AirPods causing Pressure in Ears?

ATHiker95

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 8, 2010
15
3
I recently purchased a pair of AirPods and noticed after having them in my ears for about 15 minutes that I was feeling a rather strange sensation, like they were creating pressure in my ear. I tried them about 4 times for about 15 minutes each time and the final time resulted in my ears getting stuffed up and the feeling that I was talking in a cave while having a phone conversation.

I returned them, but since that time and continuing some 3-4 weeks later, my ears feel like they are stuffed up off and on and I will often have a high-pitched hissing in my ears that can last all day, noticeable particularly in quiet areas. I reported this to Apple Safety who is reporting it to their engineers. I have an appt with an ENT coming up to see if they have any thoughts. I did notice some other people on Apple Forums discussing this (and some had even more horrific stories) but lately I've been fighting with that crazy "too many redirects" at that site which make it impossible for me to post or discuss.

In the past on occasion, I've had issues with tinnitus, but have never had issues with it while wearing the regular Apple earbuds or any other bluetooth earbuds. I did have an issue with Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and had to return them for a similar build up of pressure situation. Fortunately within a week, the tinnitus went away. This time, it doesn't appear to be going away.

I'd be curious to know what technology in the AirPods would cause this to happen, particularly for people who are perhaps sensitive to issues like tinnitus. It's not like they were played too loudly - I'm very careful of that. Anybody else have these issues or have any thoughts on this? I'm sure that as many AirPods that have been sold, it must be some small subset of people with this issue or I'd be reading about in reviews or in the press.

Thanks for any help!
Mark
 
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GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
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I recently purchased a pair of AirPods and noticed after having them in my ears for about 15 minutes that I was feeling a rather strange sensation, like they were creating pressure in my ear. I tried them about 4 times for about 15 minutes each time and the final time resulted in my ears getting stuffed up and the feeling that I was talking in a cave while having a phone conversation.

I returned them, but since that time and continuing some 3-4 weeks later, my ears feel like they are stuffed up off and on and I will often have a high-pitched hissing in my ears that can last all day, noticeable particularly in quiet areas. I reported this to Apple Safety who is reporting it to their engineers. I have an appt with an ENT coming up to see if they have any thoughts. I did notice some other people on Apple Forums discussing this (and some had even more horrific stories) but lately I've been fighting with that crazy "too many redirects" at that site which make it impossible for me to post or discuss.

In the past on occasion, I've had issues with tinnitus, but have never had issues with it while wearing the regular Apple earbuds or any other bluetooth earbuds. I did have an issue with Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and had to return them for a similar build up of pressure situation. Fortunately within a week, the tinnitus went away. This time, it doesn't appear to be going away.

I'd be curious to know what technology in the AirPods would cause this to happen, particularly for people who are perhaps sensitive to issues like tinnitus. It's not like they were played too loudly - I'm very careful of that. Anybody else have these issues or have any thoughts on this? I'm sure that as many AirPods that have been sold, it must be some small subset of people with this issue or I'd be reading about in reviews or in the press.

Thanks for any help!
Mark
Oh thank goodness it’s not just me! I already had migraine issues with the XS Max display so I was reluctant to discuss this on the forum lest people start thinking I’m a hypochondriac.

Yes it’s just as you describe. I love the idea of the AirPods but within just a few minutes of having them in my usually mild tinnitus ramps up to unbearable levels. It took several anxiety filled days to go back to normal.

There’s always a high pitched tone that I can’t tell if it’s from the AirPods themselves or my own tinnitus amped up. And some parts of the music sounds like there’s a shrieky buzz to it.

I got my tinnitus as a result of firing a gun without hearing protection over 30 years ago, if that makes any difference. I was immediately stricken temporarily deaf and then after a few minutes panic my hearing came back but with this little souvenir. My hearing otherwise checks out really well.

Like you, I can wear other ear buds and headphones just fine. I have some Beats blue tooth buds I wear on occasion. Generally for in-ear buds though I wear wired ones.
 

sunapple

macrumors 68000
Jul 16, 2013
1,940
2,953
The Netherlands
Weird. I'm a regular AirPod user and I don't experience this. I can wear them for hours without any problems. Even in a noisy train where I ramp up the volume a little too much, my ears do not complain (not yet anyway, switched to in-ears to avoid the needing the high volume).

