Earplugs in the Shower (the Occlusion Effect): Don't Do It!

Discussion in 'Support' started by Croaker, May 5, 2020.

    1. Croaker
      Haunting

      Croaker Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      After developing hyperacusis last Monday and being concerned about my shower’s db level (65-75 according to a mediocre free app) ever since, I thought I would get creative today by wearing my trusty muffs for the body then switch into foam earplugs for the head.

      Turns out, as Wikipedia has kindly informed me, the few minutes I spent soaking my head probably blasted my ears with 80-95 dB due to the occlusion effect. I’m just sitting here in bed feeling terrified and foolish. My tinnitus has spiked, the opposite of what normally happens for me after a shower. I don’t fully understand all of my loudness limits, but I’m sure they will be worse tomorrow. I haven’t had the condition long enough to find out if I am capable of recovery either, or if I’ll just get permanently worse with each setback. I’m on the tail end of an oral prednisone course so perhaps that will help.

      Don’t repeat my mistake, person who found this thread by googling “earplug shower hyperacusis safe occlusion.”
       
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    2. Lucifer

      Lucifer Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      If you find the noise too loud then wear earplugs in the shower but if you need to wash your hair then do it quickly and make sure while having a shower the water continues to hit your back and not your head or the occlusion effect will happen.

      I think you should continue to wear earplugs in the shower for a week to see what happens and figure out if you need to use them or not.
       
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    3. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      I don't think external noises will be more dangerous for the cochlea when you put earplugs, occlusion effect or not. But it is very well possible that I lack some knowledge.

      I tried putting earplugs during the shower a few times (when I take long and high pessure showers - measured at 90 dB at my head level - right after cutting my hair) and it seemed quieter to me. Sure the noise of the water against my head seemed a bit louder, but globally I really think I was exposed to less noise.
       
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    4. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Majority of people are capable of it. Chances are you are one of them.

      It is unfortunate that you got a spike. It is a setback, but there is no reason to worry about permanent damage. Make sure to learn from your mistake though.

      You might consider taking baths. In a year or two you ought to become resilient enough to not mind taking showers again.
       
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    5. Fifth Business

      Fifth Business Member Podcast Patron

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Deafening applause (ppl clap loudly after reading my posts)
      Good posts boys great stuff
       
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    6. Steve0

      Steve0 Member

      Location:
      Victoria, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ?
      Shower is a trigger for me. I use wax earplugs, without them I'm in for a major spike everytime.
       
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    7. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Well, it's a matter of chosing between two bad options. With severe hyperacusis water falling on the shower sounds like Niagara Falls... so it's that or earplugs.
       
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    8. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Oh Christ I’ve been doing this.
       
    9. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      A technique I've learned is when spraying my head, I do about 5 seconds on, 10 seconds off. Some may say this is excessive, and it might be, but I've had experiences with the occlusion effect making my hyperacusis worse.
       
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    10. RishRamsey
      Doubtful

      RishRamsey Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stupid DJ
      Can you give some instances where occlusion has made your hyperacusis worse? I have been using ear protection for 24 hours now, so looking for things where occlusion can have a real impact on hyperacusis.
       
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      @Tara Lyons

      Reading these sort of posts is not such a good idea as they can make you worry. Your tinnitus will fluctuate and this happens to people new to the condition but will settle down in time. Try to divert your attention to reading positive posts, when on the forum and engage in things you like to do when you're not. Stress is intrinsically linked to tinnitus, so one must try to keep this under control. This becomes difficult to achieve if a person is constantly focusing on their tinnitus and every little change in its perception. Negative thinking induces stress and will be reinforced by reading negative posts, which ultimately causes more harm than good.

      Take care
      Michael
       
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    12. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      There is not really any option in this regard. For a person with severe hypecacusis the choice is between showering without earplugs and hearing Niagara falls or using earplugs. It is just two bad choices and one has to choose the one less bad...
       
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    13. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I’m so scared about all of this I can’t believe this is my life. I can’t even look at pictures of my old life because it makes me cry and makes me so upset. Why did this happen to me.
       
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    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Feeling scared and worried is the way tinnitus can make us feel in the first few months of having the condition. It is about acceptance and this will happen but takes time. That is the reason I have advised not to read negative posts if possible. Read my posts in the links that I have sent you which will help to reinforce positive thinking. When I first got tinnitus I also thought why did it happen to me. I gradually learned dwelling over the passed was of no benefit so pushed those thoughts from my mind and focused on what I could do with tinnitus, instead of what it prevented me from doing. In other words: accentuate the positive things in your life and not the negative and this will help you through this troubling time.

      Michael
       
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    15. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      I graduated with my Ph.D. two weeks before my problems began. My degree is still wrapped up, not even hung. Every time I look at pictures of graduation, I can't help but think about how optimistic I was and excited to begin my career. I landed the job I wanted, the career I wanted, the house I wanted, with the wife I wanted. It's devastating. I had a plan since I was 20 years old, and I executed it perfectly, all while dealing with chronic illness and debilitating pain and energy problems. My reward is suffering. There's no way I won't have PTSD if I overcome this.

