Good Ear Muff for the Gym etc?

Discussion in 'Support' started by emre, Oct 12, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. emre

      emre Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss
      Hello,

      I have found this forum quite helpful. It is probably more helpful that professional websites. The speculation on LLLT etc. is very frustrating considering many doctors are not even aware of this technique.

      I had hearing loss at high school due to walkman and later tinnitus started at college. Tinnitus was horrible for 0.5-1 year. It later on almost disappeared to an insignificant level. 10 years later (at age 31), my tinnitus restarted at a smaller level due to the high music at the spinning class. I locked myself in my room for a while as there is too much noise elsewhere. I decided to start to a crossfit class but my ear plugs cut off the trainer's voice. I cannot hear the trainer.

      To cut it short, I want to be able to hear the people at around 50-60dB and avoid the music and the equipment noises as much as possible. They should also be reduced to below 60 dB. I do not want anything above 60 dB. I need an electronic muff and ear plug combination that can enable this. These gyms tend to be quite loud. Could you recommend any electronic ear muff brand/type that can do this? I am only able to find ear muffs that cut off above 80 dB.

      I hope this wasn't too long. Thank you for the answers.

      Emre
       
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @emre
      H Emre, You have had tinnitus for quite a while and are experienced with it. In my opinon, what you intend do is not a good idea. I suspect you have hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound). Although you may have habituated to your tinnitus, the fact that you are sensitive to sound all this time means: your hyperacusis has never been treated. I have mentioned this many times in this forum. The only way to treat and cure hyperaucusis (sensitivity to sound) is not by shutting oneself from external sounds and wearing earplugs and earmuffs. This makes the auditory system more sensitive to sound. If one isn't careful, and I don't want to frighten you a person can develop a condition called phonohobia. It is having a fear of sound. It can creep up on a person without them realizing it. Believe me I know as I used to help someone with the condition. You need to use things like sound enrichment to help desensitize the auditory system. I explain more in the post below.

      60 decibels is very low even 70 decibels and 80 shouldn't cause you any problems in my opinion. If you are sensitive these sounds levels then you need to get it your auditory system treated. The answer isn't to wear more ear protection.

      I would start by using noise reducing earplugs and not fully close off external sound. I have written an article on tinnitus and hyperacusis. Please read the post below.

      Hyperacusis.

      Two questions often asked about tinnitus are: How long does it take to habituate? How do I know if I have hyperacusis?

      One of the main causes of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. Quite often though hyperacusis, (sensitivity to sounds) accompanies the condition. This is because the nerves in the auditory pathway have been subjected to noise trauma and thus become highly sensitised. Hyperacusis can be extremely painful. It can cause tinnitus to spike sometimes making it last for days until it settles down again. Within this time the person affected can be in a lot of discomfort.

      Music that was once pleasurable to listen to through a home music system or radio is now an ordeal so one prefers not to listen to it. The closing of doors, washing up of kitchen plates and cutlery is enough to send a person running for cover, as it can feel like a pneumatic drill is piercing through your ears and head. It can become such a problem a person is afraid to venture outside their home in fear of road traffic noise sparking an increase in their tinnitus due to their sensitivity to sound.

      One of the best ways to treat hyperacusis is by using “sound enrichment”. This can be achieved in many ways but I one of the best to wear white noise generators. Two should be worn to keep your auditory system in balance. The sound level of these devices must be adjusted correctly so as not to cause further irritation to a person’s auditory system, which can make the hyperacusis and tinnitus worse. It is best to always make sure their sound levels are set just below the tinnitus. Wngs are usually worn for up to ten hours a day. Two things are achieved over time.

      The hearing system is constantly subjected to low-level non-intrusive white noise, which will help to desensitise it. Secondly, they help the brain to focus less on the tinnitus and push it further into the background making it less noticeable. This form of treatment is also known as TRT.

      An alternative to wngs is to use a tabletop sound machine that plays nature sounds. This can be used for sound enrichment to help the healing process of hyperacusis. Again it is best to set the sound level just below the tinnitus. As previously explained sound machines can be very useful at night by the bedside and in the day used to fill in the background ambiance in room.

      Treating hyperacusis takes time as there is no quick fix and everyone will respond to treatment differently.
      Please bare in mind that a person with tinnitus and hyperacuisis, if the hyperacusis is left untreated sensitivity to sound will always remain a problem. In some cases hyperacusis can get better naturally without using sound enrichment but there is no guarantee.

      A word of caution. Some people use earplugs to help suppress external sounds because of their sensitivity to sound. Earplugs are available but should only be used when in noisy surroundings and not to suppress normal every day sounds, as doing so can prevent the healing process of hyperacusis.


      Habituating to Tinnitus.

      Habituating to tinnitus often seems shrouded in mystery for the more seriously affected people that are in distress and have had to seek help at ENT. It can be particularly difficult for people that are new to tinnitus to comprehend. How does one know when they have habituated to their T and more importantly what does this actually mean?

      The following doesn’t apply in every case of tinnitus for there are some people that have large fluctuations in their T and every day can be a different experience. This is one of the most severe forms of tinnitus and medications may be required to help cope with the condition. Habituating to this type of tinnitus is still possible to an extent but does present additional problems.


      To others I will say this: You’ll know when you have habituated to your T regardless of whatever treatment you are using via ENT etc as your brain will over time push it further into the background so it becomes less significant, in a similar way to the people that have mild tinnitus. Although your T may be present and on occasions it will spike, over time it will cease to be so much of a problem unless you deliberately focus on it and bring it to the forefront of your mind.

      Michael
       
      Last edited: Oct 12, 2016
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    3. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      You could try a 25db filtered plug or foam plugs no very deeply inserted over a cheap shooting electronic muff like the Howard Leigh - but the sound quality isn't great it's really for basic communication between people

      Unless you have moderate hearing loss in the hearing frequencies I would try using the peltor x5a at the gym those work fine for loud bangs like people dropping weights and loud music and I can still hear people voices fine even with my mild hearing loss - and those muffs cost only $25 usually people at the gym talk loud anyway
       
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    4. emre

      emre Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss
      Thank you guys for the answers. Actually, my tinnitus was horrible when I was 20 and then almost silent for 10 years. Now at 31, it started again due to the high noise at the spinning class. So it should be treated as a new case. I feel like my body is trying to recover. During this recovery, I would like to protect my ears. For example, today I used ear plugs at the gym and the music/machine noise wasn't more than 90dB. Still, my tinnitus increased because of the sensitivity. Therefore, I would like to increase the layer of protection with an ear muff. Cheers.
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      @emre Just a word about using the Gym. Many people have contacted me that run on a treadmill and on hard ground. They have noticed a gradual increase in their tinnitus that doesn't go away. I use an elliptical/crosstrainer at home and haven't noticed an increase in my tinnitus - perhaps because my feet aren't in contact with the ground. It could be, when running on treadmill or hard ground, the impact (vibrations) travels up through the body into the head and auditory system and might be causing irritation to the inner ear and cochlear which could make the tinnitus more intrusive.

      As I've said, many people have contacted about this and I think it's happening too often to be more than mere coincidence.
      All the best
      Michael
       
    6. emre

      emre Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss
      @Michael Leigh Thank you Michael. I am doing crossfit which doesn't include treadmill. Thank you for letting me know. I will also do swimming as it is not noisy.
       

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