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I almost lost my hearing from the lid on the tank of a toilet (threadreaderapp.com)
918 points by shawndumas on March 31, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 390 comments



My hearing was ACTUALLY permanently damaged when a sticky iron weight fell on a leg press machine at a 24-hour fitness about 5 years ago.

The weights looked like these: http://www.presentationzen.com/.a/6a00d83451b64669e201156eb4...

One extra weight slab was "stuck" to the group that was supposed to get lifted. It was stuck because the weights at the gym were grimy from many years of use without being cleaned. The extra slab, when it reached the top, finally detached and slid down maybe 20-30 inches, and made a sound that everyone in the gym heard, but right next to my ear. A few people even made angry faces at me for being a noisy lifter.

Ever since then, to this day, I have had tinnitus in that ear, and many sounds come in like "static", for lack of a better explanation.

All I can say is be careful with those weights if they get sticky, and if they are near your ear...


It may recover with time.

When I was a teen I dismantled a shotgun cartridge and removed the shot and paper charge (lots of tiny paper discs). I stuffed them down the thick end of a car telescopic antenna cut to about 4” with the end folded over. I threw in a couple of pieces of lead shot, tamped it down with a piece of paper, stuck the tube under a rock and set up a paper target 6” away. I was optimistic.

Then, with a friend, held a lighter under the closed end. Fortunately I was to the side. Predictably it fired out the back... it was very loud.

Possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. It could have gone wrong is so many way. The adolescent brain is a strange thing.

The ringing lasted a few years but went away.


I'm 42 years old and spent much of my teens and early 20s going to loud rock shows, raves, etc.

I was rather stupid and always tried to get right up to the PA speakers at the front. I did not wear hearing protection. Many times I left shows with ringing for hours and that feeling like there is cotton stuffed in your ears for days. Not a handle of times - dozens of times.

By my mid 20s it appeared I had tinnitus around the 8k area, which really freaked me out and immediately caused me to change my habits. Also around this time I got into headphone audio in a big way. I got an SPL meter and made sure to never go above 85dBs for extended listening sessions.

By my mid 30s the tinnitus had dissipated considerably. Now it's effectively gone, at least that I can tell (ie. not aware if there is psychological compensation happening). My hearing is great too, right ear at 17.5 kHz, left ear at 16.9.

http://www.electronicbeats.net/can-we-cure-tinnitus-by-liste...


Wow, this gives me hope. I'm 22 and in the past two years I've gone to ~100 rock concerts, seeing a total of 270 sets. For the first 23 concerts I didn't wear any hearing protection, until I had a scary event with my hearing at a Neon Trees concert that left my hearing very distorted for three days. Then for the next 80 or so concert's I'd wear my hearing protection most–but not all–of the time.

In the past year I've had worsening tinnitus. Although now (and for the last ~30 concerts) I've worn ear plugs most of the time (and recently bought molded ear plugs), the tinnitus still gives me great anxiety when I hear it in quiet places like my bedroom at night. The permanency of it is what freaks me out the most. But your comment gives me hope that I'll one day be able to enjoy silence again.

I fully urge anyone who goes to rock and similar concerts with any frequency at all to wear hearing protection. I'm a fan of Earasers and custom-molded musicians ear plugs. Even if you don't care about your hearing now, once you do care, it'll often be too late.


I've had pretty bad tinnitus my whole life. In a perfectly quiet room it sounds deafeningly loud. I use a pink noise app in bed at night, but otherwise it doesn't really bother me. Point is, don't worry about it, your brain can adjust to anything and you'll be fine. As I understand it, tinnitus is only half physical damage anyway. The other half is neural. In my case I believe it's all neural.

At one point it got way worse for about a month, likely caused by stress. Freaked me out to the point of briefly having suicidal thoughts. Then I got used to it again.

TLDR try not to be anxious about it. Good luck :)


In my experience blood pressure and sinus inflammation (the symptoms of which can be pretty subtle) can both jack up chronic tinnitus.


Wow, are you in the business or just a huge fan?


That’s not too difficult if the area you live/work in has a good scene for your favourite genres of music. The music I listen to tends to be pretty DIY (very small gigs in front of 20-50 people), and more weeks than not I find myself at at least one concert.

I commute via plane for work so it gives me something to do that’s not sitting in the hotel watching TV or drinking too much alcohol.

I recommend an app called Songkick if you want to find local gigs you might be interested in, it scans your Spotify/last.fm and notifies you when artists you’ve listened to are playing nearby.


Off-Topic.

Could you elaborate on commuting by plane? Do you go to work every day? How long does it take? Why did you decide to work that way?


I live in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK but not on the island of Great Britain. The company I work for is based in Belfast (capital of NI), and we bid for government contracts. For example, the government client that I'm currently working with is the DVSA (responsible for driving tests and roadworthiness tests), and the DVSA office I'm working out of is in Nottingham, which is a city on Great Britain, meaning I have the Irish Sea between me and the office I work in.

I fly out from Belfast to Nottingham at around 07:00 on Tuesday morning, and I fly home to Belfast around 20:00 on Thursday evening. Tuesday and Wednesday nights are spent in hotels in Nottingham.

From locking my front door behind me in Belfast to sitting down at my desk in Nottingham it takes around 3h30m. Thursdays are killers though, I don't get in my front door until at least 21:30. So depending on meetings, on Thursdays I frequently end up being on the go from 08:00 to 21:30, which isn't too much fun.

I ended up working this way basically because the company I work for bids for almost exclusively central government projects, and I can't think of any central government agencies that aren't based in England and therefore a flight away.

I first started doing this when I was at university and doing a year-long placement, at the same company I'm currently full-time for.

I was asked if I fancied flying back and forth, and as a 20-year-old, the prospect of getting flown around; staying in nice hotels; getting £5/£10/£30 for breakfast/lunch/dinner every day; and extra pay due to having to fly every week was quite attractive.

Currently 22-years-old and the constant flying got old pretty quickly, but I like where work and I like working on government projects that affect millions of UK citizens' lives.


Just a fan. I did several co-ops at west coast tech companies (San Francisco and Seattle) that gave me ample opportunities to see my favorite bands touring. I kept track of my concerts with a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XIwkqPQmxT6jZE5UMjxU...


I'm 43 years old, and in my 20s I went to a few loud rock shows. I had the same experience as you for days afterwards, but at the last one I attended without hearing protection, something funny happened in my right ear. It was like someone turned the tone control right down, and loud noises would distort so badly I couldn't make anything out.

A while later, I was watching a Scrubs episode where one of the characters ruptured an ear drum. That sound closely matched what I remembered hearing, so I've worn hearing protection to every concert since. Even had people make fun of me for it, but as soon as I say "probably ruptured an eardrum at a concert," they stop laughing.

I have tinnitus from a different cause, though. When I was very small, 5 or 6 years old, one of my mother's boyfriends would haul me around by my ears. I remember that my ear started ringing one day, and it never stopped.

I have two tones in one ear, and I think three in the other. 37 years later and it's as bad as it ever was, sadly. I have learned to just tune it out, but I can still hear it if I choose to - annoyingly, when I choose to hear it, I have to wait until I forget about it.

edit: Forgot to note, the ringing is very, very high pitched. Remember what CRT televisions would sound like when you turned them on? Higher pitched than that.


I literally cannot understand the mentality of people who'd make fun of you for wearing hearing protection at gigs. I go to a lot of gigs (like multiple times a week) and "simply trusting" that the sound engineer won't push the volume up into hearing damage territory is... naive at best.

Please folks, use protection. I like Etymotic earplugs, but to be honest i'm not even sure if they're "heavy enough", but my pain threshold is pretty low i think. In any case since i've been consistently using ear protection i've almost never had the ringing thing after concerts, which makes me rather glad.


It seems to be in the same bucket as people not wearing seat belts and making fun of you if you ask them to wear one in a car with you.

If it's not something everyone does, and if you mention you do it for safety, the reaction is often rather negative. I think people don't like the idea that they might have been doing something very unsafe this whole time.


Well if I'm passenger in a car with someone who won't wear seatbelts then my reaction will become rather negative until they put the damn things on. If we got in a car accident, I may be secure with belts, but I don't want their body parts flopping in my face either.


> Even had people make fun of me for it

What? Who does that? Whenever I see someone wear earplugs I think "good for them" (and occasionally "shit I forgot to bring mine").

I saw loads of people wear them at the psy festival I was last summer (and wore them myself, too). And the music wasn't even that loud.

While I can hear the music just fine, it does, however, reduce that feeling of "sound presence" during a live show or set. The space feels "emptier" too, like, a huge crowd of people jumping to sonic vibrations (even stronger if it's in a darkened club with just a few bright white lights and smoke), it's pretty weird behaviour if you consider it. But the sound sort of blankets and normalizes this, at least, that's my feeling when that veil falls away when I put in the plugs.

I kind of wonder about the custom-mold plugs. I don't use the cheap yellow foam ones, but reusable ones about €20 I got at a hearing-aid store (asked for ones suitable for concerts/festivals), which I'm fairly pleased with.

Does the "presence" effect get better with the custom-molded ones? Because afaik they're about €300 or so. If they don't restore that "presence" compared to the €20 earplugs, but just some better quality (which is nice, but is it 300 euros nice?) I'm not sure if it's worth it. But if they do and they are also much more comfortable, it might be a nice present for myself :)


What brand are they? I wear Etymotic ER20XS earplugs (also cheap, about $20) now and don't notice any lack of "sound presence". I completely forget I'm wearing them after 20 minutes or so.


> one of my mother's boyfriends would haul me around by my ears.

what in the f*?


Yeah, he was an abusive piece of crap, and we were the children of another man. Think that pretty much covers it there.


the abuse rate of stepchildren is something like an order of magnitude higher than of biological children, for whatever reason (correction: at least TWO orders of magnitude!)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-human-beast/2009...

"The Cinderella effect is well substantiated in crime data. Children growing up in step families are about 40 times as likely to be abused and 140 times as likely to be murdered as children growing up with both natural parents (murder still being a low probability)."

I'm really sorry you had to go through that. I was also physically abused by my bio mom up till about 9-10 years old (but she in turn was abused until she was 18, so she arguably reduced the snowball effect). All we can do is try to not repeat the same mistakes for our next generations. The problem is, I have temper issues to this day...


FYI, if you lose hearing from noise exposure, you'll generally lose it around 4 KHz (noise notch). You generally lose the really high frequencies (20 KHz on down) due to presbycusis, hearing loss due to aging. Even if you can still hear the really high frequencies, you could still have a noise notch around 4 KHz.

If you haven't already, go get an an audiogram. It's cheap (<$100) and will give you a baseline on how your hearing is.


> FYI, if you lose hearing from noise exposure, you'll generally lose it around 4 KHz

I used http://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/ to quickly profile my hearing and found significant loss around 4.0kHz. I have ridden a motorcycle most of my life and it is much worse in the ear that is on the same side as the exhaust.

I am not sure what a spectrogram looks like for a motorcycle but I would have assumed that most of the energy is in the lower end of the spectrum, given the steady cruising RPS is around 40Hz-70Hz. But, your comment seems to suggest that there is not a direct correlation between the frequency of the noise exposure and the hearing loss frequencies.


Wind noise is at least as loud as engine noise at least at highway speeds.

While I can clearly hear my (loud piped) Ducati at 120kmh (~70mph) - on my Honda VFR800 with stock piped the engine noise is completely overshadowed by wind noise.

As a hint about how loud that wind noise gets, up around 130-140kmh, if I've got my noise cancelling earbuds in, they start clipping. I've heard them do that a handful of times in non motorcycle riding instances, always in reaction to sounds loud enough that people around look around and cover their ears.

(These days I _always_ ride with earplugs or noise cancelling earbuds in. Even on my "quiet" bikes. Gotta save that hearing damage up for loud concerts... )


Do you feel "less connected" to the world when you are riding with earplugs in? Does it make it feel more dangerous you might be less aware? It makes sense to wear the plugs, but I've never heard of a street rider doing it.


Definitely does not feel less safe. Plugs don't "disconnect" you, they just take all the sound down a few notches. The exhaust noise, wind noise, and other traffic noises are all still there, just not so loud and insistent.

I'm completely convinced that they make me safer on long rides, because you arrive significantly less tired - works great on planes too, I won't fly without earplugs any more.


While trying this tone generator out, I thought I had a ridiculous notch in my hearing at 532Hz, because the perceived volume dropped to about 10-20% of the neighbouring frequencies. But then I moved my head slightly to the side, and the normal volume was restored!

Turns out that I had inadvertently replicated a classic high-school "constructive/destructive interference" demonstration. Driving the pair of speakers on my desk at that frequency put the position of my head in one of the destructive-interference "nulls" where the effective volume approaches zero.

