Noise-induced hearing loss is very common. If you are continuously exposed to noise that exceeds 85 decibels, your hearing may be permanently impaired.
Exactly How Does Noise-Related Hearing Loss Work?
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 degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, occurs when you are subjected to very loud noise for 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 loss of hearing.
Over 17 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is caused by their recreational or work activities. Here are some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss:
- Nearby fireworks
- Jet engines
- Emergency Vehicles
- Busy Traffic
- Loud volume on earphones
- Construction equipment
Can it be Reversed?
There is presently no remedy for noise-induced hearing loss (though scientists are hard at work on it). Some of the damage in your ear may be the result of inflammation so you need to consult a doctor if you have been exposed to sudden loud noise. You may be capable of limiting the damage that develops by decreasing swelling. Sound waves are transmitted to the brain by the little hair cells inside of the ear. If noise damages or kills them, they won’t regenerate. This means that your hearing ability will be permanently affected. This is the reason why it is crucial that you take the appropriate steps to protect your hearing, and if you’re exposed to a loud noise, that you speak with a specialist right away.
Addressing The Problem With Research
This condition is presently not curable. However, researchers are looking for ways to restore noise-related hearing loss. For example, some studies are in clinical trials right now that are testing whether a drug can repair the growth of these tiny hairs in the ear. If scientists were able to get this drug to work, these hairs would be able to regenerate and we might be able to overcome noise and age related hearing loss.
Safeguard Your Remaining Hearing
Noise related hearing loss can’t be healed but if you take certain steps to safeguard your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. You can:
- Undergo routine hearing exams
- If there are areas that always have loud noise – stay away from them
- Manage any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
- When you’re at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
- Use the appropriate hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs or earplugs if you work in places with persistently loud noises
Really, it’s best to avoid exposure to loud noise by using hearing protection and lowering the volume on all your devices. Make an appointment for a hearing exam if you have been exposed to loud noise.