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Re: hearing sudden distortion effect
This sounds to me like a patulous Eustachian tube - and what you were experiencing was sound traveling up your Eustachian tube to your middle ear space. The Eustachian tube is normally closed but sometimes stays open (for reasons unknown to me).
I was a French horn player from 5th grade through college and often experienced this in rehearsals. Doctors never had any ideas but recently in prepping for one of the audiology courses I teach, I ran across a description of patulous Eustachian tube and it sounded very much like what you're describing.
Sarah Hargus Ferguson, Ph.D., CCC-A
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
University of Utah
From: AUDITORY - Research in Auditory Perception [mailto:AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of James W. Beauchamp
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2016 5:00 PM
Subject: [AUDITORY] hearing sudden distortion effect
In 2009 I acquired chronic low-level high-frequency tinnitus.
Tests rhowed that it was at approximately 11 KHz 10 dB above threshold. Most of the time I'm not concious of it and it doesn't affect my enjoyment of music.
Friday night I attended an orchestra concert where they played Beethoven's "Overture to 'Eqmont'", Bruch's "Scottish Fantasy", and Shostakovich's "Symphony No. 12" in that order. I enjoyed it all, but the last piece was especially loud, and near the end of the last movement I suddenly experienced a loud distortion effect on certain very loud notes. It had two attributes: 1) It was very sudden, almost like an amplifier clipping; 2) I perceived the sounds to be localized very close to my head, rather than coming from the stage (I was seated about 20 rows from the stage.). The effect was very disconcerting because it ruined the musical experience.
This is the first time I've experienced this effect at an orchestra concert. I remember experiencing something like this in 1978 when a certain electronic piece by Xennakis was performed at the International Computer Music Conference at Northwestern Univ. It was played very loud, and I remember sounds were swirling around my head.
Others had the same experience. This was way before my tinnitus onset, and I didn't mind it because it seemed like the strange localization effect was just part of the piece.
Has anyone else experienced this effect? What is the effect called?
Is it related to tinnitus or is it a cause of tinnitus?
Thanks for your help on this question!
James W. Beauchamp
Professor Emeritus of Music and Electrical & Computer Engineering University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
email: jwbeauch@xxxxxxxxxxxx (also: jwbeauch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)