Flying with Bad Tinnitus and (Especially) Hyperacusis, Experiences?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Karel, Sep 3, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Karel
      Stressed

      Karel Member

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      My situation; I've had moderate T&H for a few years now, but about three months ago I suffered a setback which made both of them much more intense. My T got a lot louder so it keeps me awake at night again, and I also got "morse code Tinnitus" now in addition to the other two, continuous sounds. But an even bigger problem is my H. I have become much more sensitive to sounds, and get distracted/annoyed by all kinds of sounds I didn't even consciously notice before, for example the humming of the fridge at the other side of my apartment. I also get ear pain frequently now, something I only very rarely had before. (Not really in response to sound, more like just at various moments throughout the day.)

      I've been planning to travel abroad for some time now, and that involves taking a long plane flight, like 16 hours there, and then later 16 hours back too of course. Last time I flew was about 2,5 years ago and back then it all went fine. I brought my noise cancellation headphones, got a seat far in front of the engines, and chewed lots of gum to keep the pressure equalized. My ear felt bad and my T was very loud after I got off the plane, but it didn't do any permanent damage. But that was back then, it was all pretty mild compared to how I have it now.

      I know everyone's T and H are different, and that in the end I will have to make my own decision, and any consequences will also be for me. But I'd still like to hear from any other people whose T and especially H are comparable to mine who have taken long plane flights, and how that went for them. Thanks.
       
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    2. Sara_Bond
      Cool

      Sara_Bond Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      28.10.2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      Hi @Karel

      As your setback is recent, I would wait, so that your ears can have some rest. 16h trip is such quite a big trip for your ears and I would say it is a bit risky. I know how it feels to be forbidden to travel, but IMO, if you need some vacation, go in a place within your country which is quiet and you could relax.

      Be patient and don't screw your ears again. Ok we all want to fight this beast (especially H) but such a long trip doesn't worth it. I don't wanna neither frighten you or prevent you to have some fun, just to make you avoid some further damages.

      And you said it well, afterall, the consequences will be for you.

      I'm so sorry, I wish I could tell you to go for it.
       
    3. gotyoubynuts

      gotyoubynuts Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Concert
      Flying has given too many people perm issues, please don't fly
       
    4. Karel
      Stressed

      Karel Member

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Hello again Sara. Yeah, wait, I know... But it's already been three months and I'm not sure it's even getting any better at all yet. How long before it improves? Six months? A year? Two? Well no one can say of course, but I feel like it's gonna be a long time. I don't want to just put my life on hold so long.. I already give up so much.

      Well, I looked around here and also on Hyperacusis Chat, and *most* people who fly even with severe H seem to be ok afterwards.. though yes, there are exceptions. :/ I just hoped to hear some 'fresh' stories perhaps from people whose severity is comparable to mine.


      In any case, I've decided to not book the flight just yet. I'm gonna think it over for a few more weeks. I'm really struggling with my T&H lately and the idea of them getting even worse is terrifying.
       
    5. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      I'll just say that I recently flew 2 connected flights that took a combined total of 18 hours. I flew another 4 times after this totalling a further 18 hours or so. On top of this I went on a submarine down to a depth of 130 ft; drove from sea level to the top of 2 mountains, one at 10,023 ft and the other at 13,800 ft. I also went on 2 helicopter flights and went parasailing at 1200 ft. This all took place over a 3 week period.

      The only issue I had was a Eustachian tube problem during landing on a flight to LA. My ear blocked up because I obviously had fluid in my left ear. It resolved the following morning and I had absolutely no issues whatsoever with my tinnitus during any of these journeys and I really did A LOT of altitude descends.

      I think there is a general hysteria around flying that's not really warranted. I'm aware some may face issues but with the right planning and awareness I believe the chances of damage or worsening of tinnitus are minuscule. Even the tinnitus uk website itself says a lot of tinnitus sufferers worry unnecessarily during flights.
       
    6. Karel
      Stressed

      Karel Member

      Location:
      Netherlands
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma
      Yeah, as I said, in most cases I found people report no lasting issues.. although there are also a few stories of people even getting T from flying. :S So I think a risk does exist. It's also my H that I worry about more than my T, it feels like the bigger vulnerability... Well, I'll see. But thanks for your reply anyway, and cool that you did all that stuff with no problems!!
       
    7. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      Just use some ear muffs and you will be fine
      Use the peltor x5a , those cut low frequency noise very well.
       
    8. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      @Bobby B

      The main risk that concerns people is barotrauma more than anything. The noise, especially if you pick the right seat, is not too bad. I certainly wouldn't say it's bad enough to cause tinnitus without pre existing issues, even then I've seen no evidence to suggest flight noise should be a concern.