What I find interesting is that you don't experience the same pressure with some other headphones or earphones. Isn't it unlikely for AirPods to cause pressure due to the open-back nature of the design? Put a finger on the top of the AirPod when listening to music and you notice they need the air intake for producing sound. They'd have to seal off your ears as well to create pressure, not sure if they really do that (I could see it happening with in-ears).

That's how far my understanding of AirPod tech and the human ear sort of go lol.
 
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iFone88

macrumors 6502
Oct 5, 2018
404
353
I’m in the same boat at sunapple.

Regular user with no issues and would find it strange if they were the cause of your issue given the air needed to produce the bulk of the sound.
 

GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
8,692
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Weird. I'm a regular AirPod user and I don't experience this. I can wear them for hours without any problems. Even in a noisy train where I ramp up the volume a little too much, my ears do not complain (not yet anyway, switched to in-ears to avoid the needing the high volume).

What I find interesting is that you don't experience the same pressure with some other headphones or earphones. Isn't it unlikely for AirPods to cause pressure due to the open-back nature of the design? Put a finger on the top of the AirPod when listening to music and you notice they need the air intake for producing sound. They'd have to seal off your ears as well to create pressure, not sure if they really do that (I could see it happening with in-ears).

That's how far my understanding of AirPod tech and the human ear sort of go lol.
My husband doesn’t have any problems with his. I tried his a long time ago and didn’t notice a problem then, but it was just for a minute. I guess I should try them again just to make sure I don’t have a defective pair of pods but I’m honestly reluctant to make that experiment again because of the suffering involved and the fact it took a long time for the tinnitus to go back to more normal levels.

I never tried to have a phone conversation on mine. And I’ve so far used them only three times for any length of time. The first time I used them while doing chores. I ended up taking them out fast because I got a weird headache and I thought they sounded unpleasant by making my music sound “buzzy”. Second time they sounded bad again and I didn’t even listen for a full song. Third and last time my tinnitus ramped up and it got scary.

I suspect most people do NOT have any issues so I would also, like Mark, be interested in people who do. I’m not trying to cause trouble for AirPods because I love the concept and if they didn’t cause me this issue I’d be using them for sure.

I just don’t understand why I’m having all these weird health problems with the latest Apple products. Sadly I’m also one of the people who have trouble with the new OLED displays and had to return the Max I absolutely loved.

I have healthy eyes and ears according to my checkups. I’ve had CT scans and dye contrast and regular MRI’s due to my migraines and my brain is apparently healthy enough—no tumors or anything showed up. I don’t know. I wonder if it is related to migraine?

The only thing I can think of is about 25 years ago I went to an ENT for a checkup and hearing test because my hearing was muffled due to a sinus infection. I mentioned to the doc that I was prone to really bad ear aches when it’s windy and even a little bit chilly. I used to have to wear ear muffs or a hoodie even in spring when I was otherwise warm. My dad had the same problem. So I asked the doc about that and he said something about some nerve being more close to the surface for me and my dad. But he didn’t go into detail and the conversation was half my life ago so I can’t really explain what he meant.

For some reason my ears are no longer as sensitive to wind and cold as they used to be and I don’t need to wear earmuffs and hoodies just because it’s windy now. I also swim regularly and don’t get swimmers ear anymore like I did as a kid. I’m not particularly prone to ear infections either.
 

ATHiker95

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 8, 2010
15
3
My husband doesn’t have any problems with his. I tried his a long time ago and didn’t notice a problem then, but it was just for a minute. I guess I should try them again just to make sure I don’t have a defective pair of pods but I’m honestly reluctant to make that experiment again because of the suffering involved and the fact it took a long time for the tinnitus to go back to more normal levels.

I never tried to have a phone conversation on mine. And I’ve so far used them only three times for any length of time. The first time I used them while doing chores. I ended up taking them out fast because I got a weird headache and I thought they sounded unpleasant by making my music sound “buzzy”. Second time they sounded bad again and I didn’t even listen for a full song. Third and last time my tinnitus ramped up and it got scary.