So if anyone else is playing around with it, be sure to use headphones instead of stereo speakers!


That's correct. Even in a factory environment, where most of the noise is in the lower frequencies, you'll still end up with a noise notch at 4 KHz. It has to do with the anatomy of the ear.


I'm mid 20s and my hearing is pretty much perfectly cut off at 11 khz but is fine below. I've had tinnitus since youth and have had lots of exposure to loud music but it hasn't gotten tremendously worse overtime and doctors either wave it away or say it's from noise induced hearing loss, which seems at odds with the 4 khz thing I've heard from you and others.

Any perspective on what the deal with that would be? I haven't ever used an ototoxic medicine or anything


Interestingly, when I was about 16 I was at a friend's gig in a pub. I hadn't gone to many before and haven't been to many since, but on this particular occasion I was stood talking with friends near the stage with my left ear directly next to the speaker cabs. I wasn't aware of the activity behind me, but the opening band had come on to do a sound check, and being heavy metal, it was basically just a mechanical, metallic sound, 30 cm away from my ears at max volume.

Here is what is funny though, the wavelength at which my hearing "kazoos" is the wavelength at which my young son cries. So while he was a baby, and even sometimes now as a toddler, if he's upset and I'm holding him, it's gotta be my right shoulder, otherwise my left ear bugs. It's a strange feeling too, a mixture of pain and grinding and broken audio that really sets me on edge.

Peculiar.


Is there a way to test your own hearing online, I wonder? with headphones?


How are you using an SPL meter to measure headphone audio? I've always been kinda worried about hearing damage.


When I was doing my military service another conscript fired his rifle down into the ground as we where standing close together without any hearing protection on. Seconds later our captain orders us to put the hearing protection on and leads us down to a completely dark cellar with beds in it. We then had to lay there for 48 hours in complete silence with noice canceling ear protection on with only breaks for toilet visits and quick supervised snacks. Two weeks later we all took hearing tests that got compared with the tests we took when we joined the military and none of us had any permanent damage.

Not sure the complete silence helped with healing, but the science behind the decision to have us do that was that the little hairs in the ear heals faster if it’s not stimulated.

To this day I still think about not exposing myself to too much sound after I have heard some high noice, like someone dropping a metal weight in the gym.


Do soldiers wear hearing protection in live combat conditions? Seems like they'd quickly end-up with severe hearing damage if they didn't.


Yes, modern soldiers wear “comtac” hearing protection with integrated microphones that pick up speech but block out the noise. So you can still communicate decent by shouting even though there is heavy fire going on around you.


What about before such things were available? Did everyone get damaged hearing the first day?


My grandfather told me on his first day in the military he had to stand (without any hearing protection) next to the anti-aircraft cannons when they opened fire to “train” the ears. He did not have much hearing left when he was older...


My dad used to tell a story about when he got a hearing test as part of an employment medical fairly late in life, and the audiologist asks him "You're left handed, aren't you?" because he could see the typical signs of rifle shooting related hearing loss in his left ear. Turns out dad wasn't actually left handed, but shot a rifle at school cadets 30 years earlier left handed because he could only close his right eye independently - it was easier to just shoot left handed than to try to learn how to look through the sights with his right eye.


A bit off topic, but anyway, are you aware of cross-dominance?[1]

I'm left handed in most things but right eye dominant.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocular_dominance


Does ocular dominance have anything to do with the ability to close one's eyes?


Pretty much. You watch any film from the WW-II era and only artillery crews wore any sort of hearing protection (cotton wads stuffed in their ears). But many of them gave up doing even that after a while.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuMytPAKQyU

Dad had significant hearing loss from his time in the infantry during the war.


I'm guessing this 48 hour timeout was as much about discipline as restoring any possible hearing loss.


I actually don’t think so. That would be a form of collective punishment which is strictly forbidden and the officers was really careful about not crossing that line. Was a bit chocking for me to learn that, I feel like American movies have lied to me my entire life when the military didn’t let the whole platoon do push-ups every time someone made a mistake :)

The guy who fired his weapon got a fine and was eventually kicked out though...


Do you mind sharing which country and how long ago was this? That's quite a strong risk-averse & duty-of-care-oriented response to the incident. Was this a teenage military service thing?

(I can see your username but I don't want to assume.)


When I was a conscript, my initial hearing test indicated a small hearing loss. Before i joined up I had worked as a busboy at a nightclub, where I never wore hearing protection. Us conscripts with documented hearing loss had to wear double ear protection[0] on the shooting range, and during field practice with blanks. The test I got when I left the military shown my hearing had returned to normal. Youth might have something to do with it, but my experience mirrors yours in that silence can heal some damage.

[0] Earmuffs over earplugs. Conscripts normal hearing only had to wear earplugs.


I'm a sport shooter and on occasion I've shot rifles and shotguns without hearing protection.

The hearing loss dissipates after a day, even in normal conditions. I'm sure that it's bad for you long term, but short term your ears tend to fix themselves up pretty quick.


Oh, I just took a shotgun cartridge (the one used for hunting, but the old kind, made completely out of brass), flipped in with the primer up, and hit it with a hammer. Good thing my father stored those ones without the lead. The bang and flash made dizzy, and as I heard my father coming from backyard, I took cartridge to hide it - it was freaking hot, burned my hand as well.


I took all the powder out, wrapped it in tinfoil, and put it in the fireplace. I was impatient, and sprayed it with cooking oil spray. The instant I closed the door again, boom.

Makes me cringe to think I was only 7 or 8 years old.

Shortly after that, a retired cop saw us throwing rifle bullets down cement stairs with rocks taped to the primers, trying to set them off. He very calmly and sternly told us how dangerous that was.

It is amazing that any boys survive to adulthood. I don't think I could have kids, knowing what I got up to.


The other obvious question I think is why all of y'all had access to live ammunition at eight years old.


I think you have never met any eight year olds, if you think they are really that stupid that it would be a problem. Unless you sheltered the poor kid to the point of making him a mushroom, he's more than rational enough to understand any hazard you take the time to tell him about. My daughter is 8, and I would have no worries with her encountering ammunition around the house because I would tell her how it works, which part of it causes it to explode, and how to handle it.

A kid that does stupid things has probably not had the 5 minutes spent with him, telling him the possible hazards.

Kids (and adults) also do stupid things because they know the hazards but feel like they are smart enough to overcome those hazards. Doing hazardous things that are known to be hazardous is no more likely at 8 than at 18. In fact it's less likely at 8. We get braver and do stupider things ("Hold my beer for a minute and watch this") as we get older.


This probably seems strange to non US readers.

Not that we couldn't get access to "ammo" at all here in Australia in the 70's, but my sources were mostly nail gun cartridges (stolen from building sites) and shotgun blanks used for the local sailing club's starting cannon. We'd also steal those explosive things rail workers put on tracks to warn of inbound trains.

One thing living in a country with somewhat stricter control on guns and ammunition (at least for us "city boys") - it meant we learned how to make our own explosives. We'd steal pretty much any sodium ad potassium nitrate the chemistry labs had for making gunpower - and there was significant "liberation" of nitric and sulfuric acid from the school chemistry labs too, and we had more or less success in producing home made gun cotton, tnt, and nitroglycerine. It eventually led to careers in chemistry for two of my high school co-conspirators from the time.


I grew up in a country with very strict gun control (Germany) and did almost the same thing that timonovici did. We used to collect blanks in the woods, thrown away by NATO troops during maneuvers. I don't remember what I was expecting, but I too remember the bang being so loud to make me dizzy - I think I wasn't sure for a few moments if I was dead or alive.

Just a few days ago I wrote a comment [1] about a boy who used to live a few kilometers from my house when we were children and lost half of his hand doing experiments in his parents basement.

I think fire and exothermic reactions in general are much too interesting for children to not find a way to experiment with them at one time or another, but parents should take care that children don't do it alone and that they do it in a safe way.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16698251


I also (partly) grew up in (what was West) Germany but I am British. My dad was an ATO but by that time he generally ran ammunition depots. From a very early age (5+), me and my brother were taught how to look for "devices" under cars and other skills that kids should not need.

Dad was called out to mop up after a young lad found an unexploded mortar shell and put it in a bench vice and whacked a nail into the firing pin. He has several more harrowing tales along those lines.

Gosh what fun old days those were. This was the era of the Cold War, at school we would have a bomb scare nearly weekly, Rheindahlen E mess was bombed, troops were shot at by quite a variety of nasty people and other fun and games. Mind you, a CSM pinched a Saracen or Saladin and tried to run down a bloke who was playing away with his wife. He drove it over the other bloke's car first. Shandy was involved.

On the bright side, I have friends from afar that I'm in touch with today - 40 odd years later.


I think you are the exception rather than the rule for countries with strict gun control. I grew up in London and never saw bullets in this country.


This was not talked about much because it was a criminal offence, but growing up at that time in that area we were all the same and I could tell you a bunch of other stories like that.

Collecting the rounds was like a sport. The one with the biggest collection was the winner. Sometimes we found elements from ammunition belts too. They were rare and because of their small size and dark color much more difficult to find than the larger untarnished brass colored cartridges. One of the boys from my town had the perseverance to collect enough elements to assemble a belt that he could wear over his shoulder. He looked like John Rambo.

All of this wasn‘t a local phenomenon either. Much later I learned the story of a boy from a different area whose house was searched for pirated home computer games. Police didn‘t find any pirate copies but they found the blanks he had collected. Strict as the gun laws are he got a young offender sentence for unauthorized possession of a firearm (unerlaubter Waffenbesitz).

And this was all only about thrown away blanks from NATO maneuvers. When it comes to all the weapons that “disappeared” basically over night at the end of World War II, I know there is another trove of stories, but these are for someone from another generation to tell.

You might have heard about the BBC serial The Machine-Gunners, which tells a related story from the British perspective. It was very popular with us kids in Germany at that end of the Eighties. The opening theme Colonel Bogey March is now stuck in my head..


It’s fairly straightforward to get your children to survive if you don’t let them have access to live ammunition.. I think it just requires good parenting. I mean, I was a boy and I somehow realized that all of these things are incredibly bad ideas.


none of that is really that dangerous


My experiment was on a .22 round, and when they say it's a rimfire type cartridge I can tell ya they're not kidding. Not sure how I survived childhood, but I grew up to be a productive & well rounded member of society. More or less


> ...but I grew up to be a productive & well rounded member of society. More or less

It's almost as though play, of the sort which could end your life, is a natural part of growing up (perhaps especially for boys). Then again, I don't really remember doing any very stupid things as an adolescent, probably due to spending more time in nature, trying not to die by falling, drowning, hypothermia, or impalement.


Sure, but what do you say to the friends and family of the ones that die? Or to the ones who end up maimed and disabled for life? "Oh, it's just natural, don't sweat it"


Since we're sharing...

One summer when I was 8 or 9, I used a nail to scrape out the inside of a model rocket engine or two ("D" if I remember correctly) from my older brothers model kit into a pile on the concrete garage floor, then used a broken cord (literally a wall plug, a couple feet of cord, and two exposed ends) to ignite it by hand using the electric spark from the live leads.

After fleeing the garage in terror and slight pain (lucky not to have either electrocuted myself or burnt the detached structure down), I hung out doing nothing for a few hours and acted like nothing had happened. It was little use, though. Upon arriving home, my mother immediately know something was up. Not only was my face a little singed, I had burnt my eyebrows off.

Funnily enough, I'm fairly to heavily conservative when it comes to dangerous activity as an adult. I don't even drive all that fast usually.


> The ringing lasted a few years but went away.

In my case, it also went away completely after two years, only to come back after another five. I'm stuck with it since :/


My gym actually has a few machines were the weights regularly get stuck like this. I never considered this to be a danger. Thanks a lot for sharing that. I'll pay more attention to that in the future.


I frequently wear headphones as much for the attenuation of dangerously loud noises in public places (gyms, trains, etc) as for actually listening to something. Your story is terrifying.


I already thought the leg press machine was a death trap, but you managed to give me another reason to dislike it. I think I'll stick to squatting.


Ever since that video where the girl's legs go chicken style so very slowly while she screams, I've been scared as shit to get on that thing.


I love leg press, it's my second favorite lift next to deadlift (with a hex bar, I'm not competitive or anything, no need to risk the back). You have to be VERY careful not to lockout. I always end at like a 140-160 degree angle, far less than a straight 180. If you lockout, you're going to have a bad time eventually.


Shit, is the hex bar working the same stuff? Should I just switch to that? I'm underlifting for fear of my back


Yeah. It's basically dead lift with the weight shifted along your mid-line instead of in front of your shins. Makes it really easy to keep good form since you're not worried about getting it over your knees. I find the grip is much more natural as well, since your hands are at your sides rather than in front of you.


