Earplugs Making Tinnitus Worse?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Hengist, Sep 29, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. Hengist
      Blah

      Hengist Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/7/2014
      I bought earplugs so that I can go to events a bit louder than I would like, like moves etc. These earplugs are from a pharmacy and really fill up the ear, when I put them the only thing (almost) that I can hear is tinnitus. That is why I never used them for more than 5 minutes. It is unbearable how loud tinnitus gets with them. Today when I went to sleep I put them in because I have a lot of guests who wake me up in the morning and I wanted to avoid that so I basically past out from exhaustion with them in my ears, today I woke up and when I removed them my tinnitus was like 3 times louder. Has anyone else had experiance with this?
       
    2. Mosaik
      Balanced

      Mosaik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I've had my ears plugged for almost the entire summer, and I can confirm that the sound is really different when it is alone. I don't think that any change in intensity is permanent although you can overuse them and the lack of ventillation might cause problems.
      How long did it take to go back to usual levels?
      I am using Ohropax soft earplugs.
       
    3. Johno
      Dreaming

      Johno Member

      Location:
      Slovakia
      Tinnitus Since:
      6/07/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Yes. I wear earplugs when i ride a car. Road noises and low freq. tyre noises are very unpleasant for my H without plugs. After 10 min of wearing my T is 2-3x louder than without earplugs and stay on high volume around 1 hour after I remove those plugs. Gentle volumed white noise in headphones help me in reduction of T to its normal level.
       
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    4. Jay M
      Thinking

      Jay M Member

      Location:
      South Carolina, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/4/14
      My T spikes with plugs and its not my perception of T either. I can only use cotton.
       
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    5. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      That's strange, I've used ear plugs for two years and I don't experience this. I thought some of you may have just been referring to increased perception of tinnitus volume because of the obvious lack of outside noise but yeah, that's unfortunate.

      I've only used foam plugs maybe once though, I stick to my custom musician plugs. Maybe mess around with a few different type of plugs and see how you do? Custom musician plugs are expensive (but worth it IMO) but you could possibly try something like http://www.etymotic.com/hp/er20.html first and see how you fair.
       
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    6. Hengist
      Blah

      Hengist Member

      Location:
      Croatia
      Tinnitus Since:
      8/7/2014
      I am not sure that my tinnitus volume is back, it has been hours.
       
    7. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      It's because external sounds are no longer able to mask your T with the plugs in. Cotton let's in much more sound. Way less protection.
       
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    8. derpytia
      Pooptoast

      derpytia Member

      Location:
      Rescue, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss / ETD
      The thing is, if you block out too much noise, your ears and brain actually have to work harder and your ears are strained. I recommend going to an Audiologist (NOT an ENT cause in my experience most have no clue about earplugs at all) and asking to get a pair of musician's earplugs. They don't block out sound, they just turn it down. You can get some Westone musician's earplugs with up to -25dB attenuation if you like. And with the dB filters it should also come with a solid piece that can take the place of the (removable) filters for almost full attenuation. They're a little bit pricey but I've had mine for about 3 months now and they're a life (and ear) saver.
       
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    9. Mosaik
      Balanced

      Mosaik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Just make sure to avoid acoustic reflex tests, they are really loud and if they say it won't hurt your ears at all, they lie.
       
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    10. Jay M
      Thinking

      Jay M Member

      Location:
      South Carolina, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      4/4/14
      No. The T spikes really loudly and then goes back down after about 15 minutes aftr I take them out. Some ppl experience this type of temporary spike from plugs.
       
    11. Mosaik
      Balanced

      Mosaik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      Maybe you are putting pressure on the inner ear, try inserting them a little less deep.
       
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    12. SoulStation
      No Mood

      SoulStation Member Ambassador Team Tech

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise / Possible Medication
      I find my musicains plugs obviously increase perception but they tend to settle down my reactive t and put me more at ease.
       
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    13. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      I use the er-20 and I like them a lot. I almost don't hear any difference but I have little protection enough to be safe then sorry. T does not change when I wear them.
       
    14. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Oh ok. Weird man. Just another strange thing with T I guess. Don't you get pieces of cotton stuck in your ear? I have considered trying this for when I don't need a ton of protection but concerned about pieces getting logged in my ear canal.
       
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    15. T-Saiyan
      Badass

      T-Saiyan Member

      Location:
      Where ever Money needs me to Be, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/03/2013
      oh GOD how i miss wearing ear plugs, and hearing silence................
       
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    16. martin12

      martin12 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/13/2014
      unless you are at a loud concert try to avoid ear plugs. tinnitus in my opinion is in the brain and thus it's your brain that needs re-wiring. as i've said previously, if T was high frequency hearing loss as many experts may think then everyone and there loved ones would have T after age 40.
       
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    17. Mosaik
      Balanced

      Mosaik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      You made a good point, but age related hearing loss is little understood yet and is probably related to many factors.
      Latest article that I've found:
      http://www.actiononhearingloss.org....epigenetics-and-age-related-hearing-loss.aspx

      Edit:
      "...Therefore, aldosterone helps to maintain a healthy level of potassium in the body, which in turn, helps to maintain hearing.

      However, as people age, the amount of aldosterone produced in the body decreases, because the adrenal glands do not work as well as they should.

      At the same time, potassium levels fall as well. This may explain why age-related hearing loss develops, because low aldosterone could affect hearing both in the inner ear and in the part of the brain that processes sounds."
      http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/curing-hearing-loss-hormone-therapy
       
    18. Rhea
      Volatile

      Rhea Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      I use foam hearos 32db reduction plugs a lot (far too much in fact but that's another story) If I have the plugs in any longer than 10 mins my t is always spiked when I take them out and sometimes doesn't come back to baseline until the next day! I have always found this to be the case since about year 5 of having tinnitus....I'm really not sure why this happens, maybe the brain just gets locked into the signal as obviously t is louder when the plugs are in, and then maybe it takes a while to unlock from it when you take them out?....That's really the only explanation I can think of.

