Noise-related hearing loss is extremely common. Your hearing can be irreversibly impaired if you spend a lot of time around noise that is over 85 dB.
What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
This is a kind of sensorineural hearing loss where hair cells in your inner ear are irreversibly destroyed by noise.
A gradual degeneration of hearing, eventually leading to permanent hearing loss, develops when you are subjected to very loud noise over a long period of time. It can also be caused by a single instance of a loud burst of sound that can immediately result in loss of hearing.
Work and recreational activities account for 17% of hearing loss in individuals between the ages of 20 and 69. Some illustrations of noises that can result in hearing loss may include:
- Busy Traffic
- Loud volume on earphones
- Jet engines
- Nearby fireworks
Is it Reversible?
There is presently no remedy for noise-induced hearing loss (though scientists are hard at work on it). Some of the damage in your ear may be caused by swelling so you need to see a doctor if you’ve been exposed to sudden loud noise. If you could reduce the swelling you might be capable of reducing some long term 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. Meaning that your ability to hear will be permanently affected. Safeguarding your ears, then, should be top priority if you’re currently having hearing issues.
Research to Tackle The Issue
There is currently no solution for this condition. But repairing noise-related hearing loss is top priority for researchers. There are clinical trials, for example, that are trying to restore these hairs with a trial drug. Age-induced hearing loss and loud noise can damage these hairs, but regrowth would help restore hearing if researchers are capable of getting the drug to work.
What Hearing Remains Needs to be Safeguarded
Noise induced hearing loss can’t be cured but if you take specific steps to protect your ears, the hearing you have left can be protected into the future. Some things you can do include:
- Get tested regularly
- Use the appropriate hearing protection devices, such as earmuffs or earplugs if you work in places with persistently loud noises
- When you’re at home, limit your exposure to excessively loud activities
- If there are places that always have loud noise – stay away from them
- Whatever your hearing loss might be, hearing aids could be the answer
Really, it’s best to eliminate exposure to loud noise by using hearing protection and lowering the volume on all your devices. Schedule a hearing test if you have been exposed to loud noise.