Tinnitus...who has it and thinks it might be riding related?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Motor7, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    I have had it for a few years. I have also logged between half a mil & 3/4 million miles on bikes. At the same time I have been around lot's of firearms going boom, saws, nail guns, sanders & other woodworking tools. I remember back in the 70's wearing ear plugs while shooting, even wore/wear them while duck/goose hunting. I let my guard down on those power tools until about 20 years ago, so damage done. Anyway, for 80% of my riding...no ear protection, so I am leaning towards that being a major contributor.

    So, my question is to those that ride and have ridden a lot...are you experiencing any Tinnitus? Mine is like a herd of Cicadas & you can go to this link to find what sound your head is producing:

    http://www.ata.org/sounds-of-tinnitus

    Oddly enough, a few months ago I had the dreaded routine garden hose with a camera on the end "procedure". Ever since then, my Tinnitus has kicked up the volume by quite a bit. I think something in the anesthesia may have irritated it.
    #1
  2. erkmania

    erkmania Last of the red hot left pipers

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    Oh, I am sure that I have some hearing loss associated with riding. Mine's more the 7500 kHz variety when it's subdued and kinda what you have when it is at its worst. Mine isn't that bad, though, now. I feel lucky for that because I freaked out a little when I realized I was doing permanent damage by not wearing earplugs in the past.

    I remember, as a teenaged driver, liking to drive with the window opened. I started to lose my hearing in the left ear. I made a mental note and now rarely drive with the driver's window rolled down. It took me a few years to learn about earplugs for riding, but they are now a necessity when I ride. I don't think earplugs are perfect, but they help...a lot!

    My favorite plugs, now, are the silicone ones used for swimming. I usually ball 1 1/2 silicone balls together to form one earplug per canal. This has proven to be better than even the custom molded plugs, for me. I learned that the custom plugs have so much surface area at the ear canal opening that they transmit powerful low frequencies into my ears. With the swimmers' plugs I can control how much material is exposed outside of my ear canals.

    My motivation for all of this was my need to hear every nuance of the music I was listening to from the albums I played when I was younger.

    Now, I wonder if preserving my hearing was really necessary since most folks talk rubbish these days. Still, rubbish is better than silence...if only just.
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  3. AlanCT

    AlanCT The Byronic Man

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    I am sure that I have at least a bit of hearing loss from wind roar. I have used ear plugs for almost my entire riding career, but not the first year or so when I was inexperienced.

    Also, I wonder about the cumulative effect of wind roar even with ear plugs; it's not like they completely silence it.
    #3
  4. randyo

    randyo Long timer

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    I know that my hearing is getting worse, my GF says I turn up the TV loud,

    but have never experienced Tinnitus, I do hear noises that some people describe as Tinnitus, but 99% of the time if it becomes annoying, I can find the source, a light bulb, ballast or an electronic device

    when I operate a chainsaw, I do wear my helmet with ear muffs, but when I ride, only a helmet to reduce noise, I also try to elimiate the noise producing edges, a fabric chin curtain will cut helmet noise 75% or more, I don't wear earplugs, tries them once on a SS1000, and love the quiet, but they irritate my ears so much, every type I've tried. I hope I never get so deaf I need a hearing aid
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  5. Waco

    Waco Renegade Sickle Hound

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    It's been my experience that the average person makes no attempt to avoid loud noise, unless it's bad enough to cause pain. Loud music, loud tools, loud vehicles,... most folks don't worry about it. My teenager sure doesn't. At work, I've found that lots of people have their desk phones cranked up and can't hear anything if they use mine, which has the volume set as low as it will go.
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  6. PT Rider

    PT Rider Been here awhile

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    Noise exposure over the yeas is one cause; there are several causes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus

    Etymotic Research brand Ety-Plugs at my favorites for riding. I wore the yellow foam E.A.R. Brand plugs for years at work, but don't like their uneven frequency response while riding...I felt disconnected from the bike. In any case, ear plug selection is very individual both for size and type.
    http://www.etymotic.com/hp/er20.html
    #6
  7. nwpa

    nwpa Generally amused

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    Your history and mine are almost identical, and based on your "procedure" we're likely close to the same age.

