Tinnitus Much Worse After Club Despite Wearing Solid 35 dB Custom Earplugs — I'm at My Wits End

Discussion in 'Support' started by Rust, Jun 3, 2016.

tinnitus forum
    1. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      If anyone can offer any help or advice I would very much appreciate it. I really am at my wits end, and do not feel like I can go on any longer.

      3 days ago I went to a DJ set in an underground basement club. It was loud, louder than your average high street club, though not as loud as some big clubs I’ve been to before – and also not as loud as some gigs I’ve been to too. Though I guess it should be said it was quite bass heavy. Using my iPhone Db app, it was averaging 95-100Db, with max peaks of 105Db and lows of 90Db. This seems to ring true with me, as I went to a louder club in China last year which had a Db dial on the wall, and that read around 95-105Db the whole time. This time I was in the club for 3 hours, though I took regular toilet breaks and went outside for a 15 minute break half way. I also tried to stand away from the speakers, but it was quite a small venue, so it was difficult to be really far from them.

      I have avoided loud bars and clubs for many months now, and I really did not want to go to this one, I was actually very nervous and apprehensive about going. Though, my partner wanted me to go with her and basically convinced me to go by saying that I need to live my life.

      This was a huge mistake. Both of my ears are now several notches louder, with no improvement after 3 days. I also have had no sleep, and masking seems to making it worse.

      What I don’t understand is that I wore the maximum earplug protection possible – my Elacin custom made silicone plugs, with solid inserts instead of filters. I also made sure that they were properly and tightly inserted the whole time. A staff member at Elacin I asked said that these should provide me with 35db of protection. So, even if I was receiving only 30Db of protection, surely the worse case scenario of 105Db would be taken down to 75Db and I would be in the safe zone?

      I am also worried that the low frequency bass affected me through bone conduction, though I have researched into bone conduction and found that the skull protects by a minimum of 40Db even at all frequencies, so how can it be that? Then, I thought that it could be the vibration of the low frequency bass, though I have felt much more vibration before though power tools etc. So I just don’t understand why this happened.

      Also, my tinnitus does sometimes temporarily get worse when doing things like vacuuming even whilst wearing my 37Db ear defenders, and it always goes back down after 10 minutes or so. So I wonder if this is just a case like that, apart from being on a much larger scale, and will take longer to go back down to baseline. Perhaps I’m just clutching at straws here.

      What do you guys think, spike or permanent? I really an a wreck right now, and do feel suicidal.

      Any insight, anyone?

      Thanks,
      R
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    2. Julien87
      Balanced

      Julien87 Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      2006
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Exposure to loud sound (concert)
      Hi, sorry to read this..

      That might be the main cause of your exceptionally high T. No sleep plus anxiety, it can only make your T worse..
      Also, maybe you have been focusing on your T since that night, being afraid that it may be worsened by the loud music. I think this focus can also increase the level of your T.
      So basically, maybe you did not damage your ears at all this weekend, maybe it's just the fear around it that makes things worse.

      Good luck to you, I hope things will get back to normal soon.
       
    3. Blackbird26

      Blackbird26 Member

      Well your t has a reactive element to it, so this does not surprise me. i went to a very loud club, much like you describe and I also have H. (Yes was stupid and I was very drunk) Anyways y setback and spike started next morning so Sunday and by Tuesday morning I was on Prednisone. By day 2 morning on it, my spike lowered, my ear pain vanished and it was much better. Perhaps give that a go? i also have reactive t.

      No more 105 dB clubs for us. this is our new life! Make your girl understand...sorry you are going through this, I know how HARD and maddening it is :(

      hang in..- Oh and it isn't your fault..no more guilt..you just wanted to 'live' a little , please your girl and got kicked because of it..not your fault our ears /Brain are messed up !

      Hoping it returns to baseline soon ...I am also in a spike and wonder if I should try Prednisone again...though the noise was not THAT loud but still bothered my ears.....is a vicious thing.
       
    4. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      earplugs don't cut much of the bass frequencies that must be the cause - the LF sound waves go past the plugs but can also hit the inner ear via the bones, mouth and nose etc..and can do damage especially in small enclosed venues with powerful bass speakers

      It happened to me before as well, i had good plugs but still got T and H and cumulative irreversible damage - unfortunately we always learn the hard way
       
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    5. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      also these db numbers are the European SNR numbers not the USA Epa NRR number that you remove from environment db to find out what db you get through ..you need to find which numbers go with the H M and L levels to have a better idea because no plugs can do 35 db with the NRR scale
       
    6. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      Try and stay calm. I've made my fair share of mistakes that resulted in spikes and I would say it takes around 5-7+ days before things start to settle down. There were a couple times early on that did not return 100% back to my baseline, but one time I wasn't wearing earplugs at all and the second time only cheap flange style musician earplugs. It was smart of you to put in the solid filter in your customs and with that much protection I believe you have a good chance at full recovery.

