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Old 04-07-2007, 11:24 PM   #1
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Hum in the head

My problem began a little more than a year when I began to hear low frequency noises like trucks in the distance but only at night when it was very quiet. Over the course of the ensuing year the sound became gradually louder and more frequent and my wife confirmed that what I was hearing was inside my head. The sound became still louder and gradually resolved itself as a hum that varies in loudness much like a truck rumbling by. Using a piano I measured the hum to be exactly 63 Hz C-2 ('C' two octaves below middle 'C'). The tone has never varied in frequency.

As the hum grew louder I noticed some additional characteristics.

1. The hum is primarily "heard" in the right ear.
2. The loudness of the hum depends on the orientation of my head. Loudest when on my back and nearly silent when on my face. Sleeping on my side is usually manageable.
3. This one is the oddest of all: I can create the hum "at-will" by tapping on parts of my head; particularly the bridge of my noise, either brow bone and other places. The hum is "bell"-like when I tap and exhibits the same sensitivity to the orientation of my head.

Lately the hum is perceivable during the daytime when things are quiet and at night when I need to us a masking noise (fan or loud appliance) to aid during sleeping. Additionally I am lately hearing a pulsing or pounding in both ears as well.

I've been to my Family Physician, an Audiologist and an ENT. I've had several sinus CT scans which resulted in some therapy to clear my sinuses but other than a cyst in the floor of the right upper (maxillary?) sinus they are now normal. The ENT discovered that part of both my eardrums have become partially adhered to the inside of the ear canal likely due to a lifetime of involvement with middle ear infections. I've been blowing extra air into my middle ear (ENT's instructions) to help release the adhesions which appears to slightly reduce the hum but not relieve it. The final verdict from my ENT has been "live with it" because he doesn't know what to do. Not very reassuring.

The condition is gradually becoming worse and making sleep even with masking more difficult though I am still getting enough.

One final note is that I've been having some rather high blood pressure readings lately (something of a surprise to me) which I believe may be contributing to the pulsing I've been hearing.

Does anyone have any experience with the symptoms I've described? I am inclined to believe that there is a condition in my head probably near my right ear that is giving rise to a resonance which would explain the effect of tapping as I described in #3 above and the source of the hum to boot.

I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone regarding the symptoms I've described.

 
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Old 04-09-2007, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: Hum in the head

My guess is that you have just entered the wonderful world of tinnitus. You need never be alone again. And when you do yoga your "hmmmmmmm" is already there for you.
.
Seriously, it isn't the worst of all possible afflictions as long as it remains as mild as you describe your case. I've had it at a very noticable level for more than thirty years.
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Tinnitus is neither curable nor significantly treatable so if that's what it is your doc will probably not be of much help. It is very important to avoid high-noise environments since such exposure can permanently worsen you problem.
.
Do be careful about advertised wonder cures too. At best all they do is produce very expensive urine and at worst.... you don't want to know about it.


 
Old 04-09-2007, 05:58 PM   #3
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Re: Hum in the head

BigMac,

Thanks for the "welcome to the club" though I must say that I'm not crazy about the benefits. A couple of questions if I may about your condition.

1. Is your "tone" the very low frequency one that I am hearing? Classic tinnitus is in the very nasty range of about 2-4 kHz (I have intermittent bouts of this which generally pass quickly and yes I am *very* careful about exposure to noise). My tone is down near AC power line frequencies.

2. Do you experience the "my head as a bell" thing I mentioned?

3. Does your noise vary with head orientation as mine does?

The reason I ask all these things is that though I am reluctantly willing to accept tinnitus as the final diagnosis my symptoms are atypical enough of classis tinnitus that I'd like to push things a bit before I "join the ranks".

Though the noise is dismaying and at times depressing I'm getting a bit more used to it.

Thanks again for your reply.

 
Old 04-16-2007, 07:08 AM   #4
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Lenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB UserLenin HB User
Re: Hum in the head

rdking,

I admire your perseverence and feel kinship. Back 30 years ago while I was seeing one quack after another about going deaf and horrible tinnitus (high register) and trying to avoid hearing aides, I tested myself and found I could hear my watch (a 60's version Accutron, the first with a tunuing fork for timing) through my facial bones. I diagnosed my otosclerosis and sought out the right doctor to cure it. So we are both "diagnosticians without a license!"

