Do I Have Any Damage in My Inner Ear — Keep Protecting or Continue without Earplugs?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Ivkopivko, May 20, 2019.

    1. Ivkopivko
      Speechless

      Ivkopivko Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      don't know, probably motorsport + headphones for last years
      Hello everyone,

      Just a quick introduction, full progress and what I've tried and what were the results of examination are in my thread there.

      I'm in for about 2 months, my hearing is just fine - I have no hearing loss up to 8 kHz (yeah, I was informed that it could be hidden hearing loss, but I didn't have a chance to confirm).
      My tinnitus appeared out of nowhere, no injury, no inflammation, no acoustic trauma etc.

      3-4 weeks after the onset with Prednisone and Betahistine from ENT I felt fine (no hyperacusis, one fully quiet day) and then there was "noise accident/incident" with loud motorcycle and chatting over it with my friend for a few minutes. (I had no idea that I need to protect my ears, no one told me, even ENT or any other doctors - lol). I felt that noise in my ears was rising during this exposure and had really bad spike the next night, luckily went back to "relatively quiet" ringing in next few days.

      Since then, I received quiet bad hyperacusis and ringing for about a week, I started to wear ear plugs with 33-35 dB attenuation and I also maybe a little overused them as I was extremely worried about loud sounds and making my tinnitus and hyperacusis worse.

      Now the important part of this thread:
      Another 3-4 weeks passed and I got both more confident to expose myself to daily sounds and also worried because of "overusing" the plugs, as I did read somewhere that that's not good either and will increase overall sound level perception that could cause further issues with central gain control.

      My hyperacusis is less noticeable (only with very, very careless dish clinging is uncomfortable). Also my ringing has changed a little from high-pitch "eeeeeee" to sound like dropping the sand on metal tray - hard to explain, but best what I've figured out yet. The "eeeee" is still there, but I can hear it only when plugged and less noticeable compared to beginning.

      There is also this strange pattern:
      When I'm exposed to noise, let's say 75 dB for a few minutes, when I plug my ears, I can hear "internal noise/eeeeeeeee/tinnitus" much louder compared when I'm at quiet place, but once I plug my fingers/earplugs to my ears, or walk away from noise to quiet room, internal noise gets much quieter almost instantly as well. Is this what we call "reactive tinnitus".

      I also tried this experiment - I had earplug only in one ear while I was in a loud place. The internal noise was louder also in plugged ear! When I clogged the unprotected one with my finger, the noise went down in both. I don't know how to explain this in English, but it seems that the internal noise/tinnitus is not dependent on side, or which ear is receiving the noise - also the protected ear starts to ring louder, which makes me think if there might be an issue with my ear/cochlea, or if it might be related to auditory centre/nerves...

      I've>
      • stopped wearing earplugs when shutting entry doors (approx 80 dB), doesn't bother anymore, didn't spike afterwards
      • stopped wearing earplugs when doing dishes (clinging), doesn't bother anymore, didn't spike afterwards
      • dog barking meter or two away from me while in crouch - no spike
      • stopped wearing earplugs while driving (approx 65-75 dB with radio), didn't spike afterwards
      • cooking in loud kitchen for about 3 hours in ~ 75 dB, didn't spike
      • was watching hockey on TV with volume "as before" few times, didn't spike afterwards
      • was playing guitar (75 dB), didn't spike yet (will see later)
      • went to restaurant with average sound level 75 dB and occasionally events like 80-84 (clinging, plates...), didn't spike afterwards
      • went to bar with average sound level 80 dB for 2 hours, didn't spike afterwards
      What I'm looking for is an advice If I should continue to expose myself to noise with reasonable limits (no motorcycles, no rally, airshows, sirens, truck horns...), or rather keep myself safe from noise as much as possible or use the plugs within situations like described above, or anything let's say over 70 dB.

      Many thanks for any suggestions, or your experiences with a similar situation.
       

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