I suspect most people do NOT have any issues so I would also, like Mark, be interested in people who do. I’m not trying to cause trouble for AirPods because I love the concept and if they didn’t cause me this issue I’d be using them for sure.

I just don’t understand why I’m having all these weird health problems with the latest Apple products. Sadly I’m also one of the people who have trouble with the new OLED displays and had to return the Max I absolutely loved.

I have healthy eyes and ears according to my checkups. I’ve had CT scans and dye contrast and regular MRI’s due to my migraines and my brain is apparently healthy enough—no tumors or anything showed up. I don’t know. I wonder if it is related to migraine?

The only thing I can think of is about 25 years ago I went to an ENT for a checkup and hearing test because my hearing was muffled due to a sinus infection. I mentioned to the doc that I was prone to really bad ear aches when it’s windy and even a little bit chilly. I used to have to wear ear muffs or a hoodie even in spring when I was otherwise warm. My dad had the same problem. So I asked the doc about that and he said something about some nerve being more close to the surface for me and my dad. But he didn’t go into detail and the conversation was half my life ago so I can’t really explain what he meant.

For some reason my ears are no longer as sensitive to wind and cold as they used to be and I don’t need to wear earmuffs and hoodies just because it’s windy now. I also swim regularly and don’t get swimmers ear anymore like I did as a kid. I’m not particularly prone to ear infections either.
Wow, You and I sound like a lot alike in this respect. I used to get earaches out in the cold as well (and my Mom has them as well) but like you those don't seem to bother me anymore. It has been about a month since I wore the AirPods and I still have a very high pitched buzz (best i can describe it), that is constant. Doc told me to try some Afrin for about 5 days which did help with the stuffiness in my ears, but didn't alleviate the tinnitus issue. At work I don't notice it so much , perhaps because I'm concentrating more. At home, I notice it quite a bit. I can't imagine living with this buzz the rest of my life but I'm beginning to think it might be a possibility. Doc was nice, but otherwise not all that helpful. I think he believes that my tinnitus is a result of my hearing loss (can't hear high pitched tones - mid tones are fine). I was at an Indy 500 race without earplugs in my early 20's. I think that is what started the whole mess, but except for mild cases of tinnitus off and on, I hadn't been bothered in years, until the day I put the AirPods in. Like you, I love the idea of them and in general I love my Apple products, but I have to believe that something is going on here that has a negative effect on people prone to tinnitus and it is not provoked by the AirPods being turned up too high. I have an iPhone X and don't have any issues with the OLED screen, thank God. I have reported my issues to Apple Safety/ Engineering but the only comment back from them was that they are not noise cancelling headphones, but rather noise isolating. I had a similar issue with Bose Quiet Comfort 35's but that didn't create ongoing tinnitus and those are noise cancelling which are pumping out something to cancel out background noises). So, I'm still a bit suspicious there is something electronic going on that effects some and not others. Hopefully, it doesn't effect those folks down the road. The Apple reply doesn't exactly address our issues, does it? I will continue to tune in here because I want some answers. I'll go back in the meantime to my doctor notes and see if he said something I might have forgotten. You might also want to lok at this thread on Apple Support Communities
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,692
12,408
Wow, You and I sound like a lot alike in this respect. I used to get earaches out in the cold as well (and my Mom has them as well) but like you those don't seem to bother me anymore. It has been about a month since I wore the AirPods and I still have a very high pitched buzz (best i can describe it), that is constant. Doc told me to try some Afrin for about 5 days which did help with the stuffiness in my ears, but didn't alleviate the tinnitus issue. At work I don't notice it so much , perhaps because I'm concentrating more. At home, I notice it quite a bit. I can't imagine living with this buzz the rest of my life but I'm beginning to think it might be a possibility. Doc was nice, but otherwise not all that helpful. I think he believes that my tinnitus is a result of my hearing loss (can't hear high pitched tones - mid tones are fine). I was at an Indy 500 race without earplugs in my early 20's. I think that is what started the whole mess, but except for mild cases of tinnitus off and on, I hadn't been bothered in years, until the day I put the AirPods in. Like you, I love the idea of them and in general I love my Apple products, but I have to believe that something is going on here that has a negative effect on people prone to tinnitus and it is not provoked by the AirPods being turned up too high. I have an iPhone X and don't have any issues with the OLED screen, thank God. I have reported my issues to Apple Safety/ Engineering but the only comment back from them was that they are not noise cancelling headphones, but rather noise isolating. I had a similar issue with Bose Quiet Comfort 35's but that didn't create ongoing tinnitus and those are noise cancelling which are pumping out something to cancel out background noises). So, I'm still a bit suspicious there is something electronic going on that effects some and not others. Hopefully, it doesn't effect those folks down the road. The Apple reply doesn't exactly address our issues, does it? I will continue to tune in here because I want some answers. I'll go back in the meantime to my doctor notes and see if he said something I might have forgotten. You might also want to lok at this thread on Apple Support Communities
Thank you for the link to that thread. That’s very scary that those people are getting such awful debilitating symptoms. I have used Bluetooth headphones and ear buds for a few years now. Never a problem.

