Careful to Protect Myself... Then WHAM!!!!!

Discussion in 'Support' started by Bobbie7, Feb 26, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      Today was not a good day! I have been so very careful to avoid exposing myself to loud noises since the inception of T and then..... it seemed fate was against me somehow today and I was bombarded with everything. While my husband accompanied me to the dental office, I was sitting quietly when he knocked over a large metal umbrella stand and it made a thunderous clap! Also.. in the waiting area they had the radio on so loud that I had to twice request the receptionist to lower it. She did but for me, it still was not sufficiently low enough so I had to wait in another awkward area just to avoid the noisy assault. Then I was placing clothing in a metal wall hamper when, without expecting it, the lid suddenly and quickly closed right near my ears emitting a horribly loud noise which sounded like a gun shot! If these incidents were not bad enough when cooking I accidently dropped a large metal fry pan with its cover and to be sure, that didn't improve my T.

      I am beginning to feel so vulnerable, so fragile and my T has become noticeable louder this evening. I am sure others must feel this way as well. More and more I am realizing most people are not troubled by everyday noises which constantly surround us. Not easy to find new ways to adapt to this way of life but it is certainly a challenge, to be sure. There is just no way we can be prepared for all these assaults and protect ourselves unless we know beforehand. I sure hope tomorrow will be a better (and quieter) day.

      Wishing all a peaceful day/evening, if possible.
       
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    2. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Everything you have said shows you have anxiety and that is your biggest problem. To overcome the hold tinnitus has on you you must first overcome the anxiety. The things you are talking about are not really assaults at all, you are so stressed out and anxious that you have made them into assaults. If a falling lid has you on edge then you definitely have other issues that need attending to.

      Tinnitus is only part of the problem that we face, the main problem is how it changes us and our behaviour. In particular monitoring every knock and bang that we hear is all catastrophic thinking and damaging to our mental health. Acting like this will keep your central nervous system on high alert, meaning you will always be tense and stressed out. You have to treat your anxiety to overcome this.

      Prior to having tinnitus everything you just reacted to would have been a total non issue; it's an issue now because you are making it one, and unfortunately you have made it one because you have tinnitus! It's a vicious circle that must be broken if you want to habituate and live a normal life.

      Carrying on in this way with no help will only lead to depression if your are not already depressed. Seek help and you will start to feel better.
       
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    3. Coregame3
      Arsey

      Coregame3 Member

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      LOUD NOISES
      Carry ear plugs
       
    4. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Good advise for when things generally get loud, but ear plugs are not going to help you get over short impulse sounds. You have to realise that you can't stop every sound that's out there, and trying to will only make your tinnitus loud and clear. All you are doing is focusing your attention on tinnitus all the time which is not a good frame of mind to be in.
       
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    5. Fangen
      Monday blues

      Fangen Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Stockholm, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2nd, 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (loud concert for 1h)
      Hey Bobbie,

      I can totally relate to your post. I have and feel the same way some days too. But as Ed previously posted above, the anxiety is the worst enemy. I don't think my T has changed after exposure UNTIL I start to ask myself "did that accident or exposure make my T louder?" Then I start to listen for it, being scared that it might have, and suddenly I hear some change and then I just go "I knew it, I screwed up". But it might very very very well just be that I want to find something wrong with my T, confirming my own fear of it to be worse. My mind, like yours, is what is wrong. Not your ears, not your T. I know it is really hard to try to stop being afraid of loud noises, I battle it everyday too. It is hard to stop your mind from derailing and go to those "what if it is louder"-thoughts. I try to monitor the sound around me when I get really worried on my phone, so I can see if the db is actually harmful or not. Usually that calms me down and I can tell myself - hey you got perfect proof there is nothing to be scared of.
      Hang in there, it will get better and you will start to let the fear go a little. Just remember that the mind can play us tricks and that in reality, everything is the same. Don't worry!

      Wishing you the best,

      F.
       
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    6. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I've been battling as well. I've had numerous incidents that have set me back but they set me back because of how badly I built myself up believing I had caused further damage. We get into a bad way of thinking, convincing ourselves that every loud noise around us has caused permanent damage and of all the times I have done this to myself my T gets louder every single time. It doesn't take long to realise that it's us making it worse. We really have to stop this torturous process that we put ourselves through.

