Don't Overprotect Your Ears

Discussion in 'Support' started by grandfunk1, Mar 25, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. grandfunk1

      grandfunk1 Member

      I have a decibel meter I have been playing with, i did a 4hr road trip on the highway with 2 people, and during that time it was mainly around 70 or less decibels inside the car. If someone was talking(loudly) it would go up to about 75+ until they stopped. Depending on your car it could be more or less. My BMW is around 65 or less on the highway when its just me in the car.

      Another thing I did was walking on the sidewalk with heavy traffic. This showed around 75 or less. If a loud truck drove passed it could go up to 85 until it passed.

      Given the rule of thumb that anything 85+ is harmful over some time, I believe normal day to day things should not be protected, or will result in increased hyperacusis. Things such as mowing, or going to a concert should absolutely have protection.
       
      • Agree Agree x 7
      • Like Like x 1
    2. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I've done the same test with a real db reader - my numbers are about the same ... My mean was about 65-68 ish in my Toyota corolla.
       
    3. 1MW
      No Mood

      1MW Member

      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ssnhl
      This is wrong over protection does not induce hyperacusis.
      The opposite happens if you have hyperacusis and you don't overprotect you will be worse.
      If ear is damaged noises less than 85db can do more damage.

      That's you measured is db SPL not db HL
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    4. SleeplessSoul
      Insomnious

      SleeplessSoul Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2014
      So to get this straight.
      If hyperacusis in one ear that starts at 65db approximately, (my other ear doesn't respond until 85db) according to a test they did, then protect myself from noises 65db and above?
      I am confused. The dr said that a normal talking voice would be about 65?
      Clarity would really help me. I thought i shouldn't overprotect it?
       
    5. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      Traffic noise level = 65-85 db exposure
      Traffic noise with maximum protection (e.g. 33 db NRR earplugs) = 30-50 db exposure
      Sitting in the quiet surroundings of an average home (with no protection) = 20-35 db exposure

      The logical implication of your statement would be that e.g. working from home would lead to hyperacusis. To my knowledge that does not happen.
       
      • Agree Agree x 4
    6. Twitch

      Twitch Member

      Location:
      Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have to disagree with that statement. Back in December I decided to try out earplugs at work one afternoon, not that noise levels at work are loud, they're perfectly normal. I would say I plugged my ears for 2-3 hours at the most and the same evening as I was closing up, I pulled down the shutter, I noticed my ears were really sensitive to the screeching sound and other sounds that evening. Thankfully this temporary hyperacusis passed and I'm not suggesting everyone will develop it after using earplugs but for me, earplugs did temporarily induce hyperacusis.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    7. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      To be fair, when I sit at home and don't do much, my H get's worse. If I go out and expose my self to normal noises it calms down.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    8. attheedgeofscience
      Uninvolved

      attheedgeofscience Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      Childhood
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Head Injury
      And to be fair, between the following two alternatives, which one causes hyperacusis in the first place:
      • Noise exposure, or
      • Sitting in a silent room...?
      There is no such thing as "normal noise" in a modern society. All of it is, in fact, abnormal. Both the sounds and the noise levels ("safe" or not).
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    9. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Er, what do you mean? Natural environments are loud, too. I've carried a db meter with me in the woods in the summer; it's just as loud as walking down a sidewalk in my city (unless you're right next to a large road, of course). The office and apartment that I spend 75% of my waking time in, are, if anything, significantly quieter than the woods around where I grew up.

      I'm not sure what you're stabbing at with your question, either? I have read a lot of things indicating that noise avoidance is a bigger problem in the generation of hyperacusis, than usual noise levels are. Of course a traumatic noise event can be the thing that sets all this off in the first place, but no one is suggesting that people should go to rock shows, they are suggesting that people not wear hearing protection if they are not going to be exposed to damaging noise levels.

      err...
      http://www.audiologyonline.com/arti...eracusis-phonophobia-tinnitus-retraining-1105
      The reason for this is pretty simple. If you chronically suppress the amount of audio input that your brain is getting, your brain responds by turning up the gain on the auditory system to compensate. If you already have tinnitus or H, the net effect of that is pretty certain to be "worse tinnitus and H". This is not some crazy theory, it's been well established through a lot of research over a long period of time.