Anyhoo, a couple thoughts...63 Hz is extremely low and MANY people, after a certain age might be totally insensitive to it.

I find that my tinnitus has so many overtones that it is impossible for me to pin down which of the many harmonics I am hearing, definitely not a pure tone...but again, all high like whistles. That's the most common tinnitus.

What I THINK is occurring is that you have gone conductively DEAF to a particular low frequency and your brain and auditory nerve is compensating by creating the sound.
IF you have limited the motion of your eardrum as a result of these "adhesions" it is indeed low frequency hearing that would be impaired...only low frequencies require large eardrum displacements and it is only these large displacements that are hampered in any conduction deafness. The situation is VERY akin to otosclerosis where the adhesions limit the motion of the ossicles.

Have a GOOD hearing test and determine if you are suffereing any low range hearing deficit. If so, you MAY actually be starting to show the symptoms of OTO. Doubly likely if you are about age 30. (Do you find any hearing deficit especially in a very quiet environment?)

If the evidence of adhesions is solid AND you are experiencing some loss of hearing, then surgical intervention might be advisable. But know well that most problems with tinnitus are rooted in the INNER EAR and not amenable to a cure.
However, your low-frequency tinnitus is definitely extraordinary, so different rules might apply.

Last edited by Lenin; 04-16-2007 at 07:12 AM.

 
Old 05-19-2007, 02:55 PM   #5
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Re: Hum in the head

Hi there - I don't think it is in your head - although in your case it COULD be. But I started hearing the same thing 3 months ago. I went through calling the county to come check water/sewer lifts, the substation nearby, complained to the city - "someone has a generator running". Nothing was found.

I finally realized they were not ever going to find the source of the HUM. I knew that when I spent the night away from my home and HEARD IT THERE too! 8 miles away! Only within closed walls.

That's when I found many many articles on this phenomenon (why they call it that I don't know) but even my dr. found nothing wrong with my hearing.

I don't hear it during the day when other sounds are present....but whenever I am in my home - closed up - there it is....a rumble like a car or train idleing. If I open a window it lessens.... but close it - and there it is. It has awakened me in the middle of the night a couple of times, making my body feel like it is vibrating... VERY disturbing. My ears feel a pressure.

I thought WHY ME? But now I have a small fan going at night to mask it, and I am trying to make a place for it in my life as I have heard from some that they've heard it for 20 years! So I am accepting the fact I am a 'hearer". It is worldwide. A white noise machine works too.

I guess this is the 'world we live in' now, and low frequency is a part of it. Unfortunately we are able to hear while others can't! Good luck to you.
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Last edited by moderator2; 05-19-2007 at 03:14 PM. Reason: not allowed to promote other forums - please read and follow the posting policy

 
Old 06-01-2007, 04:36 PM   #6
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Cool Re: Hum in the head

I have this noise too. I remember having it for years but only being aware of it at certain quiet times, but just lately it seems to have got louder and actually woke me up the other morning. I think it sound like the central heating whirring , or like you say a generator or a distant truck or engine. I only notice it when I tune into it or if it is really quiet. Is it something certain people pick up, is that what you are saying? Or is there something wrong with my ears that I ought to get checked out??

 
Old 06-01-2007, 06:22 PM   #7
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Re: Hum in the head

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosie the 3rd View Post
I have this noise too. I remember having it for years but only being aware of it at certain quiet times, but just lately it seems to have got louder and actually woke me up the other morning. I think it sound like the central heating whirring , or like you say a generator or a distant truck or engine. I only notice it when I tune into it or if it is really quiet. Is it something certain people pick up, is that what you are saying? Or is there something wrong with my ears that I ought to get checked out??

I know - it is so bizarre...but it is real. A lot of people hear it in the UK. You are not alone...and it is getting louder from some people's reports. Type in a search engine HUM in England and you will be surprised. I doubt it is a problem with your ears. I've given up that it is a physical thing.
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Old 06-02-2007, 03:42 AM   #8
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Re: Hum in the head

Quote:
Originally Posted by debbi26 View Post
I know - it is so bizarre...but it is real. A lot of people hear it in the UK. You are not alone...and it is getting louder from some people's reports. Type in a search engine HUM in England and you will be surprised. I doubt it is a problem with your ears. I've given up that it is a physical thing.
Gosh you are right, how strange!!!!! Well I suppose it is slightly reassuring that it may not be medical-you can live with it abit easier if you know it isn't in your head!!!