I am sorry your tinnitus has stayed at such an unpleasant level. Mine is high, too, at the moment. Not as bad as it was right after I took the Airpods out, but a little higher than usual. I can ignore it most of the time.

I don’t watch tv very often but the other night my family and I were trying to watch HGTV via Apple TV on our Samsung Smart TV and a high pitched shrieky tone was emitted that only my 14 year old daughter could hear and myself. She got immediately bad tempered and miserable and I got dizzy and excruciatingly uncomfortable and my tinnitus ramped up, so we had to turn the tv off. That noise just reminded me too much of the shriek from my AirPods.

We’ve watched the old Mary Tyler Moore show on Hulu through Samsung by itself and Apple by itself and haven’t had a problem. It was apparently just that HGTV channel. There were cats and other people in the room and they were all fine. Just me and my kid suffered.

Lol all this craziness with sounds almost reminds me of the weirdness at the embassy in Cuba.

https://www.foxnews.com/tech/microwave-weapon-blamed-for-apparent-attack-on-us-embassy-in-cuba

I don’t suppose there’s any way for our homes entertainment devices to accidentally emit microwave frequencies is there? That seems really far fetched.

Oh I just thought of something. Do you have any metal dental or medical devices in your mouth? I have a titanium dental implant. I don’t know if that makes any difference. I’m just trying to see what might be making us and our experiences so different from that of the majority.
 

BoxerGT2.5

macrumors 68000
Jun 4, 2008
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13,130
Your tinnitus can be exacerbated by sinus issues/pressure in your middle ears. The airpod usage is likely coincidental. There is no cure for it (tinnitus) and if you know you already have damage to the inner ear then that is likely the culprit along with whatever sinus related issues you had/have going on.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
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I’ve used AirPods since release date. I’ve had no issues with my ears because of them. Could it be because I don’t crank them to max volume?
Neither of us said we used them at max volume. Quite the contrary.

Most, probably 99.99% of people do not have issues with AirPods. If everyone who hasn’t had an issue with AirPods replies like this, the thread will blow up to several pages of people NOT having problems who think two people who do are bonkers ex-metal heads. :p

@BoxerGT2.5 that makes a lot of sense as a possibility. I wonder what it is specifically about the AirPods, though, vs other buds that aggravates the sinuses and pre existing tinnitus.
 

BoxerGT2.5

macrumors 68000
Jun 4, 2008
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13,130
Neither of us said we used them at max volume. Quite the contrary.

Most, probably 99.99% of people do not have issues with AirPods. If everyone who hasn’t had an issue with AirPods replies like this, the thread will blow up to several pages of people NOT having problems who think two people who do are bonkers ex-metal heads. :p

@BoxerGT2.5 that makes a lot of sense as a possibility. I wonder what it is specifically about the AirPods, though, vs other buds that aggravates the sinuses and pre existing tinnitus.
I don't think it's anything specifically related to the Airpods, I think it's purely coincidental.
 

GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
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I don't think it's anything specifically related to the Airpods, I think it's purely coincidental.
I’m finding that hard to believe but the only way to be sure is to test. I definitely don’t have any sinus problems now. But the potential outcome if it is not a coincidence is so awful I don’t want to use myself as a test subject. I’ve got way too many great earbuds to make it worth my while. I’ll just keep these as spares for my husband.

