Going on a Road Trip — Should I Wear Earplugs in the Car?

Discussion in 'Support' started by alex1975, Oct 12, 2019.

    1. alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      Hi all!

      My tinnitus started in January, a few days after going to a club. It’s sort of better but after going to a concert about a month ago it got worse but again, is now finally getting back to where it was. However now I’m a bit paranoid and maybe over protecting my ears.

      I’m heading on a very long road trip from Las Vegas to San Diego to Seattle and back. The whole thing will last about 10 days. So my question is should I wear ear plugs while in the car? When I put my decibel meter on in the car, driving at about 75 mph it seems to be about 85 dB (does that sound right? Toyota Prius, nothing crazy).
       
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    2. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Better be safe than sorry.

      If you decide to take a risk and notice a spike at the end of a day of driving, then it would Definitely make sense to wear earplugs the next day.
       
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    3. MarkLud

      MarkLud Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise/music/unknown
      Gotta go trial and error. I'd have them with you in your pockets but try not to use them unless you really need 'em -- in theory, driving at those levels shouldn't make things worse. Everybody's different but I've found if I protect my ears for anything under 85 decibels, my sensitivity/hyperacusis gets way worse, and that can be a downward spiral that's difficult to stop. That said, when I was just a few months removed from my tinnitus/hyperacusis starting I remember driving in a thunderstorm was absolutely not pleasant on my ears and that I'd need a little protection in those circumstances.

      Good luck! I'm sure it'll all turn out fine.
       
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    4. Michael B
      Supportive

      Michael B Member Benefactor

      Location:
      San Diego, CA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stupidity
      I typically don't advocate wearing earplugs for any length of time. Unless you're driving in a car with the windows down, you should be OK (especially in a Prius).
      BTW: Sounds like a fun trip. Three of my favorite cities along with SF.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the input. Seems like I was getting a bit overprotective of my ears, it’s good to know that in most circumstances, you don’t need them while driving.
       
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    6. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      My tinnitus began to fade soon after I started being serious about protecting my ears.
       
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    7. Tex

      Tex Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure
      Different types of pavement, with various types of tread, especially in a lightweight car, makes my T worse by the end of even a short trip. I think it has to do with a fine vibration caused by the light weight of the car, harder road tires, on a courser type of pavement. Ear protection wouldn't help that. I know a Prius would blow my T sky high on Texas highways. And I've never set foot in a Prius, but have other Toyotas and Nissans.

      I can drive a heavier truck (pickup truck) about all day with no problem.
       
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    8. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      You should be fine without earplugs, but be careful if a very loud bike overtakes you, or a loud truck passes by.. just cover the ear closest to the noise.

      Wearing earplugs for a long long drive can be worse than not wearing them.
       
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    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      If you don’t mind me asking Bill, what types of steps did you take to protect your ears?
       
    10. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I protected my ears from all of the sounds that bothered my ears (I had had hyperacusis at the time). I wore earplugs in the car, at the grocery store (the metal carts and the beeping at the checkout can be loud), when I had to walk along busy roads (where motorcycles and trucks could be present). My hyperacusis was gone after a year, but many of those sounds still felt wrong. I gave it another year, and then gradually it began to feel ok to not protect in those places. Two and a half years after the onset of tinnitus, I mostly don't protect and feel fine. I still try to do everything I can to avoid being exposed to those louder noises. [Goes without saying that I stay away from hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, and lawn mowers.] This approach has worked well for me.
       
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    11. JohnAdams
      Greedy

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      yeah
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      There are a lot of situations I don’t even think of to wear ear plugs but I should. I’ve got some custom ones now so they’re easier to deal with. Thanks for that info!
       
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    13. oceanofsound26
      Tired

      oceanofsound26 Member

      Location:
      Washington State, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still not sure. TMJ & Neck Problems most likely.
      Agree with @Bill Bauer. My car is 75-80 dB driving to work, and I have soft foam ear plugs loosely in my ear canals and not jammed in while driving most times now. Recommend doing it in the beginning and then tapering off a bit as grow accustomed to it. I use two decibel apps on my phone to gauge volume in a new environment, use the average dB reading as the benchmark, and then adapt accordingly.
       
