ANR Headsets and Tinnitus

KAT3

Active Member
I stopped using my lightspeed ANR head set because the tinnitus, I already have, seemed to be aggravated after using them. I have gone back to ear plugs and a passive head set. I cant get a good answer about the noise cancelling white noise they produce and if it can harm ( or further harm) the ears. There seem to be a few pilots experiencing the same issue. Any advice???
Thanks
 

web265

Well-Known Member
Sorry this won't be very useful, but, I have Tinnitus as well and also feel it is worse after flying.

The only thing I can add is the fact that I was recently at an ENT for an exam and questioned him regarding this, he told me there was no connection.

He feels that the missing ambient noise after flying makes the Tinnitus seem worse because of the relative quiet.
 

Hacker15e

Dunning–Kruger Observer
If the sound wave produced cancels out (or dampens) the ambient sound wave, there is no sound wave hitting your ear drum. It isn't "white noise" being produced by the headset.
 

KAT3

Active Member
If the sound wave produced cancels out (or dampens) the ambient sound wave, there is no sound wave hitting your ear drum. It isn't "white noise" being produced by the headset.
I get that, but that sound wave does move the eardrum, or so I have read.
 

BCTAv8r

Well-Known Member
Sorry this won't be very useful, but, I have Tinnitus as well and also feel it is worse after flying.

The only thing I can add is the fact that I was recently at an ENT for an exam and questioned him regarding this, he told me there was no connection.

He feels that the missing ambient noise after flying makes the Tinnitus seem worse because of the relative quiet.
I have it too and I sleep with the fan on because the quiet makes it much more noticeable. For some reason, one factor I've noticed makes it worse is cold weather.
 

CBurkFly

Well-Known Member
There is no sound wave with ANR. The ANR cancels the wave with a wave of it's own 180 degrees out. The result is no wave at all, or as close as we can get to that at the moment.
So you are saying there is a zero energy sound wave produced from the headphone... or is it twice the amount of sound wave energy and they cancel each other out when they hit the ear drum?

.....I have heard people who get headaches from ANR's seem to not get a headache with the Bose A20s
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
So you are saying there is a zero energy sound wave produced from the headphone... or is it twice the amount of sound wave energy and they cancel each other out when they hit the ear drum?

.....I have heard people who get headaches from ANR's seem to not get a headache with the Bose A20s
There's no wave at all.

It produces the same wave as is coming in, at the same amplitude but 180 degrees out of phase. This cancels or destroys the other wave resulting in no wave at all.
Look at the picture. It's as simple as +10 - 10 = 0.
 
Last edited:

CBurkFly

Well-Known Member
There's no wave at all.

It produces the same wave as is coming in, at the same amplitude but 180 degrees out of phase. This cancels or destroys the other wave resulting in no wave at all.
Look at the picture. It's as simple as +10 - 10 = 0.
My question is about the energy of the sum... I realize the resulting sound wave does not have oscillations (in a perfect world).

Does oscillations for a sound wave = energy? What about the law energy can neither be created or destroyed?
 

KAT3

Active Member
I have found several articles which say ANR does not protect as well as the manufactures want us to believe. High frequencies seem to be the issue. I have had an audiologist say ear plugs and passive is the best. He is a pilot as well.
 

Hefner

Well-Known Member
After flying with a pair of Bose A20's for a few years, I was forced (by gunpoint) to wear a pair of David Clarks in an Arrow for 1.2hrs. I was ready to get out before we even took-off.
 

CBurkFly

Well-Known Member
Figured out how I was thinking about it wrong.... Based upon the comments and further research on trusty Google....

Sound Waves are different from sea waves as I am thinking about them (partially caused by the picture included). Sea waves are called transverse waves where the energy travels perpendicular to the direction of the wave. Sound waves are called longitudinal waves because the waves are the same direction as the energy, using a series of compressions and rarefactions. Therefore when the "inverse wave" is created by the artificial speaker it does nullify the energy of the other waves. The work that is being done is cancelling out the other waves.... (still not sure about the conservation of energy law in all of this).

In summation: the picture mislead me because the waves are actually perpendicular and no sound energy moves toward the ear..... in a perfect world

This website helped me to understand a bit more: http://www.explainthatstuff.com/sound.html
 

KAT3

Active Member
I just had a physical done yesterday and asked the Doc the same question about ANR and tinnitus. He said there is growing evidence that the noise canceling wave (for lack of a better term) is causing people with tinnitus to have the condition worsen. The eardrum does hear, and move with the noise canceling sound wave, even though we sense it as being quieter. He told me earplugs and passive is still the best protection. When I said that Bose and LightSpeed etc would not put a product on the market which would cause damage, that it must have had long term testing, he burst into laughter!!!!
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
I've been using Bose X and A20 headsets for the last decade and my tinnitus has noticeably worsened over the past several years. I had assumed it was due to my extracurricular activities but this thread has given me pause about continuing with their use.
 

KKochan

Well-Known Member
I've been using Bose X and A20 headsets for the last decade and my tinnitus has noticeably worsened over the past several years. I had assumed it was due to my extracurricular activities but this thread has given me pause about continuing with their use.
Interesting considering everything seems pretty "quiet" when wearing one.
 

KAT3

Active Member
I've been using Bose X and A20 headsets for the last decade and my tinnitus has noticeably worsened over the past several years. I had assumed it was due to my extracurricular activities but this thread has given me pause about continuing with their use.
I noticed it made mine worse after four months of use, so I stopped using them over a year ago and my tinnitus has not worsen. I am sure each individual will have different experiences, but it looks like the issue is becoming more prevalent.
 

web265

Well-Known Member
I've been using Bose X and A20 headsets for the last decade and my tinnitus has noticeably worsened over the past several years. I had assumed it was due to my extracurricular activities but this thread has given me pause about continuing with their use.
But, how do you know it just isn't getting worse with age? I know mine did before I started flying professionally. (just playing devil's advocate)

I went to an audiologist associated with an ENT, after the test the ENT said there's no way that the NC headsets were the culprit and that he could sell me hearing aids with NC that could cancel the tinnitus once we found the correct frequencies. That's when I got up and left. But, has anyone heard of this before?

I noticed it made mine worse after four months of use, so I stopped using them over a year ago and my tinnitus has not worsen. I am sure each individual will have different experiences, but it looks like the issue is becoming more prevalent.
First time I've heard anyone say that, interesting. I'm glad this thread was started, perhaps some new info will come out!
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
But, how do you know it just isn't getting worse with age? I know mine did before I started flying professionally. (just playing devil's advocate)

I went to an audiologist associated with an ENT, after the test the ENT said there's no way that the NC headsets were the culprit and that he could sell me hearing aids with NC that could cancel the tinnitus once we found the correct frequencies. That's when I got up and left. But, has anyone heard of this before?
I don't, but this is the first time I've ever heard of ANR being a potential aggravator of it. I'm only 35 in a couple months, so I'd at least like to think age isn't playing too much a role in it, yet.
 
Top