Under or Overprotecting? Should I Be Wearing Hearing Protection in Packed Restaurants?

Discussion in 'Support' started by missingsilence, Aug 5, 2019.

    1. missingsilence
      Depressed

      missingsilence Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Hell on Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who am I kidding, its got to be noise :/
      Hi everyone,

      I've been trying to go on with my life despite the loud neighbor in my head. Recently I've been asking myself if in certain situations I am over protecting, while in others I under protect. My tinnitus has been bothering me a lot lately.

      When I am outside I generally wear Alpine Sleep Plugs that have a SNR of 25 dB (NRR of about 23 dB). The are a re-usable rubber plug. Recently I went to a dinner at a packed restaurant with an average sound level (measured using the NIOSH app) of 78 dB with Max Levels of 87 dB. I kept my Alpine plugs on and didn't switch to foam plugs in order to still be able to have a conversation well. Was this a mistake? I calculate that with a NRR of 23 -7/2 I should still have gotten 8dB of protection at the least.

      Was this enough? Should I be wearing foam plugs in such environments? Should I not be wearing earplugs when I am out in normal environments?
       
      • Good Question Good Question x 1
    2. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @missingsilence

      I am sorry to know that you are having such a difficult time with the tinnitus. After reading your post I get the impression that you are monitoring sound levels regularly and using a dedicated sound level meter or a "sound app" on your phone? If this is the case I don't think you are helping yourself and probably making your situation worse psychologically, because it has a direct impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing.

      As you are wearing earplugs a lot I suspect that your auditory system as become more sensitive due to a lowering of the Loudness threshold to sound. I have mentioned this in my post: Hyperacusis, As I see it. I believe you are "over protecting your ears" and advise you to try and stop this practice. Regularly using a sound app to monitor sound levels and over using hearing protection reinforces negative thinking which over time causes more harm than good mentally and emotionally.

      If you are not careful you may reach a stage where you will need to seek professional help, with a Hearing Therapist or Audiologist that is trained in the treatment of tinnitus and hyperacusis management.

      Try and reduce using earplugs and stop using sound apps to monitor sound levels. Read my posts: Hyperacusis, As I see it, and The complexities of Tinnitus and Hyperacusis, in the links below.

      I wish you well.

      Michael

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/hyperacusis-as-i-see-it.19174/

      https://www.tinnitustalk.com/threads/the-complexities-of-tinnitus-and-hyperacusis.25733/
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      missingsilence
      Depressed

      missingsilence Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Hell on Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who am I kidding, its got to be noise :/
      Thanks Michael. I started seeing a professional for my T related anxiety. I will discuss this more at length with them. I feel like I may have some degree of hyperacusis, but its the T that really gets me down. Even 2.5 years later, I haven't really habituated. I'm really hoping for some positive change.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    4. vermillion
      No Mood

      vermillion Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neurological damage
      What kind of specialist? I remember we got this at around the same time. Like you I haven't exactly habituated.
       
    5. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      Yes, if you feel like you maybe should wear hearing protection in restaurants then better safe than sorry.
       
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    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      April /1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      HI @missingsilence

      Seeing a professional in tinnitus and hyperacusis treatment and management is the thing to do. I hope you are able to persist with it. Please keep in mind this may take some time so be patient.

      All the best
      Michael
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      missingsilence
      Depressed

      missingsilence Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Hell on Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who am I kidding, its got to be noise :/
      Hey Vermillion,

      I remember :) After two years of trying to fight it (specialists, supplements, treatments, etc) I decided to see a psychiatrist as it was continuing to pull me down deeper. I was offered CBT and hearing aids/maskers at an audiologists, but I decided not to go with that.
       
    8. vermillion
      No Mood

      vermillion Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Neurological damage
      I am asking you because I am thinking of doing the same. I have reached to a low point that I haven't ever experienced in my life. I need help. It is the forum's testimonies that kept me away from psychiatric help all this time, but I don't know what to do anymore. I'm exhausted and depressed. Let me know how it went with you. I'll try to find a doctor as well. CBT did nothing for me btw.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      missingsilence
      Depressed

      missingsilence Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Hell on Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who am I kidding, its got to be noise :/
      It helped my general mood a bit, as I have started taking medication. But the underlying issue (tinnitus) still bothers me to a great extent. I would definitely recommend giving it a try though. I'm hoping Lenire helps us (I'm watching the two threads very closely). Sadly, this condition has been the biggest change in my life I have experienced and I've had quite a few changes.

      Overall, I'd say I'm more functional than I was two years ago, but honestly still not where I need to be.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      missingsilence
      Depressed

      missingsilence Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Hell on Earth
      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who am I kidding, its got to be noise :/
      Do you think the levels I’ve been exposed to were safe with the plugs I wore? Or should I be putting in foam plugs?
       
    11. Flamingo1

      Flamingo1 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Orlando, FL
      Tinnitus Since:
      4-15-2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic trauma
      If you are that worried, start using foam plugs. What's done is done. I doubt you sustained any permanent damage.
       

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