• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Hearing loss: a hobby fades away

Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
27
Likes
3
#1
I’m new to this forum and I’ve started a few threads talking about my journey.

We all use our hearing to enjoy this hobby and for some people their jobs. I’m currently in dentistry. And I realized that I’m not hearing as well as I did before I started working as a dentist. I noticed it for the first time when my daughter was talking to me. I did have a head cold and ther was fluid in my ears. But this was the first time I couldn’t quite understand the words she was saying.

So, I wanted to start a thread on hearing protection

Has anyone else experienced hearing loss? I’ve got an appointment with an audiologist/ent for further evaluation.

My goal is to find something that will allow me to practice while protecting my hearing and allow me to talk to patients. I know they have passive filtered hearing protection. However, I sound funny when talking to the patients. Has anyone had good luck with any of the electronic ear protection. I know they have them for hunting/shooting sports. I wonder if they would be effective in my application.

If you have any experience with any of these products feel free to share your experience.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2018
Messages
43
Likes
38
#2
How do you know you sound funny to your patients? You actually changed how you speak with hearing protection in?

I haven’t figured out a great solution but I used the cheap foam earplug a lot. Sometimes if I want a bit less attenuation I rip them in half.

I never go to loud concerts without them. Oddly, though they do roll of the highs, your ears adjust, and they will actually clean up the sound in over loud spaces.

The big downside is that they increase the perception of volume of your own voice. I’m not sure if it’s an illusion or there actually is more sound energy being transmitted to the hearing mechanism.

But it makes it sub optimal.

But there are lots of places we are exposed to loud noise without noticing, cars, planes, sporting events. If you develop the habit of using the foam ear plugs, you can really lower sound exposure.

FWIW, I’m 53, a few years back my hearing tested 15db down at 12khz. This is not great but not out of range for my age. Also has some damage at around 6khz in one ear.

What’s weird is that things don’t sound less bright to me. I’m a sound engineer and it’s not really harder to work as the brain can compensate to a degree.

I’ve got nothing above 16khz though.

It’s really worth protecting your ears!
 

daftcombo

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2019
Messages
330
Likes
117
#3
Well, a few days ago I wanted to try a pair of Apple Earpods someone had kindly send me.
I messed up with the computer volume and for 2 seconds had full blast in both hears.
72 hours later, I still have a kind of tinnitus in one ear and a bit of hyperacousia.
Hope it will go away...

Be careful with headphones. From now on, I will always use a volume knob.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
27
Likes
3
#4
How do you know you sound funny to your patients? You actually changed how you speak with hearing protection in?
Thanks for the reply! What I mean to say is I sound funny to me. And I am having trouble regulating my voice volume. Maybe I would get better at it with time. I’m either too soft or too loud. And it’s hard to have a menaingful conversation with a patient about their dental dental needs when you’re whispering or yelling lol.

You have a cavity! :facepalm::facepalm:

Also, for me all day wearing of silicone tips hurts my ears.

I wonder if custom hearing protection would make a difference.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
36
Likes
19
Location
NYC
#7
I’m sorry about your ears! I’m going to look into some good options for custom hearing protection. I wonder if anyone has experience with any particular brands.
ADV customs can make a custom solution that you can somewhat change the level of sound dampening with I think small plugs or something. Haven't seen any bad reviews of them yet worth of note.
 

soundwave76

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
208
Likes
163
Location
Finland
#8
I have had tinnitus now for 3,5 years on my left year. It started with a too long and too loud listening session with my new HD700 headphones. The first few months were a VERY, very dark period of my life. I also did the mistake to read too much about tinnitus and thus I 'trained' my mind to percieve tinnitus as a threat, which just worsens ones reaction to it. But as with many others with tinnitus, your brain adapts to it and it no longer bothers me, even though it is still there.

I did hearing tests when the tinnitus started and the data suggests that I have a quite normal age related (40y at that time) hearing loss where I can't hear anything over 11KHz. There was also some signs of a noise induced hearing loss around 7-8KHz. For all you headphone listeners, get yourself also active monitors and take breaks from headphone listening. And of course be VERY VERY caerful with the volume.
 