The reason I don’t think it’s just coincidence is that I’m not the only person with issues. And @ATHiker95 has found that the problem is reproducible with at least one other kind of earbuds, but not others. So that to me indicates there is something maybe to how the AirPods (and his other earbuds) work that makes the difference—in some unlucky people’s ears. If it were just random coincidence the problem would pop up on other earbuds we own from time to time or only once with the AirPods but not another times when we use them. Ugh, sorry that’s not very clear, but it’s hard to explain what I mean.

People’s bodies are weird so we were bound to find a few of us for whom AirPods are a no go. I’ve heard of some people who can’t wear wrist watches because the watches just stop dead on them. A few years ago there were some people whose sweat would corrode and pit the surface of their MacBook Pros. Fortunately, I am not one of these people.
 

JLC3Gs

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2018
1
1
I recently purchased a pair of AirPods and noticed after having them in my ears for about 15 minutes that I was feeling a rather strange sensation, like they were creating pressure in my ear. I tried them about 4 times for about 15 minutes each time and the final time resulted in my ears getting stuffed up and the feeling that I was talking in a cave while having a phone conversation.

I returned them, but since that time and continuing some 3-4 weeks later, my ears feel like they are stuffed up off and on and I will often have a high-pitched hissing in my ears that can last all day, noticeable particularly in quiet areas. I reported this to Apple Safety who is reporting it to their engineers. I have an appt with an ENT coming up to see if they have any thoughts. I did notice some other people on Apple Forums discussing this (and some had even more horrific stories) but lately I've been fighting with that crazy "too many redirects" at that site which make it impossible for me to post or discuss.

In the past on occasion, I've had issues with tinnitus, but have never had issues with it while wearing the regular Apple earbuds or any other bluetooth earbuds. I did have an issue with Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and had to return them for a similar build up of pressure situation. Fortunately within a week, the tinnitus went away. This time, it doesn't appear to be going away.

I'd be curious to know what technology in the AirPods would cause this to happen, particularly for people who are perhaps sensitive to issues like tinnitus. It's not like they were played too loudly - I'm very careful of that. Anybody else have these issues or have any thoughts on this? I'm sure that as many AirPods that have been sold, it must be some small subset of people with this issue or I'd be reading about in reviews or in the press.

Thanks for any help!
Mark
[doublepost=1545910460][/doublepost]I received airpods for Christmas- after combined use of maybe 45 minutes the tinnitus in my left ear was screamingand I too am careful to keep the volume low. I’ve done research on the use of Bluetooth in the ears and found some interesting info and after the tinnitus issue Im returning mine. First and foremost I believe the FCC guidelines are too lax - like many other government agencies that regulate products to consumers, the almighty dollar guides the guidelines. I’m very concerned about the impact of this technology on children and their developing brains. This was a great quote from one article:
“Dr Joel Moskowitz, a professor at the UC Berekely School of Public Health, said people would be ‘putting a microwave-emitting device next to your brain’.

While it has not been revealed exactly what the frequency of the AirPod Bluetooth waves are, Apple’s engineers argue that they are well within the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) guidelines.

Dr Moskowitz said more than 200 scientists who study electromagnetic radiation safety believe that the FCC guidelines are inadequate to protect human health.”

“...Although we don’t know the long-term risks from using Bluetooth devices, why would anyone insert microwave-emitting devices in their ears near their brain when there are safer ways to use a cell phone.

“Is the legal limit sufficient to protect the cell phone user’s health?” he added.

He said he recommended the use of ‘corded headsets or hands-free use of cell phones, not wireless ear buds’.
 
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ATHiker95

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 8, 2010
15
3
[doublepost=1545910460][/doublepost]
I received airpods for Christmas- after combined use of maybe 45 minutes the tinnitus in my left ear was screamingand I too am careful to keep the volume low. I’ve done research on the use of Bluetooth in the ears and found some interesting info and after the tinnitus issue Im returning mine. First and foremost I believe the FCC guidelines are too lax - like many other government agencies that regulate products to consumers, the almighty dollar guides the guidelines. I’m very concerned about the impact of this technology on children and their developing brains. This was a great quote from one article:
“Dr Joel Moskowitz, a professor at the UC Berekely School of Public Health, said people would be ‘putting a microwave-emitting device next to your brain’.