      My flights were all below 80 db once we were cruising. Take offs can get loud, in which case, cover your ears. One of the flights, which was a double decker Airbus was very quiet notching under 70 db. This was on the top deck.

      I still played it safe but I only used Sennheiser passive noise headphones, and the main reason for this was watching movies and tv shows. 18 hours is a long time to keep your sanity just sitting in a highly uncomfortable chair.

      Surely flight attendants are at risk and should be supplied ear protection as an occupational hazard? I didn't see a single attendant with any ear protection whatsoever. If the risk was high enough they'd all be protected to comply with health and safety laws, and it would help with any law suits etc.

      Maybe I'm totally wrong and there's countless flight crew out there with tinnitus caused by their job. If this was the case though, why aren't they made to wear ear defenders?

      The helicopter crew we encountered all wore ear plugs and/or peltors. A stark difference in how the 2 different jobs were handled. Obviously ground noise for the helicopter crew is louder and the ear defense was compulsory.
       
    9. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      What barotrauma are you talking about ? these are pressurized top of the line modern jet aircraft not some old DC10 from the 1960's

      I have yet to see stories from people getting permanent ear damage from such a flight. Millions are flying everyday.

      But If you have existing noise damage then perhaps 80 or 85db for 15 hours may be a bad idea hence the muffs.
      Those cost only $25 and will cut low frequency cabin noise better than any plug and be more comfortable over time and let ear wax out.
       
    10. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      @Bobby B

      I'm just stating what most people are concerned about when flying. Barotrauma is one of the most highlighted concerns; it seems more of a concern than the noise from the threads I've read.

      The fact they are pressurised doesn't matter Bobby, whilst descending from 33,000 ft your eustachian tubes work hard to equalise the pressure in your middle ear. Some chew or suck on sweets; some use ear plane plugs. Others yawn or voluntarily open their eusctachian tubes whilst descending which is what I do. The risk is if you have mucus from an allergy or recent cold and it fills your tube/s. The fluid/mucus can get sucked in and block it off. If this happens there's not much you can do other than let the pressure build in your ear/s and hope that it doesn't damage your ear drum. As the pressure rises your ear drum is pulled inward and stretched.

      I think personally this is the only potential concern with flying. The noise is a total non issue and isn't worth worrying about. If you do find it loud there's plenty of things you can do.

      I'll copy and paste a more detailed explanation of barotrauma and flights below:


      Barotrauma refers to injuries caused by increased air or water pressure, such as during airplane flights or scuba diving. Barotrauma of the ear is common. Generalized barotraumas, also called decompression sickness, affects the entire body.

      Your middle ear includes the eardrum and the space behind it. The only connection between your middle ear and the "outside world" is a thin canal called the Eustachian tube. This connects your ear with the back of your mouth. When you swallow, you may notice a small click in your ears. This is a bubble of air being moved through the Eustachian tube. These bubbles are constantly moving into the middle ear, where they balance the ear's inner pressure. Ear barotrauma can occur when these tubes become blocked or partially blocked.

      On an airplane, barotrauma to the ear – also called aero-otitis or barotitis – can happen as the plane descends for landing. Barotrauma of the ear also can happen when scuba divers descend. The pressure change can create a differential between the outer and middle ear that pushes the eardrum inward. This can cause pain and can muffle sounds. Your ear will feel stuffed and you may feel as if you need to "pop" it.

      In more severe cases of barotrauma, the middle ear can fill with clear fluid as the body tries to equalize the pressure on both sides of the eardrum. This fluid is drawn out of blood vessels in the lining of the inner ear, and can only drain if the Eustachian tube is open. Fluid behind the eardrum is called serous otitis media. It can create pain and hearing difficulty similar to a middle ear infection.

      205221.jpg

      The eardrum can rupture (break) in severe cases of ear barotrauma, causing bleeding or leaking of fluid from the ear. A ruptured eardrum can result in hearing loss. In severe cases, it is possible for the pressure to create a leak between the deepest structures of the ear (the fluid-filled bony canals called the cochlea and semicircular canals) and the inner ear space. This deep leak is known as a fistula. If this occurs, the balance center can be affected, resulting in a sensation of spinning or falling called vertigo. This complication may require emergency surgery.

      Barotrauma is the most common medical problem reported by air travelers. It is much more likely to happen to people who have colds, allergies or infections when they are flying. It is common in children because their Eustachian tubes are narrower than those of adults and become blocked more easily.


      https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/barotrauma.html
       
    11. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      Ed, I'm not worried about barotrauma in a modern jet. Noise is the danger for me and many people with T/H/hearing loss after noise damage. But you don't seem to have H, or very mild, otherwise you would not fly in a helicopter for fun.
       
