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Ear Pain, Ringing from Higher Notes

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Hi all,

Apologies if this has been asked before - I couldn't find an existing topic.


I've been playing a Morse Geordie Baritone for the last 4 years or so. In the last several months, I've been having some ear pain while playing.


While trying to diagnose the cause, I noted that several notes above middle C seem to produce a very high-pitched ringing in addition to the intended note. It's more noticeable on some notes vs others. It also appears to occur when playing my Concertina Connection Jack, but on fewer of the notes.


I'm not certain if this is due to the nature of how the reeds produce their sound or instead is an issue with my hearing. Has anyone else experienced something similar? The folks at the Button Box have offered to take a look at it, but I want to better understand the issue before shipping it out.


Thanks for your help.

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The Geordie Baritone  is  surely  not a  really loud instrument   so perhaps  your first  port of call should be  your hearing.  I  sometimes have difficulties  with  blocked  sinuses  which cause  pressure  regulation problems in my ears   during  air travel  and even  when  going down a steep  decline  on  a road !    It is usually  higher notes  and very loud instruments  which  cause ear pains for me.

I sometimes  use  ear plugs, or just  cotton wool , when playing my LOUD  Wheatstone  in the house.


Perhaps  your  ear pains started to occur  following a   heavy Cold  or flu ?

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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O dear. Go see your local doctor. My ears currently buzz with high pitch  tinnitus after a very bad flu. I find that playing the sound of rain  or waterfalls  with earphones helps  a lot. There are many bits of music on YouTube, and discussion. I am also seeking further help. 

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It is clear most of you don't suffer from permanent tinnitus - lucky you! I've had it for over 25 years, but most of the time I can (ahem) tune it out. It took me ages to figure out where I got it - I never went to loud concerts etc. Recently I realized it was all those years of sitting in the middle of the brass section of various band and orchestra ensembles. My bet is that yours is likely to be medical, in your ears rather than an issue with your instrument. Do consult an expert and good luck managing it. Let us hope your case is temporary; often but not always the case.



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I have this problem, and like Ken Coles, know perfectly what causes it in my case - tinnitus. I have a constant high pitched ringing in my right ear, which most of the time I tune out, except when it is very quiet. For years I had noticed that high pitched noises caused distortion and pain. WHen the tinnitus was investigated, the consultant told me that he also suffered and that I might notice "some distortion with high pitched sounds" ... and there was the cause. When I play my duet I notice after I have finished that I have more obvious ringing in the ears, which later settles down. I think you should get it checked out by your doctor. Good luck.

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Thank you all for the replies!


I tried playing in different locations as Devil's Dream suggested. The ringing is less noticeable if there is additional ambient noise. Playing in the closet sounded about the same as an open, quiet room.


I have a set of earplugs I can wear that, while not eliminating the ringing, seems to improve the ratio of "intended note" vs "additional ringing".


Regarding tinnitus, I don't notice ringing in my ears when not playing my concertina - however,  maybe it's there and I've just grown used to it. I'll plan to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to hopefully learn more about my situation and options.

Edited by Velour Frog
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