What Noise Levels Can Increase Tinnitus?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Bart, Sep 8, 2014.

    1. Bart

      Bart Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I have tinnitus from hearing damage and I was wondering what noise levels can increase my tinnitus.

      I live in a city and next to a railroad and it can get pretty noisy, I often walk the dog or go out to eat with my wife outside next to traffic, cars honking there horns, squealing brakes, screaming children etc etc.

      Is this dangerous for my tinnitus, several doctors said that when it is outside it won't be much of a problem and I do not have to overprotect my ears, only at loud concerts or when other people should wear ear protection.

      I used to just put ear protection in my left ear, the one with the tinnitus, when I went out to the city but recently the tinnitus spiked and I now seem to have it in my right ear as well occasionally, so I am confused, should I wear it in both ears or not at all in the loud city?
    2. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      not sure
      I have ultra high pitched and severe hyperacusis a few years back. My tinnitus was sound reactive and my hyperacusis turned all normal sounds into glassy, piercingly hurtful sensations as if my ears got drilled all the time. I had to wear ear plugs as I couldn't tolerate most noises, including the soft voice of my wife spoken too closely. I bought $200 worth of earplugs and earmuffs trying to protect my ears. But forum members advised me to be careful about over-protection from normal ambient sounds to avoid developing sound sensitivity or misophonia.

      So I began to take off the earplugs if reluctantly and slowly. Finally my hyperacusis faded, and my tinnitus is no longer reactive to sound although it is still the same high pitch scream it was before. But I don't avoid normal sounds.
    3. attheedgeofscience
      No Mood

      attheedgeofscience Member Podcast Patron Mighty Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Resolved since 2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown (medication, head injury)
      My "favourite" topic. And probably the one topic which will spark the most heated debates on this forum.

      Consider what our ears were originally designed for - from an evolutionary perspective (ie. the quiet surroundings of nature). Now consider loud city noise and whatever else at 80 dB (trains/cars/traffic) up to 100 dB (eg. subway). Subtract your earplugs maximum decibal rating and you are still not close to what our ears were designed for. If protecting our ears for a couple of hours per day during noisy traffic is supposed to be so dangerous, then what would happen if you decided to stay indoors instead ie. working from home for eg. a year? Would you suddenly develop massive hyperacusis as a result? I haven't heard of anyone developing hyperacusis from sitting in their own home. Have you?
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    4. Lilah

      Lilah Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      I take the metro everyday. I used the sound meter to measure loudness and it goes up to 85 dB. Should I start wearing hearing protection? Or is this an everyday normal sound?
    5. PeteJ

      PeteJ Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic trauma?
      I wish more people would answer Bart's question. I have a similar situation where I live.

      The replies are interesting though and I have no good answers to the questions therein. :-(
    6. Digital Doc

      Digital Doc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise induced

      Sounds like intermittent noise exposure in the city is contributing to your T.


      Check out the link above, and exposures in the 90 db's are fairly common.

      I struggled with a similar situation as well, and intermittent is a challenge as it is easy to overprotect, or underprotect in this situation. However, as you have T, those >85 db recommendations don't apply, as you can spike from lower db levels.

      I would wear earplugs, and have them in both ears when in these situations. Musician earplugs can be an option if other folks are with you, and you want to be able to easily talk to them, otherwise more protective earplugs like the foam ones are a good choice given the higher db's you describe. If you keep spiking, the inference would be that there is too much noise, and to protect more- plain and simple.

      We can also chalk this one up to another poor recommendation from a doctor who does not understand the real problems of T, and how to deal with this.

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