      Put T to one side and just live as best as you can. The less time and devotion you give it the more it will fade into the recesses of your mind. The problem is that most of us on here are finding it harder to get back to normality, but let me assure you that we are the minority. There are millions upon millions out there who have T who just haven't had the reaction we have to it, the end result is that these people get on with their merry lives and forget all about it. You just don't hear from them because they don't sign up to support forums, that is the crucial difference between suffering with it and not suffering.
       
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    7. LeQuack
      Scared

      LeQuack Member Benefactor

      Location:
      United States of Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      2005
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Bad luck and bad genes
      It's just like describing my days. It's always something. :meh:
       
    8. Fangen
      Monday blues

      Fangen Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Stockholm, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2nd, 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (loud concert for 1h)
      So true, my T is louder now ever since I convinced myself that the restaurant I went to on Valentine's Day would have caused further damage. Honestly, it was 45 min before plugs went in because the music they played were getting kinda loud. But really, it wouldn't make any sense. It wasn't loud enough for me not to hear what people said, it wasn't loud enough for me to feel that I needed plugs at my arrival. I was just the fact that I didn't have plugs in that worried me, even though I probably would have gotten the same exposure to loudness by talking a long walk in the city with traffic around me. But you don't think that way because it is not on top of your mind. So I guess sudden noises will scare us but a second of any noise over 85db (that is not over maybe 100-110 db) won't harm us. We just like to think that way for some reason, it's almost like we keep torture ourselves for fun.
       
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    9. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      It's why we come to support forums, but the ironic twist of fate here is that it keeps our attention firmly on tinnitus.

      To overcome it we need to make our T as insignificant as tying our shoe laces. I know from my experience I've been through periods where my T did fade into my subconscious, the significance in these instances is that T was pushed aside so I could dedicate attention to events that were very important in my life. Once these were over however I found myself dwelling again and my T popped straight back into my consciousness and I'm back to giving it too much of my time again.

      I've seen both sides to this and I know which one I'd rather stay on. It's my current goal to cut right back on forum use and start a new hobby to divert my attention. I'm going to buy a DSLR and start doing some photography. Just the process of thinking about what camera to buy makes my T fade a little from the sheer fact I'm putting a lot of thought into it. There just isn't enough room in your mind to continue fixating on your problems when you introduce complex new ideas into your life. If it takes enough thought and dedication, T has to take a back seat and I believe you will reach a point where you will forget all about it.

      I hope to look back at this part of my life and wonder what all the fuss was about.
       
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    10. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      s-l400.jpg
       
    11. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      Thank you very much Fangen and Ed for your replies, words of wisdom and philosophies I really need to adopt to make my T far less significant in my life than I presently do. I now clearly understand how I am monitoring each and every sound I hear, become increasingly stressed by it and believe it has a worsening effect. If I permit the T to become foremost in my life it will surely reduce the amount of joy and happiness I may experience and further add to my already stressful life. I really must alter my way of thinking. You are right Ed --- there must be countless sufferers who, despite their T, choose to ignore it and go on to lead happy and productive lives. As for myself, I am certainly going to give it my most earnest attempt.

      It is surely a comfort knowing others understand and I'm sending my best wishes to all.
       
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    12. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      @Bobby B, the problem I see with using ear muffs all the time in ALL situations is that you will become infatuated with tinnitus. The very act of putting them on your head adds an immense amount of importance to tinnitus from a subconscious point of view. The other problem is the T sound whilst wearing those all the time would become considerably louder. You wouldn't get any relief from external sounds at all.

      Obviously it's a free world and people can choose to do as they wish, but if I were to wear those all the time I know my T would get worse. First of all because mine is already fairly loud, just having those muffs on for 5 minutes (I have a pair) drives me absolutely insane. My T goes through the roof. Not only that though but I'd be very concerned about the infatuation element to putting those on when not necessary. It's like training your mind to fixate on tinnitus 24/7.

      It's just the way I see it; I know you see otherwise.
       
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    13. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Absolutely. Many of my family and friends have T and never mentioned it until I got it. My dad has it worse than me and never complains about it at all. In fact he never really saw it as an issue at all, the complete opposite of me. If you do your research you will find that around 1 in 10 people have tinnitus. That's a huge chunk of the population and includes a long list of celebrities. The vast majority really do get on with their lives and only a small percentage let it affect them.

      Another insight from a guitar legend who genuinely does not let T affect him at all. Listen from 15 minutes onwards. These stories are all over the net though, you can find many more. A lot of people seem to get very annoyed and then move on with their lives after a certain amount of time and it just generally doesn't bother them afterwards. They just gain an education in looking after their ears.


