Foam Earplugs — Best Quality / Price Ratio?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Juan, Apr 10, 2022.

    1. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I have been using these foam earplugs for a long time:

      shopping?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDqAkNZnO4FOL3wfdPu-WcBMG2ptUSJlhaMIkXoUQ0vaHRZoPO2A&usqp=CAc.png

      However, they have got expensive, and price has increased from 2.90 euros to 4.50 euros (with discount) and more often over 5 euros per 3 pairs of earplugs (6 units, 3 pairs).

      So I am looking for a cheaper option, if the quality is still the same... I do not mind the earplugs are not flesh coloured like the Ototap ones. I have seen some brands sell bulk amounts of earplugs, like 100 or 200 pairs, and I am wondering if they are any good... and less expensive.

      Which foam earplugs do you use and how much do they cost?
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I have bought various brands over the years that are mainly used when not wearing ear defenders, to block out the majority of external sound when operating noisy power tools, such as an electric drill or circular saw. They also come in handy when using the petrol lawn mower and strimmer. I have bought them off eBay. Brand 3M £9.49 /$12.37/€11.37 . Free P&P for 100-50 pairs.

      Foam earplugs should not be regularly used to suppress normal everyday sounds in the outside environment, as a way of treating or coping with hyperacusis. The condition can easily be made worse by lowering the noise floor of the auditory system, which will make the ears more sensitive to sound.

      Michael
       
    3. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      You’re right about this, but how do we prevent random noise events while we are out and about?
       
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      A person that regularly uses foam earplugs to suppress normal everyday sounds in the environment because of oversensitivity or has hyperacusis risks making the condition worse on many fronts.

      By wrongly using foam earplugs in this way instils and reinforces negative thinking towards sound. Not only does the lowering of the auditory system's noise floor takes place resulting in the ears becoming more sensitive to sound, but it often makes the hyperacusis worse, due to the impact it has on a person's mental and emotional wellbeing. The longer this goes on the more difficult these conditions are to treat.

      The answer is not to use foam earplugs in this way as it causes more harm than good. I have explained this in my thread, Hyperacusis, As I See It. One can try self-help or seek professional help to get hyperacusis treated, because wearing foam earplugs, to suppress normal everyday sounds will only exacerbate the problem over time.

      A better solution is to wear noise reducing earplugs as they cause less of an occlusion affect. However, one should use noise reducing earplugs temporarily and not become dependent on them, as overuse can also result in lowering the noise floor of the auditory system and make it more sensitive to sound.

      Michael
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      He's not right about that, as there are tons of everyday sounds that will kill hyperacusic ears and make the problem chronic or turn it into other hearing issues, like tinnitus or hearing loss...

      I know that for a fact because I tried to live without earplugs and it was not possible. And I work at a noisy place without earplugs, having hyperacusis, which was severe for several years, and now it is just bad... and I have lost hearing as a result of that.

      So if you have hyperacusis and go somewhere where there is the possibility of loud unexpected noise (traffic, power tools, etc etc etc) do wear earplugs. And because those situations (and, again, I talk out of painful personal experience) are unpredictable, this means wearing earplugs pretty much anywhere outside home.
       
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    6. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Makes sense. I’m thinking of getting some custom earplugs just to put lower dB filters to allow some sound. I’m trying to balance sound and protection.

      You’re right though, protecting more has somewhat calmed the tinnitus (still nuts at times) but it makes things seem very loud. Catch 22.

      This is why I want to do noise therapy in a controlled environment and allow more and more noise in as long as my auditory system feels ok.

      Being positive, imo, allows for easier habituation. I’m still hearing this nonsense lol. I can, however, ignore it sometimes and it can lower quite a bit.
       
    7. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      Thanks, that’s what I figured too. I was trying without earplugs outside but experienced non-stop noise events. Problem is my hyperacusis is worsening after it was getting better so I don’t know.
       
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Why are you bothering with custom earplugs when ordinary noise reducing earplugs will suffice? Remember, earplugs are not something that you should get used to wearing, if you want to successfully treat oversensitivity to sound or hyperacusis and ultimately get on with your life.

      I believe dependence on earplugs causes more harm than good.

