Should I Protect Myself from Everyday Noises That Put Me on Edge?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Allan1967, Apr 23, 2019.

    1. Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      Hi

      Sorry for this second post but its been a freak out day. Dr Google does me no favours.

      My original tinnitus back in 1997 was through ear infection/ototoxic ear drops, not through noise exposure. Sadly a noise exposure in October 2018 made my tinnitus worse and different.

      Before October 2018 I could with stand any noise. Doors slamming; shouting at kids. Now, I'm worrying about getting hyperacusis basically because I'm a fucking hypochondriac but certain noises 'bother' me... no pain, they just put me on edge. It's like Austin Powers looking at the mole.

      Things I'm conscious of are: hoovering; driving; emptying/filling dishwater and clanking plates etc.

      Should I wear ear protection during these activities or not, even though they are everyday sounds or am I setting myself up for something by doing so or am I setting myself up for something by NOT doing so?

      Part of my fear is driven by the fact I don't want to make my tinnitus worse, I'm sure it could get worse but right now, it worse enough as it is.
       
    2. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Are you getting “on edge” emotionally?

      If your not getting any pain, fullness, increases tinnitus from a sound that is not excessively loud and is everyday sounds, than I don’t see any reason why you should protect against it. Over protecting can lower your auditory threshold and make hyperacusis worse. It can also make your tinnitus more perceivable and potentially worse as well.

      This seems to be an emotional aspect that is putting you on edge. I understand the fear of making tinnitus worse, but if you over protect you can make things worse. You shouldn’t be wearing hearing protection in the home unless your doing a task that is loud or something is causing you pain, fullness or increased tinnitus.
       
    3. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      hearing loss
      No need to apologize, Allan, this is a support forum and we are all in this together. :huganimation:

      I am not one for ear protection unless it is for the more obvious offenders such as the vacuum, loading and unloading the dishwasher, lawnmower, etc. I go for walks daily and bring earplugs in case, most times I do not take them out of my pocket. I no longer go to the movies or concerts. This is not a problem because I rarely did these two things before tinnitus. If I want to go to a favorite restaurant I pick the quieter times of day, same when I want to go to the Mall.

      Life is pretty much the same, I just exercise more caution and try to plan ahead as best as I can.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      @emmalee - so you don't think using hearing protection for jobs like hoovering; emptying dishwashers etc is me being a bit over the top?

      What I don't want to do is over-sensitise myself emotionally but at the same time I want to protect my hearing as well.

      You read so much conflicting information, "use, but don't overuse' that it becomes anxiety ridden.

      Thank you @emmalee... you are a good soul.
       
    5. Strife_84
      Energetic

      Strife_84 Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing music for long hours and too loud I guess.
      At first when I got tinnitus I used earplugs when doing dishes, the first week. Then I started little by little to expose myself to sounds that felt uncomfortable.

      -shaking coins in hand
      -rustling paper in my hand
      Etc.

      I never wore earplugs outside. But figure out how much you can tolerate. I say use plug only when absolutely necessary, avoid otherwise.

      If you use plugs all the time, you make situation worse.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      On edge emotionally @Jack Straw... no pain, no fullness. Sometimes I feel a bit of an ache but I'm pretty sure that's down to poor posture when sitting at my PC and it muscle tension at the back of my neck/lower skull.

      But hoovering, emptying dishwashers - would you class them as loud?
       
    7. emmalee
      No Mood

      emmalee Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      hearing loss
      It certainly is not over the top, not as far as as I am concerned, Allan. My vacuum is so loud. I wear the industrial, over the ear headphones for the job. I have a lot of carpet in my house and the thought of not protecting my ears when using the vacuum is scary.

      I use the muffs with the blender and food processor, too. One other thing I find very irritating is the tearing off of a piece of the heavy duty aluminum foil, the kind that you use for the barbecue. Yes, I wear muffs when I do this.

      Thank-you for the lovely compliment, Allan.:)
       
    8. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      Vacuuming I would understand with hearing protection. Dishes I could also understand with hearing protection if you are banging stuff a lot.

      Try not to make it a habit to where everything you do requires ear protection. Only things that are or can be loud require hearing protection.
       
    9. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      I would wear protection when hoovering (had to google that, thought you meant hover boards like in Back to The Future) and driving. It would try avoid clanking dishes and allow yourself to get accustomed to doing the dishes. This is what I've been doing and its worked well.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    10. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Using hearing protection for the vacuum is quite reasonable, as many vacuums exceed the 80-85 db range. I use HPE routinely for the vacuum myself. I also use it for other loud equipment including the paper shredder, electric razor, hair dryer, and stay out of the garage when the opener is running. I use both earplugs and muffs for the lawn equipment, but that is hours of noise exposure.

