Tinnitus After Going to Outdoor Shooting Range

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by IB9, Nov 17, 2021.

    1. IB9

      IB9 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Going to gun range
      Hi All,

      My name is Edwyn, I'm about 40 years old, and this is the story how I got tinnitus on my right ear.

      I apologize in advance, if the story is too long, but I try to document everything about my mistake, and what I have done.

      I went to an outdoor shooting range (with roof and booth) on October 2, 2021 and was shooting some small caliber pistol (22lr and 9mm). I wore 25 dB Honeywell Sync earmuffs.

      I have sensitive ears, don't go to loud bar or loud concerts, or use earbuds.

      I don't go to the range that often. Maybe once every 2 to 3 months, and I only spend about 30 - 40 minutes there.

      I've only been doing this hobby for about a year, and I always go to this outdoor range. Never indoor range.

      Usually when I go to the range, I wear both foam earplugs, and earmuffs. But in this case, I only wore 25 dB earmuffs. I always double up, when I go to the rifle section, but not this time for the pistol section. This was a mistake, that sometimes I still regret until now.

      After about 30 minutes, someone occupied the stall on my right side, and shot an AR pistol with muzzle brake. Muzzle brake helps with recoil, but it will make things super loud for the people around that person, because it redirects the gas that is supposed to go straight, to the left and to the right side of the barrel end.

      I saw him setting up his gear, and I expected that it would be loud. I should have left immediately, but I did not because I thought that I had enough earmuff protection. After all, I shot the 9mm without hearing issue or anything, and it is supposed to also be loud. This was my second mistake.

      I don't think that he should have been in that area, but I guess it was my bad luck day.
      As soon as he shot a round, I felt the sound was a bit too loud for my earmuff, and I also felt a kind of sharp pain on my right ear, that subsidized a second later. I should have left right away after this. This was my third mistake.

      But because my hearing recovered right away, I decided to stay, and he shot about 5 - 6 more rounds in the span of 15 minutes. Fortunately rapid firing is not allowed at this range.

      After that, I had enough, decided to tap off, and leave.

      After leaving the range, I felt some fullness on my right ear.

      I thought everything was going to be ok, because about 6 months before that, I had similar fullness issue, when someone shot a rifle with muzzle brake. In that case, it was 2 stall over, also on my right side (unlike this time where it was next to me). Also if I'm not mistaken, I wore earmuffs initially, and decided to add earplugs after he shot two or three rounds.

      I suppose being placed further apart, the sound pressure would have been much lesser, than this time.

      After I went home, I tested my right hearing by plugging my left ear and listening to soft music using my right ear only, and I could hear without issue. Although as expected it was a tiny bit muffled.

      I didn't know about NAC, then. But on that week, I drank some Centrum multivitamin.
      The fullness on the right ear remains throughout the week, and I thought that I would have been OK, like 6 months ago.

      The following Saturday (October 9), when I woke up, I started to have some tinnitus. It sounded like faint cracking sound, and sometimes like a pitch from an old fluorescent light. As soon as that happened, I realized that I made a serious mistake, and now it is getting serious, and started researching about this, where I found Tinnitus Talk.

      I tried to find some NAC at that weekend, but could not find anywhere, due to FDA ban. But I started to drink Zinc at 30 mg dosage and Magnesium supplement at about 483 mg dosage. I managed to get a store brand NAC the following Tuesday (11 days after I went to the range, or 4 days after the tinnitus started to happen) and used 1500 mg dose (two tablets).

      I also booked an appointment with ENT specialist, on the same Tuesday, and had a hearing test.

      The hearing test was normal, from the -10 to 20 dB, although the right ear scored a tiny bit lower than the left ear as expected. The speech testing was 100% for both ear, with speech recognition threshold of 10 at left ear and 15 at right ear. For the tinnitus, it was at around 6000 Hz, at 20 dB. I'm not sure whether it is exactly at 6000 Hz or not, I did not ask the audiologist to go back and forth, but the decibel part seems correct.
      I did not have any notch at 6000 Hz in the hearing test though.