    12. Sara_Bond
      Cool

      Sara_Bond Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      28.10.2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      @Ed209

      Thanx for all these explanation. I think the difference between you and @Karel , is that Karel does have H. And it is an important factor.

      I guess people with mild H can fly with no problem at all but his H has worsened over the past 2 months. I can assure you that with my H, there are some Helicopters flying over my home and I can hear them as if they were next to me.

      Concerning barotrauma, you're right. I use to have my ear aching when landing (not everytime but it happened), I used to yawn, chew, drink water to make it easier (one time it was really bad).

      Anyway, people have to feel confident before flying, if not that could be a disaster.

      The person should take its personal decision but IMO in case of worsening I would wait that my symptoms stabilize before acting.
       
    13. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      And that is where we agree which is why I posted here. I'd advise anyone to not let tinnitus stop them from travelling. What else do you want this condition to stop you doing?

      The way I see things is different from the majority of posters here from what I read on a regular basis.

      The cinema is fine
      Travelling is fine
      Restaurants are fine
      Living your life is fine as well

      If any of the above get a bit loud, just pop some ear plugs in and carry on with your day. The more you condition yourself to be shit scared of every situation you come across the worse off you'll be.
       
    14. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      For problematic H I'd advise using ear muffs or noise cancelling headphones/passive headphones. Use them and there won't be a problem. I personally wouldn't use H as a reason not to fly because there are ways around it.

      Don't let this condition stop you going on vacation/holiday. For some of us it's the oy damn time we get to enjoy ourselves. Don't piss on that parade as well.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    15. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Foncky, just wear some ear muffs or earplugs. The reduction will allow you to fly in anything you want including helicopters. The chopper I went in wasn't even that loud in the cabin. With ear muffs on you'd hardly hear a thing honestly.
       
    16. Sara_Bond
      Cool

      Sara_Bond Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      28.10.2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure

      I wish my friend.

      Before my worsening, It was something I could plan. Now even with good earmuffs going out to the supermarket, doing usual thing are painful. I don't wanna let this condition overwhelm me but it reminds me everytime when I'm doing something my ears don't like. Pain like you never felt, so I rather be careful. Still hopeful.

      Well lucky you anyway, saw your pictures from Hawai. Amazing.
       
    17. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015

      Proper ear muffs would take the level down to approximately 45 db. Then pick a seat as far forward as you can. I can't see how you'd have any issues at that level?

      And thanks, it was amazing, which is kinda why I'm so enthusiastic here. I don't want to see people missing out on the good things in life when I strongly believe there are ways around things.
       
    18. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      I don't know man. I can barely stand the noise of my car for two hours, with Peltor Optime III + 3M 1100 foam earplugs in.

      Certain noises will still make my ears painful. It's not about the level I think.
       
    19. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      Agreed. Never worn plugs to the cinema or restaurants.
       
    20. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      You're lucky then. You might consider plugs when going to the cinema and such activities. So things have a chance to stay the same for you.
       
    21. Mario martz
      Creative

      Mario martz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      mmm well,
      i go to restaurants that are around 75 to 85
      without earplugs, am i doing it wrong?
       
    22. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Foncky you miss the point. I always take plugs with me to the cinema, but what I'm saying, is that the vast majority of stuff we did before can still be done. I find this forum can sometimes be a tad on the negative side. There are too many times that I see threads about everything being dangerous and how things must be avoided etc.

      Cinemas by and large are not very loud places. I even went to one in LA and it was no different to all the ones I've been to in the uk. Fair enough, there may be some rogue loud ones out there but they are outnumbered by 'normal ones' (this is my experience, mainly in the uk).

      It's arguable that plugs aren't even needed in the cinemas I've used. This may not go for everyone as some people have H etc, but there is always the option of filtered ear plugs rather than outright avoidance. I believe this mentality promotes a negative pyschology that can lead to further depression or stress. If you grew up watching movies at the cinema and are then told you shouldn't go, it's going to cause a mental scar and possibly a unhealthy phobia to sound when it's not necessary. It's not necessary because ear plugs exist if required!

      Look more at the positives. There are solutions to a lot of situations.
       
    23. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      I get what you're saying Ed. But trust me, I don't miss any point and I try look at the positives as much as I can.

      You really have to understand that some people just can't go to the cinema (just an example of course), even with plugs, even with muffs. I can't. I went until I was able to, but one day, my body said stop.

