Best Hearing Protection for Flying with Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Support' started by Samwise_The_Loud, Sep 10, 2023.

    1. Samwise_The_Loud

      Samwise_The_Loud Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Devon, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress/Noise Exposure
      Hi Everyone,

      So I am generally a strange tinnitus case, I have somatic tinnitus in my left ear (a 3-4/10 usually) and I have non-somatic, or tonal tinnitus in my right ear (usually a 2-3/10).

      However, I am a big believer in us trying to enjoy our lives even with this condition, whilst trying of course to protect our ears in a way so that this enjoyment is not harmful. For me, I love to travel. Unfortunately, this involves flying. And flying is loud!

      To this end, I have been experimenting with different modes of ear protection whilst flying, and, as someone with both somatic and tonal tinnitus, I'm a pretty good test subject! My hope is that we can build a real option menu from contributions from members to help people with tinnitus fly.

      So far I have found:

      1. Mack's Flightguard Airplane Pressure Relief Earplugs are not especially good. They don't actually help with pressure, and protrude such that you cannot wear any headphones comfortably.

      2. 3M Peltor X5A Ear Defenders + Foam Earplugs, the 'Old Classic'. This I have found is a pretty reliable and safe combo. I had a 1 hour flight and it did spike my somatic tinnitus, but not by much and it did settle down. There was also many other things that could have spiked my somatic tinnitus. However, it gets very uncomfortable after an hour or so, and puts a lot of pressure on the jaw (which spikes somatic tinnitus). One might add NAC (N-Acetylcysteine) to this combo, however I would experiment with NAC separately to see if causes you to spike.

      3. Bose QuietComfort® 45 Bluetooth Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones + Foam Earplugs + NAC. This was an experimental choice with a bad result. My logic was that the foam earplugs would mitigate any headphone effect from the ANC. The NAC was a general precaution. I would say this option is more comfortable, the Bose headphones are more of a snug fit. However, after a 2 and a half hour flight my tonal tinnitus was spiked massively, very scary and about a 8/10 for two days. It settled down but I won't be doing that again. I believe the spike was from the ANC function, but I need to conduct further tests. This option could work for those just with somatic tinnitus perhaps? I think it needs more testing.

      That's it so far! I'd like this to be an active thread for any good/bad experiences you guys have with flying and hearing protection. Please do contribute!

      Wishing you all well,
    2. kingsfan

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      A town near you
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I think type of plane + seating position are the most important factors.
      • Agree Agree x 2
      • Friendly Friendly x 1

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