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tinnitus?
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tinnitus?

I wasn't sure if this was the proper forum, so excuse the near miss if that's true.

I was wondering if a relatively high pitched hissing noise from air ducts in my office could cause tinnitus.  Our environmental folks checked out the decibels and they were quite low.  However, the hissing noise is pretty constant and I'm exposed to it for 8-10 hours per day.  Over a period of months, I began noticing a very low, intermittent humming sensation mostly in one ear, and sometimes in both.  This intermittent hum is so low that I really only notice it at night when it's quiet.

Upon requesting our facility to lower the air duct noise, which they did by lowering the air volume throughput, over a period of several weeks I noticed that the "tinnitus" started to break up, ie, the intermittent buzzing sensation became more sporadic and presented at an even lower apparent volume.

I realize that prolonged exposure to relatively loud noise, or some inner ear problem and/or eustachian tube foul up may typically lead to tinnitus. In the present case we have a low decibel, but high frequency hissing sound...does the frequency of the noise play a role in causing a tinnitus-like presentation?

Thanks for any light you can shed on this relatively minor problem...I just don't want it to get any worse.

-Arthur
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Avatar_n_tn
Tinnitus is a very common complaint. It is typically a symptom of loss of hearing. To have this fully evaluated I would recommend that you be evaluated by a ear/nose/throat (ENT) doctor. They will be able to examine you closely and evaluate your hearing. If they are concerned about a neurologic disease, they can refer you to a neurologist. I would defer your questions regarding the air duct noise to the ENT doctor.
7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Arthur. No one has written so thought I'd offer my experience.
Younger, I had chronic tinnitus in only one ear. I had lots of
dull headaches & took asprin. The asprin `caused' the high-pitch
ringing. Later, neighbor used a leaf-blower every Fri. & it had a
dull whining sound. 4 hrs. later I had tinnitus. Many pain meds
also trigger it but only in one ear? I've had it checked. I think
it's a vibration of an ear-nerve started chemical or an uncon-
scious annoying sound. I discovered a lo-hum from a flourescent
light in the ofc. annoys me after an hr. By eve. I have tinnitus.
It goes away w/ a distraction of a favorite flavor I relate to.
Mine is cinnamon tea or candy. Some like tart or sour. There are
people that live w/ it for yrs. I just know mine can go away
even chewing gum on the same side.  

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Avatar_n_tn
So, the good doctor defers to an ENT.  I guess opinions are tough to obtain in this litigenous world.  I just needed to know if it was possible for a low decibel, high frequency noise to engender tinnitus....and instead I found out that it's not possible to get an answer.

The reality is that I beleive it is possible, and as demisuise points out, it's probably not only possible but a common occurrence.  We all know that loud noise is a sure culprit, it's just curious that no one ever mentions the link to frequency.

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Avatar_n_tn
Does anyone know what part of the brain or brain stem if it had a lesion would cause tinnitus or pulsatte tinnitus?
I do know that pressure on the carotid artery may cause this as I have been seen by an ENT and had an ultrasound of it on my neck and an MRA.  I was just wondering about possible white matter lesion location.  Any input would be appreciated. Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
I can't understand the not knowing of medical experts.  I have gone to 2 ENTs and they both said my hearing was fine and that I had to live with the blowing, pulsating noise in my left ear.  No other test were done and my left ear is sometimes sore but the 2nd Dr read what my 1st one said and agreed that I have to live with it.  I wish I had done an CT or MRI for furthur review.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have MS and believe it or not the pulsatte tinnitus scared me more than the MS.  The possible causes of pulsatte tinnitus are quite scary for someone like me who had tremendous stress, high blood pressure and very overweight.  My ENT immediately had me in for MRA, MRI, ultrasound of the neck etc...  My hearing is fine ... He said they were all necessary and standard test for the pulsatte tinnitus that the doc can not hear.
You should get those tests done. They are to rule out blocked carotid artery in the neck.  Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks.  I am about 30 pounds overweight.  When I asked for a 2nd opinion the 2nd ENT doctor wanted to do a  hearing test again but I said no b/c I had already had a hearing test.  Then he said as did my first ENT doc, I would have to live with it and sometimes there is no answer.  I also have mild sleep apnea and I snore badly.  I went to sleep study and it showed that I had mild sleep apnea and the 2nd ENT doc wants me to have surgery.  I'm so confused by two ENT docs doing nothing more than a hearing test for this problem.  However I purchased SnoreStop Extinguisher spray at Eckerds and have used it for 4 nights and the pulsating is not present now.  I don't know why.  I spray this product under my tongue and in the back of my throat 30 mins before bed and then agian when I lay down.  My hubby says he has not heard me snore.  Also when I open my jaw my left jaw pops.  Initially, I thought this was connecting to the pulsating and noise in left ear.  I want to really know what is going on.  I'm too young for this.
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