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View Full Version : Wearing Earplugs - How To Hear Your Clients



Mermaid Galene
07-15-2014, 11:23 AM
Like Raina, I am very careful to keep water out of my ears. I've tried all of the different kinds of earplugs available, and the only ones that work for me are the mashable silicone plugs Raina recommended. But here's my problem: when I'm wearing those, I can't hear much of anything. Last weekend at a hotel pool, I did a little mini Meet and Greet for a Mom and her twin daughters. They were on land, I was in the pool, and I alternated swimming for them to watch and coming up to talk to them. I could only hear about half of what the Mom said, and almost none of what the little girls said. That made my rather one-sided conversations with them less than satisfying (for me, mostly)!

So my question for Raina and for others who do gigs in earplugs: how do deal with this communication issue when doing in-water gigs???

AniaR
07-15-2014, 12:21 PM
I literally tell kids I wear them because mermaids are used to fresh and salt water and pool water makes us sick, and then I say you have to speak very loudly. lol

Mermaid Galene
07-15-2014, 12:22 PM
Ah. That's an obvious solution that I, duh, didn't think of. :doh: Thanks, Raina!

Echidna
07-15-2014, 01:36 PM
There are vented earplugs (which you should be using anyway if you're going underwater) which only dim sound mildly.
I usually hear better with them than without, because no water enters the ear canal if they fit right.

It is however quite a feat to get a pair fitting correctly.

I also fear they shrink. I had a well-fitting pair and used them 2 or 3 times in saltwater, and now they're smaller somehow and leak :(

Mermaid Galene
07-15-2014, 02:43 PM
I tried two brands of vented earplugs, and neither really worked for me. At least, they didn't completely keep water out of my ears. They probably blocked the inner ear to some extent. Maybe that's all one can really expect from those kinds of plugs. What do you think, is that enough to prevent infection?

AniaR
07-15-2014, 02:51 PM
I honestly find the only ones that work for me are the silicone puddy ones.

Echidna
07-15-2014, 03:24 PM
I tried two brands of vented earplugs, and neither really worked for me. At least, they didn't completely keep water out of my ears. They probably blocked the inner ear to some extent. Maybe that's all one can really expect from those kinds of plugs. What do you think, is that enough to prevent infection?

it depends.
I've found I have no ear pain and inflammations if I use vented plugs, even if they don't keep the water out completely.
apparently it's enough that they hinder the water from entering the inner ear canal, which would put pressure (and sometime debris) to your eardrums, thus upping the infection risk.

I admit I'm not too happy with the plugs since they somehow shrunk, because there's always some water trapped behind them and it feels really uncomfortable, but it's still better than nothing, and I wouldn't use non-vented plugs any deeper than a few inches under the surface to avoid barotrauma.

Aquarianne
07-15-2014, 07:34 PM
Should I be wearing them if I only do indoor pool gigs? (I refuse to do pond or open water gigs, even if it limits business, because I have a terrible fear of non man-made water containment areas. I know, it's ridiculous, and I'm a pretty lousy mermaid because of that. I just get senseless panic attacks at the thought of swimming in water that might have fish or mud or grass in it!)

I'm never bothered by water in my ears and I don't get swimmer's ear, or water stuck in my ears. Never wore plugs when I swam tons as a kid in the pool, and i didn't have a problem with water trapped in my ears then, either. I think because I have smaller ear canals? Ear plugs are REALLY painful for me, because one ear canal is much smaller than the other and shaped oddly, sort of has a bone protrusion inside that the plugs rubs very painfully, so all ear plugs are bearable on one side of my head and horrible on the other. I can't use those really in-ear headphones because of this, either.

I don't want to get an infection, but the plugs are just unbearable! :(

Lostariel Telrunya
07-15-2014, 07:39 PM
Should I be wearing them if I only do indoor pool gigs? (I refuse to do pond or open water gigs, even if it limits business, because I have a terrible fear of non man-made water containment areas. I know, it's ridiculous, and I'm a pretty lousy mermaid because of that. I just get senseless panic attacks at the thought of swimming in water that might have fish or mud or grass in it!)