 
Old 06-02-2007, 08:45 AM   #9
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Re: Hum in the head

well it could be in your head, the vibrating or hum or rumbling as some call it can be a spasm of one or both of the tiny muscles in the middle ear, the stapedial or tensor tympani. some also get it with a spasm of the palatal muscles. i have it and it was so bad i had the tendons severed.
i have several posts on this board, mine was sever.
so something to consider as an answer.
lib

 
Old 06-02-2007, 03:36 PM   #10
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Re: Hum in the head

Quote:
Originally Posted by lib View Post
well it could be in your head, the vibrating or hum or rumbling as some call it can be a spasm of one or both of the tiny muscles in the middle ear, the stapedial or tensor tympani. some also get it with a spasm of the palatal muscles. i have it and it was so bad i had the tendons severed.
i have several posts on this board, mine was sever.
so something to consider as an answer.
lib
Yes thanks- I may get it checked out anyway. I know I have been hearing it for a few years and really don't notice it most of the time. Just lately it has got more noticeable , or maybe I am just tuning into it more. It is starting to annoy me, so maybe i will get it checked to be sure.

 
Old 06-04-2007, 10:38 AM   #11
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Re: Hum in the head

I have this as well. I have been told that this is very classic for Cochlear Hydrops - also known as Menier's Disease when accompanied by vertigo. I have had two acute attacks of vertigo over the last five years, which is very common. Basically it is thought that there is excess fluid in the inner ear which stretches the membrane surrounding the cochlea. It first stretches at the thinnest part, which is why you get the low frequency humming as opposed to the high frequency with tinnitus. Over time this can lead to deafness - although I hope it won't!
My ENT put me on diuretics to draw the fluid out of the ears and the problem was reversed, with recovery of most of my hearing, in about three weeks. Unfortunately I can't stand taking the diuretics and backed off and the problem has returned. Now I'm stuck with either feeling miserable or having the hearing problem so I play a little game with the diuretics and go on and off of them. Get yourself checked out by someone who understands this. The California Ear Institute is top notch if you are in the area. Good luck!

 
Old 07-14-2007, 10:59 AM   #12
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Re: Hum in the head

I too have a hum in my ear (right). The hum is somewhat positional as well. I suspect that there is some fluid in my inner ear, as per a message that was posted in this thread. I have sensoneural hearing loss in both ears as well. I want to pursue the idea of diuretics to rid the inner ear of excess fluid (if that is in fact the problem). I am reluctant to take conventional diuretics because of the side effects. Has anyone had any luck with herbal/alternative drug therapy diuretics?
cathy55

 
Old 08-05-2007, 07:16 AM   #13
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Re: Hum in the head

I've had these LF hums for years but lately it's been worse.
I thought at one stage it was the local motorway (about 1 mile off) tuned to house freq- as closing windows, moving round house seemed to affect it. This time though I got up and started switching off mains services round the house...then I found just the click if the switch (either on or off) would sometimes stop the hum for a few seconds.Even moving my head slightly would detune the sound before it returned. tapping skull also has an effect.
As a bit of a conspiracy freak...I tended to go that way and consider Haarp,HV lines and world size effects at the earths' natural freq- around 8Hz(inaudible)...but could cross modulate in unknown ways.
it's a very tricky problem.
I have HF tinnitus (continual 'singing') but that is not intrusive in the same way as the L.F -especially as 'that' stops and starts all night long.
The last time I got up at 4am to mail someone in the UK about the problem and went back to bed...it stopped for 2 weeks.(see conspiracy above
This person later said in his opinion it was due to toxic build up in the inner ear...but I can find no link on-line to this.He also said exercise could stop the effects.
My hearing is pretty good apart from machinery induced roll off of response.
I was in industry for many years...loads of machinery noise,HV, magnetic fields etc. and never been highly susceptible to problems.
Nevertheless- this is a very irritating syndrome and I will be doing more research on it. I hope this board will furnish some ideas!
My opinion at this stage is that I have hyper sensitivity to picking up external LF and induced noise...but that it is not ALL me...and there are many theoretical paths to pursue...but with some difficulties expected.
I don't necessarily expect to nail it down..but looking will be 'fun'..well- better than just lying down on the subject
I suspect I will either run out of physical space (ground waves are rather long) or money for the equipment list !!
Good luck all you sufferers..you're not alone- or going mad...that's something!

 
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