Should I Give Up on Earplugs? The Ringing Drives Me Crazy When Wearing Them

Discussion in 'Support' started by bmxer883, Mar 24, 2021.

    1. bmxer883

      bmxer883 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      4 months of tinnitus with unknown cause. It could be from COVID-19 that I had 5 months ago, loud noises, or my wisdom teeth are bad and need removed (next month they will be out).

      But my question is ever since the start, I wanted to protect my ears best I could, so I wore earplugs and muffs over for any loud noise, then while home I would just wear earplugs. I do work in a loud environment where I have to wear them for OSHA.

      I work in a steel mill where sounds can be over 100 dB but for the most part I stay under that where my work station is is 70-90 dB while the pumps run. Honestly if I didn’t wear earplugs I couldn’t hear my tinnitus and that makes me feel better but I’m sure it’s not good.

      When I wear my earplugs and muffs, the ringing drives me crazy and makes me think about it more so I’m thinking of giving up on it, and only wearing them at loud levels, so that maybe I can forget about the ringing and live my damn life.

      I’m just worried doing that I’ll cause more damage and the ringing becomes louder when it’s quiet.
       
    2. Charburchar

      Charburchar Member

      Location:
      London
      Tinnitus Since:
      January 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I wouldn't wear earplugs at home. I would however continue to wear them when you are around loud noise.
       
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    3. Drachen
      Tired

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; likely noise-induced
      My personal recommendation is that under no circumstance should you go out in public where you anticipate loud noises and not have hearing protection, at least for a few more months. I know exactly what you mean by things getting intensified to a high degree with them inside, and it makes going out to the store or just driving in general something I am growing to loathe. That being said, you have a massive benefit in that without your earplugs, you can't hear (or can't hear as well) the tinnitus, so please think of that when you have the earplugs in. The protection is preventing that from getting worse. It's a necessary evil.
       
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    4. Snake
      Heartbroken

      Snake Member

      Location:
      Poland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2011
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      2011 - Gaming on headphones. 2020 - Severe by breaking glass
      Earplugs:

      1) Not at home.
      2) At home when doing loud things like vacuuming.
      3) Always in public, always when away from home where you can't control environment.
       
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    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bmxer883

      bmxer883 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for replies so what is considered to be loud enough to do damage? Today at work I didn’t use ear plugs just muffs and wasn’t around and extreme noises and I forgot about ringing from time to time and it was nice but now that I’m home in a quit environment the ringing seems to be a little louder so guess I better not do that again.
       
    6. Drachen
      Tired

      Drachen Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      December 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Currently unknown; likely noise-induced
      Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to this. The absolute riskiest you can be is to follow the guidelines for normal, healthy ears, which you may find at this link by the CDC, though keep in mind that this chart is not law and could be too strict or too loose for some people. The typical range that I see at which sustained noise is acceptable is at 80 decibels, and pay special attention to how as decibel level increases beyond 80, the time in which you can tolerate the noise decreases much more sharply.

      Now, I bolded what I did for a specific reason: you likely do not have normal, healthy ears by virtue of having tinnitus unless you have some cause completely unrelated to the ears. There's no way to know this for sure, so you should be safe. Given that your ears are "compromised", it is very risky to assume you can follow the same healthy guidelines. I personally try to keep my ears away from sounds above 75 dB if I can help it, and that might even be too liberal. Determining your healthy range is definitely a person-to-person and ear-to-ear basis.

      I probably didn't condense this very well, but the short answer is there is no answer that fits for everyone, and you will have to figure out what noise levels and environments are okay for you. The ringing being louder now doesn't necessarily mean it was caused by your lack of protection earlier, but it could! That's a big reason why this condition is so utterly terrible as there are few useful certainties. My advice is ultimately to be safer rather than sorry.
       
    7. Gabriel5050
      Balanced

      Gabriel5050 Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure (most likely)
      So you mean you sometimes use double protection (ear plugs under ear muffs)?

