Avoid Noise?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Rudy, Dec 25, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Rudy

      Rudy Member

      Location:
      Orange County
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Post ear lavage tinnitus.
      With me having H for 2 weeks should I avoid certain sound levels or expose my ears to them? Like having my tv really low or radio in the car?
       
    2. Rube
      Fine

      Rube Member Benefactor

      Location:
      U.S.A
      Tinnitus Since:
      7/2014
      Normal volume levels for tv, radio etc are fine. I would stay away from bars, clubs, movies and other uncomfortably loud areas.
      You want to start exposing yourself to sounds gently and gradually and every so often it's ok to give your ears a break. This is what I do for myself.
      But definitely do not sit in silence or wear ear plugs 24/7, with your brain will be seeking to hear sounds and can further turn up the gain resulting in more sensitivity to sound.
       
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    3. Rudy

      Rudy Member

      Location:
      Orange County
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Post ear lavage tinnitus.
      I have been tryin to increase my sound exposure with music and tv levels. I end up irritating my T. This saturday will be my 3rd week of having H. I hoping this will soon fade with time and body adjustment....This sucks :(
       
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    4. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      Hey Rudy,

      I've had T for 6 years now. I had an acoustic shock 3 months ago that gave my H and made my T worse. My T would react to sound by winding up (becoming louder) and the pain in my ear gave me much discomfort. At first I didn't realize what was happening so I continued to expose myself to sound environments that were too loud, e.g. the mall, movies, church, restaurants etc. This made things worse and I became unable to sleep. Sleep deprivation led to increased anxiety and my limbic system started focusing on the T making it louder than it actually was.

      A month ago I began making changes to my lifestyle. I became somewhat of a hermit and didn't venture out too much with the exception of my daily hour exercise routine down by the river for an hour. I still went to work, watched TV and played video games, but I did so quietly and didn't put myself in environments that would be too noisy. Basically I gave my ears a rest.

      I still have H 3 months on, however it is not as bad as before. My T still reacts, but not as much as before and not with the same intensity. I am sleeping and I am getting through the day without noticing T so much. In fact it's not on my mind. I have the benefit of habituating to T & H six years ago, so I suppose that's made it somewhat easier.

      I notice in the morning when I get up that my T is quiet, almost like it was before, just with some additional notes playing, so obviously some additional damage has taken place, however it is no more bothersome than before so for me that is a win, because it didn't bother me once I had habituated to it.

      Because I still have H, I do get ear pain from time to time. I just went for a drive (20m) had some minor pain and game back with my T a bit louder. However an hour later and it's back to what it was before. I take that as a good sign! :)

      I imagine the H will be with me for another 3 - 9 months but each day it will get better. But it will go away eventually and I will take practical steps to protect my ears in loud situations in the foreseeable future. Can't guarantee that I won't come back this way again, but all I can do is live my life and do my best to control what I can control.

      Be encouraged. Give your ears a break. Don't go anywhere noisy period, but do get outside for a walk somewhere where the sound of traffic is minimal. Once you start improving your anxiety will drop off and you will start to feel better. The key is at this point to continue giving your ears a break, don't take a risk thinking everything is better because I did that twice and suffered setbacks. Each setback took me around 10 days to bounce back to where I am now. Once you have gone a few weeks to a month without ear pain I would then suggest you try some nosier places and see how you get on.

      To sum it up. Give your ears a break, but don't overprotect them. Stay away from loud places, e.g. malls, movie cinemas, restaurants, concerts, busy supermarkets. Work on bringing your anxiety back down. This will happen naturally if you get sleep and go for an extended period without thinking about the T. The important thing is to remember you will get better. The T may never go away but it should quieten down and the H should subside in time. Also make a point of protecting your hearing from loud places going forward. Even after you have gotten over the H.

      Take care
      Mark
       
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    5. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      @Mark Beehre ... You've got it! What you described above is "classical approach" and expectation - from my point of view. If the new level of T and H is not too severe the time frames seem about right as well. Add on some possible years if the damage was more 'severe'...and T level may not come down to where it was 'before', but habituation will probably end up ignoring it anyway.
      The "sound reactive" part in all this is the big pisser...and that is what you focus on in your summary above. Excellent. And.....Ummmmmm, of course, try and not get any more 'new' damage! *[As in - watch out for ototoxic drugs: excess sound volumes, and exposure times to loudish sound; etc.)

