Earplugs at Work

Discussion in 'Support' started by alazysorcerer, Sep 5, 2015.

    1. alazysorcerer

      alazysorcerer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Hello friends,

      My name's Jeremy. I'm 29 years old. I have Hyperacusis.

      I'm not sure where to begin... So many things sound loud to me.. I wear earplugs to the movies, when I vacuum, when I walk past the family bird!

      Work has become quite an issue for me. I've been working in kitchens for years... One day when I realized how LOUD a kitchen was I quit my good job... (At the time I didn't think about trying earplugs.) I tried retail, other things... But they paid poorly so I took a job at a local restaurant... It was so loud, it caused me excessive pain... I walked out / quit after a few hours.

      I'm trying to find a "normal" / quiet job with little to no luck. I have to get back to work in hospitality but the noise is freaking me out!

      I was thinking earplugs...

      A few issues though.

      a.) are they aloud? you could argue they're a safety hazard? But I could argue the other way... It's a safety hazard not wearing them! In a 80-90 DB kitchen (which most are!!!) an 8 hour shift you're looking at potential damage let alone day after day...

      b.) finding the right plugs that I can still hear / speak without pain.

      That's something I don't get... You know how your voice is amplified when you speak with plugs in... Is it actually louder (can it cause damage) or is it precieved? In other words... When I speak it's LOUD and uncomfortable with plugs in... Can that loudness actually cause damage? It feels like 100 db... Are my ears reacting to it as if it were 100db?

      Are there plugs that'll protect me, while I can still hear and speak?

      I'm scared... I don't want to get into a good job, be told I can't wear my plugs and have to quit... But I know it's not my imagination. Restaurants are loud as heck.
    2. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Drugs barotrauma
      You're referring to something called the occlusion effect. Yes your voice is louder when your ears are plugged, in fact it is 20db (or more) louder.

      I have the same issue, my voice is way too loud with ear plugs inserted. Make sure the ear plugs are inserted deeply, unfortunately this is about all you can do to reduce this effect. As far as damaging loud, I'm not sure, all I know is it is a nightmare if you have H, especially if you need to raise your voice to be heard in a noisy environment, it almost feels counter productive to me.
    3. glynis

      glynis Manager Staff Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      England, Stoke-on-Trent
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Meniere's Disease
      You need to desensitize your ears over a length of time going at your pace with hyperacusis.
      Slowly restoring your sound tolerance to your everyday sounds by introducing sound in stages.
      When you hear sounds your ears have problems with only give it one reaction and that is
      " I'm in control of what I don't like to hear and don't see it as a threat or emotional reaction and just walk away.
      Build up time around that sound bit by bit till your ears are ok with that sound.

      Work wise try noise reduction plugs only when you need them and not keep your ears sensitive to sound .
      Hyperacusis can be treated very slowly learning your ears again cope with sound....lots of love glynis
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. Mark Beehre

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      @alazysorcerer, I agree with @glynis!

      My ears were very sensitive at the start. I started wearing ear plugs to manage my exposure. It helped to an extent, but the real progress came as I gradually allowed myself to be exposed to louder sounds on an ever increasing basis. Now I don't wear ear plugs and most noise is fine, in fact sat in a busy cafe last weekend and had no issues. Anxiety got me stressed out the first few times I did it, which is to be expected, but my ears held up well enough.

      The best thing you can do for your ears is start giving them a chance to hear sounds around them. You know your limits, but instead of rushing off to ear plugs, just go to a quite room and play some background noise at a level you are comfortable with. Also bear in mind that it takes a long time for H to dissipate. It has taken me 9 months and I am still not 100%. :)
      • Like Like x 1
    5. AUTHOR

      alazysorcerer Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      I'm gradually increasing my comfortable sound levels... I downloaded an app on my phone... At the time I was at a "comfortable" volume on my speakers... Any louder they bothered me... They were around 52db.

      Now I can get to 60 and it's comfortable.

      I have my interview tomorrow and assuming I get the job from my experience kitchens are very loud... Nevermind my hyperacusis and senstitivyt... 85-100 db for hours at a time are not good for your ears no matter what.

      I'm going to order a pair of http://www.amazon.com/Earasers-HEM0...=UTF8&qid=1441682854&sr=1-1&keywords=earasers

      See how they work out. I'm hoping i'll still be able to hear / speak without pain.

      They're a 19db reduction which I think is a great middle ground.
    6. erik

      erik Manager Staff Benefactor

      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Most likely hearing loss
      Restaurants are loud. I worked in a kitchen back in college. However, looking back, there were times when it was really loud (stainless steel pans dropping or getting tossed around) but I don't it was think hearing damaging loud (I may be wrong).

      I think if you use a decent pair of musicians ear plugs with filters (-10db to -15db) and not full blocking foam ones, then your ears will adjust better over time to the sound sensitivity and your voice will not be so loud to yourself. You can hear much better with filtered musician's ear plugs because they don't block out all sounds like foam ones. You can still hear voices pretty well. I like both the Hearsafe and the Etymotic brands.

      I did this with my hyperacusis as well as listening to white and pink noise thru apps on my phone. Don't over protect your ears or your H will never improve. H does make everything feel 10x louder. It makes everything tough. But fear of the sounds is really what is causing the anxiety and pain. Getting your ears adjusted to the proper levels and letting your mind
    7. Mark Beehre

      Mark Beehre Member Benefactor

      Wellington, New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2008 // 11/2014
      My pain threshold was around 65db, so you may have some more time to go before things come completely right. Just keep going man! :)

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