My Daily Noise Pollution — Need Your Opinions (to Plug or Not to Plug?)

Discussion in 'Support' started by chaLLas, Jan 24, 2019.

    1. chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      My history is tinnitus from multiple acoustic incidents (concert -> car hifi -> ultrasonic cleaning -> acoustic reflex test, all within 3 months). Each incident made my tinnitus worse / added new tones. I have slight issues understanding speech in noisy environments (dunno if it has already been on that level before … if it really got worse, it did only slightly), have TTTS and moderate hyperacusis.

      I will list all daily sounds I encounter that make me more or less anxious to cause a spike (instantly or long term):

      The mentioned dB levels were measured with an android phone app (Samsung Galaxy s7)

      At home, morning:

      - Taking a shower 65 – 70 dB

      - Drying ears with towel / q-tips (only on the outer ear canal, after shower)

      - Using low quality speakers like cellphone or cheap radio (max. moderate volume)

      At work, 9 hours per day:

      - Driving to work, 50% city, 50% highway 100 km/h (55-65 dB, some street surfaces make it peak to 75 dB)

      - Trucks and cars passing by on my way from parking lot to office ~200m (pressing my tragus for reduction, therefore not measuring with my cellphone^^)

      - Using my Telephone at work (with earphone capsule. 10 – 20 Minutes per day)

      - Doors slamming 70 - 75 dB (Multiple times per day, mostly a few feet away from me)

      - Phone beeps from colleagues (multiple times per day, around 60 dB)

      - Intermittent Machine noise from the depot next to my office (seems to be peaking at 50-60 dB inside the office, though it sounds louder)

      - „loud“ talkers and groups talking in the office 1-3 hours per day, 60 – 75 dB (if I can, I leave when it gets too much for me)


      At home, evening:

      - Cleaning out dish washer (using earmuffs at home)

      - Cooking (frying seems so damn loud … using earmuffs also)

      - Girlfriend talking close to me (e. g. while cuddling)

      - Watching TV on low volume (app says 25 – 30 dB … must be more)

      - Playing games on PC (same volume as TV, mouseclicks and keyboard seems loud, but the app only reacts tot hem when I put the cellphone directly next to the sound source)


      I tried to plugs my ears on a daily basis, but I just can’t do that because they irritate my ear. 3M foam plugs worked the best, but if people are not speaking normally, I do not understand them. That’s a problem at work, 80% of the time people talk loudly, but the other 20% they mumble and talk quiet. Especially my boss varies a lot in his talking … so I miss a lot of words he is saying and have to ask him to repeat himself … Yet after a whole day, even with those foam plugs my ears are hurting and itching.

      So using earplugs is a bit of torture to me … but on the other side, I always feel guilty at the end of the day for not plugging and giving my ears rest and time to heal …

      Maybe you can share your daily noise pollution and how you are handling them and you opinions about my situation. Do you think I better should get into the torture of daily plugging, or that the noise levels should be OK regarding my tinnitus history and that I just should try to manually protect my ears (pressing targus) when I assume something 80dB+ is going to happen?


      Thank you for your time.
       
    2. Elfin
      Wishful

      Elfin Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2004
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Great post. I’m very interested in the feedback as a lot of the same noises bother me.

      I protect, pretty much all the time, but want to move to a space of less dependence.

      Looking forward to the feedback
       
    3. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I'd highly recommend cutting back immensely on the earplug use. The reason things appear so loud is because your constant use of ear protection has resulted in your brain jacking up your auditory gain, resulting in everything sounding louder than it actually is. Your eats hurt because foam plugs weren't meant to be worn for long periods of time, they irrate the lining of the ear canals. If cars driving 300m away are too loud, it's a guarentee that you have severe hyperacusis, you need to slowly dial down the use of plugs or it will only get worse.

      Another big issue with the excessive use of plugs is that you're isolating yourself from other people when you use them. Not only that, but people are going to start thinking that you're crazy, if they don't already. Now I've been exactly where you're at in the past, so I know you're not crazy, you're just misguided, but to the general public you're going to appear "off", which can negatively effect work and personal relationships.

      Trust me on this, as someone who has severely damaged hearing from (many) unprotected gunshots, clubs, pro car audio, etc... It gets much better, but it will only continue to get worse if you don't take steps to address your hyperacusis.

      Also, the best thing to is avoid members who preach about protection, I listened to this advice when I first joined Tinnitus Talk. It resulted in damaged relationships, temporarily worse tinnitus (from massive anxiety and fear of noise, as well as hyperacusis, which can cause increases that last for months), and social isolation. The people who recommend this live very sad, lonely lives. Notice that most have only had tinnitus for a short period of time, I've already "been there done that". Heck, I've have had other members PM me who were on the verge of suicide from following that ideology. I mean look where it's already gotten you...