      I miss the small things way more than the big things. Like laughing, talking, driving, going for runs. But don't mind me, I just "have a bad attitude."
       
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    16. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      To be fair, all I know is that going for a run and (separately) wearing headphones made it worse. Technically, I don't have direct evidence of the occlusion effect making it worse. The exercise could be a blood flow issue. But I have a strong suspicion.
       
    17. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      What happened with you? Hyperacusis and tinnitus? How old are you?
       
    18. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I just find it’s weird how the symptoms presented themselves...

      Waking up with the echo and the ringing and it al gradually changed, burning, a few more echoing episodes, sound sensitivity.

      I mean these symptoms are so intense, Can this really all be an ear issue? It’s so scary to wake up to this every day.
       
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    19. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'm so sorry, life really is so unfair.

      I can relate to this. I spent all my twenties basically worrying about university to get my second degree, battling depression and GAD. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel, enter tinnitus. Probably I won't even be able to get my degree. And it hurts.

      In hindsight, I should have just had fun. Studying hard with headphones because of my overly loud neighbours probably messed up my hearing, resulted in tinnitus. So not worth it.
       
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    20. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      The way I see it, stress almost surely played a role in the development of my chronic illness. But it's super unfair for us to regret in hindsight. People go through horrific things, far, far worse than what I've gone through and don't develop these problems. The American dream is to work hard and never give up. All of America's heroes are people with large amounts of willpower (like Michael Jordan).

      You shouldn't regret based on the outcome. This is like someone blaming themselves for going to a party and getting sexually assaulted, knowing they could have had a perfectly fine night without going to the party.

      Life is unfair. My "privilege" distribution chart is super polarized. In one regard, I am very, very privileged. But in another regard, I am one in a million unprivileged. There's no order to this universe.
       
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    21. Zugzug

      Zugzug Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown; Likely autoimmune; Certainly not noise-induced
      Long story short, I developed symptoms of a systemic autoimmune disorder 5 years ago when I had a major flare up and was super sick. During the last year of my education, it was super stressful. When the stress ended, my chronic illness went ballistic and spread to my inner ear. I developed balance problems, tinnitus, and hyperacusis. The balance problems resolved, but the hyperacusis has gotten much, much worse to the point where I am severely disabled.
       
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    22. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Although no two people will experience the onset of tinnitus the same they do share similar symptoms. As I have explained to you in a previous post, I developed similar symptoms to yours and more. My head was completely numb for 6 months. Although I could hear it felt like my head was held under water the whole time. It was a frightening experience. The echoing and burning sensations that you mention I had and also very acute sensitivity to sound. So severe, I had to ask people please lower their voice when in conversation as my ears hurt so much.

      I was fortunate to find a herbalist who was experienced in Noise induced tinnitus. She advised me start taking magnesium tablets which I mentioned to you. Magnesium helps repair nerves in the auditory pathway. I am not referring to the ear-hairs that are attached to the cochlea.

      All the best
      Michael
       
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    23. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I drove for 3 hours on Thursday without hearing protection and my ears have flared up, I hope this is not permanent. I’m so scared.

      I have been taking the magnesium I hope this helps!
       
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    24. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Sorry to hear about your ears. I did advise you that noise reducing earplugs could be used temporary. Take the magnesium for at least a year.

      Michael
       
    25. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yes I ordered them on Amazon, I have not received them yet.
       
    26. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Try placing cotton wool in your ears when you drive, just to reduce external sound a little...
       
    27. Tara Lyons

      Tara Lyons Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I will do... I wonder if I should do that at work. I don’t know if it’s extreme enough to use ear plugs all day, but I feel like my ears go crazy after work. (Especially my left...)

      I walk into my condo after being at work all day, and I instantly get this fullness, loudness. I’m assuming it’s the sensitivity?

      Today is the first day I have really been out in the last couple months, forgot what life was like...
       
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    28. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Experiment and see what works for you but try not to become too dependant on earplugs, as you risk lowering the loudness threshold of your auditory system, which will make your ears more sensitive to sound. My post Hyperacusis, As I see it, which you have explains how to use earplugs.
      In time the fullness will become less. If you are experiencing balance problems, dizziness, deafness or pain in your ears then it might be best to see your ENT doctor. However, since you have had tests I don't think there's anything to be concerned about.
      Try not to stay in your home too much. If possible get out of house every day and go for a 30min walk. This will keep you fit and most important allow your ears to get used to normal everyday sounds. Staying at home your oversensitivity to sound is not being treated. The only way oversensitivity to sound can be treated is with sound.

      Michael
       
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    29. Mister Muso
      Inactive

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      It shouldn't be permanent. I'll get a spike for a few days if I drive for more than 2 hours without earplugs, so try the earplugs next time.
       
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    30. sssing

      sssing Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      cold
      Hi @Tara Lyons, just to be sure, you ordered noise reducing earplugs not noise cancelling headphones right?
       

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