Office and Earplugs — Too Much?

Discussion in 'Support' started by MichaelP, Dec 15, 2019.

    1. MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Hi all,

      I'm starting an office job tomorrow and would like some opinions on anyone else who does or doesn't wear earplugs at any time in them.

      I believe it to be a large busy office, but I have no clue how loud it will get (although I do have a dB meter so can check this). What sort of sound levels in an office should I consider it a good idea to wear earplugs (I guess this question applies in general really) and what NRR earplugs would be a safe bet? Like if it was constantly over 85dB would I want some 17 NRR earplugs, for example.

      I obviously don't want to overuse them, as I'll be there 7 and a half hours a day, but maybe there will be certain situations I will need them? Meetings, team talks etc?

      I believe we're allowed to use headphones in the office as well, so I was wondering if anyone has any experience/opinions on in-ear or over-ear noise cancelling headphones (obviously without the music) to block out sound and whether they recommend them?

      Thank you!! :)
       
    2. Dosman

      Dosman Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Trauma
      Most office settings are usually around 60 dB at the most, and even that level isn’t constant. I would expect you to have little need for earplugs, except in unusual situations. Obviously you will have to measure when you get there, but I expect you will find the noise levels to be safe. Congratulations on your new job.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      That's good to hear! I guess it probably seemed like a bit of a ridiculous question then haha. I really had no idea how loud they get though.

      I'll just keep a pair with me in case.

      Any ideas how I know if the sound level meter I bought is accurate? I mean, it seems pretty accurate, but not sure if there's an accurate way I can test it. Is it just a case of matching it to everyday sounds that have been tested already (e.g. washing machine)?

      Oh, and thank you!
       
    4. Michael B
      Supportive

      Michael B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Earbuds
      I felt no regrets telling my boss about my tinnitus & hyperacusis. She was very understanding. She went so far as to arrange to have me told of any pending fire drills in advance so I could leave before the alarms sounded.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      That's a good idea!

      Do you feel the need to wear earplugs at any time, or find it overly loud in certain situations?

      Thanks.
       
    6. Kvothe

      Kvothe Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSRI
      Congratulations on your new job! I'm a cubicle dweller myself. In general I work for a quiet team. Probably at 50-60 decibels. No need for earplugs. And I find the combination of computer noise, the copier, and the HVAC system to be fairly masking. It's the easiest part of my day as far as T is concerned.
       
    7. Michael B
      Supportive

      Michael B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Earbuds
      I have no qualms telling anyone about my tinnitus. Without going into detail, I simply refer to it as an 'ear condition' with a sensitivity to sound. People tend to be very understanding. We all have something we're dealing with.

      I carry earplugs with me most times but only wear them when necessary.

      Good luck with your new job!
       
    8. boliston
      No Mood

      boliston Member

      Location:
      Taunton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      30th April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Idiopathic
      I work in an office and when it gets noisy I put on my earmuffs - the thing I like about this is that if someone needs to speak to me I can quickly take them off then put them on again - it was actually my boss that suggested earmuffs (he has had tinnitus for years so knows how annoying it can be) - luckily I'm not needing them so much now after 8 months but the 3 month point seemed the worse (when I got the muffs).
       
    9. Mister Muso
      Creative

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Take earplugs. You might not need them, then again you might be in the midst of a busy team where everyone raises their voices unnecessarily loud to be heard.

      I usually need to pop my silicon earplugs in for half an hour, a couple of times each day. Sometimes foam ones on a bad day. Over ear NC headphones can help too.

      Good luck, you'll be fine!
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      @Kvothe
      @Michael B
      @boliston
      @Mister Muso

      Thanks everyone for the advice/suggestions. Turns out it was pretty quiet in the end (well, apart from the odd moment, but nothing particularly near me). Better to be safe than sorry though!

      oh, and NC headphones are safe @Mister Muso ? I've read a lot of people using them on other forums, but wasn't sure if the general consensus was that they effectively decreased the SPL/didn't have any other problems associated.
       
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    11. Mister Muso
      Creative

      Mister Muso Member

      Location:
      Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2007 / April 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music
      Some say use open-backed ones only, not closed-cup over-ear. My severe T started in April after a concert, but I had been using closed cup NC headphones listening to loud music almost every day since Christmas 2018. I'm sure that contributed to my current state.

      The jury is still out on whether any kind of headphones can be safe at all for us folks- some seem to manage ok with them at low volume, but for others it's seen as too great a risk. I don't see any problems with using them to shut out background noise in an office without any music or sound playing through them., but the key thing is not to become over-dependent on them. Let your ears get used to hearing normal sounds without protection where you feel it's safe to do so. Our office has a coffee machine which for a while I found too noisy, but nowadays it's fine if I just walk away a few paces from it while it's working, or plug my ear with my finger.
       
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    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      MichaelP

      MichaelP Member

      Location:
      New Zealand
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown - Potentially noise/stress
      Thanks for the advice.

      I just meant using them purely for their noise cancelling capabilities, not to play music. So like when on an aeroplane, or on a noisy bus, just so it turns the loud plane CHHHH into a more gentle hiss.... I wasn't sure if there was any worry about using NC headphones for that, or how effective they are at stopping sound pressure. I mean, they seem much better than earplugs at those kind of things, but I don't know if they actually are?
       

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