ANR Headsets and Tinnitus

KAT3

Active Member
I am pretty sure mine was the head sets, that was two years ago, and my tinnitus seems to be the sake since. Who knows??? I am just going to stick with earplugs and passive.
 

z987k

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?



First time I've heard anyone say that, interesting. I'm glad this thread was started, perhaps some new info will come out!
I haven't seen any evidence or information presented here to suggest anr makes tinnitus worse. Just a couple well maybes.
 

Itchy

Well-Known Member
I have tinnitus and QC15's. I think the ringing is worse after flying mostly due to continuous pressure adjustments with respect to altitude change. If you find yourself doing jaw movements etc to get your ears to pop, this, in my estimation, is what is aggravating it the most.
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
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.

There is no "audible" sound wave. I'm not so sure about ultra high and ultra low frequency sounds outside of human hearing that could still be damaging to the ear. I'm not even sure what range of sounds ANR is able to cancel out, I know that it works well well for low frequency stuff, but high frequency is a different animal entirely. While I think ANR headsets are definitely helpful for your ears, I doubt they eliminate all damage.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/09/sounds-you-cant-hear-can-still-hurt-your-ears
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
I haven't seen any evidence or information presented here to suggest anr makes tinnitus worse. Just a couple well maybes.
Tinnitus is usually driven by sonic fatigue, high frequency noise, especially that beyond the hearing spectrum carries a lot more energy and generally makes the symptoms worse.

ANR does not cover well in the higher frequency spectrum, it takes a lot of power, and processing resolution. 2aa batteries don't do that.

If you have tinnitus, using the Bose x and others with minimal passive reduction will make it worse. Use some ear pro's or foam underneath - it will make a world of difference.

The most effective method for managing tinnitus is to budget your sound exposure for the day, after a while it help. Keep the windows up in the car etc.

(Source - went through his myself, after flying with Bose from 2005-2012 I had significant degradation from 4khz-8khz. Once I switched it has recovered slightly. Investigated the link, tried to get info from Bose - looked into their Pam design. It simply can't make attenuation above 6-7khz not enough power before cutting)
 

drunkenbeagle

Gang 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.
High school physics would tell us that yes, wave superposition is in fact making that sound go away. BUT, noise cancelling headsets work at only certain frequencies. Ear plugs are probably have better attenuation over a larger spectrum. Using both a headset and in-ear plugs is probably best.
 

TheFlyingTurkey

Fetus Worshiper
I have had tinnitus since I was at least 7 years old. It stayed pretty much the same, mostly unnoticeable unless I was in a completely silent room.

I started flying when I was 29 and I worked as a CFI for 3 years, using my Bose X headset. I did notice a change in my tinnitus after using the Bose X all day flight instructing. The tone or pitch changed, and the volume increased enough for me to notice it, but it would always calm back down within a few hours. When I moved on to Piedmont, I wasn't using the Bose, just a standard headphone style headset, and I didn't notice any change to my tinnitus.

I left flying when I was 35. A few years later I flew commercially from Fort Lauderdale to Denver and 2 hours after I landed in Denver my Tinnitus became very loud. It didn't calm back down to the previous low levels. It was so bad that I could hear it even while driving in a car at 70 mph or in crowded restaurants. I spiraled into anxiety and then depression. I fixated on the sound. I listened to it all day every day. The depression made it even worse. I found an audiologist who was an expert in tinnitus, and she saved my life. She taught me what tinnitus was, how it worked, and how to treat it. (another long story).

Fast forward 7 years and the tinnitus returned to excruciating levels again. Turns out it reappeared after I moved from Fort Lauderdale to the Chicago area. I went and saw an ENT, and he found that my ears were full of fluid, but I wasn't sick. He suggested I do an allergy test. Turns out I'm allergic to some trees and grasses up here, and my head clogged up, causing the tinnitus to seem louder. Its like walking around with your fingers in your ears. It makes the tinnitus sound louder. So now I take OTC allergy meds and it keeps it at bay.