I'm never bothered by water in my ears and I don't get swimmer's ear, or water stuck in my ears. Never wore plugs when I swam tons as a kid in the pool, and i didn't have a problem with water trapped in my ears then, either. I think because I have smaller ear canals? Ear plugs are REALLY painful for me, because one ear canal is much smaller than the other and shaped oddly, sort of has a bone protrusion inside that the plugs rubs very painfully, so all ear plugs are bearable on one side of my head and horrible on the other. I can't use those really in-ear headphones because of this, either.

I don't want to get an infection, but the plugs are just unbearable! :(

Haha, I totally get the same thing! I love water, but my kryptonite is seaweed. That's right, seaweed. Can't stand the stuff. So whenever I go swimming in a lake (which is the only body of water in central Alberta), I always swim happily where there's just sand, and then RACE out to where I can't touch anything below me!

Echidna
07-16-2014, 05:05 AM
Should I be wearing them if I only do indoor pool gigs?
I'm never bothered by water in my ears and I don't get swimmer's ear, or water stuck in my ears. Never wore plugs when I swam tons as a kid in the pool, and i didn't have a problem with water trapped in my ears then, either.

doesn't sound like you're susceptible to infections, so why would you need plugs?

I find swimming without them much more comfortable too, and I seldom get water trapped
(trapped water is what in most cases causes an infection).

debris also isn't so much an issue if you only swim in pools.
so, don't worry about not having plugs unless you know you get problems when swimming without (I think you'd notice that pretty fast)

Mermaid Galene
07-16-2014, 10:11 AM
I actually much prefer swimming in lakes, but then, I've always been a naturalist type. When I swim in a lake though, I want my nose and ears completely plugged. Having lost a beloved little dog to a Naegleria amoeba infection that destroyed a good portion of her brain, plus my battles with amoebas in my fish tanks, I want there to be NO chance of me getting amoebiasis!

Echidna
07-16-2014, 12:18 PM
urgh, those amoebae sure can suck all the fun out of freshwater swimming.
let's hope they don't spread further.

I'm going to plug up all the same even though they've never been seen around here, but who knows-
there are quite a few "look what cool new biotech weapon I made, whoops I spilled it"-things around everywhere sadly.

AniaR
07-16-2014, 03:40 PM
I read an article on those amoeba and it is incredibly rare. You are a hell of a lot liklier to get killed or sick from a million other things first. It also has never been detected in colder climates like Canada. I think it is fair to consider but after researching the actual stats I think we over do it on the forum.

Mermaid Galene
07-16-2014, 07:45 PM
Actually, cases are on the rise worldwide due to global warming. Just a few degrees rise in average water temperature provides the perfect habitat for amoeba proliferation. There have been several cases reported in Minnesota in recent years, which is a huge jump in incidence. There's also no way to know how many infections go undiagnosed, since it's impossible to isolate living trophozoites (the mobile amoebic phase of the animal) without a brain biopsy. Even then, they can be missed in tissue samples. Yes, they're still rare, but infection is invariably fatal. Not something I want to risk.

http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/infection-sources.html

AniaR
07-16-2014, 08:46 PM
That very link explains specifically that it is rare and needs specific conditions. It says it is far liklier a person with Naegleria fowleri symptoms actually has meningitis. And there are loads of links where experts explain people are going over board being worried about getting it from drinking and bathing. No cases up North here aside from lab induced cases for study.

I think it is fine to be cautious but on the forum people seem to be as irrationally afraid of it as shark attacks. Is there logic to the fear? Sure. But the actual data shows it rarely happens. I still maintain that people on the forum overdue it in their fear of it. But it is your choice. It can only get in through one bone that is almost eye level. Water has really gotta get up there and be there long enough along with being contaminated with Naegleria fowleri at the exact point in its lifecycle when it can do damage.

It can't get in through your ears or from splashing your nose or your mouth or eyes. It takes a lot of force so it is unsurprising to me that there were recent cases involving nettipots ( though they tell you to boil specifically these victims didn't and were on contaminated well water)

I think I get water up my nose once Or twice a year if that. I'm not worried

Mermaid Galene
07-16-2014, 09:09 PM
Exactly; it is a personal choice. But one cannot completely discount this organism as a danger when swimming in freshwater. I have seen firsthand the horrors that amoeba can wreak on the brain. It happened in Minnesota to a member of my family, and she died a long and horrendous death. It's a simple matter to prevent infection; just don't let water up your nose. Make no mistake, a single drop of infected water inhaled into a nostril is all that's needed to infect you. I have observed literally thousands of infectious amoebas under a microscope, I have most of a PhD in veterinary physiology, and I know how these critters operate. Yes, they are rare now, but incidence is undeniably increasing. No one loses anything by being cautious, and I choose to be cautious. There's a lot to lose if you happen to be the one who gets the infection.

