened in quite a while, so I forgot but you're right, it is preceded by sudden reduced hearing in the ear in question. It is also always unilateral in my case. I shouldn't have said it starts off loud, because it's not a loud sound. I meant it was loudest at the start, then becomes softer and softer.

Edit: though I wouldn't describe it as a "ringing". It's very like a high pitched whistle, rather than a bell.
Borek
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Oct10-11, 02:36 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
For me, the first thing I notice is that one of my ears suddenly (over about 1 second) stops hearing. It's as if a giant sound deadening wall has been suddenly and silently rolled up beside me - but only on one side. This is quite a disorienting experience.

A high-pitched ringing follows that lasts about 10 seconds. Then it fades and my hearing returns to normal.
Exactly the way it happens to me.

It happened just a few days ago, so I remember it well.
bobze
#6
Oct10-11, 09:54 AM
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This is part of the normal aging process. As you age the range of sounds you can hear over decreases (there is an interesting app for mobile phones that will play different frequencies--You'd be surprised what your kids can hear and you cannot).

When tinnitus occurs randomly over the course of aging your doctor will be unconcerned and tell you to be as well. This is really because its idiopathic and we don't know why it occurs. However tinnitus does occur when those hair cells that allow you to hear die--As such, it may simply be that you (as a part of aging) are loosing some of those little guys that had once allowed you to hear different frequencies in your youth that you can no longer hear now. As sad as that is :P

Since tinnitus can be a symptom of many things, if it is something concerning you, increases in frequency or duration, or disrupts your day to day activities its something you should definitely talk with your health care provider about. If its just something happening once in a blue moon (like it does to all of us) then I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Borek
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Oct10-11, 10:48 AM
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Quote Quote by bobze View Post
As you age the range of sounds you can hear over decreases (there is an interesting app for mobile phones that will play different frequencies--You'd be surprised what your kids can hear and you cannot).
I know it without any app. I have a watch with an alarm - and while ten years ago alarm was loud enough to wake me up, now I can't hear it. My wife still does.

As a kid I heard people switching on their TVs - some element was emitting very high frequency noise.
DaveC426913
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Oct10-11, 10:53 AM
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Quote Quote by Borek View Post
I know it without any app. I have a watch with an alarm - and while ten years ago alarm was loud enough to wake me up, now I can't hear it. My wife still does.

As a kid I heard people switching on their TVs - some element was emitting very high frequency noise.
You kept the same watch for ten years?
Borek
#9
Oct10-11, 11:03 AM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
You kept the same watch for ten years?
I discovered that when it stops, it is enough to buy new batteries, you don't have to buy a new watch.
zoobyshoe
#10
Oct10-11, 07:17 PM
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Quote Quote by bobze View Post
This is part of the normal aging process. As you age the range of sounds you can hear over decreases (there is an interesting app for mobile phones that will play different frequencies--You'd be surprised what your kids can hear and you cannot).

When tinnitus occurs randomly over the course of aging your doctor will be unconcerned and tell you to be as well. This is really because its idiopathic and we don't know why it occurs. However tinnitus does occur when those hair cells that allow you to hear die--As such, it may simply be that you (as a part of aging) are loosing some of those little guys that had once allowed you to hear different frequencies in your youth that you can no longer hear now. As sad as that is :P

Since tinnitus can be a symptom of many things, if it is something concerning you, increases in frequency or duration, or disrupts your day to day activities its something you should definitely talk with your health care provider about. If its just something happening once in a blue moon (like it does to all of us) then I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Thing is, I've had this phenomenon happening my whole life all the way back to childhood. It hasn't increased with age.
Evo
#11
Oct10-11, 07:51 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
I get this occasionally. It does not sound like what Zooby describes.

For me, the first thing I notice is that one of my ears suddenly (over about 1 second) stops hearing. It's as if a giant sound deadening wall has been suddenly and silently rolled up beside me - but only on one side. This is quite a disorienting experience.

A high-pitched ringing follows that lasts about 10 seconds. Then it fades and my hearing returns to normal.

I am fairly certain that this happens to many people.
I had that happen just today. Usually though, it's as the OP described, just a few seconds of high pitched sound, nothing else. My mother told me when I was little that it meant someone was thinking of you and if you guessed who it was, the ringing would stop.

I don't know if either qualify as tinnitus as they only last a few seconds and can be months apart.
atyy
#12
Oct11-11, 03:22 AM
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21068300
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19183705

Journal articles are free.
rhody
#13
Oct11-11, 10:24 AM
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From Atty's first link:

I get this from time to time as well, and have a hearing loss from 14Khz - 20Khz in left ear due to exposure to gunshots as a child. I don't remember being able to modulate the sound however, do any of you have hearing loss in one or both of your ears as well ?
At the time, we were unaware that patients could voluntarily modulate their tinnitus and were skeptical of these claims. However, it occurred to us that if the patients could significantly modulate the loudness of their tinnitus, they could serve as their own controls. That is, the brain activity patterns observed when the tinnitus was loud could be subtracted from the brain activity patterns when the tinnitus was quiet.
Four patients, two men and two women (47 to 53 years of age), were identified through a local tinnitus support group who indicated they could significantly modulate the loudness of their tinnitus by movements of the head, neck, jaw, tongue, and face.12 The common oral facial maneuver (OFM) that significantly changed the loudness of their tinnitus among all four patients was a jaw clench. In addition to severe tinnitus, these four patients had a high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss for between group comparison addition, six normal hearing subjects without tinnitus served as controls.
Rhody...


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