JohnRgt

Total silence leads to hallucinations

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What they've found is that when all outside noise is removed from an enclosure, human hearing will do its best to find something to listen to. In a room where almost 100% of sound is muted, people begin to hear things like their own heartbeat at a greatly amplified volume. As the minutes tick by in absolute quiet, the human mind begins to lose its grip, causing test subjects to hallucinate.

NASA then monitors how the would-be space explorers react, and whether they can get past the very obvious awkwardness of seeing or hearing things that aren't actually there. According to lab officials, the longest anyone has lasted is 45 minutes before being allowed to hear the sweet sounds of planet Earth once again.

http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/quietest-place-earth-mutes-sounds-messes-head-212556719.html

I doubt that the sounds needed to prevent this condition are "the sweet sounds of planet Earth".

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What they've found is that when all outside noise is removed from an enclosure, human hearing will do its best to find something to listen to. In a room where almost 100% of sound is muted, people begin to hear things like their own heartbeat at a greatly amplified volume. As the minutes tick by in absolute quiet, the human mind begins to lose its grip, causing test subjects to hallucinate.

NASA then monitors how the would-be space explorers react, and whether they can get past the very obvious awkwardness of seeing or hearing things that aren't actually there. According to lab officials, the longest anyone has lasted is 45 minutes before being allowed to hear the sweet sounds of planet Earth once again.

http://games.yahoo.c...-212556719.html

I doubt that the sounds needed to prevent this condition are "the sweet sounds of planet Earth".

I am fortunate to have tinnitus then. The constant ringing in my ears would persist even in a zero echo environment. I have constant sound of about ten kilohertz. It no longer bothers me (I have had it since I was young) and I am quite used to it.

ruveyn

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I am fortunate to have tinnitus then. The constant ringing in my ears would persist even in a zero echo environment. I have constant sound of about ten kilohertz. It no longer bothers me (I have had it since I was young) and I am quite used to it.

What do you mean by "used to it"? Do hear it all the time or did your brain learn to automatically filter it out of your conscious awareness? Presumably you at least are not focused on it to distration?

How does it affect your listening to music? Are you able to suppress it from your focus in contrast to the music, and if so does that part of the spectrum from the music go with it?

I wonder if it would help against the experiments on sound deprivation -- it raises the question of would a constant background with no variation (and nothing else) be better or worse than a field of constant silence.

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I am fortunate to have tinnitus then. The constant ringing in my ears would persist even in a zero echo environment. I have constant sound of about ten kilohertz. It no longer bothers me (I have had it since I was young) and I am quite used to it.

What do you mean by "used to it"? Do hear it all the time or did your brain learn to automatically filter it out of your conscious awareness? Presumably you at least are not focused on it to distration?

I also have tinnitus. Most of the time I'm not consciously aware of it, but it's always there if I choose to focus on it. Always. If the environment is quiet and I concentrate hard enough, I can identify five distinct yet simultaneous sounds. Four are tones of various pitch, and one is similar to the sound you hear when you hold a seashell to your ear (though higher in "pitch"). Also, in a silent environment, the tinnitus sounds as if it's exceptionally loud, whereas with various kinds of external noise it varies from just quieter than the ambient to almost nonexistent.

All this has led me to believe that the tinnitus I have has nothing really to do with the mechanism of hearing at all, but instead is some sort of action somewhere between my auditory nerve and my brain.

How does it affect your listening to music? Are you able to suppress it from your focus in contrast to the music, and if so does that part of the spectrum from the music go with it?

It doesn't seem to have any effect on my hearing at all. I have very little hearing loss, and none of that attributable to the tinnitus. Specifically regarding music, nothing seems to be lost. The four tones I hear are far above the highest musical note I've ever heard, and the best way I can describe them is that they sound something like the very highest tones you hear in a hearing test, but a bit more "piercing." They're actually quite difficult to describe to someone who doesn't have the condition.

Note, though, that my tinnitus sounds are entirely different than and separate from the ringing in the ears that is the source of the old wives' tale that when your ears ring it means someone somewhere is talking about you. I get that sound occasionally just as everyone else does. It's at least an octave lower in pitch than the lowest of my tinnitus tones, maybe two.

I wonder if it would help against the experiments on sound deprivation -- it raises the question of would a constant background with no variation (and nothing else) be better or worse than a field of constant silence.

One of the treatments for tinnitus (in extreme cases) is to sever the auditory nerve, but apparently the cause of the condition is not well enough understood to guarantee that doing so will make the sound go away. So one may wind up deaf yet still with tinnitus, the tones being the only thing you'd ever hear again. I think that would drive me mad, whereas the condition as it is for me now is no big deal since I am unaware of it most of the time.

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I am fortunate to have tinnitus then. The constant ringing in my ears would persist even in a zero echo environment. I have constant sound of about ten kilohertz. It no longer bothers me (I have had it since I was young) and I am quite used to it.

What do you mean by "used to it"? Do hear it all the time or did your brain learn to automatically filter it out of your conscious awareness? Presumably you at least are not focused on it to distration?

When I am not actively listening to a "real sound" I perceive the high pitch "squee". Since there is no preferred direction to the sound, I know it is coming from inside my head. So there is no confusing it with a real external sound. "Used to it" = it no longer bothers me. It is just there.

The "squee" has not distracted me for many, many decades. I think I have had the condition for going on fifty years.

I can listen to music with no distortion or distraction.

I think of it is minimal background noise.

ruveyn

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It's not clear that the findings pertain to those permanently adjusted to total lack of sound but otherwise not in complete sensory isolation.

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