How does one determine if the sounds you hear are real or tinnitus?

Posted by awilst @awilst, Aug 16, 2021

how does one determine if the sounds you hear are real or tinnitus? I wear hearing aids , & have had high pitch/light ringing tinnitus for years.
Recently I have begun to hear very loud low pitch motor idle, rumble sounds. these noises seem to start & stop at regular times. usually begin at 2 am & run till 6 am, (with few exception). (POOL PUMP??). I can almost feel the vibration in floor or bed when they occur.
wife says she does not hear it or feel it.
I have double hip replacement in me, so metal resonates energy. not sure if that is why I could be sensitive???
I downloaded several decible meters to phone & so far, cellphone says low decibles, but lots of frequency activity , up to 2.5k. not sure how to proceed. any ideas.
I saved the data so if anyone out there is sound engineer I can send saved screen shots of db.
went to ent guy, got sluffed off. didnt want to deal with question.
ps also wondering about infarsound??

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This is an interesting post. I hope others will contribute to it. My tinnitus is always like 'crickets', so I cannot compare to what you are experiencing.

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I have had Meniere's most of my life, but it only affected my right ear…until two years ago, when it invaded the sorta good left ear. For years, I've had what is referred to as "auditory hallucinations," where you plainly hear sounds you heard earlier that day…or years ago. It's as though your brain plays old sounds back to fill the void of silence. For example, if I use the lawnmower for an hour or so, I'm often "treated" to hearing it during the night. Sometimes I can hear the dishwasher, water swishing, plates clicking…although in reality I haven't heard it even when standing next to it since I went bilateral and only faintly before that. The worst is a machine sound, repetitive, of something that exists only in my head, worst during the quiet of the night while I'm lying in bed. One audi explained that it's like tinnitus: Ol' Ma Nature's way of providing something for me to listen to, like it or not! Often, I could swear that there's some big machine running unevenly in the space under my bedroom, although there's obviously nothing there.

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@joyces

I have had Meniere's most of my life, but it only affected my right ear…until two years ago, when it invaded the sorta good left ear. For years, I've had what is referred to as "auditory hallucinations," where you plainly hear sounds you heard earlier that day…or years ago. It's as though your brain plays old sounds back to fill the void of silence. For example, if I use the lawnmower for an hour or so, I'm often "treated" to hearing it during the night. Sometimes I can hear the dishwasher, water swishing, plates clicking…although in reality I haven't heard it even when standing next to it since I went bilateral and only faintly before that. The worst is a machine sound, repetitive, of something that exists only in my head, worst during the quiet of the night while I'm lying in bed. One audi explained that it's like tinnitus: Ol' Ma Nature's way of providing something for me to listen to, like it or not! Often, I could swear that there's some big machine running unevenly in the space under my bedroom, although there's obviously nothing there.

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I so understand every phantom sound that you hear. My tinnitus has provided high pitched sound in both ears, crickets in both ears, machine sounds like a deep rumbling that comes and goes at will. I feel internal vibrations, sometimes in the soles of my feet, at other times throughout my body. Sometimes I could swear my bed is on vibration mode when my husband checks he feels nothing and the bed is not on massage setting. Welcome to the world of tinnitus. Since the problem is not only in the ears but also in the brain one can assume that the brain is misbehaving and providing tinnitus and all it’s related tricks and miseries. I also have musical ear where I hear notes being constantly repeated.

I take lyrica and amitriptylin. It helps to tamp down the sounds somewhat.

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Hearing sounds that aren't real is bothersome every day when I walk a quarter mile along our gravel road to our mailbox. Because I can't hear vehicles approaching soon enough to move off the one-lane road, I check over my shoulder frequently, esp. when I "hear" vehicles approaching. Most of the time, there's nothing there. After three or four useless checks for unreal vehicles, I don't check…and am surprised to have even trucks lumber past. I notice this even while I'm walking with my eyes closed, an Rx from my vestibular therapist (to increase my ability to pay attention to what my feet tell me–proprioception).

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I downloaded some sound detection apps on phone & have been taking screen shots of results.
if there are any readers with expertise in understanding this data I can upload some pictures/charts.
I know I have tinnitus, but this stuff happens on regular schedule??. if I go to local library (several hours) there is never any machine/rumble sounds??? only at home???

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Hi, I suffer bi-lateral tinnitus. I had pericarditis about 5 years ago and at the same time I developed high pitch buzz in my ears. Most doctors say it’s possible the vial infection from pericarditis settled in my ears, I’m not sure I’d ever agree.
I get crickets, loud buzzing,ringing and some sounds I find it hard to explain to the specialist. I suffer frequent bouts of vertigo. I’ve learned a lot about it and how to get through it but never a cure. I hear sounds my husband never hears in the house.
I didn’t leave the house for two years because it was so bad and then I received help with how to deal with it. A dentist drill is high decibels. My husband found head phones just for the dentist at Home Depot to get through any drilling. Restaurants are tuff. Lots of sounds going on is a tough place for me. My son came up with a device my husband and I wear headset with mouth piece and we carry conversation between us and drown out restaurant sounds. I found ear plugs from a company called eargasm. They help a lot and I have others that are disposable too. It all depends on the situation. I sound machine never worked so me so I cover my eyes with an eye mask to sleep but adjust tv to my ringing. Every day I never know what will be. I can’t nap cause even 5 minutes makes the ringing so much worst. Stress a huge factor. I’m having major surgery next month so because my sleeping is poor my ringing is awful. I never go to concerts, plays anything indoors with that type of sound anymore. Keep searching you will find many blogs about tinnitus and ideas from other folks to try. I’ve learned more that way than from any specialist. Hope this helps..wish you well, Joanne

