Loud Factory Job Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Meowmeowmeow, Mar 25, 2021.

    1. Meowmeowmeow

      Meowmeowmeow Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      2 1/2 weeks ago after coming off a 6 day work week at my loud factory job, I awoke at 3 am with a headache and my ears screaming. I’ve experienced mild tinnitus before but never like this. After a few days of the constant noise I started to do some research on Google and that’s when I started to panic. I booked an appointment with an audiologist but had to wait a week. I went to a dentist to clarify if I had TMJ and grinded my teeth. I didn’t really get a clear yes or no but I do grind my teeth a little.

      A week later came the audiologist who was shocked by my hearing loss with my left ear at 20 dB and right ear at 50 dB at 8000 Hz (I think I’m reading that right) mild hearing loss in my left ear and moderate to severe in my right. I’m 36 and he was like “maaaan you’re so young!” I’ve been so focused on the noise in my head that I didn’t realize my hearing in my right ear had changed. I think I noticed for years I heard better out of my left ear than my right as I used to work a job that let me wear headphones all day and most of the time I had 1 headphone always in my right ear.

      The audiologist told me I’d have to get a hearing aid in my right ear and probably one in my left down the road. So it has all been a shock. I’m certain my hearing got worse at my job as we work in loud rooms with lots of vibrations but we only wore earplugs and nothing extra like muffs. I filed for WCB and took the past few weeks off from work. I saw my doctor about going on short term disability and he basically told me “tinnitus shouldn’t stop you from being able to work”. I got upset trying to explain to him how loud it is and how hard of a time I have focusing and concentrating. I told him I’ve been losing sleep and it’s given me bad anxiety and he’s now prescribed me Escitalopram 10mg for anxiety and Teva Trazodone 50mg for sleep. He also gave me a form of modified duties for work.

      I’ve been trying to stay positive but it’s hard. I can get a bit obsessive compulsive about things and focus on the tinnitus. My tinnitus is worst when I wake up in the morning. I lay there in bed feeling like my head is going to explode. I wish this was all a bad dream. I really hope the anxiety meds work, I really hope workers comp will cover my hearing aids, and I hope the hearing aids actually help. I’m seriously losing hope and I fear for my mental state. It’s a shame because everything was going so well in my life. I got out of a mentally abusive relationship last year. I left a job that didn’t value me, and was eating horribly. 2020-2021 I got a great new job (despite possibly making me deaf), been dating my dream girl, and was making huge strides in eating healthy. Now my hearing is a bit off and both ears are making different loud frequency noises 24/7.
       
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    2. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      @Meowmeowmeow, if you are working in a loud environment there should be rules about ear protection. I know people that ignore the rules but that is on them.

      Where do you live?

      Braden, you are new to severe tinnitus. Hopefully you will habituate but as of 3/2021 your life took a turn and not for the better. Life hands us curves we have to try to ride them out. Pray for better treatments or cure. G-d bless.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Meowmeowmeow

      Meowmeowmeow Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      Thank you. I live in Canada. I work in a factory that makes food for pets. I work in 2 different rooms. 1 room is our hammer mill room. We work with giant mixers and we spend a couple hours a day in there cleaning the mills while other ones are running. We have earbuds but we were never given earmuffs because they were worried it would fall in the food. Our earbuds have a little metal piece inside them so if they so happen to fall in the food magnets will pick it up. I got to say this room is probably close to 100 dB. The other room we work in is not required to wear hearing protection but there’s still loud noises at time and constant machine humming.

      I’ve noticed over the year having a light ringing at the end of the work day but a few weeks ago it became more louder and 24/7.
       
    4. Forever hopeful
      Depressed

      Forever hopeful Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015 resolved, 4/20 L ear, increase 2/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2015,noise,2020-21 SNHL
      @Meowmeowmeow, I’m so very sorry to hear that you are going through this. Tinnitus is very hard to adjust to. This is all very new to you and it may very well be that the sound you’re hearing now is not what you’ll end up with a few months down the road. Many times it settles a little. But you can habituate. I am currently working on habituating to another increase in my tinnitus after some additional mild hearing loss in my left ear. I habituated before and I will do it again. And you will too. But it takes time. The timeframe varies depending on the person.

