Noise-induced hearing loss is extremely common. If you are always exposed to noise that that is over 85 decibels, your hearing could be permanently impaired.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
There are little hair cells in your inner ear which can be irreversibly harmed by loud noise. This is called sensorineural hearing loss.
A gradual deterioration of hearing, eventually bringing about permanent hearing loss, occurs when you are exposed to very loud noise over a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single instance of a loud burst of noise that can immediately result in hearing loss.
Over 17 percent of individuals between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is caused by their work or recreational activities. Here are a few examples of noises that can cause hearing loss:
- Emergency Vehicles
- Nearby fireworks
- Busy Traffic
- Loud volume on earphones
- Jet engines
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no cure for noise-induced hearing loss (although scientists are working on it). Some of the damage in your ear could be the result of swelling so you need to consult a doctor if you’ve been subjected to sudden loud noise. If you could decrease the swelling you might be able to reduce some lasting damage. The hair cells inside of your inner ear are in control of sending sound waves to your brain. If noise damages or destroys them, they won’t regenerate. Meaning that your hearing ability will be permanently affected. This is the reason why it is important that you take the required steps to protect your hearing, and if you are exposed to a loud noise, that you speak with a specialist right away.
Research to Tackle The Issue
This condition is presently incurable. However, scientists are searching for ways to restore noise-induced hearing loss. There are clinical trials, for example, that are trying to restore these hairs with an experimental drug. If scientists were able to get this drug to work, these hairs would be able to restore and we might be able to address noise and age related hearing loss.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Safeguarded
While hearing loss that is caused by noise can’t be restored (yet), you are able to take certain steps to reduce hearing loss or protect the remaining hearing that you have. You can:
- Use the proper hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs or earplugs if you work in places with consistently loud noises
- Limit your exposure to exceedingly noisy activities at home
- Get tested routinely
- Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the solution
- If there are areas that always have loud noise – stay away from them
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.