      Michael
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Some of the people that have severe hyperacusis of the type that you are referring to, have made their condition worse by overusing hearing protection. I once had very severe hyperacusis that has been completely cured for over 20 years. The answer is not wearing earplugs it is self-help or seeking professional treatment.

      Michael
       
    10. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      When I need foam earplugs, I'll use Mack's Ultra Soft. I've tried lots but these are the best value and best performing for me, 500 for around ten pounds GBP. For noisy environments I just use the cheapest silicon ones I can find that can easily be pushed in deeper and loosened when required.
       
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    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Indeed, for noisy environments that is right way to use hearing protection, they should not be overused.
       
    12. Wrfortiscue
      Cowabunga

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Trauma
      I was doing the no earplugs in the beginning and I was spiking quite a bit. I have it in my earlier posts.

      Yes I am trying to get on with my life but the spikes end up waking me up non-stop.
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You have had noise-induced tinnitus for approximately 20 years and I'll assume that you coped reasonably well with it until 2021 when it increased. Ruling out an underlying medical condition as the cause for the tinnitus to become louder, the likely reason is further exposure to loud noise or the regular use of headphones, earbuds, AirPods, headsets which don't necessarily have to be used at high volume levels.

      The fact that you are experiencing hyperacusis leads me to believe it is further exposure to loud noise or headphone use that is responsible for your current situation. It is possible for the tinnitus and hyperacusis to improve and will probably take time so be patient. By all means use noise reducing earplugs but try not to become too dependent on them.

      Michael
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I followed "professional" treatment, which is precisely what made the hyperacusis worse. There is no treatment for true hyperacusis, the kind of hyperacusis that would produce a massive headache, fullness etc etc etc for weeks after a single one-off noise exposure like the neighbour drilling a wall (30 seconds) or a car horn etc etc.

      There is treatment for people who believe that a bit of anxiety and a light hearing sensitivity is hyperacusis (which is not true).
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Could you post a picture of the product please?

      Thanks!
       
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    16. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Since your tinnitus was caused by several causes as mentioned on your profile, it's possible this has made your hyperacusis more difficult to treat. You haven't said what the professional treatment entailed or how long you had it for?

      I had very severe hyperacusis, not just oversensitivity to sound. Twenty five years ago on April the 4th, my ordeal started with severe tinnitus and hyperacusis.

      Back then I had no computer and learnt about tinnitus and hyperacusis from books. I also wore foam earplugs because outside sounds caused a lot of pain in my ears. I even had to ask people lower their voice during conversation because my ears hurt so much. I know what this condition can do.

      I am sorry to know of the immense discomfort that you are going through and hope someday it will start to improve.

      I wish you well.

      Michael
       
    17. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Sorry I added an extra 0 in my head o_O

      And prices have gone up a few bucks like most things. Still great value I'd say.

      I get mine from Amazon UK.
       

      Attached Files:

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    18. makeyourownluck
      Vegged out

      makeyourownluck Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Juan, does the process of taking earplugs out cause your ear fullness to increase? Mine is always worse after wearing earplugs, but feels better when they are in. I don’t understand it.
       
    19. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      My hyperacusis started years before tinnitus appeared.
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That's the picture I saw on Amazon. Those earplugs do not seem exactly of the same material as the Ototap ones. I say this because I tried 3M earplugs of that shape, like in the picture you posted, and these 3M earplugs come in different colors, and they got glued to my ear and produced a nasty suction effect when removed...

      So I was looking for earplugs with the same shape as the Ototap ones; they are not thinner at the tip, and exactly the same material ("espuma especial de polímero" = special polymer foam, whatever that means...) :)

      The earplug material, to the touch, feels porous, it is not a smooth surface... actually it might be an older design
       
    21. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Not now. In the past I noticed changes when removing earplugs. I use those expensive Ototap earplugs because they do not produce suction, and are flesh colored, and for me, comfortable to wear.

      It is easier to get pressure if the earplugs are wrinkled inside your ear. Sometimes you can feel that, it is evident. Other times you notice after removing the earplugs.

      For me earplugs are a need, since noise exposure gives me really bad setbacks, and Spain is very noisy. 90% of people live in less than 10% of the country, so it is densely populated, and people love motorbikes, firecrackers and everything that makes noise.

