Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Socialising — Dangerous for Hyperacusis?

Discussion in 'Support' started by TheDanishGirl, May 16, 2021.

    1. TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I've been thinking a long time about getting some noise-cancelling headphones, that I can use in social settings when talking. Not big social settings, just settings with 3-4 people. I could use earmuffs, but I feel it is a little too dramatic as I don't (mostly) react severely to human voices if they talk in a normal volume, so I just need something to take the edge off, and I heard that noise-cancelling headphones also work great for social settings.

      But are noise-cancelling headphones dangerous for hyperacusis?

      I don't know if I would use them with noise cancellation turned on or off. I know of a girl with Meniere's who uses them in social family settings, but I actually don't know if she has the noise cancellation turned on, or if she just uses them as earmuffs. I read that some noise-cancelling headphones also work fairly well as earmuffs. Of course they don't reduce volume like real earmuffs, but they can take some noise off. I can't remember which kind they were.
       
    2. Sevv

      Sevv Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12.04.2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert
      Why not use earmuffs or earplugs? Noise-cancelling headphones have only an edge over earmuffs when it comes to constant low-frequency noise. They're also a lot more expensive.

      Noise-cancelling headphones are more comfortable to wear though.

      Some people here have said that noise-cancelling headphones can cause spikes and thus wear earplugs in conjunction (I do that as well to have protection against impulse noise for which noise-cancelling headphones are subpar because of the delay of the active noise cancelling). But if you have to use earplugs anyway, noise-cancelling headphones maybe are not what you're looking for.

      Noise-cancelling headphones with noise cancellation turned off is like a low-grade earmuff that is comfortable to wear. However, the reduction from mine (Sony) I'd rate at about 6 dB, so very low.
       
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    3. Keith Handy
      Ape-like

      Keith Handy Member

      Location:
      Rochester, NY, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Stress + sleep deprivation + noise
      With mine switched off, everything just sounds boomier than not wearing them at all. (Also Sony.)
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I can't use earplugs, as I found I can't talk with them in. The occlusion effect or whatever it is is just too bad, and besides my ears start hurting pretty fast when wearing earplugs. It doesn't matter what type of earplugs they are.

      Earmuffs just lower volume too much, about 20 dB or more, which makes me have a hard time hearing and understanding speech.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      It does sound a little that way with earmuffs too. Earmuffs are usually also uncomfortable to wear after a little while... and well, they lower volume too much, when just dealing with normal speech.
       
    6. RAA

      RAA Member

      Location:
      Denmark/UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I have been using some ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) noise-cancelling headphones for my work for a few years given to me from my Danish employer. I actually like them but since onset of tinnitus last year I have really cut down on their use as a precaution. I still don't know if they were solely/partly responsible for my onset - I don't think so as I only used them for meetings on low volume. My tinnitus seems to be getting a lot better now and I don't have hyperacusis symptoms anymore so cannot vouch in that respect (it was just during the first month after my tinnitus onset that I went through hyperacusis).

      I have very light sensitivity randomly once or twice a month or so now.

      The ANC button you can toggle on/off and it kind of just softens/quietens incoming sound, so I can still speak to the wife for example if next to me when I have the headset on but it does soften/lower her voice (there is a demo on the link below that gives you some idea with ANC on/off).

      They are pretty expensive and maybe not what you are after but they are very good...

      Jabra Evolve 75
       
    7. Juan

      Juan Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      I tried briefly the AKG N60Nc headphones and they were ok. I don't own a pair, but tried my friend's headphones... they sit on top of the ears, these headphones do not fully cover the ears as an earmuff would do.

      For me foar earplugs provide the best attenuation. It is normal that you sometimes get discomfort and a lot of occlusion at the beginning, but you may get used to it. If you want to give earplugs a go, try using them for short periods of time, and then for longer periods.. see if you can get used to them.
       
    8. Mary97

      Mary97 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Accoustic trauma but diagnosed with otosclerosis
      I couldn't live without my noise-cancelling headphones. I highly highly recommend them. Bose makes the ANC earbuds so they are more discreet, don't block out as much noise as the headphones, but are still good.

