Noise-induced hearing loss is exceptionally common. Your hearing can be permanently damaged if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that is higher than 85 dB.
Exactly How Does Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Work?
This is a type of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells in your inner ear are permanently damaged by noise.
A gradual deterioration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, occurs when you are subjected to very loud noise for a long period of time. Instant damage can also happen if you are subjected to a burst of extremely damaging noise all at once.
Over 17 percent of individuals between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is a result of their recreational or work activities. Here are a few examples of noises that can cause hearing loss:
- Jet engines
- Construction equipment
- Busy Traffic
- Loud volume on earphones
- Nearby fireworks
Is it Reversible?
There is currently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (though scientists are hard at work on it). If you have been exposed to a loud noise, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the lasting damage is caused by inflammation in the ear. You might be able to limit the damage that develops by reducing inflammation. Waves of sound are sent to the brain by the little hair cells inside of the ear. They never regenerate once they are ruined. This means that your ability to hear will be permanently affected. Protecting your ears, then, should be a priority, and consulting a specialist if you’re currently having hearing problems.
Research to Manage The Issue
This condition is presently not curable. But repairing noise-related hearing loss is top priority for researchers. For example, some studies are in clinical trials right now that are evaluating whether a drug can restore the growth of the little hairs in the ear. 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 induced hearing loss.
Safeguard Your Remaining Hearing
While hearing loss that is caused by noise cannot be restored (yet), you are capable of taking certain measures to prevent hearing loss or save the remaining hearing that you have. You can:
- Use the proper hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs if you work in places with consistently loud noises
- When you’re at home, limit your exposure to overly loud pursuits
- Manage any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
- If there are places that regularly have loud noise – stay away from them
- Undergo regular hearing tests
Lowering the volume on your devices, using ear protection, and staying away from overly loud noise is the best way to protect your hearing. But if you are exposed, schedule a hearing test.