Headphones & Tinnitus — Do / Can You Still Use Them?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Erlend, Oct 1, 2013.

?

Do you still use headphones / earbuds / in-ear monitors even after acquiring tinnitus?

  1. Yes.

    22 vote(s)
    44.0%
  2. Sometimes.

    13 vote(s)
    26.0%
  3. No.

    15 vote(s)
    30.0%
tinnitus forum
    1. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      A note from moderator:
      I thought we could discuss in this thread the effect of headphones have on tinnitus.

      Do you still use headphones to listen to music? Or is that only a memory from the past?
      Do you think it's too easy to listen at high volumes with headphones?

      hr.png
      Original Post Starts Below:
      What's wrong with headphones? I use these for pink noise and music all the time

      kossportapro.jpg
       
    2. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Koss Porta Pro is an old friend and enemy of mine. As I don't know what caused my severe T&H as of yet, that piece of audio equipment could very well be the main source of my misery. Music and sound played trough a headset is amplified so many times, just at medium levels you can easily exceed 85db with what sounds like just the half. Some countries put disclaimers on them now. I can't risk further damaging my hearing and headset use (however low it may be) can contribute to worsening my T&H.

      I haven't used my trusted Koss since June. Don't think I'll ever use items like that ever again - I doubt it. That's pretty hard for a person that used to wear them for hours every day all year around. I even had different pairs for different occasions.
       
    3. meeruf
      Badass

      meeruf Member Benefactor Team Awareness

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Diving
      You should use closed headphones. To much people boost their music when they are out in the street so they don't hear the traffic.
       
    4. Erlend
      Question it

      Erlend Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Scandinavia
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2013
      I always keep it at a volume where I can also hear someone talking to me perfectly fine.
       
    5. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I use this lightweight Sennheiser sports head set to listen to masking nature sounds, brown noise, light classical music during the day. It's always low enough that I can easily have a conversation with someone. Also, the buds don't cover my ears but rest inside them -- so they also don't plug into my ear canals, like true ear buds. The audiologist said they should be fine. You also can talk on your iPhone with this thing. Not sure how it would be any more dangerous than a masking device.

      At night, usually start off sleeping with a cheap set of Skullcandy head phones that cover the ear but not tightly. Keep music lower than my T. Again, audiologist said it was OK. Hope I'm not screwing things up here! You guys are much more audio savvy than me.
       
    6. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      To exclude yourself from environmental sound by using headphones is potentially damaging to the ear/brain and I believe that we are creating conditions for T&H to develop, I never tough of this before but I wish I did. It makes sense. Had a long chat with a senior T therapist and author of books on T&H about this and he cursed headphones. His advice was to INCLUDE environmental sounds and stop excluding. A lot of people develop severe H this way. As mentioned numerous times on this forum I don't yet know my T&H cause but wearing headphones for hours every day for years surely didn't help. Wish I never did that, music on speakers can go so much louder without creating damage (acoustic shock or hearing loss) than secluded equipment like headphones. By excluding yourself from everyday natural noises you create a lowered threshold and thus making T&H so much easier to occur. I used to wear headphones with music to remove myself from my environment and exclude social demands. I wanted to exclude myself from the hassle of everyday life while working, traveling, walking, sporting etc. I'm pretty convinced this created some problems with the whole auditory system, the central nervous system etc.

      PS: Noise cancellation headsets are also potentially very damaging based on the same principles. They haven't been around long enough to produce any scientific reports but they are already being branded with red disclaimers in the most conservative countries, my best guess is that it will be global warnings within a couple of years. There's a lot of scientific data on sound proof environments creating T. Almost ironic isn't it.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    7. TJPositive
      Fine

      TJPositive Member

      Location:
      Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Headphones that sit on the ears I'd be okay with. Earplugs are a no-go. I don't like having my ears blocked and nearly nothing but the noise from the plugs being directed straight into the ear. Irrational as it may be considering I would have control over the volume, since the development of my T I've become phobic to certain noise. :nailbiting:
       
    8. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      You can definitely still use headphones, just be wary of volume and the length of exposure.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    9. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      But why take the risk. You never know what your new time threshold is for that close of a sound exposure, also the level threshold has changed. It's like saying it's ok to take just small fragments of heroin, but not so much that it becomes addictive and if your been an addict before then show extra caution.

      Well, for me it's a personal decision to avoid more exposure to headphones, now I only expose myself to music on speakers on a very low volume, as a matter of fact its not really music but radio chat, tv etc. Just to keep the hearing muscles going. To put music straight into my ear via headphones is a thing of the past. It's a "kill your darling" process that had to arrive. With T&H I treat things like that very differently than before.
       
    10. Leah

      Leah Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Chardon, Ohio USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007
      I will always wonder about the noise canceling headphones and my T. I used mine a lot, many nights slept in them to shut out external noise. Many times the music or podcast would end and nothing would be playing.
       