      Just make sure you don't get ones with Bluetooth because you can't just shut off the Bluetooth and it says "connect to device" over and over in your ear! Yikes.

      BTW, Bose is pretty pricey, but pretty darn good...
       
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    9. Brian Newman

      Brian Newman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shooting/loud noise
      Which Bose headphones?
       
    10. Dan Moore

      Dan Moore Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      I recommend not getting noise canceling headphones just to eliminate the sound you hear. Reason being is the means of which it's canceling noise is giving you noise in the opposite wavelength. As such your ears get double the sound even if you can't hear it.

      Myself, I'm sensitive to auditory pressure and the noise cancelling headphones tend to make my tinnitus flare up after some time.

      The best solution I have found is certain earplugs. Some earplugs have a stem that is hollow. The cap of the earplug though isn't and I have opened that up so there is a small hole. This allows a little sound through and no extra pressure on my eardrums, while reducing the noise level outside by about 20 dB or more.
       
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    11. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      I recommend Bose over the ear headphones, they are OK comfortable, and they cover your whole ear well so there’s no gap behind your ear.., unless you got really big ears :D

      I wouldn’t use the noise cancelling function though.., and your not getting any protection from that.
      I’ve seen tests of cheap over the ear headphones and they take a big chunk of high frequency noise out, and when you reach low frequency they do nothing.
      I believe I’ve seen 15-20 dB of high frequency noise reduction.
      Just google tests.
      Bose sits pretty well so they would do reasonably well just as the cheap ones and possibly better. But of course it’s not the purpose of product and no protection against sudden high impact blasts because of air pressure getting in.

      Bose got Bluetooth with OFF button
      That’s important so they don’t talk to you...
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      TheDanishGirl
      Sad

      TheDanishGirl Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Denmark
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2017 (H since 06/2017)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term noise exposure (headphones), maybe some stress.
      I thank you for your suggestions, but hypercausis is now at a level, where noise-cancelling headphones are not a good option anymore. I tried several earplugs, both hollow in the stem, foam etc. but my ears always hurt from them, and my pain is elevated.
       
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    13. Dan Moore

      Dan Moore Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2000
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      have you tried plain cotton balls to muffle the sound?

      I am reading allot on uses of ketamine for a cure or control. Might look into seeing if there is any way to get into that.

      Either way good luck.
       
    14. xyz
      Alienated

      xyz Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006 mild T 2019 T worsening H onset
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown / probably noise induced
      It's the other way around. NC headphones are very good at cancelling out low frequency noise, but not so good for the high frequencies.
       
    15. Exit

      Exit Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      True! But I meant as noise protection. They protect a little against high frequency noise, because they’re plastic clamped to the ear.
       
    16. Chris S.

      Chris S. Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      February 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud sound; Pfizer vaccine
      Guys, I need some advice. I am at the point when I will be returning soon to teach at my college campus and I would like to avoid the loud noises (construction, etc., not to mention the low-flying UPS planes, etc.) that always occur there. Wearing foam plugs (like the 3M 1100) seems an easy solution, but all foam/acoustic, etc. plugs I've tried have an occlusion effect and also seem to contribute to irritating my ear canals (and I have frequent outer ear infections). Traditional earmuffs won't work - call me prissy, if you wish, but I simply can't go around campus, dressed in a suit, and wear X5A Peltor earmuffs. I bought a pair of noise-isolating headphones used in recording studios (Direct Sound Ex-29), but when they arrived, I realized that 1) even though they were touted as having a NRR rating of 29, their actual protection was significantly below - maybe around 20-23 dB, and 2) they cause an awful occlusion effect, even worse than that of the X4A Peltor muffs (the X5A do not have this issue but they are gigantic and unsuitable to wear in social situations). I have another pair of noise-canceling over-the-ear headphones but they also cause an awful occlusion effect and offer very low passive protection (10-12 dB only).

      My question is - does anyone know of earmuffs that look like headphones and offer decent protection, or of very good passive noise-isolating headphones that do not cause much occlusion effect? I would ideally like to reduce the need to wear earplugs. And my college campus IS really noisy - sometimes, in excess of 100 dB from every direction...
       
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