Can you hear a faint "background" ringing or hissing in your ears when it is dead quiet?

Can you hear a faint "background" ringing or hissing in your ears when it is dead quiet?
I don't hear any noise when it is quiet
14% (71 votes)
I hear a very slight noise
60% (300 votes)
I hear a bothersome noise
25% (126 votes)
Total votes: 497

Reader BeeJay DeeJay would like to know if readers can hear a faint "background" ringing or hissing in their ears when it is dead quiet? If so, what is the extent of that hiss or noise, and is it bothersome when listening?

Brad - Atlanta's picture

Mine comes and goes. I spoke with my doctor about it and of course he suggested that I stop doing everything and anything that might be any fun (Coffee, liquor, aspirin(?), cigars, loud noise, late nights, etc). A friend of mine who also had this problem described it as his "default" sound.

anders z's picture

Only when the music isn't playing. :)

Fernando's picture

But I I wear some kind of headsets, nothing playing on them. Then I hear the beating of my heart and even the noise of my blood!

Erik Vermeulen's picture

I have a slight hiss caused by muscle tension in my neck and shoulders.

Francisco S, Brazil's picture

I've had tinnitus for years. Eventually, I became used to it.

tom collins's picture

I have been motorcycling for nearly 30 years. For the first 20 years, I did not wear earplugs. I feel that this is the reason for the tinnitus, I think it is called. I have been very careful with my hearing recently. You don't recover from this problem.

z-man's picture

It comes and goes.

EP's picture

This is no joke, I have experienced this phenomenon quite frequently, but only after drinking Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke during the day. It's pretty weird!

L.  Britja, La Jolla, CA's picture

...only when I've been drinking.

mike eschman's picture

My wife suffers from a high-pitched squealing.

Doug Taylor's picture

Developed a low-level constant cricket-like noise in both ears a year ago. Not much I can do about it, according to an audiologist I consulted. Fortunately I'm not aware of it when I immerse myself in the music.

Jacob's picture

It is very faint and I don't like that one bit.

Roger Rahal's picture

I suspect That Mr. BeeJay deeJay would do himself a favor by checking his ears at a specialist and from now on wear protective earbuds during his working hours.

Coppy's picture

Due to a bad cold, I have had this tinnitus for 40+ years. Bob Carver gave me some good advice about 15 years ago: turn up the volume a bit. I can't hear like I did at 18, but I can still distinguish the fine points of good sound.

E-herdian's picture

It's hard to find a really dead quiet room.

KJ's picture

I hear a high-pitched noise, somewhat like that of CRT TVs, especially when I plug my fingers into my ears after being in a loud environment. The noise fades quickly but never completely, and I wouldn't want to live being that noiseless forever! However, I believe there must be a certain level of "noise" in all our sensory organs that is detected only in unnaturally degenerate situations. For example, in a completely black room, with eyes adjusted (i.e. no residual images from bright lighting), there will be a faint and very finely-grained "TV static" image overlaying the entire field of view. That is the background noise of our optical system, and it would be foolish not to expect a similar phenomenon with our auditory system. Now stop reminding all of us that our ears aren't perfect!

Tim Bishop's picture

Had tinnitus for years. I have been reading about some new treatments for it. I have been checking some out.

macksman's picture

I have full-on tinitis in all ears and significant high-frequency hearing loss in my left ear (per medical testing) due to my 41 year industrial management career. But, I still find I detect nuance in both performance and equipment at very high level. A friend bought a new solid state preamp from a fine manufacturer and didn't hear the hiss comiong through both channels until I pointed it out. Another (yesterday) had the phase wrong on his new Grado and , once I re-connected it, saw how much better it was. I have no regrets that I just bought the new Audio Research VS115 'cause its timbral purity and depth of full-range sound enhace my enjoyment of the music. Now about those scientific auditory testing procedures....

drumguy49's picture

Only very occasionally. I work in a very noisy factory , but always make sure I have jammed in my earplugs as far as they will go!

J R's picture

The constant and slight ringing noise in my ears has been present all my life; however, I have learned to tune it out and ignore it almost completely.

ender21's picture

Years of drumming have taken their toll, unfortunately.

ty sproul's picture

It's not bothersome, but it's definately more than slight. It began when I was in the army in Vietnam. Over the years I've learned to tune it out. It doesn't seem to affect my listening.

Cameron W's picture

I preface that I get my hearing check once a year through a job requirement and have passed every year. That being said, I have heard this ringing on occasions since I was a little boy.

M's picture

A faint hissing in my left ear at around 3kHz. I saw the ear doc and had an audiogram. Aside from that my hearing was exceptionally good. I am much more careful at live venues now. No standing in front of the amp stack. It is not bothersome while listening to music.

Jim M's picture

Sometimes it is worse than other times. Too much business travel on too many airlines.

Ron Banister's picture

Have had tinnitus since I was four! Not usually bothersome, due to long history.

Donald N.'s picture

I hear a slight ringing noise, especially when it is quiet. It bothers me from time to time, but, my hearing is close to normal. Doesn't affect my music listening.

Charlie's picture

The source is playing in a military band right in front of a 50mm saluting gun for three years.

Dave M.'s picture

Yes, when it is dead quiet I hear a bit of ringing in my ears. I suffer from TMJ (grinding of teeth), and I am currently attempting to treat it. Hopefully, this will alleviate the tinnitus.

Chris K's picture

Though it varies from day to day I hear multiple tones in my ears 24/7. If I were a critic for "high-end" stereo listening, I think I would have had to disqualify myself a few years back due to this ringing. Still, I know a great midrange when I hear one and fortunately I believe I have several years of reasonable music listening left.