by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
In a previous article “Nodding Chime Tinnitus“, a woman explained that she heard chiming tinnitus whenever she nodded or shook her head.
I asked anyone reading that article if they had ever had somewhat similar experiences. Here are a number of responses I received.
One lady reported:
I also have the same type of thing when I shake my head. At the same time, I have a constant sound in one of my ears regardless of what I am doing.
A man explained:
This is one of my symptoms. The note is slightly different for yes and no—yes is higher-pitched. I think I’ve experienced this for many years, but only started to notice continuous tinnitus at the age of 50, about 8 years ago. I have been wearing higher-frequency hearing aids since then, have had tests for acoustic neuromas, and have undergone tinnitus retraining therapy with some success.
In addition to the nodding/shaking symptoms, I get similar chimes when I jog. I can also reduce or increase my steady- state tinnitus by pressing quite hard on various parts of my jaw. Pressing the jaw into the joint tends to decrease the tinnitus, pushing my chin to one side tends to increase it. The effect is quite dramatic.
A lady wrote:
I also have a type of tinnitus that happens when I shake my head up and down or side to side. It’s not chimes to me but more like a static or buzzing. I can’t remember when it started, but I have a progressive hearing loss that resulted in my surgery one year ago for a cochlear implant. I can provoke it at will—pretty much all the time.
Another phenomena I’ve had for a few years—worse before the CI—has what I’ve found on the web as an “audible wakening”. Basically when changing consciousness stages I sometimes hear a “wraaanggg” type of almost screaming “sound”. Can’t explain it much better—sorry. I wonder whether others have reported this to you.
Another lady reported:
I’m writing regarding the woman who hears a chime sound when she nods or shakes her head.
In addition to ongoing mild tinnitus, I experience movement-induced sound as well. Unfortunately, the sound is not a pleasant chime tone, but a very startling loud buzz—like a noisy fly or bee right inside my ear! The first time I heard it I was terrified that an insect had flown into my ear and would sting me or get stuck and have to be removed surgically. The sound (so far) only happens when I shake my head from side to side to signify “no”.
I hear a variety of other tinnitus sounds intermittently that don’t seem to be related to any particular activity or situation—loud squeals, clicks, and the occasional whooshing noise. They are irritating when they happen, but aren’t terribly disruptive.
Still another lady explained:
I identify with the “chime” tinnitus report—I just tested myself by nodding my head vigorously. I confirmed that indeed, the movement changed the volume of my tinnitus, especially on the head upward movement of a “yes” head nod, and a leftward head movement in a “no” nod. (The ‘yes’ movement yields more dramatic results.) I have unilateral sensorineural loss in my right ear, with tinnitus that is not bothersome—it’s simply “there”.
When I wear my hearing aid, it plugs that ear with the ear mold, and this somehow calls attention to my tinnitus—when I walk, I get a modulation of the tinnitus that reflects the rhythm of my footsteps. That’s annoying. This is akin to my ability to “ding” my head—if I plug my right ear, and flick my finger just so around my cheekbone, I can produce a “ding” sound in my head. (Fun, huh?)
A man questioned:
Hey does anyone have bells that ring when you shake your head? I get one tone shaking horizontally and a higher one vertically. The sound is very much like they have during a Catholic mass when an altar boy jangles a set of 4 small bells.
Finally, a woman exclaimed:
Bells! The very first symptom of my Meniere’s type syndrome was hearing a bell ring when I bent over.
Interesting, isn’t it? Thank you all for sharing some of the weird tinnitus sounds you experience. This once again proves the enormous variety of tinnitus sounds we hard of hearing people experience.