      There's nothing special about damaged audio apparatus in this regard; healthy people show the same effect. Studies where people have been asked to wear earplugs for a couple weeks, have invariably shown an increase in audio signal strength from an equally loud stimulus at the end of the two weeks.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    10. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      In my experience, noise exposure started it, sitting in a quiet room made it a lot worse.
       
    11. PaulBe

      PaulBe Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Cairns
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound, though never proven
      I agree that sitting in a quiet room "enriches" the experience of Hyperacusis. At the same time, when you are subject to a lot of noise of varying frequencies (like a busy street or workplace) it can be just as unnerving, depending on how your hyperacusis presents. Sometimes you just have to plug, and yes it does amplify the hyperacusis experience after you take them out, but usually it will rebalance back to the usual baseline misery after a while.
       
    12. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      My experience with my own hyperacusis is the only noises that give me actual pain and that I just can't handle are higher pitched noise's like enamel cutlery, doors banging or even just closing and the snap of a door latch.

      Voices and deeper bassy sounds don't give me the shudders and slight pain like those high pitched noise's do.

      I agree with you, hyperacusis means that noises that your brain deem to be above normal or the sufferers idea of normal, will give you pain no matter if the db reading is at safe levels, so wearing earplugs even at safe levels become a must for hyperacusis sufferers!

      Hyperacusis is a brain malfunction so it basically renders db levels pointless if you are relying on them for a decision on ear protection, that is why the main therapy for hyperacusis sufferers is CBT,(Cognitive behavioral therapy) and low levels of in ear noise generators, but changing your brains perception of noise is a must first and foremost!
       
    13. @RichL Are you saying that the low levels of in ear noise generators is the way of changing your brain's perception of noise for hyperacusis? When my T is high is when I have the most problems with H. Have you done CBT with noise generators for H? Results? The higher pitched noises are what bother me the most too.
       
    14. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      I've seen so many people use white noise generators and see massive improvements. Usually takes 12-18 months but some people have had much, much shorter experiences. Of course I guess it only properly works if you get an expert to assist.
       
    15. Thanks @geg1992 Do you still have H? What have you tried?
       
    16. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      My H is so up and down, it got really bad because I just sat inside and felt awful, then when I exposed my self to normal sounds it got better again. I've noticed anxiety plays a huge role, so when I experience H I just think oh well, it will go away soon. I was thinking of getting WNG's but as it's died down a bit I decided against that for now. My T is the problem today - so loud. :(
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    17. @geg1992 Thanks for the info. Sorry your T is so loud today. I understand. I think I will continue to expose myself to normal sounds before getting WNGs and see how it goes with my H. I was in a protective mode, but understand that I need to break free from that way of operating. Right now I seem to have any every other day thing going. That is, every other day is a good one, so worth seeing how it goes more long term before trying WNGs. Thanks for your help!
       
    18. geg1992
      English

      geg1992 Member

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure + Antibiotics
      It's fine, I hope it goes down but I always worry it will stay this loud or get louder.

      How long have you had H? As if it isn't that long it may be worth waiting to see if once the anxiety towards it fades away, that the H may too? Although I'm no doctor, it may be better to act soon like with T, so probably worth getting a second opinion.

      It seems that many people who have T from noise exposure, develop H at some point, which then fades away.

      I hope yours improves soon.
       
    19. I had T for 11 months before developing H. I've had H for about 3 months. So I have been trying to figure out how best to treat the H lately. How long did it take for your H to settle down?
       
    20. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Yes, and no I haven't done it yet, but have an appointment with the Auckland clinic in April.

      From the Auckland University Tinnitus and Hyperacausis clinic.