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Hello, @awilst. This is certainly a puzzle and I can only imagine how disruptive this recent change in your tinnitus is affecting your well being. I'm not a sound engineer so I cannot help you there. Like others on this thread I too have tinnitus. My tinnitus in nature is high pitched and more like ringing when it does occur. If I "listen" as I'm doing right now I'm more aware of it. The period when it has bothered me the most was when I was under a great deal of stress at work and I remember being aware of how disruptive the tinnitus was during a particularly difficult meeting. Other times the tinnitus bothers me is at night. My body is at rest but my mind is not (big clue to me right there!) and with the quiet in the house I'm very aware of that irksome ringing. Here are some references that may help you to understand the different types of tinnitus.
https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/tinnitus/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it
I would like to encourage you to follow up with a physician and/or an audiologist who will help you with this. Do you live near an academic medical center? If so, there is likely a medical provider on the faculty who specializes in tinnitus. Are you near Mayo Clinic in Florida, Arizona, or Minnesota? If yes, then you might ask your family care provider for a referral to Mayo Clinic or inquire into an appointment yourself.
http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63
Blessings to you.

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Sometimees my noise is very loud and interfears with tv. So I have to turn it up…but I find if I am working on a painting it will fade away as I ingnore it and listening to my fav jazz or classical music is caiming and pleasant…tension is a big trigger…so every morning I have a quiet time down my garden with my coffee and it almost disappears…the other thing I do is listen for a rhythm (waves on sand) and use it to go to sleep…which is quite pleasant. I avoid trying to have conversations in loud niosey places….and if people are angry and shouting at me I tell them to stop! And walk away. I hope this helps. Peace be with you

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@julieo4

This is an interesting post. I hope others will contribute to it. My tinnitus is always like 'crickets', so I cannot compare to what you are experiencing.

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I have crickets

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How wonderful to read all of your postings about the various forms that you hear–not just a ringing . I often hear the rumblings of large motors and there is nothing around me to make that noise. Also sometimes I will hear low tone of music — like a choir of base men singers. I know that some forms of mental illness hear voices and I've wondered (no feared) that,s what was causing my unusual sounds. Thank you all for writing and sharing. Now I know that what I hear is not just a mental illness problem but a true hearing problem.

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@naturegirl5

Hello, @awilst. This is certainly a puzzle and I can only imagine how disruptive this recent change in your tinnitus is affecting your well being. I'm not a sound engineer so I cannot help you there. Like others on this thread I too have tinnitus. My tinnitus in nature is high pitched and more like ringing when it does occur. If I "listen" as I'm doing right now I'm more aware of it. The period when it has bothered me the most was when I was under a great deal of stress at work and I remember being aware of how disruptive the tinnitus was during a particularly difficult meeting. Other times the tinnitus bothers me is at night. My body is at rest but my mind is not (big clue to me right there!) and with the quiet in the house I'm very aware of that irksome ringing. Here are some references that may help you to understand the different types of tinnitus.
https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/tinnitus/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it
I would like to encourage you to follow up with a physician and/or an audiologist who will help you with this. Do you live near an academic medical center? If so, there is likely a medical provider on the faculty who specializes in tinnitus. Are you near Mayo Clinic in Florida, Arizona, or Minnesota? If yes, then you might ask your family care provider for a referral to Mayo Clinic or inquire into an appointment yourself.
http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63
Blessings to you.

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thanks for reply. did go to ent md. he was of no help. audiologist says she does not think its tinnitus.

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@naturegirl5

Hello, @awilst. This is certainly a puzzle and I can only imagine how disruptive this recent change in your tinnitus is affecting your well being. I'm not a sound engineer so I cannot help you there. Like others on this thread I too have tinnitus. My tinnitus in nature is high pitched and more like ringing when it does occur. If I "listen" as I'm doing right now I'm more aware of it. The period when it has bothered me the most was when I was under a great deal of stress at work and I remember being aware of how disruptive the tinnitus was during a particularly difficult meeting. Other times the tinnitus bothers me is at night. My body is at rest but my mind is not (big clue to me right there!) and with the quiet in the house I'm very aware of that irksome ringing. Here are some references that may help you to understand the different types of tinnitus.
https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/tinnitus/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears-and-what-to-do-about-it
I would like to encourage you to follow up with a physician and/or an audiologist who will help you with this. Do you live near an academic medical center? If so, there is likely a medical provider on the faculty who specializes in tinnitus. Are you near Mayo Clinic in Florida, Arizona, or Minnesota? If yes, then you might ask your family care provider for a referral to Mayo Clinic or inquire into an appointment yourself.
http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63
Blessings to you.

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Thank you the two links. The second was especially helpful in refreshing what I had been told during my assessment. I complain about the ringing in my ears and wonder why me and why now. After reading others' comments, I can see it could be much worse. Now that I understand some of the variables, I can see why there is no cure yet.

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