      I've been a film-lover for a long time, dreaming of directing a movie one day. I just watch movies at home now, with a great TV and a quality sound system at very low volume. The experience is great and I still have this dream to direct a movie one day. I won't go to my own premiere but it's perfectly fine ;)

      A big part of life is to accept change and to adapt to it. My T and H have been extreme for 8 months now, after 12 years of a mild condition. I know my "new" body now, and my solutions are not to cry about the things I can't do anymore or to do them whatever the price is.

      My solution is to find new ways to live my life like I never did before, at its fullest. It takes time. I want a cure but in the meantime, I have to focus on what I'm still able to do. Noisy activities are not part of that anymore. Really, you have to understand that my condition is like that. Earplugs and earmuffs are my everyday allies, but that's about it. They can't protect me enough in a cinema or a helicopter.
       
    24. Ed209

      Ed209 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Fair enough foncky. Just out of curiosity though, how do you cope with day to day sounds? Do you wear ear plugs whilst watching tv for example? How do you deal with traffic noise? City noise?

      The reason I say this is because they are all environments that can expose you to louder sounds than a cinema does. I understand what you are saying about adjusting, that's a perfectly valid argument in your case if you feel it's the solution.

      What about the rest of life though as mentioned above? My next question would then be if you wear muffs or plugs to get you through, why not the cinema as well? There are more situations louder than a cinema that you would pretty much be forced to deal with around a city for example.
       
    25. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      I don't find the cinema that loud to be honest, each to there own though. Certsinly not as loud as some parts of the london underground which i get to work everyday.
       
    26. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      @Ed : Yeap, totally. A police siren is 115-125dB and can get right next to you before you know it. Far more dangerous than a 2 hours movie indeed. Simple traffic noise can be 80-95dB I believe.

      So my answer is... that I hardly cope with day to day sounds.

      There again, after 6 months of extreme suffering, trying to go on with my old life and worsening my condition, I decided to adjust :
      - I left a big city center to buy a flat with a garden in a small village with great mountains just next to it. We had always wanted it but we never dared. Hyperacusis made the decision for us, in a way.
      - I decided to launch an online business so I can work from home and decide alone when it's worth to go out for my job.
      - Instead of flying 12 hours to go on holidays, like we usually did with my girlfriend, we stayed in our country, discovering fantastic (and quiet) places we knew nothing about.
      - I don't go to the hairdresser any longer. I found an excellent one who comes at home and uses only oldfashioned scissors. The result is far better... and cheaper. This one is anecdotal, but it illustrates well how I try to adjust and often get good surprises.

      When I HAVE to walk in the street or to drive my car or anything like that, I wear earplugs + earmuffs. But I'm always on the edge. Too long in there, or a police siren next to me, and I'll a few bad days (if not worse) to come. So no, I won't risk it when it's not necessary.

      I don't wear plugs for watching TV, at low volume it's fine (with my quality sound system at least), even if I have to keep the remote in hand to adjust it quite often.

      Really, not being able to cope well with day to day sounds is my biggest concern and I try to work on that. Visiting a big city again is something I'd like to achieve. I had to cancel a trip to NY in march, that was cruel for me and my girlfriend, but we know we'll go one day. We planned it a year before...

      But otherwise, my life is not less interesting. I still see a lot of people. Just in different situations. This weekend I'll have 10 friends at home, in the garden, for a barbecue. I'll certainly have to wear plugs, but at least they can come together and have a good time. That would not be possible without the garden... When we invite friends inside, 2 guests is the limit ;)

      I'm not at all for staying at home all the time. I'm one person who needs to be out often, walking, running, hiking, cycling. I try to make it possible.
       
    27. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      I agree, your London underground is a nightmare ;)
      But there's something else to consider : while it's ok to wear earplugs and earmuffs in the transports, does it make sense to do so at the cinema when you're a movie-lover for whom every detail counts ? I have a far better experience at home (I plan to install a very big screen, like 120") without plugs.
       
    28. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      I don't wear them on the underground, i am on it for about ten minutes. Thats cool about the 120 screen. If you are more comfortable at homr thats awesome, I just read about your H, i guess am very lucky as i do not have that, sorry if i came across harsh.

      Do you hear your T clearly when watching?
       
    29. Foncky
      Doubtful

      Foncky Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Europe
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      An explosion, music, and fate.
      No problem. It's fine if we don't always agree. I don't always like what Ed writes over here, but it still makes me think about how I see things and how there is always something to learn and we must stay open-minded.

      Yes, I hear it all the time (I guess because of a fairly big hearing loss above 4000Hz).
       
    30. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      I have a 30db loss at 4khz which sucks..
      Do you manage to not think about it while watching movies?
      Where are you from by the way?
       

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