Removing Earplugs Cause Damage to Hearing?

Discussion in 'Support' started by rabbit, Aug 15, 2014.

tinnitus forum
    1. rabbit

      rabbit Member

      Hello,
      I have tinnitus and try to be very careful not to make it any worse. Anytime I am around loud sounds I wear ear plugs. I wear ear plugs all day everyday for work as I am a metal fabricator exposed to high noises routinely. I have just started trying these stanley ear plugs.
      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002EVP5LM/?tag=tinntalk-20

      They are larger than most and fit my ears better than other ear plugs I've used that seemed too small. These provide a better seal and block more noise. However, I am having an issue removing them from my ear and am concerned it is damaging my hearing.

      If I have been sweating, the moisture in my ears seem to create an unusual suction dilemma as the plugs are removed. When I slowly twist and pull the plugs out, there are several very LOUD popping noises as the suction is released. I do not yank the plugs out. I pull and twist very slowly, have even tried pulling my ear up and back with the other hand to open the ear canal as I simultaneously twist and pull the ear plug out, but no matter what I try the loud noises happen. I never had that happen from other ear plugs, probably because they didnt seal as well.

      I know others on this forum are concerned about their hearing and must have experience with wearing ear plugs. I am fearful this will damage my hearing and make the tinnitus worse. Shortly after the first time these plugs made the loud popping sounds as I removed them, I started hearing a new morse code beeping in my ears with certain frequency background noises. I've never had this kind of tinnitus before. Its causing severe distress and insomnia.

      The only safety warning I have seen from the manufactures is to not pull the plugs out too fast due to the risk of ruptured ear drums. I'm pretty certain this popping noise is not rupturing my ear drums. I just dont know if the loud suction noise is ironically capable of causing NIHL and worsening my tinnitus by damaging the nerves inside my ear. How likely is it that removing ear plugs would cause damage to my hearing?
      Thank you
       
    2. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Unless the plugs reach the nerves inside your ear (which they dont)they wont cause further damage. The loud popping noise are probably caused by sensation due to changes in pressure. Dont worry.
       
    3. RichL
      Inspired

      RichL Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Palmerston North NZ
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      I agree with @Stina , I have been wearing foam ear plugs for 20+ years with no problems. You should be sweet as!

      Rich
       
    4. Stina
      Psychedelic

      Stina Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Tartu
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/13
      Also, if you said that other plugs didnt give you this sound because they didnt seal - thats why they make the noise! There iss so much pressure and no room sso they make strange sounds. Sounds like youve found the perfect match for your ears ;)
       
    5. birelirag

      birelirag Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Let me tell you my sad story. I had been suffering from high pitched tinnitus since end of the last year. So whenever I go to the place where there is a large sound, I wore earplugs.
      2 months ago I went to listen to the concert where friends of mine played the acoustic guitar and the flute. Not a large music at all. But I cautiously wore my earplugs which could reduce the volume by 20db.
      http://www.amazon.com/EarPeace-High-Fidelity-Hearing-Protection/dp/B00M8I5Y7G
      After I went out of the venue, I took off earplugs. As soon as I removed it from my right ear, new tinnitus began to ring abruptly! At once I noticed my hearing was impaired . At first I thought my eardrum might ruptured due to negative pressure caused by removing the earplug. But I never removed it roughly.
      Next morning I went to my ENT, and she found no problem on my external ear canal and ear drum. She checked my hearing and I was diagnosed as sudden sensory hearing loss of the right ear.
      I surely believe something wrong was happened when I removed the earplug from my right ear. But my ENT could not tell whether removing the earplug might caused my hearing loss. My hearing level decreased to 50db at 1000Hz. Oddly, the audiogram showed a dip only at 1000Hz, which is most important frequency!
      She prescribed predonin . I took it for 4days with no effect , then I went to another hospital where I was treated by hyperbaric oxygen for 2 weeks. Unfortunately the dip improved only slightly to 40db. And I am suffering from new tinnitus now.
      I think when I removed the earplug, some kind of stimulus (scrubbing the skin of the ear canal? or negative pressure ? I don't know) triggered the spasm of peripheral narrow arteriole of the inner ear.
      How ironic that tools to protect my ears hurt my hearing!
       
      • Informative Informative x 4
    6. Geo

      Geo Member Benefactor

      Location:
      California
      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2012
      What if it wasnt the earplug what if it was the venue.. Just because youre wearing a earplug doesnt mean itll protect you.. There has been a lot of cases were people with earplugs still worsen their tinnitus when wearing them... A loud venue can be around100-130 db and your only protecting 20 thats still 100-110.. Loud enough to cause harm...
       
    7. birelirag

      birelirag Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Thanks for reply. While I was in the venue (small hall), I was measuring the loudness by iPhone application (VU meter). It showed 90db at most because they did not use electric instruments. So I think my ear heard the volume of 70db or so.
      Yes, I admit that we must not fully trust earplugs, but in this case I believe that 20db reduction was enough. But maybe I had to be more careful when removing them, although I didn't do any rough procedure.
      Sorry for poor English.
       
    8. birelirag

      birelirag Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2014
      Sorry, I forgot important fact. If we get hearing damage because of loud sound, hearing loss occurs at 4000Hz first. My hearing test showed dip at 1000Hz. That was the reason why my ENT denied it was due to loud sound.
       
      • Informative Informative x 3

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