      Paul Gilbert-Interview
       
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    14. Zorro!
      Wtf

      Zorro! Member

      I do carry ear plugs in a coat pocket just in case I have to do something like vacuum for my elderly mother when I visit her. At home I keep a pair of ear muffs in a supply closet in the hall. I only take them out and pop them on when I have to run the blender in the kitchen or the vacuum for the carpets. When done I toss them back in the closet and forget about them until next time.

      When the anxiety was at its worst I would focus on the ear plugs/ear muffs a lot. But once I got the anxiety under control they faded into the background of my life and I don't think about them. I just automatically use them when I know I'm going to be exposed to loud noise -- vacuuming, the blender, lawn mowing, snow plowing -- and then remove them and get on with my day.

      I think it really helped that I made it a point not to over-protect my ears, especially during really bad bouts of hyperacussis. It was not pleasant to endure those weeks but in the long run I think it helped to expose myself to everyday noises that are just part of life. Every time something happened that made me wince I reminded myself that there was no way I could avoid being exposed to closing doors or slamming lids or clanking dishes for the rest of my life. There was just no way so I had to learn to live with it. And that way of thinking seems to have helped.

      I think what also helped was learning relaxation techniques along with getting good sleep. Both helped quell the horrible anxiety that was making life hell; the horrible anxiety that was making me focus too much on the T & H and was robbing me of being able to carry out basic life functions.

      So Bobbie, hang in there. Seek out counseling and learn ways to relax and stifle the anxiety. And most of all be patient. It takes time to get through this bad period but the odds are good that eventually you will be able to cope better with things.
       
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    15. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      Thanks Zorro, good advice. The other day I purchased some good quality ear muffs (based upon Amazon's reviews) to wear while vacuuming (since it is VERY loud) but I agree with you and others who say it is not advisable to wear them constantly. Yes, it will take some time before I habituate but I trust I will get there. Again, thanks to all the good people who share their experiences and knowledge from which I can greatly benefit.

      Sending my best wishes.
       
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    16. Cheza
      Wishful

      Cheza Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oregon
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barking dogs/stress
      Very true. Last year I had to fix my fence due to hurricane force winds blowing much of it away. Lots of sawing and drilling involved. I would be out there with my earmuffs on to protect myself from the noise of the drill and the power saw, while all the time my tinnitus would be raging because it was amplified by the earmuffs.

      Same thing happens when I try to wear earplugs in local restaurants. It decreases the volume of the loud chatter and overhead music, but ramps up the tinnitus volume. I've stopped going out for that reason; it's not worth it.

      Isn't there any such thing as earmuffs that block external noise without amplifying tinnitus? That would be most helpful in these kind of situations. Something inexpensive, please, as my funds are dreadfully limited.
       
    17. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Yeah don't protect your ears or live a quiet life!! The H monster will come and get you, and your T will get way way waaaaay worse!!! In fact don't even think about it for a second, the volume will skyrocket!!! Lol Some of the advise here is funny, it's obviously handed out by some pretty anxious folks.
       
    18. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I find mid low to mid filter musician plugs work very well for places like noisy restaurants and bars. 10db-17db.

      ACS have a 10, 15 and 17 filter that work really well in my opinion. The best approach is to match a filter to the appropriate environment so you don't end up isolating yourself in a place that's relatively quiet. For example you wouldn't want to use 33db foam plugs in a restaurant because the reduction is too drastic; you would feel isolated and your T would get louder. Not to mention the occlusion effect being an annoyance factor since you'd be talking a lot.

      A noisy restaurant would probably be between 70-85db (85db being a very loud restaurant) I reckon the average being around 75db. Correctly rolling and inserting foam plugs in this instance would reduce the decibels too much. A 10db filter would be much better, it would take all the nasty high frequencies out which are the most damaging and leave you being able to hear everything else really clearly. You would also be able to talk a lot without having your own voice booming in your head.

      I have a 26db for anything louder.
       
    19. Cheza
      Wishful

      Cheza Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Oregon
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barking dogs/stress
      Thank you for the answer, but OMG, they're almost $200!! :eek: When I said "something inexpensive," I meant earplugs for someone with unbelievably limited income. I had to stop working as an audio transcriptionist July 2015 because it kept my tinnitus on a rampage. I had already cut my work assignments by half since April 2014, but it didn't help. Living off dwindling savings now, hoping to get better with audio notch therapy or just the passage of time so I can go back to work again.

