Concerns with Daily Earplugs Use at Work

Discussion in 'Support' started by chaLLas, Jan 7, 2019.

    1. chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      I have yet again received a new tone and a worsening of the existing tones ... I have tried the "everyday noises can't harm you" route for over 2 months now and received only setbacks and worsenings of my condition.

      It feels like it's time to plug it up on a daily basis. Yet I have some concerns doing so for which some of you maybe can offer help from their experience.

      - I am producing a lot of wax which gets built up very fast when I continuously use plugs
      - My ear canal gets irritated and hurts after some days of plug usage
      - I am afraid of bringing in bacteria which might cause infections
      - I am perceiving a loud humming sound from my jaw when the plugs are inserted. When I bit or bear my jaw, it is gone. It is only there when it "hangs loose". Sounds a bit like the background noise when driving a car ... and it seems just as loud.

      At home I can wear muffs, that's OK, but at work I definitely need plugs. I work in an office with multiple loud talkers. People are slamming doors all day and just make so much noise ... it feels like a factory worker has fewer noise pollution than I have to face every day.
       
    2. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Why are you wearing ear muffs at home?

      How loud are these sounds at work DB wise?

      Over protection can lead to worsening of tinnitus and hyperacousis as mentioned by researchers.
       
    3. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      What kinds of noises are you concerned about when you are at home?
       
    4. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      If you wash your hands at home just before putting in your earplugs, and then take the earplugs out only when you come home, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I have worn earplugs for 10 hours (with some short breaks) during the day, and at night for sleep, for about 25 days. It worked ok for me, but I am not aware of my ears producing a lot of wax.
       
    5. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      The ear plugs are not fitting that well if getting irritation. Try a few brands, including the softer ones, and the slim fit ones.

      For work, consider musician ear plugs so you can still hear some things, but eliminate the louder tones. Also, take breaks when you can.
       
    6. hans799
      Mellow

      hans799 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      Always had it
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Baseline: born with it, Morse code since 12/2016: headphones
      I've slept with wax earplugs every single night for roughly a decade now (got used to them in college and just stayed on) and had zero issues. Not one infection, or wax blockage, or anything. No special precautions: I wash hands before putting them in and I use a new pair every week but that's it.

      It might be different than using them during the day (less movement, maybe) but in general this should be encouraging.
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      I wear muffs at home for cooking, clearing the dish washer, when I tidy up the flat and when using hair trimmer.

      I only have my smartphone to measure the DB, but the talking is between 60 and 70 DB, slamming doors and drawers are 70 - 80 DB. Sometimes there are meetings in our office for 1-2 hours where they are talking that loud.

      I heard that overprotection can lead to problems ... but I also read that not doing so does also for some people. I am very desperate because I can't stand those DB levels and get spikes afterwards.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      I got musician earplugs for work as they do not have to be inserted that deeply (so not pushing wax back so deep in). They are handy and easy to reuse. But they still irritate my ears ... but so do foam plugs.
      I also have 3M 1100 plugs ready if I need to go somewhere louder ... but I only use them if I really have to, because they push the wax in very deeply.
       
    9. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Makes sense. Your original post sounded like you wore them all of the time at home.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      What earplugs did you use? Did you clean them inbetween uses also? There is wax on mine every time I pull them out
       
    11. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      3M 1100 are my plugs of choice. I reused them multiple times. Each pair was individually wrapped in plastic, and that is where I stored it. I didn't clean them between uses.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      Have you guys not been afraid of the occlusion effect? The musician earplugs I use (Earpeace) do not have that much occlusion effect when talking, but when I walk on solid ground, it resonates deep and loud in my ears.
       
    13. AVas

      AVas Member

      Location:
      United Kingdom
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound exposure
      My solution to this was getting costum earplugs - fast to get in and out, don't go as deep as they don't need to and obviously reusable for at least a year. You can also apply a bit of specialized ear oil/moisturizer on them so that they sit more comfortably. I never needed that, though.
       
    14. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      @chaLLas
      The intermittent noise exposure is quite challenging and I struggle with as well. I recently got some musician plugs to try and deal with it, they are a knock of the Eargasm ones. They are better for this, as long as the noise exposure is not super loud as they are only rated for 18db of noise reduction. I think they are less risk for long term hyperacusis as you can still hear normal sounds through them, just a little reduced. They also have less occlusion effect.
       
    15. AVas

      AVas Member

      Location:
      United Kingdom
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud sound exposure
      Just a personal opinion but if it's so loud it warrants any ear plugs I'd suggest using max protection, say 33db. You won't really notice much of a difference but it'll give you a much more reliable protection.

      If I go to a relatively loud club/bar/pub and wear double protection I can still easily talk to people if they speak up a bit (which they have to even when your ears are free due to loud background noise). So how much protection musician earplugs then provide? Nearly nill.
       
    16. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      I would stay home from the loud bars and clubs. I was thinking of the musician plugs for the supermarket. The last two times, at two different stores, I found it kind of a little loud, and had a brief exposure in the parking lot. In neither case did anything spike, nor did I wear any protection.

      I wore the foam plugs to the supermarket once, and they were too much, as could not hear much of anything.

      I think the musicians plugs may be just enough to take the edge off my mild hyperacusis which is more annoyance than pain. The last store measured the db in the low 70s so hardly dangerous for NIHL.
       
    17. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      I use a fresh pair of ear plugs every time. I never reuse a pair to ensure maximum protection and cleanliness.

      As for the wax build up, I use a cotton swap only after a shower when its loose and easy to clean. That way I dont have wax build up with using daily ear plugs.
       
    18. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      @another sean

      Yup, do the same thing with the qtip, and never had wax impaction.
       
    19. Martin G
      Movie buff

      Martin G Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      July 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Life
      Thought I'd mention that I seem to have the exact same thing.

      I can't notice it when there is a lot of ambient noise around . . . just when I'm in the bathroom and it's quiet and I'm in front of the mirror (and obviously have ear plugs in).

      I hear the same sound as you when my mouth is slightly open. But as soon as I touch my teeth together . . . the sound completely stops.

      Going the other way . . . if I then open my mouth very wide . . . that also makes the sound go away.

      I've often wondered if this is just a normal 'internal body sound' that everybody has . . . and that it would react the same way to jaw movement for everyone . . . or whether I'm just a freak.

      If it's the latter . . . at least now it looks as though I may not be the only one.
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      I do that too, but only on the outer ear canal, so the wax inside the canal still gets impacted.

      I already wore Earplugs for one week straight some time ago, and after that week, I already had some wax that gathered deep in the ear canal. Maybe I just have to see an ENT once a month or so to clean it out manually ... yet I would like to avoid that.
       
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      The whole tinnitus matter made a paranoid freak out of me, thats for sure. I am also asking myself if it is normal or if it means a stressed jaw / TMJ

      I am now wearing my TMJ splint whenever I wear the plugs (normally I only wear the splint at night), so that I can at least bite on that to reduce this sensation - so I don't bite on my teeth directly.
       
    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      Musician plugs are perfect for such things if you do not need max protection. I just swap them in when I go shopping. Decibel levels might not be that high, but I find the risk of acoustic incidents pretty high (shopping carts rumbling, people shouting or dropping stuff, etc)
       

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