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View Full Version : Hearing Problems, now what?



Larry Willis
02-11-2009, 07:11 PM
I'll bet there are quite a few shooters on this forum that have developed hearing problems. Quite often it's due to hearing loud noises (like gunfire) but not always. My doctor (ENT specialist) recently diagnosed the constant ringing in my ears as tinnitus, and yes I've always worn hearing protection.

The bad news is that my doctor told me "More than likely it's a life-long thing, just try to live with it". It doesn't help much to Google this, because like every other ailment, there are a jillion scams out there that don't work for anyone. I figured this might be one of the best places to hear from a large number of ol' geezers (like me) that are also dealing with this problem. If anyone knows of something that works, I'm all ears .....

- Innovative

Wildcatter
02-11-2009, 07:14 PM
I'll bet there are quite a few shooters on this forum that have developed hearing problems. Quite often it's due to hearing loud noises (like gunfire) but not always. My doctor (ENT specialist) recently diagnosed the constant ringing in my ears as tinnitus, and yes I've always worn hearing protection.

The bad news is that my doctor told me "More than likely it's a life-long thing, just try to live with it". It doesn't help much to Google this, because like every other ailment, there are a jillion scams out there that don't work for anyone. I figured this might be one of the best places to hear from a large number of ol' geezers (like me) that are also dealing with this problem. If anyone knows of something that works, I'm all ears .....

- Innovative
I always wear plugs and muffs. And I never wear those electronic muff things.When I'm shooting, I don't want to hear.

Dew
02-11-2009, 07:16 PM
I've got the same problem and have had it for years. You can't cure it and I now also have to wear hearing aids. $5,600 worth and they only help a bit.
At night if you have trouble going to sleep just put on some kind of noise (TV Radio etc. or even a fan) and you might be able to mask the ringing enough to go to sleep.

Dew

kgcoker
02-11-2009, 07:40 PM
The M-14 forum has a great "Sticky" on this subject.

I have had the problem about 35 years now. When I was in the Army (1956) we did not know about hearing protection- then I flew airplanes for several thousand hours - continued to shoot competively and raced. All these things are hard on the ears.

Started wearing hearing protection too late in the game.

Unfortunately once the damage is done it is not reversible.

I have some of those $6,000 hearing aids (3rd set). Don't wear them Don't like what I hear.

KG

realm-aw
02-11-2009, 09:36 PM
firecrackers and firearms did me in 40 years ago. It is critical that experienced shooters be ready to help newcomers at the range. I always carry extra packs of foam insert earplugs (NRR 32) in two sizes. I give them to youngsters who are generally receptive. Age 9 is when hearing peaks and damage potential is at the highest.

Boyd Allen
02-11-2009, 11:35 PM
Mine has gotten better, over a long time. Stay away from diet sodas. When I drink too much diet Pepsi it makes mine worse. Try 100mg of magnesium a day. There was a study of army recruits and those that took it had fewer noise related hearing problems. A fan helps mask the noise in a quiet room. Here is some info on magnesium.
http://healthlink.mcw.edu/article/965927519.html
Let us know if anything helps. I use 33db foam plugs and shotgun muffs.

speedpro
02-12-2009, 02:52 AM
forgot to reinsert my plugs in a enclosed area with cement walls and a 7 ft., ceiling 10mm auto :eek::confused::o:(:mad: you guy's hear those Winter Crickets chirping :confused::( loudest report I've ever heard in my life, gave me a stuffy head for 2 day's but still hear those "crickets" chirping.

Travelor
02-12-2009, 05:52 AM
It varies from a temporary to permanent on and off ringing, to a constant tone (my symptom), to a cricket-like chirping (the worst!).

I have found that once it becomes constant, although it can get worse, it never seems to get better. Hearing aids have helped me a lot as I get a more constant noise in my ears which masks the tinnitus. At night I use a sound machine that helps a lot.

The worst situation to be in with tinnitus is complete silence! Tinnitus then really gets distracting.

BTW, if you acquired a high frequency hearing loss while in the military (usually associated with exposure to LOUD noises such as aircraft and guns) and it is documented in your Service Medical Records (good hearing at entrance and worsened hearing at discharge), the VA should establish service connection for a hearing loss condition. Tinnitus is associated with this type of noise exposure and the VA should recognize and compensate (10 percent) you for this condition. As far as I know there is not test for tinnitus and the VA relies on the veteran's complaints of it for a diagnosis.

