Ask an Audiologist: Protecting Yourself Against Tinnitus
Tinnitus is when you hear sounds like buzzing and hissing noises, among others, that no one else can hear. This condition also often is present along with hearing loss.
Exposure to very loud noise is usually the catalyst to an initial bout of tinnitus. How can you protect yourself and is what you may be doing now enough?
Ask an Audiologist
Just a quick question. I play drums in a band and I have tinnitus. I’ve had tinnitus since I was 15. Years back I started wearing ear plugs and ear muffs to prevent further damage to my ears. Is that enough protection from all the loud noises from playing music? I also have anxiety, which heightens my tinnitus.
Thank you for your submission to Ask an Audiologist.
I am glad to hear that you’re being proactive about your hearing health. Both ear plugs and ear muffs are good tools for protecting your ears from noise. When I was in school for Audiology, I remember my professors always saying that “the best type of noise protection is the type that a patient is actually going to wear!” So, if you find the plugs or muffs get uncomfortable and you end up taking them out, I think you might want to look at other options. Also, I’m not sure if you wear ear plugs sometimes and ear muffs other times, but you could consider wearing them both at the same time if you are really in loud situations to maximise your hearing protection.
Anxiety can be related to (and heighten) your tinnitus. I would recommend that you talk to your doctor about managing your anxiety. I would also recommend that you have a hearing test completed to assess your hearing and discuss your tinnitus. At Hearing Solutions we offer a free hearing test and explain to you the results as well. We also can order a range of noise protection devices, including some that are dedicated specifically to musicians, if you are interested.
I hope that this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if you have any other questions.
All the best,
Stephanie Loder, B.Sc., M.Cl.Sc., Reg. CASLPO Audiologist, Aud(C)
Stephanie is a registered Audiologist with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario. Stephanie currently sees patients at Hearing Solutions’ Carlingwood Shopping Centre location in Ottawa.