My Big Mistake: Shooting a .380 Pistol at an Indoor Range without Proper Hearing Protection

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by MyBigMistake, May 3, 2022.

    1. MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hi, all. On Friday, April 29th, I made a big mistake. That's why the username MyBigMistake.

      I served on active duty in the military and have used firearms safely for many years. Well, Friday I go to an indoor range. I had put my hearing protection on outside of the range, but I had taken them off slightly to talk to somebody before going into the range, while still leaving them on my head (these were earmuffs, not earplug foamies). Because I had left them on my head, there was a sensation that I was wearing my earmuffs when they weren't over my ears, and I let it escape me to put them back over my ears.

      I got up the firing line, proceeded to load my .380 pistol, aim at the target, and BANG! BOY DID I FEEL IT! In fact, I'm still feeling it.

      I've been doing a relentless amount research since them. I ended up going into the ER a day later and had mentioned that it looks like steroids are the protocol. I was prescribed Prednisone, taking 60 mg per day for the first 10 days, tapering over the next 10 days. I have been hesitant to take that much Prednisone, and have been taking 20 mg per day instead. I followed up with ENT today where after a hearing test, I was advised to go with 30mg Prednisone for 3 days, tapering over the next 4 days. That seems much less scary.

      So here are my symptoms 4 days out: tinnitus in my right ear, low grade head/ear aches that come and go (could some of that be from the Prednisone?), some hearing loss (the test shows a small level of hearing loss).

      I've been taking some Melatonin, as well as Nicotinamide riboside (although not every day), Magnesium. I have felt sleep has helped the most. My headaches can be made worse by walking. Tomorrow, I am meeting with the people at the HBOT department at the hospital not far from me. I am hesitant to do the most aggressive form of HBOT. I know this can all come with side effects.

      So I suffered acoustic trauma. For anybody else who has suffered something like this, does it get better with time? Please tell me things will improve.

      I feel so incredibly stupid I did that. At the same time, I can say of all my years of using and handling firearms, I'm the only one I've hurt with them! I assaulted myself!
       
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    2. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      Be careful with HBOT, you could give yourself a barotrauma and end up way worse.

      Also make sure you taper off the Prednisone. Rest your ears for a bit. So don’t go to loud places for awhile unless you have hearing protection. And I wouldn’t shoot for a while.

      Good luck.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. martinberryhorse

      martinberryhorse Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Aug 5, 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      One hard cough
      In the nearly three years I've browsed this forum and other parts of the internet, I have seen many cases of acoustic trauma healing over time, I have also seen ones that did not or got worse. Best thing to do is probably what you are already doing and be very careful with your ears, you may end up improving.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      In life we all make mistakes so try not to beat yourself up or feel guilty because you forgot to place the earmuffs over your ears. Forget it and move on. To dwell over something you are unable to change will cause undue stress and could make your recovery more difficult. I have some suggestions that I believe will help you.

      Noise induced tinnitus which is what you have usually improves with time and this is what is required, time and patience. You are in the very early stages and tinnitus tends to fluctuate a lot within this period but it will eventually settle down. It is important that you don't do anything rash regarding treatment in this early phase, because the best treatment is to leave your ears alone and do nothing!

      When you finish the Prednisone my advice is to take no more. Continue taking the Magnesium for at least 6 months preferably for a year or more. I also recommend taking Ginkgo Biloba. When I developed noise induced tinnitus 26 years ago, my ENT doctor told me he advises all his tinnitus patients to take Magnesium and Ginkgo Biloba.

      Keep away from loud noise and my advice is not to listen to audio through any type of headphones even at low volume. This includes: earbuds, headsets, AirPods, noise cancelling and bone conduction headphones, as there's the risk of making the tinnitus worse.

      Try to avoid quiet rooms and surroundings especially at night by using low level sound enrichment. Place a sound machine by the bedside or connect it to a pillow speaker. More about this is explained in the link below: New to Tinnitus, What to Do?

      Please go to my started threads and print the following posts: The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Hyperacusis, As I See It, Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset.

