Topic: pitch difference on left and right ears

Currently I am dealing with an inflammation in one of my ears (I have had tinnitus for a decade or so, and now in addition it sounds as though a conch shell is being held over one ear).  A doctor is treating me.  But currently I hear pitches differently from ear to ear.  The inflammed ear hears about a half tone lower than the normal ear.  Has anybody experienced such a thing?  It is hard to identify exactly how this is affecting my playing this week, as when I play I hear my pitch largely through bone conduction, and that seems not to be affected by the inflammation.  But lining up with the pitches around me is a questionable proposition!

Last edited by chester (2007-01-16 12:38:04)

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Re: pitch difference on left and right ears

I know a gentleman in his 80s who has quit playing horn because he now hears pitches differently from one ear to the other.

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Re: pitch difference on left and right ears

I have now learned that the problem I described appears to be an inner ear problem, with too much fluid within the cochlea, bulging a membrane, which affects the pitch discerned, among other things.  There are other accompanying inconveniences (distorted sounds, feeling of ears being plugged, and some hearing loss).  Treatments have varying success (diuretics, steroids, allergy treatments, calcium channel blockers, etc.);  the cause in this type of situation is usually unknown.  Playing is frustrating, as I cannot really determine the nature of the oboe timbre I am producing, and pitch discrimination in a large ensemble is diffcult.  Hoping for the best, but have cut back most engagements.  Any success stories with this type of situation out there?

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Re: pitch difference on left and right ears

The resolution:

After 7 months of various treatments, the fluid build-up in the inner was reduced with calcium channel blockers (verapamil)  and steroid perfusions (injected through the eardrum).  Although tinnitus is and will remain fairly loud, the distortions in timbre and pitch discernment have disappeared.  The condition can recur, as the cause is unknown.  But I now can perform again quite comfortably, and am currently free of medications.  There is hope for anyone out there who is faced with this dilemma.

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Re: pitch difference on left and right ears

errgghhhhhhh!  Injections in the eardrums????  I'm glad it was worth it for you!

Darlene

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Re: pitch difference on left and right ears

My name is Andres Skarbun, I'm bassoon player and I would like to tell you as I had absolutely the same you describe. In that time I used to deal with different pitches, as I played baroque, modern, romantic and all kind of instruments, so pitches like 415, 435, 438, 430 and 441 where very common.

Since I have what man describes as absolutely hear, I first though that this diference in discernation of pitches could be a kind of intern confusion I self produced. Then I went to the doctor which had not any clue about this and told me about the "Meniere syndrome", but again, I went to the library and saugh that the simptomatologie of this absolutely different is then what I had.

In my experience and as a conclusion about something I will never know what was, I can say to you, take it easy and check every day using a phone or tuner. You will see that the "altered" register moves from one to the other octave, but, if you really rest and do not so much worries about, it wil disapear. Do not expect this will go away in one day, it can takes a week or 4 sometimes. Use this time to learn about what your body is going through and don't desesperate, it will get better. To share more about this with happens to me fundamental in periodes of psycologichal stress, please don't hesitate to mail me: andres_skarbun@hotmail.com

All the best,Andres

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