Ear Protection

Discussion in 'Support' started by Michael Leigh, Nov 30, 2015.

tinnitus forum
    1. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Ear Protection

      A few people have asked for my opinion on using earplugs. Is it necessary to use them after habituating to tinnitus and whether they should be used if hyperacusis is present?
      Whilst I’m on the subject of ear protection, I’d like to say to anyone that uses electric power tools for those DIY jobs around the home, or out in the garden with a petrol lawn mower, it’s a good idea to wear ear defenders.

      Because tinnitus comes in many forms and intensities and no two people experience it the same. The advice that I give, is based on personal experience and what I’ve learned from others over the years that have this condition. If someone wants to try any of my suggestions, please keep in mind that your experiences may be entirely different to mine so they should be used for guidance only.

      My tinnitus was caused by exposure to loud noise which is one of the most common causes of it. I believe after one has habituated to their tinnitus, they need to be more careful whenever around loud sounds as the auditory system is more sensitive. Ear protection should be worn at: cinemas, music concerts and large sporting events, as sound levels above 85decibels can easily be reached, and is considered the start of becoming unsafe for most peoples’ hearing. However, another important factor is the length of time (duration )a person is exposed to such sound levels as we are all different.

      My advice to anyone that has noise induced tinnitus the above figure of 85db should be viewed with caution. With N-I-T there is usually some damage to the thousands of tiny hair cells that are attached to the cochlear which is in the inner ear. This can result in some hearing loss and a patient might be told this after a hearing test has been carried out at an ENT clinic. Not everyone with noise induced tinnitus will show signs of hearing loss on their Audiogram - but having the tinnitus is an indication that the hair cells around the cochlear have been adversely affected.

      In my opinion, it is better to be safe than sorry by taking the necessary precautions rather than throwing caution to the wind and risk making your tinnitus worse. If a person wants to go to clubs or a bar where music is being played, noise reducing earplugs can be used. Many types can be bought and some are small and discrete. They are easily available and affordable. You can have them on your person and use them if sound levels start to become uncomfortable. They wont impair sound quality but will reduce ambient sound to more tolerable and safe levels, baring in mind what I’ve said about the auditory system being more sensitive for those of us with noise induced tinnitus.

      Some people are quite blasé and will scoff at the mention of wearing ear protection at a rock concert for instance. A friend said to me some years ago, that when she leaves a gig and her ears are ringing it’s sign that she’s had a good night. Ignorance is bliss I thought and then said: yes, until the day the ringing doesn’t stop! The look of bewilderment was clear to see when she realized I was serious. “I had no idea” came her stark reply. It had the desired effect because shortly afterwards she bought a pair of noise reducing earplugs.

      Hyperacusis like tinnitus will be experienced differently by each person. It can be a very troublesome condition and I have written a post about it on this forum titled: Answers to hyperacusis and habituation. Hyperacusis can make tinnitus spike. If a person finds certain sounds irritating to the point of causing discomfort or pain, then it’s best to have your hearing examined at an ENT clinic and if necessary a treatment plan can be put in place.

      Some people use earplugs to suppress normal everyday sounds as they find them too uncomfortable or refuse to leave their homes. I know such a person that done this and advised them that it wasn’t a good idea. Suppressing normal everyday sounds in this way can make the auditory system hypersensitive which can lead to Phonophobia, which is literally a fear of sound. The person I have spoken of can no longer stand the sound of a fridge, washing machine or microwave. It is very sad and unfortunate.

      Hyperacusis can be cured naturally without doing anything but there is no guarantee. One of the best ways to cure it is with sound enrichment. Wearing white noise generators and using a sound machine at night. Please note, this form of treatment is specialised and is called TRT (tinnitus retraining therapy). It is best carried out under the care of a Hearing Therapist to achieve maximum benefit, as counselling is involved which is a vital part of the treatment.

      Using earplugs to suppress the sound of a vacuum cleaner or something similar is fine but one needs to be careful with their use as I’ve mentioned above.

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Informative Informative x 1
    2. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1900
      Do you wear earplugs in situations that make your tinnitus temporarily worse?

      For example, many say that their T is worse during or after riding in the car, but it's back down hours later or by the next day. Do you think that it's dangerous to aggravate T, even if the effect is temporary?

      If it's not good, then a whole lot of people would be well advised to wear earplugs a whole lot of the time, as many report reactive tinnitus here. At the same time, earplugs could create even greater sensitivity issues. What do you think about this fine line?
       
      • Winner Winner x 1
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      My post is my own personal experience and should only be used for guidance. Each person with tinnitus or hyperacusis is different, and if they have problems it's best to seek help at a hospital ENT department. Kind regards. Michael . I only use earplugs when using noisy power tools, my lawn mower or going out to a venue where music is played and just in case sound levels are high, I use my earplugs.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    4. Tbird

      Tbird Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I think regular loud music at the gym
      Hi could you tell me what ear plugs you use. I have only had tinnitus for the last month and I'm waiting on an appointment with a specialist. In the meantime I've got lots of Christmas dos coming up where the music will be loud and I don't want to not go to them. I have bought some party plugs. Has anyone used them?
       

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.