Apple discovers the secrets of the famous ringing in the ears in a massive study with more than 160,000 participants

Apple discovers the secrets of the famous ringing in the ears in a massive study with more than 160,000 participants
Apple discovers the secrets of the famous ringing in the ears in a massive study with more than 160,000 participants

Apple continues to demonstrate in Spain and the rest of the world its very close relationship with health. In addition to their great advances with devices such as the Apple Watch, those from Cupertino are committed to studying aspects of human health such as hearing. Researchers from the University of Michigan have carried out a study together with Apple about ‘tinnitus’ or tinnitus, a type of auditory perception.

Surely more than once you have felt a ringing in your ears or, alternatively, a sound similar to a vibration or a hum. Although the scientific name is tinnitus, it is known as tinnitus or colloquially, ringing in the ears. Defines the user’s perception of a sound without this sound coming from an external source. Therefore, only the user who suffers from these tinnitus can hear them.

Researchers from the University of Michigan, through the Apple Hearing Study collaboration, have managed to sign one of the largest studies to date regarding this phenomenon, in which they have participated more than 160,000 participants. They answered questions and completed a set of assessments to ultimately determine their experience with tinnitus, as well as its impact on them.

Apple talks about ‘tinnitus’

It should be noted that although tinnitus is usually represented as a ringing or buzzing sound, the truth is that These sounds are not always like that. The perception of these sounds can take many different forms, and it is directly up to each user to determine their nature. They can occur sporadically or for extended periods of time.

In the most extreme cases, tinnitus can greatly affect a user’s daily life. These sounds, in such cases, are capable to influence the sleep or concentration of these users, as well as the ability to hear directly. Therefore, more acute cases of tinnitus are often incredibly annoying and problematic.

15% of the participants reported having constant tinnitus.



The goal behind this study is, in Apple’s words, to “advance the understanding of tinnitus” by learning about the users who experience it. Apple wants to discover how the experience of tinnitus differs between people and how it plays out over time, as well as discovering both potential causes of tinnitus and methods to control it.

The University of Michigan study found that 77.6% of respondents have experienced tinnitus in their life, and that “the prevalence of daily tinnitus increases with age among many.” People aged 55 or older are up to three times more likely to hear tinnitus daily, at least compared to people aged 18 to 34.

Some of the headline percentages of the study.



In the Apple Hearing Study, participants claimed to have tried up to three different methods to mitigate the effect of tinnitus; use noise machines, listen to nature sounds and meditate. 28% chose the first option, while 23.7% chose the second. Only 12.2% chose to meditate, and less than 2.1% chose cognitive therapy to control their tinnitus.

Unfortunately, the study could not definitively determine either the cause of tinnitus or a method to prevent it “given its complex causes.” However, they explain that some recommended guidelines involve “practicing hearing protection and controlling stress levels.” 20.3% of participants blamed exposure to high levels of noise as the main cause of tinnitus compared to 7.7%, who attributed this phenomenon to stress.

Noise function for Apple Watch.



Ultimately, the majority of participants experienced at least brief episodes of tinnitus, compared to 14.7% who reported having constant tinnitus. Again, as age increases, the continuity of tinnitus increases; 35.8% of participants aged 55 years or older experience continuous tinnitus. 34.4% considered it “perceptible”, a high percentage compared to the 8.8% who classified it as very strong.

Apple recounts many of the positive effects derived from the collaboration between the Apple Hearing Study and the University of Michigan. For example, those from Cupertino claim that researchers have managed to gather around 400 million hours of ambient sound levels calculated supplemented by “lifestyle surveys to analyze how sound exposure affects hearing, stress, and hearing-related aspects of health.”

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Of course, Apple has systems and measures to promote hearing health. The Noise app, without going any further, allows Apple Watch users to enable notifications to alert them of the presence of environmental noise levels that may be harmful. Another example is in reducing ambient sound when using AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, using their active noise cancellation.

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