    I have over 40 years riding (and shooting), and despite always taking precautions when shooting and using power tools, up until 10 years ago I can't remember using ear protection much when riding. I now use it religiously (although it makes the gas station questions tough to manage).

    I'm convinced my tinnitus is riding related, and it's worth a warning to the younger inmates here that ATGATT includes ear protection. It kinda sneaks up on you and suddenly your hearing takes a big hit and you have ringing all the time.
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  8. LowInSlo

    LowInSlo Been here awhile

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    If we're riding without earplugs, we are damaging our hearing. And yes, it's cumulative. I'm gonna try the swimmers stuff, great suggestion. THe other earplugs bother my ears.
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  9. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    A lot of informative responses. I have the custom moulded plugs and I agree, they are not the best. When shooting on a indoor range I found myself putting muff on over them. For the last 8 years or so I have been using the plugs on a hoop:
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_84944-98-90...l=1&currentURL=?Ntt=ear+protection&facetInfo=
    I have a dozen pair, keep them in the truck, wheeler, tractor, shop, etc. I heat with wood so I run chainsaws a lot and they are in the saw bag.

    I guess my biggest issue is that I want music when I ride, so I wear earbuds with the music at a very reasonable level. I know this is not helping my tinnitus, but I am not willing to give up my music. Every couple of hrs, I turn off the music and use the buds as ear plugs.

    One thing I learned recently is that even constant exposure to volume noise causes damage...something I never even thought about. I never tired the swimming plugs and will look into that.

    nwpa, I'm almost 56....I put off the garden hose thing as long as I thought prudent. Yes, I hope some of the younger riders read this and stick some plugs in their ears when riding because being from the South I do love Cicadas....listening to them 24/7...well...not so much:nah.
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  10. nwpa

    nwpa Generally amused

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  11. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    from earplugsonline:


    { Snoring Blocked-Out - " You Truly Have Saved My Marriage" }
    " I am a newlywed, and my husband snores horribly.. I’ve tried everthing to block out his snoring so I could sleep in the same room. I’ve tried a noise machine, nose strips for him, sleeping medication for me and a endless variety of over-the-counter earplugs that never fit, never block out sound and are terribly irritating to wear. Nothing worked & every morning I would wake up in the spare bed- room. I can’t tell you enough, how happy I am with the World’s Finest Ear Plugs. I am pleased to say that I no longer hear him. You truly have saved my marriage. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you "
    Mendy Adams - USA


    That there is funny........but this one is really confusing.........:
    { 2013 Happy New Year Wish From India’s Fine Medical Oncologist }
    " I am a loyal customer of yours, use your ear plugs every single day and carry them with me all the time, as I have severe tinnitus. I wish you all a very happy new year 2013! Best wishes "
    Dr. Lalit Varadpande - Queen’s NRI hospital - India - January 1, 2013

    ...since you can't block Tinnitus....well ok, with enough Patron, anything is possible
    #11
  12. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I started having problems in grade school, and friends using fireworks inside the car, loud rock concerts, getting hit in the ear with a thrown dirt clod did not help.

    I have nothing above about 3000 Hz because there is a +10db 3000 Hz tone in my head all the time.

    I have been riding since 14, 55 now, and it does not seem to get worse from riding, so I do not wear ear plugs.
    They bother me, and I tend to pick up on traffic by sound as well as sight.