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    14. Elfin
      Wishful

      Elfin Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Hi @Bill Bauer - do you no longer need any protection in the supermarket or when driving?

      I find it inspirational that you have got to that place from where you were
       
    15. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hyperacusis normally goes away for most tinnitus sufferers. If I don't wear plugs, I stay away from the place where they store metal shopping carts, and from the stores where the beepers at the check out are loud. I don't wear earplugs for driving trips that are under 10 minutes.
       
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    16. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      85 db is right on the borderline between protection, and not. However, these numbers and thresholds apply to normal ears, and not after T when folks can spike from less.

      Do you currently spike if you drive the car at those speeds for a shorter time? If you can go an hour or two without an issue, then you should be ok, as long as you take some breaks, and play any music low. If not sure, then earplugs would be a better plan.

      The silicone ones on a string are a lot easier to put in, and not lose when driving.

      Enjoy your upcoming trip.
       
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    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      It seems to “react” when I’m driving above 65 mph or thereabouts...

      I’ve got some custom made ones I picked up that work nicely. I’ll play it by ear (no pun intended, lol) if it starts going up then I’ll use them.

      Thanks!
       
    18. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      What is the noise reduction rating on the custom earplugs?

      If your tinnitus actually reacts when you are driving (as opposed to you becoming aware of a slight increase in the volume of your tinnitus hours after you park your car for the day), then I have no idea why you would not want to pull out all stops to protect your ears. One thing you ought to consider doing is driving for a couple of hours around your home with earplugs, and cancelling your trip if you still get a spike.

      Your cost of wearing earplugs is looking goofy for a couple of hours (with nobody except for the folks at gas stations actually seeing your plugs), and the benefit is a chance to prevent a lifetime of constant torture. Am I missing something?
       
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    19. Earing
      No Mood

      Earing Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      Definitely. Wear the plugs. Have a set of 3M Peltor X5A muffs with you too.
       
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    20. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      As it starts to reach above 65 mph, and you plan to drive at higher speeds all day, the answer is you need some protection.
       
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    21. Roberto10

      Roberto10 Member

      Location:
      spain
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma (concert)
      If you don't have hyperacusis, I am absolutely sure that you don't need any hearing protection for the trip. Believe me, I have had tinnitus from June 2016 (acoustic trauma) and I have been traveling a lot since then with no spikes in tinnitus. I understand your worries, my first months with tinnitus I also was very paranoid about all the noises around me.

      But now, totally habituated, I have to say that the only limitation with tinnitus is that you have to protect ears when you go to some noisy restaurants, sports events (I go every 14 days with hearing protection to football matches without any problem), etc. So you can drive with no worries about tinnitus, believe me.

      I have never post here until today (because now I have doubts about using firearms as I said in my post), but I will write a post of my good evolution with tinnitus soon, to help new people with tinnitus.

      If anyone here knows about firearms, please help me with my doubts about police academy.
       
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    22. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      temporarily banished from this plane of existence.
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      85 sounds high for a prius but maybe your tires aren't great?

      I don't generally wear plugs in cars unless I have studded tires on, and even then not usually, but when my hearing was more sensitive post-trauma I did. I still bring them for longer drivers.
       