    11. daedalus

      daedalus Member

      Location:
      Brussels
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2007
      I can use my headphones without trouble but i set them at low volume. Distracting trough earphones helped me a lot. But i have no hyperacusis. You could try at very very low volume for short times. And then increase the time but not the volume. Slowly, at your pace.
       
    12. yonkapin

      yonkapin Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Melbourne, Australia
      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2012
      Well, I definitely understand the hestitation, especially with the hyperacusis - it's rough!

      I think it depends on the individual and what they feel comfortable with to be honest, listening to something at 70db through a pair of headphones or ear plugs is the same as listening to something at 70db from a pair of speakers. It's about being sensible when it comes to how loud and how long you decide to bang out on headphones.

      With hyperacusis though, it's a whole nother' kettle of fish and something I also struggle with.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    13. LadyDi
      Busy

      LadyDi Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Florida, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Barotrauma/airplane
      I'm lucky... I have some noise sensitivity but also don't have hyperacusis. Using a speaker isn't really an option for me at work, even on low volume, as I sit surrounded by others. But I take "headphone breaks" throughout the day.

      I am very cautious, however, about how frequently I wear my earplugs (I got the individually molded musician one from Etymotics, expensive but worth it). I have noticed I have a brief hypersensitivity to sound when I first remove them, even if I have worn them for just a couple hours. So I save them for really loud places, like movies, concerts and noisy restaurants.
       
    14. Shuffle
      Gloomy

      Shuffle Member Benefactor

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Heavy Metal & Machinery
      I still use mine, but for short periods only really. They are handy on the old vintage tractors, as having them (in ear type) in is nearly as good as plugs, and I get a little positive noise too.
       
    15. Golly
      Bookworm

      Golly Member Benefactor Team Awareness Team Research

      Location:
      New York City
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2011
      I should qualify my vote, as it is the only "No" so far. I very rarely ever used headphones in the first place. So the fact that I avoid them now is not solely due to my increased concern over the health of my ears. My generation grew up without iPods so I never got into the habit. -Golly
       
    16. Per

      Per Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2013
      You see, I'm not totally convinced about that. There's been some studies generating theories that sound travels so much shorter from the earpads into the inner ear and to the auditory cortex than external sound sources. It's a recipe for acoustic trauma. By using headphones and buds you also exclude yourself from external sound sources in a very dramatic way compared to when you listen to speakers in a room, this creates an environment where T&H can thrive. So a decibel is not automatically a decibel, its the way it is received. Perhaps just like crack cocain, it's just cocain received trough the lungs. It travels super-fast to the central nervous system and becomes more potent.

      There are probably more theory than one on this matter but to me it makes sense, not too much in the world of T&H does. It's so much theories and so little scientific evidence, I think user stories and experiences is important. A lot of people wearing headsets with even moderate volume get T, like pilots for instance.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    17. Sherri786
      Dreaming

      Sherri786 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      I don't use them anymore . Also read somewhere something about moisture accumulating inside the ears due to longer periods of headphone usage.
       
    18. Hattukoira
      Tired

      Hattukoira Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2010
      ENT told me that I should avoid using headphones. At first I was a bit skeptical but I decided to not use them for a week. My T is now much quieter.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    19. George Brady
      Crappy

      George Brady Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1985
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      bad meds
      I use pillow speakers keep them about 6in away from my ears. Earbuds hurt my ears.
       
    20. Hattukoira
      Tired

      Hattukoira Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2010
      To all active headphone users.

      If you can, please take a few days break from headphones and see how it affects your T(and H).
      Of course every person is different and it may not help, but it won't hurt to try.

      I know I said this already but my T is much lower now because I stop using my headphones(I'm using speakers now).
       
      • Like Like x 1
    21. Nope I don't use them at all anymore. I used them a lot from my teens into my thirties. But as I approach 40 with T they are a thing of the past. Jeez, I remember listening to music in my head phones while mowing lawns with no hearing protection! So dumb. Nobody warned me about that, which shocks me a bit. To this day I see a lot of people mowing lawns with no hearing protection. Big mistake.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    22. Gr8fulDude
      Balanced

      Gr8fulDude Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2012
      Wish I was warned about hearing loss and T from concerts and loud headphones. Now I am wiser and use good plugs for concerts and decent headphones but at a much lower volume. I don't think I will waste money on a high end speaker system though given my compromised hearing which probably limits my ability to appreciate finer acoustics.
       
    23. spingee
      Wtf

      spingee Member

      Koss Porta pro is well known ear killer. I lost part of my hearing becouse of them and my friend too.
      They have strong basses and bit weaker highs, also they have big impedance so they are louder and need less energy. I use them still but with very low volume and changed equalizer.
       

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