      Overall, my tinnitus/hyperacusis continues to slowly improve.

      While clanking plates and dishes can be annoying to some, they are not generally that loud, and the noise is not continuous like a vacuum. If you need hearing protection to get through it, than whatever, but overuse in these situations can lead to hyperacusis developing or worsening.

      https://www.toptenreviews.com/best-vacuums-review-8.html

      You can see above in their reviews how loud some vacuums are, and of note those wet/dry ones seem to be among the loudest, so be careful.
       
    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      Hi

      Speaking to an audiologist the other night she told me not to protect my hearing from 'everyday sounds' as it over sensitises the hearing.

      However, I just took a mobile app (I know, they aren't calibrated) and measured some typical things around the house.

      Hair drier - 90 dB
      Dyson Hoover - 86 dB
      Shower - 86 dB
      Toilet flush - 78 dB

      Now I know that in the U.K., noise that measures between 80 - 85 dB you must offer the employee hearing protection. Anything over 85 dB hearing protection is mandatory. Now I know there are time weighted averages attached to that i.e. you could listen to 110 dB for 15 minutes before hearing damage happens, BUT, for people like us with tinnitus and compromised hearing systems should I/we protect ourselves when exposed to anything over 80 dB for whatever length of time?

      I was starting to go to the extremes of wearing ear protection whilst driving, which measured at about 76 dB, depending on speed and road surface, type of car etc, so I will be stopping that, but what about stuff between 80 dB & 90 dB that you're only exposed to for a short duration?

      When I think about it, that piano of mine probably hit 85 dB at a thump, so, if I don't want to worsen my tinnitus, so perhaps I should protect for this noise range? Or not?

      Thoughts?
       
    12. GSC
      Volatile

      GSC Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma.
      I would definitely protect myself from a hair drier and a vacuum. I have had my family do vacuuming for me until my ears are fully healed, and I don't need a hair dryer, because I towel dry. As for a shower, it depends on how long you'd take one I think? If you want to stay on the safe side though, you can always switch to baths. Toilet flushes, I'm fine with personally. I would personally protect from 80 db and 90 db even if they're short duration, because my Tinnitus is noise-induced.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    13. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Definitely protect for the hair dryer and the hoover. Shower is up to you, and I dont. Toilet flush is not needed, can just hit lever and leave room.
       
    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      Another daft question from me.

      When my tinnitus is bad it sounds sound louder and sharper (but still don't hurt) and my focus/attention is drawn to them. Normally I would hear them but not be drawn to them, kind of like how there's sound all around us that we hear but we don't register. It spikes my anxiety.

      Is this all part of the misophonia/phonophobia thing where I'm attaching negative emotion to sounds based on fear?
       
    15. Mandalay

      Mandalay Member

      Location:
      Germany
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2001
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Hi Allan,

      I guess I know what you're dealing with. And it is very complicated. Sometimes it can be just the fear of a noise, and sometimes the noise IS definitely the problem.

      Sometimes everything seems too loud for me, and many times it does not. It depends on the noise itself, it depends on me, my condition and my mood as well.

      This is how I deal with it:

      When using the hair dryer, I use ear plugs. When using the vacuum cleaner, I use earplugs. My toilet flush is 85 dB, I measured it, so when I use it I plug my ears.

      My ears can usually manage loud sounds, when they are there accidentally. Once I was hit by a siren from an emergency car, passing by very close to me, I was also walking under a bridge. Nothing happened (no spike or anything) - and it occurred before I could plug my ears.

      I'm doing my dishes slowly, without using earplugs.

      Some days, if my tinnitus is coming back or I'm feeling somehow "weak", I use my earplugs when I ride my bike, I live in a big city, sometimes I don't. It depends on my mood, how I'm feeling and nowadays I'm ok with using earplugs if it is makes me more comfortable.

      Sometimes it is the question what is better, protecting the ears or not.
      I guess it depends on how long and how often one is using ear protection.
      So usually I'm doing both, sometimes protecting and sometimes not.

      Maybe this can help you to find your way to deal with your hyperacusis?

      Mandalay

      PS: Over 80 dB everyone should protect the ears, not only us hyperacusis and tinnitus people :)
      That's what is written in safety instructions for working places!
      From 85 dB and up everyone at work has to wear ear protection by law!
       
      • Like Like x 1
    16. Flyingsheep

      Flyingsheep Member

      Location:
      Alabama
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Everything started for me in September 2018, and only just recently (like within the last month) hyperacusis has become way more manageable. Running water stopped irritating my ears and I can do dishes again without fear. I can also play acoustic guitar again and it doesn't cause me any discomfort or spike tinnitus, which makes me really happy because I thought I could no longer play any instruments from now on. I was even near a really loud quad the other day for a good 30 minutes and it had no affect on me. Really heavy rain outside still irritates my hearing and causes a spike for a few hours if I stand outside long enough.