      Glad to see you are 'getting there along the road' Mark, ref. posts some months back. Good for you.

      Keep taking care. Best, Zimichael
       
    6. Rudy

      Rudy Member

      Location:
      Orange County
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Post ear lavage tinnitus.
      would wearing headphones at a low volume be a bad idea? I miss being able to have a headset/heaphones on while playing games or working out :(
       
    7. Rudy

      Rudy Member

      Location:
      Orange County
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Post ear lavage tinnitus.
      also im trying to increase my sound levels so my brain can get accustomed, however it seems whenever i do that it spikes my T.
       
    8. erik
      Breezy

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/15/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      There are some who would advise against the use of any headphones but I think they are ok as long as you use them smartly. Preferably over the ear types and that they are not too loud. You should still be able to hear your surroundings even with them on. Keep volume as low as you can while still being able to hear sound through them.

      Mark Beehre earlier has some good tips. I had to cope with H for a long while. Still have it mildly. However, it used to be much worse. Overtime your brain learns to adjust and it improves. Avoid super loud noises and environments, keep earplugs handy just in case, don't fear normal sounds and as Mark said, don't over protect. Normal sounds will not harm you. If it did everyone would eventually have hearing problems. Next work on your anxiety and stress. Get counseling. CBT did wonders for my anxiety and panic disorder. Get this into check along with some time and things will be better.
       
    9. Asian

      Asian Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      4 weeks
      What about the traffic outside ? Is it wise to expose my ears to the outside traffic ? I hate those sudden loud motorbike and car honkings but my audiologist said she doesn't recommend protecting my ears in day to day traffic because that would be over protecting my ears and not good for hyperacusis . Please advice
       
    10. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      Thanks mate! I have really appreciated your advice. Exposure time mentioned above was something I didn't consider. I probably did too much today which meant when I got home my ear was sore and my T was louder. Thankfully the noise has mostly toned back down (inside of 30 minutes), even if the pain is somewhat persistent. I basically tried to have a normal day, try and get life back on the positive side to aid in habituation, but maybe too much too soon.

      One thing I have noticed. I just wanted to ask you about. If I press firmly underneath my ears in the mushy part of the neck the T lessons. It's almost like the current default is aggravating my high pitch T in my right ear, and when I press it takes away the aggravation and I am just left with effectively a pure tone. I also noticed poking my tongue all the way out or clenching my teeth intensifies the power of my high pitch T. What are you thoughts on this? Is this normal part of T?

      The other thing I noticed is that one of my T pulsates to some degree. If I just listen it pulses away like a hissing, but if I focus on it, the pulsing stops and becomes a pure tone. Do you have any experience with this?

      Thank you again! :)
       
    11. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      If you are suffering from hyperaccusis then I would avoid any noise that exceeds your tolerance level. If walking around traffic hurts your ears and/or increases your anxiety then don't do it. If you have no choice then it may be a good idea to wear ear plugs.

      The truth is you need to give your ears a break. This break could be anywhere between 6 months to 2-3 years depending on the severity. How do you know when you are there? Good question, I suppose not experiencing any pain in your ears and/or reaction to sounds would be the best indicator.

      Since my onset of H, I have had to change my life. I do try and get out with the lady, but I take her to quiet places away from traffic, or cafes that are known to be quiet and not play loud music, or we spend the evening watching movies at either of our places where we can control the volume.

      I would definitely encourage you to get out and do things to make life as positive as you can make it during this stretch. If you are careful and patient you will get through it and life will return to normal. However, be mindful that while you can overcome the H, you are more susceptible to getting hit by it again so make a point to protect your ears in environments where protection is recommended, in my opinion anything north of 80db.
       
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    12. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      I agree. Don't use inner ear headphones, they intensely focus sound directly onto your ears. Not a good idea!!!

      I just want to point out that if you have H and your T reacts to sound you may want to avoid headphones. I would recommend a small speaker (small means less intense sound).