      -Ross
       
      • Agree Agree x 5
    4. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      If a shower feels like it is too loud to you, you can always take baths (or at least wear earplugs when you shower).
      I found that my T would spike after driving on a highway. I began wearing earmuffs or earplugs when I drive. You can also wear noise-cancelling headphones [they work great at eliminating the road noise] and earplugs underneath the headphones, to protect yourself from the headphones, as some people got spikes after wearing noise cancelling headphones.
      You Definitely want to be wearing earplugs next time.
      I had gotten spikes following being exposed to doors slamming. You can try to get the Facilities people at your firm to fix the door - there are door closers out there that can eliminate this problem. If they refuse, you can at least attach some cushioning to the door frame.

      If I were you, I would wear hearing protection on the way to work, and do something about those doors slamming.

      Try Howard Leight "low pressure" earplugs. They really Are a lot more comfortable than even 3M 1100 earplugs. The only problem with them is that they don't last as long as 3M foam plugs. They work by sticking to the inside of your ear canal, so be careful when you pull them out - do it very slowly in order to avoid a loud sound when they dislodge.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      Thank you Bill for again giving your input.

      The doors have slow shut-mechanisms, but they still close pretty loud. Most of the doors do not shut but only slam into the frame. It's multiple doors and normal people would never complain about that ... I will see if the facility ppl can look into that issue for me.

      And thank you for the plug suggestion. I did not know about them. I hope I can get them here in Germany ... will look for them later at home.
       
    6. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Often those mechanisms can be adjusted! You can search on YouTube or on the Internet and see if you can figure out how to do it yourself. Or you can ask Facilities people to do you a favour and do the adjustment.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    7. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Intermittent noise exposure is such a PITA to protect from. A few thoughts:

      - Try the musician ear plugs for work as you can hear better while still providing protection. I use a knockoff of the Eargasm ones for those situations.

      - The "ear capsule" is likely a problem, as it is akin to the earbud that puts the speaker directly into the ear. Any chance you can use a speakerphone? At work, on the phone I have the volume all the way down, and try to keep the headset not directly against my ear.

      - I do not drive with ear plugs, and just cover my ear for sirens and trucks with my finger.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      Thank you Ross for your statement.

      It seems like I need to give some more info and that you misunderstood some things I said.

      I got hyperacusis weeks before I plugged on a daily basis, and until now I have not noticed that it got worse. Yet I understand that surpressing incoming sounds all day might lead to more oversensitivity if you do it for a longer time.

      It is not like cars from 300m away are too loud. I am walking ~200m from the parking lot to my office next to a street where trucks and cars pass right next to me. I am trying to tolerate cars, but trucks are still too much to handle, I do not want to try out facing them without protection by now.

      Overall, I really feel like the noise avoidance lifestyle is really draining and affects almost everything negatively, you are right. Yet if you need to do that for a period of time to give your ears the best chance to heal, it would be an O.K. price to pay for me. But since that is not a clear fact and all the plugging might even make things worse, it is reall really hard to decide what to do ... since all my worsenings happened from noise exposure ... your are right, I really feel misguided because I do not know which way to go ... I am changing my opinion about this weekly, until I get a new spike ...
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
      • Hug Hug x 1
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      I have musician earplugs, but they irritate my ear badly. Plus they give a pretty bad occlusion effect so I can't use them in meetings, since I have to talk a lot there ... I have a speaker option, but almost every time I am on the phone, someone else in the office is also on the phone or talking to another person, so I hardly understand my phone - and when I use the ear capsule, I also have to turn the phone up to understand it against the other voices ... which is so dangerous ... I hate navigating through this f*cking everyday minefield without a detector ....
       
    10. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Was it minor at first? I had T with no H for years until an extremely loud, very unfortunate incident. I noticed mild pain in my ears the next few days, but it was nothing like what it blossomed into after I started to utilize protection.

      I believe I will always have a very mild, physical hyperacusis, I still experience pain when exposed to loud noise such as a smoke detector. I'm sure @Contrast could explain this better, but as far as most noises are concerned I'm good to go now.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    11. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      Damn, what happened?
       
    12. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      The noise of the engine and the tires is enough to cause a spike for some people (I used to be one of them).
       
    13. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      I will give you mine. In what you listed in your first post nothing requires protection. If the loud talkers are annoying and talk for a long time I would probably use plugs though, just to stay focused on my work ^^
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    14. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      just like any other injury, if something hurts, don't do it again and protect yourself.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    15. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
    16. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      Bill, I have lost enough time with you. You have been explained many times why your "advice" and your obsession of protection do more harm than good.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    17. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I have to disagree John, have you ever had physical therapy before? There is definitely discomfort and pain as well, although the proper way to address H only involves minor discomfort, if it hurts you're moving too fast.
       
    18. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I had to use my weapon in self defense... It was an unfortunate situation.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    19. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      You never answered why the range (80-99 dB) that is just below what the public currently believes is dangerous (100db) is not the range the doctor (who said that that the experts had realized that the sounds that the public currently considers to be safe are actually dangerous) was talking about.

      You also never explained why in your opinion it is NOT the case that the person who ends up with T is more likely to have weak (i.e., compromised) ears than the person who is exposed to the same noise and doesn't get T.

      In light of that article (where a professor of otology at Harward School of Medicine clearly states that "the ability to recover from acoustic injury drops with increased exposure" (which means that one can take risks and be ok, until one is not), how can you unironically write about "obsession with protection"?
       