While it has not been revealed exactly what the frequency of the AirPod Bluetooth waves are, Apple’s engineers argue that they are well within the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) guidelines.

Dr Moskowitz said more than 200 scientists who study electromagnetic radiation safety believe that the FCC guidelines are inadequate to protect human health.”

“...Although we don’t know the long-term risks from using Bluetooth devices, why would anyone insert microwave-emitting devices in their ears near their brain when there are safer ways to use a cell phone.

“Is the legal limit sufficient to protect the cell phone user’s health?” he added.

He said he recommended the use of ‘corded headsets or hands-free use of cell phones, not wireless ear buds’.
[doublepost=1545962700][/doublepost]Welcome to the screech club. :(. I’m still disappointed they don’t work for me. So convenient. I returned mine promptly and fortunately got my money back. I usually use earbuds when out walking. I’ve learned now I can just stick my iPhoneX into my shirt pocket upside down and crank the volume and listen to it fine even with a coat over it and thus don’t need to use earbuds at all which is ok with me versus having a constant hiss,whine,etc in my ear. It took almost 2 months for it to disappear and is mostly gone now although if I concentrate hard on it, I can perhaps still hear a slight hiss. For the most part, I don’t notice it anymore (thank God!). I’m afraid to try any of them now. I do wonder and am not trying to spook anyone as to what the long term consequences might be of wearing those in one’s ears for long periods of time over many years. I didn’t get the impression from Apple that they had any audiologists on staff studying this problem (ha!).
 
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GrumpyMom

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Sep 11, 2014
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I’ve gotten the yellow wired Beats earbuds that match my yellow XR for Christmas. My tinnitus is no worse with those. It’s pretty loud though. Yet I always pass my hearing tests with flying colors. I guess I have hearing damage but not hearing loss. Go figure. :confused:
 

t5555

macrumors newbie
Jan 30, 2019
1
1
I’ve gotten the yellow wired Beats earbuds that match my yellow XR for Christmas. My tinnitus is no worse with those. It’s pretty loud though. Yet I always pass my hearing tests with flying colors. I guess I have hearing damage but not hearing loss. Go figure. :confused:
May want to check out this informal analysis this individual performed:

https://besynchro.com/blogs/blog/wh...airpods-testing-emf-s-in-bluetooth-headphones

From my own research, the key is the power of these radio transmitters vs. other bluetooth headphones (or RF devices), and the location of how close they are to the body/inner ear. These are two fairly unique features of the airpods. I'm personally shocked Apple is willing to abide by FCC rules and not do their own sensitivity testing to understand the risks, even if it is affecting only 0.01% of individuals. I too was dazzled by the convenience, but would be happier if they created something where the bluetooth transmitter was well outside the ear canal - and preferably shielded in the direction of the body. Issue is only getting worse as they 'upgrade' bluetooth technology to be more powerful. Bluetooth used to be at standards that I believe did not penetrate skin, but that is no longer the case with these higher powered devices. Too few people question the safety of these, even if they are not showing any symptoms/signs of EMF exposure.
 
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NovemberWhiskey

macrumors 68040
May 18, 2009
3,017
1,268
In the past on occasion, I've had issues with tinnitus, but have never had issues with it while wearing the regular Apple earbuds or any other bluetooth earbuds. I did have an issue with Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and had to return them for a similar build up of pressure situation. Fortunately within a week, the tinnitus went away. This time, it doesn't appear to be going away.
You answered your own question. Don't understand what you are looking for. You have a pre-existing medical condition, that is being triggered by multiple noise producing devices. There's no mystery to be solved. It's you
 

tracy1

macrumors newbie
Feb 4, 2019
1
1
I recently purchased a pair of AirPods and noticed after having them in my ears for about 15 minutes that I was feeling a rather strange sensation, like they were creating pressure in my ear. I tried them about 4 times for about 15 minutes each time and the final time resulted in my ears getting stuffed up and the feeling that I was talking in a cave while having a phone conversation.

