Tinnitus and Ear Pain After Going Shooting with New Hearing Protection

Discussion in 'Support' started by DAW, Nov 4, 2019.

    1. DAW

      DAW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun exposure
      Hi,

      About five weeks ago I went shooting with some new ear protection. Turns out my new protection wasn't up to much - the sound was louder than my usual ear plugs but didn't seem overly loud, so I (stupidly) persevered with it for the session with the intention of not using them again.

      A couple of hours later I noticed a ringing in my left ear. This got progressively worse over then next few days and I went to my GP after a week of it not improving. The GP looked me over and said it was noise induced tinnitus and would most likely clear itself - call back if it hasn't got any better in a week.

      Things didn't improve over the next week so I called back and spoke to another doctor. He repeated what the first had said and suggested I give it another couple of weeks and see how it goes.

      Over those two weeks the tinnitus seemed to improve very slightly (or maybe I'm just getting used to it?) and changed to a higher pitched tone. But worryingly I also started to get pain during this period (in both ears, but mainly the left) - an ache with also a fullness feeling and the need to 'pop' my ears regularly. Both the tinnitus and the pain/discomfort seem to be directly related to noise exposure - getting gradually worse as the day progresses. The tinnitus is now barely noticeable when I'm in a silent environment, but present as soon as there is any noise.

      Went back to the GP who again looked me over. Said everything looked normal and that I should hang in there and it should go away given time.
      • In the experience of people here does this advise sound correct?
      • How long should I 'hang in there' before I get referred to an ENT?
      • Is there anything I should be doing/taking to try and reduce the symptoms and/or promote healing?
      • Should I be shielding my hearing whilst my ears heal, or will this cause further sensitivity?
      Any advice right now would be most appreciated - I know it's only been five weeks, but it's driving me mad!


      Thanks.
       
    2. arctic loon
      Dreaming

      arctic loon Member

      Location:
      Finland
      Tinnitus Since:
      08/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud music
      You have developed hyperacusis, that's the cause of your ear pain. It can get better over time, if you don't get more acoustic traumas. To prevent this you need to stop doing loud things and use ear protection. Use ear plugs whenever you feel your environment is too loud. Earmuffs are great too.

      Using hearing protection wont make your ears more sensitive to sounds, you need to give your auditory system time to calm down. Its like getting a sunburn, are you going sunbathing with burnt skin? No. Same applies to ears. If you keep exposing yourself to noises in acute stage, hyperacusis and tinnitus can easily get worse. Ears take a long time to heal, so be patient.

      I'd recommend you to never go shooting again. Do you use head phones? If so, you should consider ditching them too. You will improve with time and quiet. But remember your ears are damaged now - you will always have to be careful with your ears.
       
      • Informative Informative x 1
    3. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      Sounds like noise induced T. Gun shooting is loud, and should be done with double protection, both earplugs and ear muffs.

      This is a T spike, and will likely go on for months, typically 3 to 24 months- or even longer. At this point you can only avoid further loud noise exposure, and give it time to heal. You should protect or avoid loud sounds, but not need protection from everyday sounds. For example, avoid rock concerts, playing music loudly (especially through earbuds and headphones), industrial noise exposure, lawn mower, etc. until this all calms down. I would skip the shooting range as well for the time being.

      Feel better soon.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    4. jjflyman

      jjflyman Member

      Location:
      Michigan, USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise (Concert)
      Hi,

      What you're experiencing is fairly typical for an acoustic trauma.

      Ringing, pain, fullness, sensitivity to noise are all common after such an event. The good news is this will most likely clear up on it's own, but may take 6-24 months to fully fade. Because you had hearing protection I doubt very much if you will have any permanent issues.

      I've had acoustic trauma tinnitus twice in my life. Years ago from about 40 minutes on a very loud tractor that needed a muffler.
      I had no ear protection and it was SCREAMING loud tinnitus. It faded to zero in about 2 years.
      Three years ago I was at an outdoor concert, again it was loud tinnitus, and it has faded 90%.
      Give your ears a break for a few months, protect them from loud noise, no concerts or ear buds.
      IMO you will be fine.
       
      • Helpful Helpful x 1
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      DAW

      DAW Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shotgun exposure
      Thanks for the replies - very helpful.

      Other than rest and time, is there anything I can do or take to relieve the discomfort and pain?
       
    6. dan
      Chatty

      dan Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2011
      A temporary spike can last 24 months???
       
    7. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      You can put temporary in quotes, but yes. Ears heal very slowly.
       
    8. Bartoli

      Bartoli Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2009,worsened 2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise
      It's been proven that ears don't heal in mammals. Not saying there's no truth in your statement but maybe there's something else at play?
       
    9. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced
      You are correct that the hair cells in the vestibular mammalian system do not regenerate. I meant habitation to the T sound, which certainly feels a lot like healing when you go through it, but technically is not.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1

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