It's not the exact same stuff, but for all intents and purposes if you're not planning on competing in a powerlifting event anytime soon it's close enough that you could substitute it. It's actually used quite a lot for athletes who can't afford to have a sore lower back in training practice.


uhhh... what?


He may be talking about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkf7HP2-pr8


Obviously off topic now, but as a youngster in the gym I used to use a similar machine that required me to lay down and push my legs. I worked my way up to max weights on that machine (very quickly). One day I pushed my legs out and heard this terrible crunch come from my lower spine, was barely able to hobble back home. It was near enough back to normal after 2 days or so, but scared the hell out of me.

For me it goes to show that humans are more fragile than we often like to think.


... holy hell, that was nasty.


What, can't you hear?


Jesus, this entire post is terrifying.


That happened to me too, don't think I got any permanent damage but that sound is super loud. Still a bit scared of that machine for no other reason than the sound.


Not sure if you’ve ever seen this tinnitus relief video

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ajb37ie-Juo


That works for a few seconds, not more.


I've heard this noise, but then much less loud, and the fact that I remember it tells enough. I just let the weight lose for the last 5cm or so, and that was enough for me not to do this again. I wasn't close with my ears, so no problem.

I'm sorry for your loss and I hope you can find a way to handle it.


I totally know what you mean by "static". Have had that issue in my left ear for decades. Not really even sure what caused it originally. Iirc I get the static at realty high decibels of some kind of frequency.


I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but I get sort of the same thing in my left ear, specifically with very loud deep bass. I've always thought of it more as a rattle.


Check when your eardrum is broken.


I saw someone do maintenance on a pile-driver while it was working right next to where the pile-driver hit.

It must have been really effective ear protection, but they didn't look so big. And never mind the sound, the whole head / body is going to be rattled by the vibrations. You wonder ...

[edit] I looked up the data. 190db peak for this type (H steel piles)


Whoa this happens many times at my gym, though the wait drops part way up. Will be extra careful now!


Will headphones protect from these loud impacts?


I don't have any data but I think it's fair to assume that ANYTHING in front of the ear which reduces sound coming in will help on the protection front. It won't be a panacea, however.


A little PSA: there is some evidence that magnesium can help prevent/cure acute noise-induced hearing loss. Google returns several reputable studies.

Also: earplugs, earplugs, earplugs. I keep foam earplugs on me at all times. I have some in my fifth pants pocket, I keep some in a pill container on my keyring, some in my backpack, in my car, etc. I cut them in half; the half size fits easier and takes up less space, and the slightly lower sound attenuation is actually more useful for me in most circumstances.

I go through a lot of ear plugs this way, and a few years ago I realized that some of them degrade over time such that they become roughly half as effective. The closed cell foam seems to wear out somehow. I started wearing these degraded plugs more and more often, to the point that I now wear them most of the time. Always when I'm out of the house, and most of the time at home as well. They can be cleaned by soaking in alcohol. Alcohol works well on ears too, but most people's ears need no or very sparse cleaning.

I've worn these low-performance earplugs nearly non-stop for years now and my hearing has recovered some of the sensitivity of my youth. When I started leaving them in all the time I was a bit like an elderly person, asking people to repeat themselves frequently. This went away as my sensitivity improved, and after maybe six months my plugged hearing was as good as my formerly unplugged hearing.

Now I kinda feel naked without them. If I'm doing something loud, like working on a table saw, I'll put in fresh ear plugs, or wear extra protection like muffs.


This is one of the weirder things I’ve ever read here and I read a lot of strange behaviors here. You wear earplugs full time man, that’s not normal, you are missing out on unimpeded hearing due to a fear of hearing loss that likely is not based on science. Normal level sounds don’t degrade hearing as far as I know and loud sounds aren’t that common, certainly not enough to warrant wearing earplugs full time.

https://www.american-hearing.org/disorders/noise-induced-hea...

You could expose yourself to 8 hours a day of a lawnmower at 90 dB and 90% of the population would be fine.


Not so strange. The person above implies that they have lost some of their hearing already. As I understand it hearing loss is progressive - i.e. what is already done gets worse. I’m also of the opinion that damage can spiral - your hearing is damaged so noises that might otherwise be tolerable further damage you hearing. Not sure whether this is true or not.

Someone tried to kill me once by clubbing me repeatedly around the head; the only lasting damage was acutely tinnitus, mid-frequency hearing loss and hyperacusis. There used to be days that I was reduced to tears by noises being too loud, being unable to hear, and being disorientated by the screaming shrieking of the tinnitus in my ears. Now I wear earplugs whenever I’m going to be exposed to any noise above “quiet room” levels and it does the world of good. I’ve persuaded several friends to wear earplugs at gigs etc. First time they are sceptical that they won’t be able to hear. Then they realise that not only can they hear but in fact it sounds BETTER and they don’t suffer acoustic trauma the day after - which peoplempften confuse for a hangover.

Look after your ears!


It’s not that strange. I wear earplugs (although they are low profile hidden ones) if I’m going to a loud venue, such as a really loud bar, or club, or a concert. It increases my enjoyment of these places and also makes it easier to have conversations with people.


Same, I keep discreet earplugs on my key chain and discreetly wear them in bars or similar unexpectedly loud places. Most people don't notice them even when they know I do this this. I'm a big fan of Earasers, which I bought for rock concerts, because they're generic musicians ear plugs (and therefore don't muffle people's voices), and they're practically unnoticeable.

For actual rock concerts, I have molded musicians ear plugs which make the music sound just incredible, and I have no discomfort afterwards. I also highly recommend those.


I do that, they cost about €20. Many people wear them at a metal concert, I'm a bit unusual in wearing them in an ordinary metal bar (or even a loud pub) too. If I'm taking a crowded metro train home, I might keep them in since I don't want to hear the drunk people.

But I wouldn't wear them outside those times.


Key phrase being... " if I’m going to a loud venue"

The guy above wears them 24/7


Well, I probably should have said, "nearly non-stop during waking hours". I leave them out at night.

Also note that my "all-day" earplugs are these certain ones that have lost a lot of their effectiveness due to aging or something. I go through enough earplugs that I end up with a lot of these. I'm guessing I get about 10-15 dB out of them, and my ears/brain have adapted to this level of attenuation so well that my "plugged" hearing is functionally as good as other people's unimpeded hearing. For example, I listen to music and TV at the same levels as everyone else, and I'm not asking people to repeat themselves any more than anyone else.

The habit of keeping them in at all times during waking hours just ensures they're in place when I need them, like when I drop a dish, or a sticky weight falls on a weight stack at 24-hour fitness, as in the top post in this thread. Shit like that happens all the time to me, and I got really sick of saying, "damn I should have had earplugs in."

EDIT: Also, cut them in half. Much more usable for me, they're almost as effective, and hardly noticeable. Very rarely does someone notice that I have them in.


Ehh, wearing earplugs is luxurious. It’s damn peaceful going about life with the volume turned down a bit, even if it poses no direct threat to one’s hearing.


Your lawn mower must be a lot less loud than the one I used as a kid. Do your ears not ring after using a lawn mower, even just for one hour? Exposing yourself to a noise loud enough to make your ears ring, every day, for 8 hours... that's just asking for accelerated hearing loss.

Also, that list is kind of goofy. A snowmobile is louder than a lawn mower? A chainsaw is louder than a lawn mower? And 15 minutes per day of a loud rock concert is "safe"? You've got to be kidding me.


Not totally sure how to respond to this, as you don't seem to have actually read my comment, but here goes

> "you are missing out on unimpeded hearing"

As I said, my plugged hearing is now as good as my formerly unplugged hearing. The only thing I'm "missing" is a couple kHz at the very top, above about 18kHz. I don't miss that, really. And if I want super-human hearing (like when I'm reviewing audio equipment), guess what? I just take them out!

"fear of hearing loss"

I started because of actual hearing loss, due entirely to "everyday" events; occasional concerts (jazz mostly), some woodworking and yardwork, screaming kids, etc. I developed a bit of notching at treble frequencies and I lost a lost of top end. According to a hearing test last year, I have managed to reverse most of this. I'd bet money you've incurred at least the same amount of loss.

> "Normal level sounds don’t degrade hearing as far as I know..."

It entirely depends on your definition of "normal". The NIOSH limit for exposure to 85 dB is 8 hours. 85 dB is not that loud; it's driving in traffic with the window down. Drive a crappy car in the city with the windows all the way down and it's closer to 100. Ask a farmer or trucker how much of that "normal" level is safe.

> "not based on science."

Cute. Since I'm sure you're up to date on this stuff, can you tell me why the NIOSH exposure thresholds don't use equal loudness curves to account for frequency? I'll give you a shiny science star if you figure it out.

> "and loud sounds aren’t that common..."

Um... yeah, actually they are.

> "You could expose yourself to 8 hours a day of a lawnmower at 90 dB and 90% of the population would be fine."

Great, you've convinced me! A mere 10% chance of hearing loss after a half day of moderate sound levels is totally reason enough to abandon a practice that allowed me to recover a hearing level almost as good as my 8-year-old kid's.

Seriously though, if the only data you're reading comes from occupational safety guidelines, you're going to fuck up your hearing eventually. NIOSH is a blunt instrument, meant to make it easier for industry to minimize liability for worker disability. But there's a world of benefit outside of occupation safety regs. I like hearing better. Pretty simple. Plus, there's good evidence that sub-acute noise-induced hearing loss is a significant component of age-related hearing loss. Remember that when you're eighty and pissed off that you've misplaced your hearing aids.


Were you ever initially evaluated by an audiologist for your hearing loss?


Yes.


I wear noise cancelling closed ear headphones instead of earplugs, if that makes it more socially acceptable.


Blocking out sound completely for long enough should have a detrimental impact on your hearing. In general the brain prioritizes senses that are being used over senses that are being deprived.


Magnesium can help, but the PSA for the layperson should be about getting prednisone in the first 24 hours of an acoustic trauma. I almost want to write this in all caps because this will literally save your hearing.

I was lucky enough to learn about this right after my left ear stopped working (don't get me started about Apple earbuds) and managed to recover 90 percent of my hearing due to convincing my doc to give me a 2 week steroid course. He hadn't even heard of this before, but thank God for white papers online.

While I did use magnesium and vitamin E, they were supplementary to the prednisone which regrew the damaged cells. The tinninitus community is full of regretful people who wish they knew this.


I didn't know that, yes, that makes perfect sense. I need to read about this some more.

Comments like this make HN such a valuable resource for me.


Why did you start wearing earplugs? I know in the online music community that developing tinnitus is a fear/paranoia akin to fear of surveillance in the tech community-- not that these fears are unfounded, but many of such types tend to obsess.

Is this the case with you? What happened to you that impacted your life to this point?


I have some tinnitus, but probably no more than the average person and it rarely bothers me.

No, I just really like my hearing. I resolved to always wear earplugs out of the house one day after a particularly nasty bus with squealing brakes made my ears ring. I ride my bike a lot so that just made sense. At home, I was putting in ear plugs when putting away dishes, because I want to just get that shit done, pulling handfuls out of the dishwasher and stacking them hard and fast, like you do if you're not a priss. Except the sound was making me act pretty damn prissy. I cook a lot and I'm impatient, so that just made sense too. Some other things like that caused me to just keep plugs on hand all the time.

But I realized I couldn't possibly predict all of the potentially damaging acoustic events in life. It also occurred to me that maybe the full 30+ dB earplug is overkill for most of these things, and I could use something like half of that full-time, and still be perfectly functional. I consider these "mild" earplugs similar to clothes, which I also wear most of the time even though they're not, strictly speaking, necessary.

EDIT: I also wear glasses at all times when I'm out of the house. Not for vision -- I have excellent vision -- but plano lenses for protection. I started doing this after one day in college when a fucking tree branch nearly went in my eye as I walked down the street. I just didn't see it. I think I was looking sort of downward, and then looked up just in time to catch a spear in my eye. The only thing that saved my cornea was the fact that I was wearing sunglasses. I've had several other instances of random shit flying or poking at my face, but that was the closest I've come to a serious eye injury.

Just normal fairly slender wire-framed glasses, with clear polycarbonate lenses that filter almost as much UV as sunglasses. Nothing fancy. Haven't had my eye poked out since, happy to say.


Lol maybe you should start wearing a gas mask on the regular too? There are a lot of harmful chemicals in the air. Especially if you're on the road a lot biking.


Alright so this will make you LOL a bit more... I recently started keeping a 3M dustmask in my car -- the paper sort with the small outlet valve in the middle -- to wear when traffic is real heavy, especially on cool, still days when traffic smog tends to hug the ground.

