The responses to this thread have been most interesting, not the least of which is the number of fellow tinnitus sufferers that follow SilentPCReview. There have also been some posts that refer to my experiences as posted by Mike in the original article. I'd like to respond to some of these accordingly:
Strongbad writes: "Richard's story is interesting, but confusing also. He claims to be bothered by 'noises' in the RF spectrum which just isn't possible,"
Unfortunately, that's simply not correct. To clarify, what's occurring is these electronics create an increase in my tinnitus in either the same constant frequencies I perceive all the time, or in different ones including harmonics of the constant ones, that persists for quite some time, up to a day or more after removing the source. The investigation into this problem has been a years long process which began about 25 years ago when I started getting serious about finding what was causing my increased sensitivity. And this wasn't just starting from scratch. I've been involved with audio and electronics from an early age, building sound systems as a budding musician inherited from parents who played professionally during their early careers. This continued with a job as head recording technician at Indiana University language laboratories, and then as a freelance audio tech and audiophile including involvement with Crown International and Pyle Industries, both located in Indiana.
Initially, none of this bothered me as my tinnitus didn't become noticeable until my late twenties, and was much more subdued for several years. However, over time and with more noise exposure, these issues have become a serious source of exacerbation to my tinnitus, and often the most serious negative stimuli I encounter. This is true with a variety of electronic devices including the previously mentioned Intel G2, the iPhone 4 with 3G active, and Linksys G wireless routers, as well as other sources such as certain power supplies, etc. This isn't a simple one time experience either. It's a repeatable experience that comes from hours of researching the various devices involved, including contact with a variety of technical sources including the product manufacturer's engineering experts.
Sunrise writes: "Since tinnitus is a noise one hears when there is a lack of actual sound, couldn't Richard's problem with SSDs and 3G be be psychosomatic? As in, worry about a new gadget causing the tinnitus to get worse having a real effect. This should be easily testable with a blind test."
Frankly, your skepticism is exactly what's been difficult in dealing with most people when this issue comes up, including family members. Unless you are experiencing it, it's difficult to sympathize or understand. And that's what I've had to endure in a wide variety of situations and circumstances, where I'm not comfortable as others are. It has meant a substantial adjustment to my personal environment and living conditions over the years.
As for the "blind test", that's exactly what's been done to attempt to determine the specific cause of the problem, and to convince others that it actually is a problem for me. In the case of my sensitivity to the iPhone 4 3G, while traveling with 2 family members, one of which had the phone, they were both skeptical that I could determine the difference between EDGE/2G and 3G. They went through several hours of "blind testing" me before they finally became convinced I could tell the difference. And they surrepticiously tried the test on me again the next day without telling me to see if I was somehow cheating! Actually, it was easier to do so the next day because my tinnitus has subsided somewhat from the excessive exposure the prior day. Now the one with the iPhone automatically switches it to EDGE/2G when they're around me. NICE!
And as for your comment that: "My mother is "electrosensitive" and also says 3G is worse than 2G, my phone disturbs her even when it's turned off etc." Please don't ignore her concerns. Whatever the actual reason, there's something going on there, whether electronic or her relationship with you. If it's actually the phone that's causing the problem, it's possible the initial stimulus of 3G has triggered her problem and it persists even when the signal is no longer there. In any event, don't write her off so easily, and in either case I suggest you delve deeper into her problem. The brain is truly an uncharted frontier for mankind in most ways, as this recent article on the effects of GPS use describes:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40138522/ns ... al_health/
Whispercat writes: "This kind of idiosyncratic response to certain electronic noise seems somewhat similar to how migraine sufferers describe their experiences with regard to visual or air pressure stimuli." and also "I wonder if Richard could be hearing something that the Intel G2 is interacting with, rather than the SSD itself?"
In response to the former, after dealing with a wide variety of medical professionals regarding tinnitus and other sensitivities, it's apparent that there is a huge variety of variables that impact each individual in vastly different ways. Ultimately, the consensus seems to be that internal stresses build up in the body in such a way that a threshold is exceeded and the malady is triggered. This seems to be consistent for migraines, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, and similar diseases.
In response to the latter, as I hopefully have conveyed previously, the process I've gone through to isolate the variables is done from a scientific perspective, since science and math were my majors in college. I've always approached everything in life from an analytical and problem solving perspective, with great tenacity and attention to detail. That trait has caused me some serious relationship problems over the years, but that's another topic! Suffice it to say, the process I used to isolate the problem to the Intel G2s was extremely thorough, including every possible available interface and type of equipment that would work with it. This includes internal native motherboard SATA and external eSata on the described Puget system, internal SATA and external eSATA connections to an older Intel IDE motherboard via PCI conversion cards, multiple native SATA laptops, and even SATA to USB external hard drive case from StarTech. They all exhibited the same problem. And as the article mentions, this was also experienced by another family member who has tinnitus, while they were using a Lenovo laptop with the OS installed on a G2 without knowing it.
Finally, Mike writes: "This is the reality of noise damping: Most noise-blocking materials are not linear in their effect and most noises are also not broadband, there tends to be peaks. When you block out most of the noise from a machine, there might only be the faint trace of a tonal sound, just the top of the peak(s) that is left. Which is why sometimes, in a very quiet computer, it's better to leave a little bit of broadband noise from a fan or two. Otherwise you might be plagued by that little remaining tonal sound that can drive you around the bend."
Excellent advice! As I mentioned in the original article, when in environments like Best Buy, I'm not immediately bothered by an uptick in my tinnitus, although staying there for a long period causes my tinnitus to eventually be overwhelmed by the environment, and I feel exhausted afterward. Also, some environments are more difficult than other, depending on the extent of their equipment. As mentioned, BB isn't too bad for short periods, but the ABT retail location is much more severe, probably due to the vast quantity of electronics on display. But even with these, the severe focused tinnitus stimulation from such electronics as the G2 in a quiet environment usually isn't present. It's in normally quiet environments such as homes and similar, that these stimuli become most apparent and difficult to live with. And even though I do use white noise in a variety of situations to mask objectionable audible sounds, it's ineffective for the electronics that seem to emit electronic "noise" that is likely causing the problem for my tinnitus.