      You might be tempted to just read the above articles on a phone or computer screen. My advice is not to do this, because you will not absorb and retrain the information which takes time to sink in especially in the early stages of tinnitus.

      They are a form of counselling which will help you understand and dispel and remove a lot of the negativity that surrounds tinnitus. In time you will start to feel more positive about tinnitus and your life. If you follow my suggestions I believe you will make a good recovery so try to feel too down.

      Talk to your family doctor if you are feeling stressed, more about this is explained in the links below.

      All the best,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      Tinnitus, A Personal View | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
      • Like Like x 2
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      At this time, I don't want to hear another noise for a long time!
       
    6. dbeats

      dbeats Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise
      How is your audiogram? What frequencies does it show hearing loss and how much?
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Thank you all for the feedback. I especially appreciate the comment about not dwelling on what I can't change. You have no idea how I have been sitting here wishing I could have a do over. I feel so stupid. Not to mention the feeling like I permanently damaged myself. The one good thing, though, is I will now take my hearing much more seriously. You don't realize just how much noise you are exposed to until you go through something like this and you start noticing noises you never noticed before.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It is understandable that you feel this way but the tinnitus will improve with time.

      Print and read my articles and keep referring to them as this will help to reinforce positive thinking. Try and engage in things you like to do, as long as it doesn't include listening to audio through any type of headphones or being exposed to overly loud sounds.

      You might be tempted to search for tinnitus treatments or look to people in the medical field for help. At this stage it's not advisable as mentioned in my articles. Give it time. By all means if you are stressed talk to your family doctor.

      Remember to use low level sound enrichment particularly at night. Avoid quiet rooms and surroundings whenever possible.

      Michael
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    9. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Coolifornia
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      60 mg is standard dosage for sudden hearing loss.

      Vitamin A, C, E, Magnesium, + NAC may be helpful.

      Free radical scavengers, vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium reduces noise trauma

      Vitamins A, C, and E and selenium in the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss

      Vitamin E and vitamin C in the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss

      I've done a similar thing with earmuffs, it was with a Shop-Vac though, not a firearm, where I had them on top of my head and didn't realize they weren't over my ears. Spiked my tinnitus for a couple weeks.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Sleep seems to help tremendously. I wake up feeling pretty much back to my old self, no headaches/earaches, no sense of aural fullness, just a very faint tinnitus. And then I take a Prednisone, and then a bit later is when the low grade headaches and fullness comes on. It is hard for me to know if it is from the Prednisone or moving around. I read that Prednisone can cause tinnitus.

      I had an HBOT consult yesterday. They put in the request to my insurance. I don't know if it will be covered or not. And if it is, I am leaning towards not doing it. Or if I do, definitely not 10, 20, or 40 dives. The last thing I want to do is create more problems, and it seems like HBOT could possibly do just that.

      BTW, a vacuum has nothing on a .380!

      Update/EDIT:

      I just found out my insurance has approved 20 HBOT sessions. I can start Monday if I want. Why am I so nervous about such a thing?

      My audiogram has my hearing falling off at about 6000 Hz. 8000 Hz even lower.

      And I see that Prednisone depletes Vitamin D and Magnesium. If those are both good in a situation like this, how is Prednisone good?

      I am leaning towards nixing the HBOT.
       
    11. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      It is your choice whether to have HBOT or not but consider what I have already advised. In the early stages of noise induced tinnitus, the best treatment for the ears is to do nothing and avoid any treatment because things can easily be made worse.

      Providing you are not experiencing any deafness, dizziness, problems with balance or acute pain in the ears, it's best to let things continue as they are for at least 6 months, as many people learn to habituate within this time. You are already showing signs of improvement.

      It is not uncommon to feel stressed in the early stages of tinnitus for this is the nature of the condition. Therefore, talk to your family doctor.

      Michael
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      If something happened where I experienced barotrauma from HBOT, that would be such a huge blow and setback. It is why I am leaning against HBOT.

      I know next time I shoot on the range, it is foamies under muffs.
       
