Noise-related hearing loss is extremely common. If you are constantly around noise that exceeds 85 decibels, your hearing might be irreversibly damaged.
Exactly How Does Noise-Related Hearing Loss Work?
This is a form 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, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise for a long period of time. Immediate damage can also happen if you are exposed to a burst of exceptionally damaging noise all at once.
More than 17 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is a result of their recreational or work activities. Some examples of noises that can result in hearing loss may include:
- Nearby fireworks
- Emergency Vehicles
- Jet engines
- Loud volume on earphones
- Busy Traffic
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (although scientists are working on it). Some of the damage in your ear might be the result of swelling so you need to talk to a doctor if you’ve been exposed to sudden loud noise. If you could decrease the inflammation you may be able to reduce some lasting damage. Sound waves are transmitted to the brain by the little hair cells inside of the ear. If noise damages or kills them, they are unable to regenerate. So once they are gone, permanent hearing impairment is the result. Safeguarding your ears, then, should be a priority, and consulting a specialist if you are currently having hearing trouble.
Research to Address The Issue
This condition is presently not curable. But restoring noise-related hearing loss is top priority for researchers. There are clinical trials, for example, that are attempting to regrow these hairs with an experimental drug. If scientists were capable of getting this drug to work, these hairs would be able to restore and we might be able to address noise and age induced hearing loss.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Safeguarded
While hearing loss that is caused by noise cannot be repaired (yet), you are able to take specific steps to prevent hearing loss or protect the remaining hearing that you have. You can:
- If you work in an industry that has consistently loud noise, use the correct hearing protection
- Get tested routinely
- Stay away from places that regularly have loud noises
- Treat any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
- When you’re at home, minimize your exposure to overly loud pursuits
Really, it’s best to eliminate exposure to loud noise by using hearing protection and lowering the volume on all your devices. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.