Pollution where I live is nothing like China or India, and I'm not yet thinking about using a mask when jogging or biking, but in-car pollution in heavy traffic is turning out to be much worse than previously thought [1], and there is some interesting evidence that fine particulates, especially metallic particles like those that are prevalent in engine exhaust, contribute to Alzheimer's risk [2].

1 - https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170721135331.h...

2 - http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/brain-pollution-evide...


Did you know that stress and anxiety increase your risk of heart disease significantly?

1 - http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement....

2 - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.565...


Hmmm, I'm sensing a subtext here :)

Honestly, stress and anxiety are things I don't struggle with, at least not according to my vitals. My resting heart rate is typically in the high fifties (but I recorded 47 bpm at my last checkup). I actually struggle a bit with low blood pressure, often getting light headed when I stand up. I don't have insomnia, I'm on no medication whatsoever, I've never had stomach ulcers, I have a full head of hair, and people routinely guess my age about 10 years too young.

I think you might just be struggling a bit with the idea of someone who evaluates long term risk differently than you do. You might end up on the other side of that at some point. For example, I know a guy from Cambodia who thinks you're an idiot for insisting on wearing shoes when you leave the house. He'd say you're destroying your feet's physiological function by cramming them into shoes, and that your only problem is that you've refused to allow them to toughen up to the level they naturally would to match their environment. Now are you going to start motorbiking barefoot around town? I'm guessing not.

I get it from the other direction too. Some people think I'm stupid for allowing my kids to ride their bikes in the park without helmets. I can explain that my kids are much more enthusiastic about riding because I don't load them down with a bunch of uncomfortable safety gear. I can also explain that my kids are far more likely to get a head injury riding inside a car, and we don't wear helmets in cars do we?

These arguments sometimes work, but for the most part, people are pretty stuck on what they know from their own narrow experiences.


This is a good point, and I'm glad you explained it so well because it's something I haven't given much thought to. I do yoga and exercise to maintain my muscular system and ligaments, and eat well to maintain my bones and organ function, and etc., but I suppose I've never been raised to, or been given reason to, add extra physical barriers for my own safety. For example, to protect my eyes I have blue light filter on my devices, but I don't see the risk of gouging my eyes out as being very high. Mostly, in the physical world my life is pretty "safe". But perhaps when I start driving and running through thorny underbrush I will wear protective goggles and such :)


> "I don't see the risk of gouging my eyes out as being very high"

You're absolutely right about this. The risk is very low. But the stakes are extremely high. It's the insurance problem: how much are you willing to pay to prevent a rare but extremely hazardous even in the future?

To a lot of people (maybe most) wearing glasses if they don't need correction seems silly. I can't argue with that, but in my case, my sunglasses saved me from an expensive, painful surgery and possible disability. The experience made me feel that the "insurance" of wearing glasses habitually was an acceptable cost to bear if it could keep that from happening again. I'm no actuary; it really is just a feeling. And feelings are what all of us rely on most when we evaluate risk, whether we like it or not. My feeling is not likely any more valid than yours, because it's based on my values and experiences, and your's may be entirely different.

Now, its totally possible for these extra barriers to interfere with one's life. Again I think about how many kids are discouraged from riding bikes because of the oppressive safety gear. Or suppose I miss a plane because I can't find my fake glasses. When that happens it'll be time to question whether my reliance on my protective barriers is healthy. I think that's the issue your comments anticipate, and you're right about that too.


Wait... do you seriously wear eye and ear protection around the clock, and not have any issue with your children not wearing helmets?

I'm not sure how you've determined that your kids are more likely to suffer head injuries in a car, but even if that were true that's a dubious line of reasoning to say the least.


Yeah see, you're the kind of person I'm talking about. Why do you suppose the Dutch and Danish never wear bike helmets? Do you think it's because Dutch streets are that much safer than the little park across the street from me?

I might need you to actually read my comments and do a modicum of research before I take you seriously. This is about evaluation of risk and reward. There is no black and white here.

Regarding specifics like helmets and comparative rates of head injuries, I'm sure you're capable of googling for the data. It's interesting stuff. Assuming you're actually interested.


> Why do you suppose the Dutch and Danish never wear bike helmets?

I don't. This is, like all your other justifications, irrelevant to our point of contention and, like all your other assertions, uncited and unsupported.

>I might need you to actually read my comments and do a modicum of research before I take you seriously.

No reason to be obnoxious.

> This is about evaluation of risk and reward.

Care to explain what the reward is here?

> Regarding specifics like helmets and comparative rates of head injuries, I'm sure you're capable of googling for the data. It's interesting stuff. Assuming you're actually interested.

Again, _what_ data? You're telling me there's a data set showing people's relative risk of head injury in a car compared to the same persons risk of head injury on a bike without a helmet? You're making dubious statistical claims for the sake of argument without ever explicitly stating your actual assertion, or anyone else's.

> It's interesting stuff. Assuming you're actually interested.

Show it to me.

And stop being a prick just because someone challenges a viewpoint of yours that you posted on a public forum meant for a debate.


The Dutch and Danish make interesting case studies because their cultures are largely dependent on bicycles for personal transportation. Bicycle helmets are extremely rare in either country. An astute mind might then question why we Americans feel that bicycle helmets are a safety imperative everywhere and always, yet two countries with far more experience with bicycle transport do not.

The answer has a lot to do with our differences in infrastructure. Dutch and Danish roads are designed and built for mixed transportation modes. American roads are car-centric, and the lack of built-in accommodation makes biking a much more dangerous affair here, and in my opinion makes helmets mandatory for American road biking.

However, you might note in my earlier comments that I took pains to state that my kids are riding in a neighborhood park. Hence my question to you, which I note you didn't take a stab at. I'll answer it for you: yes, my local pedestrian park is safer than Dutch city streets. I've spent a good amount of time in the Netherlands, enough to be comfortable letting my kids biking there without helmets there (the same as Dutch kids do), and certainly enough to be comfortable allowing them to do so here in our arguably safer neighborhood park.

Another reason not to panic can be had with a bit of research into the comparative risks of head injury in everyday activities. For example, [1] is a frequently cited study from Australia (where road infrastructure is very similar to the U.S.) that found un-helmetted biking to be slightly safer than riding inside a car, and further finds evidence that mandatory helmet laws increase the health burden of a population by discouraging a healthy amount of outdoor activity. This is just one example.

But you know what's really dangerous? Trampolines. Our eleven-foot trampoline is by far the most dangerous thing in my possession. My kids are far more likely to be injured on the trampoline than anywhere else. My orthopedic surgeon (yes I'm a semi-regular patient due to a snowboarding accident) has trouble even discussing it with me, barely able to hide her disgust at my justifications.

So why do it? What's the reward for letting my kids risk life and limb on their trampoline, or for not weighting them down with security gear before they can go bike in the park? I hope I don't need to spell this out for you. Maybe it can suffice to point out that both my girls are now competitive gymnasts. I have an eight-year old who can do pullups and jog half a mile. My older child can do things on the uneven bars that I consider superhuman. These are kids who are glued to computer screens for much of the day, which is a far greater health risk, but by raising them to enjoy physical activity freely and spontaneously, I have a valuable tool in my fight to keep them healthy. That's the reward.

By the same token, the relatively small price of wearing lightweight ear plugs and non-prescription glasses buys me more acute hearing, which I prize highly, and has saved me from at least one eye injury. Plus, the glasses make me look smarter :)

Now, compare these risk/reward considerations with something like, say, tobacco smoking, perhaps the most egregious example of out-of whack risk/reward insanity there is. Odd as it seems, I've had my helmet policy questioned by smokers, on one occasion by someone with a cigarette in hand. The mind fucking boggles.

Again, if you're actually interested, I encourage you to do a bit more digging yourself. Humans are notoriously bad at evaluating risk and reward at the margins, and most of us entertain at least some nonsensical beliefs and behaviors as a result. A little knowledge can go a long way in this regard.

1 - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/00014575960...


Maybe a suit of armor, too. And/or bullet proofvest. Probably wouldn't hurt to have several AEDs on hand as well.


>I know in the online music community that developing tinnitus is a fear/paranoia akin to fear of surveillance in the tech community

I wish I was in the online music community before getting tinnitus. My tinnitus doesn't bother me now, but it did make me unhappy for a couple of months


> to the point that I now wear them most of the time.

You're risking ear infection, which could cause permanent loss of hearing, tinnitus, or worse.


No I'm not. I think the fact that I've done this for over three years without trouble is good evidence of that.

Even if I paid no attention to hygiene, wax buildup doesn't put you at higher risk of ear infection in the absence of excess moisture, and these low-performance plugs I use don't seem to cause moisture buildup.


I have mild tinnitus in one ear, from what I suspect was a friend screaming into my ear that she was going to the bathroom at a noisy club.

I'm relatively lucky, my hearing is still better than most, but it does suck.

I've decided I will never go to another club, and in bars I wear ear plugs. I have more to lose, since any additional damage will likely make my tinnitus more severe.

Seriously though, hearing is one of those things you don't think about until it's too late. Protect your ears.


I get to visit clubs/shows every few months and I always use a pair of musician earplugs, (Etymotic, standard - not custom fitted). It gives a nice and even attenuation, which after few minutes you don't even notice (other than perhaps slightly elevating very low frequencies relative to the rest).

Your mind is very quick to normalize the volume level anyway, no matter if you're with or without protection. Why suffer permanent damage then?


It is so refreshing to come out of a club early in the morning, pull the earplugs out, have the rush of cold air enter your eardrums and there be no ringing.

On the plus side, I find it way easier to understand people talking to me in the club when I have them in.


Absolutely, though I thought it was due to my earplugs. Then again, they're standard supermarket stuff so I have no idea how they "colour" the sound.


They probably dull the high frequencies a bit, which can be annoying if you have hearing loss already. And of course earplug don't really block deep bass.


This exactly. Wear earplugs to shows. The levels are generally WAY TOO LOUD to begin with, and in my experience I actually hear/enjoy shows better with halfway decent earplugs.

I can also leave shows, take them out, and hear normally immediately after. No more laying in bed that night being annoyed by minor hearing damage.

You don't even have to be self conscious about it, they're barely visible when they're in.


> The levels are generally WAY TOO LOUD to begin with, and in my experience I actually hear/enjoy shows better with halfway decent earplugs.

Most venues I don't find it to be an issue, but one I was at recently was absurdly loud. I was sat at a 90 degree to the stage, and in one ear I could hear the sound crashing off the back wall to the point vocals were difficult to make out because it just sounded so muffled. Blocking that one ear instantly made it a much better experience.


Which ones? I have these (https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Fidelity-Earplugs-ETY-Plugs-...) and to be frank, I dislike wearing them -- it just sounds worse.

That said, clubs/shows play music way too loud, and I occasionally hear the beginning of tinnitus, so I 100% agree that people should get a pair.


Those are the kind I use. They try to be flat but there's really nothing you can do to stop concert level bass from getting through, so they end up being a bit boomy. I've found that I can move them in or out of the ear to adjust the dampening. If they are in too far I tend to not like the way it sounds. I like it at the most minimal dampening I can get. It sounds good and it still keeps me from getting concert-ear.

Also I've noticed that I can hear the music much better with them in (when it's too loud I have a hard time distinguishing pitches—singers often sound like the Chipmunks) and some groups don't fare well when you turn down the volume a bit (they use volume to mask lack of ability).


I use the happyears: http://www.happyears.co/ I recommend them, they're cheap, easy to clean and quite comfortable. Sound quality is always harder to tell (and subjective, it's hard to own hardware to measure it), however they're fine if you ask me. I own pairs of ER-20 XS and pluggerz music, and the happyears are my favorite (pluggerz is quite good as well, happyears are slightly more difficult to fit in the right place. ER-20XS are just uncomfortable in my ears).


I use the Alpine [1], and I use them to protect my ears from the screaming of my toddler. They cost 13 EUR, custom-made cost around 150 EUR. Custom-made can be worth it if you use them a lot, and if your ears are non-standard might be downright mandatory.

But I've been using them too late because recently I have tinnitus in the evening before I go to sleep (I do wear the plug at night as well). Am in mid 30s.

[1] https://www.alpine.nl


Isn't it absurd that we have to wear earplugs just because the DJ isn't good enough to create moods and so just uses volume.


One of the fun parts about the club experience is feeling the sound with your entire body, and you don't get that without the sound being far louder than is safe for your ears without protection.


No, not at all. You only get to feel the low frequencies anyway, which is why infrasonic speakers are nowadays a standard for electronic music venues. You then sync those with audible output and people think they "feel" the music.

What they feel are inaudible sound waves at a frequency that makes some tissue/bones(?) resonate. But this is as much "feeling" the music as is being punched in the face in sync with the base rhythm ;)


Do earplugs effectively mitigate the hearing damage caused by the low frequency bass that you feel in your bones?