I am a retired VA Rating Specialist who trained other Rating Specialists and know what I am writing about.

George

crb
02-12-2009, 06:23 AM
A firecracker with an "OH $%^&" instantaneous fuse was the thing that got me. I have learned to ignore it.

Pokerplayer
02-12-2009, 06:44 AM
Same story here guns, M/C, airplanes, dragsters, boats. If it's fun, it is part of price you pay. My hearing aid guy says some meds can cause or make the crickets (ringing) worse. A 18" 17 rem got my left ear and I wasn't close. I now wear WIDEX hearing aids all my waking hours they are in the ear type, suitable as hearing protection in the power houses where I work, they limit back ground to 85db and raise human voice freq. ranges, I shoot rimfire with them alone and electrnic muffs over them with center fire. I have had them for over a year, so comfortable I have gone to bed with them in, and then take them out, have forgotten and worn them into the shower (don't do this). The hearing aid guy says that technology in this field is advancing rapidly. When I watched tv before I had to set the volume on 33 and my wife and mother only needed it to be set on 21, I can here it fine on 13 now. They adjust automaticaly to your ambient conditions, so 21 is ok for me also. Because I hear so much better the crickets are not near the problem they were, I have to stop and listen to see if they are still there, other sounds mask them.

.25shooter
02-12-2009, 08:16 AM
Litterally thousands of shotgun shells and hunting sea birds from diesel boats with loud engines have taken the best of my hearing. Plus a 25-06 from a shooting buddy shot in line with my ear Ouch ! Cant quite figure out now why I came to the conclution at younger age that I needed ear muffs for shooting skeet or rifles at the renge but didnt need them shooting birds out at sea or game. Oh well too late for that line of thought now. Having conversation in a crowded bar or other places where there is a lot of background noice is very diffycult, but the beer tastes the same weather I talk or shut up. My wife claims I have what she calls "selective hearing" and I have to admit that she got a point and it does have its advantage :D

BA

Larry Willis
02-12-2009, 08:43 AM
I've read ALL of the suggestions and searched the recommended links. This information has confirmed a few things that might help.

kgcoker .........
"Stinky" on the M14 Forum (the ear surgeon) is a world of knowledge on this subject. He answers questions in detail and he's a great resource for information on this subject.

Boyd Allen .........
I've often heard that coffee, soda and chocolate are bad for tinnitus (oh boy . . . . I'm screwed). I've strongly suspected that I may need magnesium for other problems. I'm definitely going to try it now.

I've always been careful to avoid loud noises. When I go to the range, I don't even get out of the car without wearing my ear-muffs. Loud power tools are also damaging. An old friend of mine once said to check with old geezers, and you'll find people that know how to deal with pain. Keep the ideas coming on this subject.

- Innovative

tenring
02-12-2009, 06:24 PM
Back in the 50's I bought my first rifle, a Sako .270 sporter and eventually put 7K rounds thru it. Back then I could not afford hearing muffs, so I stuck cotton in my ears. Big mistake. Hearing deficiency runs in my family. Four years ago, I spent about $3,300 for a pair of behind the ear hearing aids. They help some, but are a PIA when I shoot in matches. My electronic muffs don't fit well over the aids, so I remove the hearing aids, switch to muffs to shoot; after cease fire, reverse the process, etc. thru the entire match. I always tell the match director I have hearing problems, and usually someone will tap me on the shoulder with 30 seconds remaining. I have noticed that since I started wearing both hearing aids thru the day, the tinnitus does not bother me as much at night, but it does not disappear completely.

Big Al
02-12-2009, 07:54 PM
This won't be the first time in my life that I've broken from the herd on a subject, and this will be no different, again. There is much information about the subject on the net as has been stated above, there is also a drug that has had a side effect in a large number of cases that is prescribed for another condition that has had the side effect of controlling tennitius.

Now where I'm going to throw the curve ball. My tinnitus didn't start until years after a lot of exposure to high levels of sound levels above the 90db range. My wife's tennitius didn't start until she was setting in a chair next to me 10 years ago when a cardiologist told us I could drop dead at any moment.

What I have observed is a psychological component to this malady. I offer this as a suggestion, search out information about the drug that is used to effect the tennitius, find a doctor that will prescribe this drug. No I don't use it, but have a vary good friend that does use it and has had much success with it.