Echidna
07-17-2014, 05:01 AM
It can't get in through your ears or from splashing your nose or your mouth or eyes.

is this 100% certain?
if an organism can eat its way through nasal tissue, chances are it would be able to go through the eye, too.

I totally get your point on overdoing it, but I already caught several "incredibly rare" diseases and almost died from them.
It's really little consolation to know something is very rare if you happen to contract it :p

AniaR
07-17-2014, 11:15 AM
on the cdc site it says
Humans become infected when water containing Naegleria fowleri enters the nose

Also from another article where experts on it were consulted due to mass hysteria happening,
That's despite experts who say the only danger is to people who manage to get the microscopic organism way up their noses. Its only entry to the brain is through minute openings in a bone about level with the top of the eyeball, said Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist


Jonathan Yoder, an epidemiologist in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's waterborne disease prevention branch, said Naegleria has never before been found in water treated by a U.S. water system.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/health-headlines/brain-eating-amoeba-discovered-in-louisiana-water-experts-say-risks-are-slim-1.1462868#ixzz37jbxHNpo

The girl who recently got it from a waterpark, people are assuming slides, chlorine etc. but it was not the usual water park,
Health officials believe Kali became sick after a trip to a now-shuttered water park that features a sandy-bottomed lake. (the previous link explains how chlorine kills it) source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/brain-eating-amoeba-survivor-heads-home-1.1704001

from a NATGEO link

There have been no evident cases of contamination in the United States in well-maintained, properly treated swimming pools. Filtration and chlorination or other types of disinfectant should reduce or eliminate the risk.



Are cases of infection becoming more common?
We don't have data that says infection from Naegleria fowleri is becoming more common. In the last few years there have been four to five cases per year (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/graphs.html#casereports).
What has changed recently is that cases have appeared in places we had never seen before—like Minnesota, Indiana, and Kansas. This is evidence that the amoeba is moving farther north. In the past it was always found in warmer weather states.

source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/13/130731-deadly-brain-eating-amoebas-parasites-meningitis-naegleria-fowleri-epidemiology/


I am just sharing all these above links for interest sake, I am not trying to force my opinion on you Galene. I respect your decision to do whatever you feel is necessary to keep yourself healthy and safe. And like Cataluna I seem to get all the incredibly rare illnesses too haha. But like I said for me, it's far too cold here!!! We don't have anything poisonous either lol benefits of a freezing climate lol

Lostariel Telrunya
07-17-2014, 11:23 AM
Well, worst comes to worst, everybody else can just move up to Canada, the mernetwork will create its own city for mers and their families, and we will have streets of filtered water all through the town. Problem solved! :) (Then we'll REALLY have to split of the Union of the Pods of the North!)

Mermaid Galene
07-17-2014, 11:37 AM
Just a few other points:

• the CDC states: "No data exist to accurately estimate the true risk of PAM... The extremely low occurrence of PAM makes epidemiologic study difficult... Attempts have been made to determine what concentration of Naegleria fowleri in the environment poses an unacceptable risk. However, no method currently exists that accurately and reproducibly measures the numbers of amebae in the water. This makes it unclear how a standard might be set to protect human health and how public health officials would measure and enforce such a standard."

• The CDC analyzes risk based on epidemiology, which is the statistical study of disease incidence and characteristics in populations. With extremely small sample sizes (i.g., case numbers) no meaningful statistical analysis is possible. A low reported incidence of Naegleria cases places this infection in the "rare" category. But... because there isn't enough data to work with, nobody has any real clue as to the true incidence of this disease and the public health risk it presents.