      If at any stage your ear starts to hurt or you start becoming anxious and worked up over it, stop. Take things slowly mate, there will be a way out of this challenge if you are careful and patient. :)
       
    13. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Anyone with Hyperacusis or Sound Reactive Tinnitus...read Mark's posts above = numbers #11 and #12...Very, very good summaries of the core basics. Excellent IMHO :)

      Best, Zimichael
       
    14. marqualler
      Nerdy

      marqualler Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Minneapolis, MN
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection / Mild Noise Induced Hearing Loss
      I would check out @Adam007's video about his experience with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis and how TRT, CBT and sound therapy has helped him almost completely recover from Hyperacusis:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/my-hyperacusis-recovery-success-story.7731/

      I have mild hyperacusis but I have found in the last two weeks that being sensible about sound exposure but otherwise living the life I want has done wonders for my mental and physical health, and has given me the added benefit of starting to habituating to my tinnitus. I believe @Dr. Nagler's rule of thumb of avoiding a loudness level where you have to yell to be heard can get you pretty far.
       
    15. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Mark...Your questions, though not sure I can offer much of value.

      Yeah, I think you overdid it for sure. If you got some "soreness" ("ear bruising" maybe = that deeper inside feeling that is hard to describe) I would watch out mate. Be careful of that one as it got me as an early warning device twice and I was not paying enough attention. SEVERELY regret that...And just remember when you are "all better" years from now to not forget it. Like drill it into your memory, so if: "Mmmm, ears feel a bit sore, wonder what....OH HELL!!!" Then immediately rest, protect, calm them down, and offer the nearly potentially worse T Gods a beer.

      Pushing the mushy part under my ears does zero to my T. If I clench my jaw/teeth really hard I get a quick one second or so slight increase in pitch/volume, then gone to baseline immediately even if still clenched. No idea what that is about. Have noticed that from way back, but am 100% sure my T is not TMJ/Cervical/Head Alignment related. Done sacro-cranial & jaw stuff (that hurt like hell) but just emptied my wallet.

      Zip tongue effect for me.

      However, one thing since joining TT is that I have been blown away by how many people do not have constant, stable T! Tons of variable, changes in tone, volume, quiet days, loud days, and so on. It's almost impossible for me to relate to as mine is so not like that. Thus, if yours "varies" I would say there may be a "physical" potential component and I would consider seeing someone (good luck!) who specializes in T and skull alignment, whatever.
      Have you ever fallen off your bike and hit your head??? If so, there you go maybe...

      I have zero experience with pulsing. Pure tone. Loud as a banshee. Reactive. Etc. If you focus on it and you can change the "pulsing"...perhaps you could offer guru credentials in mind control. Sounds impressive!!!

      Sorry, not much help, but glad to hear you have seemingly got a really good handle on your situation.

      All the best, and "gentle vigilance" for a ????? period of time! Zimichael
       
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    16. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      I've just started having the Hyper Sensitive hearing (about 2 weeks now). Of course, when I first started hearing amplified sounds and new sounds that I never heard before, I started getting stressed and very anxious again. Of course, it also effected my tinnitus and amplified the ringing when I heard certain sounds. However, no matter how irritating the sounds were, I just forced myself to listen to all of the sounds. For example: The Air Conditioner and Refrigerator sounds in my office were very loud and very annoying to me at the beginning of this week. My tinnitus would ramp up as soon as I sat at my desk because of all these sounds flooding my head at once. So I would put on my hearing devices (Widex Zens), to help cover the external and internal sounds. Well, my Audiologist told me to just force myself to listen and continue to do my work, my brain will eventually process the sound and get used to it. Well......4 days later......she was right......the Air Conditioner & Refrigerator sounds aren't loud anymore, and its settled in to more background noise, and it's not ramping up the volume of my tinnitus. Last night, I went into a very crowded and loud Grocery Store, which when I first walked in just filled me with anxiety that my tinnitus would go crazy, along with all the sounds in the store. Initially, for 1 minute it did, but after a few minutes, my anxiety settled and the sounds weren't that bad anymore, and my ringing went back to normal. When I left the Grocery Store, my ringing was fine, as well as my anxiety level.