I returned them, but since that time and continuing some 3-4 weeks later, my ears feel like they are stuffed up off and on and I will often have a high-pitched hissing in my ears that can last all day, noticeable particularly in quiet areas. I reported this to Apple Safety who is reporting it to their engineers. I have an appt with an ENT coming up to see if they have any thoughts. I did notice some other people on Apple Forums discussing this (and some had even more horrific stories) but lately I've been fighting with that crazy "too many redirects" at that site which make it impossible for me to post or discuss.

In the past on occasion, I've had issues with tinnitus, but have never had issues with it while wearing the regular Apple earbuds or any other bluetooth earbuds. I did have an issue with Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and had to return them for a similar build up of pressure situation. Fortunately within a week, the tinnitus went away. This time, it doesn't appear to be going away.

I'd be curious to know what technology in the AirPods would cause this to happen, particularly for people who are perhaps sensitive to issues like tinnitus. It's not like they were played too loudly - I'm very careful of that. Anybody else have these issues or have any thoughts on this? I'm sure that as many AirPods that have been sold, it must be some small subset of people with this issue or I'd be reading about in reviews or in the press.

Thanks for any help!
Mark
My ear hurt really bad!!! Just my right ear
 
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VTchemist

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2019
2
3
Blacksburg, VA
I too have experienced the ringing "tinnitus" in my ear with my new airpods. I listen at low volumes, yet my ears ring for most of the day after using my airpods for <30 minutes.

This effect does not happen when I use my old "wired" apple earpods. Nor does it happen with my AKG earpods.

I have experienced this problem each time I have used the airpods (five times). The design does not seem to work with my ear canal...

So, I am back to using my BOSE QC3 headphones. Had them for ~10 years and never had a problem.

I am curious to hear what the Apple folks that are aware of the design of the airpods would have to say? Perhaps I have strange ears...

And BTW, they did not want to stay in my ears (in response to other posters).
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,692
12,408
I too have experienced the ringing "tinnitus" in my ear with my new airpods. I listen at low volumes, yet my ears ring for most of the day after using my airpods for <30 minutes.

This effect does not happen when I use my old "wired" apple earpods. Nor does it happen with my AKG earpods.

I have experienced this problem each time I have used the airpods (five times). The design does not seem to work with my ear canal...

So, I am back to using my BOSE QC3 headphones. Had them for ~10 years and never had a problem.

I am curious to hear what the Apple folks that are aware of the design of the airpods would have to say? Perhaps I have strange ears...

And BTW, they did not want to stay in my ears (in response to other posters).
In a few weeks my Bluetooth earbuds by Samsung will arrive along with my Samsung phone. These buds will be the closest type of earbuds to the AirPods that I will get an opportunity to try. I’ll report back on what they do to my ears.

I’m a little afraid of being a guinea pig and exposing myself to that level of intense discomfort and possible damage again, but I want to get to the bottom of this for the sake of all the kids who are going to start wanting these things. Right now they have to use wired ones. When they get older they will make their own choices and I just don’t like how far behind we are on the safety data as the technology advances faster than research can keep up.

I do have a pair of Beats Bluetooth in ear buds with a wire connecting the two ear pieces. I tried them out again recently and confirmed to myself they didn’t cause any problems. They just don’t sound all that great. A little buzzy.
 

trillionaire

macrumors regular
Dec 19, 2018
211
131
Canada
It sounds like you may just be more susceptible to this. I'm sure there would be threads upon threads of this nature if this was a prevalent issue as there are plenty of AirPods users.

I for one don't use any type of earphones at all because I get this with any type of earphones/headphones. As to why you only experience it with this product and not that product is a different question; probably one for a doctor.

Best of luck in finding a solution and hope it goes away quickly. I know how painful dealing with ear problems can be.
 
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GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,692
12,408
It sounds like you may just be more susceptible to this. I'm sure there would be threads upon threads of this nature if this was a prevalent issue as there are plenty of AirPods users.

I for one don't use any type of earphones at all because I get this with any type of earphones/headphones. As to why you only experience it with this product and not that product is a different question; probably one for a doctor.

