It’s extremely common for people to have hearing loss brought on by repeated exposure to loud noise. 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 form of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells in your inner ear are permanently damaged by noise.
A progressive degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are exposed to very loud noise over a long period of time. Instant damage can also happen if you are exposed to a burst of extremely damaging noise all at once.
Recreational and work activities are responsible for 17% of hearing loss in individuals between the ages of 20 and 69. Here are a few examples of noises that can lead to hearing loss:
- Loud volume on earphones
- Jet engines
- Busy Traffic
- Nearby fireworks
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no cure for noise-related hearing loss (although scientists are hard at work on it). If you’ve been subjected to a loud noise, you need to consult a doctor right away, because some of the long-term damage is caused by inflammation in the ear. If you could minimize the swelling you might be able to reduce some lasting damage. Waves of sound are transmitted to the brain by the little hair cells in the ear. If noise damages or destroys them, they won’t regenerate. So once they are gone, irreversible hearing loss is the consequence. Protecting your ears, then, should be a priority, and seeing a specialist if you’re currently having hearing trouble.
Addressing The Problem With Research
There is currently no solution for this condition. But restoring noise-induced hearing loss is top priority for scientists. For instance, some studies are in clinical trials presently that are testing whether a drug can restore the growth of the little hairs in the ear. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can damage these hairs, but regrowth would help repair hearing if scientists are able to get the drug to work.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Safeguarded
Noise related hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take certain steps to safeguard your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. You can:
- When you’re at home, minimize your exposure to overly loud activities
- If there are areas that regularly have loud noise – stay away from them
- If you work in an industry that has consistently loud noise, use the recommended hearing protection
- Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the solution
- Get tested routinely
Really, it’s best to avoid exposure to loud noise by wearing hearing protection and keeping the volume down on all your devices. But if you are exposed, make an appointment for a hearing test.