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:
      04/1996
      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.
       
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    4. vermillion
      Whistles

      vermillion Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly from Fluconazole / H + Dysacusis later on
      What kind of specialist? I remember we got this at around the same time. Like you I haven't exactly habituated.
       
      • Agree Agree x 1
    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:
      04/1996
      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
      Whistles

      vermillion Member Podcast Patron Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Possibly from Fluconazole / H + Dysacusis later on
      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.
       
      • Useful Useful x 1
    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.
       
    12. 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 :/
      Hi everyone,

      Yesterday I was out at a restaurant for 30 minutes, my Apple Watch says the average sound level was between 73-76 dBA with a maximum of 82 dBA. I wore Alpine Party Plugs (NRR 19 dB). After 30 minutes I felt nervous so I left. Do you think that was a safe exposure or should I avoid such levels?

      What do you consider safe and when do you leave or put plugs in?
       
    13. MindOverMatter

      MindOverMatter Member

      Location:
      Norway
      Tinnitus Since:
      2004/05
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (possibly stress related, and later sound induced)
      Yes, that is in general a safe exposure.

      But that doesn't mean that some people wouldn't react to it, all dependent upon severity and also in the mental state you are in... only you would have the answer to this.

      But the sound level in itself is safe.
       
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    14. 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 :/
      Thank you @MindOverMatter. It's been worrying me as I read anything over 70 dB over a long period of time can be risky. And the earplugs should provide me with (19-7/2= 6 dBA) of protection. I'm still trying to figure out what feels right and safe.
       
    15. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      Go with your feelings.
       
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    16. kingsfan
      Mellow

      kingsfan Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Southern California
      Tinnitus Since:
      9-17-20 / 10-20-20 / 3-31-21 / 5-23-21
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      turning everything up to 11
      I hate the whole de-rating thing. I mean, if the earplugs fit and are inserted properly, shouldn't you be getting somewhere near the NRR?
       
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    17. Ken219
      Frustrated

      Ken219 Member

      Location:
      New York Area
      Tinnitus Since:
      Summer of 1990
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise exposure?
      I agree but the NRR is monitored by the EPA. We know what the EPA said about how safe the air quality was at Ground Zero 9/11/2001.
       
    18. Stacken77
      Wishful

      Stacken77 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise (likely headphones & cars), Acoustic trauma did me in
      I don't really understand this de-rating. One thing's clear; low frequency sound penetrate material much better than high frequency sound. My 3M 1100's are rated 26 dB at 63 Hz, and 40 dB at 8 kHz. I guess, if they're properly (deeply) inserted, I assume you'd have roughly 26 dB protection against low frequency sound? If not; I don't understand the purpose of the ratings...
       
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