      My point is it can still get better, because mine has only started improving once I passed the 8 month mark. Part of me still believes anxiety can have an impact on hyperacusis to some degree, because I'm waaaay less anxious about sounds now compared to last month. I also started getting TTTS when my anxiety was at the highest and now it barely happens. Hope that helps.
       
    17. Luman
      Tired

      Luman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Brooklyn
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Intermittent Tinnitus probably noise induced
      After a very long time, decades in fact, of being upset and somewhat tortured by certain sounds, such as typewriters and eventually keyboards, and a number of other things, I've finally diagnosed myself with misophonia, which is genetic and a misfiring of certain signals in the brain in reaction to certain sounds. I still have a lot to learn about this. I don't fear these sounds much, but the symptoms are very uncomfortable.
       
      • Hug Hug x 1
    18. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      My t becomes so high pitched and loud and I don't know why. :(

      Am I not protecting enough? I have an ear pain issue and it is the main reason or I would be using plugs more often.

      I am so scared. I can't express it in words. I hate this. :(
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    19. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Should I Protect Myself from Everyday Noises That Put Me on Edge?

      YES
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      Why?
       
    21. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      If you were to break an arm, you would want to protect it from the stresses that would be ok for a healthy, unbroken arm.
       
    22. david c

      david c Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2012
      Everyone on here has different thresholds for sounds. There are some noise levels I cannot take even with earplugs - for example the cinema - constant noise levels at around 85 dB or above for a prolonged period are intolerable, but sadly on here you do get the occasional idiot who thinks they always know best and are keen to tell you you are wrong.

      That's why I would say you have to find out what works best for you in terms of protecting for everyday sounds. I certainly wear earplugs for hoovering as this can be very noisy. I don't for washing the dishes as this isn't the same prolonged noise level, but someone else with hearing sensitivity might find the noise of clattering plates really painful. I don't think there is any danger in wearing hearing protection as long as you are not doing it for very prolonged periods every day.
       
      • Agree Agree x 2
    23. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Allan1967

      Allan1967 Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      1997
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear infection
      But what's an everyday noise? Surely there is a risk of your brain turning up its gain?
       
    24. Bill Bauer
      No Mood

      Bill Bauer Member Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      February, 2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Vacuum cleaner, lawn mower, hair dryer, power tools.
      Not sure what you are talking about - but in any case it hasn't happened to me, and I don't recall reading too many (any?) posts saying that they got a spike as a result of not enough noise.
       
    25. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      That unproven statement about the brain has been going on for too long already. Hyperacusis may have to do also with hearing nerve damage or damage to haircells, which means sound conduction may be amplified, distorted or altered. How would the brain be amplifying sound signals years after the onset of hyperacusis?
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    26. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      Do you have hyperacusis? Have you lost hearing over the years?

      I am asking because some people like me are losing hearing even using hearing protection, when exposed to very loud but common sounds, like peak sounds from traffic, sirens etc
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    27. david c

      david c Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2012
      I don't have hyperacusis - but I did get it for a couple of months around the time when I first developed tinnitus. The last hearing test I had was pretty normal result for my age-range with no significant hearing loss. In terms of noise exposure the key things are both the level of noise (of course) - anything over 80 dB is likely to be risky - but also the length of the noise exposure.

      So, for example, a brief exposure from an ambulance siren going past may produce a tinnitus spike but is unlikely to produce any lasting damage, whereas loud noise from a concert lasting for a hour is likely to be very dangerous. In terms of hearing protection, I would protect but don't rely 100% on that protection - the best protection of all is avoidance.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    28. Strife_84
      Energetic

      Strife_84 Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Mixing music for long hours and too loud I guess.
      I only use earplugs when I am at my pc. For some reason the fan noise irritates my ear a lot. It's not loud. Otherwise I don't use plugs. I was even at "casino" today. All those machines made lots of noise :)

      If I read newspaper, that also irritates my ears. So it's a frequency thing, not loudness.
       
    29. PeteJ
      Depressed

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      We should protect ourselves from that?!? :(

      I have a problem wearing plugs or muffs because of ear pain. I have fullness and a tight feeling in each ear - the degree varies.

      This is scaring me. I don't know what to do. :(
       
    30. Juan

      Juan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2014
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Several causes
      There are only two options, to wear hearing protection, or not to wear hearing protection. Choose the option less harmful to you.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page

Loading...