The volume required to cause damage goes up as the frequency goes down. Bass has to be ridiculously loud to cause damage. A club which turned up the bass to create a good "feel", but turned down the treble, would save a lot of wear and tear on people's hearing.


Inaudible sounds are precisely those that don't resonate with your hair cells at any frequency, so if you only feel the sound but don't hear it there's no way it can damage your hearing.


Any competent sound engineer is wearing ear protection, so you're usually hearing a better mix with ear plugs in. Your plugs colour the sound slightly, but the mix engineer is subconsciously compensating for the colouration of his own plugs.

If the sound engineer isn't wearing ear plugs, the same logic probably applies. Noise-induced hearing loss has roughly the same effects on your hearing as earplugs, acting like a shallow lowpass filter.


If the sound engineer tunes for the coloured sound, and the sound that he is hearing is coloured the same regardless of whether he is wearing ear plugs, does it not then follow that the sound that you are hearing is coloured the same regardless of whether you are wearing ear plugs?


I believe the logic is:

* Sound engineer is wearing ear protection -> sound is tuned according to that bias (unless they are completely auditory neutral) -> you get the best sound by also wearing hearing protection

* Sound engineer is not wearing ear protection -> sound engineer probably has hearing damage due to prolonged exposure (and has a similar effect as hearing protection) -> sound is tuned according to that bias -> you do NOT have hearing damage, so you get the best sound by wearing hearing protection

The effect on the sound is the same in both cases and the correction is the same in both -- wear hearing protection. It only becomes the same sound regardless of what _you_ do in the long term, if you also get hearing loss due to prolonged exposure.


That might be why when I go to clubs/etc it seems like the treble is cranked up to 10 on those large speakers. I've changed my EQ preferences as I've gotten older to prefer a somewhat diminished treble/higher frequencies.


I've found the disposable Bilsom 303 earplugs to be the best for me, both for motorcycling and for concerts. Very comfortable, nice and even attenuation.


I recommend DownBeats earplugs. They are tiny and barely noticeable, which made me so much more likely to wear them to shows. Nice little carrying case too.


This can also happen when holding your upset child and they scream near your ear. Be careful, parents!


I can attest to that, my newborn at the time screamed into my ear unexpectedly loud and my hearing was affected for a few days.


Yup have occasional tinnitus in my left ear from one of my children screaming in it while I was holding them.


Never got tinnitus from it but it does make me lose balance fast.


I have the balance problem, too. A hearing specialist suggested that one of the bones in my ear was made of a spongy material rather than bone, which can cause it.


Since a concert, I also have slight hearing loss on one hear. Now I'm constantly being reminded to take care of my hearing due to the difference in "sound color" between left and right.

Fortunately I don't have a significant tinnitus, but was it certainly was a wake-up-call and I protect my ears much better now.


Look into Auditory Integration Therapy/Training (AIT) - http://aitinstitute.org - could help reset the pathways, with making them malleable.


> An audiologist friend told me to go to an ENT physician if not better by 48 hours or the damage could be permanent. Much longer than that and it would be too late to try any of the interventions

This seems like poor advice. If there is significant, realistic concern about permanent damage, I'd suggest checking immediately, rather than give it extra time...


Yes, I always find it amazing how patients can have a sudden sensorineural hearing loss and wait days before presenting.

In my opinion patients and the public should treat it as urgently as a sudden sight loss.

High dose steroids are regularly prescribed in this sort of scenario in an attempt to minimize damage, and are likely to be more effective the sooner they are given.


After hurting my neck in the shower, Me calling primary care: The earliest we can see you is next Tuesday Me skipping primary care & going to ER instead: After a 2 hour wait, I get condescendingly asked: why didn't you go to your primary care?

That's why patients wait days before presenting.


Then you get the $10,000+ bill because your insurance won't cover ER visits for non-emergencies

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2017/10/16/anthem...

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/29/16906558/a...


Or you live in a country with no BS medical pricing, take 2 zeros from that value and you get a more realistic pricing estimate for places in Europe (or pretty much elsewhere, probably lower, apart from Japan and Australia, I'd say)


In Australia presenting at ER is free, for any reason.


Thanks for the clarification (though if it's a non-emergency your wait might be longer - but that is valid regardless of the country)


and still don't get care. the us is a joke.

went to ER, they took a single xray, 5hours later doctor shows up and say "yeah its broken, we will put a temporary useless immobiliser worse than the one you came in with. here's the phone number of a specialist you can try calling monday". it was $4k for out of pocket btw. my top of the line insurance just said "we can't dispute anything from er visits".


Several years ago I was visiting my mom on vacation. I took her to the ER after I was sure she had a stroke. The doctor came in, didn’t listen to anything either she or I had to say, and wrote off her statement that she could only “see half of [the doctor’s] head” as a joke. He told her that she was fine, maybe just a little dehydrated, and that the fact that I brought her to the ER for such a problem represented everything that is wrong with today’s healthcare system. He was essentially calling me an idiot for bringing her.

Concerned my mother hadn’t improved and was being discharged, I called my sister, who happened to be a nurse upstairs at the same hospital. She came down and explained to the doctor that my mother was having a “visual disturbance”. As soon as that terminology was used, they took her for an MRI and sure enough, she had indeed had a stroke and was immediately admitted. This was after 4 hours of wasted time and an attempted discharge - simply because the doctor refused to listen and would only go by symptoms.

The doctor never apologized for his comments. While I wound up feeling justified in this case, had my sister not intervened, I would likely never have taken her to the ER again unless she was unconscious or bleeding.


Did you lodge a complaint against the doctor? Just curious.


I wanted to, but my sister worked at the same hospital and was afraid it might ultimately affect her job or at least her social life there if we did. So I just let it go.


If you have urgent care near you, that is a good situation for it.


Given the choice between losing my hearing and a slightly unpleasant interaction with a service professional, I would typically choose the latter.


That's a bit uncharitable. The choice is rarely as clear as that. It's often hard to know whether an affliction is serious enough to warrant immediate attention. So the person must weigh the risk of delaying immediate treatment against the inconvenience and embarrassment of an unnecessary ER visit.

It will be really nice when everyone has access to a medical AI that can assess these things instantly wherever you are.


> inconvenience and embarrassment

And cost, now that insurance is playing the "we only cover ER visits that were necessary in hindsight" game.

For those of us at the top of the pleb pyramid it's not so bad, but for the average person, a single mistake can be ruinous.


Japan has a nice system: when you're not sure your issue is bad enough to call 119 (Japanese version of 911), you can call 7119 which will tell you if it's really an emergency and you need an ambulance or if you should just rest and see a doctor in the morning.


We have similar in the UK (NHS 111) - but because they're rather err on the side of caution, they usually refer you to A&E anyway.

They do seem to have some sway over the GPs though - Rather than A&E, they've refereed me to the Doctors instead. When I said it's impossible to get an appointment 111 told me to tell the Doctors they've referred me. At that point the Doctors seem to _have_ to see you the same day.


I experienced an audio trauma when I was 17. Tinnitus followed. Parents told me "let's wait a week or two and if it isn't gone away then we'll make an appointment". Once the verdict of definitive hear loss and permanent noise was confirmed my dad told me: "don't stay too close to hammers next time".

To this day I still wait until I can't move/breath/feel to go to the doctor.

edit: unfordable health care and/or bad money education is how people end up putting health to the bottom of the list.


Europeans know American adults don't have free healthcare.

If you really want to shock a European, tell them that American children don't have free heathcare either.

(I remember discovering this when I was about 14, on holiday in the US, when my younger brother caught pneumonia.)


Well, I am European (and living in a country with one of the best coverage).


> Yes, I always find it amazing how patients can have a sudden sensorineural hearing loss and wait days before presenting.

Having gone to the physician with complaints many times and be told to wait to see if the issue goes away (most of them didn't) or that there's nothing to be done about it, one is quickly trained not to bother going to a physician for anything short of a major injury.

(And this behavior is from a physician who is a Ph.D at a teaching hospital, no less.)


As I am not a doctor, I have always assumed that weird sesorimotor effects might be indicative of a stroke - though in this case, the author had an apparent cause.

It puts me in mind of the Cuban embassy thing...


You take healthcare for granted. Not everyone can be seen in 24 hours.


If you're looking for something with a profound anti-inflammatory effect you can get more out of high potency CBD(Cannabidiol) than from high potency steroids. Side effects are generally less with the CBD, although it's exponentially more expensive.


It’s often a cost/risk trade off. A lot of things do fix themselves with time and if you default to going right to the doctor every time you’re injured or feel sick it’s going to cost a fortune, unless you have some kind of gold plated insurance. Some things have to be looked at right away, but for some things it’s unnecessary, and it can pay to wait it out.

(of course the above reasoning is pretty specific to the USA— could be different for people in more civilized places)


It's not even a cost, I have free healthcare through the military and I hesitate to visit doctors. First off, 99% of the time whatever it is fixes itself with time. Going to the doctor requires lots of time and effort, outside urgent care or the ER you're going to have to be going during the workday. Then they might refer you to other doctors and each one wants more and more of your time. I know a guy who goes to the doctor every time he has a viral infection to get antibiotics. Then he has to go back for different antibiotics because he doesn't feel better right away. That seems like a lot of effort when the alternative is doing nothing for the same outcome.

The other big issue I have with doctors, I don't know if they are going to prescribe me some bullshit because the real treatment is "you'll get better with time" or the real answer is "there's nothing we can do about that." Or, much worse, something that they believe will help you but is not evidence based. Before you get upset - I once had an MD refer me to a (licensed) physical therapist for craniosacral therapy (complete woo) which billed it to my insurance as something like "physical manipulations."

It's also just how I was raised, when I grew up, my parents would say "we'll see if it gets better," and it always did. When I grew up and starting visiting the doctor for things at the advice of others it didn't improve my health outcomes yet significantly increased my annoyance level.


Going to war in Iraq a few times I have heard and experienced a lot of loud sounds. Being about 20m away from the impact of a 105mm canon from an AC-130 was pretty loud. Being right next to a M1 Abrams was probably the worst. A Marine near me actually had a collapsed lung from being in the blast zone. I also RSO’d for a range that shot off 41 SMAW rockets. I had a bad headache for a couple of days after that. Then there was that time that I parked my LAV-25 about 100m from an artillery battery right before they fired a mission where they had to be using a charge 8 or something because a kept losing my train of thought for a minute or so every time they fired a volley.

And yes my hearing is pretty bad now. Hopefully I can get hearing aid later on.

Edit: changed ear plugs to hearing aid.


What are the interventions?


As Cian pointed out: high-dose steroids.


Why do they help?


I don't know if it's conclusively known, other than inflammation in response to the injury tends to exacerbate the damage to the inner ear.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0012465/


A friends daughter got a brain injury from a car-pedestrian accident. He learned a lot, and told me his take away: If you hit your head and have any concern about it, take Ibuprofen to prevent swelling/inflamation and drive to Ann Arbor (we're in Michigan but that's over an hour away). The first part made sense, the second he said that town and UofM are known for treating that kind of thing. He has them in such high regard that it's worth the drive not even knowing who you're going to see ahead of time!?!?!?


Hm -- the website of Mayo Clinic says that you should avoid Ibuprofen if you might have a concussion, as they may increase the risk of bleeding.

"Avoid other pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and aspirin, as these medications may increase the risk of bleeding."

See: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/concussion/di...


One of the challenges in first aid treatment for stroke is “is it ischemic or hemorrhagic?”. The symptoms are similar, but the treatments almost the reverse of each other. Do you want to increase clotting to stop the bleeding, or decrease clotting to keep an existing brain clot small?

Sometimes (for example if it would take hours to bring the patient to a MRI/CT machine) an educated guess as to the answer is the optimal strategy.


Wow, that's really good info. So I guess the answer is get to a hospital asap where they can do some imaging.


"Avoid other pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and aspirin, as these medications may increase the risk of bleeding."

Wow. Did I misremember and he said Tylenol (acetaminophen)? This is bothering me now, I don't like to carry bad bits of wisdom around!


Prescription Ibuprofen actually carries a Black Box Warning about increased stroke and heart attack risk in general. The OTC version never got the updated warning.


Prevent Inflammation of course.


And NAC to prevent oxidative damage.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2808688/


As odd as it may sound, Amphetamine is a key part of 'one of the most promising pharmacological strategies studied for recovery after stroke'. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/14960125/


Protip: NAC prevents hangovers. I take one before and one after if I'm expecting an epic night out. The downside is, I don't get drunk so all the drink spend is wasted money. The upside, I come across as impervious instead of naturally being the lightweight of the group. Very useful when hanging out with alcoholic salespeople if you need to work the next day.

Test it out before you need it because the taste/smell makes some people puke like crazy for half an hour...


