Are Earplugs Safe If You Already Hurt Your Ears Before?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Kevin397, Mar 21, 2017.

    1. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      So several months ago, I got tinnitus after a loud gig, but it went away after a couple months of on and off ringing and sounds. For the full story, read my Success Story post below.

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/my-lesson-about-tinnitus.20682/

      Lately, I have been looking for places around my area with much softer music. Recently I went to a restaurant that has a club upstairs. The food was good, but I decided to leave after my meal. Because even from downstairs, the music was so loud that you could hear the sound waves vibrate through the floors! Why do people do this? Anyways, because of stuff like this, I have invested in high quality earplugs for scenes with loud music. The earplugs I bought don't muffle out conversations with others, but they protect from loud sounds.

      Now; here is my question. Is this too much of a risk? I had bad hearing damage before. And although I've recovered, I still need to be very careful, because one more incident of very loud music could seal the deal. Granted, I doubt I'll be going back to the places that started it all, but I will probably try to find some place with loud music.
       
    2. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Bump.
       
    3. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      what exact type of plugs you refer to ?
       
    4. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      You're opening Pandora's box with this one. Many points need to be raised.

      • Are they ANSI or ISO compliant?
      • Are they correctly inserted?
      • what is the SNR or NNR rating?
      • How close to the source of sound are you going to be (e.g. speakers)?
      • How long are you going to be in the loud environment for?
      • How loud is the environment whilst you are there (decibels)?


      The answer lies within many variables of those questions. Earplugs don't make your ears invincible, but they do dramatically reduce the risk of damage if you are sensible.
       
    5. JurgenG
      Approved

      JurgenG Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure / headphone accident maybe?
      I guess you already got them, but I would only risk going to any loud place with premolded plugs and a high filter. Correct me if I am wrong.
       
    6. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      Professional foam plugs like the moldex meteors are rated 33db on the US scale - they would offer the best protection when inserted real deep
       
    7. JurgenG
      Approved

      JurgenG Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure / headphone accident maybe?
      Maybe the ones you mention, but every plug I ever compared to my premolds are worse.
      I also would like to add that the sound is really distorted and speaking is more difficult which results in you unplugging them.
       
    8. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      I have no issue speaking with them and it's not distorted when people talk loud in a club or bar

      The only problem is that they hurt the ear canals when worn for hours at a time

      Sound reduction is the best but not comfort
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      What does an ANSI/ISO complaint mean?
      Yes, I know how to correctly insert them.
      The NNR rating is 20 decibels, and they are ETY plugs.
      The environment seems to be around 75-80 decibels? I stood outside the place the other night thinking about whether I should go in or not before heading home (I chose to stay home) and the dance music was vibrating from outside.
      I would only be in the environment for an hour or two, and the speakers are close to the dance floor.
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @Kevin397 The best earplugs (including moulded) won't fully protect you or any person if external sound is loud enough. Sound can travel through the mastoid bone and reach the inner ear. The mastoid bone is a hard piece of bone behind each ear, it is honeycombed with air pockets. Further reading in the link below.
      https://www.britannica.com/science/ear/Transmission-of-sound-by-bone-conduction
       
      • Like Like x 1
    11. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Thank you for the interesting read. Since the music at the place I mentioned in the above post vibrates from outside, then I doubt it would be safe even ear plugs . Better safe than sorry. I've been given a second chance to keep my hearing, and I'm not going to ruin it again, because next time, it may not recover.
       
    12. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I think you are being very sensible because prevention is better than cure. If others followed your example they could save themselves a lot of misery.
      Best of luck
      Michael
       
    13. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Agreed. And thanks.
       
    14. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      (ANSI, ISO) It means they meet a required standard. Otherwise you may end up with a cheap unspecified material (very rare I'll admit).

      75-80 is debatable whether you need plugs at all. I tend to wear plugs from 80 onwards, and would usually go for a 10db or 15db filter at this intensity.

      If the noise is real noise - above 85db - I use my 25db filters. If it's particularly loud I'll either cap the plugs and go for a solid 33db or just leave depending on how loud we're talking.

      It's definitely better to be safe than sorry. If you are uncomfortable, don't stay. The flip side of this is not to fear everyday noises that regularly go between 70db-80db. This zone of noise is largely unavoidable at not worth worrying about. You will only give yourself a phobia to sound (phonophobia), which is generally not good for your mental wellbeing. It will also make you obsessive and may possibly give you a form of OCD.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      I fully agree @Ed209 Far too many people are using ear protection and doing themselves more harm than good. I went into a venue last year where the noise level recorded was 100 decibels on my meter. I used no ear protection although I had them with me. This was a test and don't advise anyone else to try it. I stayed at that venue for 30mins. I had no problems and my tinnitus was silent the next day and no hint of hyperacusis.

      Michael
       
    16. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Fortunately, I don't fear loud noises. I'm just uncomfortable putting myself in a position where loud sound is being blasted at me for minutes on end. Also, maybe the music was louder than 85 decibels. How many decibels does music have to be before you can hear it vibrate from outside a venue?
       
    17. maestromusica
      Batty

      maestromusica Member

      Location:
      Edinburgh
      Tinnitus Since:
      22/10/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Club

      Ed, how do you decide 'crap, it's too loud, time to go home'? Any rule of thumb?
       
    18. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      My gut would tell me. I think we all know deep down when it gets to that point. I'm a musician as well, so I've been dealing with sound and decibels for most of my life.
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Agree Agree x 1
    19. Jim51042

      Jim51042 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphone use
      @Ed209 that is a very useful skill. I have never play music and have always had a terrible ability to identity notes etc. Also I'm realizing that I have a poor ability discerning when something is dangerously loud. In fact if I had enjoyed seeing bands I would have probably gotten T a long time ago. At 31 I have only been to 4 live band performances and maybe 8 musicals. I've only had the chance to go to a couple clubs in my life too. I got my T stupidly listening to podcasts on the Metro for a couple months unaware that the sound was too loud. They could use a PSA on those things or better yet quieter cars. Actually since I've stopped they are integrating new quieter cars into the fleet.

      Anyways maybe try to use a calibrated phone app to check.
       
    20. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      That I will do. Thanks.
       
    21. Kevin397

      Kevin397 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      So this past weekend, I went to one of the dance clubs (my phone app measured about 80 decibels). And I used 20 NR earplugs. My ears were fine after, and I only stayed for about ten minutes to test things.. Still; I find it kind of dumb how they place one of the large speakers that's blasting music, *right by the door*. I see people standing there all the time, and there's even a table there for people to sit. Basically, when you walk in the room or leave, you have to get past the speaker.
       

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