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Does the brain pick up on electronic signals?

  1. Aug 28, 2009 #1
    The other day, I was sitting down watching TV, then I turned the TV off, and the DTV, and I noticed a sort of ringing high frequency humming in my brain. But the strange part was that when I turned my head 90 degrees, it stopped or got really quiet. Turned my had back to normal position sound was back. Did this for a while, and noticed that if I tuned my head 90 degrees in either direction, the humming would stop, it I turned my head 180 degrees, still humming.

    This really got me wondering. My conclusion was that my brain must be picking up on some sort of signal in the air, and that somehow my polarity had some sort of effect. Is this even possible, does this happen, is there a good explanation? It was really strange, I could do it fast and get a wah wah like sound going. This occured for about 10 min. until I said oh well and went to bed.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2009 #2


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    Maybe, but more likely the TV was still making noises after you turned it off. Some of the TV is still powered if you turn it off with the remote control.

    If it happens again, try pulling the plug at the wall socket. That should stop it making any noises.
  4. Aug 28, 2009 #3
    That was my initial thought, but I still can't explain why the ringing would stop when I turn my head. The volume change wouldn't be drastic enough to explain it. Maybe something weird is happening with my sense of hearing and my brain selectively blocked the sound out for some odd reason?

    What it reminded me of was the way that some microphones can be affected by how they are oriented in relation to each other, and how power cords are supposed to be oriented 90 degrees to microphone cords where they intersect when it comes to recording.

    My thoughts were that whatever polarity orientation my brain had was parallel to the source of the signal when I could hear it, and 90 degrees to the source when I couldn't hear it. Say that the brain could hear buzzing sounds from electric signals, would the brains orientation according to the source of the signal have this type of effect?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2009
  5. Aug 29, 2009 #4


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    The ringing was probably in your ears and you just didn't notice it when the tv was on. And turning your head can affect the ringing because it moves around the muscles in your neck/head. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus
  6. Aug 29, 2009 #5


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    You might have something going on in your head. Something like an inner ear infection, maybe. In that case, why would it not happen all the time?

    Ears are very directional with high pitched sounds. I know you can move your head by a few degrees and it makes a difference. It might help if you try cupping your hands behind your ears like bats ears and see what a difference it makes.
    We have an insect (a type of cricket) that makes an annoying high pitched noise and I can use this method to locate one in the house.

    But, just be ready to cut the power at the wall. It is an easy test.

    Actually, I notice you used the term "humming". This normally means a low pitched sound. Is that what you meant?
  7. Aug 29, 2009 #6
    This sounds like a very plausible explanation. I usually have a ringing in my ears from years of loud music, and running a chainsaw, but I have never noticed any effects based on how I turn my head. If it happens again, I'll test it by turning my head 90 degrees vs my whole body.

    "....and somatic tinnitus, caused by disorders outside the ear and nerve but still within the head or neck. It is further hypothesized that somatic tinnitus may be due to "central crosstalk" within the brain, as certain head and neck nerves enter the brain near regions known to be involved in hearing."

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  8. Aug 29, 2009 #7
    No, humming was a pore choice of words. Like the sound you would hear in movie after a bomb blows up and a person is in slow motion shock. It was unusually pronounced compared to the normal ringing in my ears.
  9. Aug 29, 2009 #8


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    Like a high pitched whistle?
  10. Aug 29, 2009 #9


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    The obvious test is to just put your hands over your ears.

    If you can still hear the noise, it is coming from inside your ears or your head.
  11. Aug 29, 2009 #10
    Putting my hands over my ear now, I hear nothing like I heard the other night. Pretty much no ringing. The thing that struck me the other night, was that the sound I was hearing differed from the ringing in my ears after something like very loud music.

    I would have to say that the frequency sounded lower in pitch than the normal ringing although still high. Not a whistle like sound, but more of a buzz. The difference in the sound was effected notably by the slightest turn of the head, and turned 90 degrees, I could hear pretty much no ringing.

    It is hard to explain, but unlike after hearing loud sound, the buzz was very clear and controlled sounding if that makes any sense. I guess the best way I can explain the difference between the ringing have normally experienced and what I hear the other night, is that normally the ringing is more annoying of a pitch, while what I hear the other night seamed less annoying. Probably due to the lower pitch.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  12. Aug 29, 2009 #11


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    Maybe wait and see if it happens again.

    In the meantime, you need to be careful with loud noises. You have already done some damage and you've only got one set of ears. Get some ear plugs or earmuffs and protect yourself.
  13. Aug 29, 2009 #12
    Is it possible you just left the tv on? The transformer in a tv operates at around 15Khz and thus produces a very high-pitched tone. It makes sense that you wouldn't be able to hear it if you turned your head the other direction because high frequency sounds like these are vary directional-they more or less travel in a straight line and don't spread out like lower frequencies do. Its also interesting that most people can't hear the sound a tv produces, I can, and it seems like you can as well. Im looking at my tv right now with it muted and I can hear the sound, but if I turn my head in either direction, it goes away, just like you said, so my money is saying that your tv was still on.
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