      The important thing, and I know from experience, is to try to get your anxiety under control. The more anxious you are the more you going to focus on the sound and it will seem so much louder. It becomes a vicious cycle.

      Try some masking devices with sound therapy. That may help you sleep at night and concentrate when you need to. The masking will also help decrease your anxiety. It is best to have the noise level just below your tinnitus so that your brain can start to equate your tinnitus with other background noise that causes you no anxiety and is neutral. But if you’re not there then you can completely mask the sound just to get over the initial period of trying to cope. I did that initially and it did help. Once my anxiety was more under control I was able to lower the volume of my masking tools and also slowly start to decrease the use of masking all together. There are plenty of apps for your phone or you can get a sound machine. And take the sleep meds. I take Trazodone to sleep at night too. You can’t take this on without getting proper sleep.

      It’s important to remember that the more you try to fight the tinnitus, the worse it is. It takes a while to get to that realization I think. It’s sort of surrendering to the fact that you have this noise and it is most likely going to be with you for the rest of your life. And I think quite honestly, it’s a mourning process. Because essentially your life will be different than it was, but it doesn’t have to be bad. While I appreciate that acceptance sounds like doom and gloom, and there’s always a possibility that they will find a treatment or cure, you have to approach it as if it is something that you probably can’t do very much about it or you will be continuously frustrated. It is a bitter pill to swallow. I know it was for me, but it did make a huge difference in my level of suffering. And it sucks. But I do think it’s essential for being able to get your life back. I had a consultation with a physician who specializes in tinnitus and he told me, “It might go away on its own, but you need to approach this as if it won’t, that way you won’t be continually disappointed when it doesn’t. And you will be completely surprised if it does.“

      Try to stay busy and still do the things you love. That helps me tremendously. Focusing on some thing other than my ears really helps me try to cope.

      One thing you might consider is getting custom-made musician’s earplugs. The audiologist should be able to help you with that. They will come with a filter that decreases the decibel levels. But they also come with solid filters that decrease the decibels even more. I have both filters. The other thing I would consider is definitely using foam earplugs in the meantime. You are going to need to protect your ears from loud noises, not just occupationally, but in every day life because loud noises will only make the tinnitus worse. This is critically important. If you’re going out to a club that is going to be loud or anywhere where noise is loud wear your earplugs. My audiologist told me that the rule of thumb is that if you are in an environment where you have to raise your voice to be heard, you should be wearing your earplugs. I carry mine with me wherever I go. And I have a spare pair.

      I know this is easier said than done, but if you can, I would try to find another job where you’re not exposed to so much noise, or get double ear protection like custom earplugs and earmuffs.

      I do have to say I was surprised that you said you had a 20 dB loss in one of your ears. If you’re hearing at 20 dB, that is considered normal range. Anything up to 25 dB is considered normal hearing. Mild hearing hearing loss starts at 30 dB.

      One other suggestion I have is to read the Success Stories on this site. I think you will find that they will give you hope. Reading others‘ stories, that all start out basically the same when they first get tinnitus, complete panic, anxiety, depression, unable to sleep or eat, convinced they could never live with the noise - then only to habituate over time and get their lives back. It is very comforting. Those stories certainly give me hope when I’m having a bad day.

      Wishing you the best.

      Danielle
       
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    5. twa
      Fine

      twa Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      I'm sorry you are going through this. It is all a shock initially. It takes a while to adjust and for the brain to calm down. I really do believe it is a trauma both physically and mentally. I remember feeling some of those same feelings. Try to do some self care and reach out to those who love you to help you through. It is the hardest thing I've ever endured.

