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Re: hearing sudden distortion effect
I feel the need to contribute as well. I'm the classic definition of young normal hearing, and I have a similar phenomenon as David that began in my late 20s. When I'm laying on my side and have one ear covered by a pillow, a room fan will trigger a middle ear reflex (mostly only in my right ear). I describe it as a twitch that I can resolved by repositioning either to a location where both my ears are accessible for hearing the fan or the opposite ear can be blocked by a pillow and the reflex stops.
I will note that during the winter months if I fly frequently I also have pressure equalization issues in the same ear. In fact, one flight last winter I was unable to pop my right ear and felt like my eardrum almost burst. I mechanically tried to open my Eustachian tube by chewing gum and physically pulling my pinna up and down. I think that might have helped prevent my eardrum from bursting, by I had a temporary hearing loss for almost two days after that flight.
I also occasionally think about the fact that I frequently take elevators 10 flights or more and ride a tram to work, thinking that these issues might be caused by excessive daily elevation changes. However, when my acoustic reflex issues began 5 years ago, I rarely changed altitude on a daily basis. In terms of rehabilitation, I will say that access to an immittance bridge and being able to control the pressure manually through tympanometry is a great way to resolve my pressure equalization issues and help reduce my middle ear reflex twitch.
Sent from my iPhone
> On Oct 5, 2016, at 8:49 AM, David Smith <smithd@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> When I listen to music with one ear covered (lying down with my head on a pillow) I get thumping in the covered ear.
> It's clearly a muscle contraction as I can feel it as well as hear it.
> It started maybe 4 years ago (I'm 60). I first noticed it only during louder (≈50-60db) percussive events onsets.
> It now it happens in both ears (no matter which one is covered) and the event onsets don't need to be so fast to produce the thumping.
> My hearing is ok otherwise. I can produce and mix music with both ears exposed normally.
>> On Oct 4, 2016, at 7:36 AM, Bob Masta wrote:
>> I wonder if you are also subject to what I call "thumping"
>> during binaural beats presentations. I experience this at
>> a center frequency of about 300 Hz and a difference of
>> about 1 Hz. See the "Middle Ear Thumping" subtopic
>> under "Monaural and Binaural Beats Mini-App" at
>> I don't know how common this is. I'd love to hear about
>> others' experiences on this test. You can download and
>> use the Daqarta software on any Windows system. It's
>> free for this sort of use (output only). I'd be glad to
>> answer any questions.
>> Best regards,
>> Bob Masta
>>> On 2 Oct 2016 at 10:09, William Hartmann wrote:
>>> Sorry about your bad experience.
>>> Possibly related: I remember a performance at IRCAM on amplified flute
>>> by Pierre-Yves Artaud. Intense impulsive tones were accompanied by
>>> popping sounds in my ear. Colleagues attributed those to middle ear reflex.
>>> James W. Beauchamp wrote:
>>>> Dear List,
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>> Research Professor
>>>> Professor Emeritus of Music and Electrical & Computer Engineering
>>>> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
>>>> email: jwbeauch@xxxxxxxxxxxx (also: jwbeauch@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
>>>> WWW: http://ems.music.uiuc.edu/beaucham