    20. Julien87
      Not amused

      Julien87 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (concert)
      Sorry to read this. And did it affect your T too?
       
    21. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I'm going to try my best to be diplomatic with this Bill. Everything we do in life is a risk, you must weigh risk with reward, for many, living life in solitude is not a life worth living. You have stated many times that you are an introvert, the things that you avoid currently, you avoided in the past, your avoidance lifestyle doesn't effect your in the same way it would effect an extrovert. For many of us, a lifestyle of seclusion might as well be a death sentence, we are willing to take a small risk for a huge reward. Please try to understand this...
       
      • Like Like x 1
    22. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I addressing the people who will think of it as a minor cost (not going to concerts, pubs, restaurants, movie theaters, crowded places) that would net them a huge reward (knowing that they did what they could to ensure their T doesn't get louder). Those people might not realize how dangerous some of those activities can be. I understand that not everyone will think of it this way - and so that is great - as long as everyone has all of the information, they will choose to act in a way that will be the best for them. There is nothing wrong with your argument that asks the people to compare their personal costs and benefits. But I love it how Julien can't come up with a counterargument and also won't admit that he has been wrong.
       
    23. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Are you a police officer?
       
    24. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      The OP is just taking about normal noises at work and at home though, no concerts or clubs. I think you might be mistaken as to what Julien was referring to.
       
    25. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Those noises bother him, and continuing doing the stuff that your body is telling you not to do carries a risk (not sure whether or not it is a small risk) of causing a spike. You don't want to willingly give yourself a spike.

      If you are not a police officer - I am curious to find out what happened. Were you at a wrong place at a wrong time? Did you know the person who had attacked you? Where did the bullet ended up?
       
    26. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Physical therapy is a prime example of how that line of reasoning is problematic.

      I'm not sure why you keep pressing for details of something I obviously don't wish to elaborate on. Please stop asking me.
       
    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      It was very minor at first. Actually it all startet after my cousin was sitting next to me for a whole weekend while we were playing PC games. He is also a loud talker but that did not bother me before. Also, I watched a film on TV the evening before it worsened over the regular TV speakers. I had to turn it up pretty much because voices were so quiet and effects so loud ... at that point, I still did not bother. But the next day I was wondering why the voices of my colleagues at work sounded so loud and why my left ear is spasming to certain noises like mouseclicks (TTTS) ... and that's where it all started to spiral downwards into phonophobia and moderate hyperacusis as the psychological component started to add up also. Luckily, I do not have physical pain (even though I was luckily not exposed to ULTRA loud sounds like a fire alarm or something since then)
       
      • Like Like x 1
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      chaLLas
      Doubtful

      chaLLas Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced (multiple acoustic incidents)
      It is true, the noises bother me, but that is mostely because of my anxiety. If I knew those sounds were save, I could easily tolerate them as I am not having physical pain going with my H. I would actually love to tolerate them to come back to life again.

      The problem for me is that I can understand both sides - protecting yourself from everything like putting a broken limb into gypsum (dunno if thats the correct term here^^). And since ears seam to need forever to heal, that would mean years of noise abstinence I guess ... and cutting a lot of ties socially and the risk of losing a lot. I am very afraid of that.

      On the other hand, it seems logical that your sensitivity gets ramped up even more if you take away daily noises for a longer time ... and that getting used to those noises again is important. It is easier to accept those noises and just avoid really loud things like concerts etc. for a very long time or even a lifetime - at least for me. And it means I can still live an OK life without sacrificing a very lot.

      There is so much content and debates about this on this forum and I asked for some advice tailored to my situation ... I thought that would somehow make it click for me. But I am still torn ... is there maybe any scientific evidence about all that?
       
    29. AZeurotuner

      AZeurotuner Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tucson, AZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      2010
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Well Bill protected himself the entire time and his T never went away, I have been reasonable with mine (avoiding clubs, concerts, etc) and mine hasn't gotten worse, so there's that I guess.
       
    30. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      If there are no physical sensations or consequences, then you should't be anxious. Try to minimize your exposure whenever you can, but if you would have to do costly things like quitting your job in order to avoid noises, then it doesn't make sense to avoid those noises.
      People with broken bones feel pain. Many of us actually feel pain/discomfort or get spikes afterwards. If you are not getting any feedback from your body, then, like I said avoid all noises that are easy for you to avoid, but don't worry too much about the noises that you can't easily avoid.
      After about two years many people get to the stage where you might be at right now - where the noises no longer sound uncomfortable and do not cause spikes. Of course it makes sense to avoid loud concerts, even when there are no immediate consequences, but when it comes to everyday noises, perhaps it doesn't make sense to go that far.
      I think you should try to worry less, while continuing to try to protect your ears when you can do so at a reasonable cost to you.

      My posts arguing that people should be doing what they can to protect their ears, were addressed to people who got got consequences following exposure, but were told by the others that they should be ignoring those consequences. I am not sure what to make of your case. I think you ought to be ok, but you never know with T...
       
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