Sine Wave Google Searches

June 28th, 2009

UPDATE: Vitamin D?

I told Becky about the “ringing ears” chart, and when the waves peaked.

She said, “Maybe it’s related to Vitamin D.” Indeed, the searches peak around the nadir of Vitamin D availability in the Northern Hemisphere.

—End Update—

I’m developing some tools on another website—partially to help me keep track of information in a more effective manner—and I started messing around with Google Trends.

I was punching in various queries, just to have a fiddle around.

Then the phone rang. Becky answered it.

I typed in ringing phone. Then ringing bell. Then ringing ears. I have no idea what I was looking for, but look at this chart for ringing ears:


Is that weird?

Most of these charts look like a noise floor, with occasional news driven spikes. I looked at tinnitus, the clinical term for “ringing in the ears” and when I combined the chart from that with the one above, there’s a general correlation, as one would expect. (CSV datasets from all of these queries may be downloaded if you want to perform actual correlation calculations instead of just eyeballing it with the boneheaded charts Google is using.)

Next, I tried one with obvious seasonal correlates: gardening. That chart looks exactly as one would expect. Hay fever works the same way.

Are there seasonal correlates to tinnitus? I didn’t think so, but I’m definitely no expert. It seems to spike around the end of the year. Maybe it’s from listing to that Christmas music in China Mart.

What other queries describe sine waves, but without apparent seasonal or other correlates?

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3 Responses to “Sine Wave Google Searches”

  1. FRLVX Says:

    Since the peak is winter, and the minimum is summer, maybe it has something to do with proximity to the Sun. Seems to correlate with the Solstices. I have also looked into tinnitus a few times and the only consensus I can find is, they don’t really know what it is, not sure of the cause, nor do they know of any real effective treatments. I have my own theories about it…

    I think this is a great initiative you are on Kevin, using the available data and tools to gain insights into patterns and broad and previously unknown trends/cycles/etc.

  2. djc Says:

    Kevin, according to Tradition Chinese Medicine the kidneys are asscociated with the ears and tinnitus is an indication all is not well in the kidney department. If there is the occasional louder ring that appears & them leaves it may be due to the liver. I can verify this as my one time partner, a doctor of TCM, gave me a lot of acupuncture over several months & the problem disappeared. Westerm medicine seems incapable of dicerning subtle changes in organ function which can lead to all sorts of, what we would consider, unrelated complaints.

  3. brad johnson Says:

    I found several trends that, like tinnitus, drop off during the summer; osmosis, poverty, beatles, blindness…
    I’m guessing that it’s because school is out and the college students who do most of the searching are on vacation. This would also explain the dip that comes around Christmas break for most of these.

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