Can the Occlusion Effect Caused by Earplugs Contribute to Hearing Damage?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Robin21, Jul 19, 2021.

    1. Robin21

      Robin21 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi!

      I recently got myself an electric motorcycle. It's quiet as a whisper, my only concern is wind noise which I'm used to evading with earplugs.

      However, in this newfound blissful "quiet", I realized (maybe it was there before with an ordinary motorcycle) that every road imperfection and bump is amplified in my ear because of occlusion as a result of wearing earplugs.

      I tried with foam earplugs, Alpine silicone earplugs, custom mold plugs and all of those make my eardrum or little bone in my ear (?) rattle with every bounce.

      Since occlusion can amplify low frequency sounds up to 20 dB, I'm basically right where I don't want to be: I have protection from high frequency noises like the wind, but low frequency creeps into my ears with extra boost thanks to plugged ears.

      Can occlusion caused by earplugs contribute to hearing damage?
      (Please bare me of the anecdotal stories and give me only scientifically proven information.)

      I have enough on my plate with a high pitch tinnitus, I don't want to top it with some low frequency hum.
       
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    2. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Robin21

      Robin21 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Is there anyone who knows the answer?
       
    3. Damocles
      Irritated

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Cumulative Acoustic Trauma + Ear Infection
      Hope he doesn't mind me referring you to him, but I think you should seek out @linearb.

      He's a motorcyclist and he's pretty sensible about these things, so I suspect he'd give you a good answer.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Robin21

      Robin21 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Thank you! I'm eager to know.
       
    5. El BUZZ
      Buzzed

      El BUZZ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music consumption plus acoustic trauma.
      Hi mate!

      My ears can't stand cobbled streets. Thing is the only time I'm around them is when I'm in my girl's city. Plenty of them there. Plenty of nasty spikes when I'm there. No matter if I wear my foam earplugs but riding (car) on them destroys my ears. I've come to the conclusion that they are the worst sound/vibration I can give to my ears.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Robin21

      Robin21 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      If anyone interested, this is the closest I got to a solution:

      How to Measure Earmuff Volume Regarding the Occlusion Effect?

      You can minimize the occlusion by inserting the FOAM earplugs reaaaaaaally deep. The silicon or custom made ones won't cut it. It's funny the most basic and cheapest solution is the best. I thought I insert them deep enough, but I always had some occlusion effect. When you really pay attention and insert them all the way, it makes a whole lot of difference. The occlusion can be minimized. This is good enough for me as I no longer feel that strange reverb effect that is always present when I'm not wearing the plugs properly.
       
    7. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      Whoa! That was literally something I asked a long time ago, but related to road cycling! I haven't found any conclusive answers but in the end you have to listen to what your body is telling you. I stopped riding for fun. I still run and MTB, but for commuting I use the car. It's a shame.
       
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