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
      No Mood

      Gabriel5050 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      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:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      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

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      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.

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