Listening to Music on Headphones While Also Wearing Earplugs?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Bill Bauer, Dec 17, 2020.

    1. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I am aware of the fact that many people have been reporting experiencing serious problems following the use of headphones.

      Does anyone remember reading any horror stories on this forum involving people getting problems when wearing earplugs while playing music through headphones?

      @Michael Leigh?

      I wonder whether the earplugs would take the "sting" away from the headphones...

      If nobody remembers any horror stories, I guess there is only one way to find out. Of course I am still very hesitant. It just might work, but is the risk worth it...?!
       
    2. GBB

      GBB Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      NYC
      Tinnitus Since:
      2016-2019 (Mild, Cured) 8/2020 (Severe)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Virus / Microsuction / Acoustic Trauma
      Is the risk ever worth it?
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Normally, my answer to this question is "no." However, if the sounds one hears when wearing headphones+earplugs are quiet, and there are earplugs there, I just don't understand what it is that can go wrong and end up hurting one...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. Diesel

      Diesel Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Tinnitus Since:
      1-2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      20+ Years of Live Music, Motorcycles, and Power Tools
      I have done this while flying. No issues. Used 15 dB plugs with some noise-cancelling headphones connected to the plane’s video player. Did keep it quiet. There was basically no bass.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    5. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly debrox - noticed after debroxing.
      Hey Bill,

      I used to do this when I had hyperacusis.

      I do think you’re making a good assumption that it’s blocking that harsh intensity that headphones give. It’s stopping that direct flow of sound.

      Do you normally spike from headphones?
       
    6. apple core

      apple core Member

      Location:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Occam's Razor- Earbuds
      I'm really interested in feedback about this too as I will never listen to music on headphones again but would like to know the harm of listening to podcasts through this method. Perhaps it's naive but my feeling is that with podcasts there is no need for bass.
       
    7. Josh1994

      Josh1994 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - started after a period of balance issues
      I am also watching this thread, as I would like to start DJing again (at home, on my own and at a very safe volume). I have custom made music earplugs, which I was also thinking I could wear underneath my headphones while DJing (again at a very sensible volume).
       
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      My advice to anyone with noise induced tinnitus, is not to use any type of headphones even with earplugs.

      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 2
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Do you remember reading about anyone finding out the hard way that it was a mistake to try it?
       
    10. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Unfortunately yes. I have corresponded with people that have tried using earplugs with headphones and their tinnitus increased. Some people with noise induced tinnitus refuse to believe when I or someone else tells them of the risks of using headphones. They want to be told what they want to hear and that is: Using headphones or earbuds is safe providing the volume is kept low.

      They hear this from some ENT doctors and at tinnitus forums and they are pleased until things go terribly wrong. I say again, some people with noise induced tinnitus are able to use headphones without problems. However, it is a risk every time they use them as the tinnitus only needs to spike once or it can gradually increase over time. Usually, but not always when the tinnitus increases, it's to a new permanent level.

      I have lost count the amount of distressed people that have contacted me regretting returning to using headphones. Quite bizarre, was a woman that contacted me through a tinnitus organization I used to do counselling for. She had hyperacusis and was told by her Audiologist, to listen to music through headphones at low volume as it would help desensitize the auditory system. This unfortunate person was reduced to tears on the phone after following this wrong advice.

      Michael
       
      • Informative Informative x 4
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Thank you for letting me know, Michael.
       
    12. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You are welcome Bill. I know it's not easy for some people with noise induced tinnitus to stop using headphones, especially when they have habituated and the tinnitus for some reduces to such a low level it's almost forgotten about. They believe all is well and got their life back which is great. Unfortunately, this is where the danger is, because this type of tinnitus waits quietly in the background, ready to strike or increases slowly without a person hardly noticing until it's too late.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    13. Josh1994

      Josh1994 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - started after a period of balance issues
      Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to cause an argument here, and I also appreciate that using headphones at high volume is playing with fire, but surely the risk is minimised/eliminated when using earplugs underneath headphones? Especially if they are custom made musicians earplugs. I mean that’s what they are made for, right?
       
    14. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I attend this forum to try and help people that ask for help. Noise induced tinnitus and hyperacusis are conditions I'm familiar with and are my main areas of interest. I am not here to engage in forum arguments although a few have tried. At this stage I don't think you are one of these troublemakers so have decided to reply to your post.

      On your Avatar it reads cause of tinnitus unknown but started after balance issues. My advice not to use headphones are specifically for people with tinnitus that was caused by exposure to loud noise. Therefore, if your tinnitus wasn't noise induced, you might be able to use headphones and notice no ill effects. However, I still advise you to be careful if you intend using them. Some people with noise induced tinnitus are able to use headphones, but in my opinion they are taking a risk each time they use them as I've mentioned in my previous posts.

      You have said using earplugs with headphones the risks are minimised or even eliminated. I say again, my advice is for people that have noise induced tinnitus. What you do not realize, the outer ear that we see attached to the side of our head, known as the Pinner is just one part of the auditory system. The rest extends deep into the skull. A person can wear the best earplugs or ear defenders but if external sound is loud enough, it will pass through the head and be transferred to the inner ear by bone conduction. The inner ear is encased in bone, the skull and acts similar to a microphone when external sound waves interact with it. This is the reason when a doctor places a tuning fork on the mastoid bone, this is a hard piece of bone situated behind each ear, the sound is transferred to the inner ear and heard.

      Placing headphones over the ear, will not stop sound being transferred to the inner ear by bone conduction even if earplugs are worn. This is the reason using bone conduction headphones are still dangerous for people that have noise induced tinnitus.

      Michael
       
    15. copasetic84

      copasetic84 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/07/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma from airpods
      I have tried using earplugs beneath my headphones since I need to use headphones for work.

      Unfortunately, 2 days ago, my tinnitus spiked. It has done this a few times before, but this one seems a bit worse and I hope it goes away.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    16. Mister Muso
      No Mood

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      I've been doing this since around a year ago whilst washing the dishes which I do most nights. I need hearing protection anyway whilst handling pots and pans due to my hyperacusis, so I decided this is the one time I could justify using my noise-cancelling headphones.

      Then in January this year my tinnitus got spiked to the level it was at around a year ago. The trigger was definitely listening to music in the car a little too long and too loud for a couple of days. I've had a number of spikes since then too, probably caused by having lots of online work calls.

      So whilst headphone use didn't seem to be the immediate cause, they could have been a factor. I was certainly using them at crazy levels (sometimes with earplugs underneath but usually not) back in 2019 leading up to the concert in April that year at which I got my severe tinnitus. My tones gradually eased over 2020 (perhaps helped due to lockdown) to the point where I was often forgetting about it for many hours each day. Not any more.

      I find when I start to take chances in one area of my life, I am more likely to take chances in other areas too. Maybe if I hadn't played that loud music in the car I would have been ok. Who knows. And as I'm writing this I realise I should really put the headphones away again to get my recovery back on track.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    17. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly debrox - noticed after debroxing.
      Make sure you don’t compensate the earplugs by turning the volume up hugely! Assuming you’re a DJ?
       
    18. gorzakus

      gorzakus Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hearing loss ?
      I've been doing this for a long time on my motorcycle helmet and never had any problems. I use earplugs and Bluetooth system because it distracts my tinnitus when plugged up.
       
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