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Old July 9, 2016, 05:20 PM   #1
12Pump
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Experiences with hearing loss.

I just thought I'd share my experiences with folks here in case they might find it interesting.

I've had a loud ringing in my right ear for about a month and a half now. How did it start? Well, one day I came home and was taking my wallet out of my pocket when I realized I had just forgotten to do something really important while I was out. My anger mounted and I slammed my wallet down on a counter really hard and it made a surprisingly loud "bang" and it made my right ear start ringing, and it's been doing that ever since. I decided to make an appointment with an audiologist to check my hearing because I was getting really concerned and hoped something could be done. What they found was that the upper level (higher pitched) sounds were mostly unhearable by me--with equal loss in both ears. I mentioned that it might have something to do with age since I'm 45. They answered that even at 45, it's not normal, but maybe at about 70. They didn't seem to have an answer about the loud ringing in my right ear and whether or not it will ever go away. They just gave me advice about maybe running a fan next to my bed when I sleep. But it's not just when I try to sleep that I hear it. It's all the time--even when there's plenty of ambient noise.

You're probably wondering if I do any shooting. I do very, very little now. I haven't done more than maybe 50 rounds a year from all calibers lately, as in the past 15 years (mostly .22 to ward off noisy birds), and use muffs when shooting 12ga, .223, or 9mm. However, when I was in my 20s, I would sometimes shoot off a few rounds from a 9mm or 12ga. so I'd know what to expect if shooting unprotected in a self defense situation. People told me not to do that. But then again, other people have told me that they shoot unprotected all the time on a regular basis with no ill effects. So I figured shooting a few shots unprotected once in a great while couldn't hurt too much. I especially was impressed with a certain police officer who would watch us shooting in a small indoor range under a police station where a local gun club I belonged to was allowed to shoot. He never wore hearing protection and wouldn't even plug his ears with his fingers! I asked him how he could stand the noise, and he always said it wasn't that bad. He didn't seem to have a problem with his hearing either. We shot mostly .22 pistols there, but one time a guy started shooting a .357 and then the officer finally plugged his ears! I'm surprised it took that to make him understand what loud noise is.

Well, I don't know what caused my high-end hearing loss, or if this ringing in my right ear from my wallet slam-down will ever go away, but I find it quite ironic that slamming a wallet down on a counter could accomplish what a 9mm or 12 ga. didn't.
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Last edited by 12Pump; July 9, 2016 at 05:26 PM.
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Old July 9, 2016, 05:29 PM   #2
gspn
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If you can slam a wallet down hard enough to cause permanent hearing loss I have two suggestions:

A - immediately start entering arm wrestling competitions, and

B - maybe check into some anger management sessions



I've got some constant high pitched ringing in both ears. It's not too bad most of the time, but I can hear it anytime I'm in a really quiet space. Sometimes I'll get a bout of the louder ringing that starts very suddenly. It sticks around for a while, but mine always goes away.

Hope yours does too.
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Old July 9, 2016, 06:58 PM   #3
acdodd
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I have sever hearing loss.
High frequency is completely gone.
Also have tinnitus in both ears.
Protect your hearing at all times and do not shoot unprotected.
If you want to know what it's like put in ear plugs and wear them all the time.
I miss most conversations, TV shows, the radio and the phone .
I didn't hear most anything my Mom or MIL said for the last 5 or 6 years they were alive.
Just nod and smile.
Once your hearing is gone it will not come back.
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Old July 9, 2016, 07:10 PM   #4
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Not sure what frequency/age - but someone over 55 not hearing 15Kz and above is fairly common.

I have shot occasionally in my youth .22LR and .410, no protection. But since then, it's been plugs and muffs. Doing OK, for a rock fan. Seriously, I'm not so bad, but sometimes when I mow, even with a Honda, my ears ring. I'm going to start wearing plugs at least when I mow/edge.
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Old July 9, 2016, 07:23 PM   #5
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hearing damage is cumulative

And many of us grew up in an age of ignorance/hard rock/fireworks/jet blasts and shooting sports. Tinnitus is pretty common among 60 somethings, but usually creeps in over time.

