Can an Ambulance Siren Damage Your Ears Despite Wearing Foam Earplugs?

Discussion in 'Support' started by starrynights, Nov 8, 2020.

    1. starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      I’ve had bad timing this week and today while waiting outside to enter a funeral home, an ambulance siren decided to blare its horn. Luckily I had -29 dB foam earplugs inserted and was about 15-20 feet away from it but I panicked and am afraid that my tinnitus will permanently spike.

      I’m really scared, I still have my earplugs on and my tinnitus does sound louder than usual.
       
    2. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      I just went through something similar with a fire alarm. Recommend as a precaution you follow this:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1950331/
       
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    3. LateNightArt
      Wishful

      LateNightArt Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ETD
      I wouldn't imagine it would be an issue. I'm pretty sure that sirens are around 110 dB from 1 m away and higher frequencies (earplugs are generally best at blocking out high frequencies). I'm not an expert but being 5 m away with earplugs would almost definitely put you below the threshold of what is harmful. At most, probably 80-ish dB at worst but I might be wrong. It's a very unpleasant noise so it will sound intrusive even if the SPL isn't damaging.

      That being said, if you think it's worse, get treatment and take NAC, magnesium etc just in case

      Hope you get better.
       
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    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      Thank you so much for sharing! Would a mega multivitamin with magnesium biglyscinate work? I already took the magnesium and am actually heading to buy some NAC at the pharmacy. Sorry to hear you went through something similar, did you have foam earplugs on as well?

      Edit: The multivitamins contain the vitamins mentioned in the study.
       
    5. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      No worries - I did not have earplugs but similar in that it is recent exposure to scary loud noise. I'm not an expert on magnesium but the one I take is "magnesium lysinate glycinate chelate".
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      Yes that is the same one I take. Just finished my first bottle, and ordered my second today. Are the ones you purchased from the Bio Schwartz brand?
      Are you experiencing a spike? If so, I hope you recover soon!
       
    7. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      I use this brand:

      https://www.amazon.com/High-Absorption-Magnesium-Doctors-Best/dp/B00E3S51HM

      I am experiencing a spike but trying to do my best. Hope yours is shortlived! I just take all this stuff every day as a precaution.

      Edit: Also Nicotinamide Riboside, though that is pricey.
       
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    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      Thankfully I did have foam earplugs on and my ear canals are narrow so I didn’t really “feel” the sound penetrate my ear if that makes sense. I took magnesium biglyscinate, 1200 mg NAC, multivitamin (A, C & E included). After I took off my earplugs my ears did not feel full or anything but this occasional fluctuating pure tone I get in my more damaged ear is a bit more pronounced. My tinnitus also is reactive in nature and earplugs tend to make it seem louder for me. Hopefully I will be okay, and it settles more as the week goes on.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      I’m so sorry to hear :(

      Really hope you recover and that your tinnitus reduces at the very least to a tolerable level. We’ll get through this!

      How long has it been since your spike? Are you on prednisone or taking any vitamins?
       
    10. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      From 2016 onward I had mild tinnitus which went completely away in 2-3 years. In July of this year I had an acoustic trauma which brought it to severe, which with meds and time has faded to mostly moderate. I was struggling to exist before and now it can be debilitating but I am not at suicide levels.

      The fire alarm incident was yesterday evening - if I wake up tomorrow with a spike I'm going to urgent care for prednisone, but I've been stuffing myself with A, C, E, magnesium, nicotinamide riboside, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, and a bunch of other stuff, so hoping I can dodge this bullet. I was only exposed to one pulse of the alarm before covering my ears, but I have no idea of my durability. The noise which brought my tinnitus back from the grave seemed loud but innocuous to me, so I can't project which sounds will do lasting damage.
       
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    11. EddieL.

      EddieL. Member

      Location:
      Connecticut, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      In my opinion, the chances of hearing damage from momentary exposure to an ambulance while wearing earplugs are slim to none. If you're having a spike, I think it could be from anxiety over the event, rather than from the sound itself.
       
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    12. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Toronto, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Some people can get a spike from a loud fart, or would that be the anxiety over the fart?
      Farts can be surprisingly loud if you let it rip as hard as you can. It's basically as loud as a medium trumpet note.
       
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    13. Vincent R
      Caffeine

      Vincent R Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Based on my personal experience, spikes triggered by loud noise while wearing ear plugs go back down again.

      (Ear plugs are amazing for us with tinnitus. I never leave my home without them.)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      Good morning. How are you feeling today? I also stuffed myself with a bunch of vitamins last night to reduce oxidative stress if any caused by the siren. My understanding is that duration of exposure time is more important to look at when trying to assess potential damage; hearing damage is also cumulative.
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      starrynights
      Creative

      starrynights Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      Unsure but more than 2+ years.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Listening to music too loud; concerts with no protection.
      I woke up today and no spike, if anything, it is quieter like it normally is in the morning so I'm feeling very relieved. And yes earplugs are a must for me considering where I live, they have saved my life on multiple occasions.
       
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    16. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      My spike came down a bunch, though still higher than baseline. I am out of the danger zone and more in the very annoying zone - hoping over the course of a few days/weeks I can get back down.

      I find listening to podcasts on my laptop helps - I can still hear the whirring, but the content helps takes my mind away if it's something interesting.
       
    17. GBB

      GBB Member

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Microsuction / Additional Acoustic Trauma in Close Proximity
      This is awesome!!! Maybe you should just stay on that supplement regime long term?
       
    18. Paul201
      Pacman

      Paul201 Member

      Location:
      Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Subwoofer
      Even without ear plug's i would say a temp spike at worst for most people

      I'm almost totally sick and tired of monitoring spikes and adapting behaviour as a result of them until they recede.

      I get spiked all the time, today, angle grinder caught with shopping trolley couldnt even plug ears with finger! about 10 - 15 metres maybe, hard to say, very loud until i dashed away. Happens all the time to me. I have been spiked for 2 weeks now from another incident which hasn't gone down. I think i spend more time spiked than not over the years.
       
    19. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Something like that might cause a temporary spike, but it shouldn't cause a permanent spike. Don't worry.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    20. whatdidyousay

      whatdidyousay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud volumes
      Has anyone measured the sound level of fire truck sirens?

      I still have what I believe to be very noticeable "24/7" tinnitus from a parade last year where I was exposed to around 5-8 minutes straight of a half dozen of so sirens within around the same distance away as the OP (roughly 10 feet away from the nearest truck and we were facing the siren horn/speaker). This was a little over a year ago back when large public gatherings were still a thing. It was a very busy city parade and we were among the closest people to the street, right behind the curb.

      I had in foam earplugs, BUT I did not insert them "correctly." I'm ADD/ADHD and so I'll admit I've always had a tough time following or even bothering to read directions - so what I always did with foam earplugs was simply stick them in my ear and twist them like you would with flanged earplugs (no rolling, no waiting for them to expand, and no tilting my ear back to get a deep fit). I fear I may not have gotten ANY attenuation, or at best very little, from this method over the years.

      As mentioned, it was very crowded and so we were pretty much sandwiched in place even though a lot of people were startled and looked very disoriented from the assault of sound from the truck sirens and horns. A "deer in the headlights" moment where people, including us, were kind of stuck in place in a panic.

      I've probably had tinnitus since the early 2000s. In general, I would mainly only notice it in very quiet rooms or while laying down in bed. But over the last year I can hear it pretty much no matter the environment and so ambient noise doesn't do a whole lot to mask it.

      Does it sound like I got bad hearing loss or just more pronounced tinnitus? Or could I be lucky and it's mainly just anxiety?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1

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