Frank Dernie

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
1,229
Likes
1,270
Location
Oxfordshire
#9
I worked in F1 motor racing for 35 years. The sound level in the garage exceeds 120dB even when the engine is idling. In the ‘70s there was no ear protection (except fingers in ears until the car left). Latterly I had a multi channel radio with moulded in ear monitors with each driver in each ear. I think I am lucky - possibly it is genetic, my grandmother could still hear conversations in the adjoining room when she was 100 years old (one had to be discreet what one discussed).
My wife is a professional (classical) musician who has gone so deaf we can no longer watch TV together since if it is intelligible to her I can’t bear being in the room and she hates the sound from her hearing aids :(
My son-in-law was a drummer in a band and he has tinnitus and can’t bear loud sounds at all any more.
So IME people vary massively. Since I use the same ears to listen to my Hi-Fi as to a live concert I would make no attempt to equalise for any loss anyway hearing as I did 50 years ago would sound weirdly odd today.

I would be surprised if the noise level in a dentist’s surgery was loud enough to lead to permanent hearing damage. I have an app on my phone (SPLnFFT) which has a noise dose meter as well as other functions, you could use something like that to evaluate if it is the noise in the workplace or something else causing you concern.
 
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
12
Likes
6
#10
I worry about this, as well. I'm an executive with a large company, and spend 7-8 hours every day on conference calls, using bluetooth earbuds in both ears. I've worked out this is the best system for me (home worker for 20+ years now), but concerned with just constant talking piped directly in my ears, with no real control over volume of individual voices, etc.

That said, at 56, I can still hear test tones (at least) at 17k in both ears, so so far, doing OK. Hoping that when the inevitable deterioration comes it will be gentle and mostly the same in both ears.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2019
Messages
39
Likes
36
#11
At 53, I began getting tinnitus in my left ear about 3 mos. ago. I have no abused my hearing too much over the years and went to very few rock concerts when young. Had my hearing tested, and I'm quite normal, with severe attenuation above 12khz, but only slightly below normal at 8khz. Since I was 16 and first noticed the issue, I have had to compensate the right channel by about +3.5db to get a center image instead of a left-skewed center, but it seems to stay about the same.

Lately, the tinnitus seems to correlate with days when I spend a lot of time on the phone. I'm trying to train myself to use speaker or use my right ear. The tinnitus comes and goes. Dr. saw no tumors or anything. Has no idea what's going on.

On days where I do a quick cut or two on the circular saw, or use a sander or whatever, I definitely get some ringing or dropouts -- I try to remember to stuff plugs in, but I don't always, which is ridiculous.
 

Samoyed

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
101
Likes
44
#12
Ah, tinnitus, what a joy. I’ve had chronic tinnitus for years. As a young man, Uncle Sam gave me the opportunity to fly four engine turbine transports. Now, I have a lovely reminder....
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
17,889
Likes
16,088
Location
Seattle Area
#13
I sense nothing is too loud when I go to the dentist. So I don't think your issues are occupationally related. I do have age related hearing loss ("nerve damage"). This has lowered my sensitivity in higher frequencies. But in mid frequencies, the audiologist showed I hear above average.

About 10 years ago, I was working in the yard and got so annoyed at a neighbor constantly running his generator. I wanted to find out which neighbor it was so I walked all over the neighborhood but no matter which direction I went, I could not identify the source. The sound would not get any louder in any direction. Then it occured to me it might be me. So I got in my car and closed the doors and the level of noise did not change. That is when i realized it was tinnitus. Fortunately I adapter to it and learned to ignore it except on some occasions which don't bother me a lot.

There are plenty of people with serious hearing loss who still enjoy being an audiophile. I have heard of instances of serious audiophiles getting hearing aids and having it help a lot with their enjoyment.

So I would go into this with hope, not despair. :)
 

D700

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
84
Likes
64
#14
Has anyone else experienced hearing loss? I’ve got an appointment with an audiologist/ent for further evaluation.
.
I'm 55. 25 years ago I suffered partial hearing loss above 2khz in my left ear, some in my right to lessor degree, from too long exposure to a fire alarm (factory floor alarm in a closed stairwell, it was overlooked during a remodel). Tinnitus (constant 'eeeeee' right at 10khz) varies in loudness depending on blood pressure, mood, tidal forces and the phase of the moon (other words, good days and bad).

