Question Regarding Tinnitus Recurrence in New Construction Job

Discussion in 'Support' started by ag09, Sep 25, 2016.

    1. ag09

      ag09 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma

      I have had tinnitus for quite some time, but - after a very stressful period with it a little under 2 years ago - it subsided to a rather mild state. I recently took on a construction job, and in all the excitement and inundation of new information in the first week I was not careful with ear protection. By the weekend I had a resurgence of tinnitus, reminiscent of what I went through under 2 years ago. It wigged me out, especially because I was duty-bound to return to what is clearly a risky environment for my ears. I was much more meticulous about ear protection over the course of the next week, but unfortunately the ringing hasn't subsided, and in fact my right ear canal is sore and has clogged up due to inflammation. (This last symptom may not be as bad as it sounds, as my ear canal is in the first place abnormally narrow and prone to clogging issues.)

      I have done some research on whether its safe to continue working in such an environment in my current state, and the claims I am coming across seem to be very mixed. The job site is not obscenely loud. If I'm close to the power tools, my sound meter app reads maximum 90-97 dB. Theoretically my earmuffs have an NRR of 34, so I am safe - theoretically. (I doubled up with some soft silicone earplugs for a few days, but those plugs aggravated my ears, so I ditched them.) Nevertheless my concern remains, as I note spikes with the ringing, even with the muffs on. With that said, it is difficult to parse out to what degree stress and anxiety, as opposed to actual trauma, is a cause for the increase in ringing. I am planning to see an audiologist in the next couple of days and soon thereafter an ENT doctor for expert advice concerning my ears, as well as the feasibility of this (admittedly, short-term) job for me.

      Thus I come to you all with the question: Is it safe for me to maintain working in such an environment, at least for the couple of days before my appointment? And, if that is ok, what about for a longer period of time? As I have heard the horror stories and had some trying experiences with tinnitus in the past, my gut response is to border on being overprotective when stuff like this happens, especially when I am lacking the necessary information. Nevertheless I don't want to be run by skittishness when it comes to my ears.

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