I urge anyone who is bothered by their tinnitus to look into allergies as a cause for recent unexplained increase in volume. Especially for pilots with all the changing altitudes. When I would get a head cold, when flying I would often get ear block and that excruciating pain that comes with it. Unable to clear my ears when sick is similar to the full clogged feeling I get from allergies.
 

Jeff Barna

New Member
My case is interesting because I am 54 years old, have been flying in my Mooney 201J every work day for the past 12 years. I did not get tinnitus until after buying a DC ANR headset and had been using it for a few months just this past year. That may be coincidence. But another thing I noticed is that the frequency of high pitch that I my brain thinks it hears (tinnitus) is exactly the frequency of the high pitch whine of my Attitude Indicator as the gyros are powered up. I am an electrical engineer and I know that the ANR that everyone talks about is NOT 100% accurate. It TRIES to mimic the opposing wave sound but is never 100% accurate in doing so. It does not start and stop the opposing sounds immediately when the actual noise starts and stops. Also, the approximation of the wave is not 100% accurate. People fail to realize that ANR is an attempt to mask the sounds but when sounds start or stop there is a very short lag. The frequency is also off ever so slightly. Thus the attempt of the ANR headset to mask out the high pitch whine of this instrument for example may produce sounds outside the matching wave that could possibly have an effect on hearing. This could be profound if the ANR headset is trying to counter loud or high pitched sounds. I would be very interested to see if there are any others with this experience or anything similar. Nothing is conclusive here, but it would be nice to know if others have had anything similar.

Jeff Barna
 

lb96

New Member
Hey guys, I know the thread is a little old, but I am a 21 year old cfi running into the same problem. Been using light speed sierras for the majority of my training up to this point. Just got a new pair under warranty a few months ago and have since noticed my ears ringing constantly since the new headset. (can't attribute it solely to flying, but have always been careful with my hearing)went to an ent to get a hearing test done, and my results came back almost perfect. Had an MRI done and that came back good as well with just a little inflammation in the inner ear. Nothing to look into apparently though. However I have noticed that the ringing is much worse after flights using my anr headset. Been looking to switch after reading the posts in this thread. Currently looking into the clarity aloft "in ear" or just a D.C. of some sorts with lots of noise reduction/insulation. Please let me know if you have any input.
 

Dave Goode

New Member
I am convinced that ANR headsets caused my tinnitus. Back in 1994, Bose came out with their original ANR headsets. I was very excited and got an early set. I used them for a flight from Michigan to Colorado and back in my Cessna 310. Following that trip, my ears rang for the following two years. I called Bose and met with hearing specialists. Their conclusion was that I had tinnitus. I knew it was the headsets that caused my condition. It was interesting that Bose took those headsets off the market for one year and then relaunched them as new and improved. My further research lead me to talk to a sound engineer from Koss (the speaker company). He told me that although the sound waves are cancelled, there is still "sound pressure". He calculated that my ears were being blasted with over 125db sound pressure that I could not hear. And, after the 12 hour round trip flight my ears had taken a beating. I have chosen to stick with with my passive headsets.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
I am convinced that ANR headsets caused my tinnitus. Back in 1994, Bose came out with their original ANR headsets. I was very excited and got an early set. I used them for a flight from Michigan to Colorado and back in my Cessna 310. Following that trip, my ears rang for the following two years. I called Bose and met with hearing specialists. Their conclusion was that I had tinnitus. I knew it was the headsets that caused my condition. It was interesting that Bose took those headsets off the market for one year and then relaunched them as new and improved. My further research lead me to talk to a sound engineer from Koss (the speaker company). He told me that although the sound waves are cancelled, there is still "sound pressure". He calculated that my ears were being blasted with over 125db sound pressure that I could not hear. And, after the 12 hour round trip flight my ears had taken a beating. I have chosen to stick with with my passive headsets.
Tinnitus sucks...my next door neighbor has it. Sorry to hear.

