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.




One thing I’d like to mention for those suffering from tinnitus is there are some medications that can aggravate or even cause the condition. I was using Prilosec for GERD. Also started to have tinnitus. The connection wasn’t clear to me for many months. After seeing an audiologist and using white noise apps, I finally did a Google search for medications that might cause tinnitus. Prilosec was one of the top ones. Motivated to stop the Prilosec, I did a thorough dietary check on my GERD. I found out that wine was a clear factor. So I stopped drinking wine and stopped taking Prilosec. My GERD and my tinnitus cleared up. I don’t think stopping wine was a factor but sharply reducing my alcohol consumption couldn’t have hurt. There are several other medications listed that could also play a role in tinnitus.

I'm not a doctor so don't stop taking any medication based on anything I've said. Just something to think about. Maybe talk to your doctor.

I’ve had tinnitus for 15 years. My audiologist said it probably came from taking gabapentin. So I stopped taking gabapentin. The hissing did not disappear.

I had to give up listening to music via speakers eight feet across the room. The entire space between the sound and my ears was taken over by the hissing. It was truly overwhelming. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I was in tears.

I had been ripping my CDs to different hard drives, and eventually I had them all digitized. I attached a pair of Bowers & Wilkins MM1 computer speakers to my laptop, and all is well again in my audio world. As well as it can be, at least. Listening nearfield has been my saving grace.

I can’t say whether this would be a solution for anyone else. I don't have to tell you it was a lot to give up. But I am able to enjoy music again.

I never had tinnitus until now.  Thanks long covid!  Mine actually couldn't be worse, so any music helps.  Too much Aspirin can also cause tinnitus.  Unfortunately, it appears that there isn't a remedy.  I will add that most of my speakers roll off @ 13-15k just like me ears~

@omegaman79 Neither I nor @evanpress were 'speaking' about YOUR grammar, but the appaling writing that exists, in general, by several regular, and some less regular, posters on here.

I don't know how you get to hear an 18KHz tone through your PC/Laptop/Tablet/phone speakers, and even less, how you can actually HEAR an 18KHz tone yourself in any situation, let alone differentiate between similar frequencies. You must have the hearing of a Bat!

@jay15206 That is a very interesting comment. Interesting as I too have Tinnitus which also manifests itself as a hissing, rather than a 'tone'. I also took Gabapentin for about a 9 Month period c10yrs ago, and although not sure, I do seem to remember my Tinnitus began at roughly the same time. This needs looking into further IMO.