All I can suggest is to protect what you have left. Electronic muffs are my constant companions when I'm outdoors or in noisy environments.
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Old July 9, 2016, 08:57 PM   #6
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When I was a kid, I was out on our deck reading a book.
All of a sudden, the door flys open and out pops my dad with an AK and empties a magazine into the target that is always up. He didn't know I was out there....
I've had tinnitus ever since!
Even a particularly sharp hand clap will make both my ears hurt.
Audiologist said that my hearing isn't that dull, but I've lost some of the higher tones, and that freakin ringing is constant, and sure makes it tough to pick out a conversation in a crowd.
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Old July 9, 2016, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironicaintit View Post
When I was a kid, I was out on our deck reading a book.
All of a sudden, the door flys open and out pops my dad with an AK and empties a magazine.......
Mental image!
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Old July 9, 2016, 09:10 PM   #8
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Mental image!
Tell me about it! I'll never forget.

Ah, the beauty of living in the woods with no other houses in sight
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Old July 9, 2016, 09:19 PM   #9
Kevin5098
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I'm 62 and have severe tinnitus, nor can I hear much above 3.5 kHz. This is probably due to not wearing hearing protection when I was younger. Accumulated effects of shooting, motorcycling, military service (armored personnel carriers, helicopters), etc.
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Old July 9, 2016, 09:30 PM   #10
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Tinnitus is a 10% disability rating if it's service connected.
$128 a month I think.
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Old July 9, 2016, 10:43 PM   #11
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I have severe hearing loss in both ears. The VA gives me new hearing aids every 4 to 5 years, I'm now on my 4th pr. of aids. These new ones are pretty darn close to natural hearing.
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:00 PM   #12
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Tinnitus is the worst. Worse than hearing loss IMO. If I could have three things back in life they'd be hearing without 24/7 ringing, my hair, and my post-basic training BMI- in that order.
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:28 PM   #13
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Get a 2nd opinion.

When younger I NEVER wore hearing protection. As part of my job from age 23-53 I was required to get a complete physical every year including hearing tests. I taught school and coached. As a coach I had to get the physical to drive a school bus. At about age 30 they noticed I had a slight loss of hearing only in my left ear, the one closest to muzzle blast for a right handed shooter. My right ear was near perfect. It was mostly high pitched sounds not normally encountered and wasn't really noticeable, but that is when I started wearing hearing protection.

I got my last job related physical before retiring at age 53 with no changes since age 30, I'm 58 now. About 2 years later at age 55 I went to bed one night with near perfect hearing but woke up with total hearing loss in my right ear. At first there was no ringing, just silence. They suspected a tumor, but 2 different MRI's ruled that out.

DR's tell me this is somewhat rare, but not unheard of and there haven't been enough cases to study to determine the exact cause. Their best guess is that a tiny artery leading to the auditory nerve either became clogged or burst reducing blood supply to the nerve. It can also be from a bacterial infection. In my case neither gunfire nor any loud noise was the cause. I've since met 3 other people with almost identical problems, so it does happen. Two of them I've known for years and they had the same issues and I never knew it.

I took 2 rounds of steroids in the hopes of regenerating growth in the inner ear. It did make a difference. Some of the hearing did return to my right ear (about 15-20% of normal) after a few months, but it also brought the ringing. I haven't been re-checked in about 2 years but either the ear has continued to improve or I've gotten better at reading lips.

Today I don't really notice the ringing unless I think about it. Because one ear is very good I actually hear most sounds as good as anyone, but in noisy environments I struggle to understand conversation. In a quiet room I hear just fine. With only 1 good ear locating which direction sound is coming from is a real challenge. I can still deer hunt, but locating which direction to turn when I hear a turkey gobble is interesting.
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
...I find it quite ironic that slamming a wallet down on a counter could accomplish what a 9mm or 12 ga. didn't.
Hearing loss is cumulative. The damage that you've done over the years was the main cause of your hearing loss. The loud noise from the wallet was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Your brain compensates for hearing loss very well--right up until the point that it can't. That makes it seem that hearing loss comes on very abruptly but that's not really what happens.
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Experiences with hearing loss.
Huh?

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Old July 10, 2016, 09:07 AM   #16
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Besides shooting, I've been working around diesel engines in noisy repair shops for over 35 years now and while discerning conversation in a noisy environment has been problematic for quite some time, just hearing the conversation has become more of a challenge lately. I'm forever asking folks to speak up or repeat what they just said. Last CDL physical 2yrs ago had my hearing still OK but I'm guessing it may be time to get checked again.
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Old July 10, 2016, 10:05 AM   #17
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I'm 45 and have very good hearing with no noticeable tinnitus. It was even better before I started listening to headphones at work to drown out a loud coworker; that made a noticeable difference, and I stopped as soon as I realized I was damaging my hearing.

