Can Earplugs Protect Hearing from Airbag Deployment?

Discussion in 'Support' started by gav01, Mar 9, 2020.

    1. gav01

      gav01 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      I read that the airbag in the steering wheel of a car can reach 160 dB.

      Do you think wearing earplugs that can protect hearing at 39 decibels would protect hearing or only limit the damage in the event of an airbag deployment?

      I have looked at a few safe time to noise exposure charts including this one.

      DB | Max Exposure Time
      85 8 hours
      88 4 hours
      91 2 hours
      94 1 hour
      97 30 minutes
      100 15 minutes
      103 7.5 minutes
      106 3.7 minutes
      109 112 seconds
      112 56 seconds
      115 28 seconds
      118 14 seconds
      121 7 seconds
      124 3 seconds
      127 1 second
      130–140 less than 1 second
      140 NO EXPOSURE

      Going by the above information I have, my ears are just about protected wearing the earplugs I have which have an SNR of 39 dB which would bring the noise down to 121 to 124 dB (about the same level of noise as a thunder clap which I think would make my tinnitus worse.

      I start to dwell on airbags in my car now and again and get my self into a state of anxiety over it as I know for a fact that if one went off and made my tinnitus even 20% worse than it is now then I would choose not to live after the event.
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Some people do get tinnitus as a result of airbag deployment and some don't.
      Probably the majority doesn't, or we would hear from it more often. I know my wife hasn't suffered tinnitus after totalling our car some years ago.

      There is literature that hearing loss is likely in the event of airbag deployment with the inboard ear suffering the most. However, that doesn't need to lead to tinnitus per se.

      I think wearing earplugs is about as much as you can do. I don't know if I would feel comfortable wearing plugs in the car as it cuts you off from your surroundings and makes the tinnitus way more intrusive for me. I do wear -22dB musician's plugs in the car when my youngest son is crying for extended periods of time and it's impossible to stop over at a gas station quickly. I'm always glad when I'm able to take them out again.

Share This Page