      Many thanks for others who share their experience in this forum. I asked the ENT about the possibility of Prednisone to help with the recovery. The ENT agreed, and he said that Prednisone is only effective up to about 2 weeks since the onset of the incident, and I was at about 9 days mark.

      The ENT prescribed me 4 mg Methyl Prednisolone in 6 days tapered dose (6x4 mg on Tuesday, then 5x4 mg on Wednesday and so on). I took the Prednisolone as prescribed.
      About 2 - 3 days after I got the Prednisolone, the fullness on the right ear started to disappear. This is about 1.5 weeks after the onset of the incident.

      I'm not sure if this is the side effect of Prednisolone or not, but during the week that I took it, I was barely able to sleep at night. Even with help from Melatonin. Let's say that I sleep at 11 PM, I would be woken up at 1 AM, and won't be able to sleep until 5 AM. Then managed to sleep again and wake up at 7 AM. I lost 5 pounds in just a week.

      Starting October 9, when the tinnitus happened, I took every day, for about for 2.5 weeks:

      - 483 mg Magnesium supplement (Magnesium oxide for the first a couple days, then I switched to Chelated Magnesium)
      - 30 mg Zinc Glycinate
      - 1 tablet of Vitamin C, E, and B complex
      - Started Tuesday October 12, NAC at 1500 mg (local store brand).
      - 3 days later later (Friday), thanks to iHerb, I take one 750 mg store brand NAC, and one 600 mg NOW NAC brand (for a total of 1350 mg)
      - Increase fresh fruit intake such as Banana, Apple, Oranges

      Fast forward 3 weeks later, the tinnitus is still there, faint for the most part, although it is fluctuating a lot.

      - Sometimes when I woke up at 3 or 4 AM, the tinnitus disappeared briefly, and it came back faint, within a minute or so if I start to think about it.
      - Sometimes it won't come back, after many minutes.
      - Sometimes when I woke up, the sound change, to just some minor cracking sound. Occasionally it sounds like the high pitch from old neon light, also faint.
      - Up until this point, I had to sleep using white noise machine, to mask the ringing.

      One thing for sure is, the tinnitus tone sometimes does get a tiny bit louder, when there are other noises, such as space heater fan, computer fan. And when this happened, if I wear a noise blocker earmuff, I can sort of reset the tinnitus sound to make it back to be very faint again, although sometimes it will go back up if I remove the earmuff and the noise still exists.

      To prevent hyperacusis, I do not wear earmuffs or earplugs at home.

      Also quite often I can feel my right ear feels tired much easier than the left ear, especially when I'm driving in my car, or listening to soft sounds.

      After taking high dosage of NAC for about 2.5 weeks, I started to taper down the supplement that I was taking as follow:

      - NAC just one tablet (either 600 mg or 750 mg), but not every day. Maybe about 3 - 5 days total a week.
      - Still taking Magnesium supplement, although only at 250 mg)
      - Take Zinc Glycinate about twice a week.
      - Take vitamin B complex, E, D3, and B12
      - Also still increased fresh fruit intake such as Banana, Apple, Oranges

      Fast forward 5 - 6 weeks later:

      - The tinnitus is still there, and occasionally still fluctuating between soft cracking neon light sound, and soft high pitch tone, although unfortunately it seems a little bit more consistent than 3 weeks ago though.
      - 3 weeks ago, when I woke up, it would take many minutes before the noise came back, whereas now, it is almost instant.
      - I have been able to cope with the noise, and sleep without using white noise for the most part.
      - If I can sleep for more than 10 hours, usually the tinnitus noise will be very faint for the whole day.

      Thanks to work from home allowance, I've been staying at pretty much at home for the past 6 weeks.

      I'm not sure at this point, if I have done everything that I could do or not though (in terms of taking suppplements).

      I'm also not planning to go back to the shooting range.

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