      Best/
       
    7. Bertman
      No Mood

      Bertman Member Benefactor

      Location:
      canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      07/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      concert
      NRR rating scale is basically the minimum protection which is usually lower because most earplugs are meant to fit lots of people. Therefore they have to include data even though the plugs may not fit properly. In my opinion(which could be wrong) custom earplugs don't have that issue because they are custom moulded to a persons specific ear, so as long as they are inserted properly the number should be a little closer to the avg attenuation levels.
      Here is a picture of westones custom earplug attenuation levels and if I'm not mistaken the red dotted line would be the solid filter.
      73f41b1f7a11315c57ed1cbf0a824366.jpg So basically there should be a 30+ reduction even though the NRR is 29. Also notice that it does say that is for frequencies as low as 125HZ. That said I'm not sure what the typical frequencies are for bassy music.

      *Note: Some of this is speculation on my end but I have read up on the NRR system before and this is my recollection and understanding of it. Hope this helps.
       
    8. Bobby B
      Fine

      Bobby B Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      long term NIHL and recent acoustic trauma
      the NRR is the maximum protection rating "when correctly used" only - so basically this is as high as it gets when fitted the best..the difference is how numbers are calculated and which agency is doing the testing
       
    9. Robert44

      Robert44 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      loud concert
      seems that once we do damage to the ears they're never the same again.
       
    10. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Yes, but I have read that bone conduction will attenuate by 40Db at a minimum.
       
    11. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
    12. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Many thanks @Julien87, I do hope that be the case, and perhaps it is contributing somewhat. But the tinnitus does feel very notably louder after the club. Time will tell I guess
       
    13. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Thank you for your kind words @Blackbird26. I asked my doctor for Prednisone, but he refused and told me it causes lots of other bodily problems as a side effect. I live in the UK, and it seems to be hit and miss as to what doctor you get and what they will prescribe you.

      How did you get yours prescribed?
       
    14. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Thank you @Bertman. Here's hoping you are right and that it will settle. I tried my best by providing myself with the maximum protection, though I can't help at being annoyed at my partner for making me go, despite me saying no on multiple occasions.

      Anyway, I will report back if it improves.

      Thanks again,
      R
       
    15. Ecip

      Ecip Member

      Location:
      Edmonton, AB
      Tinnitus Since:
      4.11.2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Still unknown... possibly noise exposure?
      I keep posting about this, but a 35 ear plug does not lower the volume by 35dB.. There's a formula to find the actual value and its probably around 13 to 14dB.
      So if you're exposed to 104dB sound, at best it'll lower it to 90dB.

      Edit: the formula is: ear plug NRR - 7 dB ÷ 2, then subtract from the noise exposure.

      So, if ear plug NRR is 25, and the noise exposure is 100dB, then 25 - 7 ÷ 2 = 9.
      100 - 9 = 91dB.
       
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    16. Rust
      Gloomy

      Rust Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Hello, and thanks for the message @Ecip.

      Whilst this calculation is true for an earplug rated using NRR – which I believe is a North American measure – my earplugs are rated using the (European) SNR rating. When calculating the dB reduction using a SNR rated plug, you do simply deduct the rating from the experienced sound level. Whilst admittedly, the SNR rating is more general and not as accurate as other methods, one can know that they would experience a sound level deduction in the rough region of what the SNR rating is.

      Please see these calculator links below, they should better represent what I have said:

      NRR
      https://www.noisemeters.com/apps/occ/prot-nrr.asp

      SNR
      http://www.noisemeters.co.uk/apps/naw/prot-snr.asp

      In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) provide a calculator which reflects my above text on the SNR rating, too.

      Please feel free to add to this if you possess a more detailed knowledge in this area than myself. I have only learnt from what I have researched online.

      I presume you are North America based, Ecip?
       
    17. This link explains the issue http://aubankaitis.com/nrr-stands-for-not-really-realistic/ The formula cited, (NRR-7)/2, adjusts for differences between laboratory testing and the real world.

