What helps manage hyperacusis during dental procedures?

Posted by cudabinacontenda @cudabinacontenda, Sep 4 8:24am

I’m about to go to the dentist for the first time since my acoustic trauma. Are earplugs helpful or a bad idea for managing hyperacusis during dental procedures? You’re all so helpful, and I could really benefit from your knowledge, experience and advice. I’m pretty nervous about this.

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@cudabinacontenda

Hi,

I wear hearing aids and don’t need earplugs. However, in the past, for any prolonged procedures like drilling or being fitted for crowns I have removed the aid from that side or my tinnitus would rear up. I lower the volume for cleaning. So yes, I would recommend looking for earplugs and let the dentist or technician know you won’t be able to hear them too well. Perhaps someone here can recommend good earplugs. Don’t be nervous and I hope they help. Explain to the dentist your concern….they have heard it all before.

FL Mary

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PLEASE; Tell them up front, I didn't and paid the price! Same with mri, had many with NO hearing protection over the years…. we must speak up if they do not ask….. J.

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I had to self advocate at the dentist after my CI surgery and ensuing hyperacusis. Matter of fact, they let me wait in the car till the dentist is ready for me and call me to come in bc the noise and visual stimuli are all too overwhelming for me now. They also let me use a room in the front of the office that is more private and isolated with less distractions. And only because i forced myself to speak up. And yes i put in an earplug. It doesn’t seem to stop the hygienist from talking to me but nonetheless, i tell her I can’t hear a word she’s saying. It’s been hard, but I’m making progress navigating this “new way” to live. You got this. Wear the plugs:)

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@lsammartino

I had to self advocate at the dentist after my CI surgery and ensuing hyperacusis. Matter of fact, they let me wait in the car till the dentist is ready for me and call me to come in bc the noise and visual stimuli are all too overwhelming for me now. They also let me use a room in the front of the office that is more private and isolated with less distractions. And only because i forced myself to speak up. And yes i put in an earplug. It doesn’t seem to stop the hygienist from talking to me but nonetheless, i tell her I can’t hear a word she’s saying. It’s been hard, but I’m making progress navigating this “new way” to live. You got this. Wear the plugs:)

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Thanks for the responses, all! @Isammartino, you put in just one earplug? If I understand the literature correctly, wearing only one plug won’t stop the eardrum in the plugged ear from responding to sound in the unprotected ear. But plugging both ears exacerbates the occlusion effect. My major concern is that the piercing sounds of dental instruments in combination with the occlusion effect can further damage my hearing.

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@cudabinacontenda

Thanks for the responses, all! @Isammartino, you put in just one earplug? If I understand the literature correctly, wearing only one plug won’t stop the eardrum in the plugged ear from responding to sound in the unprotected ear. But plugging both ears exacerbates the occlusion effect. My major concern is that the piercing sounds of dental instruments in combination with the occlusion effect can further damage my hearing.

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Maybe i should try 2 earplugs. I’ve only used one on my normal ear. I figured my deaf side ear wouldn’t need a plug. But now you have me curious… my hearing coach always tells me to experiment. Try and see what works for me. Since we’re all individuals and nothing is one size fits all when it comes to what works for hearing comfort…. I try to see all new experiences as adventures. If i can be curious instead of anxious, i find it’s a way better mindset for me. So thanks for helping me be curious now about using 2 ear plugs instead of one. I guess I have another new adventure to look forward to in my future.

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I find it most helpful for the dentist to drill for a few seconds then just stop for a millisecond then continue drilling for a few seconds and so on. It helps enormously to reduce the noise briefly. It’s a though all the hair cells in the ear relax for that millisecond so a build up of noise upon noise is reduced. Gotta train the dentist though. Some are more trainable than others!

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I use foam ear plugs for their flexibility to conform easily to the shape of the ear canal as the mouth opens or closes. On top of that I use a professional grade of ear muffs which the dentist says doesn’t bother him.

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…just now wondering if,overall, dentists can get ear 'issues' from listening to the sound of the drill most of their days? dental noises for me I can even her the vibrations inside my head, regardless of earplugs 🙁

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True noise generated through bone conduction can't be blocked.

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@lacy2

…just now wondering if,overall, dentists can get ear 'issues' from listening to the sound of the drill most of their days? dental noises for me I can even her the vibrations inside my head, regardless of earplugs 🙁

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Sometimes that those of us with hyperacusis forget that the noise we are hearing isn’t as loud in reality. It’s just that as a result of out hyperacusis the noise APPEARS to be a lot louder than in fact it is to a normal ear. This begs the question of are we safe in terms of avoiding further damage with the louder sounding noise, or because of the noise level that we hear being louder to only our ears, are we therefore safe from further damage. Does anyone know the answer? I am sure a number of us would benefit from knowing.

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@lacy2

…just now wondering if,overall, dentists can get ear 'issues' from listening to the sound of the drill most of their days? dental noises for me I can even her the vibrations inside my head, regardless of earplugs 🙁

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I cannot site it, but I do recall there being some statistics about dentists having a higher incidence of hearing loss than others. This was quite some time ago. It was suggested that the dentists use ear plugs.

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@willows

Sometimes that those of us with hyperacusis forget that the noise we are hearing isn’t as loud in reality. It’s just that as a result of out hyperacusis the noise APPEARS to be a lot louder than in fact it is to a normal ear. This begs the question of are we safe in terms of avoiding further damage with the louder sounding noise, or because of the noise level that we hear being louder to only our ears, are we therefore safe from further damage. Does anyone know the answer? I am sure a number of us would benefit from knowing.

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Your question is a good one. I’d like to know the answer, especially walking down a street w/ leaf blowers, sirens, trucks etc. Maybe someone knows the answer?

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