      I guess my Audiologist was right, you can't over protect yourself from hearing these new sounds. You need to keep exposing your hearing everyday, so your brain eventually gets used to the hyper sensitivity. It'd kind of a "Grin and Bare it" approach, but it actually does work. I've seen a difference in just a few days.

      The same can be said for sleeping at night. A tinnitus friend of mine said she had such a hard time sleeping, she used maskers, hearing devices, fans. etc. at night to help her sleep. Nothing seemed to work. So she finally said "Screw it, I'm not going to use anything and force myself to hear the ringing and go to sleep". Within a month, she was able to sleep not using anything, and now is sleeping 8 hours (uninterrupted). Last night I tried this white knuckle approach, and to my surprise, I found I was getting the same amount of sleep pattern (4 to 6 hours), as when I used the Sound Machine and hearing devices. It didn't give me more sleep last night, it just didn't take away any sleep. I figure I should try this "Grin and Bear it" approach to my sleeping and see if I can have the same results.

      My Audiologist said as long as your anxiety levels aren't being escalated by using this approach and its not making your sleep pattern worse, then you should try it. If your anxiety levels are too high while trying this method, then it may be better to use tools to assist you.

      Anyway, I'll try this for a few weeks, and see how my sleep pattern changes. Wish me luck!

      Mark K.
       
    17. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Mark... This is correct "in general", but make no mistake, there is a small minority of T and Hyperacusis folks where this is not a good idea, and exposure must be much slower and careful. One can create permanent increase in T and or H (or at least long enough to consider semi- permanent!) by over exposing too soon in these minority cases. Just ask Telis, or me! Some others too have this hyper-reactive, SRT = sound reactive tinnitus.

      Sounds like you are more in the 'normal' reaction zone as you would know it otherwise. You would come out of the grocery store, get home and the T and H would be worse and stay worse! If that happens you do not follow the "audiologist's advice" as per this instance/situation.

      Sleep and T is very individual. Some folks can sleep fine with the screaming demon and others can't, or take a long time to adjust. Plenty of tricks on this site about how to address that. When I get a 'new level' of permanent T I have used water and cricket sounds all night, as a "soother" (as it would have to be set way too loud to mask it), then as I slowly adjust to the new reality it makes no difference and I use those 'night sounds' when I feel like it.
      For those with lower T volumes, "masking" may indeed help a lot with sleep.

      Good luck... Best, Zimichael
       
    18. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      What you say is very true. We are such a minority within a minority, that the audiologist/TRT profession did not bother to adjust their protocol to our needs- or at least warn us. Instead, they prefer to use the "sweep under the rug" strategy. Too arrogant to admit that their "act normal" protocol may be actually damaging in some very small instances.
       
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    19. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      Hi ZMichael:
      Actually, I think I may have the Sound Reactive tinnitus, because when I hear certain sounds (mostly high pitched) my tinnitus seems to ramp up in volume. Usually this happens more in the morning, and settles by the afternoon. In the morning, even when I scratch my head, it feels like my tinnitus is reacting. Based on this, should I slowly expose myself to the outside sounds, and if so, then what do you recommend?

      Mark K.
       
    20. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Mark...Tardy on responses here. Still getting new computer funs, runs, and bums sorted out.

      This whole "sound exposure" thing is actually pretty simple. If it hurts don't do it. If your T goes up for more than a brief little spike. Don't do it. If it feels too loud and you are cringing even 'psychologically'. Don't do it.
      I mean seriously, what's the rush??? The price to pay is way higher by going too fast and getting more permanent or aggravated damage than taking it slow and using your common 'feeling' sense. Yes, it may mean that in the panic, early stages, first time T and H mode you go slower than some super hero, but my rule of thumb is better safe than sorry. After four levels of > T over my life, I think I have some experience in the matter.

      Soothing sounds of any type are fine for more extended periods. Generally for most of us that tends to be nature sounds like water bubbling in a creek, or wind in the trees, or frogs croaking, or whatever. Blasting French horns and bass drums in a Tchaikovsky extravaganza may not quite fit, even at lowish volumes. All depends on your tolerance levels. And tolerance is governed by the "effect"...on you and your hearing. Don't divorce 'yourself' form your 'hearing" and say: "I should be doing xyz sound exposure, but it freaks me out!" Well, just step back and eventually the panic mode subsides and the exposure is less "charged".
      People get too used to frustration after a cold or the flu for a week, etc. Then T (and H) comes along and we get maybe years, or even "forever" thrown in and that takes some adjustment, naturally. However, after nearly 6 decades of T, I can assure you that a few months of cooling it and playing it safe is 'not that much' v. the potential of overdoing it.