Dortor specialized in hearing loss told me to "overdose" on vitamin C as high levels apparently raise blood pressure and thus lead to more blood flow in ears which should help on the recovery of the hairs. There's also pressure tank treatment but I doubt one would get access to one in time. And time is at essence when it comes to hearing loss.


I very recently thought I might have permanently damaged my eyesight.

I was working from a library, and stood to start closing up for the day. As I started to close my laptop, the screen (hi, glossy MacBook Pro) directly reflected the sun behind me.

For the next 15-20 minutes a significant portion of my vision in both eyes was wavy. I could still safely drive home, thankfully, but it was a severe distraction.

While I expected it to eventually clear up, it struck home how fragile my career is. (I know it's possible to be a blind software developer, but I'm not sure I could afford to take the short-term hit, assuming my employer wouldn't pay me to spend months relearning how to live and work.)


Glossy screens really ought to be buried in the trash heap of technological hype history. They're worse in every way than matte screens (and dangerous, as you point out) unless you live in a dark cave. It continually amazes me that so-called "high-end" products use them.


> They're worse in every way than matte screens

I was of that opinion until I decided to test it out. It doesn't hold up. Clarity is the main factor, I found. A matte screen must by definition diffuse light, which causes image to become blurry - and visibly so.

A glossy screen, for all it's annoying features, is just clearer and colors have an easier time being represented accurately. And most modern glossy screens now have anti-glare as well.


Screens should diffuse the image somewhat, to eliminate the high spacial frequency components pixel edges create. Not that a matte screen has ever prevented me from resolving individual pixels in a screen, even high DPI ones.

And sharp reflections on glossy screens make color-sensitive work difficult. Diffuse reflections are much easier to adjust for. Can you better support your claim that glossy monitors represent colors better?


Pretty sure mine has the anti-glare, so I shudder to think what would have happened otherwise.


I had your view until recently.

I got a matte screen for the first time in several years, and immediately had a reflection problem from window light. On a glossy screen the problem is a relatively small highlight, but on the matte screen it was a giant blob that took up a significant part of the screen. The glossy screen is usable, the matte is not.

Anti glare has improved significantly on glossy screens, too.


I have never understood the shift to glossy screens. And it's funny that matte screens were briefly marketed as "privacy" screens because the angle of viewing was lower.


The matte texture diffuses light and gives you a relatively fuzzy picture compared to gloss. They just don't look nearly as clear and crisp when you compare side by side.


You can still see individual pixels on a matte screen, even high DPI screens. And a little bit of blur is anyway necessetated by sampling theory, to eliminate the high spatial frequency components of pixel edges.


Blur is actually good for your eyes. This is how clear type works in windows. Try turn it off and your eyes will suffer.


I'd rather be able to see a slightly fuzzy/diffused image than not be able to see anything.


Absolutely not. The vibrancy of the screen colors on glossy screens are noticeably better, even when compared to some of the best matte screens.

I've been working on glossy screens for years and never had a problem. Perhaps people need to change their work environment instead.


No, I refuse to work in a cave. Glossy reflections are bad for color work, and bad for coding. (And even a cave isn't sufficient to prevent glare when viewing bright images which light up my face.)

What do you mean by "vibrancy"? Either a monitor is calibrated to a given color space, or not. And the diffusion of an individual pixel is orders of magnitude too low to significantly affect the color of neighboring pixels.


My biggest fear right now as a developer is losing the ability to work due to an injury. I recently bought long-term disability insurance, which is expensive for sure, but makes me feel so much safer. (what I got - after 6 months of self-covered disability, it'd pay a significant amount every month until age 65)

My main worry is falling while biking or skiing, and knocking my head. But now I'm worried about eyesight, and my hands, and everything else around the modern world.


Max out the LTD insurance and enjoy life. I ride a motorcycle, there's only so much you can control in life. If you're that concerned about the chance of freak-odds events happening in your life, you might as well be buying lottery tickets too.

I know a dev who is paralyzed and types/codes (quite well, too) with a pen attached to his forehead, you'd find a way to adapt.


For sure, I took up skiing this year (I'm so bad at it, but it's so fun).

In no way is what I said meant to be "Crippling worry that affects my life". More of a rational: "this is the most likely way I get really screwed, so I bought insurance"


That much worry speaks to anxiety, in the medical sense, and may cause an injury just by itself. See a doctor, and more than one if you get a run-around.


I don't think that is being overly worried.

They are just talking about long-term disability!? I have it as well, for mostly the same reasons. I worry that if something were to happen to my hands, eyes, or brain that I wouldn't be able to provide for myself or my family.

I don't think having disability insurance is "that much worry".


No objections from me to disability insurance. I was specifically referring to this part: now I'm worried about eyesight, and my hands, and everything else around the modern world. especially after having purchased insurance.

That sounds like a person who is on a lookout for something to be worried about, pretty much the definition of anxiety.


on one hand 'biggest worry' - your biggest worry, statistically speaking, should be driving to work, as a young person, and eating cheeseburgers, if you are older. If you're more afraid of other things, like crime or whatever, than you are of driving to work, yeah, that's not rational.

On the other hand, i think disability insurance is not even a little bit crazy; Of course, know that if you use it, you'll probably use it because you got screwed up in an auto accident (few people carry enough insurance to cover lost work for a software engineer for very long) but I think auto accidents are common enough to want to hedge against it.


> it struck home how fragile my career is.

This is what long term disability insurance is for.

If you don't have it through your employer it can be pricy, but it it's a very small cost if you're concerned about becoming disabled.

If you have it as a group plan through your employer it's either employer paid (free for you) or incredibly cheap.


You described similar symptoms to 'arc flash' (brief exposure to welding arcs). While its obviously best to avoid this, a decent first-aid measure is to set a 15-30 min timer and keep your eyes closed. That can help, and while it isn't always an option (driving/etc) it can help.


Thanks, that makes sense. I probably should have delayed my trip home but there’s a clinic along the way so I figured I could stop there if it persisted.


I've had occasional ocular migraines for about 20 years. They aren't painful. They show up as golden, wavy distortions in my visual field. I can't work or drive when it's in effect. Typically triggered by staring at a screen for a long time without a break.


I've had ocular migraines for many years as well, maybe 10-15 per year. No pain either, but I've been unable to correlate their occurrence with any specific activity. They just (seemingly) pop up out of nowhere.


I may be biased since, honestly, I'm never not staring at a monitor.


I have spent a lot of time flameworking 2200 degree glass on a giant flame right in front of my face, and also staring at a monitor... the monitor makes my eyes more bloodshot and sore.


I get those as well, usually no pain, but definitely some discomfort and nausea.

I still haven't been able to identify a clear trigger, though I think it may be dehydration.


Interesting. Definitely in my case it was an afterimage, but my family is prone to migraines.


As a kid, I really loved focusing a magnifying glass on pieces of wood to burn them, without eye protection obviously.

I haven't had any noticable problems because of it, but I do kinda wonder if it didn't cause a bit of damage.


I did that all the time as a kid too! Funny that I don’t think of it much, because now I work in a oddly similar field - melting glass with a torch.

A magnifying glass produces a small point of heat, with fairly low temperature and area. Many people in history have worked glass with no eye protection without serious consequences, other than cataracts perhaps (many older Italians still do not wear didymium glasses, much less the ones with welding shades).


There is this story about Feynman looking at the explosion of an atomic bomb from behind a car window. He reasoned that visible light alone can not hurt eyes, only ultraviolet, which is filtered out by the glass.

https://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2016/04/what_its_like_...

I don't know what's the truth.


I work in a field where we are continually concerned with filtering light emissions (flameworking glass), but I don’t know the answer to that, either, whether visible light can cause permanent damage.

I do know that infrared can cause serious problems, such as burns and perhaps macular degeneration. It is mainly what welding shades and our glassblowing glasses filter.


^ I should have noted that welding shades and glassblowing glasses also filter visible light heavily, of course (>90%). But what distinguishes them from sunglasses is the IR filtration. Glassblowing lenses also filter sodium flare, a glaring orange (visible) light emitted by some glass in a flame.

IR drops off adequately at spectating distances, and when I am at a demo, watching other people work, I don’t wear my glasses. Not sure about at a nuclear blast though.


Feynman also advocated for not brushing your teeth. He wasn't really any kind of health expert.

And even if he reasoned UV light wouldn't hurt him, he still had to duck to avoid the exposure. So if there's anything to take away from his story it's that he didn't know what he was talking about.


That’s a good point. Maybe the temporary afterimage was the worst that could have happened to me.


Stop worrying. You are way more fragile than you think. That's why humanity created 7 billion people at the same time and around the world. Decentralization is important.

On the other hand, it is bad news for you. You can catch a naughty bacteria and die. You can slip by the door step and become paraplegic. If you are concerned about your family, get insurance. If you are concerned about your life (paraplegic or blind is not fun) then... tssk... bad luck. There is no insurance for that.

ps: I'm not suggesting you go do irresponsible things but worrying beyond reasonable yield no better results.


Astonishingly patronizing, but...thank you I suppose.


I'm not sure which part sounded patronizing. I actually wanted to make sound rather re-assuring.


> This predicts 138 dB of sound.

I doubt that one can calculate the sound amplitude accurately without doing experiments or complex simulations here. It's possible that the toilet bowl or lid focused the sound like a satellite dish, and the protagonist's ear was in the exact wrong place at the wrong time.

Visual aid: https://blueandgreentomorrow.com/energy/in-pictures-new-wave...


Which is also mentioned in the article: "This lid was concave up like an antenna, near my face when it hit, focusing the energy into my face."


Thanks. The spherical wave assumption used in the calculation is not compatible with the focusing effect, and could be wildly wrong in this case.


Tangentially related, I just suffered hearing loss from a completely unexpected source. After discontinuing anti-depressants I developed fairly intense tinnitus in both ears, and after 3 months it hasn't gotten any better. It's bad enough that I can't sleep at night without music playing fairly loud (loud for night, probably a pretty normal volume for music listening).

I researched and discovered that it's a known, somewhat common side effect, and it may be permanent. I count myself as a bit lucky, since it sometimes causes permanent deafness.

I'm pretty sure if my doctor had mentioned the possibility of going deaf, I would have chosen a different treatment.


Which medication?


Remeron, also known as mirtazapine.


Thank you for the data point. My psych offered that for consideration as a replacement for anxiety-inducing Effexor XR / Venlafaxine. I will explore alternatives.


An unmentioned physiological consideration, remembered from a lecture long ago...

The rapid onset of the sound is an important factor. The ear has muscular reflexes that lessen the damage of loud sounds, but only if the onset of the sound takes longer than the time it takes the reflex to kick in. The toilet tank sound probably had onset approaching that of a square wave, so this neatly evaded the reflex.

Evolutionarily, one can understand why there was no need to protect the ear from loud rapid-onset sounds... those sounds don't exist widely in nature, e.g. a roaring waterfall roars continuously. Someone could smash two rocks together right next to your ear, but the fact that the rocks didn't smash your cranium is perhaps more important. :-)


To that end, Mercedes-Benz is playing around with technology to create a loud noise before the airbags deploy in a crash. The ideas is that by triggering this loud noise reflex, the ear will protect itself from the louder noises of airbag deployments.


Link for those interested: https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/next/connecti...

> If an impending collision is detected, the vehicle’s sound system plays a short interference signal, which can trigger a reflex, whereby the stapedius muscle in the ears contracts, which alters the link between the eardrum and the inner ear for a split second and better protects the inner ear against high acoustic pressures, which can result from a loud crash.


Various cars have that already.


Such as?


I wonder if another issue is that the hard surfaces of the typical bathroom would make the energy reflect more before dissipating. Even worse if the dimensions of the bathroom lead to resonances with 3.5kHz.

Bathrooms are famously reflective, producing the reverberation that makes shower singing sound palatable.


Another possible source of unexpected extremely loud noises: cleaning things with compressed air. If you blow it through a small orifice of the right dimensions then it can act as a whistle. The energy will be concentrated at one frequency, and compressed air generally blows a lot harder than lung power.

I first heard of this from a Youtube video, possibly from one of AvE's, although it could have been from somebody else's.


I bought a compressor a couple of years ago, and good grief is that thing noisy.

I always wearing hearing and eye protection when using it, and I'm glad for it. First time I tested the emergency release valve, I didn't know which direction it would release the air. If I hadn't been wearing safety glasses, I could have lost my eyes as it released directly into my face. I now have a rule of not allowing anybody in the workshop with me while using it, if they're not wearing both hearing and eye protection.


Buses with air brakes can cause very loud sudden noises. If they pass right beside you, you can only hope it won't cause any damage.


I wouldn't make this up even I could. I am LITERALLY fixing the toilet mechanism with the tank lid off and checked HN while waiting for a hot glue gun to heat up. I'm thinking Pulp Fiction divine intervention.