      I do worry though as I wear plugs so much and I really hope it is not the cause of my continuously increasing tinnitus. I did try and go without plugs and lasted two weeks before giving in....sigh
       
    19. Ray Seddon
      Amused

      Ray Seddon Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Western Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      1985
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unprotected hearing damage - highpowered firearm, open-cab tractors...
      Hi Rhea. I can only agree with you. Jastreboff's model of T and his Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, which is a habituation program, strongly recommends to avoid silence, which is what total sound-blocking earplugs like foam will do. He refers to an early trial where ppl (who did not have T) were closed in a soundproof room and they all experienced T after a short while. I strongly believe that silence is not what we should be looking for; rather reduce the external sounds and introduce another sound that takes your attention away from your T. At least that is the only thing that works for me. Silence to me induces spikes and large volume increase, so I don't use total-sound-blocking earplugs. I use partial-blocking earphones at night (I can still hear external sounds a bit) and I play an mp3 through the phones (all night and in quiet times during the day) with water, rain, rivers, white noise, etc. Because of this I don't notice T and I sleep like a log. Without this, my T wakes me and I can't get back to sleep.
      But we may all be different - this is just what works for me. I'm not habituated yet but I am coping.
      Ray
       
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    20. bwspot

      bwspot Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/13/2014
      good point. I am 39 and my T is high frequency but I still can hear very well at high frequencies.
      I can hear differences up to 18400Hz which for my age is not that bad. I can hear every whisper. Imagine this, I was in second bedroom separated by dinning room and living room and I still could hear my parents whisper at night. I could not believe it that could hear that so I asked them if the were whispering at night and there were!!! T is a mystery for me. I don't get it and that's the main reason i read so much about it.
       
    21. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      This study must have been flawed...I have used ear plugs to sleep in a dead silent environment (before I had T). I experienced nothing but dead quiet. I have also been for a hearing test pre T, I may of hit the button falsely imagining and anticipating a test tone (this to me is not experiencing tinnitus). If this is how the study was conducted, and that is what they concluded (pretty sad).

      Not everyone will experience tinnitus, this is garbage. Total and complete crap IMO
       
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    22. Mosaik
      Balanced

      Mosaik Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I think this is the combination of many citizens having otherwise unnoticable T and some people falsely reporting their blood flow as a strange sound.
       
    23. PingoJack
      Spaced

      PingoJack Member

      Location:
      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2000
      I use a kind of plastic plugs used for avoiding water in the ear while swimming. It also dampens sound but not as much as the foam plugs. They are also reusable. My experience is that I feel a lot more calm with plugs when I go by tram, some noisy buses, or trains and definitely airplanes. My problem is mostly when I am exposed to noise that trigger the emotional responses like stress and anxiety. Then my brain tune in to T very efficiently and keeps it at front row for days or weeks. As long as I can keep this response in check it is fine... but of course you cant protect yourself from everything. I had a set back at Eastern involving a couple of kids and a piano. T got worse ever since.
       
    24. Marian27

      Marian27 Member

      Location:
      london, uk
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      I often read in forums about the frequency of T, high frequency. low frequency, frequency to a 5 ....how does one know about what frequency their T is? I mean, I really don't know about mine..so I can't no compare to anyone...I thought T frequency could not be measure..
       
    25. @Marian27 My audiologist measured my tinnitus frequency. I also downloaded a tone generator called onlinetonegenerator.com and confirmed that her measurement was very close. There was not a statistically significant difference.
       
    26. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      at a tinnitus support group meeting I attended recently, one of the presenters referenced a study that had been done on normal (no T) people, where half of them wore earplugs for 2 weeks straight, and half of them wore maskers.

      After 2 weeks, the people who had been wearing earplugs all reported that ambient sound was louder than it had been before, and the people who wore maskers reported that it was quieter.

      The brain is a radio. You block out external noise, and the brain literally cranks up the gain on the auditory pathways to compensate. This is probably why TRT-style masking can literally lower the volume of T -- the auditory gain gets dialed way down.

      So, yes, wearing plugs can absolutely shift your hearing threshold and alter your perception of T, but such changes are reversible and probably not dangerous.

      I wear plugs when I ride my motorcycle. I'm not nuts about hearing my T more clearly as a result, but somehow I totally forget about that when I'm going 60mph and am a half step from death at every moment....
       
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    27. NiNyu

      NiNyu Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      29/12/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      barotrauma? stress?
      That's very interesting. Prior to T I used to ware earplugs when sleeping for months. And I too experienced that ambient sounds were kinda louder and a lil annoying to me.
       
    28. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      East Coast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      1998
      Yeah man. I used to listen to this annoying psytrance album that had a sample that said "the brain.. Is a radio. The brain is a radio!" The problem is that our conscious mind doesn't have total control over the dial, so stuff like tinnitus, apparently, amounts to getting stuck on a shitty station.

      If the last four years of my life had exclusively been like the last month, I'd be totally suicidal! But, even though the T signal has been pretty constant, there's been a huge variation in that time, and I've had several runs of many months where life seemed good and suicide seemed like a far away, obscene joke. Also, I have sufficient experiences with hardcore meditation and hardcore psychedelic drugs to know that my whole ontology is malleable and subject to conscious and unconscious alternation. Christmas 2013 was horrible and I was tinnitus obsessed; Christmas 2014 was pleasant and I went on a long quiet walk with my wife that we both enjoyed. So, as shitty as today is...I want to live!
       

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