My Tinnitus Makes No Sense: Wore Custom Earplugs While Playing Board Games, and Got a Spike

Discussion in 'Support' started by Gabriel5050, Jul 22, 2020.

    1. Gabriel5050
      Balanced

      Gabriel5050 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (most likely)
      My tinnitus is from noise exposure.

      At first when I didn't know about musician earplugs I knew the foam ones make it very hard to communicate, so I used cotton balls to get at least some protection. When I started using earplugs I thought it was fine for about a month (Alpine 22 dB NRR and EarGasm was only 16 dB NRR, didn't fit comfortably anyway, so quickly ditched) but I realized my tinnitus was still getting louder, just more slowly.

      At this point I started taking NAC, Curcumin, Omega 3, and some other multivitamin with ginkgo biloba, vit C and B complex. For about half a year I lived 90% inside the house leaving only when I had to. Unless it was something very short like 30 minutes, I would get an increase. Yes, my spikes rarely subside back to baseline. I am stuck on an upwards trend when it comes to tinnitus loudness.

      Recently I got custom molded ear plugs with 25 dB noise reduction and wore them at a friend's home, being the 3 of us playing board games for about 2 hours. So no loud sounds, aside from an occasional laugh. The earplugs were not 100% comfortable either. I am on the 5th day of that spike which affects both ears.

      I almost want to blame the plugs, but that feels crazy to say.

      I feel like I am reaching an upper limit of what I can handle as my sleep has been poor these last days. All the things I'm doing should in theory prevent further damage, yet they have not. I am getting pretty desperate here, because I don't know what to do in order to live my life even to a lesser degree.

      Does anyone know what someone like me should do (regarding tinnitus or in general) given these circumstances? How is a tinnitus like mine even possible?
       
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    2. Tisyuck

      Tisyuck Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      earplugs
      Disclaimer: I didn't read your whole post. And I've never used custom silicone plugs.

      I don't trust silicone earplugs at all. I once tried the Mack's silcone which I believe are 22 NRR. I found them next to impossible to seal without putting strain on the ear and got virtually zero protection.

      I've never used custom silicone plugs, but I suspect that they either have to always press outwardly against your ears for the entire circumference of your ear to have a good seal..that is totally plush for the entire circumference.

      I also suspect that practically that level of plushness can only be achieved the first few uses of them, but if you chew, g, make facial expressions, sweat, clench your ear area, just do natural movements, etc. I would think they would at minimum have very small breaks in the seal along the circumference breaking the plushness. If this is the case, then even tiny breaks in the seal can cause severe lowering of the prescribed NRR. Breaks in the seal are very non-linear. So I wouldn't be surprised if after using them a bit the seal got broken and half or more of the protection is lost.

      The positive thing about foam plugs is that they expand outward to create a seal so you don't have to worry about any breaks in the seal along the circumference of the ear canal. The issue with foam plugs is usually people don't insert them correctly which amounts to them going into the canal far enough.
       
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    3. Thuan

      Thuan Member

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection right ear 2018. Sound trauma left ear 2020.
      It's nightmarish reading your increasing tinnitus volume. I have no idea what is wrong. Have you gotten hearing tests once in a while when your tinnitus increases. Would be a good idea to document a history of hearing loss and see what you can do then.
       
    4. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      How are you doing nowadays, Gabriel? Are you still stuck on this upwards trend?
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Gabriel5050
      Balanced

      Gabriel5050 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (most likely)
      Hi, thanks for reaching out. I still think my tinnitus is on an upwards trend regarding its loudness. I just try to slow down the tinnitus increases by avoiding noise as much as I can. That is the one thing that has kept my tinnitus somewhat under control. I only leave the house when I have to, and when I do, I use protection. That means ear plugs, ear muffs or both. I have also developed a paranoia/fear for loud noises.

      I just gave up on making posts like the original one here, because it would be basically the same story over and over again. Also, I don't want to scare or depress other people more than they already are, since I think I'm in a minority. I started to be less bothered by the way my life is. I still have sad days because of the tinnitus but it doesn't affect me as much emotionally now. So, I'm just taking it one day at a time.
       
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    6. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      Taking it one day at a time is all we can do. I'm having a pretty rough time myself, mine spikes very easily, and it has worsened in the last months. I would say I have reactive tinnitus.

      May I ask, do you have the slightest hyperacusis? Does sounds from plates and cutlery hurt or make you cringe? I'm not talking about fear, but rather a automatic reaction.

      I had hyperacusis at onset, but it resolved rather quickly, but because of over-protection in February, it came back, and because of a loud noise, it set me back even worse. I do believe my recent worsenings and spikes are due to the hyperacusis and how it interacts with my tinnitus. The conditions are really complex.
       
    7. Chris S.

      Chris S. Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud sound; Pfizer vaccine
      So sorry to read about your experience. Something similar has been happening to me during the past few months - ear plugs and ear muffs, regardless of material or brand, spike my tinnitus volume on a daily basis. I also got unfortunate spikes from an aspirin pill, from a glass of tonic water (quinine, I learned too late, is a big no-no!), and probably the worst from mowing the lawn, while wearing a pair of 3M earplugs (NRR 29) and above them X5A Peltor ear muffs (NRR of 31). Regardless and despite all the protection (ensuring a minimum level of low frequency protection of 31/2 + 5 = 20.5 dBC, following the NIOSH formula), the volume of my tinnitus has been gradually rising until the Pfizer vaccine (especially the second shot) made it almost unbearable.

      I suspect that we are unlucky and have a very reactive and very unsettled tinnitus that is affected by any form of barrier in the ears, as well as by the condition of hyperacusis, inflammations, allergies, etc. About inflammations - check what you eat/drink - I noticed that eggs, dairy, and other unbound glutamine-rich foods, or alcohol affect me particularly badly. Gluten seems to be less of a culprit. MSG is virtually in every packaged or canned food (just not called MSG but any "extract," "isolate," "natural flavor," "carrageenan," anything that is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, any "broth," etc.), in every sauce packet, etc. - so, cooking from scratch seems to be the only way to go.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Gabriel5050
      Balanced

      Gabriel5050 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (most likely)
      I don't believe I have hyperacusis. Definitely not pain hyperacusis. But fear of sound I think is phonophobia. My automatic reaction would be to plug my ears. Cutlery is annoying indeed. On the other hand, my tinnitus does sound different when other specific sounds are around.

      I hope your hyperacusis gets better or even goes away. I am definitely acting on the overprotecting side. You can try to expose yourself to sound as much as you feel comfortable.
       
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