      I'm 6 months in after an acoustic trauma and I'm starting to feel better. I took many walks, especially in the beginning. I started an anti-inflammatory diet called AIP. I have seen 4 doctors and had 4 audiograms. There are days that I feel better and some days not so much. There are days I realize a certain sound used to hurt my ears or I used to get headaches so bad that it would hurt to wear my glasses. Things do calm down and it gets better day by day.
       
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    6. Tweedleman
      Depressed

      Tweedleman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown/Noise
      Hey Meowmeowmeow. Sorry to have to welcome you to our shitshow, buddy.

      If your ears were ringing after each shift, that means you've been doing damage daily. What you've been inducing is called temporary threshold shift, same thing you'll experience after a loud concert. You have thousands of little hair cells (nerves), like blades of grass, in your inner ears that are responsible for picking up sound. When they get overworked, they bend over and cease to function properly. If you're new to loud noise exposure, the ringing is usually only temporary. Because, once the hair cells recover, they most typically stand back up and their tip links reconnect. And sufficient auditory input is thus restored which stops the brain (dorsal cochlear nucleus) from producing the phantom noise.

      But, if you abuse the ears too many times, eventually some of those hair cells won't stand back up. This is a permanent threshold shift, aka hearing loss. In cases of extremely high SPL, they can even be instantly sheared off. Giving you no chance to recover. Guns, fireworks, explosions, and other loud impulse noises (130-170 dB) are famous for this. Concerts and industrial noise (100-125 dB) usually deals the damage over a longer period of time.

      I would highly suggest wearing muffs over the earplugs, because it sounds like your company earplugs are either:

      a) Not fitting properly and allowing sound to bleed in.
      b) Their noise reduction rating (NRR) is insufficient for your setting.
      c) The earplugs are just plain faulty. This recently happened with 3M and their debacle with the US military.

      Do you have a history of loud noise exposure? Loud concerts, clubs, guns etc. All of this stuff will chip away if you don't protect yourself.

      I hope you get things sorted out. I think you should take them to the cleaners over this, if possible. Hang in there homie, we got your back here!
       
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    7. Rockman

      Rockman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise, allergy
      Hang in there man. I'm going through the same thing. I'll be turning 36 tomorrow, throughout high school I had the big booming dubs in the trunk plus bars and concerts.

      I've worked construction since high school. I got tinnitus about 3 months ago and it has gotten better. I would wake up in the middle of the night with roaring in my ears.

      What I learned was diet fixed that. It was heart burn! So now every night I take a couple mg of Melatonin and Natural Calm Magnesium. Works great.

      I put the fan on plus sounds of water running on my phone.

      It gets better. A few steps forward, a few back, but eventually all good progress.

      I hope nothing but the best for you.
       
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    8. Robster
      Irritated

      Robster Member

      Location:
      South Gloucestershire, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma - MRI
      Are you saying diet changes reduced the volume of your Tinnitus? I've been thinking about trying some dietary changes myself.
       
    9. Rockman

      Rockman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise, allergy
      I believe it did. Pretty much every bad food I ate I cut out. The only one I kept was coffee. No dairy, salt, soda or excessive sugar. I eat lots of chicken, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Plus it makes you feel a lot better to take on the tinnitus.
       
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    10. Dirtworks

      Dirtworks Member

      Location:
      Ontario
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly loud power tools
      Meowmeowmeow, sorry my friend but welcome to the forum.

      Protect your ears and try and stay calm. I’m taking the same anxiety medication you are. I’m 57, my hearing loss is worse and also caused by excessive noise.

      I’m trying to live healthier through diet and exercise and it seems to be helping. Hope you can find some encouragement in that. Lots of great people with lots of great information here. Good luck.
       
    11. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Large caliber rifles&machine guns, +30 years of loud clubs
      You need to use some sound enrichment for sleeping, iPhone speakers are good quality and the MyNoise app works great. Find some cricket sounds — they have plenty — and put the phone near your bed. The tinnitus will be much quieter in the morning.
       
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