How to Prevent Ear Infections When Wearing Earplugs for Prolonged Periods of Time?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Brian Newman, Feb 7, 2021.

    1. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Hey guys. I want some opinions here. I have severe tinnitus and hyperacusis. I am the manager at a bike shop and most wear hearing protection at all times. The repair guys sometimes blow up tires.

      I have Earasers earplugs with the -31 dB filter. After a long day my ear canal is extremely moist. I try to take them out every few hours to let my ears breathe. Since they are made from silicon, they cause an excessive amount of sweat.

      Is there anything I can be doing to prevent an ear infection? I clean the earplugs weekly, and do not touch the plugs or my ears unless I just washed my hands. Should I be using ear drops regularly? Or hydrogen peroxide once a week?
       
    2. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      Don't be a cheapskate. Get custom fitted earplugs, they cost about $150-250 and last for years. Worth every penny, and your ears thank you.
       
    3. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      The ear plugs should be cleaned daily with alcohol. Also, consider switching to disposable foam earplugs. Also, need some breaks during the day from earplug use.

      I find that moisture builds up more with silicon compared to foam earplugs.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Lmaoooo, it’s nothing about being cheap. I don’t want to have some ugly thing sticking out of my ears. I’ll buy whatever if it works. I like Earasers because their earplugs are invisible. If you know more, what do you recommend?
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Thanks man.
       
    6. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      This is how ACS custom earplugs look:

      ACS-In-Ear.jpg

      Some other model here:

      1f402ddf4e86d98dce437bc34107b9bf.jpg

      You will not go back to regular earplugs after these. These conform 100% to your unique ear canal.

      A ear person takes a mould of your ear canals, and the earplugs are made based on your unique mould.

      But I guess if looks are your sole criteria, then Earasers are even more inconspicuous...
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      I fuck with those. So just look up ACS?
       
    8. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I'm looking for some new earplugs. I have custom molded Westones and I do not like them. I have to use a ton of that Oto-ease gel to even get a good seal with them. Along with that the occlusion is just terrible. I specifically had my audiologist make super molds, but what came back from the manufacturer does not appear to pass the second bend of the ear. Talking or doing anything physical in these probably caused more damage than it helped, as I haven't worn them anywhere louder than 75 dB, but wanted protection against any surprise loud sounds. Singing in these is out of the question which I still do as a musician, though not with a band anymore.

      I was thinking about trying Sensaphonics as they are a softer material and may seal better, but I'm still worried they won't be able to create long enough molds like my Westones.

      I have read that ACS earplugs are vented to help prevent occlusion. I'm leaning towards trying them, but I often find that I never go with my first choice in things, Sensaphonics, and am never happy in the end... sooo hmmm...

      I've been using Earasers for a month or two now and the occlusion is better but still can't talk without my voice booming. The Westones block out lower frequencies much better as well.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    9. SB1981

      SB1981 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Multifactorial
      Did you end up getting a pair of ACS? If not, did you get something else? How are they working for you?
       
    10. twa
      Busy

      twa Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      Mine look like those, but aren't transparent they are opaque. They are Westones and uncomfortable, but less conspicuous.
       
    11. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Why the heck not? Who cares?

      You work in an environment where there is a constant risk of bike tire explosions, which can be louder than a lot of gunfire and which have caused permanent hearing loss for lots of people. If your coworkers don't want to wear earplugs they are making poor decisions, why would you possibly care?

      Just get a box of Howard Leight disposable foam plugs and move on with life, is my vote.

      I will never sacrifice protection for ease of use and aesthetics. I have worn full size earmuff defenders at concerts before. I do not give a fuck if someone thinks that looks dumb, because they don't have to live with my tinnitus, anymore than I have to live with the consequences of their lack of protection.

      I don't think I've ever seen anyone accost THESE workers for their funny looking hearing protection:

      airport-ground-crew.jpg

      you are in the same situation: serious risk of severe occupational noise exposure.

      You should FLAUNT your hearing protection. There should be zero stigma around this. If people are dumb about it, try to make it a teaching moment.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Yeah, this was months ago, my perspective has changed and my hyperacusis is 10 times worse. I wear earplugs everywhere now and don’t give a fuck. I can’t go to work though because it is still too loud.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    13. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      With tires exploding I wonder if a pair of earplugs made for gunfire would be more suitable.
      Sensaphonics has a solid custom mold earplug that they claim protects up to 37 dB for $100 plus cost of audiologist to take molds. You could wear those all day and be comfortable.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      There's nothing special about "gunfire" earplugs, it's just "jam 33 dB NRR foam plugs in deep, put a good pair of earmuffs on over them, and hope for the best."

      "Hope for the best" is important because once you get into larger calibers and most centerfire rifles, you're dealing with volumes that can do damage through any available protection. One of my buddies has an AR-15 and the thing is a riot to shoot, but I won't shoot it with a .223 upper on it because it's just too god damn loud. Put a .22lr upper on, sure, I will blast .22 all afternoon because it's actually quieter than one of the (supersonic) pellet guns I have.
       
    15. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I didn't even realize I hit the post button on that. I wrote it and realized it didn't make any sense.
       
      • Funny Funny x 2
    16. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Hey man if I started thinking about things before I hit post, I might not have 14,000 posts here.

      just-keep-posting-posting-posting.png
       
      • Like Like x 1
      • Funny Funny x 1
    17. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Yeah .223 is what fucked my ears up in the beginning lol. Shit is insanely loud.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Don't feel bad, I once fired a Mauser with no Earpro, because I wanted to know what WWII sounded like

      Now I get to know what it sounded like, all day every day ;)
       
    19. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      The most shooting I have done has been Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters in Disneyland.
       
    20. linearb
      Psychedelic

      linearb Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      beliefs are makyo and reality ignores them
      Tinnitus Since:
      1999
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      karma
      Ah, so you survived a REAL war.
       
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