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Re: Tinnitus and a dip in the audiogram


This is very similar to a question that I discussed recently with a few people from this list. Not being in the field, I have difficulty framing the question. Sorry.

A hearing test -- the tones, tests hearing threshold. The hearing test I took used discrete frequencies and therefore the results have to be extracted from an interpolation. I was diagnosed with "mild" hearing loss in the 4kHz and 8kHz range, which is about 1 1/2 octaves below my 'main' tinnitus which is a sort of small tone cluster around 11-12 kHz. The level of my tinnitus varies rather quickly with where I am - environmental allergies?

When I listen to music / sounds at around 70 - 80dB, to me, my hearing appears to be relatively "flat". I am not aware of a [to me] large dip in the 4 - 10 kHz range when I am listening at normal levels. I do have some hearing loss as while I can perceive 11kHz, my 13kHz perception seems now to be almost nil. This I call hearing loss. The other range I consider to be masking of low level signals when my tinnitus is having a bad day, or a bad hour, or even a bad few minutes.

I consider my tinnitus to be an environmental allergic reaction as every once in a while the level drops almost completely away.

Asked how I determine such an 'absolute reference', I reply that I gently rub my fingers together and note how close my hand needs to be in order to hear the rubbing. At "quiet" times, for my right ear, this can be 20 cm or more away from my right ear. On bad days with high levels of tinnitus, this can be 3 - 5 cm. When I listen to music [as I use the same sound system and do not adjust the volume], there is little noticeable difference in louder passages. The differences I note, I attribute to masking.

FWIW, my tinnitus is highest just after waking up, almost regardless of the time of day or where I have been sleeping. [I power nap in my car -- not while driving, in my office, and ... sometimes in my classes.]


On 2012, Sep 9, at 5:09 AM, Mark Fletcher wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> I've noticed that tinnitus researchers often talk about the frequency of tinnitus being at a dip in the audiogram (in some people). It's then said that tinnitus, therefore, occurs at the frequency of a hearing loss. Even if I could be said to have an area of expertise, tinnitus research wouldn't be it, but it's certainly an area of interest for me and I am someone with tinnitus who has done several audiograms. On my audiogram there is a dip around the frequency of my tinnitus, but I suspect this dip is due to masking of the tone or warble used rather than necessarily being indicative of a hearing loss. I'd be very interested to know how people make the distinction between masking by tinnitus and a hearing loss.
> Many thanks,
> Mark Fletcher
> Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham