Restaurant and work

Discussion in 'Support' started by KarinSanna, Apr 21, 2013.

tinnitus forum
    1. KarinSanna

      KarinSanna Member

      Location:
      UK, London
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      Hi, I am fairly new in this tinnitus situation and still is a bit worried about what to do and not to do. Do you guys go out to restaurants? Is that working fine for you? I am trying to use the guideline, can I talk with and hear the other persons without making my voice any louder it is fine. In places with loader sound I use earplugs.

      I am doubting a bit about whether or not to take a job at a lunch restaurant this summer. I know the place and they play load background music and it is not to bussy. The guest will be served on paper plates and with plastic knives and forks, so no problem with sounds form that. Do any of you have experience with this kind of jobs?

      Am I wrong thinking that my ears can do as much sounds as before my T? Like being in a restaurant etc? Or is my ears more sensitive now? What is going on in there? :)
       
    2. Royal&Bourbon
      No Mood

      Royal&Bourbon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Karin,

      You can order a small decibel reader online at fairly reasonable cost, or if you have a smart phone, there is a decibel reader app you can download in order to test the environment in question for sound levels. As I'm sure you realize, it's not just the decibel level, but the time of exposure that matters. One such graph showing permissible exposure levels and times is shown below. (FYI other studies and organizations might have slightly different numbers; this is just one such chart I found that popped up near the top of a Google search).

      I often cut standard foam ear plugs in half and wear them when I go out to loud restaurants (but not night clubs or really loud bars -- those require full ear plugs imo) with friends. I can still hear fine but at the same time, I believe this strategy offers adequate protection. (No guarantees of course, but it works for me and my comfort level). The bonus is when cut in half, no one knows I'm wearing ear plugs. While I would not recommend doing this in very loud night clubs, wearing 1/2 ear plugs likely would be adequate protection in the type of environment you are describing.

      If the restaurant turns out to be not loud enough to warrant any type of hearing protection, don't wear any plugs. Knowledgeable posters on another tinnitus board I have frequented in the past often adamantly warn against over protecting the ears. (They also abide by the "if you don't have to raise your voice to be heard, you should be fine without any protection" rule you mentioned in your post). Our ears/ hearing system actually need sound stimulation in order to remain healthy, and thus, wearing ear plugs in environments which don't require hearing protection can actually be counter-productive.

      As to your other question about sensitivity, you might be experiencing hyperacusis, an over-sensitivity to certain frequency ranges of sound. A person with hyperacusis often has difficulty tolerating sounds which may seem unpleasantly loud to him or her, but not to others. Hyperacusis commonly occurs in tandem with tinnitus. I also experienced an increased sensitivity to sound with my tinnitus. Fortunately, my hyperacusis has overwhelmingly resolved and I am no longer overly sensitive to sound. My doctor stated that hyperacusis does tend to resolve over time, and that exposure to sound (in a safe, controlled setting) is a known method of treatment.




      decibel_exposure_time_guidelines.gif

      Exposure Time Guidelines

      Accepted standards for recommended permissible exposure time for continuous time weighted average noise, according to NIOSH and CDC, 2002. For every 3 dBAs over 85dBA, the permissible exposure time before possible damage can occur is cut in half.
      decibel_exposure_chart.gif


      The Noise Navigator®: a database of over 1700 noise sources.

      Developed by Elliott Berger, MS, Senior Scientist with 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division.
       
    3. KarinSanna

      KarinSanna Member

      Location:
      UK, London
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      Thanks for the help. That sound logical. But one thing I still do not get is if we people with Tinnitus can use the normal guidelines or if we need to be extra careful? Lets say I was walking into a restaurant with around 85 d. Would it be alright to be there without earplugs or would you were them anyway? How do I know?

      And people talk about the Tinnitus changing, if it gets a bit more noisy after a loud night...can it go down then or is it forever going to be mor load? How does it work?

      And as I said I also wonder what kind of work you are able to do?
       
    4. Royal&Bourbon
      No Mood

      Royal&Bourbon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Karin,

      I would try to not limit my choice of career or job based on tinnitus. If an environment is loud and dangerous, adequate hearing protection should be provided. Granted, there are probably a few borderline jobs that might actually forbid hearing protection due to their nature, but that might be potentially damaging. Working in a call center comes to mind as a possible example, where one is required to wear an earpiece and customers may shout in anger unexpectedly, potentially causing damage. Such borderline jobs are the exception, however.

      As to your query about guidelines and people with tinnitus, it is actually a really good question. I do not know the answer to that. However, I can say that if it would give you peace of mind, there is no reason why you could not subtract 5 decibels and cut the time in half (regarding the chart above) to account for this possibility. That way, if the restaurant in question consistently registers 80 dBs and your shift were longer than 4 hours, you would want to wear plugs. I see no reason why you cannot modify the chart above to be on the safe side. Again, though, wearing ear plugs when they are not necessary is not a good idea, so be careful not to over-estimate the danger.

      From my experience and from reading other posts, it is common to experience a spike in tinnitus for any number of reasons (diet (MSG), caffeine, being congested with a cold, lack of sleep, stress) or often, no known reason at all. These spikes invariably go back to baseline. If there is an increase in tinnitus after being exposed to loud sounds (night of clubbing, etc.), this is probably a sign damage has occurred, just as happens all the time when concert goers or clubbers experience temporary tinnitus for a few hours or even a day or two after being exposed to loud music. FYI this damage is not always permanent, but it is risky behavior because there is no guarantee permanent damage has not occurred.

      In answer to your question, yes people with tinnitus can and often do have spikes after a loud night out when they have not protected their ears properly; this does not mean the damage or the spike is permanent. In most cases, even this type of spike (from a loud night out) in individuals with tinnitus invariably will go back to baseline just as temporary tinnitus fades for most concert goers or clubbers who don't have permanent tinnitus. I hope this makes sense! In short, temporary spikes due to a cold or lack of sleep does not indicate damage has occurred; a spike after a loud concert when hearing protection was not practiced may indicate damage. In all cases, however, the spike usually returns to baseline.

      I understand your concerns and frustration. I have been there myself. I believe the environment you described in your post might not require any ear plugs, whether a person has tinnitus or not, but you can order the decibel reader or download the app to your phone and make the chart more conservative just to be on the super safe side. If by chance the environment does not meet the revised safety standards you have set, you can always opt to wear foam ear plugs cut in half. I believe doing this should afford you enough protection to keep you safe at this restaurant, based on the noise level you described, and you will still be able to communicate with customers and co-workers effectively.

      Good luck.
       
    5. jibs
      Studious

      jibs Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      long time ago
      I have had tinnitus for over 15 years. Loud environments have never affected it for me. I had my hearing tested recently and it was all within normal range. I would suggest, if it aggravates it, then avoid it. But if not, then don't let it control your life. Your ears are probably exactly the same in regards to sensitivity except some hearing loss at your tinnitus frequency.
       
    6. KarinSanna

      KarinSanna Member

      Location:
      UK, London
      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2013
      Thanks for your help. I guess I will give it a try! It is just a bit hard in the start, before I got this all figured out. And I am a bit scared for the change that can happen in the sound...It will be soooooo scary if that happens. And I guess it will at some point.
       
    7. Lord of the Ring
      Cheeky

      Lord of the Ring Member

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2013
      Yes, it will change, but don't forget that it might just as well change for the better. Don't worry about it too much.
       

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