[Side note: back in my water ski tournament days I rode your equipment. Cutting edge (multiple connotations) stuff, for sure. You were Michigan based back. Welcome to J.C.!]
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
Just an observation, but how many of you wear sunglasses while wearing your headsets? I know I def notice a difference in noise level with my A20’s even with wearing my super thin Maui Jim’s compared to when I’m not wearing any sunglasses. Could it just be the ANR isn’t able to be as effective as it’s supoosed to be with even a little break in the ear cup seal?
 
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web265

Well-Known Member
I notice a big difference when wearing glasses and the Zulu 2/3 I have for GA. Switching to the Bose ProFlight in ear model for work fixed that. Now I wear them for work and GA.

Mike
 

KKochan

Well-Known Member
I’ve been running the David Clark One X for a while now, they have quite a bit of passive reduction as well as ANR. But they do only work best with sunglasses above the ear cups and no hat. I have used A20s in the same situation and definitely felt more fatigued at the end of the day. Basically zero passive reduction.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
I’ve been running the David Clark One X for a while now, they have quite a bit of passive reduction as well as ANR. But they do only work best with sunglasses above the ear cups and no hat. I have used A20s in the same situation and definitely felt more fatigued at the end of the day. Basically zero passive reduction.
Don't know how your pax would feel about it, but there's some helmets that have come down in price and include a sun visor. Lightspeed, Bose or DC noise canceling included... and I think you can get just the helmet and use the headset you currently have.

I'm toying with the idea since the #1 killer in an accident isn't the crash itself so much, but the head trauma.
 

NovemberEcho

Dergs favorite member
I'm toying with the idea since the #1 killer in an accident isn't the crash itself so much, but the head trauma.
My only fatality was from blunt force trauma to the head when his head slammed into the panel. Had his waist belt on but not the shoulder strap (3 point seatbelt). Had he had the shoulder strap he probably would have lived with cuts and bruises.

Then again he would probably have made the runway had he just declared emergency instead of being all vague. And he wouldn’t have had an emergency at all if he hadn’t run out of gas 50 miles before his destination.
 

TUCKnTRUCK

That guy
My only fatality was from blunt force trauma to the head when his head slammed into the panel. Had his waist belt on but not the shoulder strap (3 point seatbelt). Had he had the shoulder strap he probably would have lived with cuts and bruises.

Then again he would probably have made the runway had he just declared emergency instead of being all vague. And he wouldn’t have had an emergency at all if he hadn’t run out of gas 50 miles before his destination.
Fear of enforcement > Fear of crashing. Not sure why, but this is real sometimes.
 

Roger Roger

Paid to sleep, fly for fun
Don't know how your pax would feel about it, but there's some helmets that have come down in price and include a sun visor. Lightspeed, Bose or DC noise canceling included... and I think you can get just the helmet and use the headset you currently have.

I'm toying with the idea since the #1 killer in an accident isn't the crash itself so much, but the head trauma.
If you do off-airport stuff still, you 100% need a helmet. I’ve seen a pretty nifty FAA presentation on it by a guy who is both an aerospace engineer for the feds and owns and flies a Cub.
 

z987k

Well-Known Member
My only fatality was from blunt force trauma to the head when his head slammed into the panel. Had his waist belt on but not the shoulder strap (3 point seatbelt). Had he had the shoulder strap he probably would have lived with cuts and bruises.

Then again he would probably have made the runway had he just declared emergency instead of being all vague. And he wouldn’t have had an emergency at all if he hadn’t run out of gas 50 miles before his destination.
Ya, that's why there has been a big push to even put in a shoulder belt or 4/5 point harness in vintage stuff.

If you do off-airport stuff still, you 100% need a helmet. I’ve seen a pretty nifty FAA presentation on it by a guy who is both an aerospace engineer for the feds and owns and flies a Cub.
I'll be on floats next year when the airplane gets flying. I have shoulder harnesses, but not the nice 5 points like we have in the jet, just 3. Would have required some significant modification to the fuselage to strap them to something that wouldn't just bend with those forces. I imagine it's just as important since hitting your head, becoming unconscious AND being underwater would be rather fatal.

If you were flying commercial pax in say a 206 and doing off airport, I'd imagine they'd look at your pretty funny if you put a helmet on. Though I guess that shouldn't matter.
 
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