    I accept the hearing loss, the not so good eye sight, the joint pain, brittle bones, dull brain, and all those other age related issues as part of getting old.
    #12
  13. MT Wallet

    MT Wallet Long timer

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    I've had tinnitus since my teens. I worked in an aluminum Mill for 2 summers. Gunshots mixed in with concerts and no effective ear protection in the 60's wrecked my hearing and gave me that herd of ciccadas I hear. Sometimes the pitch and intensity changes. I started using E.A.R. plugs in the 70's but even then after a ride of any distance it left me with more buzzing. So yeah, I blame riding and everything else. Just remember loud pipes save lives:lol3 If you can hear them. Sarcasm intended.
    #13
  14. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer

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    I just heard Bose has come out with Active noise canceling earbuds. The may be ground changing.
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  15. KoolBreeze

    KoolBreeze Been here awhile

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    as an individual that basically has the opposite history and experience I feel my input might be somewhat beneficial...

    having recently started riding I find it incredible that anybody with substantial riding without hearing protection wouldn't have issues such as tinnitus. I tried finding relatively quiet helmets such as the shoei qwest and rpha max but they are still too noisy to ride frequently without fear of suffering hearing problems. at my age... no thanks. so I wear low db ear plugs in conjunction with the helmets. next up... schuberth c3 pro. I expect the science involved in helmet design in relation to sound protection will continue to improve in some way similar to impact protection. (I would expect a new helmet to be substantially better in this regard to one 30 years ago)

    but it could've been a different story. I could easily have been riding for many more years now... and can't say I would've worn ear plugs. that and helmets not being as noise conscious I know my hearing would now be not what I take for granted.

    in some strange way I appreciate the "sacrifices" of those who have gone before me... and hope medical science, procedures and care can continue to help those suffering hearing problems. sure it's not like I'm a coal miner and we're talking about black lung, but those warnings not being heeded can now be substantiated and threads like this to keep the rest of us a bit more in line for future proof planning.

    :ear:freaky
    #15
  16. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    I had tinnitus long before I started riding
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  17. KoolBreeze

    KoolBreeze Been here awhile

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    always good to see people spreading the word on the technology.

    for instance, Etymotic. here's a link to an example of some noise-isolating tech: http://www.etymotic.com/awareness/index.html


    along with the new technology in medical science, helmet design and sound protection/noise isolation I feel one of the best "new" technologies available is the advent of the INTERNET. we now can discuss such things and spread the word much easier than 20 years ago.

    I always get a kick out of the old farts (and younger ones) online here and elsewhere that wouldn't be sharing such things with the MASSES as is now happening. :deal

    back in the day you might've read an article but the bottom line is few people would get beyond meeting with their buds and skipping the hearing protection. if none of your friends is bothering to wear it... you're probably not going to either. now though things are different. sort of like wearing helmets and pads when skateboarding. or helmets when riding a bicycle. times change and it's becoming more acceptable to pull your head of your ass and do the right thing and I believe the internet actually has helped with this in some manner.

    like the OP's link to tinnitus info.
    #17
  18. MikeJansen

    MikeJansen Lost

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    3 years ago I had a medical for work and had almost no tinnitus. A bit of softness in my right year but no constant ringing. Now however, I have moderate tinnitus.

    I blame riding at high speed for 30 minutes a day on a DL650 with a noisy screen without ear protection. My commute takes place almost exclusively north of 50mph in the morning and about 60% above those speeds in the afternoon.

    I now wear a variety of disposable ear plugs or my Shure SE215s

    As for power tool usage during that time, all I have is a 3/8th drill and a dremel so I don't think that is the issue.

    Mike
    #18
  19. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    KB, yes the 'net sure has been a game changer. I know there are new riders and young riders reading here and on other forums. At this point in time my tin is at a level that I can deal with, but I don't know what the future holds. Looking back I damn sure would have ear plugs way more than I did. Having the opportunity to choose is different than ignorant bliss. We as riders all take above average calculated risks which we accept. When you really think about permanent hearing damage/loss, none us us would choose that and at least would use minimum protection if we could rewind the past.

    When I did start wearing them on long trips I found that I could hear the important stuff better because that droning wind noise is effectively removed. I can hear the engine, tire noise, other cars, horns etc better with plugs in.
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  20. Motor7

    Motor7 Been here awhile

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    I definitely think riding without plugs is a contributing factor. But I have some many other factors it is a wonder I can hear at all. I used to build decks and wood fences on the side for 20 years or so. Thousands of nails shot through a large Senco Framer sure didn't help my ears or my elbows.......sheesh I guess I really am falling apart:kboom
    #20