Dentist Drill is likely your culprit, its right in that 5-10khz range as I recall. Last work I had done, drill set me off, ears rang for 3 days. Same thing happened with some new sonic cleaning gizmo they used on me. I had to stop them half way through, switch to a manual cleaning.

Can you buy a silent drill?

Otherwise...earmuffs for everyone.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
27
Likes
3
#15
Can you buy a silent drill?
The short answer is no. They all make a bunch of noise. There are electric hand-pieces that are less noisy. But some of it is the nature of spinning something at 300,000rpm. The suction and ultrasonic hand-pieces also make a bunch of noise.

I sense nothing is too loud when I go to the dentist. So I don't think your issues are occupationally related. I do have age related hearing loss ("nerve damage").
So I would go into this with hope, not despair. :)
I will not despair. But I though it was an interesting conversation to start. Also, dentist loosing their hearing due to occupational noise is actually been studied.
https://success.ada.org/en/wellness/safety-tips-to-avoid-hearing-loss

It’s not the actual noise, it’s more the constant Exposure over a career.
 
Joined
Apr 9, 2019
Messages
27
Likes
3
#16
I would be surprised if the noise level in a dentist’s surgery was loud enough to lead to permanent hearing damage. I have an app on my phone (SPLnFFT) which has a noise dose meter as well as other functions, you could use something like that to evaluate if it is the noise in the workplace or something else causing you concern.
It’s the constant exposure to the sound in the frequency. I linked an article above.

I’m sorry you can’t watch tv with your wife anymore! :(
 

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
17,889
Likes
16,088
Location
Seattle Area
#17
Also, dentist loosing their hearing due to occupational noise is actually been studied.
https://success.ada.org/en/wellness/safety-tips-to-avoid-hearing-loss
I am not seeing a study there. That aside, the wavelength of ultrasonic sound is very small. This means it is very easy to filter with minimal amount of absorption. Here is a computer simulation I just ran on a 4 millimeter porous absorber:

Ultrasonic Absorber.png


Coefficient of absorption ("alpha") of 1.0 means total absorption. As you see, despite being so thin, blockage is almost near max at 50 kHz+. Yet it doesn't absorb a lot in audible band so you should be OK hearing yourself and your patients.

This would translate into a cotton ball inserted in the ear canal during such use.

You can test the effectiveness of this by putting the cotton ball in and playing 10 Khz+ and seeing if it makes good bit of difference without cutting down lower frequencies.
 

D700

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
84
Likes
64
#18
It’s the constant exposure to the sound in the frequency. I linked an article above.

I’m sorry you can’t watch tv with your wife anymore! :(
As I understand, it can be high intensity/short exposure or opposite as in your case. Similar damage.

I recently demo’d a $4K hearing aid “Starkey AI” or something like that. They map your frequency loss then program the device to compensate...I liked the result but am borderline, will continue to make do. My hearing actually improved a little since tested 25 years ago...or the tests are more accurate.

Also Costco seems to be well regarded for similar devices at a fraction of what I was looking at.

At home and in car I simply bump the treble 1 notch and I’m good:)
 

Soniclife

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Messages
1,034
Likes
523
Location
UK
#19
I am not seeing a study there. That aside, the wavelength of ultrasonic sound is very small. This means it is very easy to filter with minimal amount of absorption. Here is a computer simulation I just ran on a 4 millimeter porous absorber:

View attachment 25312

Coefficient of absorption ("alpha") of 1.0 means total absorption. As you see, despite being so thin, blockage is almost near max at 50 kHz+. Yet it doesn't absorb a lot in audible band so you should be OK hearing yourself and your patients.

This would translate into a cotton ball inserted in the ear canal during such use.

You can test the effectiveness of this by putting the cotton ball in and playing 10 Khz+ and seeing if it makes good bit of difference without cutting down lower frequencies.
Worth a dentist testing the noise output from the common tools to confirm that it's all high frequency.
 

D700

Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
84
Likes
64
#20
And forgot, I have been wearing Howard Leight foam ear plus to concerts for years, they are my favorite for comfort.
 
Top Bottom