    13. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I know someone that tried HBOT and their tinnitus got worse. If I were you then I would keep away from a firing range for at least a year. If you continue as you are doing the tinnitus is likely to reduce and you'll habituate without too much problems.

      This is where the danger is because the tinnitus is still there waiting quietly in the background, ready to strike when you think all is now well and you can carry on as before. You need to be very careful.

      Read my posts: Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Can I Habituate to Variable Tinnitus?

      I wish you well,
      Michael
       
      • Like Like x 1
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I definitely wasn't planning for the range tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month for that matter! Just kind of sucks that I just bought a 1 year range membership near where I live last week. LOL. Oh well. Just saying if/when I do go back to the range, it is foamies under ear muffs, and I would have it no other way. In fact, I may even look into using a suppressor.
       
    15. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      As you are new to noise induced tinnitus, I appreciate that you may not understand what you are dealing with so I will explain.

      You can use the best hearing protection available, if external sound is loud enough it will pass through your head and transfer to your inner ear by bone conduction, which can spike the tinnitus. If you are fortunate the spike might reduce or it could increase the tinnitus to a new permanent level.

      Sorry to sound so sobering.
      Take care.

      Michael
       
    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Thank you all for your input and feedback.

      I'd say the most worrisome aspect isn't even over the prospect of having some hearing loss for the rest of my life, but thinking about the ways something like this could have racked my brain in other ways. I mean your hearing is inextricably nexused to your brain. I didn't lose consciousness or anything. But I do wonder if there could be any lingering effects on the brain as a whole.

      The ENT I saw on Tuesday looked at my ear and said she didn't see any inflammation, which is good. That said, I was already started on Prednisone by the time I visited her, and I don't know if it is the Prednisone suppressing inflammation or not. She said the aching could be from the way the muscle reacted in response to the noise.

      I know this much. I will NEVER repeat this mistake in my life!

      And what do you all know about mild HBOT? Like the lower pressure, not pure oxygen, done in the soft chambers at the offices of chiropractors? The HBOT that isn't regulated? I've actually done it before many years ago. I have read conflicting reports about the efficacy of it, being it isn't the same level of oxygen as what is done at a hospital. That said, it seems a tad bit safer because it is less aggressive. It's just if there would be no therapeutic effects from it, I don't see why to do it.

      Does anybody have any experience with that?
       
    17. kingsfan
      Haunting

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Coolifornia
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      Oh yea without a doubt.
       
    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      One question I have here is how protective of my ears should I be at this point? I am being very protective in what I call my recovery phase. To the point that a few nights ago when it began to thunder, I grabbed a pair of earplugs to put in while I slept.

      At the same time, I've read studies that suggest that being overly protective after an acoustic trauma can actually contribute towards worse damage. Like the ears need to be exercised to a certain extend to remain healthy.
       
    19. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I understand your concerns about exposure to sounds, but getting into the habit of wearing hearing protection often causes more harm than good.

      Please click on the links below and read my posts: Hyperacucusis, As I See It, The Complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, which explains hearing protection in more detail.

      It is natural that you want to learn as much as possible about tinnitus but at the same time you need to be aware, whilst some of the information online is good, a lot of it can instil and reinforce negative thinking about tinnitus, which can be perpetuated by people that have become overzealous in using hearing protection. Some will go to such lengths of using sound level apps on their phone and checking sound levels everywhere they go. This is not a route you should take.

      Try to carry on with your life doing the things that you like to do, this will help to take your mind off the tinnitus and make the habituation process easier.

      Go to my started threads and read the posts: Tinnitus and the Negative Mindset, Acquiring a Positive Mindset, The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus.

      Michael

      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      The Complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    20. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      Couldn’t have said anything better. I wish I wouldn’t have taken Prednisone and try popping my ears when I first got tinnitus which both made me worse.
       