Best of luck in finding a solution and hope it goes away quickly. I know how painful dealing with ear problems can be.
Interesting. I just want to rule out the Bluetooth being the problem. The Samsung buds should have pretty intense Bluetooth like the AirPods. Lol, but I do understand enough about proper testing to know even if the Samsung buds cause the same problem, that doesn’t mean Bluetooth is the culprit. At best, if it doesn’t cause me problems, that could potentially exhonerate BT.
 

VTchemist

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2019
2
3
Blacksburg, VA
Oh thank goodness it’s not just me! I already had migraine issues with the XS Max display so I was reluctant to discuss this on the forum lest people start thinking I’m a hypochondriac.

Yes it’s just as you describe. I love the idea of the AirPods but within just a few minutes of having them in my usually mild tinnitus ramps up to unbearable levels. It took several anxiety filled days to go back to normal.

There’s always a high pitched tone that I can’t tell if it’s from the AirPods themselves or my own tinnitus amped up. And some parts of the music sounds like there’s a shrieky buzz to it.

I got my tinnitus as a result of firing a gun without hearing protection over 30 years ago, if that makes any difference. I was immediately stricken temporarily deaf and then after a few minutes panic my hearing came back but with this little souvenir. My hearing otherwise checks out really well.

Like you, I can wear other ear buds and headphones just fine. I have some Beats blue tooth buds I wear on occasion. Generally for in-ear buds though I wear wired ones.
[doublepost=1552683929][/doublepost]I ditched my AirPods for the very reason you mentioned: high pitched ringing in ears. I used the pods about 5 times (at low problems) for making phone calls, and listening to music.

Never had this problem with my Apple wired earphones, AKG wired ear phones, Bose QC headset, or Koss headsets.

Ringing persisted for several days after using AirPods. Took me 5 times to figure it out.
 
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Marcusbond

macrumors newbie
Dec 8, 2018
3
2
Just bought a pair of Airpods at the weekend, hoping to get free from my normal Apple wired earpods. Used the Airpods for the first extended period early yesterday evening, to listen to a podcast (approx 60 minutes), which resulted in an unpleasant feeling of fullness and dull pressure inside and around my ears, and general aching on both sides of my head extending around to the back of my neck, my lower jaw, and my temples. Forcing me to take them out.

Honestly last night trying to get to sleep, it felt like I had a vice clamped to my head, not painful, but somewhat unpleasant, felt a bit like the combined effects of blocked sinuses, being out in the sun for too long without a hat, pulling a muscle in my neck, and clenching my jaw for a while. Although the worst of my symptoms had faded by the time I woke up this morning, and continued to fade further during the day, there is still some sense of fullness and stiffness/aching tonight 24 hours later.

Not sure why I've had such a bad reaction to the Airpods, but I'm pretty much discouraged from using them again.
 
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GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,692
12,408
Just bought a pair of Airpods at the weekend, hoping to get free from my normal Apple wired earpods. Used the Airpods for the first extended period early yesterday evening, to listen to a podcast (approx 60 minutes), which resulted in an unpleasant feeling of fullness and dull pressure inside and around my ears, and general aching on both sides of my head extending around to the back of my neck, my lower jaw, and my temples. Forcing me to take them out.

Honestly last night trying to get to sleep, it felt like I had a vice clamped to my head, not painful, but somewhat unpleasant, felt a bit like the combined effects of blocked sinuses, being out in the sun for too long without a hat, pulling a muscle in my neck, and clenching my jaw for a while. Although the worst of my symptoms had faded by the time I woke up this morning, and continued to fade further during the day, there is still some sense of fullness and stiffness/aching tonight 24 hours later.

Not sure why I've had such a bad reaction to the Airpods, but I'm pretty much discouraged from using them again.
Go to Apple's site and let them know about this directly so they can look into it, though don't expect to hear back from them. I am sorry you've suffered this. I've not had it as bad as you have, but my attempts to try them always result in odd sensations, an earache and tinnitus ratcheting up very badly for several hours and even days. My husband's airpods are old and the battery is dying so I'm passing mine to him. If he ends up having a problem with mine, I'll report back.

I don't think its Bluetooth because I'm fine with my very old Beats and Samsung wireless buds.
 
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