      Managing hyperacusis involves gradually:

      • reducing the sufferer’s over-reliance on hearing protection devices, such as earplugs. One way is to wear a special kind of earplug (called non-linear earplugs). These block loud sounds, but still allow quieter sounds to be heard.
      • reintroducing normal sound levels using therapeutic noise generators or hearing aids, in combination with counselling

      Should have said wearing earplugs in a louder environment is a must, but depending how bad your Hyperacausis is then you should protect a little in any environment that is uncomfortable for you, at least until you have sought out the proper therapy.
      Anxiety and depression is also a major factor in how bad you H is, that is why mine is so bad now and continued to get worse over this past year.
       
    21. @RichL I hope you have good luck with your appointment in April. I wish you luck with your anxiety and depression. Sorry to hear it has gotten worse over the past year. Do you wear ear plugs? What kind?
       
    22. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Unfortunately I do, long story, but I rely on foam ear plugs to live, and make a living, (Truck Driver), so I need some intense therapy to get my T and H under control as well as carry on living.
       
    23. @RichL I wish you all the best as you pursue your therapy for T & H. I understand.
       
    24. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Thank you, appreciate the kind words.
       
    25. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      For me it helps sometimes to over protect. My ears feel better then. I usually do it when i feel pain in my ears and it helps me.
       
    26. @bwspot What do you do to overprotect your ears?
       
    27. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      er20 plugs or cotton or hands at sudden situations
       
    28. Mark Beehre
      Facebooking

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      I have found that on my quieter days I have more control, however the days that follow my ears are more susceptible to tinnitus spikes and increased sensitivity. I take a hit on those days and I am forced because of work to endure more noise to an extent which in turn lowers my sensitivity but at the cost of spikes. My avoidance of noise definitely increases my sensitivity but not necessarily on the same day, it could be the next two for instance. I had a bad spike Monday after a quiet weekend. I spent Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday in silence. Today my ears ache and the sound of my key presses on the keyboard hurt my ears. This wasn't the case Monday when my ears had more strength.

      In hindsight I am overprotecting on days when I can (e.g. weekends) at the cost of other days. If I want to decrease my sound sensitivity then I need a measured approach of sound exposure each day even on weekends. The aforementioned circular pattern has been in place since January with zero improvement. To some extent I can blame my sensitivity on reclusiveness following my tinnitus relapse in November last year. To another extent I can blame the 30 minute travel to and from work via car on an extremely noisy road causing me to protect my ears.

      I believe that we we need to desensitize the ears. We need to do this even when they ache, but we need to be mindful of how loud we are doing it. We need to be consistent in applying the same level of noise and slowly building it up. To this effect I have brought some noise cancelling headphones with which I plan to listen to white noise for at least 2 hours a day slowly increasing the volume over the course of months. I don't expect it to be easy at least initially, however so long as every day starts the same (mine is quietest in the morning), then the overall objective should be completed.

      I am also moving closer to work on Sunday so the drive will be cut to 5 minutes and so hoping the removal of this sound inconsistency will help me rebuild my ears over time.

      That being said I am following the directives of my audiologist!
       
    29. ruben ruiz

      ruben ruiz Member

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I believe it was meds and stress
      Ive heard this theory. Im baffled. The T/H come and go I cant get a pattern. Do you feel that white noise is good or bad. Im trying notching with white noise. It seems to aggravate me. Yet I listen to peaceful music it tends to make me feel better. Good luck. Bless us all!
       
    30. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      I've been thinking about this a bit; I don't see that as the logical implication. Working from a quiet environment does not necessarily indicate that someone is obsessing about the volume level, whereas chronically wearing earplugs in 65 db environments would seem to. My reading on hyperacusis is that the psychological component is at least as significant as the physiological, and that seems to agree with imaging studies which show variations in auditory cortex activity based on different kinds of attention practices and a constant volume level. The way that we choose to think about things impacts the way they are perceived, which can impact brain development and change over time.
       

Share This Page

Loading...
If you have ringing ears then you've come to the right place. We are a friendly tinnitus support board, dedicated to helping you discuss and understand what tinnitus treatments may work for you.