      Those horrible coffee machines that grind the coffee instantly have been the latest addition to noise in the last few years. Now there is even music at supermarket's parking lots and odd places like that... or music at the toilet of an airport or a restaurant... noise is ubiquitous and all these noises compete to be heard over the daily drone of an already noisy country.
       
    22. makeyourownluck
      Vegged out

      makeyourownluck Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Juan, how long did it take for this additional pressure feeling to stop? I use EarPeace earplugs at the moment, they are ok but do create a seal using suction. I have tried foam earplugs but find them incredibly painful to remove, no matter how slowly I do it. Is this an issue for you?

      I also do not leave my house without earplugs. I’m afraid I’ll lose more hearing. My losses definitely came from ‘normal’ everyday noise.
       
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    23. Snake
      Heartbroken

      Snake Member

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2011 - Gaming on headphones. 2020 - Severe by breaking glass
      Even if particular sound doesn't hurt you, it still can make your tinnitus worse. This is from personal experience. My hyperacusis over the years got lower, yet my tinnitus got LOUDER. That's why earplugs outside when living in a city is a must and custom earplugs are more comfy + you can choose your level of protection by changing the filters.
       
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    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      For me the pressure feeling was never really a big issue. Suction is dangerous. That's why I opened this thread to talk about earplugs. The ones I use are expensive but I do not notice any suction with them.

      I remembered there were earplugs of a similar shape, in the typical yellow colour, and they were not narrower at the tip, so maybe the material is similar to the Ototap ones. I am going to try to find those. For me the flesh color is not very important, as I usually wear earplugs outside home. The material the earplugs are made of and the shape are very important.

      I have also lost hearing due to everyday noises. That a noise is commonplace does not mean it is safe. I have seen tons of workers cutting tiles, using carpenter saws, using drills, without noise protection... people are just crazy. And there will be tons of situation where you walk into really loud and sudden noise unexpectedly. That's why I wear earplugs. I did try to go around without earplugs with severe hyperacusis, and it was awful, constant cycles of pain, anxiety through the roof, and as a result I got also tinnitus and hearing loss.
       
    25. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Go to the British Tinnitus Association website, and read what they say about hyperacusis and using hearing protection.

      I wish you well,
      Michael
       
    26. Snake
      Heartbroken

      Snake Member

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2011 - Gaming on headphones. 2020 - Severe by breaking glass
      Yeah, someone will know better about my tinnitus & hyperacusis than myself living 11 years with it and learning from my mistakes.

      In the beginning doctors said the same, live like normal, don't think about it. Guess why my tinnitus got worse, guess why it didn't go away in the first place when I was 13.

      Do doctors have any objective measurement? No. Any biomarker? No. They only rely on what patients tell, and guess who are the patients. We are. Patients are the data and I'm the best data about myself.

      Like I said, my hyperacusis got better but it wasn't worth the tinnitus increase in the first place. When the doors glass has break in 2020 I didn't felt pain but my tinnitus increased horribly the next day and stayed like it. The only time I will take my earplugs out outside is time outside the city, outside the environment where an ambulance can pass you randomly, car can horn at you randomly, people will shout at you randomly. These are NOT safe sounds, normal people just don't have tinnitus and don't feel the damage at 8 kHz+. We NEED to protect ourselves in non-controlled environment and live the best way we can while doing it.

      I was at the mall yesterday, an alarm inside the shop went off. With my earplugs I was safe and everything is fine and there's nothing to think about, without them I would be fu**ed and scared right now.
       
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    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Probably they have "experts" like David Baguley, who should rectify a ton of wrong statements about hyperacusis, hearing protection, tinnitus etc... in his "expert" books.

      People who do not have a clue about how hyperacusis works write books, make money out of this and "counsel" others who are suffering.
       
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    28. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Well said @Juan, I couldn't agree with you more. I was being a little facetious and I'm pleased that you picked me up on it. These so called experts are physicians and know about the anatomy of the ear but haven't a clue about tinnitus or hyperacusis.

      I understand your reasons for wearing hearing protection and agree with them, as I don't think you have straightforward hyperacusis caused by noise trauma. Perhaps you have an underlying medical issue that's causing it. @Snake's hyperacusis is a different kettle of fish from yours although he may have made it worse by overusing hearing protection. This instils and reinforces negative thinking towards tinnitus and hyperacusis and ultimately can make these conditions worse over time.

      Michael
       
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