    23. JohnFox

      JohnFox Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown. Sudden loss of 100% hearing R ear with Tinnitus
      Just wondering Bill,...I have pretty bad Hyperacusis and after 10 months it doesn't seem to have gotten any better. My T is not noise induced, it all happened very suddenly while sleeping. Lost all hearing in my right ear, loud hissing T, and hyperacusis in my good ear. Is you condition like mine, or is it damage from noise exposure? Did your hyperacusis go away gradually, or more suddenly? BTW, my T is very noise reactive. Unlike many, it is during the quiet of the night when I go to sleep that it becomes the most tolerable, but during waking hours I need to avoid noisy places. I always carry ear plugs for when it becomes intolerable. Anyway, I am hoping for some relief from the hyperacusis, as it is this that bothers me a lot more than the loss of hearing. Thanks for any feedback. J
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      alex1975

      alex1975 Member

      Location:
      Las Vegas
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Probably sound induced
      I’m not exactly sure on the rating but my audiologist got me the maximum noise filtering ones, because I told her I would still like to go to bars and movies every once in a while (like once a month). They were custom molded to my ear canal.

      As far as when I drive, I’m not sure if it reacts or I can notice it more because of the low pitched sound the car makes. The same thing happens when a fan or clothes dryer is running, even if the dB is low, say around 65. My tinnitus is a 8500 Hz eeeee sound so it seems like I can pick it out whenever there are lower Hz sounds around, and that’s when it seems to get louder (or react). Also another annoying thing is that if I go to a restaurant and wear ear plugs, sure enough, my tinnitus will start seeming louder after about 15 min or so. I think it’s because it’s quieter with the plugs and my brain picks out the tinnitus and I focus on it more. What a mess! Lol
       
    25. Christophe_85
      Alone

      Christophe_85 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Geneva, Switzerland
      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure...
      @alex1975

      Hello !

      I think you just see once you are in the Car, most of the time, regular cars don't make that much noise while you are driving them... The smaller car the biggest noise on the highway due to weak engine... And of course sports cars do make noise but in purpose... ;)

      Just be sure to have wax earplugs during the drive, but I am pretty sure that you won't even need them... Or maybe after 3-4 hours of driving...

      And furthermore with a Toyota Prius, which is Hybrid right? Even quieter car! :D
       
    26. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I am pretty sure that they don't provide as much protection as 3M 1100 foam plugs, and I know that many people have been finding out the hard way that foam plugs provide a false sense of security (while other people have been finding the protection to be adequate).
      If the plugs were to make it easier to hear tinnitus, tinnitus would have seemed louder as soon as you insert the plugs. Since your tinnitus becomes louder 15 minutes after you enter a noisy restaurant, a more likely explanation is that your plugs aren't providing enough protection, and you are harming yourself by being there.
       
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    27. Jim Goose

      Jim Goose Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      ????
      I thinks it’s the radio that hurts you. The road noise is minimal, but you crank the tunes as a result.
      I’ve driven for years with LED Zepplin, or whatever at full blast for hours. And I drive a lot. I thinks it’s a huge problem.
       
    28. Mister Muso
      Busy

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I would wear silicone plugs if I was in a car for a full day or more. Even 75db for that long has spiked my tinnitus a little in the past.
       
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    29. MattS
      Overworked

      MattS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Power Tools
      Hi John,

      The hyperacusis is actually much "easier" to treat than the tinnitus - the problem is that in order to do it, you need to expose yourself to some noise (which can of course get the tinnitus moving). But for hyperacusis, mostly you need to work in a very gradual re-exposure to sounds, to build their capacity for noise back up. Most cases of prolonged hyperacusis are actually because of over-protection. May you be falling into that category?

      @Michael Leigh has a very informative thread on H that you may want to read:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/page-5#post-386820

      Michael is a bit fanatical about anything to do with headphones, but outside of that is very much worth listening to.

      I also have a thread you may want to consider reading:

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/tinnitus-hyperacusis-a-rehabilitative-model.35846/

      Hope that helps.
       
    30. MattS
      Overworked

      MattS Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Power Tools
      The big question - the 64 million dollar question - is: do these small spikes as a result of exposure to 'normal' noise indicate that you are causing additional damage and need to protect? Or is it instead just a symptom of your now haywire auditory system, which decides to act up every once in a while. As an analogy: is it Crohn's that requires care and can get worse? Or IBS, which will just act up periodically and for no good reason?

      I don't think any of us know the answer to this: but holy would it lower all of our anxieties if we did!!
       
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