Sleeping with a fan on = hearing loss?

Some several years before I tested with hearing loss, I tested with better-than-normal hearing ability. I sleep with a fan going, but I started doing that in my older years. The fan provides a white noise that blocks out other sounds. After having been accused many times of being hard-of-hearing, I went to an audiologist for a test. The idea was to bring the audiogram results home and stick my tongue out at my spouse and say nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah as I held the audiogram up for close inspection. Instead, the audiogram did show some loss in my left ear as well as less loss in my right ear, so I kept my tongue in my mouth. But since then I’ve been trying to imagine why I might develop a hearing deficit at this late date in life. The other evening as I was turning on my fan at bedtime, the idea that the fan might explain it began to dawn on me.

So whadaya think? Did the fan do it? Is that the culprit? I’m thinking about indicting it, but who on the jury would convict?

No I don’t think so, I sleep with a ceiling fan and a white noise machine all the time. I use the white noise machine to mask my tinnitus, and it provided by the Veterans Administration as per my Audiologist recommendation. I have slept under a fan longer than I can remember and been using the sound machine for about 17 years now it hasn’t been the source of my hearing loss or made it worse. Almost everyone loses some hearing as they age, it is a natural process, my loss was due to not having hearing protection while serving in the Navy, and I believe some inherited hearing loss issues too.

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@Xooterpust: Unless the fan blades were able to cause some serious cavitation, I wouldn’t think they would do any damage.

  • The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states “approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.”
  • Age is the strongest predictor of hearing loss among adults; 91% of adults with hearing loss are aged 50 and older

So it often comes with aging. A fan would have to be over 85 decibels, which is very loud, to affect your hearing.


Damn. The indictment is shot down. And by a lawyer at that. I bet you worked for the defense. :wink:

People always seem to want to place blame for their hearing loss when it’s usually part of the same problem. Aging


Or “Second row Alpine.” Back in my younger days following the Grateful Dead, one summer some friends and I were seeing a series of shows. One night at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin, somehow the German couple in our merry band got to swap tickets for seats in the second row. The SPL was intense, and for a couple days later Thomas had trouble hearing normal speech. Once, instead of just saying “What?” or “Pardon?” he pointed to his ear and said, “Second row Alpine.” We thought it was hilarious. (Well, maybe you had to be there.) To this day, in this group of friends, if we miss a snatch of conversation we’ll point to our ear and say with a German accent, “Second row Alpine.” :joy:


Thank God I wasn’t a dead head

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That might be because people don’t know that hearing loss and aging are so intrinsically linked, one being a part of the other. I’ve always thought hearing loss was caused by loud noises and loud music. In my youth I was around a lot of loud noise AND a lot of loud music. So my question was, why are effects showing up only now? Naturally, I thought, hearing loss has a discrete and identifiable cause. The only question involved identifying that cause. LawyerFL was the one who just convincingly showed me that I misunderstood the process, and his/her answer makes the most sense. I don’t like that answer worth a damn, but I can deal with it. Because I must.

My hearing loss is genetics. I know other people who’s loss is a result of a childhood illness. Hearing loss can also be the result of exposure to loud noise but it’s more common for this to occur over a long period of time. And obviously aging can affect loss. One thing for sure, when it comes to loss there are no stereotypes . And no two losses are the same

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This is what I would be suspicious of. How long is some several years? Alternatively, were you instead told “better than average for your age”?

That left ear warrants an ENT visit though. Why is it so different from the right? Have you ever been very dizzy?

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@Xooterpust I would second the ENT visit. I had a sudden hearing loss and it turned out to be an acoustic neuroma. Fairly rare but it does happen. The different losses side to side I something that can be a concern…

I do have occasional periods of vertigo–none recently–and recently my ears have been feeling stopped up and the sounds they get can almost be bothersome. z

As I remember it, less than 10 years ago I was hearing at 10 or better (or was it zero or better?) across most of the frequencies. The audiologist seemed to be bemused. He put a pair of aids in my ears and told me to walk around the store. I did and couldn’t tell any difference.

I did have an appt that the ENT cancelled. I rescheduled for later but wound up having to cancel that for my own reasons. I have not yet rescheduled. Maybe I should.

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I would say yes. My ENT basically said that hearing loss in general does happen however when L&R are very different then it is of concern…

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An audiologist would not likely have put hearing aids on you if you were 10 across the board, so there must have been hearing loss there. And if he was surprised that you didn’t notice a difference, then I’d suspect that you also had enough hearing loss at the time that he thought you WOULD notice a difference. So if I had to guess–10 or better out to 2 kHz and a drop after that into a more moderate loss range, both ears looking more like your right ear. In the 10 years since then there’s been a normal progression of loss in your right ear and something has happened to the left. In the past 10 years did you have one big event of spinning vertigo that put you down for a solid few hours to days and then resolved itself over the next few days? If so, that’s probably when the left went down.

But yeah, re-book the ENT appointment. They need to rule some things out that are rare enough that you shouldn’t worry but common enough that you should have them checked on.

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I did say he seemed to be bemused. Perhaps he was entertaining himself or just wanted to see how I would react.