Safety and Proper Usage of Earplugs with Tinnitus — Can Using Earplugs Damage Hearing?

Discussion in 'Support' started by LugPaul, Jun 4, 2019.

    1. LugPaul
      Sleepy

      LugPaul Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/18/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anxiety
      Hello, I'm sure many of us here suffering with tinnitus are trying to the best we can to protect our ears to prevent future damage. Earplugs seem to be one of the most recommended options.

      For me personally, I work in a loud environment and have decided to wear foam or plastic ear plugs to work. As I've been wearing ear plugs often over the last few months, I notice a temporary spike in my tinnitus consistently lasting from 6 to 24 hours after removing the ear plugs. Fortunately, the spikes always recede back down to a normal volume. My tinnitus also spikes while I'm wearing earplugs, however I'm not as concerned about that because it's reasonable to assume that the spike may simply be due to a lack of masking while the ear plugs are in. Regardless, I have a few questions involving ear protection options and the use of earplugs-

      Although I am noticing a spike after I wear earplugs, is it still safe to assume that they are not damaging my ears further? I'm sure that I am properly wearing the ear plugs.

      Can earplugs worn in only one ear, for extended periods of time, on a daily basis, have a significant effect on your hearing?

      Are there other ear protection options out there? (Possibly in different forms such as supplements)

      Thank you for reading. I realize my questions are very specific however any input would be greatly appreciated. Good luck to all of you.
       
    2. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      The earplugs are not causing the T from what you describe. What is the environment you are working in, and how loud is it in db's? Is your employer requiring or recommending the hearing protection? How long have you worked there, exposed to the loud noise?

      The alternative to earplugs are ear muffs. In very loud environments, they should be combined.

      Have you an audiogram? Is there hearing loss?

      Supplements should not be relied upon, and will not prevent NIHL, T or H. They may help some with recovery, and include NAC, Mg, and omega-3. The evidence for any of these is not particularly strong.

      I found that I was getting a small mini spike after mowing the lawn, or even vacuuming with foam (NRR 33) earplugs in. Make sure the earplugs have a high db rating, are inserted fully, and don't reuse them as they may not fully expand the 2nd time on a reuse. Also make sure they are appropriately sized, as males and Caucasians have larger ear canals, about 20% larger on average, while females need a slimmer plug.

      When I combined ear muffs on top of the earplugs, these mini spikes all but disappeared. One theory is that the ear muffs on top reduce the sound transmitted via the surrounding bone, and protect the ear further from further damage, so consider this approach.
       
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      LugPaul
      Sleepy

      LugPaul Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2/18/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Anxiety
      Thanks for the insight.
       

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