I always use hearing protection when shooting even .22LR, and usually double up (plugs and muffs) when shooting centerfire. It makes a difference.
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Old July 10, 2016, 07:22 PM   #18
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Trust me, hearing loss is a lot worse than tinnitus. I'm on my forth pair of aids too and they keep getting better, but they have some downsides like trying to hear in a crowd when everyone is talking. The plus side to hearing loss is you can enjoy the quiet anytime you want to. Negatives are not being able to hear the alarm clock or fire alarm.
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Old July 10, 2016, 08:31 PM   #19
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I have the ringing in my ears but the continued progressive hearing loss is definitely worse than the ringing.
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Old July 11, 2016, 10:41 AM   #20
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Hearing loss usually is so gradual that most people don't notice it until your wife starts telling you to turn down the television or radio. My hearing loss was from 20 years in the army being exposed to loud equipment and gunfire on the firing range. I've had hearing aids for quite a while now but I religiously use ear muffs when I shoot, I want to keep what hearing I have left. Hearing aids are just that "aids" they are not new ears. I have problems in crowds hearing one individual talk, the background noise drowns out the person I want to hear. If you shoot use hearing protection.
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Old July 11, 2016, 11:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
I slammed my wallet down on a counter really hard and it made a surprisingly loud "bang" and it made my right ear start ringing
Wow. I have never before heard of something that low in decibel rating cause ringing in the ears and permanent hearing loss.

Although I know hearing loss is cumulative, it seems that older folks complain about it more. My point is hearing loss and tinnitus are often a factor of age. Many will complain that their recently discovered tinnitus or hearing loss was probably caused by what they did decades earlier. I am not sure I buy that. They were not noticing it back in their twenties, but now in their fifties they blame it on way back when. I know that happens because I also say those things. But deep down inside I know that my tinnitus has been getting worse regardless of anything else, except my age. Now if some researcher shows data to suggest that tinnitus can have a delayed onset, then I might start listening! (pun intended) And I believe some day that might be determined, if not already. Severe sunburn causing skin cancer has been shown to act that way for some.

Quote:
People told me not to do that. But then again, other people have told me that they shoot unprotected all the time on a regular basis.
Everyone is different. My advice? Do NOT EVER base your luck on someone else's. I now double up on protection just to be sure I keep what I have as long as I can. But somehow I know that aging is quite possibly having the most impact on my hearing loss.
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Old July 11, 2016, 03:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by gspn View Post
If you can slam a wallet down hard enough to cause permanent hearing loss I have two suggestions:

A - immediately start entering arm wrestling competitions, and

B - maybe check into some anger management sessions

Well, I know it sounds strange, but it happened. It makes me wonder if the part of my hearing that got damaged from it was about "ready to go" anyway. I've heard of that before. It seems that when a person is sensitive to certain sounds, and then their exposed to those sounds repeatedly, they become "accustomed" to those sounds after awhile--meaning they lost that part of their hearing. I think it happened to my brother. He started working as a dishwasher and was sensitive to plates being banged together all the time and wanted to wear earplugs at work, but his boss wouldn't let him. After awhile of having to endure the noise unprotected, my brother said he eventually "got used to it". I wonder what the results would be if he took a hearing test now.
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Old July 11, 2016, 09:07 PM   #23
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> If you want to know what it's like put in ear plugs
> and wear them all the time.

People mumble at you and treat you like a retard when you tell them to speak in English.
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Old July 11, 2016, 10:41 PM   #24
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I have a 40% loss, give or take, and was born that way. As others have said, the hearing aids are getting better. The newer ones adjust for volume and for programmable settings. I have a normal, woods walking, music/symphony and one other setting that I cannot recall. The newer ones also have bluetooth capability allowing one to watch tv in total silence, except for in my ears. When open, they function really well as earplugs, but I always wear muffs over them when I shoot.
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Old July 12, 2016, 10:34 AM   #25
natman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12Pump View Post
However, when I was in my 20s, I would sometimes shoot off a few rounds from a 9mm or 12ga. so I'd know what to expect if shooting unprotected in a self defense situation. People told me not to do that.
People were right.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 12Pump View Post
But then again, other people have told me that they shoot unprotected all the time on a regular basis with no ill effects.
They just haven't noticed the effects. Yet. Just like you used to not notice them.

The wallet slamming didn't cause your tinnitus, it just triggered it. Once it starts it doesn't want to go away. Once it starts you'll get religion and wear hearing protection whenever you shoot, but it's too late then.

Wear hearing protection. All the time.
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