Earplugs and Bone Conduction, Confusing?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Blake, Nov 15, 2015.

    1. Blake

      Blake Member

      Tinnitus Since:

      Just had some questions about different things I've read in regards to hearing damage and ear plugs.

      Anything over 85 plus DB is bad and can harm your hearing. The best thing to do is to avoid environments that are 85 + DB or if you're in an environment that is above 85 + DB, wear hearing protection. Environments/sounds that are below 85 DB do not damage hearing.

      So this means that if one was to attend a party, wedding reception or any other function with a DJ playing loud music, ear plugs would be the best way to protect your hearing.

      I never go to clubs (way too loud) and try to avoid concerts (also way too loud). However, there are some things that are hard to avoid like weddings and wedding receptions. I'm assuming the DB at wedding receptions is around 95-100 DB (took a DB meter last time), thankfully not as loud as clubs or concerts. So assuming a wedding receptions lasts about 3-4 hours and music is playing during this time. If I'm wearing ear plugs such as Hearos Xtreme protection (33 DB) (I know how to wear ear plugs properly) and the music playing is at 100 DB, the ear plugs would cut that DB level down to 67 DB of noise entering my ear. According to the scale of DB, the sound level of 67 entering my inner ear is safe and way under 85 DB, meaning that I'm not harming my ear/hearing.

      The question is, is this true? People have been saying that sound travels through bone conduction and that will damage your hearing regardless of the ear plugs in your ear? Will I still be damaging my ears due to noise going to my ear through bone conduction? Can noise traveling through bone conduction make my tinnitus worse? Can my hearing be damaged and tinnitus get worse even though I'm wearing 33 DB xtreme protection ear plugs in a 100 DB environment with a DJ playing music?

      Also, if sounds can damage ears and hearing through bone conduction how do people shoot guns? Guns and shotguns have a DB of around 140-180. People wear ear protection when shooting guns but the DB of a gun is way louder than a party, so how do people not get damage shooting guns through bone conduction or noise traveling through the body to the inner ear?

      If anyone can explain or elaborate on this, it would help a lot. Thank you.
    2. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      From my understanding bone has attenuation characteristics as well, I believe the number thrown around is near 40db of reduction. Also, just a guess but I would think bass would travel through the bone "better". I may be wrong though so it would be nice if someone else could chime in. I would imagine the plugs you have would be more than adequate for something like a wedding.
    3. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Yes, through bone conduction, sound can bypass earplugs. Notice how low bass tones vibrate objects.

      Also, the "safe" decibel ratings you mention may not be good guidelines for those who already have tinnitus.
    4. Ecip

      Ecip Member

      Edmonton, AB
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still unknown... possibly noise exposure?
      The math goes differently. Earplugs with a rating of 32 will decrease noise by about 12.5dB.
    5. I who love music

      I who love music Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
    6. Blujay

      Blujay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      It's also questionable which sound waves your decibel meter is picking up, or not.
    7. newarrior

      newarrior Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I've wondered the same and just fired this off to my doctors:

      "I have many concerns with what appears to be worsening hearing, my limited social life due to my inability to tolerate loud places, tinnitus, tensor tympani syndrome, recruitment, hyperacusis, misophonia and the resulting depression.that I experience from these conditions.

      1) Any other assistive devices that you recommend ?
      2) Anything I can do or take to prevent, slow down, reverse, cure or treat any of my conditions ?
      3) Please see the statement below. Are earplugs, even custom molded ER25's and ER37's really enough to stop sound from damaging my ears ? Do I simply need to avoid many noisy places ? When are are earphones warranted ?
      4) What are some general guidelines in regards to hearing protection and when earplugs are necessary ?

      "I wonder how bone conduction plays into this. Earplugs are not going to stop those powerful sub frequencies from traveling through your body. "
    8. glynis

      glynis Manager Staff Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      My own opinion would be to use noise reduction plugs at a disco and wedding and cinemas and other loud places and keep well away from the big speakers .
      If you still find it a problem find a quiet area or return home .
      Rock concerts indoors are going be extra loud so would avoid going unless at the back with plugs in.
      Out door concerts are loud but with noise reduction plugs and away from the speakers would be better.

      My tinnitus is so sever 24/7 so concerts are a no go for me but still go the Cinima and weddings etc with my trusty noise reduction plugs in...lots of love glynis

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