Would Wearing Earplugs 24/7 for a Year Help with the Nerve Repair Process?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Pharz, May 6, 2022.

    1. xyz

      xyz Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2006 mild T 2019 T worsening H onset
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown / probably noise induced
      It has improved. So sounds like kitchen fans and running faucet don't annoy me as much. Most improvement I am aware of is with computer audio. 2020 0.5 h of Teams conference gave me burning ear pain and now after 2 h I may have some slight ear tingling sensations. Clearly I try to reduce those exposures as much as possible still. I am not sure if it is the 24/7 ear protection or the Magnesium & Potassium supplements, but both have certainly helped. On the other hand I am nowhere near on writing a success story here. If I would drive with my car without foam earplugs and noise cancelling headphones, my tinnitus would probably still spike like crazy.
      My tinnitus made me in 2020 very sleep deprived. Now I would say it is mild to moderate and I get 7 h of sleep.
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    2. Wrfortiscue

      Wrfortiscue Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      That’s wonderful. I would love to protect 24/7 but just the amount I have been is causing lower sound tolerance for me. Hyperacusis is very individual.
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    3. Marshall

      Marshall Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Not sure/virus/noise trauma/cumulative noise damage
      That’s what happened to me as well. Tinnitus should be one of the world wonders.
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    4. David S

      David S Member Benefactor Ambassador

      Tinnitus Since:
      I think that you can actually have less tinnitus by overprotecting your partly broken high frequency tiny hair cells. But what kind of a life will that be in the long run?

      The alternative might be a little bit more tinnitus but much less protection and constant worries. In the end, hopefully the perceived tinnitus will be less as well.

      I am going from overprotecting to constant sound enrichment. It is not easy but as I see it I have no other choice. Once the process is over I just have to accept the tinnitus I am left with.
    5. DeanD

      DeanD Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Just to chime in on the whole earplug debate...

      I had completely blocked ears full of wax for 10 years+.

      This added an earplug type effect to my ears for many years and not once did I suffer from any type of hyperacusis or ear infection.

      Don't get me wrong, this is a bad idea and probably led to why I got severe tinnitus through microsuction - although in reality, towards the end, the wax was kind of protecting me.

      I was depriving my audio system of sound for years and years, as my hearing was terrible, but again not once did any type of hyperacusis develop.
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    6. Chronumbra

      Chronumbra Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Music production, headphones
      It's probably not a bad idea to protect during the acute phases of a noise trauma, but protecting 24/7 after the fact may not be a good idea.

      The brain is a very adaptive organ. It can and will adapt to changes in its environment. So, if you avoid and protect from sound 24/7 for a year or more, it is quite possible that you will actually lower the threshold of sound that your brain can tolerate and quite possibly even encourage a subconscious fear of sound to develop.

      I understand that there are two very different schools of thought on protecting in order to heal versus using sound therapy. The truth is that there isn't really a one-size-fits-all approach.

      Noise damage occurs in a variety of levels and ways, from stereocilia ablation, to excitatory/inhibitory synapse damage, etc... Age and genetics are likely to play a part in how your brain adapts to and recovers from sudden changes to the auditory system.

      Maybe try an approach of gradually bringing noise back into your life. I am a musician and I developed a reactive form of tinnitus at the start of this year.

      At first, I couldn't even have the TV on without developing a migraine, but now I can pretty easily go about my everyday life with minimal issues. My condition only started to improve when I began using pink noise and some of my favorite music playing while I was working (I work from home). The only thing I can't really do again yet is produce music. Go figure...

      I suspect that as long as you do not impose undue stress upon your hearing mechanisms by way of truly loud and damaging sounds, you should recover over time. Protecting from every day sound is probably not a good idea unless it is actively causing you pain.
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    7. Amv

      Amv Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Wearing earplugs 24/7 is not a good idea. I think that you would hear your tinnitus louder, which would hinder your auditory system and brain to habituate and fade the tinnitus volume as much as possible.

      Earplugs are good for protecting from acute loud noises (concerts, discos, etc), but not for prolonged continuous usage (every day for 8 hours).
    8. Jupiterman

      Jupiterman Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Sudden loud noise
      What about people whose job requires hearing protection 8 hours per shift, e.g., construction?
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    9. Amv

      Amv Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi @Jupiterman, tinnitus is a very complex ailment. It is originated in the auditory nerve, but then the brain makes things more complex due to the auditory cortex.

      It's most important that you protect your ears if the situation calls for it.

      If you are not exposed to loud noises, and you have loud tinnitus, using earplugs too much in silence would force your auditory cortex to hear the tinnitus louder, and reinforce the message in your brain to listen to it more, affecting neuroplasticity.

      So, if there is no danger of loud noises, and you have loud tinnitus, I wouldn't suggest using earplugs in surroundings where the ambient noise is quiet.
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