      • Friendly Friendly x 1
    21. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      Protect against levels of sound that are actually damaging. I over protected a bit in the beginning and got way worse sound tolerance. It wasn’t until I exposed my ears to normal noises that things got better. Also try not to sleep with earplugs. You don’t want to deprive your auditory system. But that doesn’t mean to abuse them either.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      We learn by trial and error. The fact you have learned and passing on the message to help someone, this can only be a good thing, so well done.

      Michael
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    23. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      I just don’t want someone else to go through what I’ve gone through.
       
    24. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Exactly, you have been there and so have I.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    25. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      So you are saying you wish you hadn't taken Prednisone. I am starting to feel like the Prednisone isn't helping. I seem to do well after a night's rest. I wake up, take a Prednisone, and a bit later comes the fullness and discomfort. As if Prednisone is contributing to it.
       
    26. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Location:
      ND
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      I wouldn’t take Prednisone unless I had decent hearing loss and even then intratympanic injection would be better. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Try to keep your stress levels low and eat enough food so your body has the energy it needs. Stay away from loud sounds while on it as well.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    27. InfiniteLoop
      Relaxed

      InfiniteLoop Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Redwood City, California
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/21/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High frequency hearing loss in left ear from head trauma (?)
      You should ask for intratympanic steroid injections since they are much better than the oral Prednisone and do not have side effects. My personal experience is that oral Prednisone does next to nothing, and you might have a better chance with the intratympanic injections.

      I had two hearing traumatic episodes, in the first one I lost some high frequency hearing in my left ear, took Prednisone and the problem is even worse years later (severe tinnitus). In the second one, clearly a sound blast in my right ear, took Prednisone first with no result, and the ENT followed up with intratympanic injections. I recovered most of the hearing loss in the right ear, and the tinnitus in that ear disappeared. This is just anecdotal data, but it can provide a clue.
       
    28. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      From what you have described in your posts, I think that you are doing quite well and should leave all forms of medication for tinnitus in the hope of lowering it alone. You are in the early stages of tinnitus onset and going through the habituation process. If you are not careful you can easily make the tinnitus worse by trying treatments that are not proven to be effective. This is not what you need. Time and patience is required.

      Most ENT doctors prefer not to start any form of treatment unless the patient is experiencing symptoms that I have previously mentioned. They advise patients particularly those with noise induced tinnitus, to leave things alone and allow the ears to naturally heal. After six months if the tinnitus is still causing problems further steps can then be taken by seeing an audiologist that specialises in tinnitus and hyperacusis management.

      Try to stop reading about tinnitus and treatments as you could be making a lot of trouble for yourself. Be patient and take things slowly. You are going through a process and it cannot be rushed.

      Michael
       
    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MyBigMistake

      MyBigMistake Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Thank you all so much for the feedback.

      I think not trying to throw everything and anything at this is good advice.

      I will say this after a few days of taking Prednisone. I took Prednisone for the first time Sunday (today is Friday). I am down to 10 mg of Prednisone today, and I plan for tomorrow to my be last day.

      It's one week out from the incident, and I still have healing to do. Prednisone has not cured this. So why continue with it? Looking at the plurality of side effects Prednisone can cause, it seems like continued use merely increases the chance of creating an additional problem.

      What has helped is sleep/rest.

      In fact, steroids are known to curtail the body's ability to heal itself. So for that reason, I made the decision to taper down and make tomorrow my last day on Prednisone.

      I was set for HBOT on Monday, but delayed while I wait to see how a few days off of Prednisone go.

      My tinnitus makes me feel like I'm standing next a power line. It's a power line sort of noise. LOL. I don't know why I laugh. I pray this eventually resolves. My ears pop and grind at the slightest of movements (e.g. swallowing, drinking, etc).
       
    30. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      The things you are experiencing with your tinnitus is nothing out of the ordinary in the early stages which you are in. You just have to try and be calm and ride it out. I know it's not easy. Habituation can take up to 18 months sometimes longer, so this is not a quick fix.

      My advice is to leave HBOT alone and any other treatment for at least 6 months. If you are feeling stressed, talk to your family doctor, who might prescribe medication to help you relax.

      Michael
       
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