Gunshot-Induced Tinnitus and Minimal Hearing Loss — Any Guidance Appreciated

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Kevin Hallowell, Apr 27, 2021.

    1. Kevin Hallowell

      Kevin Hallowell Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      I'm new to Tinnitus Talk. It seems like there's a lot of knowledgeable people here.

      My tinnitus is from noise exposure from a gunshot. I have minimal hearing loss.

      The 1st month was a lot of anxiety and depression; I took some Hydroxyzine and Ativan for sleep since I already had anxiety issues due to a fight with insomnia before.

      I work as a driver and in the truck it is about 80 dB and when I deliver liquid Nitrogen it's about 105 dB due to the venting. I double up on hearing protection.

      Am I going to have issues with tinnitus getting worse?

      If I use double hearing protection, can I still shoot guns?

      I've only had 1 spike really in the last 3 months which started last Tuesday and it is slowly fading now. And that was caused by stress and anxiety due to some issues with the family. For like 2 weeks I thought I was getting used to it. I wasn't taking anything to help sleep and was feeling good until the anxiety started last Tuesday. Now I'm back to where I started, fighting to get back to somewhat my baseline.

      Any recommendations or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks.
       
    2. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      When you deliver liquid Nitrogen, if you use both earplugs and earmuffs, you should be safe.
      What kind of guns? If you shoot .22 with a silencer, you can do so safely with double hearing protection.

      I wouldn't shoot high caliber guns...
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Hi Kevin,

      It is good that the tinnitus has been manageable for the last three months and I understand your reasons for wanting it to return to its previous baseline level. For this to happen you first need to know what can make it worse because if you are not careful, the tinnitus can increase causing you a lot of distress. Stress and further exposure to loud noise typically make noise induced tinnitus worse. No two people will experience it the same, so please keep in mind the sound levels one person can comfortably live with may not be suitable for you and vice versa. Therefore, you need to take your time and see what works for you and the way your auditory system reacts to sound. If you have hyperacusis it can complicates matters. Please go to my started threads and read my post: Hyperacusis, As I See It.

      Stress can affect tinnitus a lot so you need to try and keep it under control. More about this is explained in the links below and various posts on my started threads that I advise you to read. Further exposure to loud noise is by far the most common cause for making this type of tinnitus worse. This can happen even when a person is wearing earplugs or ear-defenders if external sound is too loud, as the sound will pass through the head and transfer to the inner ear by bone conduction causing irritation to the cochlea and could spike the tinnitus. The spike might reduce or it can increase the tinnitus to a new permanent level. As I have said you need to take your time and see what works for you.

      I understand your reasons for wanting to return to shooting guns but advise caution and think seriously about what I have said. Take your time and read my articles in the links below and those on my started threads, so you become more knowledgeable about noise induced tinnitus to help prevent it from getting worse.

      All the best
      Michael

      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Kevin Hallowell

      Kevin Hallowell Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      Thanks for the replies. The gun shooting is definitely over for me for awhile.

      My main concern is work. I deliver liquid Nitrogen and the venting of the tanks outdoors could get around 105 dB. I am wearing double protection and stand far away from the tanks while filling. This week because of some stress I did have a spike which seems to be slowly getting better. I also am taking Buspar to help manage the stress and taking Hydroxyzine and a .5 mg Ativan if I have trouble sleeping.

      Before the stress last Tuesday I was off all meds and sleeping great. Now back to where I started 3 months ago. Hopefully in time the tinnitus will fade.

      Just wanted to get some tips on how to handle this, considering 3 months is still somewhat new in the game.
       
    5. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You are new to tinnitus so try to take things easy. It can take up to 18 months or longer to make a full recovery from noise induced tinnitus. This does not mean you can throw caution to the wind and subject yourself to loud sounds. Read my posts and give yourself time to heal. Use low level sound enrichment and make an appointment with ENT to get your hearing checked.

      Take care.
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      The Habituation Process | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Kevin Hallowell

      Kevin Hallowell Member

      Location:
      Philadelphia
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure
      Thanks again for the reply Michael. I've read several of your posts and you're very knowledgeable and I'm glad you're on here to give newbies like myself some advice. And I've followed several of your advice already. No headphones or ear buds. And I try not to expose myself to loud noise except for work and again I'm double protected. Even at home mowing the lawn or anything that can be loud I protect myself. I've seen 2 ENTs which gave me some insight for what to do but they weren't great.

      I'm waiting to get an appointment with an audiologist who studied under Jastreboff at the University of Maryland to see what she thinks.

      The only thing I need to do is introduce sound enrichment when falling asleep. I have several apps on my phone and will start this tonight. Before I could sleep just the TV and a ceiling fan on. This spike is high and may need more to somewhat mask it. I know you don't want to mask it all the way.

      Again thanks for the advice and I hope you don't mind me asking you again if I need anymore information.
       
    7. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Thank you for your kind comments Kevin.

      You are still in the very early stages of tinnitus although it might not feel like it. I don't recommend starting TRT or CBT until 6 months has elapsed and explained my reasons in my posts on TRT that are on my started threads. If you are feeling stressed and a little depressed, which isn't unusual in the early stages of tinnitus, then talk to your family doctor who may recommend medication. Please give this some thought before dismissing it like some people do, as it's not usually the best course of action to take. An antidepressant can help prevent a person from feeling too down. Remember, stress makes tinnitus worse and tinnitus makes stress worse. It can become a vicious cycle so needs to be managed.

      Sound enrichment takes time to get used to at least 6 to 8 weeks. Set the sound so it's not drawing attention to itself and have it playing throughout the night until morning.

      Please feel free to ask any questions.
      Bye for now.

      Michael
       
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