Noise-induced hearing loss is extremely common. Your hearing can be permanently damaged if you spend a lot of time exposed to noise that is higher than 85 dB.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
There are little hair cells in your inner ear which can be permanently harmed by loud noise. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
A progressive degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise for a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single event of a loud burst of noise that can instantly cause loss of hearing.
More than 17 percent of people between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss that is caused by their recreational or work activities. Some examples of noises that can cause hearing loss might include:
- Nearby fireworks
- Loud headphoness
- Busy Traffic
- Construction equipment
- Jet engines
Can it be Reversed?
There is presently no cure for noise-induced hearing loss (though scientists are hard at work on it). If you have been exposed to a loud noise, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible, because some of the long-term damage is caused by swelling in the ear. You may be able to limit the damage that develops by decreasing inflammation. Sound waves are transmitted to the brain by the little hair cells in the ear. They never regenerate once they are ruined. So once they are gone, permanent hearing loss is the consequence. This is 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 as soon as possible.
Research to Manage The Issue
There is currently no cure for this condition. However, researchers are looking for ways to repair noise-related hearing loss. There are clinical trials, for example, that are trying to regrow these hairs with an experimental drug. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can damage these hairs, but restoration would help restore hearing if researchers are able to get the drug to work.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Protected
Noise induced hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take specific steps to safeguard your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. Some steps you can take include:
- If there are areas that always have loud noise – avoid them
- When you’re at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
- Use the appropriate hearing protection devices, such as earplugs or earmuffs if you work in places with persistently loud noises
- Get tested routinely
- Treat any hearing loss you have with hearing aids
Actually, it’s best to avoid exposure to loud noise by wearing hearing protection and keeping the volume down on all your devices. Make an appointment for a hearing test if you have been exposed to loud noise.