High Pitched Smoke Alarms Upstairs Above Me Would Not Stop for 2 Days — Would This Worsen Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by whatdidyousay, Oct 9, 2021.

    1. whatdidyousay

      whatdidyousay Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud volumes

      All 5 of the upstairs smoke detector alarms went off at the same time and we could not seem to get them turned off. They were blaring 24/7 for 2 days straight. There was no sign of fire and the smoke detectors apparently are a combination of low battery and old/need replacing. Most of them were wireless and one was hardwired into the wall. It was an odd coincidence since it happened the day of the worst storm this area's seen in decades. So calling the fire department didn't help since we could not get through with them and they had more important matters to deal with anyway since there were hundreds of people with major flood damage to their homes, cars, etc.

      I had tried to reset them but the sound was so unsettling at close range that I couldn't tolerate just standing around. My dedicated SPL meter was in hand and sounds were around 105 dB on the low end when standing a few feet away and were just over 120 dB when standing right at the source. The smoke detectors are kind of oddly placed and so two of them are basically right next to each other in adjoining corners of a hallway and bedroom; so they're only maybe like 3-4 feet apart.

      I had on earmuffs when going upstairs to check out the smoke detectors and occasionally wore them downstairs to try to muffle the droning noise that was driving me crazy. But I was exposed to the noise from upstairs without any hearing protection for most of the 2 day period since I was home pretty much the entire duration.

      More about the smoke alarms in question:

      I was measuring around ~120 dB at the source of the smoke detectors for the two smoke detectors directly above my bedroom in the upstairs bedroom/hallway. Wood floors throughout the house and so there's also a lot of echo. In my downstairs bedroom below where two of the smoke detectors are, my SPL meter was showing as only around 48 - 50 dB. To be more clear: the smoke detector here in my downstairs bedroom is working fine and so it was not going off; the sounds are all coming directly from the upstairs bedroom/hallway. But the sound was extremely audible and a droning high pitched alarm noise that was constant for two days straight. The noise was even audible outside the house from the driveway. Thankfully we got the fire guys over to figure out the problem and one of the last things they said before leaving was "I don't know how you standed it for this long" in regards to the noise and they were right.


      - Do these decibel readings sound about right? Would the sound really reduce by ~70 dB?

      - Are sounds "damaging" at noise levels lower than 80 dB if it's higher pitched like that of a smoke alarm?

      - Would 2 days of this be likely to further tinnitus/permanent damage or just be an annoyance? I work from home and so I never really left the bedroom much; we're also coming off a severe storm as I mentioned in the opening paragraph. And even when I did walk around other rooms downstairs, sounds were about pretty similar in volume level (showing as around 50 dB) since there are smoke detectors in every upstairs room above except for bathrooms.
    2. CDNThailand

      CDNThailand Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      MP3, Stress, TMJ
      These levels are not ear damaging, and if you were sensitive with hyperacusis, you could have never tolerated that.

      So I'd say you are totally fine.

      Now if you were that kind of person that can't even take a shower because too loud for them? It might not cause damage, but it could cause anxiety that makes the tinnitus sound louder.

      But that doesn't seem to be your case, you'll be fine. Next time leave the room!

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