Please Help, Does Anyone Know If Singing with Earplugs Can Make Your Tinnitus Worse?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Mr-T, Apr 8, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Mr-T

      Mr-T Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Over exposure to loud music
      I have been a musician playing in bands for around 20 years. Though nowadays I have given up the band work and earn a living as a workshop leader.

      I developed tinnitus at the start of February 2016 after a few loud workshops with no ear protection. I visited an ENT and he said that I'm fine to carry on with work as long I protect my ears.

      I've had some ACS Pro 17's & Pro 26's made up for workshop use.

      Here's the question though that I can't seem to find any answers to. When I'm singing with the ear plugs in, my own voice sounds very loud in my head and seems to create a buzzing in my ears.

      I may be imagining it, but the tinnitus seems louder after I have done a singing workshop with ear plugs in. Maybe it's the extra worry, as I'm worrying that I am damaging them further, or could be the added raised tension after a day's work?

      Has anyone else experienced this? Also my tinnitus generally seems louder in the afternoon and evening.

      I am learning to live with tinnitus but I'm just afraid that the singing with ear plugs in is causing further damage! Would appreciate any knowledge that you all might have. :)
       
    2. Aussie Lea
      Dramaqueen

      Aussie Lea Member

      Location:
      Melbourne Yarra Valley
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/09/2013
      I think it's this Mr-T.
       
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    3. billie48
      Sunshine

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Location:
      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2009
      I can only say the Melody Gardot, a jazz singer seems to be doing ok singing with ear plugs and with severe T & H. But personal experience may differ. Here is her story:

      http://jazztimes.com/articles/24598-melody-gardot-s-melodic-therapy

      "A slender blonde with dark, arching eyebrows and a cool, Peggy Lee manner, Gardot must wear dark glasses to compensate for hyper-photosensitivity, earplugs for severe Hyperacusis/Tinnitus"
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. Mr-T

      Mr-T Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Over exposure to loud music
      Thanks for your replies both :)

      I'll have a read of the article in a moment it sounds very interesting. Part of my concern came because I was reading about bone conductive hearing damage.

      Apparently you can only protect your hearing up to around 35 to 40db (hence why they don't make ear plugs with much more than 35 DB protection). If you are exposed at say a concert or football game (measured at around 60 to 120 db) then the rest of the sound reaches your ears via your body, known as bone conductive). . My concern was this - wearing ear plugs fills the ear canal so that there is no cavity for the sound of your own voice to escape, which is why you get the booming effect in your head. I just wondered if this could damage your hearing? I presume that the booming sound of your voice is also bone conductive and can possibly cause damage or worsen tinnitus?

      Or maybe I'm reading into it all too much :)
       
    5. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      Wearing ear plugs can create something called the occlusion effect. The sound of your voice can normally escape the ear canal but gets trapped and bounces back off of the ear plug and back into the ear. I have really bad H, I have a hard time even speaking with plugs in, I find it very loud.
       
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    6. Robert44

      Robert44 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud concert
      I sing with the plugs in but I find that I have to sing softly because as you said it makes the plugs buzz. I don't think it's a good idea to sing or speak to loudly with the plugs in.
       
    7. Mr-T

      Mr-T Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Over exposure to loud music
      Telis I also have H, which like you said is maybe why I find it so loud when singing. I totally understand the oclussion effect, but hadn't thought about that having an affect with ear plugs in, thanks for that.

      Robert I totally agree, I find that if I really belt it out then it's unbearably loud. That was my conclusion also, just to have the mic a little louder and sing softer.

      I was quite disappointed with ACS when I went to visit them that they had no real advice in this. They make professional ear protection - described as 'for vocalists', yet when I asked them these same questions all they casually replied was 'yeah should be ok'.

      I expected a little more professional advice than that. Plus no one seems to have done any research on this subject.
       
    8. Telis

      Telis Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Calgary
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2013
      I'm sure you know this already but if you can get a deep fitting ear plug the occlusion effect will be reduced. Also, I believe that some of the ear plug manufactures are using ports to combat this issue, maybe you could check that out.
       
    9. bill 112
      Studious

      bill 112 Member

      Location:
      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      I always found wearing earplugs a hard thing to do,if I was in a not so noisy environment like let's say a family get together where there would be a lot of people talking and laughing it didn't really bother my H,I'd have a headache after maybe but that was it.But if I wore earplugs at such a gathering I couldn't hear what people were saying and the sound of my own voice going through my head was worse than the voices of the people around me.It was the same in everyday life like going shopping or going about town,the sounds of cars and the busy town were annoying but if I wore earplugs the sound of my own voice was more overpowering than the noise around me.Maybe look into a set of musicians earplugs?I think they might be more suited to what you need.
       
    10. Mr-T

      Mr-T Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Over exposure to loud music
      I do have musicians plugs. The ACS pro 17 (15db) and pro 26 (25db). They are custom moulded to fit my ear canal.

      The oclussion is reduced but still very loud, and they do go quite deep into the canal, round the first corner, and end just before the second, if that makes sense?

      Im just home from a day of workshops, I think I'm slowly figuring it out. Maybe just a matter of acclimatising myself to it. I'll figure it out somehow. Thanks again for your replies ;)
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    11. wewejajawuwu

      wewejajawuwu Member

      Location:
      UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise-induced (possibly exacerbated by stress and ototoxicity)
      In order to minimize the occlusion effect, custom earplugs should extend past the second bend in the ear canal. This reduces the vibration of the bony part of the ear canal, which is the cause of occlusion. See here for a better and more detailed explanation: http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearthemusic/2012/deep-earmold-impressions/

      I have emailed ACS Custom about this and they confirmed it for me. Also, see the third paragraph beneath "How do I find an audiologist?" here: http://acscustom.com/us/index.php/faq

      It is important to explain this to the audiologist when getting the moulds done, as many of them are not aware of this and instead think that earplugs should be fit like hearing aids. I'm going to get another pair fitted, as I only learned this information after I had my first pair fitted incorrectly!
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    12. bill 112
      Studious

      bill 112 Member

      Location:
      Republic Of Ireland
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure
      I have bought sooooooo many ear plugs at this stage,even had my aunty who works for the health and safety authority here who runs safe pass courses on hearing protection etc to show me how to fit them properly to minimise the occlusion effect(which surprisingly she was aware of)
      Nothing ever truly worked for me,although I bought a pair of hunter earplugs recently which seem to be working i.e my voice doesn't deafen me when I shout or talk.
       

      Attached Files:

      • Like Like x 1
    13. Mr-T

      Mr-T Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Over exposure to loud music
      Just read the article, thanks for posting that - very interesting.

      I'm based in the UK and went to ACS's main office in Oxford to have my moulds done. They used the 3d scanning device to take moulds.

      Looking at my plugs, I presume that they just reach the 2nd corner but don't go around it. I'm quite disappointed with ACS as I didn't receive any kind of specialist advice when buying them, I even explained exactly what I needed them for. I'm going to get on the phone to them today.

      Here's a picture of my plugs, do they go around the second corner ?
       

      Attached Files:

    14. I who love music
      Cheerful

      I who love music Member

      Location:
      Michigan
      Tinnitus Since:
      mid seventies
      Singing bothers me for sure, as well as playing a harmonica. My own snoring too.
       

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