It’s very common for people to have loss of hearing caused by continued exposure to loud noise. If you are continuously exposed to noise that exceeds 85 decibels, your hearing could be irreversibly damaged.
Exactly How Does Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Work?
This is a form of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells inside of your inner ear are irreversibly damaged by noise.
A progressive deterioration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise over a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single event of a loud burst of noise that can immediately result in loss of hearing.
Work and recreational activities account for 17% of hearing loss in people between 20 and 69. Some illustrations of noises that can result in hearing loss might include:
- Busy Traffic
- Loud headphoness
- Construction equipment
- Nearby fireworks
- Jet engines
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no remedy for noise-induced hearing loss (although scientists are working on it). If you’ve been exposed to a loud noise, you should consult a doctor right away, because some of the long-term damage is due to inflammation in the ear. If you could reduce the swelling you might be able to reduce some long term damage. The hair cells inside of your inner ear are responsible for sending waves of sound to your brain. If noise damages or destroys them, they won’t regenerate. Meaning that your ability to hear will be permanently affected. Protecting your ears, then, should be a priority, and seeing a specialist if you’re currently having hearing issues.
Research to Address The Issue
This condition is presently incurable. However, researchers are looking for ways to restore noise-induced hearing loss. For example, some research is in clinical trials right now that are evaluating whether a drug can restore the growth of the tiny hairs in the ear. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can damage these hairs, but regrowth would help repair hearing if scientists are capable of getting the drug to work.
Protect Your Remaining Hearing
Noise related hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take specific steps to safeguard your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. Some steps you can take include:
- If there are areas that always have loud noise – stay away from them
- Take routine hearing exams
- When you’re at home, minimize your exposure to excessively loud pursuits
- Use the proper hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs or earplugs if you work in places with consistently loud noises
- Treat any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
Lowering the volume on your devices, using ear protection, and avoiding overly loud noise is the best way to protect your hearing. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.