      Anything for maybe $20 ...? :)
       
    20. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Personally I don't see molded ear plugs as expensive if they make your life better. There are plenty of things we would easily spend $200 on that contribute nothing to our lives. I always feel that we treat our health on a budget but spend more on meaningless crap; then again I know we all earn different amounts but surely you can scrape $200 together? It would be a very wise investment towards a better quality of life if it would allow you to do things you enjoy again.

      $20 is only the cheap filtered plugs which I personally don't like all that much, but they are a lot better than the foam ones. In that range I'd probably go with Alpine classics or ACS/elacin er20's.
       
    21. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      I couldn't agree more with you Ed so I am thinking about going to a hearing aid store and having a mold made so I could get some ear plugs which I can use only for chores like vacuuming and also for using the shredder. I am learning about the ACS ear plugs you speak of and I see they are primarily for musicians so they have to be sufficient. What I don't know is what db level they should be. What is involved in the fitting process and how long does it take? I see you are very knowledgeable about this and I know very little about protection.

      By the way, after reading many reviews of Amazon I ordered the Clear Armor Professional Ear Muffs (34db Highest NRR) and when I put them on... they really do hurt my ears. I didn't expect it to be nearly as tight as it was. I understand from what everyone is saying that they will loosen but I don't wish to damage my ears by something which is so tight-fitting. My ears seem to be very sensitive to physical pressure as well.

      Thanks in advance for your response and anyone else who can give me more advice on these fitted earplugs, it would be appreciated.

      Best wishes.
       
    22. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      I have just looked on Amazon under "musician ear plugs" and see so many there. Do you feel any of those would be good or is it just better to get those fitted ear plugs. I see some of them are very expensive but like you, I agree that I don't mind spending as much money as needed to prevent further damage to my ears. I am in a quandary as far as knowing which kind is better.

      Thank you.
       
    23. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      The fitting for custom molded ear plugs is done by an audiologist. They will put a small piece of foam on a string into your ear canal (to protect your ear drum), then they pump a resin into your ear to make a mold. You will sit for around 5 minutes per ear to let it set, then they will pull the string to remove the mold. These are then sent away to make your ear plugs.

      You can select from a range of filters useful for different scenarios. They start at 10db and go up to 26db. In my case I chose 3 different filters (10db, 17db and 26db) plus a blanking plate which completely seals them for maximum protection, which is around 30db.
       
    24. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Are you sure there's no adjuster on your ear muffs?
       
    25. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      They do have wire which separates a bit but they are still very tight on me and I can not stand the pressure on my ears so I think I am going to take your recommendation Ed and purchase some Alpine Classic ear plugs. I suppose they can be found on Amazon and if not, then I will find them somewhere else.

      Thanks!
       
    26. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      Oops, missed this post. As I said before I do agree with you that the safety of my ears is worth whatever money it takes and I do agree that the molded would be better so I am going to consult an audiologist to be fitted for these. Better to be safe than sorry by making the situation even worse as my ever-present T is keeping me lousy company.

      Thanks again Ed.
       
    27. Bobbie7
      Wishful

      Bobbie7 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Extreme stress, sinus infection
      You are right Fangen, I must learn to control my fear of all the loud noises I encounter because I do realize so much is inevitable. What both you and Ed have said makes good sense and I have to begin to harness my fear. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

      Best wishes.
       
    28. Fangen
      Monday blues

      Fangen Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Stockholm, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2nd, 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (loud concert for 1h)
      I know it is hard, I am happy that we made some sense at least. Usually we are given the good tips but not the tools to do it. It is different from person to person. I was recording something for one of our audio technical guy here, he has this tiiiny studio and he was showing me how to yell (don't ask me why I needed to yell..) and he had good lungs. I was probably pale with a horrified face, my hand just touched my face when he saw how I reacted. So he stopped of course, I should have taken ear plugs with me but yes, I wasn't prepared that HE would scream instead of me.
      Of course my mind derailed right away, what if that horrific scream would hurt my ears, what if it will get louder now etc etc. The room was tiny and it felt very quiet there.

      I explained I had T, so he would understand and since he is working with audio, he also has T. For years. And he wanted me to go and scream loudly for at least 30 min next to him. He told me that the room is isolated, or the sound is muffled (?) / picked up by things in the room so the db is lower. I had to run that through my mind a few times and I listened for the T and it sounds the same. So don't feel bad if you do get into a slight bump on the way, it is natural. But we just need to use logic to tell ourselves that "no, it wasn't damaging and no, you don't need to be afraid". It's harder sometimes than others, but you'll gonna do great!

      Best,
      F.
       

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