      Beyond that, in my experience I would question the 35dB as a starting point. I have similar ear plugs and was told something similar. In my experience, the custom made plugs with the solid inserts are less effective than foam ear plugs.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    18. Alue

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      Interesting. Like @Aaron123 said I would question the 35db rating. That's about the same attenuation you get when you double up on hearing protection with earplugs and earmuffs.
       
    19. Gosia
      Balanced

      Gosia Member

      Location:
      France
      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      earplugs/ hearing loss
      How are you today ? Any better ? In the UK you can still get NAC and magnesium plus vitamins and staying away from any noise for a few days ( hope it's not too late for this kind of advice, I would have stayed home except for going to see a doc ). No matter how many db those earplugs cut - it doesn't matter. What matters is the spike is there so it was obviously too loud. There are cases of people getting T despite earplugs, so science aside - that gives us a picture. We just cannot go to this kind of venues cause it's a life threatening danger for us, even though others don't understand that, such as your girlfriend for example. even 90 db for 3 hours long is too much, definitely. Note that osha guidelines are far too optimistic in general , let alone to us. Like a sprinter with a broken leg can't run a Marathon, we cannot go to such loud places, especially if the space is confined . Still, I believe it's not a lost cause.. many people go back to baseline even if they caused a new damage to hearing and you probably haven't done that. You just probably really shook your brain and ears but they should forgive you.. let us know how you are.
       
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    20. Lloyd Carter
      Wishful

      Lloyd Carter Member

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced Trauma
      I want to second this post. I think there is a great chance that you did absolutely no harm to your ears due to those custom plugs. Think about all of the musicians with tinnitus (Neil Young, Anthony Kiedis, Chris Martin, Grimes, the list goes on) that play night in and night out. These people are sufferers just like us, and with custom ear protection, they are totally fine. Chris Martin often discusses how his T has remind the absolute same since he started protecting himself a decade ago. And he has performed at A TON of LOUD concerts.

      It's PROVEN that tinnitus is louder when we have lack of sleep or anxiety. Now I of course cannot say that you 100% did not do damage at that club, but given my knowledge of this situation, I would advise you to take a break from this message board and attempt to calm the worry over your ears. Easier said than done, but I think you have a great chance of heading right back to baseline when you stop worrying!

      Hope this helps :)
       
    21. Lamb

      Lamb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Child's scream
      I am new to T but as a sound engineer twice a week for bands in a small venue, I use 15db moulded acs plugs and I find they make my tinnitus worse for the short term (something about brain compensating for lack of sound)

      15db reduction UK scale, tried higher level filters but I can't do my job with them

      I do however think I am not harming my hearing or making the the T worse long term.

      Protection is good!
      Side effects are irritating and I also lose sleep following a gig.
       
    22. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      Yeah, been staying well away from any noise for months and was doing much better , was asked to do a quick mix of a rap tune ....that was 3 days ago and i am simply bedridden. Severe spike and not worth it anymore for me to be involved in music . Super hard decision but it has been taken for me.

      No more music , simple.
       
      • Hug Hug x 2
    23. Sam Bridge

      Sam Bridge Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music/gigs probably
      Bedridden? You cannot move?
       
    24. RaZaH
      Not amused

      RaZaH Member Benefactor Team Tech

      Location:
      Reykjavík, Iceland
      Tinnitus Since:
      2012/04
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Benzo + loud noise
      No :) possibly the wrong word ,,,I mean , not going to work , staying at home ...non functional.
       
    25. Kane Moffat
      Badass

      Kane Moffat Member

      Location:
      Glasgow, Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015

      Everyone is different, we can't use other peoples conditions as a reference for our own. Some peoples tinnitus progress with noise exposure some people stay the same. Chris martin likely only has hair cell loss in the highest frquencies if his tinnitus has remained unchanged. If you have damaged your auditory nerves ( indicators are Hypercusis, bad speech discrimination or a type writter like tinnitus 'be be be b be bee bee') you will be much more vulnerable to noise exposure than before you developed tinnitus. The noise guidelines i dont think really apply to people like that.
       
    26. Kane Moffat
      Badass

      Kane Moffat Member

      Location:
      Glasgow, Scotland
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2015
      I think the fact that your tinnitus is reactive shows that your injuries are still healing, you should continue to avoid loud sound for the next half year i reckon.

      I think foam earplugs are acctually the best at protecting your ears as well not silicone.
       

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