Noise-Induced Hearing Loss – Prevention and Treatment
Hearing loss is something that can be incredibly difficult. For example, suppose the people around you are unaware that you have hearing loss. In that case, it can make it more challenging to communicate and has the power to affect every part of your life. Noise-induced hearing loss is no different.
Causes of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by exposure to harmful levels of sound. It can either be noises that are too loud, too close, or experienced for an extended. In the noise-induced hearing loss, the damage occurs in the inner ear, where sensitive structures convert noise into signals that travel to the brain to decipher what you hear. Familiar places where the noise-induced hearing loss occurs would be factories or workshops where staff is exposed to high noise levels for extended periods or exposed to an explosion, fireworks, or a loud motorbike.
Exposure to loud noises, over 120-150 decibels, damages the hair cells in the inner ear and can cause ringing in the ears, tinnitus, and immediate hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss can be temporary, lasting about 16 to 48 hours or permanent. Noise-induced hearing loss can occur gradually if related to exposure to loud noise over a long period. Given that a normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels, anything double that is likely to cause damage. Extensive exposure to loud noise while your ears are unprotected, can cause pain in the ears and damage to the fine hairs in the inner ear. Once these hairs are damaged, the problem is irreversible.
Prevention of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented with the use of earmuffs or earplugs. Factories and workshops usually provide these for employees. Still, suppose the exposure to sound isn’t occurring at a place of employment. In that case, most pharmacies sell earplugs that can be worn anywhere excessive noise is going to be experienced.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be experienced by anyone who has been or is being exposed to loud noise. It can be detected by speech or other sounds becoming muffled or distorted. The extent of the hearing loss can be discovered using a hearing test.
Understanding that noise-induced hearing loss is preventable help. It can be prevented simply by avoiding situations where you could be exposed to noise over 85 decibels. In addition, wearing earplugs or some noise protection for your ears will minimize the chance of damaging your ears. Wearing earplugs at a rock concert, for example, may not be cool but will protect your hearing from noise-induced hearing loss.
The first step if you feel that you have noise-induced hearing loss is to go and have a hearing test. If the noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and extensive, hearing aids may be required.