      Take care, Zimichael
       
    21. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I do all my own exposure at home for the most part. If I'm out I wear plugs 100 percent of the time. Even exposing your self to noise with plugs in (I would assume) is still exposing yourself. Instead of a pub that is 75db, I get 55bd for now. I don't see how constant 55db is going to make things worse vs 75db, just don't make sense to me. Like zim says, why rush it. Maybe sitting in dead silence all day is not going to get you very far, but moderate sound to start IMO is just fine. It's not a race, and the risks are not worth it in the long run. Listen to your body, don't push it...I have been through that, it didn't work out well for me.
       
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    22. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      Thanks for the responses guys. I'll be more careful with my sound exposure and if I do go to loud venues (ie. bars), I'll make sure to wear some ear protection. But for everyday sounds like grocery stores, driving a car, working out at the gym, If the sound doesn't bother me, should I still continue to do it? Of course certain sounds, mainly the small sounds, like crumpling a paper, scratching my head , make my T tingle. The bigger sounds outside don't really effect it at all. But I'll watch where I go, and keep my ear plugs available.
       
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    23. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Sure!

      You are waaaaaaaaaaay ahead of my game. No way I can go into a grocery store or gym without protection. It's fine if it's empty, but add a few humanoids, or overhead speakers requesting "check-out people to the front"...and zappo! So that which I can't see coming I pre-empt by pre-protection. Plugs are already in once I get out of my car.

      You sound a lot less bothered and reactive, as a bar is beyond my imagination even with plugs! If you get zapped you will learn where your tolerance level lies, and the zap is likely to be temporary anyhow unless really bad...(gunshot, or fire alarm or whatever).

      Remember TIME EXPOSURE though! Keep an eye on that until you know where you stand. You may do fine in a bar with plugs for 30 minutes, but maybe 3 hours is too much and you will feel thateffect afterwards maybe.

      So...Common sense. Test what you can take. Slowly increase your exposure levels in time and volume....That's it.

      best, Zimichael
       
    24. Mark K.
      Happy

      Mark K. Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Honolulu, Hawaii
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure. May have been from medication
      Thanks Zimichael! Very good advise! I'll definitely monitor where my thresholds are. Question: When you started your H, was it bothersome to go out from the beginning? Or did it get bothersome over time? Or did it get less bothersome over time?
       
    25. Zimichael

      Zimichael Member Benefactor

      Location:
      N. California
      Tinnitus Since:
      (1956) > 1980 > 2006 > 2012 > (2015)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ac. Trauma & Ac.Trauma + Meds.
      Mark...have covered this in detail a number of times. If you want to do search do it under my username in the hyperacusis section = more of my posts on H, etc.
      Short story. When I first got the "bad H" (2006) I could not be in a quiet car, on the freeway, with windows closed, without full earplugs in = maybe 35 dB of protection. That was pretty bad. Forget public places.
      By doing all I have told you above, the new > Tinnitus level stayed the same but the H slowly went down, and by November 2012 I was doing this with no earplugs in: https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-positivity-thread.3142/page-9#post-46132 (post #257 if it screws up). Yeah, quite a difference!
      My guess is H, for me, comes down about 10% per year by doing nothing except being sensible to what I can handle re "sound pain", protecting when I need to, avoiding ototoxic meds, and trying not to get new acoustic trauma damage...which unfortunately happened 10 days after this link above. Sigh! (Medium-borderline sound exposure in a room with shitty hard acoustics. Nearly 4 hours in there in a meeting. I thought I was OK, but was not. Apparently the exposure time at that borderline volume was too much and I only found out when I came out into a quieter place...
      So yes, even after 6 years of "adaption" it is possible for some of us to go back to hell. And it was hell! (And kinda still is really as all that 'life' I got back went into the trash again).

      Take care, Zimichael
       

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