Tinnitus & Road, Wind Noise


Has anyone had experience in researching cars that limit the amount of road or wind noise into the car? My wife cannot travel in a car for long periods of time due to her tinnitus. The ringing will become louder and causes significant discomfort and she becomes disoriented. I’ve done a lot of research on this but haven’t found any information specific for those of us with hearing loss.

Your questions or suggestions are welcomed.

Thank you.

I have tinnitus and hearing loss and my aids are what does it for me. I sometimes even feel that my aids filters out my of the road noise than they should. I also ride a motorcycle and wear my aids while riding and wind noise is not and issue for me with my aids. I am not going to say it will work for her because we are different and our hearing loss is also all very different.

Thanks. Yes, we have learned not all hearing loss, tinnitus isn’t the same.

There are a number of cars with active noise cancellation. Here is a list I found on a quick look.

  • 2019 Lexus LS.
  • 2019 Nissan Maxima. …
  • 2019 Honda Accord. …
  • 2019 Buick LaCrosse Avenir. …
  • 2019 Acura RLX. …
  • 2019 Lincoln Continental. …
  • 2019 Infiniti Q60. …
  • 2019 Cadillac XTS.

That said, I am not sure it will help with tinnitus. I find the quieter that it is, the more I hear tinnitus. When in a vehicle even without active noise reduction, the more sophisticated hearing aids will learn what is noise and automatically reduce the gain for that noise, making it quieter and potentially increasing what you hear as tinnitus. You might want to consider having a program for car travel set where the automatic noise reduction system in the hearing aids are turned down or even turned right off. Tinnitus doesn’t come from the environment or the hearing aids. It comes from your brain, and any surrounding noise tends to help you not notice it.

I have just purchased the Jeep Grand Cherokee and it is as quiet as any of the ones you are pointing out

There are varying reports on how well active noise cancellation works or does not work. Bose is one manufacturer of it. I recall Mercedes was one of the first to try using it. Honda Accord has had it for a while but many pan the effectiveness of it. That said, I think it would make tinnitus worse, not better.

Sorry, I don’t know what cars are the quietest.

Have you considered noise cancelling headphones? There are multiple products on the market that cut noise by a huge amount.

The Sony product WH-1000XM3 has a mode called “Ambient Sound Control” that attempts to let through the sound of voices while still keeping out noise. Their phone app lets you adjust the voice-vs-noise balance.

However, wearing them while driving would be an issue. You might miss hearing something like an ambulance siren. Some jurisdictions have laws against driving while wearing headphones.

She does have two different noise canceling devices, both made by Bose. One style are like ear buds and another like head phones. Both do an excellent job of canceling out noise. May have to give them a try.

I have seen similar lists. I guess what I’m hoping is has someone had experience where a quieter car helped the problem. I’m not certain a quieter car will even help the issue.

My wife was hit by a young driver running a stop sign. Steering wheel airbag smacked her left ear and the pressure blew out her cochlea. Overnight she lost her hearing in her left ear, well approximately 80 percent. Needless to say it has been life changing. It’s one thing to have gradual hearing loss due to genetics like I have. That’s probably most of us I would assume. Too suddenly go from perfect hearing to no hearing in one ear is difficult to adjust too.

Appreciate your thoughts.

I will say it again. I think a quieter car is probably going to make things worse, not better. Same with noise cancelling headphones.

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It’s pretty easy to experiment with a quieter car by renting one. You can always roll a window down to test with increased road noise to see what the difference might be.

I have bad Tinnitus in my left ear.
Quiet just makes it worse.
Nose makes it better.
Not sure I understand.

I appreciate what you’re saying Sierra. To help her sleep, she uses white noise to help with drowning out the ringing. However constant noise or sounds from various sources at the same time causes the ringing in her ears to get louder and louder.

Good idea. I’ve thought about this.

I sleep with a white noise machine every night.

Ok, I understand. That sounds like a difficult situation to deal with.

Freezerman404, we’re not sure we understand either. It’s as if she has two different issues going on with her hearing loss. Very difficult to explain.

I have hearing aids with a Tinnitus program.
It’s not the best but sometimes when the Tinnitus really gets to me I’ll use it.
It can help distract from the Tinnitus.

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I can relate to your wife’s problem. I also had sudden hearing loss in my right ear from my Menieres. But, because of my military service I’ve lived with tinnitus for many many years. Not fun for sure. I use a sound machine at night to sleep and it helps.

My OPN S1’s have a tinnitus program with white noise. Works great as long as one doesn’t need to hear anything. But, I wouldn’t use it while on the road.

You really need to determine what’s actually causing the noise while on the road. You can have the most quiet vehicle in the world equipped with a performance tire that is going to provide a great deal of road noise regardless. Then it can be the nature of the beast. SUV’s will have more noise than most Sedans. My wife’s top of the line Toyota Highlander Platinum is much noisier to my than my BMW 435i Sport Coupe. I would have expected just the opposite since I’m running on run flat tires with a throaty exhaust system.

Here’s a link with some good info on the quietest 30 cars The Top 30 Quietest Cars – A Cabin Noise Test by AUTO BILD – Elevating Sound | Sound, Acoustics, Noise, Audio, Soundscape, Sonic, Quiet, Silent, Tinnitus

Thank you lgbuck62. It’s a very difficult condition to exactly isolate what causes the tinnitus to flare up. Staying in a quiet environment keeps it manageable. Unfortunately that’s not always possible.