• This infection is extremely difficult to diagnose. As I said, it requires brain tissue samples either from a live biopsy or a post-mortem necropsy. Most pathologists can have no direct experience in recognizing the appearance of this pathogen in tissue samples, precisely because there have been so few opportunities to study it. And even if a pathologist is well versed in the presentation of amoebas in tissue, the usual case is that the organisms themselves are not seen - only the damage they've done. I know this both from the medical literature, and from firsthand experience. So Naegleria can slip by unrecognized by pathologists.

• "The cause of encephalitis is often difficult to diagnose, and remains unknown in a large proportion of cases." This is a quote from an epidemiological study of encephalitis deaths in the United States. We have no way of knowing how many of the hundreds to thousands of non-specific encephalitis deaths that occur each year were actually due to Naegleria fowleri infection.

• Like most amoebas, Naegleria folweri has at least three physical phases - trophozoite (the oozing mobile form), flagellate (the fast-swimming mobile form), and cyst (the hibernating, impenetrable shell form). Any one of these phases can be infectious. The cyst form is resistant to heat, salt, and many chemical agents, and it is even smaller than the already microscopic trophozoite and flagellate forms. Amoebas can survive in cyst form for years - some even decades or hundreds of years. An individual amoeba can phase shift at will from one form to another in a matter of minutes or seconds. So you could get a tiny bit of infected water up your nose, and that water could contain thousands of cysts. Once your body heat has warmed the cysts up to a temperature they like, they can come out of their shells and make their merry way up the olfactory tract to the brain. You can get amoebic encephalitis days or weeks after your swim. You show up at the ER with encephalitis, and nobody remembers that you went swimming in a lake, and so Naegleria isn't even considered. Thus, more under-reporting.

• Living in a colder climate doesn't provide 100% protection from this parasite. Unless you can beat -50F, I don't think most of Canada gets colder than Minnesota, and average lake temperatures are rising.

• I don't think anyone is trying to cause panic among the mer community, and I don't think we need to argue amongst ourselves about it. I probably wouldn't even take the time to debate all this if I hadn't watched my precious puppy's brain dissolve from an amoebic attack. If I hadn't had to watch her convulse in cluster seizures, hadn't had to try to comfort her during her pre-seizure panic attacks, when she became terrified of the sky and hallucinated monsters in our living room. If I hadn't had to teach her how to walk again after her brain damage left her able only to helplessly spin in clockwise circles. If all my veterinary education and that of veterinary neurologists in two states hadn't failed to prevent her death at age 4 from status epilepticus (unstoppable, continuous seizures). If I hadn't had to live through that trauma, I might shrug off the risk of Naegleria. But I did live through that, and it etched my brain just as it did hers. What happened to my sweet, talented, puppet show performing pooch beloved by hundreds of children, is a wound in my heart that will never heal.

Yes, it is probably unlikely that any of us mers will contract this disease swimming in a lake. But probability is conjectural, and suffering is real. Because of the very nature of Naegleria fowleri, there is no way to accurately assess that risk. So just be aware, be educated, and take precautions. That's all I'm saying.

http://freshwaterpearlspuppetry.com/koira/tobyblog.html

AniaR
07-17-2014, 11:49 AM
Unless you can beat -50F, I don't think most of Canada gets colder than Minnesota, and average lake temperatures are rising.

It does. and a lot of our lakes are glacier fed. trust me we're a lot colder in general than Minnesota ;)


I don't think anyone is trying to cause panic among the mer community,

I dont think anyone is *trying* to do that, but I do think based on the other threads on the topic it does do that. I've been on here from the start and people always freak out and horror stories get discussed at length


and I don't think we need to argue amongst ourselves about it

Im actually not trying at all to argue with you Im sorry if it comes off that way, I was only trying to validate my own opinion on the matter.


Yes, it is probably unlikely that any of us mers will contract this disease swimming in a lake. But probability is conjectural, and suffering is real. Because of the very nature of Naegleria fowleri, there is no way to accurately assess that risk. So just be aware, be educated, and take precautions. That's all I'm saying.

And I think that's perfectly fine :)

Mermaid Galene
07-17-2014, 01:29 PM
a lot of our lakes are glacier fed. trust me we're a lot colder in general than Minnesota

Well, then, I'm happy for you. :) And jelly. (I'm already jelly of folks who get to live near the sea, my preferred mer habitat.)