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IsaakBanin

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #1 
I have some hyperacusis and tinnitus. About 10 days ago I had to make a long bus trip, about 10 hours long. I wore all the time some silicon earplugs with 20db filters, not custom-made, those that come with a keychain metal case. They don't fit me perfectly so I had to be readjusting them from time to time, and for that reason I think I had a real protection of about 10db (based on the hearing sensation with and without plugs.) Inside of the bus the db measures were a mean of 77db with frequent 85db peaks. My tinnitus got about 30% worse and has kept more or less the same since, and I should add that my tinnitus was (and still is) the "reactive" kind and I notice the worsening when being around sounds louder than 50db or so, in quiet places it gets calmer. 

When I came back (another 10 hour bus trip) I wore foam 33db plugs, once I arrived I changed them for my silicon plugs (to go outside into traffic street noise) and as soon as I removed the foam earplugs my tinnitus spiked quite loud and calmed soon afterwards, which makes me think of a gain issue. 

Is that first bus trip enough to cause me a permanent worsening of tinnitus due to hearing damage, in case that earplugs weren't protecting me enough? If it isn't, is it a 10 hours earplug use enough to raise the gain in such a way that my tinnitus gets worse for weeks or forever? 

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EDogg

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Isaak,

Have been wondering how you were doing with your T&H. Hope all is well and you have a strategy moving forward.

Those are difficult questions to answer. The typical understanding is that everyday sounds cannot hurt you and that repeated, prolonged exposure to sounds greater than 85 dB can injure the ears. I believe this is likely true (for most people with these conditions), though it may not be entirely true for everyone. There is still much to be learned about these conditions and their underlying pathophysiology. It seems there may be some synergistic effect of sound and drug or environmental exposure or systemic inflammation that may lower the threshold for injury. That had yet to be proven.

That said, you were wearing at the very least 10dB sound reduction plugs, in an environment with peaks at 85dB (so 75 dB in actuality). I would guess that your ears are irritated, not permanently damaged, from the sounds and will eventually calm down. That seems to be my experience and that of many on here. I do experience worsening of my reactive tinnitus after prolonged ear plug use as well, so I think that may also be contributing in your scenario.

Have you had a similar loud exposure before and how did your ears react?

Regards,
EDogg
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IsaakBanin

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #3 
I haven't had that long of a exposure, previously all my spikes went down in one or two days. Now my broadband hissing is also louder and much more intrusive, like the overall gain is quite raised. The fact that my tinnitus reacted also at the removal of the plugs make me think about a raised gain issue from the plugs. 

But again, those plugs are not fitting very well, I have to keep readjusting them every few minutes, so that 10db protection could have been even less in many moments. I still notice some difference in hearing with or without them, so I guess they do at least something, but a mean of 77-80db for 10 hours (with a rest of about an hour in the middle) may have been too much. 

Yesterday and today I'm seeing some progress, my tinnitus is not as loud as I wake up and takes more hours to raise, and today has been more hissing than tonal even after raising, I guess those are good signs that it still can improve? I'm wearing protection when I go on the street but trying to raise a bit the sound enrichment at home. 

Previous to this worsening I was more or less managing, I stopped notched rain sounds as it seemed to be worsening me (adding more hissing, quite like now, and maybe even some new soft tone). In fact my worsening now reminds me of some bad days I had while doing the notched noise, and that time it took about 1 or 2 weeks to get back to normal. But I was sleeping with a bit of the window open and louder sound enrichment to get to a 45db mean at night, and that seemed to be helping. 

Is it normal for hyperacusic people to get the tinnitus irritated this way and it lasting for days or even a few weeks? 
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EDogg

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Posts: 167
Reply with quote  #4 
Hi Isaak,

Unfortunately, for some of us, yes this is par for the course. I share your frustration with this; my setbacks can last for several days to weeks. The encouraging thing is that we bounce back. If this was permanent damage, that wouldn’t be happening. Doesn’t make it easier necessarily when you are in the heat of it, but good to have in the back of your mind.

The trip probably was too much on your ears, but I think there is an excellent chance you will bounce back with time. I’m going through yet another setback at the moment as well, so I share in this discomfort . No loud exposure here.. just randomly gets worse. I’m sure there is a reason, yet it remains elusive.

Hoping for quick recoveries for us both.

EDogg
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Stubbyj

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Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #5 
I have both T and H and have yet to not recover from setbacks as you described. I'm just now recovering from one as well. Oddly, this time the setback only impacted one ear and I'm not exactly sure of what caused it. My setbacks result in an increase in ear pain and lower baseline levels. I'm guessing you will eventually return to baseline. 
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Aplomado

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Posts: 630
Reply with quote  #6 
If you tinnitus is like mine, it should eventually go down again. Just ignore it, and it will eventually stop bothering you.
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