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GrumpyGram's avatar

Your PC Has a Loud Hum Making Your Ears Ring. What to do?

Asked by GrumpyGram (817 points ) May 26th, 2010

My pic hums constantly and my ears ring louder when I spend a lot of time on it. They actually ring 24/7. What would you do if it were Your pc doing this to your ears? Or is it some other cause?

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4 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Hi, I’m an Audiologist.

Most computers run pretty quietly, although my PC in one ffice sounds as though its fans kick into overdrive and it’s going to explode from time-to-time. Usually that means I have too many Applications open so I close out of as many as I possibly can. Still, at it’s loudest, the noise isn’t damagingly loud.

However, if you have existing tinnitus 24/7 (as I do) some sounds can exacerbate it. It isn’t all that common, and I don’t have any knowledge of published research on the topic, but we actually do test inner ear function on the principle if eliciting sounds from the ear in reaction to other sounds (otoacoustic emissions), so it is possible that the fundamental frequencies of your PC are somehow ‘in tune’ with your tinnitus.

One option is to wear earplugs; although when blocking outside sounds, we usually hear our tinnitus more loudly, so that might not be pleasant for you.
Another option is to buy or build an enclosure for your CPU that allows for adequate ventilation, but reduces some of the noise. I’d bet that a Google search will find information on this.
A third option is to play music or other sounds at a moderate level, so that the drone of the PC isn’t the only sound in the environment.

Ringing in the ears is very often (but not always) associated with hearing loss and/or exposure to damaging noise levels, and it tends to get gradually worse with additional exposure or progression of hearing loss. I recommend that you have your hearing evaluated – if only to obtain a baseline – and that you avoid loud noises and protect your hearing when you are in noisy environments.

GrumpyGram's avatar

thanks so much for that. Its been going on for weeks .The pc is in a cabinet near the floor that is built into the computer desk; it has a door I could close but it would get too hot. But I’m tempted.
My hearing is superlative! I can hear things better than our dogs! OK; I just closed it. Now I’ll wait to see smoke.

hearkat's avatar

@GrumpyGram: Are there any openings in the back of the cabinet for wires and such? You may just need to drill a few more holes in there to improve the ventilation.

GrumpyGram's avatar

@hearkat I believe the back is totally open. Let me check….no; it’s closed up. Thanks to you, I’m going to close the door in front of the computer; that cuts down 90% on the noise, then see if it heats up.

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