I guess we take it as a given since no one here is talking about it, but why does the toilet lid need to be so overly heavy? Is there any specific functionality that requires it to be out of that material and so big?


I assume that toilet lids are ceramic to have the same durability and antiseptic properties as the rest of the toilet, and that they are made thick enough to not break if dropped.

There are probably other materials that would also work, though... I'd expect any material used for toilet seat lids (plastic, or coated wood composite) satisfies similar constraints.

Incidentally, ceramic can become razor-sharp when broken, so the article's suggestion of making lids easier to break carries its own set of risks.


Maybe it's extra material to quiet the otherwise annoying sound of the refill after every flush? (since the tank functions a bit like a loudspeaker pointed up) If so, a bit ironic in the context of this post.


you can buy light plastic toilet lids if you like, in fact, they are rather cheaper than the more solid kinds.

I don't think there's really anything wrong with plastic toilet seats, but they feel less good, I think, than the heavier, more solid toilet seats.

The worst, in my mind, are the foam/shag carpet covers. those just seem wrong and gross - I mean I imagine my reaction is completely irrational, but I remember once I moved into a very cheap aparment; the toilet seat was sealed plastic covering foam in a way that the toilet seat was actually cushioned. something about it really squicked me out; the first night I went to the hardware store and bought a regular solid toilet seat and installed it.

Personally, I like keeping a heavy seat and just installing a dampener hinge, though I suppose that wouldn't help if you drop it during installation.


This thread is regarding the lid to the toilet cistern, not the toilet lid itself.


Ah. A reading comprehension failure on my part. thanks.


Just a guess, but because the base of the toilet needs to support users of all body weights, a sturdy material like porcelain (or clay) is used. The tank lid is likely poured and fired at the same time as the base so that they match. Agreed that it makes for a darn heavy obstacle to get at the mechanism. And to all who have posted about having tinnitus, I feel your pain. My left ear has been affected for two years now and I've had to learn to live with it. I hope you all fare better.


It's actually commonly made of thin plastic where I live, except on more fancy/modern toilets, so no, it doesn't have to be that way. But it does look fancier.


I work a lot in a wood shop/metal shop. I’ve always been a big proponent of ear protection. Recently, I’ve been using shure in ear monitors for blocking small sounds and supplementing with ear muffs when real tools are on. However, I’ve started to just wear those in ear monitors around even without listening to anything. The ear plug feature is actually really great. I can get on muni or bart in the Bay Area with them and listen to a book at 3-4 clicks of iPhone volume. It’s pretty great to get used to things being quiet.


I've tried Shure (and other) earphones like this before, but could never stand the rustling of cable noise. Does that bother you at all, or do you have any recommendations for stopping it? I've tried shirt clips and cable loops, but nothing ever worked. For now, I use either over-ear noise canceling headphones or just AirPods.


I like the Shure's quite a bit and have used them professionally as a musician. I've experienced similar issues

Part of the issue is solved by running them over the backs of the ears so they exit down your neck. Additionally, mine have a cord pair keeper, and when I push that closer to the ends, that helps.

Another thing that's helped has been to get picker about which inserts I use. My ear canals aren't the same size (which I thought was strange, but whatever).


As others have said, over the ear wear helps a lot. Using a shirt clip to attach them to your shirt also helps. My etymotic IEMs came with such a clip.

Using both of those techniques makes the microphonics go from intolerable to barely noticable for me which is great because I wear them for 4-8 hours a day.


Is there a Bluetooth option?


Yes, there is. I have it, and have found it to be quite good.


if i understand correctly, the noise is caused by physical vibrations (as opposed to electrical waves) propagating up the cables. i think it's basically insoluble for earbuds/iems.


Microphonics!^[1] This is why you'll see IEMs designed with the cable going up and around your ear, rather than straight down.

[1]: http://ear-buds.org/microphonics-and-how-it-affects-your-ear...

(I have no idea how sourcing things works here. Hopefully I did it right?)


Pretty close to how most people source. You can just leave out the ^ it's just an inline [1], [2] etc. There are now hard and fast rules though, it's just common practice.

I think this is essentially people copying the ACM reference style.


More than a decade ago, when I started listening to podcasts during commuting, I was worried I was cranking the volume too high to compensate fot external noise - trains, buses, traffic, etc.

So, I decided to buy a Shure sound-isolating phone. These are monitors for musicians in stage to hear to what they are doing while avoiding the extreme PA towers next to them. They're expensive, but high-quality and isolate noise VERY well.

Before, I listened to the podcasts at literally eleven or more (sounds like a joke, but that crappy MP3 player went from 1 to 12 or 15). After that, I listened at level 2, and even when the podcasts were over I left the earphones for ear comfort and protection.

Sadly, the model I had did not had replaceable cables and eventually, the cable worn out. Now I'm back to JBL earphone, which does help a little bit, but nowhere as near a Shure monitor. After reading OP and the comments, I'm considering spending the extra money on a monitor again.


I have had the same solution to the same problem for enough years now that I finally realized I could have just invested in some custom in-ear monitors and pay it back in terms of new headphones purchased after non-replaceable cables wear out. I did that over 4 years ago now and haven't regretted it yet.

https://jhaudio.com if you're looking for a specific recommendation, but there are many alternatives.


Thanks!

I'm definitely not an audiophile and I listen mostly to voice podcasts, such as NPR programming. Besides sound quality, is there any real advantage on these over low-end, detachable-cable Shure?


I'd check the level of noise isolation, since that is likely to be the main difference. Custom in-ear with wrapped tips (Comply) seems to be the best you can get (roughly -26 dB). They aren't total isolation -- I have fairly good hearing and can still hear people talking next to me if there's nothing playing through them -- but put any kind of sound through them at almost any volume and I might as well be alone.


These Comply tips seems perfect to me! Now I'm thinking on fitting them on my current JBL instead of upgrading my phone.

Many thanks!


Highly recommend upgrading. I had three pairs of E3s back in the mid noughts. Cable went out twice, was replaced twice by Shure under warranty over several years. I bought the se425 a couple years later and they are probably the finest value headphones I've ever owned (versatile, dynamic, accurate, quiet) compared to RS1s and HD600s, and the replaceable cord is undeniably elegant


The Brazilian representative for Shure refused to replace my phone at the time and I decided to just let it go.

I did not simply upgrade at the time partially because I was at odds with Shure because of this. Ten years later, the anger has faded, and I'm considering them again.

Would you say that a SE215 (their lowest-priced), has a good isolation? I'd use it mostly for podcasts, so I don't care much about sound quality.


Wow, that's too bad. I remember the warranty process being a breeze. They sent me two new pairs; the cable was crap and always failed before 2 years so I did feel like they should make up for it, but I would in no way say that they didn't treat me fairly or I didn't get my money's worth. Sounds like they care more about their US customers :/


I'm on my fifth or sixth pair of Shure Se215's now. Awesome sound, isolation and fit, but eventually the connectivity between the ear buds and the cable will start to fail. (6 months to 1 year). I will probably go for a different brand without detachable cables soon, since my current ear buds are starting to fail again...

For the ultimate silence on airplanes you can put some Bose QuietComforts on top of the Shure buds.


Thank you for the tips!


Why not fix the cable yourself? Sounds worth it.


It broke in the input for the phone housing. Very hard fix.

I'm very experienced with soldering, but a bit clumsy with mechanical details. I tried, and actually fixed the cable, but the phone housing never quite fit well again.

Also, I decided after this to only go with bluetooth phones. Detachable-cable Shure phones have bluetooth options and I'm going with it as soon as I have the money.


Remember yesterday's 'caloric restriction' supplement?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16717935

Turns out it might also help with noise-induced hearing loss:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286408.php

>Additionally, the team found that NR was equally effective when given both before or after the mice were exposed to the noise.


Related: birds have the ability to regrow sensory hair cells in the ears after they have become damaged, [1]. Perhaps someday we'll be able to transfer this ability to humans.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17891722


A rubber gasket on the tank lid would be nice. Quieter when placing it, and probably quieter when the tank is filling.


Also less likely to shatter when placing it, which is the primary cause of needing a whole new toilet.


The word you're looking for is cistern. Other related parts of a toilet, include the ballcock, a name which I find particularly amusing.


When I fix things in my house I usually wear ear muffs -- and gloves. Not sure I would have, just for tinkering with the toilet tank, but I will now!

(It's amazing how many things can go wrong and hurt you.)


And goggles of course!


A safer toilet bowl lid (!) should bust apart on impact, using up the energy by breaking molecular bonds.

Please, no. We don't need to substitute one injury type for another. I can only imagine the cuts that would result from a lid that breaks. A plastic or rubber liner on the top of the toilet tank would be sufficient.


I once completely lost the hearing in my right ear. It was muted one day and completely deaf the next. I made an urgent appointment with my doctor and he said, "It's a virus, you're hearing will return in a week." I said, AYFKM? No, he wasn't kidding me. A week later, it returned in full.


You got really lucky. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (what you had) is often permanent.


I've made a few free iOS apps for tinnitus, if anyone wants to try. They use masking therapy, so while not a permanent fix, they might help a little. https://bxtel.com/serene.html


Unless you have experienced long term severe tinnitus + hyperacusis + hearing loss, it's impossible to understand how much such a combination reduces quality of life.

Sorry you have to go through this, OP.


Now we’ll have stickers saying: “These toilet lids are known to cause deafness in the State of California”...

</s>


One other interesting point that could come up but wasn't in the calculations is the reflection of the sound of the toilet tank lid hitting the tank. Most toilets are put into little nooks with just a few open inches between the toilet and the wall it backs up to, and maybe a foot on either side of the toilet, making a little alcove. Sound will reflect off the walls rather than dissipating in all directions, which is effectively bringing you closer to the source of the sound, or making it louder.


I actually got tinnitus from a Toshiba laptop 2,5" hard drive. The high pitched noise it made got worse gradually over time. By the time I realized it, it was too late.


I very much believe that story. Damn ceramic made objects, they are loud af. A lot of ceramics have this peculiar property that puts them very high up on "noise to impact" ratio, or whatever you want to call it.

I remember my mom always complaining about not damaging plates because you can accidentally drop it from one inch and hear an unpleasant clattering. Because the sound it makes you'd think it fell much higher than that.


That's insane! Never would of thought it would mess with your hearing. I figured just a nasty mess to clean up.

Our toilet seems like it wants to run every so often but usually wiggling the lever helps. I hate lifting that thing up, always imagine what a mess it would be if you dropped it.

I wish they made the tank lids out of plastic.


You could go the wall-mount toilet rout like you find in Europe. The only ceramic there is the bowl itself.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/300820608


Most American homes are not roughed in for a toilet like that. The waste pipe will be in the floor, about 12 to 14 inches from the wall. So installing one of these in an existing home is going to require changing both your water and waste plumbing and opening a pretty big hole in the floor and the wall to get at all of that. Additionally this is about 6x the price of a standard toilet. Not too surprising why they aren't that common.


That looks much harder to get into the tank to fix things. Is it?


They can be completely serviced from the button cutout - you can remove any parts through it (it was designed this way). I think almost all newer toilets in Europe are wall mounted. It looks better, it's very quiet (refill), saves space and works exactly the same... Here is an example video how to take it apart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es8SJ-1CFcU


It's serviceable, but it looks harder to access than a visible-tank toilet. At the 3m mark in the video, my hands are instinctively cramping just by looking at that tight space.

The difference is like working on a car in the 70s versus a Japanese compact car from the late 90s.


This and they are basically maintenance-free. I think most people don't know that these things are serviceable at all. They also often have two buttons that release a different amount of water. Good for the environment and saves you money.


Funny, I was just about to post the same video. It seems pretty easy to work on them.


I thought so too when these started to get common, but for one reason or another I _never_ had to fix one of these in like 15 years I've lived with them, compared to the almost regular maintenance the old stuff required.


I think the 'regular' style toilet tanks only require more frequent maintenance because they're inexpensive and people use crappy home store parts in them. You can buy five regular old toilets for the price of that wall-mount Toto.

My policy is to use high quality parts in the tank and I've found it pays dividends -- it's been years since I've had to do any maintenance on any of our toilets aside from cleaning.


I'm almost 40 and so far there has been only once in my life I had to do maintenance on a toilet, and I've always had "regular" ones. It was to replace a gasket.


My understanding it you go through the rectangle up top for most things. I've never done maintenance work on one, but they are practically ubiquitous in some parts of Europe. I would assume that if they required you to rip out the install to fix minor issue they would have been phased out.


They do. They delaminates and discolour. The plastic doesn’t like various chemicals and doesn’t like UV.


If you had a router you could make a nice wooden one.


