Aggrivated tinnitus from speakers?


I'm new to the forum and was looking for some advice. I recently put together a system comprised of a McIntosh MA6900 + a pair of KEF R7s.

I've always had hearing sensitive to high frequencies, and have a very high frequency tinnitus at 18,000k. That's why I went with the Mac, as everyone talks about how smooth and musical it is. When I was shopping for speakers, I was doing a lot of research but then the KEF R7's went on crazy sale and I was able to pick up a pair for under 2k. It seemed like too much of a deal to pass up, especially with all of the glowing reviews, but maybe that was a mistake on my part...

I'm noticing when I listen to the system, my tinnitus activates at a lower frequency for several hours afterwards. I notice this most on FLAC / MQA - quality tracks on Tidal (via WIIM w/ integrated DAC, at very reasonable volumes - <85db ) It seems to happen less when I listen to vinyl or CD-Quality tracks, but it still happens.

It's driving me crazy and I'm so disappointed as I thought this was going to be my ultimate setup and I dropped a lot of $. The Mac has just been to an auth service center for new lamps and was bench tested and given a perfect bill of health after a small bias adjustment, so I don't think it's the problem.

I decided to use some headphones to see if I experienced the same thing... Senn. HD650's let me listen for long periods without problems. HD660S2s seem to give me maybe a little sensitivity after awhile, but the sensitivity I get from the KEF's is totally different.

I realize I should have demoed the speakers, but I just jumped on the deal - partially on their reputation and also because their narrow, tall size was ideal for the room layout.

Any advice on how to get to the bottom of this? Do I need to test different speakers or do I need to treat the room? I'd hate to give up the Master level recordings because I mentally swim in the detail and love it. I just hate the thought of not being able to enjoy the system properly, but I'm not sure where to start on making  it work for me.




Also a tinnitus sufferer here although I just went though a someone experimental and expensive treatment which was pretty successful depending on how you gauge success.

As far as listening to music, I find piano music brings it out the most.. I listen to a decent amount of chamber music and that can also induce the tinnitus

im copying and pasting my experience of the Lenire treatment I had that I wrote about on another forum:

I just went through the Lenire treatment… and have had a pretty positive experience.
I think I was one of the first ppl in New York to get it.
My story below:
I started to experience troubling and constant tinnitus in one morning in January of 2022.
I woke up one morning with a loud mid-high tone squeeling away in my brain. That was exactly 2 weeks after my Covid booster. Not saying they are related but it’s just a data point.
I saw multiple audiologists and a couple ENT’s and everyone said essentially the same thing … learn to live with it.
My whole 2022 was pretty rough. Psychologically the tinnitus took a toll.
But, I started to habituate and, while it didn’t necessarily go down or even decrease that much in volume, it started to be less troublesome.
I ended up going to NYU audiologists after my less than great experiences with the previous docs.
I was told that I do have some mild but significant hearing loss in my left ear only (4k- 6k) and that that was what was causing the tinnitus.
*Note- I don’t perceive the hearing loss in my everyday life and they aren’t advising me to hear a hearing aid at this point. I don’t have problems with listening to music as far as channel balance goes.…The audiologists were concerned about the asymmetrical hearing loss. Apparently one-sided hearing loss is actually quite rare and they usually see it from soldiers or military who shoot rifles.
It can also be a sign of “acoustic neuroma”, a type of brain tumor that puts pressure on the cranial nerves which can cause one sided hearing loss. They then sent me to an Otologist.
I had to do 2 brain scan MRI's and, thankfully, everything looked kosher.
But, I was still really troubled by the ringing… even if it was better than it was.

Around that time I signed up for notifications from Lenire before they were FDA approved and I was on their email list keeping me informed of their treatments and when they would be going live.

Then about 6 months ago I got an email from telling me they’ve been fda approved and asking if I wanted to be connected to an audiologist who can prescribe treatment with Lenire. I said yes and within a few weeks I was at a new doc office in NYC discussing all things Lenire.

Insurance doesn’t cover it . It was about $3800 out of pocket.
My wife and I decided to make it happen because it’s been quite the ride since this all began. We were prepared for it not to work.
You can’t really sell it when you’re done with the treatment.

At the end of the day, I believe it did work.
The tinnitus is not 100% gone… but it’s so reduced , so receded , that I think about it so much less. In other words, it’s not impacting my life in a negative way.
Yes , I still have spikes on occasion and it’s there if I really tune in and listen for it.
But , that’s ok for me. I would say my symptoms have reduced by 75%.
It’s not a miracle cure, but then again it kind of is. It’s brain retraining to ignore to the electrical tones being generated in your auditory system.

I did it for 12 weeks … an hour a day.
Half and hour in the morning, half an hour in the evening.
It’s a audio track of very strange tones sort of set to a “musical” soundtrack and, at the same time , a little electrical device in the mouth that sends a mild electrical impulse into the tongue. The idea is BIMODAL STIMULATION of the trigeminal nerve.

Happy to answer any questions for anyone who is interested.
Overall , I am very happy I did it and feel super grateful that the treatment was made available.
It’s important to remember that it’s a tool, not a silver bullet .

Read about that in the internet not on TV on twitter, since Musk it is more free of censorship ...

If you think that this tinnitus after a booster is a coincidence you are misinformed ...

Dont ask a doctor , more than half are sleepwalking ...

Just in this thread there is another poster just like you ... Talk to him ... We live in a society who lost freedom without even our own knowledge of it long time ago ...

My wife is boosted because she trusted his doctor... I am pretty angry...

They forgot their Hippocrates oath ..


By the way i am happy for your recovery, but everyone boosted as you were with negative adverse events sometimes heavy one , are not as lucky ... Our duty is to inform ourself and not put this under the rug  ... The ostrich era has ended ...


I woke up one morning with a loud mid-high tone squeeling away in my brain. That was exactly 2 weeks after my Covid booster. Not saying they are related but it’s just a data point.

I am a tinnitus suffer, too.  But I have a different issue.

Please read what you write before you hit send.  There are so many grammar mistakes, typos, acronyms, convoluted sentences and I don't know what, that I often cannot figure out what the writer is trying to say.




@j_andrews - that's very interesting; I may look into that. I've worn hearing aids for about 20 years and have a hissy tinnitus that is sometimes louder and sometimes softer. When I first had my hearing checked back then, there was a difference between the left and right hearing, so I got sent for that MRI, too, and the results were fine. People aren't always symmetrical! 

Your WiiM is fine - if it is the Pro Plus, with its much better DAC inside, (not the hockey puck one).  Several reviewers on YouTube say if you use it to feed an external DAC, they are fine up to the price point of say a $2000 DAC to get as much from it as you can. 

The real question is what is exciting your tinnitus? It is not well understood, nor funded from a research perspective compared to say dandruff, and that is a huge problem for the millions of people out here who have it. 

You are blaming it on the highs coming from your R7 and maybe so, but if you are EQing those down -3dB to -6dB then why would they continue to cause a problem? Counterintuitive, don't you think? 

No, whatever is exciting your tinnitus isn't JUST the highs you are hearing.  

Maybe demo some other speakers if you can, especially ones noted for a smooth treble or even "warm" rolled off treble.  You may also try other things I'm sorry to say such as cutting out all alcohol and caffeine (boring I know) and lowering your stress level as much as possible.