Jay, Idaho
02-12-2009, 07:59 PM
My daughter-in-law teaches Audiology at a University. I got a good deal on a pair (my first) of Oticon hearing aids. These are the type that has a small, clear tube that goes from the over-the-ear unit down into the ear canal. The little thing at the tip has several small holes in it. I think that is a real important feature in hearing aids. The holes allow you to hear your own voice just like you hear it w/o the aids. It is my opinion, that a lot of folks abandon hearing aids because they block out normal sounds. Kind of like talking while having your fingers stuck in your ears.
Mine are totally automatic, programmed to match my range of hearing losses.
D in L is now trying to get me to try some new ones that are integrated with your cell phone and/or Blue tooth, iPod, etc. but I'm not much into that stuff so I'm holding out at this time.
I've very glad that I got the hearing aids (about 3 1/2 years ago).

Jay, Idaho

JonE
02-12-2009, 08:39 PM
Right on about VA, they blamed it on being in Tanks, but they were more of a boom, what hurt was the 50 bmg or I even worse a 45 acp in enclosed quarters. The 10% disability is not what helps most, its getting top quality hearing aids without having to mortgage the house pay for them.
Recently read in a Dr. Gott artical that "Lipo-Flavoniod" will help some people with tinnitus. I have tried it but next time I go to the health food store I will pick up some and try it

Larry Willis
02-13-2009, 08:36 AM
My hearing is actually quite good. However, one night while watching TV, I thought the high voltage transformer must be going bad in the set, because I heard a very high pitch ringing sound. When I turned off the TV the noise was still there . . . . oh boy . . . . that can't be good. The ringing is still there today.

This ringing is mainly in my left ear, and it's extremely loud. In fact, it's so loud that it's hard to tell if it's also in my right ear. (There's no sound of crickets chirping yet.) I recently had my hearing tested, and I only missed one tone on the test. Doctor sait that's pretty good, but the tinnitus is something that will probably last forever. It's hard to imagine that this is something we just have to live with.

I've tried having a fan on for background noise, and it doesn't help much. If anyone finds any good ideas or medications please let me know. If I find something I'll post in on my website, on this forum and everywhere I can find.

- Innovative

brian roberts
02-14-2009, 11:05 PM
Laser Therapy, it has some basis, although the two sites I checked, one mentioned it, but did not have any clinical data showing accredited research on it; However, this does not mean a more in-depth search by others on this board will not find any research on the subject. Two sites were: www.drshoshany.com click on: Laser therapy

And, www.healiohealth.com/LOW-LEVEL-LASER-DATA.pdf where you'll find other synopses of research papers on other conditions from around the world. You will find that this last site also sells tons of equipment, but I'd have to be more knowledgeable before I made any purchases.

NO I DO NOT HAVE ANY, REPEAT ANY, TIES TO THE SALE OR USE OF ANY PHOTONIC-THERAPY MACHINES!
However, I do have two friends who have had the therapy (not for tinnitis) performed by Chiropractors, w/good results for TMJ, lower back pain, & circulatory issues. They both were pleased w/the results. Hope this may help someone.;)

mike in co
02-14-2009, 11:29 PM
It varies from a temporary to permanent on and off ringing, to a constant tone (my symptom), to a cricket-like chirping (the worst!).

I have found that once it becomes constant, although it can get worse, it never seems to get better. Hearing aids have helped me a lot as I get a more constant noise in my ears which masks the tinnitus. At night I use a sound machine that helps a lot.

The worst situation to be in with tinnitus is complete silence! Tinnitus then really gets distracting.

BTW, if you acquired a high frequency hearing loss while in the military (usually associated with exposure to LOUD noises such as aircraft and guns) and it is documented in your Service Medical Records (good hearing at entrance and worsened hearing at discharge), the VA should establish service connection for a hearing loss condition. Tinnitus is associated with this type of noise exposure and the VA should recognize and compensate (10 percent) you for this condition. As far as I know there is not test for tinnitus and the VA relies on the veteran's complaints of it for a diagnosis.

I am a retired VA Rating Specialist who trained other Rating Specialists and know what I am writing about.

George

george,
thanks...i have just started using my va benefits( high blood pressure) and have had tinnitus from working around high speed machinary for years....14,000 rpm ac compressors and such. they did document a loss of hearing....lol after i bought a nice stereo..and everyone one complained about how hi i had it...to hear it.

mike in co

Mountain Mike
02-15-2009, 03:56 AM
Larry,

Unfortunately, you will have to learn to live with it. I did my ears in 42 years ago with a 357 revolver shot out the offside window of a pickup truck (1 round). Have had ringing ears since.