> Beef has an outsize environmental footprint. Per gram of protein, beef requires on average 50 times more land and produces 100 times more greenhouse gases than do beans and other plant-based proteins. Replacing 30% of the beef with mushrooms in the roughly 10 billion burgers that Americans eat each year would reduce emissions equivalent to taking 2 million cars off the road, according to the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington DC.

How do they make this calculations? Is it a proper way to present scientific data on the best scenice journal in the world?


You seem to be on the wrong thread, fyi.


I have some hearing damage from IED’s, small arms fire, and such. I’m concerned about further hearing damage but what really terrifies me is Tinnitus.

The stories I’ve read are scary. People turning drugs to make the sounds stop. I already hear nearly constant brown noise. I can’t imagine what a high pitched sound would do to me. Glad the author was ok.


As someone who's had it for.. what, 37 years, let me tell you that you shouldn't let it terrify you. You can train yourself to ignore the sound. Doesn't mean you don't hear it, just that you won't pay attention to it most of the time. When properly trained, it's little more than an irritation.

I'm more terrified of arthritis than I am of tinnitus.


I once toasted a bread roll with a very round upper surface. It was very hard, and I was curious about breaking it. So I whacked it with a spoon and instantly all sound in the ear facing it was replaced by a ringing which faded slowly away over the next couple of minutes.


I did a lot of metal work when I was young, hammering and grinding steel. I have tinnitus in both ears.

Ginko Biloba does a good job of getting rid of it. I have to take it daily or it comes back, and it takes a few days for it to start working, but it sure is nice to get rid of it.


In the UK employers have to provide eye test vouchers for employees who use screen display equipment. I keep thinking that if the government knew anything about dev environments they'd be providing us with free hearing tests instead.


I don't get it, why?


Apart from all the good discussion on hearing loss... now I’m thinking about “safer” toilets.

Why are lids made from ceramic anyway? I get why the bowl is, but the lid? Beyond the loudness / hearing loss issue, it’s just so darn heavy!


Probably the same reason the rest of the toilet is -- it's strong, durable, scratch resistant, doesn't degrade with age (toilets can last for decades, my parent's toilet is original with the house, so is 40+ years old), and is easy to clean. It's heavy enough to not need any fastening mechanism to keep it on. And it perfectly matches the rest of the toilet, so you don't end up with a yellowed plastic lid on your bright white ceramic toilet.


> Probably the same reason the rest of the toilet is

Not all of the toilet is ceramic/porcelain. Seats are typically made of durable plastic and are designed to be replaced every decade or so. A plastic lid would probably last much longer.

> ...and is easy to clean

A lightweight lid would be easier to clean.


> Why are lids made from ceramic anyway? I get why the bowl is, but the lid? Beyond the loudness / hearing loss issue, it’s just so darn heavy!

I've never seen a toilet that had a ceramic lid in Germany.

Is this just a US thing?


They're referring to the cistern AFAICT - so they mean that the water storage cistern has a ceramic lid, the lid of the toilet bowl is likely wood, resin, or such.

TBH I can't see why with a close coupled toilet anything other than the bowl needs to be heavy ceramic.


Oh, the cistern? those are usually enclosed in the wall here, entirely invisible, without any lid at all.


Then how do you do toilet maintenance?


you open the wall. You can remove the tiles from the drywall surrounding the cistern.


Ok, as an American I have to say I marvel at the toilet technology in other countries. For example you guys often have two buttons on your toilets -- a #1 and a #2 button. It just makes sense.

What are the lids made out of then?


Typical toilets here look like this (before/after): https://www.bauen.de/media/media/Ratgeber/Ausbauen/Bad/Vorwa...


I see.. you mean tanks that are enclosed in a wall. This supports the theory that heavy lids on unenclosed tanks help with noise suppression.

OMG I just realized that may be why the author experienced temporary hearing loss! The lids are designed to capture and reflect noise back into the tank water!!

(Sorry, a little too excited about toilet lids today.)


You can buy a toilet with two buttons in the US as well. Home Depot's web site says they have 17 of one model of them in stock at the store near me.


Yeah.. and yet most of us buy the Ferguson.[1]

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL2YRDzpTL4


Not only that, but you see them in public places in the US also. Usually not in stalls, but in single toilet bathrooms.


> Why are lids made from ceramic anyway?

Could be because of production reasons. Easier to get it produced in the same place than to coordinate shipping to another place and assembly.


But they're heavier and more expensive to ship. I doubt it's that hard to make matching lids to spec. The industry makes matching toilet seats separately, after all.

It must have something to do with the material. A thread on Reddit suggests a couple possibilities:[1]

- porcelain in more anti-bacterial than plastic (is that true??)

- a heavy lid offers more sonic insulation of the rather loud hydraulic mechanism (this seems plausible)

Man, I did not plan on getting obsessed with toilet lids today.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/29o5nz/e...


On a related note, a fun fact: the sound of the Saturn V rocket taking off would instantly vaporize anyone close enough. This is also true for the recently launched SpaceX Falcon assembly / Merlin rockets.


Tank lid, or bowl lid? The author repeatedly switches between the two.


Tank lid:

> "I was fixing the mechanism inside the tank of the toilet. The only thing left to do was to put the ceramic lid back on the tank. Unfortunately it slipped out of my hands and banged on the ceramic of the toilet rim."

I'm guessing every other occurrence of "toilet bowl lid" is a typo due to the medium being Twitter.


Or the tank lid slipped and hit the bowl. That's not where it's supposed to go, but gravity might take it there anyway if you fail to get it on top of the tank.


Tanks are usually very loud, so probably it.


Pretty sure it's the tank lid.


I have a lot of earwax build-up, so whenever I wear earplugs they stick out stupidly. But this thread has scared me to death, so I think I'll keep on using them.


Oh oh I have something to help you! I used to struggle with them sticking out, too -- but since I watched this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3S6dthcSVIM

I can pop them in and you can't even see them when you're looking at me head-on. You _have_ to use two hands to put them in -- pulling up on the ear is essential. The roll-down information is helpful, too.

Now, I can yawn and move my jaw every which way and the seal is never broken. Actually changed my life, since I wear earplugs for most of the night and a lot of the day.


Thanks for your reply, I'll try this! Anything to look less foolish.


This story would be even greater with diagrams / animations.


This toilet lid clearly messed with the wrong guy !


Great and to-the-point analysis.


Super interesting reading!


This is a neat story, but I continue to wonder why people use "tweetstorms" to write long-form stuff like that.


Many young people today can't comprehend a story unless it's broken down into small texts, like a child book, twitter, or any other chat app. As this is their only exposure to text. If you are a parent, force your kids to read books!


Have you got data to support that?


yes and no, I got told by a teacher. I tried looking at PISA et al. but it's really hard to find data. So I just take the teacher's word on it. It would be really interesting to see actual data. Even if the teacher and school plan is wrong I don't think it's bad to read more though.


I mean, if you got it off a teacher it is one example from one cohort from one age group in one country, so it isn't anything close to data.


Some people found out their audiences actually tend to read threads more thoroughly than articles. Personally I've found that Twitter enforces a certain discipline that makes things easier to read. In particular you don't get to do enormous paragraphs, and there's a natural limit to sentence length.

On the other hand, I know people who can't focus on anything within Twitter's interface. So, uh, it's subjective.


If this causes people to write more concise stories, I'm all for it! On a page like the linked one, you can still read it like an article, and it doesn't have too much superfluous content.


My eyes just glaze over with the spacing.


It’s preferable to twitter’s native format. But, yes, still poor formatting for continuous text.


Well, right, because it's trying to put a Band-Aid over the problem that Twitter is not an appropriate medium.


I wonder about that too. It seems like they could write a blog post somewhere else, like Blogger or Tumblr or their own blog, and then link to it from Twitter? That was how Twitter first came into existence, was to link to content that was elsewhere. Perhaps the author feels they would lose their audience if they tried to send people elsewhere? That would be somewhat ironic, if we got to the point where people were unwilling to follow links from Twitter, to other sources of content.

(I'll refrain from making a joke about all the Russian bots that really have nothing better to do.)


Probably, it's observed behavior that people that will read a tweetstorm won't follow a link to an external source.


One argument for it is that it forces the writer to be concise. Many blog posts seem to have a lot of "fluff" for whatever reason, which is usually absent from a "tweetstorm".


I kind of prefer it. my eyes get lost when going to next line in large blocks of text.


I actually thought it was easier to read in this form. I can't be bothered with articles that have too much padding.


I think I like features like "paragraphs" that are not possible in this form.


People can and do use line breaks in tweets, but if you think of each tweet as a paragraph it makes sense too.


You could do that, but nobody would think an essay was good if it were written with no transitions and mechanically started a new paragraph every few sentences.


1/5. I actually thought it was easier to read in this form. I can't be bothered with articles that have too much padding.

2/5. I think I like features like "paragraphs" that are not possible in this form.

3/5. People can and do use line breaks in tweets, but if you think of each tweet as a paragraph it makes sense too.

4/5. You could do that, but nobody would think an essay was good if it were written with no transitions and mechanically started a new paragraph every few sentences.

5/5. It is interesting how small paragraphs divide a meaning of the whole article and can confuse you, reader.


Attention.


Once when I was camping I decided to try to use a plastic bottle as a pillow. I put my head on it sideways and the plastic made a really loud pop and my ear instantly started ringing really loudly like nothing I've experienced before. I was deaf in that ear for about a minute while it rang and it terrified me. Luckily it went away.

More recently something happened to that ear. It started to get water in it every day then stopped getting water in it but now I have tinnitus in that ear.

Ears are extremely sensitive and it doesn't take much to damage them.


You may have a sticky wax or otherwise blocked ear that was trapping the water. Wax or other buildup in the ear can cause tinnitus (and of course attenuated hearing, ranging from imperceptible to completely muffled).

It would be worth going to see a doctor and get them to check inside your ears.

You certainly wouldn't want to spend weeks thinking you had permanent tinnitus or hearing loss when it could be as simple as an ear flush. I can tell you that from experience.


Damn, this is one smart plumber.


Dr. Philip Metzger is a planetary physicist who recently retired from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where he co-founded the KSC Swamp Works. He now is now at the University of Central Florida -- but still a part of the Swamp Works team

-- his website


Jesus Christ, so they don't pay him enough and he's fixing toilets on the side?


Not being depended on craftsman for small things like fixing your toilet safes you a lot of stress in my experience. Not problems with appointments, no waiting, no arguing in case if improper work, no other people in your home.


I do stuff like this because:

- I like fixing stuff

- It would take longer to call someone and be in home while he is fixing it.


Fixing a toilet is dead simple, as are most household tasks. Either you'd have to be very rich to not have it be worth 1 hour of your time, since a plumber will surely be $100 at least, or you can't be bothered to watch a couple short videos on youtube.


Handyman is more like $50, and it's insurance against permanent hearing damage, breathing fiberglass, etc.


Yes, and then you have to book them, be there when they come (possibly taking time off work) and call them when they are late or don’t show. Then you find the counter top scratched and the problem reoccurs 3 days later, except when you look there is a massive goop of some crappy sealant instead of an actual part in there. Do it yourself, it’s quicker, cheaper and you don’t get as angry when it goes wrong.


> it's insurance against permanent hearing damage, breathing fiberglass, etc.

You can buy ear plugs and N95 rated masks for cheaper than paying someone to do the work.


If you somehow manage to develop silicosis from fiberglass whilst trying to fix a toilet, then you are definitely someone who shouldn't be attempting any sort of hands-on repair.


As an independent contractor, if you're charging $50/hour, I question your finances/skills unless you're in a very low cost area and even then it's pretty unbelievable. The risks for household tasks are so rare that they do not come into calculations, it's like worrying about tripping every time you take a step.


Isn't there a saying: most accidents happen at home?


Umm... I would assume most accidents happen where you spend most of your time.


If you work in an office, I presume your home is where most of your physically risky activities happen? But even then, changing a toilet, basic plumbing and electrical, paint, drywall, and wood is all pretty safe if you take basic precautions.


Or, Handyman could also drop his toolbox at the right angle and then you just paid $50 for tinnitus.


It takes about 5 minutes and $15 max in parts to fix anything inside the cistern on a toilet if you have a wet/dry vac, you don't even need any other tools. A bit of knowledge can save you a $150 service call from a plumber.


When I come home from a day of working at a computer, I like the opportunity to use my hands. Fixing or building stuff is fun.


It's-a-me, Dr. Mario!


and from the thread ..

> was responsible for lab safety including hearing protection.


How long until California requires a warning on every toilet and restroom?

(Yes, yes I'm joking)


In the second World War, the tank of my uncle took a full hit on the turret while fighting the Russians and he was the only survivor. Tell him about bad hearing after bleeding out of both ears. :-)


well that sucks





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