      That should be good enough for 70-90 dB. I know this is easy to say, but maybe consider a quieter job. If you are in a position in your life where you can do that, of course.

      I'm thinking to give you some examples of good products. For earplugs you can use 3M 1100 and for ear muffs you can use Peltor X5A. Or ANY OTHER products that offer similar protection. At home you shouldn't wear earplugs, except during loud activities like vacuuming, like Snake said in a post earlier. Good luck out there.
       
    8. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bmxer883

      bmxer883 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Yes I’ve been using double protection at work cause it can get very loud unexpectedly part of shop is a big machine shop if you ever heard a part cut sometimes it can sound like tinnitus but to the point you can’t here another person talk.

      when I seen a ent he suggested new job too but I do what I love and loud noise just comes with my lifestyle too could be why I’m having problems so young (26) I will try to protect my self with double protection I always used ear plugs in past tho.

      Reading post on here some people doing stuff around the house is to loud for them or traffic is to loud. That really worries me cause a shop is way worse than that. But glad to here 80db isn’t to bad I’d say I have been using ear plugs for anything over 50 db to be safe
       
    9. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      I don't think the the root cause of your tinnitus and hyperacusis, if present, was caused by COVID-19 although it may have contributed to making your symptoms more acute. The most common cause of tinnitus is exposure to loud noise. The fact that you work in a noisy environment would make you more prone to develop the condition even if you were wearing the best hearing protection possible. If external sound is loud enough it will pass through the head and transfer to the inner ear by bone conduction. If you were a regular user of headphones, earbuds, headset or Airpods these would increase the risk tinnitus.

      I understand your situation but don't think the doubling up and overuse of hearing protection is going to be of much help. In fact I think this will make your symptoms worse if you are not careful. Wearing hearing protection for long durations, risks lowering the noise floor of the auditory system and will make it more sensitive to sound. Please click on the link below and read my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it.

      Based on my experience with noise induced tinnitus and hyperacusis, my advice is to give your ears complete rest from the noisy environment of the steel works. This is what they need as I don't think any form of hearing protection is going to help. If you are able to change your job and realize this might not be easy, I think would help a lot, as loud sound and tinnitus do not go well together.

      All the best
      Michael

      Hyperacusis, As I See It | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    10. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      You have most likely noise induced tinnitus. For the noise exposure at work you describe at 100 dB, you should have double protection. Even with that, you are still at risk for hearing loss. You should have a hearing test, and may need to pursue a disability claim.

      You should not wear earplugs all day at home, unless you are doing a loud activity.

      Earplugs and loud tinnitus are an annoying combo as it seems to make the tinnitus louder. However, it is necessary to avoid loud sounds and protect when they cannot be avoided.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bmxer883

      bmxer883 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I’ve had hearing test first thing ent did and my hearing is good and I’ll keep double protection for loud noise but I’ll stop being over paranoid and wearing them for noise that isn’t loud cause sounds like that can make things worse
       
    12. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      Not sure I'd trust 3M products.

      ‘Hundreds of military veterans are expected to file lawsuits against the manufacturing company 3M, claiming it knowingly sold defective earplugs. These complaints come after the Justice Department settled a lawsuit with the company in July over allegations the company defrauded the government by selling earplugs with "dangerous design defects" to the military for "more than a decade." "It wasn't an omission. It wasn't something missed. It was deliberately lying to gain money and hurting our service members," Hendersen said.’​

      3M should be contributing 100 million a year to tinnitus research for their intentional harm! Profit before health! It'll cost the taxpayers 10s of billions more in disability per year!
       
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    13. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      'Wear them for OSHA?'

      Wear them to protect yourself from having hearing issues!
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      bmxer883

      bmxer883 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1/1/21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I wear them to protect myself not because of
      OSHA was just saying it’s required so it was known how loud my shop is.. our ear plugs are made by Honeywell I feel that they do there job cause I can’t hear others while there in. The ear muffs are 3m. I’m going to see about custom made ones for my ears they offered that in the past they pay for them to be made
       
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